The Chase Ink Business Cash is one of my favorite cards. It has no annual fee, it offers awesome 5X category bonuses (and a couple decent 2X bonuses), and even though it is advertised as a cash back card it actually earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Surprisingly this no-fee card offers a few valuable perks as well: auto rental coverage, 1 year extended warranty, and 120 day purchase protection.
Unfortunately, this card does charge foreign transaction fees, so it is not a good choice for spend outside of the US.
Now for the complete guide to the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card…
Chase Ink Business Cash Application Tips
Even though this is a business card, I think that this is one of the first cards almost all point collectors should get. It offers a terrific combination of a great signup bonus, no annual fee, super-valuable points, and awesome 5X category bonuses. If you are eligible (see next section), you should get this card.
To get this card you must have a business, and you must be under 5/24:
|Applying for Business Credit Cards
Yes, you have a business: In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale, or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.
|Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. An even easier option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.
You can find the current best signup offer and application link here: Chase Ink Business Cash.
The first part of the application is about your business. If you already have a well established business, then the answers should be straightforward. If you are just getting started with your business, below are examples of how to fill this out. These answers assume that you do not have any employees and you operate as a sole proprietorship (which is the most basic form of a business). Use your judgment to answer differently if the examples given don’t match your circumstances:
- Legal Name of Business: If you don’t already have a business name, I recommend using your own name as the business name.
- Business Name on Card: Again, this can be your own name if you don’t have a business name to use.
- Business Mailing Address: This can be your home address if you don’t have a separate business address.
- Type of business: Sole Proprietor
- Tax Identification Number: This can be your SSN, but I recommend creating an EIN for your business (you can get an EIN quickly and for free from the IRS here)
- Number of Employees: 1 (you)
- Annual Business Revenue: 0 (or project an amount based on expected revenue)
- Years in Business: (number of years you’ve been operating the business with or without revenue)
- General industry, Category, Specific type: Pick whichever categories are closest to your business. For example, an aspiring author, artist, or musician might choose: “Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation” and “Independent Artists, Writers, Performers.”
This part of the application is about you, personally:
- Your title as Authorizing Officer: “Owner”
- Total gross annual income: Include all of your income, not just business income. This can include household income.
- The rest should be self explanatory
Keep records of your answers
In some cases Chase will ask to speak with you before approving your application. In those cases, they are likely to ask some of the same questions (annual business revenue, number of years in business, total gross income, etc.). Ideally you’ll answer the same as you did on the application.
Check Application Status
After submitting your application, you can check status by calling the automated status line: (888) 338-2586
If your application is denied, I recommend calling for reconsideration (1-888-270-2127). It’s surprising how often denials can be changed to approvals just by asking.
Chase Ink Business Cash Perks
Chase offers primary auto rental CDW (collision damage waiver) when renting for business purposes. Here’s the description directly from Chase:
Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary when renting for business purposes and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad.
Extended Warranty: “Extends the time period of U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.”
Damage and Theft Protection: “Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.”
Chase Ink Business Cash Earn Points
The signup bonus for this card is advertised as cash back, but the rewards are actually delivered as Ultimate Rewards points. Here’s the current signup offer:
Referring friends is often a good way to earn extra points with Chase products, but there doesn’t seem to be any refer-a-friend offers for the Chase Ink Business Cash card at this time.
If Chase does make referrals available for this card, cardholders should receive emails from Chase. Cardholders can also look for Chase friend referral offers here.
This is where the action is… The Ink Cash card offers 5X on cell phone, cable, select streaming services, and internet on up to $25,000 in total purchases per account anniversary year.
I recommend setting up autopay with your cell phone, cable, streaming services, and internet provider to charge to your Ink Business Cash card. This way you’ll automatically earn 5X on all of these bills. I suspect that many households pay $400 or more monthly on these services. $400/month in bills at 5X translates into 24,000 points per year.
5X Everywhere (ish)
5X for office supplies is the true secret weapon of this card. The reason this is so powerful is that you can earn 5X when buying gift cards at office supply stores. OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples all sell many different gift cards in-store. And Staples.com sells lots of gift cards online.
Merchant gift cards. If you plan to buy things anyway from a nationwide business, it could be worth buying gift cards for that business first. By paying for those gift cards with your Ink Cash card at an office supply store (or at staples.com), you’ll earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points. In most cases that will be significantly more than you would have earned if you paid directly.
Bank gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex). Many office supply stores sell Visa, Mastercard, and Amex gift cards in-store. So, theoretically, you can buy these gift cards at office supply stores and then use them for your everyday purchases as a way to earn 5X everywhere. The problem is that the gift card fee greatly reduces the benefit of earning 5X on the purchase. Fortunately, OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples frequently offer discounts or rebates on the purchase of these cards. For the latest deals, check our page: Current Visa and Mastercard Gift Card Deals.
Staples.com also usually sells Visa gift cards online. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing they’ve been out of stock online for the past week or so. In the past, the best option (other than during special deals) is the $300 Visa gift card for $308.95. By paying with your Ink Cash card, you’ll earn more than enough points to make up for that fee (309 x 5 = 1545 points which are worth at least $15.45).
Gift cards with PINs. Visa and Mastercard gift cards bought at office supply stores are debit PIN enabled. This is important because it is sometimes possible to buy things or pay bills with a debit card but not with a credit card.
Don’t forget that the Ink Cash card also earns 2X at gas stations and restaurants. Unless you have a card that offers better rewards in those places, the Ink Cash is a good choice.
Chase Ink Business Cash Redeem Points
Cardholders can redeem points for 1 cent each either as statement credits or as cash back. Cash back can be taken as a statement credit or via check or ACH transfer.
If you are another household member has a premium or ultra-premium Ultimate Rewards card, it is possible to get better than 1 cent per point value when redeeming points for travel. The trick is to move the points from your Ink Cash card to the premium card before using points to buy travel. Chase allows you to freely move points to another card you own or to a card owned by a household member. They call this “combining points” (see: Combine Points Across Cards in this guide).
Redeem points for travel: 1.5 cents per point
This option requires that someone in your household has the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve card. First move (combine) points from your Ink Cash card to the Sapphire Reserve account. Next, log into Chase under the Sapphire Reserve account, and go to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book your travel. A $500 flight would usually cost 50,000 points if you used points attached to the Ink Cash card, but with the Chase Sapphire Reserve it would cost only 33,333 points.
Redeem points for travel: 1.25 cents per point
This option requires that someone in your household has a premium Ultimate Rewards card: Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred. First move (combine) points from your Ink Business Cash card to one of these premium cards. Next, log into Chase under the account that now has the points, and go to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book your travel. A $500 flight would usually cost 50,000 points if you used points attached to the Ink Cash card, but with the Chase Sapphire Reserve it would cost only 40,000 points.
Details about booking travel through Chase
You can use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book airfare, hotels, cruises, activities, and car rentals. Airfare purchased through the portal still earns airline miles and elite qualifying miles. Hotels booked this way do not earn hotel rewards. Worse, hotels booked through the portal often won’t offer you elite benefits even if you have status. Unfortunately, Chase switched to an Expedia-backed portal and removed some ultra low cost carriers. For example, you can no longer book Spirit Airlines or Southwest through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Travel protections apply
When you pay with points for travel, Chase’s automatic travel protections do apply. So, you can be covered for things like car rentals, trip delays, trip cancellation & interruption, lost luggage, etc. The coverage you receive will be based on which card’s rewards were used to book the trip. For example, if you have both a Chase Sapphire Preferred and a Sapphire Reserve, you would want to move your Ultimate Rewards points from the Preferred to the Reserve and then use the Reserve points to book your trip. You will get both better value (1.5 cents per point) and better travel protections. See: Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance.
The best use of Ultimate Rewards points, in my opinion, is to transfer points to airline and hotel partners in order to book high value awards. Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight or night award before transferring points.
Move points to premium or ultra-premium card first
You cannot transfer points directly from the Chase Ink Business Cash card to airline and hotel partners, but you can move points first to a premium card (Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred) or ultra-premium card (Sapphire Reserve) and then transfer the points to airline or hotel partners. Points can be transferred to the loyalty accounts of the primary cardholder or any authorized user on the account. Points can also be transferred to the loyalty account of a joint business owner, but they do need to be an authorized user on the associated business account.
|Rewards Program||Best Uses|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.|
|Avios||While flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Great value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. Iberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower than when booking through British Airways. Aer Lingus shares the "Avios" currency with British Airways and Iberia. In most cases it is best to move points to one of those programs in order to book awards for less.|
|Hyatt||Use for Hyatt free nights or points + cash nights. Hyatt points are often worth at least 1.7 cents each towards free nights, but they’re sometimes worth far more. One hidden bonus: award nights are not subject to resort fees.|
|JetBlue||JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one or both cards.|
|Marriott Bonvoy||5th Night Free awards|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members) or for Star Alliance awards. Low change fees and no close-in booking fees make this a very good program for booking United Airlines flights.|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||Award flights are fully refundable. Point values vary due to certain taxes not being charged on awards, but tend to average around 1.5 cents per point.|
|United MileagePlus||Even though Singapore Airlines miles have a number of advantages over United miles for booking Star Alliance flights, United has advantages too. For one, it is possible to book most Star Alliance awards online at United.com. Additionally, United awards sometimes cost fewer miles with United than with Singapore (especially premium awards on United’s own flights). And, most importantly, United never charges fuel surcharges for awards. In some cases, United is far cheaper than Singapore Airlines for this reason alone.|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||Virgin Atlantic miles can be usefully thought of as a way to get a discount off Virgin Atlantic flights (high fuel surcharges make the flights far from free), but there are some better uses. Use miles to upgrade paid flights or to fly partner airlines. A fantastic use is to fly ANA in business or first class thanks to Virgin’s generous ANA partner award chart. Or, if you can find saver level Delta awards for nonstop international travel, you can often book through Virgin Atlantic far cheaper than with Delta directly.|
Through the Ultimate Rewards portal you can also redeem points for gift cards or experiences. At most, with this approach you’ll get 1 cent per point value. One exception is that Chase occasionally offers gift cards at a discount so you may be able to get better than 1 cent per point value during a gift card sale.
You can also use points to pay some merchants directly (Amazon.com, for example or via Chase Pay). Don’t do this. These options offer very poor value. Further, they may compromise the security of your account (i.e. if someone hacks into your Amazon account, they might spend your Ultimate Rewards points – causing you a headache in getting your points reinstated).
Chase Ink Business Cash Manage Points
If you are the primary account holder with multiple cards, you can freely combine Ultimate Rewards back and forth between your accounts. Your points can then be redeemed according to the card to which you move them. For example, if you have the Ink Business Cash card and the Sapphire Reserve card, you can earn 5X points per dollar on office supply purchases (or on gift cards purchased at office supply stores) with the Ink Card and then move those points to your Sapphire Reserve account to redeem them for 1.5 cents per point towards travel.
If you intend to cancel a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, you should first combine your points with a card you intend to keep active. Once you cancel, you will forfeit any unused points in that account (See: My 90,000 Ultimate Rewards Points mistake). A product change should not affect your balance, but some people prefer moving points before a product change as well just to be safe.
Chase allows customers to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to any other account in that customer’s name or to one additional household member or joint business owner (for free).
Why this is valuable:
- You earn points with the card offering the best return on purchases and then use points with the card offering the best redemption rate.
- Only one member of your household needs to maintain a premium card for transferring to partners or booking travel (though note that the primary cardholder can only transfer points to partner loyalty programs in the name of the primary cardholder or authorized users).
Transfer difficulties? Create a loop
If you have trouble transferring between accounts, some users have been able to combine points between their own accounts — like from Bob’s Ink Business Cash to Bob’s Sapphire Reserve — via secure message.
However, you may run into an issue if you try to connect more than one of your cards to a single card that belongs to someone else. Chase allows you to combine/transfer to someone else who lives in your household (or a co-owner of your business for business cards), but I’ve had complications with this from time to time.
For example, let’s say that Joe and Suzy live in the same household and are joint owners of a business and have the following accounts:
Joe first combines points from his Freedom Unlimited to Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Later, he logs into his Ink Business Cash account and tries to combine points with Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Joe may run into an error adding Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve card to combine points. This has happened in our household several times. In that case, Joe should log into his Freedom Unlimited account and remove Suzy as a household member (click “remove saved card). About 24 hours later, he should be able to add Suzy to his Ink Business Cash in order to combine his points to her account.
The easy solution I’ve found is to create a loop. In the example scenario they should transfer like this:
Joe’s Freedom Unlimited —> Joe’s Ink Business Cash —> Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve —> Joe’s Freedom Unlimited
Creating a loop chain has solved that problem in my household. As noted, it took 24 hours after removing accounts to re-add them to other cards, so be aware of that limitation.
Thankfully, it is very easy to keep Chase Ultimate Rewards points alive: simply keep the points in an open Ultimate Rewards account and they will not expire. Note that if you close an Ultimate Rewards card, you will lose any points associated with that card. You should first combine points to move points away from the card you intend to close and to another card that will remain open as per the sharing section above before canceling. See: My 90,000 point Ultimate Rewards mistake. See also: A checklist for cancelling credit cards.
Last updated on May 26th, 2019