The American Express Business Gold Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred are two of the industry’s best mid-tier travel business cards. The former is one of the original charge cards devoted to business. And it was revamped in the fall of 2018 to much acclaim. Released in 2016, the latter is a formidable competitor in the mid-tier market.
Both cards are in Tier III, despite a $200 difference in annual fees. The Amex Business Gold Card has a whopping $295 annual fee. Meanwhile, the Chase Ink Preferred has a more standard $95 annual fee. Neither card’s fee is 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 Ink Business Preferred better.
The bonus offered with Ink Business Preferred is Chase’s largest. You will receive 80,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. The Ink Preferred used to be the only card with a bonus. But Amex added a bonus to the Gold Card in March 2019.
The bonus that was added is worth a relatively paltry 35,000 Membership Rewards (MR) 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 between these two mid-tier travel business cards.
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
- 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
- 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. They also 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.
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 Business 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.
Both cards have similar perks. However, the Ink Business Preferred has more insurances than the Business Gold Card. That includes having primary car rental insurance (as opposed to the Business Gold Card’s secondary coverage). It also has more perks that can be useful and the victory in this category.
The Ink Business 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 preset 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. It also forces you to pay in full, which gives you financial discipline. But the Ink Preferred is a great mid-tier travel business card if you have the credit score and don’t want the Business Gold Card.
The mid-tier travel business cards from Chase and American Express are great options for business owners and employees who travel often. Both cards have strengths and weaknesses.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is the better card for most businesses. It has a modest annual fee, an excellent sign-up bonus, practical categories, and a great earning structure. Its only weakness is its minimum spend for the sign-up bonus.
The Amex Business Gold Card has an excellent earning structure and some nice perks. But it lacks a substantive sign-up bonus and it has a very high annual fee. Some businesses can justify the fee with enough bonus category spend.