Practicality or luxury: Chase Ink Preferred vs. Amex Business Platinum
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Though the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express are both TPG favorites for small businesses, they are two very different cards. For all intents and purposes, the Amex Business Platinum is more of a membership card for business travelers who can take advantage of its perks and benefits. The Ink Business Preferred, on the other hand, is geared toward those looking to maximize earning on a wider range of business expenses.
While there is certainly value in considering adding both to your wallet if you can endure the annual fees and use each card effectively, you should prioritize applying for the one that is better suited for your specific spending habits and preferences.
Let’s take a look at the details and benefits of each to see which you should add to your wallet.
Sign-up bonus/Welcome offer
|Chase Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Platinum|
|Sign-up bonus/Welcome offer||100,000 Ultimate Rewards points||TPG exclusive offer: 125,000 Membership Rewards points|
|Spend requirement||$15,000 on eligible purchases the first three months of account opening||
$15,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership.
|Bonus value (based on TPG’s valuations)||$2,000||$2,500|
Both rewards currencies are worth 2 cents each according to TPG valuations and currently have the same spend requirement ($15,000 in the first three months). While both offers are outstanding, the Amex Business Platinum’s is worth $500 more.
Winner: The Amex Business Platinum comes out on top with its lucrative bonus, worth up to $2,500.
|Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Platinum|
|Rewards structure||Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on:
Earn 1x Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
|Earning cap||Earn bonus rewards on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year; 1x on all other purchases||No cap on 5x bonus, but can only earn up to 1 million points with 1.5x bonus category annually|
While the Amex Business Platinum has a higher multiplier, the Ink Business Preferred has a much more attractive rewards structure for business expenses. Amex Platinum only earns 5x on travel booked through Amex, so it’s not the card to use for the vast majority of your spending. In contrast, the Ink Business Preferred offers a slightly lower 3x on a wider range of categories — including travel. Plus, Chase defines travel broadly, including direct purchases with airlines and hotels, trips booked through the Ultimate Rewards program, ride-hailing services and more.
My only real complaint with the Ink Business Preferred‘s rewards structure is that it caps out at $150,000 in spend each year. It’s not the only card with a spending cap on rewards (it’s actually pretty common for small business cards), but it does limit the earning potential for large-budget businesses. If you spend more than $12,500 a month across all four categories, you’ll end up capping out your bonus at 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points each year. While $150,000 a year may seem like a high cap, keep in mind that online advertising is a bonus category. If your company uses paid search or advertises on Facebook or Instagram, it’s very feasible that you would be able to hit $150,000 in bonus category spend a year.
While the Amex categories are very limited, if you’re spending $90,000 or more on hotels and airfare each year (or $7,500 a month) for your business, you’ll end up out-earning the Ink Business Preferred‘s bonus category potential.
Winner: For the vast majority of business owners, the Ink Business Preferred offers a better rewards structure for expenses.
|Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Platinum|
|Redemptions through rewards portal||1.25 cents||Up to 1.5 cents (when you redeem for first class or business flights with any airline or economy with your selected airline)|
|TPG Value of Points||2 cents||2 cents|
|Number of transfer partners||13||21|
Both of these cards are part of valuable rewards programs that offer a lot of redemption flexibility. Both offer an incentive for booking award travel through their portals and both have a solid list of transfer partners. However, I would say that you can get more value out of the Amex Membership Rewards program because of two primary features: a superior transfer partner program and a Pay with Points rebate.
Chase and Amex each have a solid list of transfer partners that include both airlines and hotels, but Amex soars above with 21 partners to choose from, including Delta, Emirates, Hilton and Marriott. Amex also frequently runs transfer bonus promotions. Chase, in comparison, has only 13 transfer partners and seldom offers transfer bonuses. Of course, if Chase offers certain partners that are more attractive to you personally — say you are a loyal United flyer rather than a Delta fan — that may be a reason to put Chase’s program over Amex. However, objectively speaking, Amex has a more beneficial program for most users.
Another reason I rank Amex’s Membership Rewards program above Chase when looking at these two cards specifically is because of the Amex Business Platinum Pay with Points rebate. When you redeem Membership Rewards points for travel through American Express Travel Pay with Points, you’ll get a 35% rebate on first- and business-class flights on any airline and economy-class flights on your selected airline (up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year). This means points are worth around 1.54 cents when you book award flights through amextravel.com. You can also get more value out of these points if you are strategic in your transfer partner redemptions, but 1.54 cents is a great value for portal redemptions. In contrast, Ink Business Preferred points are only worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Even if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are only worth 1.5 cents through the Chase portal.
If you hold the Amex Business Platinum, you’re getting better value on redemptions almost every time.
Winner: The Amex Business Platinum can’t be beaten with its transfer partner program and Pay with Points rebate.
|Ink Business Preferred||Amex Business Platinum|
|Purchase and travel protections||
|Foreign transaction fees||None||None (see rates & fees)|
|Annual fee||$95||$595 (see rates & fees)|
Both the personal and business versions of the Amex Platinum have arguably the best perks of any travel card on the market. Between access to thousands of lounges all over the world, elite status with two top hotel brands and business tools to help you manage your business expenses come tax season, the Amex Business Platinum is an excellent value-add to any business traveler’s wallet.
One thing that the Ink Business Preferred offers is primary rental car insurance coverage. Meanwhile, the Amex Business Platinum only offers secondary coverage. This means you have to file a claim with your primary insurance provider before Amex covers any other costs. While this perk isn’t necessary if you rarely drive rental cars, domestic business travelers who rent frequently should consider choosing the card with superior rental car coverage.
At the end of the day, the Amex Business Platinum takes the cake when it comes to valuable benefits — especially if you’re traveling a lot throughout the year for work. While the annual fee is significantly higher, utilizing most of the Amex benefits will easily offset that cost. If you maximize the annual airline fee credit and Dell statement credit, your out-of-pocket cost for the card is already only $195 each year. Spending $3,900 each year through Amex Travel would accrue enough points to make up for the rest of the annual fee.
Winner: The Amex Business Platinum is hard to beat when it comes to travel perks and benefits.
Bottom line: Which card is right for you?
These are two very different business cards that serve two different purposes. The Ink Business Preferred is great for business owners who want to earn many transferrable points on their regular expenses. The Amex Business Platinum is built for frequent business travelers who want to upgrade their experiences while away from home on business. If you’re only taking a few business trips a year, you’ll get more value out of the Ink Business Preferred’s rewards structure and lower annual fee. Business owners, freelancers and consultants who are constantly traveling can really take advantage of the awesome perks offered on the Amex Business Platinum.
If you are traveling a lot for business and also want to maximize spending on other categories, I would honestly consider adding both to your wallet over time. They don’t overlap in rewards or structure enough to necessitate choosing one over the other, and the Ink Business Preferred has a pretty low annual fee.
Keep in mind that the Ink Business Preferred counts towards Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule even though it’s a business credit card. That means you most likely won’t be approved if you’ve applied for five cards within the past 24 months across all issuers. Also, remember that Amex only allows you to earn one welcome offer per card per lifetime. If you’ve ever earned the bonus for the Amex Business Platinum, you won’t be eligible to earn the offer this time around.
TPG readers who want to add both cards to their wallet have a serious decision to make on which to get first. Under normal circumstances, I’d say to get the Chase card first because of the Chase 5/24 rule, but the Amex Business Platinum has an exclusive welcome offer that’s worth a whopping $2,500. If you know you’ll hit the bonus for the Amex Business Platinum and are well under 5/24, consider grabbing the Business Platinum first. Anyone close to hitting 5/24 should prioritize Chase applications before other issuers.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
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