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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN
While the launch of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card got most of the media attention last year, Chase also launched the Ink Business Preferred, which in the business card world is an incredibly compelling product. At the same time, American Express juiced up the Business Platinum Card with new perks and redemption options that make it as appealing as ever.
So how do these cards stack up against each other? I personally use both of these cards a ton — they’re two of the top business credit cards — and today I’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each head to head so you can decide which one is best for your business.
The number of points is important when it comes to sign-up bonuses, but so is the size of the minimum spend and the value you can get for those points. So let’s take a look at all of it:
|Chase Ink Business Preferred||Business Platinum from American Express OPEN
|Sign-Up Bonus Points||80,000||75,000|
|Spend Requirement||$5,000 in the first three months||
$10,000 in the first three months for 50,000 points
Another $10,000 for an extra 25,000 points, also in the first three months
|Number of Transfer Partners||11||21|
|Bonus Value (based on TPG Valuations)||$1,760||$1,500|
Even though Chase Ultimate Rewards only has 11 travel partners compared to the 20 travel partners you can transfer to with American Express Membership Rewards, in my most recent monthly point valuations Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece while Ultimate Rewards points come in slightly higher at 2.2 cents each. That means the Ink’s 80,000 bonus points are better than the Business Platinum’s 75,000 bonus points not just in the number of points, but also in overall value.
The category bonuses on these two cards couldn’t be more different. The Ink Business Preferred offers 3x bonus points on up to $150,000 in combined spending each year for purchases made on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. That’s a pretty broad range of business categories, similar (though not identical) to the bonus structure of the mid-tier Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, which I use regularly for my own business expenses.
But American Express has gone a different route with its higher-end Business Platinum, forgoing more categories in favor of a higher bonus multiplier. The card now earns 5 points per dollar on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. That’s 67% higher than the Ink’s travel category, but you have to book entirely at Amex Travel to get the bonus multiplier and only prepaid reservations count when it comes to hotel bookings. You also earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, increasing your return on large expenses to 3% based on my valuations.
If you pay for a great deal of business travel as I do and don’t mind using Amex Travel as your online travel agency, then the Business Platinum may come out the winner for you here. But the Ink card might be better for businesses with more non-travel expenses.
These business cards come with some of the most valuable point currencies around. The various redemption values break down like this:
|Chase Ink Business Preferred||Business Platinum from American Express|
|Direct Redemptions for Airline Tickets||1.25||2.0|
|Direct Redemptions for Hotel Rooms||1.25||0.7|
|Transfer Points to Partners (TPG Valuations)||2.2||2.0|
With the Business Platinum card, Membership Rewards are worth a minimum of 2 cents per point when you use the 50% Pay With Points rebate to book premium cabin airfares like JetBlue Mint or for tickets in any cabin on the airline of your choice at Amex Travel. That’s a feature available exclusively on the Business Platinum card — even the personal Platinum Card from American Express doesn’t have this perk.
But it’s possible to do even better with all the different Membership Rewards travel partners. Transfer points to ANA and get access to business-class awards to Japan in lie-flat seats for just 85,000 miles round-trip. Or send the points to Aeroplan and use them for a trip to Western Europe in business for just 90,000 miles, or even a trip around the world.
Direct airfare and hotel redemptions with the Ink Business Preferred at the Ultimate Rewards travel portal only garner a value of 1.25 cents per point (or 1.5 cents per point if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve), but Chase has some terrific transfer partners on its roster. As a member of the Star Alliance, United offers the ability to redeem for excellent premium cabins like Lufthansa first class. Or transfer the points to Singapore KrisFlyer and book Singapore Suites on the airline’s A380. You can even use your Ultimate Rewards points for nights at fantastic Hyatt properties like the Park Hyatt Maldives.
Both of these business cards also come with some terrific perks. For the Ink Business Preferred, one of the most interesting has to be its cell phone protection benefit — by paying your cell phone bill with this card, you’ll get up to $600 in protection against any covered damage or theft, up to three claims per year and subject to a $100 deductible per incident. And if you also pay the fees for any employee lines listed on your cell phone bill, their phones will be covered as well.
The Ink card has travel benefits too — along with trip delay and cancellation coverage, the card provides valuable primary auto rental insurance, which means if you use the card to pay for a rental car and end up involved in an accident, you won’t have to involve your personal auto insurance company and be potentially subject to higher premiums in the future.
But when it comes to travel perks, there are very few cards that beat Amex’s Business Platinum. Consider everything you get with just this one business card:
That’s enormous value purely from travel benefits alone, which is why if you’re a regular traveler, the Business Platinum card is one you’ll almost certainly want to have.
Annual Fees and Lounge Benefits
The big question is how much do these cards cost? The Ink Business Preferred charges a $95 annual fee, while the Amex Business Platinum comes with a significantly higher $450 annual fee. That sounds like a pretty major difference, except the Business Platinum also features a $200 annual airline fee credit, which, while not as flexible as some other credit card travel credits, is fairly easy to maximize in a 12-month period.
The Platinum card also offers a $100 or $85 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee waiver which is available every four years. So as a new cardholder, you’re looking at that rebate plus the $200 airline fee credit and a variety of lounge access options. Cardholders get access to the Delta Sky Club when flying Delta (a one-year membership starts at $495), access to Centurion Lounges with two guests (other Amex cardholders pay $50 a pop to get in, and assuming four visits per year you’d be spending a total of $200), and a Priority Pass membership (a comparable paid option runs $249 per year) — so adding all those up you’re looking at well over $1,100 in value, or more than double the card’s annual fee.
Which One Should You Choose?
In the end, the business card that’s best for you comes down to your priorities. If you place more importance on the higher sign-up bonus and the broader range of category bonuses, then the Ink Business Preferred is the way to go. But if you’re more interested in excellent airfare redemption values and ultra-premium travel perks, your choice should be the Business Platinum from American Express.
But a third option is to carry both of these cards and get the best of both worlds, especially if you have a lot of business expenses and because it’s important to diversify your points portfolio. Yes, you’ll be paying two annual fees and it’s important to consider whether you’re going to be able to truly maximize both cards to justify those expenses. But it could make sense if you value being able to earn lots of bonus points on the Ink card from business expenses like advertising while using the Business Platinum to get 2 cents per point on airfare redemptions. So if you think your business can take advantage of each of these great cards, don’t hesitate to grab them both.
This card earns a respectable 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. That’s a potentially huge earner for small-business owners, making this card a nice option if you're looking for a business credit card.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee