Practicality or luxury: Chase Ink Preferred vs. Amex Business Platinum

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 credit 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 afford both 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.

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Welcome bonus

Chase Ink Business Preferred Amex Business Platinum
Welcome Offer 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points Up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points
(Offer ends 12/4/19. Terms apply.)
Spend Requirement $5,000 in the first three months

50,000 points when you spend $10,000 in the first three months;
an extra 50,000 points when you spend an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months

Bonus Value (based on TPG’s valuations) $1,600 $2,000

 

At first glance, the Amex Business Platinum bonus is more valuable. You’re potentially earning 100,000 Membership Rewards points as opposed to only 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points with the Ink Business Preferred. Both rewards currencies are worth 2 cents each according to TPG valuations, which gives the Amex a $400 lead in terms of bonus value.

However, something to consider is the terms you must hit to earn each bonus. While the Ink Business Preferred’s bonus may be lower, it is significantly easier to obtain. You only have to spend $5,000 in the first three months to get the full 80,000 points. With the Amex Business Platinum, you must spend $25,000 in the first three months to get the full 100,000 points. Even to earn 50,000 points with the Amex means spending double the requirement for the Ink Business. Of course, for many small businesses, spending $25,000 in three months isn’t a hard threshold to hit. If your business has a smaller monthly budget, though, you may want to consider the Ink Business Preferred for its bonus.

Winner: The Amex Business Platinum still comes out on top with its lucrative bonus, worth up to $2,000.

Bonus categories

Ink Business Preferred Amex Business Platinum
Rewards structure Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on:
  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • Earn 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotel stays and airfare booked through AmexTravel.com (including Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts)
  • Earn 1.5x Membership Rewards points on eligible purchases over $5,000
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.

delta a220 business travel laptop tray table
Business travelers can earn 5x on prepaid hotels stays and airfare booked through amextravel.com (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

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 that has 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.

Redeeming Points

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 22

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 22 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 only recently started trying out 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.

You can get a lot of value by redeeming your Amex points for Singapore Airlines premium class flights.

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. 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.

Valuable Benefits

Ink Business Preferred Amex Business Platinum
Statement credits
  • N/A
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100)
  • Up to $200 Dell statement credit
Purchase and Travel Protections
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip delay and cancellation insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Extended warranty
  • Lost baggage insurance
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Premium roadside assistance
  • Baggage insurance plan
  • Extended warranty
  • Travel accident insurance
Lounge access
  • N/A
  • Centurion Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select access
  • Delta SkyClub (when flying Delta)
  • Airspace lounges
  • Escape lounges
  • Amex International Lounges
Business tools
  • Expense tracker
  • Account manager access
  • Bookkeeping integration
  • Fraud alerts
  • No-cost employee cards
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Spend manager
  • One year of WeWork Platinum Global Access (must enroll by 12/31/19)
Other benefits
  • Cell phone protection
  • Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton
  • Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts access
  • 10 free Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes per year
Foreign Transaction Fees None None (see rates and fees)
Card Type Credit Charge
Annual Fee $95 $595 (see rates and 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 of the most underrated benefits, in my opinion, is the WeWork membership. For one year, you’ll have access to more than 300 premium spaces in over 75 cities. If you’re a consultant or remote worker who is consistently working from different cities, a WeWork membership can save you money and make your travel experiences more productive.

Photo courtesy of WeWork.
WeWork offers business travelers a great space to get work done while away from the home office. (Photo courtesy of WeWork)

One thing that the Ink Business Preferred offers that the Amex Business Platinum does not is cell phone protection. If you charge your monthly bill to your card, you and eligible employees get up to $600 per claim for damage or theft. You are covered for up to three claims in a 12-month period, and you are on the hook for a $100 deductible per claim. Despite the deductible, this is a great perk for business owners who have a company cell phone plan for multiple employees.

Another consideration is each card’s rental car insurance coverage. The Ink Business Preferred offers primary coverage, but the Amex Business Platinum only offers secondary coverage. This means that you have to file a claim with your primary insurance provider before Amex will cover any other costs. While this perk isn’t absolutely necessary if you are rarely driving rental cards, 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 amextravel.com 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 credit cards that serve two different purposes. The Ink Business Preferred is great for business owners who want to earn a lot of 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 bonus per card per lifetime. If you’ve ever earned the bonus for the Amex Business Platinum, you won’t be eligible to earn the bonus 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 Chase 5/24, but the Amex Business Platinum welcome offer expires on Dec. 4, 2019. If you know you’ll hit the bonus for the Amex Business Platinum and are well under 5/24, maybe go ahead and grab the Business Platinum before the limited-time offer expires. Anyone who is close to hitting 5/24 should prioritize Chase applications before other issuers.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.