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Credit card reader question: Choosing the right business card to help fund a post-pandemic vacation

Aug. 02, 2021
9 min read
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Editor's note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your toughest credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

When you have multiple credit cards, annual fees start adding up -- and balancing which cards to use on which purchases can get hectic. That's why it's important to make sure that any new credit cards you're adding to the mix provide enough value to be worth it. Today we answer a question from reader Allison about choosing the right business card to help fund a post-pandemic vacation.

[pullquote source="ALLISON PILITSIS"]I have 10 credit cards and I've had most of them for at least 40 years, so I really don't want another one — unless it is really worth it. I want to take my two adult sons on a vacation I could never take as a single mom. I've accumulated more than 180,000 miles on my Amex Delta SkyMiles card and I have 77,000 points on my Amex Gold card. For 2020, I want to choose a third card to use on a regular basis (for my business), but not sure which one I would gain the most from.

The additional cards I presently have are:
- Chase Slate
- Bank of America
- Capital One Spark
- Citi Preferred
- Discover
- LLBean Mastercard with Citi
- AAdavantage AVIATOR with Barclays
- Wells Fargo Business Platinum[/pullquote]

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As someone who got her first credit card in college a mere five years ago and is still comparatively new to the points and miles game, such a long-standing credit history impresses me. Age of accounts and payment history are both large factors in determining your FICO score. Having card accounts open and in good standing for 40+ years is a huge advantage.

Looking at the cards and rewards Allison has already accumulated, there are four business card options that could be a great fit for her. Since she has a concentrated amount of both Amex and Delta rewards, another Amex or Delta card is the most obvious choice.

However, there is another option that could be worth considering so long as she's willing to maximize transfer partners when booking that post-pandemic vacation with her sons.

American Express® Business Gold Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

The Amex Business Gold Card is a solid option for any business owner looking to earn Membership Rewards points. Cardholders get 4x on the two spending categories you spend the most on each month ($150,000 rewards spending cap per calendar year; then 1x). Amex retroactively awards these bonus points, meaning you don't have to plan ahead or choose which categories you want to earn rewards on ahead of time. The eligible categories include the following:

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That's a pretty wide range of categories where you could potentially earn 4x. The card also comes with a 25% redemption rebate when using your Membership Rewards points to book an award flight with your selected qualifying airline or a first or business class flight. You can get up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.

The card's welcome bonus of 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership charges a $295 annual fee (see rates and fees). If Allison spends within those 4x bonus categories for her business, this card could help her rack up quite a few Membership Rewards points on top of her personal American Express® Gold Card.

Check out our full Amex Business Gold Card review.

APPLY HERE: American Express® Business Gold Card

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

A fixed-rate business credit card might be a better fit if Allison's business has a smaller budget or spends in a wider range of categories. The Amex Blue Business Plus offers 2x across all purchases (up to $50,000 in spend per year; then 1x) and charges no annual fee (see rates and fees). And right now, Amex is offering a welcome bonus with the Blue Business Plus — 15,000 bonus points after $3,000 spent on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. In the past, this card usually didn’t come with a welcome offer, so its 15,000-point bonus is a rarity.

The card does earn Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer to Amex's extensive list of partners (including Delta SkyMiles).

APPLY HERE: Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Since Allison already has a sizable number of miles in her SkyMiles account, it makes sense to look at another Delta Amex card to give her account an extra boost. The Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Amex bonus will allow you to earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.

When it comes to earning miles, you'll earn 2x on eligible Delta purchases, U.S. advertising, U.S. shipping and restaurants worldwide. For an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees), that's quite an extensive rewards structure. Of course, you'll also get Delta-specific perks such as a $100 Delta flight credit (if you spend $10,000 in a calendar year), first checked bag free, priority boarding and more.

Check out our full Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Amex review.

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Some readers are probably wondering why on earth I'd recommend a Chase Ink Business card when Allison currently uses Amex and Delta cards for earning rewards. But hear me out.

The Ink Business Preferred is easily one of the top business credit cards available. It comes with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus (after spending $15,000 in the first three months of account opening), which TPG values at $2,000. When it comes to everyday business spending, the card doesn't disappoint, with 3x on the first $150,000 spent annually in these combined categories:

  • Travel (including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets, and taxis)
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

Plus, the card's annual fee is just $95, making it one of the most rewarding business cards on the market at this price point.

Now, Chase Ultimate Rewards don't transfer directly to Delta as Amex Membership Rewards do. But both Amex and Chase do transfer to Virgin Atlantic, which is a Delta partner. In fact, you can sometimes book Delta flights with Virgin Miles at a fraction of the cost you could book the same itinerary with Delta miles.

Delta operates a dynamic pricing system rather than operating on a static award. And while that gives you access to some incredible flight deals on occasion, it can also mean having to pay ridiculously high prices for an award flight. This past year, Virgin Atlantic and Delta have been working hard to eliminate any worthwhile award redemptions. But if you're interested in flying nonstop to Europe in fancy Delta One seats, you can still find absolute steals.

Points can also be redeemed for flights on many airlines (including Delta) through Ultimate Rewards Travel at a rate of 1.25 cents each.

Allison could also use the Ink card to book accommodations while using her current Amex and Delta rewards to book flights. Chase has three hotel transfer partners — Hyatt, IHG and Marriott — or she can always book a hotel through the Chase portal with a 25% redemption bonus.

Check out our full Ink Business Preferred review.

APPLY HERE: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Bottom line

Allison can't go wrong with any of these business credit cards — they all offer great value and cost less than most premium travel cards. It all comes down to looking at what expenses she hopes to put on the card and what redemption strategies she's looking to employ for her post-pandemic vacation with her sons.

Allison, happy travels! I hope this helps you book an amazing family trip to somewhere unforgettable (and make sure to send us pics!).

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Amex, click here.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more