When Amy Fohr, founder of Sweater Hound, wanted a business credit card that came with a large welcome bonus and flexible rewards, she chose the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. She already trusted Chase and knew she could use the card to keep her travel expenses down.
As columnist for the Small Business Credit Profile series, I interview the most fascinating entrepreneurs in the United States. I cover the origins of their business and how they use credit cards for everything from launch to operations and emergencies.
In February 2020, I met with Amy Fohr, founder of Sweater Hound, a company that creates customized clothes and accessories emblazoned with cool images of pet owners’ dogs. While some business owners have multiple cards, Fohr has one: the Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. Here’s why she’s still loyal to it and her reasons for recommending this account to other business owners.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: At a glance
Designed with the small business owner who values cash back rewards in mind, the Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card makes racking up rewards easy.
It offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every business purchase made with the card. You can also redeem your cash rewards for travel, gift cards and products and services through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the card issuer’s shopping portal.
New card owners are eligible for a $750 sign-up bonus after spending $7,500 on qualified purchases in the first three months of account opening. The Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card also comes with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases you make in the first 12 months of account activation and a regular variable APR of 17.99 percent to 23.99 percent on rolled-over balances thereafter. There’s also no annual fee.
Business perks that attracted Fohr
I asked Fohr why, out of all the business credit cards on the market, she gravitated toward the Ink Business Unlimited. Brand familiarity and a high level of trust with the company was the driving factor. Fohr has a long history with other Chase credit cards, which she uses for her personal household expenses.
“Getting a business credit card was the first thing I did when I opened Sweater Hound,” said Fohr in a previous interview. “Ink Business Unlimited was the best business credit card for me at the time and still is. I only needed one card and I use it for all of my expenses, from paying suppliers to handling my advertising costs.”
Here are some of the standout perks she she considered when she made her choice:
The ability to trade in earned cash for business travel
While the Ink Business Unlimited credit card is equipped with a variety of perks, the feature Fohr likes best is the ability to accumulate and trade in the earned cash for business travel — especially for flights on United Airlines.
“Now that we’re getting back into travel, I’ll be using this benefit a lot again,” said Fohr. “Chase has the best point to ratio, 1:1, with United Airlines points. I travel to New York and Los Angeles to meet with my manufacturers a lot and using the rewards for the flights saves me money. So, besides the fact that I like Chase as a company, I knew I could do this with the rewards which is another reason I chose the card.”
To score the high net point ratio, Ink Business Unlimited cardholders will need to transfer the card’s rewards to Chase’s travel partners (including United Airlines), thus converting them into airline miles and hotel points.
The intro purchase offer
Not every perk embedded on each credit card will be used, and for Fohr, it was the zero-interest offer on purchases that comes with the Ink Business Unlimited credit card.
“Honestly, I don’t think I even knew about it when I got the card! I just wanted to make the purchases and then pay the bill in full every month,” she said. “I would say it’s a good thing to have, but I didn’t need it at the time.”
The sign-up bonus
What Fohr did have her eye on was the generous welcome bonus of $750. It was one of the main reasons she applied for the Ink Business Unlimited credit card several years ago.
When she was approved, she made sure to charge enough in three months to earn it. However, with a $7,500 minimum spend, hitting that base while only buying what was in her precisely constructed spending plan wasn’t easy. She did it, though, because there was no way she was going to forfeit all that free cash.
“Every dollar counts when you’re a small company,” said Fohr. “I’m very careful with the way I spend money, so charging that much was a challenge. I didn’t have any employees, so it was just me using the card. I had to think about what I really needed, like buying samples and paying for the photography.”
So, what did she do with the cash after earning the big bonus? Back into the business it went. “I can’t remember exactly, but I probably paid marketing expenses with it because my company was so young at the time,” said Fohr.
The card’s ongoing potential
Since opening the Ink Business Unlimited, Fohr has been maximizing the cash back rewards. She approaches the process organically, knowing that with every business charge she makes, she’ll earn 1.5 percent back. As usual, she’s building her rewards up for future business travel.
The steadily increasing credit line
Another aspect of the Ink Business Unlimited card that Fohr appreciates is the steadily increasing credit line. When she first got the card, her credit limit was low, but it has risen with her consistent and responsible use.
“Over time, Chase has offered me larger lines based on my credit history,” said Fohr. “That’s the way you have to operate in life and business. Purposeful. I make sure what I spend is within my budget. Every so often they send me a message that they’ve extended my credit. It must be because I charge a lot and I pay it all off every month.”
Today, her credit limit is substantial enough to handle anything her business requires and then some, all with one account.
“I feel very blessed that my business grew quite a bit at the end of last year,” she said. “When others were struggling, mine expanded. I’ve been putting all my expenses on the card, and not just products, but things like Facebook ads. The frequency of my card use has gone up because of it, which is great. This card has helped me make sure my customers have a wonderful experience.”
She’s excited about getting ready for a busy Christmas season and will be using her Ink Business Unlimited card to pay for the subsidiary’s extra costs.
As the years go by, Fohr is also grateful for the card not having an annual fee. “Every little bit adds up,” she said. “I don’t have a large budget, so not being charged an annual fee helps keep my costs low.”
Chase customer service
The final benefit Fohr wanted to stress was the customer service that drove her to the card in the first place. “I’ve always had really good experiences with Chase,” she said.
“For example, just recently, I had problems with a couple of business apps I had signed up for but then canceled. For months, they were still billing me and weren’t working with me when I told them to stop. I contacted Chase and they canceled the charges right away. It wasn’t a large amount, but I pay attention to these things. As a small-business owner, you have to. I was glad the charges were on my Ink Business Unlimited card because Chase made it so easy to fix.”
Is the Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card worth it?
“I am very happy that I signed up with the Chase Ink Business Unlimited card. It’s been super helpful with regards to running my business,” said Fohr.
“The rewards provide value, especially when I’m traveling, and the price of the ticket is covered. Anytime you have something that gives you ultimate flexibility, which this card does, it’s what you should move forward with. There’s no limit to the rewards you can get and they don’t expire.”
Fohr recommends being mindful about money and credit management, and to use the correct available tools. “For example, having a year to use the card with no interest added with this card? That’s a wonderful tool! As a small-business owner, you should use everything at your disposal. Just because I didn’t need the zero percent at the time, others might.”
With so many business credit products available, choosing can be challenging. Read our Chase Ink Business Unlimited review to see if it’s a match for you.
The intro APR offer will appeal if you want the opportunity to maintain a balance in the first year without added interest. And if you want cash back rewards, plus the option to convert them into travel points and buy things from the company’s shopping portal, this annual fee-free card may be your best bet.