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- Both the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the American Express® Business Gold Card are top cards that can benefit any business requiring significant travel with strong welcome bonuses, high rewards potential and no foreign transaction fees.
- A low annual fee and generous welcome offer makes the Ink Business Preferred a decent choice for businesses that spend on such expenses as travel, shipping, internet and advertising with social media and search engines.
- Yet there's a reason the American Express Business Gold is among the best for small businesses. Its welcome bonus is similar to that of the Ink Business Preferred card, and it offers more generous rewards that include 4X points on your top two spending categories each billing cycle, 2X points on travel booked through a portal and 1X on everything else. Just be sure to factor in the steep annual fee.
Business owners need as many tools at their disposal as possible, and the right business credit card could be one of them, whether to help with cash flow, purchase inventory or cover travel expenses. Choosing the right credit card for your business is no different than choosing one for your personal finances: The right card comes down to which one works the best for your organization with rewards rates, redemption options or the cost of an annual fee.
We cover these exact parameters — and more — for business owners who are considering the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card by Chase or the American Express® Business Gold Card. As it turns out, any business owner who engages in a significant amount of travel could benefit from either of these cards. But the annual fee, welcome bonus or rewards rate may be enough to make one a clear winner for your business.
|Cards||Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||American Express Business Gold Card|
|Welcome bonus||100,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership|
|Annual fee||$95||$295 ($375 if application is received on or after 2/1/24)|
Ink Business Preferred vs. Amex Business Gold highlights
If your business needs a credit card for travel expenses, then both cards reward you with a robust earning structure for travel-related purchases and higher redemption values when using rewards for travel.
Welcome bonus comparison
Both cards include impressive welcome offers. The Ink Business Preferred, however, earns you 100,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is worth $1,000 in cash back or $1,250 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards (thanks to the 25 percent bonus on travel redemptions offered by the card). Further, your points can be worth up to $2,000 in Chase transfer partner travel, according to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuation.
Amex Business Gold rewards cardholders, on the other hand, can earn a welcome bonus of 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. According to our points valuations guide, where we estimate Amex points to be worth 2.0 cents each.
Rewards rate winner: Amex Business Gold
The Amex Business Gold edges out the Ink Business Preferred for those businesses where spending falls under two of six categories, including directly purchased airfare; select U.S. advertising purchases; U.S. gas stations; U.S. restaurants; U.S. shipping costs; and U.S. computer software, hardware and cloud solutions directly purchased from eligible providers. American Express determines the two categories in which you spend the most in each billing cycle and rewards you with 4X points (on up to $150,000 in yearly spending, then 1X points). Note, you’ll also earn 2X points on travel booked through American Express travel and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
The rewards rate for the Ink Business Preferred is worth noting too, since cardholders earn 3X points on travel and select business categories on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1X points. Qualifying business expenses include shipping, internet, select advertising partners and cable and phone services. All other purchases also earn 1X points.
Annual Fee winner: Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred is the clear winner for the annual fee category. Its $95 annual fee is significantly less than the $295 annual fee ($375 if application is received on or after 2/1/24) of the Amex Business Gold.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, which makes both ideal for business owners or employees who travel internationally.
Which card earns the most?
Ink Business Preferred vs. Amex Business Gold spending example
To start, say you earn the Ink Business Preferred’s 100,000-point welcome offer by spending $8,000 on business travel in three months. This card’s points are worth 2.0 cents each when you redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, making the bonus alone worth $1,250. The card also earns 3X points on travel, so you’d earn another 24,000 points via spending on your way to the bonus. That gives you a total of 124,000 points, worth $1,550.50 in Ultimate Rewards travel.
If you found a high-value transfer partner, you could squeeze even more value out of these points. Bankrate estimates Ink Business Preferred card points are worth around 2 cents each on average when transferred to a top Chase travel partner, so 124,000 points could be worth around $2,480 in travel. Note that the Ink Business Preferred will cost you $95 for an annual fee.
Using the same example with the Amex Business Gold, say you earn the 70,000-point welcome offer by spending $10,000 on business travel purchases in three months. Amex points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem for flights through the American Express travel portal, giving this bonus a baseline value of $700. Thanks to the card’s 4X category, you would also earn 40,000 points on that spending, giving you a total of 110,000 points worth $1,100 when you book flights through Amex Travel.
Like Chase, Amex offers a number of high-value transfer partners that could boost the redemption value of your points. Bankrate estimates Amex points are worth around 2 cents each on average when you transfer points to a top travel partner, so 110,000 points could be worth around $2,200 in travel. Note, of course, you will pay a $295 annual fee ($375 if application is received on or after 2/1/24).
Why should you get the Ink Business Preferred?
There are numerous reasons a business owner should consider the Ink Business Preferred. The low annual fee and generous welcome offer are enough to grab anyone’s attention, but the 1:1 point transfer option for the Chase Ultimate Rewards program means greater savings and redemption rewards.
If you have multiple employees, you may appreciate the additional employee credit cards at no extra cost, and each card can have its own spending limit. The card offers travel and insurance perks too, including trip cancellation insurance, an auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection.
The redemption options are where the Ink Business Preferred shines. Booking travel through the Chase Ultimate rewards program earns you 25 percent more in value and may increase even more by transferring to a Chase transfer partner. You can also redeem for a statement credit or direct deposit cash back, a gift card from more than 150 select merchants or by shopping with Shop Through Chase. You can even redeem through Amazon and PayPal as a checkout option.
Recommended credit score
A good or excellent credit score rating, ranging from 670 to 850, is needed to apply for the Ink Business Preferred.
Why should you get the Amex Business Gold?
The Amex Business Gold may be worth it thanks to its hotel perks, travel insurance and purchase protections, including a $150 complimentary night or property credit with The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel.
Membership Rewards points can be directly redeemed from the American Express travel portal, which is also where you can get the highest redemption value for your points. Redeem your points for flights, hotels, travel services and more or transfer to a partner airline or hotel. For a reduction in point value, you have the option to purchase gift cards, select a statement credit, use at merchant checkouts or book rental cards through Amex Travel.
Recommended credit score
Similar to the Ink Business Preferred, to apply for the Amex Business Gold, it’s recommended you have a good or excellent credit score of 670 to 850.
The bottom line
Before you apply for either the Ink Business Preferred or Amex Business Gold, be sure to evaluate your highest spending categories. These two top small business cards offer plentiful rewards, but either best benefits businesses that spend substantial amounts on travel and business purchases each month.