One of the original charge cards devoted to business is the American Express Business Gold Card. This card was revamped in the fall of 2018 to much acclaim. One of the main competitors to this card is the Chase Ink Preferred. This card debuted in 2016, a watershed year for Chase credit cards.

Both cards are in Tier III, despite the difference in annual fees between the cards. The Amex Business Gold Card has a whopping $295 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year. Meanwhile, the Chase Ink Preferred has a more standard $95 annual fee, which is also NOT waived the first year.

As with everything in point and miles, your mileage may vary. Someone might find the Gold better for him while their best friend mind like the Everyday Preferred better.

 

Sign-Up Bonus

The bonus that’s offered with Ink Preferred is Chase’s largest. You will receive 80,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

The Gold Card has a sign-up bonus of 35,000 points. It can be earned after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Amex is also offering a free one-year G Suite Basic membership for up to 3 users and a one-year membership for ZipRecruiter Standard. I would rather have a normal points bonus than some temporary memberships that might not be of use.

I would rather have 80,000 UR points than 35,000 MR points. Therefore, the Ink Preferred is the winner. The Ink Preferred used to be the only card with a bonus. But Amex added a bonus to the Gold Card in March 2019.

 

Earning & Burning

The Business Gold Card earns 4x Membership Rewards (MR) points on two categories of choice. It also earns 2x points on the remaining categories and 1x points on all other purchases.

The categories to choose from are:

  • Advertising (TV, radio, and online only)
  • Select Computing Merchants
  • US Gas Stations
  • Shipping
  • Airfare (booked directly with the airline)
  • US Restaurants

The Ink Business Preferred earns 3x UR points on the following categories:

  • General Travel (same broadness as the Sapphire Cards)
  • Social Media and Search Engine Advertising Purchases
  • Shipping
  • Internet Services
  • Cable & TV Services
  • Phone Services

Both cards have a $150,000 per year limit across all bonus categories. That means you can earn up to six figures in each points currency per year if you spend within the categories.

Both cards share only one category in shipping. Therefore, the winner depends on which categories you spend the most money in and what type of points you want to earn.

Hotel dwellers will be better off with Chase’s partners. And international travelers will be better off with Amex’s partners. Both cards offer great partners for domestic travelers. If you’re loyal to a partner, go with the card that will let you transfer points to that partner.

 

Perks

Despite not having the numerous perks of the Amex Platinum Card, the Gold Card wins this category.

The Gold Card’s most notable perks include QuickBooks access, Premium Roadside Assistance, and the Amex Hotel Collection. This is one of the reasons why the Gold Card’s annual fee is more than 3 times that of the Ink Preferred.

The Ink Preferred comes with cell phone protection, primary car rental insurance, and other insurances. This card’s perks are closest to those of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

 

Credit Limit

The Ink Preferred is a traditional revolving credit card. It comes with a set limit and can be hard to get approved for those with lower credit scores. This card lets you keep a balance, despite my recommendation for not doing so.

The Gold Card is a charge card which does not have a pre-set limit. In other words, Amex has an internal limit for your card that can change each month. If you or an employee wants to make a large purchase, I suggest calling Amex customer service to alert them about the purchase. Oftentimes they will tell you to proceed. You must pay your card in full each month (which I recommend doing anyway).

The Gold Card is the better card for those with lower credit scores because it’s a charge card. The Gold Card also forces you to pay in full, which gives you financial discipline.

The Ink Preferred is a great option if you have the credit score don’t want the Gold Card.

 

Final Draw

The mid-tier travel business cards from Chase and Amex are great options for business owners and employees who travel often. Both cards have strengths and weaknesses.

The Chase Ink Preferred is the better card for most businesses. It has a modest annual fee, an excellent sign-up bonus, practical categories, and great earning opportunities. Its main weakness is its lack of perks, especially compared to the Business Gold Card or Business Platinum Card.

The Amex Business Gold Card has excellent earning opportunities and some nice perks. But it lacks a sign-up bonus and it has a very high annual fee. Some businesses can justify the fee with enough bonus category spend.