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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.
These exact parameters were explored — 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||Amex Business Gold|
|Welcome bonus||100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening||70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership|
|Rewards rate||3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year (then 1X points); 1X points on all other purchases||4X points on up to $150,000 per year in two select categories your business spends the most in each billing cycle; 2X points on rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com|
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 winner: Ink Business Preferred
Both cards include impressive welcome offers. The Ink Business Preferred, however, earns you 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is worth about $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 — which is worth $875 toward flights booked through the American Express travel portal’s Pay with Points option (or potentially up to $1,400 in American Express transfer partner travel).
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 airfare, advertising, gas stations, restaurants, shipping and computer services. American Express selects the two categories where 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 rental cars booked through American Express travel.
The rewards rate for the Ink Business Preferred is worth noting too, since cardholders earn 3X points on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year — on qualifying purchases for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and select advertising purchases, then 1X points. All other purchases will also earn 1X points.
Annual Fee winner: Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred is the clear winner for the annual fee category. Not only is the $95 annual fee significantly less than the $295 annual fee of the Amex Business Gold, but there is no additional cost for employee cards. The Amex Business Gold charges a $50 annual fee for the first employee card you add, though you won’t be charged for up to an additional 99 cards.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, which makes both ideal for business owners or employees who are traveling outside the country.
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 $15,000 on business travel in three months — worth $1,250 in travel alone. Since the card’s main categories include travel, you would then earn 45,000 points on that spending, as well, for a total of 145,000 points. That’s worth up to $1,812.50 toward Ultimate Rewards travel (or up to $2,900 in transfer partner travel). Note, the Ink Business Preferred would cost you $95 for an annual fee but includes employee cards at no additional cost.
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 — worth $700 in flights booked through the American Express travel portal. Thanks to the card’s 4X category, you would earn 40,000 points on that spending too, for a total of 110,000 points. Those points are worth $1,375 when you book flights through Amex Travel or even up to $2,200 toward Amex transfer partner travel. Note, of course, you will pay a $295 annual fee.
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 over 150 select merchants or by shopping via 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/property credit with The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel.
Membership points can be directly redeemed from the American Express travel portal, which is also where the highest redemption value occurs. You can redeem 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.
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 cards offer plentiful rewards, but either of these top business cards would be more beneficial to the businesses who spend substantial amounts on travel and business purchases each month.