Chase Ink Business Cash Review (Bonus Categories Explained) [2019]

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For a card without an annual fee, the Chase Ink Business Cash is a great card with its high sign-up bonus and unique bonus categories like 5X on office supplies stores and cell phone plans. 

In this article, I’m going to break down the Chase Ink Business Cash and take a look at all of the value that this card has to offer and go over the benefits like $500 cash back sign-up bonus, bonus spending, insurance perks, and a few others.


Sign-up bonus

  • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

The standard sign-up bonus for the Chase Ink Cash is $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That would be equal to 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points if you have a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card.

50,000 points is very good but the Sapphire Preferred offers 60,000 points after meeting the minimum spend and the Chase Ink Preferred offers a whopping 80,000 points after meeting the minimum spend. (Many people choose to go with the Chase Ink Preferred first and then later downgrade to the Chase Ink Cash due to the higher offer.)

I did mention this card is equal to 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points if you already have a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card like the Chase Ink Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Sapphire Preferred. That means you can convert your $500 cash back into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio ($1 in cash back you earn is equal to 1 point).

This transforms your cash back into a flexible points currency that can be used in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at greater value or transferred to airlines or hotels.


What can you do with $500 cash back or 50,000 points?

As a cash back card, you can use the cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit into any bank account.

However, as mentioned you can convert cash back into more valuable points by transferring the cash back to another Chase card that earns Ultimate Reward Points like the Chase Ink Business Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Preferred

So, $500 cash back equals 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points. Once transferred into Ultimate Rewards, you will get more value out of the points versus straight cash back. You can use the points in the Chase Travel Portal and redeem your points for up to $750 worth of travel when holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can also get greater value when transferring to some airlines or hotels that are partners with Chase.

Here is the list of airlines and hotels you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points to at a 1:1 ratio.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Airlines

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • Iberia Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotels

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Here are a few examples of what you could do with 50,000 points.

United

United is a unique transfer partner for Chase. While the recent changes to United award charts are somewhat random, you can still get great value out of flights, especially if you use the excursionist perk, which allows you to add another city for free without any extra miles.

Southwest

50,000 points transferred to Southwest could get you very far, especially if you have the Companion Pass. You could easily score a handful of roundtrips around the country if you jumped on the right Wanna Get Away fares.

Singapore Krisflyer

You could fly round trip economy to Hawaii from anywhere in North America for 35,000 KrisFlyer miles. If economy isn’t your style, you could fly to/from Hawaii for 30,000 KrisFlyer miles in business class.

Virgin Atlantic

After meeting the minimum spend, you’d have enough to fly Delta One (Delta’s name for business class) to Europe for only 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for nonstop routes.

Hyatt

50,000 points transferred to Hyatt could get you 2 nights at a solid property like the Park Hyatt Bangkok, with 10,000 points to spare or 3 nights at a category 6 property for 25,000 points per night, like the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya. However, if you want to maximize your nights, you could stay 10 nights at the Hyatt Regency Kuantan beachfront resort.

Nearby public beach with the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort off in the distance.

Chase Ink Cash bonus categories

The Chase Ink Business Cash bonus categories earns 5% cash back per $1 on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year:

  • Office supplies stores
  • Internet, cable and phone services

Office supplies stores

Office supplies stores like Staples, Office Max, etc. will trigger the 5% cash back. It’s a pretty narrow category, but as long as it’s an office supply store, you can earn 5% cash back making it a very valuable card for office supplies stores.

This is especially true because you can purchase gift cards at many office supply stores! So instead of earning a standard 1X on many purchases (or even 2X or 3X), you can head to an office supply store and buy a gift card to that establishment and potentially quintuple your earnings! Just take a look at all of the gift cards you can purchase from Staples so see how you can earn 5X on purchases like groceries, travel, and shopping

Internet, cable and phone services

Out of all the cards out there, this is one of the best for your return for internet, cable, and phone services. It’s best to make sure you use this card for anything related to those categories to maximize the 5% cash back.

Some examples would be paying your cell phone bill at Verizon or T-Mobile to trigger the 5% cash back. Your Comcast/AT&T/etc. internet and TV bill will also trigger the 5% cash back too. Tripling up on 5X earnings each month in these categories is a great way to supplement your Ultimate Rewards balance. 

Other bonus earnings

You can earn 2% cash back per $1 on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants

Gas Stations

Gas stations are pretty specific, similar to office supplies stores. However, this card isn’t the best as it only earns 2% cash back at gas stations. If you want a better earning card, maybe the Amex Business Gold Card is better.

That card allows you to earn 4X Membership Rewards points on the 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month and it applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.

You can choose from the following:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media 
    (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select 
    technology providers of computer hardware, 
    software, and cloud solutions
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping

The Amex Business Gold Card does come with a very high annual fee of $295, though with a 35,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome bonus after spending $5,000. You’d need to do a lot of number crunching to see if those extra earnings and additional benefits like 1 year free of both G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and ZipRecruiter Standard would be worth paying an annual fee. 

Everyday

For every purchase that does not fall into a bonus category, you’ll earn 1% cash back on that purchase. If you can do it, you might want to think about getting another card like the Chase Ink Unlimited or the Chase Freedom Unlimited since both of those cards earn 1.5X on all purchases with no limit.

Another contender might be the Amex Business Blue Plus which earns 2X on all purchases up to $50,000. That’s one of the best everyday spending cards though it is capped at that $50K mark.


Can you use the Ink for personal use?

A lot of people wonder whether or not they can use their Chase Ink cards for personal spend.

The application states the following in the terms and conditions:

I certify, understand and agree that: 1) This is a business account which shall be used only for business purposes and not personal, family or household purposes;

So according to the terms this should be used for business purposes. However, if you’ve ever ran your own business or you’re an entrepreneur you know that it’s not always so black and white and personal and business expenses can overlap.

Also, the terms allow for primary rental car coverage while “renting outside your country of residence for personal reasons” so this seems contradictory.

Thus, I think that it’s perfectly fine to use your Ink card some expenses that could be considered “personal” and many people do this.

Just keep in mind that some consumer protections don’t apply when you use a business card so you could be losing out on some of those. Also, if you’ve structured your business entity to protect your personal assets, it’s always a good idea to keep your personal and business funds and transactions as segregated as possible. 


Purchase protection and extended warranty

Any purchase you make it will be protected against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account up to 120 days after the original purchase date.

Along with the protection against damage and theft up to 120 days, you also have an extended manufacturer’s warranty for one extra year (up to a total of 3 years).


Primary rental car coverage

This card is one of the few that offer primary business rental car coverage. If you are renting your car for business use, you have primary rental car coverage.

This is huge because it means that you can avoid paying for rental car coverage when renting a car and save some money. But it also means that you can avoid filing a claim with your car insurance provider and avoid seeing an increase in your monthly premium. 

It is primary coverage while renting primarily for business purposes or when renting outside your country of residence for personal reasons or if you do not have automobile insurance. You can read more about the rental car coverage here


Annual fee

The annual fee is $0. No annual fee is always good.


Foreign transaction fees

This card has 3% foreign transaction fees on every purchase. This card won’t be worthwhile to carry in your wallet when you travel outside the United States. It’s best to have another card with you like the Chase Ink Preferred.


Chase 5/24 rule

This card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule which means that if you have been approved for 5 or more accounts in the past 24 months you won’t be able to get approved.

However, this card does not count towards your 5/24 status which means that you want to prioritize this card and make it one of the first Chase cards (or any cards) that you apply for.


Business needed

Some ask if they can get the Ink Cash without a real business. Well, this is a business credit card so you will need a business to qualify.

The good news is that just about anything can constitute a business, including selling things on eBay, Craigslist, and doing things like tutoring, etc. If that’s the case, you would likely want to apply as a sole proprietorship.


Chase Ink Preferred Approval odds

You’re going to need a fair to good credit score to get the Chase Ink Business Cash. I’d prefer to have a score of 700+ with a solid few years of credit history to feel comfortable applying but there are a lot of factors at play with approval decisions so the exact score needed will differ with each situation.

Chase does like to see a good credit history so if your credit profile is very thin getting the Chase Ink Business Cash could prove to be difficult to get.

Tip: If you don’t have a relationship with Chase you might consider opening up a Chase business account to start building that relationship.

It probably helps to have business income/revenue for your application but there are reports out there of people getting approved for Chase Ink Cards with very little business income at times (under $2,000 and even $0). Some will resort to a good-faith projection of their income for the upcoming year but you’ll have to decide with what you’re most comfortable with.

You also need to know how to handle a Chase business reconsideration phone call since that might be needed. Note the questions about revenue and profit that will likely come up.


Travel and emergency assistance services

While this isn’t insurance, it’s always nice to have an extra like this. If you run into any trouble, you can call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance. Do note, you are responsible for any costs as this is a concierge-like service.


Final word

The Chase Ink Business Cash is a great business starter card and keeper as it has no annual fee along with a solid sign-up bonus equal to the Reserve. Plus, if you couple this card up with an Ultimate Rewards earning card, you can get great value out of your cash back turning them into points.

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