With the recent launch of the Chase Ink Preferred credit card, those of you looking for a business credit card just got a great new option to consider. Here, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of the Ink Preferred and the American Express Business Gold Rewards card and help you decide which one is best for you.
If you need to pick just one, the short answer as to which card is better is:
- Get the Chase Ink Business Preferred if you want an easy card to use that is going to reward you with 3x points on purchases in several business spending categories for a low annual fee, and you value Chase transfer partners like United MileagePlus or Southwest Rapid Rewards.
- Get the American Express Business Gold Rewards if you spend a lot of money on gas and want to earn 3x points, or you really value Delta Skymiles or other Amex point transfer partners. You could get it in addition to the Ink Preferred or instead of if this is the case. If it is in addition, you would need to spend over $4,000 in gas a year for it to be worth justifying the additional annual fee.
Here’s a rundown of the main features of each card:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: Earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, advertising purchases made with search engines and social media sites, and internet/cable/phone services, earn 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Utilize Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 transfer rate, no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad, access all of Chase’s travel and purchase protections, $95 annual that is waived the first year.
- American Express Business Rewards Gold Card: Earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in one of the following categories: airfare purchased directly from the airline, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers, earn 2 Membership Rewards points in the rest of the four remaining categories that you don’t chose for 3X, earn 1 Membership Reward point on all other purchases. Membership Rewards transfer to many partners at a 1:1 transfer rate, there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad, and a $175 annual fee that is waived the first year of card membership.
Now we will take a look at the pros and cons of each card.
Chase Ink Preferred
- Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio means that your points have flexibility and great value potential
- More 3x earning categories at once. The card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 per cardmember year spent on travel, shipping, advertising purchases made with search engines and social media sites, and internet/cable/phone services. You earn the 3x across all the categories, so you don’t have to pick just one.
- Ability to book through Chase’s travel portal to use your miles more flexibly (but generally for lower value). Each point is worth one cent each and you receive a 25% bonus. When booking through the travel portal you don’t need to worry about finding availability with the airline. Tickets that are available for purchase can generally be booked through Chase’s travel portal, and as a bonus you’ll even earn miles when you fly that ticket!
- Primary Car Rental Insurance Coverage means that you do not need to go through your personal insurance first if something happens to your rental car and you can skip paying extra for insurance from the rental company too. Just beware this only applies to business rentals – personal rentals don’t have the coverage.
- The Chase Ink Preferred has great travel insurance benefits – you’re covered up to 10,000 for trip cancellation or interruption, up to $500 for trip delays of 12 hours or more, up to $3,000 for lost luggage, and up to $500,000 for travel accidents.
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad. This is a pretty standard benefit on cards that charge an annual fee, but nonetheless a necessity for international travel.
- Making good redemptions with your Ultimate Rewards points can be complicated. You need to be familiar with the different programs you can transfer your points to and how to use the miles within those programs to to make sure you are getting the best (or even a good) redemption.
- As a general rule, in order to make some of the ‘best’ redemptions, you need flexibility. That might mean leaving a few days early or late, taking an extra connection, and/or flying into or out of a less convenient airport. If you are inflexible with your travel, you can still redeem your points through the Chase’s Travel Portal, but you’ll be getting a fixed 1.25 cents per point of value from your Ultimate Rewards.
- Transfer partners like United aren’t the cheapest for international First / Business Class awards, but are still a decent value.
- You’re capped at $150,000 in spending that earns 3x points across all the categories.
- The $95 annual fee isn’t waived the first year.
American Express Business Rewards Gold
- Access to American Express’ travel partners mostly at a 1:1 transfer ratio. A few partners (like British Airways) have a less favorable transfer ratio when transferring points.
- American Express occasionally offers transfer bonuses to some partners. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are two of Amex’s transfer partners that have recently seen bonuses.
- Earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in one of the following categories each year: airfare purchased directly from the airline, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers.
- No cap on the 3x earning each year.
- More variety after the 3x. You earn 2 Membership Rewards points in the rest of the four remaining categories that you don’t chose for 3X.
- You won’t be charged foreign transaction fees with this card either. Again, a standard offering on cards that charge an annual fee.
- Transfer partners are particularly useful for advanced, exotic international Business or First Class awards, like those using ANA miles or Singapore Airlines miles.
- The $175 annual fee is waived for the first year.
- American Express is more restrictive of what counts to earn bonus points than Chase is. For example, the Ink Preferred will earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all travel purchases while the Business Rewards Gold card will only earn 3 Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly with the airline – assuming that is what you chose as your 3X category – otherwise it will earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar.
- American Express makes you choose a category to earn 3X, while Chase gives you all of those categories as 3X except for gasoline purchases.
- There’s a $100,000 limit on earning 3x or 2x points for each category, but unlike Chase the $100,000 cap is for each category, so you can earn 2x points on hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of spending.
- Amex has much less comprehensive travel insurance when compared with the Chase Ink Preferred. You will only have coverage for your bags and car rental coverage is secondary, meaning that you will first need to use your personal car insurance if there is damage to your rental car and American Express will only cover what your car insurance doesn’t.
- The $175 annual fee is higher than the Chase Ink Preferred.
- Not all point to mile transfers are at a 1:1 transfer ratio. And Delta is the only major U.S. airline with a 1:1 transfer ratio with Amex.
- When you transfer to U.S. based programs, you pay a small fee to be able to transfer your points.
- Making good redemptions is complicated. You need to be familiar with the different programs you can transfer your points and how to use the miles within those programs to to make sure you are getting the best, or even a good, redemption. Since most transfer partners are international, sometimes the programs are more difficult to understand.
- As a general rule, in order to make some of the ‘best’ redemptions, you need flexibility. That might mean leaving a few days early or late, taking an extra connection, and/or flying into or out of a less convenient airport.
Does having both make sense?
It could make sense to have both of these credit cards.
First off, by having both cards you open yourself to a much larger range of transfer partners.
There are only a few overlapping partners between Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards, but these also give you an ability to pool your points if you are saving up for a big trip.
Both cards will give you a very slight ability to increase the number of points you earn. This would only make sense if you spend a lot of money specifically at gas stations.
Since many of the 3X categories you need to choose from on the Business Rewards Gold Card are included automatically as 3X on the Ink Preferred, it makes sense to choose gas purchases as 3X since that is not overlapping.
The other four categories all become 2X – but that’s okay since you’re already able to earn 3X from the Ink Preferred. If you spend money on gas, you are now earning 2 points per dollar more that you would be earning with the Ink Preferred alone. You would need to spend at least $4,375 a year to break even on the annual fee on gas purchases alone assuming you value your Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.
Which card is right for you?
For many business owners, the Ink Preferred is going to be a better option. The annual fee is lower, the bonus spending categories are better, travel insurance is better, and purchase protections are better.
The one exception is if you spend a lot of money at gas stations and don’t do much spending in the other categories. If this is the case you might have more ability to earn points from the Business Rewards Gold card. Keep in mind, though, the annual fee is higher for the Business Rewards Gold and the travel protections aren’t anywhere near as good.
If you spend a lot of money at gas stations in addition to the other categories, it might make sense to have both of the cards.
If you tend to fly Delta a lot, or really value the Membership Rewards transfer partners, then the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card is probably your best option.
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Miles dont expireas long as card is open
50,000 bonus points
$0 introductory annual fee, then $95