Consult with Cards: Business owner who has maxed out her 5/24 slots
Editor’s note: Consult with Cards is a weekly series where the TPG cards team helps our readers decide what their next card should be. If you would like to be a part of this series and receive a personalized consultation, email us.
It's always helpful to get advice from the experts, and this week TPG reader Dianna Fletcher wants us to assess her current credit card strategy. As a video production company owner, she travels extensively for work and wants to save up her points for an epic 2022 trip to Europe. Let's take a look.
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Dianna currently resides in Maine, where her company is based. While she mostly travels domestically for work, she used to travel a couple of times per year to Europe before the pandemic hit — so, like many, she's eagerly looking forward to returning overseas.
She's divorced and has two children who are now young adults; she often helps them with booking award travel using her stash of points and miles.
Current credit cards
As an avid reader of TPG, Dianna already carries some crowd-favorite cards in her wallet:
|Card||Welcome offer||Earning rate||Annual fee|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership.||5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel (up to $500,000 on purchases each calendar year) and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel, 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.||$695 (see rates and fees)|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.||5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases and 1x on other purchases.||$95|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card||Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening.||6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on gas stations, grocery stores and dining 2 points per dollar on other eligible purchases.||$95|
|United Explorer Card||Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.||2 points per dollar on eligible United purchases, dining and hotels, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.||$95, waived the first year|
|United Quest Card||Earn 70,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.||3 points per dollar on eligible United purchases, 2 points per dollar on travel, dining and select streaming purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.||$250|
She also has two Capital One credit cards that she doesn't use but keeps around for the sake of preserving her credit history.
Dianna is likely locked out of Chase cards for a while since she has opened five cards in the last 24 months. Fortunately, four out of the five cards in her wallet are Chase cards anyway. We advise most people that you should open the Chase credit cards that you want first, before cards from other issuers, because of this stringent rule.
Card recommendations for Dianna
Dianna expressed to me that she exclusively uses her Amex Platinum to pay for work expenses. This isn't the best strategy, as the Amex Platinum's earning rates are geared toward travel and it doesn't offer bonus points for any other purchases.
American Express has a once-per-lifetime rule, meaning that most applicants can only earn a welcome offer on a card once. Although she currently has the consumer Amex Platinum, we advise Dianna to apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express instead.
While it may seem similar to the consumer version, the Amex Business Platinum is much better geared toward — you guessed it — business owners. The card recently underwent a refresh and now has improved business-focused benefits that make the Amex Business Platinum an even more compelling option for Dianna.
The card currently comes with a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). But here's a preview of all of the generous perks on the card (some of which overlap with the consumer Amex Platinum):
- Up to $400 annual Dell technologies statement credit — broken down to $200 semi-annually (for U.S. purchases).*
- Up to $360 annual Indeed statement credit – broken down to up to $90 per quarter.*
- Up to $200 annual airline incidental fees statement credit.*
- Up to $189 annual Clear Plus membership statement credit.*
- Up to $150 annual Adobe statement credit on annual prepaid plans for eligible Creative Cloud for teams and Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign for teams.*
- Up to $120 annual U.S. wireless telephone services statement credit — broken down to $10 back per month.*
- Get 35% of your Membership Rewards points back when redeeming for a first- or business-class flight on any airline or any class on your selected airline, up to 1 million points back per calendar year.
- Access to the Global Lounge Collection for Amex Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying same-day Delta) and more.*
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
Applying for this card also gives a chance for Dianna to earn another massive haul of Membership Rewards points through the welcome offer: 120,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership.
The earning rate is slightly different, with 5x on flights and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel, 1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more and on eligible purchases in select business categories (on up to $2 million in purchases per calendar year; then 1x), and 1x on other eligible purchases. The opportunity to earn 1.5x on expensive purchases will add up significantly for Dianna and her business.
Since this is a much better option for Dianna's business expenses, we recommend she apply for the Amex Business Platinum and eventually close her Amex Platinum. There's no reason why she should be using the personal Amex Platinum to pay for her business expenses when the Amex Business Platinum provides her with much more long-term value.
Related: 7 reasons you might want the Amex Business Platinum instead of the Amex Platinum
Once Dianna applies for the Amex Business Platinum, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is an excellent card to pair with it, since it offers 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases spent per calendar year (then 1x). For non-bonus purchases, this 2x multiplier is huge, with the potential of earning 100,000 Membership Rewards points if you maximize the spend threshold.
Best of all, the Blue Business Plus doesn't have an annual fee (see rates and fees), making it a no-brainer to have if you're trying to build up your Membership Rewards balance.
Finally, though Dianna has been locked out of Chase cards for some time, she should also think about building a strategy around her Chase Sapphire Preferred. Just as we recommend pairing the Amex Business Platinum with the Blue Business Plus, we likewise recommend that you pair the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The Freedom Unlimited offers the following earning rate:
- 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 4.5% on dining at restaurants and drugstore purchases.
- 3% on all other purchases(on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)
- 1.5% on all other eligible purchases.
The real value of this card stems from its 1.5% earning rate on all other purchases, which is necessary since Dianna doesn't have a fixed-rate earning card in her wallet. She can then transfer all the Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Freedom Unlimited to her Sapphire Preferred to access Chase's 11 airline and three transfer partners.
The Blue Business Plus can be her go-to card for maximizing business purchases that don't fit into the Amex Business Platinum's 5x bonus categories. At the same time, the Freedom Unlimited can help her maximize her non-bonus expenses, whether it's online shopping or home improvement purchases.
As a business owner, Dianna has access to a library of business credit card options to help her double down on her earning opportunities. Best of all, most business credit cards won't contribute to your 5/24 count — which will help Dianna qualify for other Chase credit cards in the future. She should continue to focus on earning transferable points through the Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards programs to maximize her opportunities to score business- or first-class flights to Europe in 2022.
Official application link: Amex Business Platinum.
Official application link: Amex Blue Business Plus.
Official application link: Chase Freedom Unlimited.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus, click here.