Amex Business Platinum vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred: Which small-business credit card is best for you?

Amex Business Platinum vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred 4X3Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

If you're in the market for a business credit card, chances are you've come across the Business Platinum card from American Express and the Ink Business Preferred card from Chase. While these two cards don't have a lot in common, they're frequently cited as the most popular business cards out there - and for good reason.

Both cards earn you valuable points and offer a generous selection of redemption options, plus a slew of protections and benefits. So which card is right for you? Below is a breakdown based on some of the most important factors

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.

Read more: Who can qualify for a small-business credit card?

Amex Business Platinum vs. Ink Business Preferred: The biggest differences

Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve ChartAlyssa Powell/Business Insider

Welcome bonus

The Business Platinum card currently offers a bigger welcome bonus than the Chase Ink Business Preferred. However, the spending requirement is also substantially higher. If that's a concern, I would recommend foregoing the higher welcome bonus in favor of actually meeting the spending requirement on the Chase Ink Business Preferred. After all, what good is a bigger bonus if you're going to lose out because the spending requirement is too high?

  • Business Platinum: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on eligible purchases on the Business Platinum card, all within your first three months
  • Ink Business Preferred: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

If the spending requirement isn't a concern, then you'll want to take into account whether you'll get more value out of Amex Membership Rewards points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Each program has its own merits, and the best one for you depends on your redemption goals. If a business-class ticket to Europe is on your wish list, the Business Platinum card is a better bet. You can transfer points to All Nippon Airways (ANA) and book a round-trip business-class ticket on a Star Alliance carrier for just 88,000 miles round-trip.

If you're hoping to redeem your points for a hotel award, Chase's partnership with Hyatt might sway you towards the Ultimate Rewards program. Hyatt's expanding portfolio currently includes more than 850 hotels worldwide, which can be booked for 5,000 to 40,000 points per night. That welcome bonus from the Chase Ink Business Preferred can go quite a long way, depending on how you redeem it.

Annual fees

The Business Platinum card has a $595 annual fee, while the Ink Business Preferred's is $95. That's a huge gap in annual fees, but we're also talking about two very different business cards. The Business Platinum offers several annual statement credits and other perks like airport lounge access that can make the $595 fee easier to justify.

In addition to varying category bonuses and card benefits (more on that later), the Chase Ink Business does not require a fee for additional cardholders. Meanwhile, the Business Platinum Card charges $300 per additional cardholder.

Earning points

The Business Platinum card and the Ink Business Preferred both offer valuable category bonuses to help cardholders earn points - and therefore book free travel - faster.

The Business Platinum earns 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. In addition, single purchases of $5,000 or more earn 1.5 points per dollar spent, up to 1 million additional points each year. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. These are solid earning rates for those who want to earn the most points possible on travel, but you have to book through Amex Travel to get the 5x rate.

Read more: Business Platinum card review

The Ink Business Preferred earns at least 1 point per dollar on all spending and earns 3 points on the first $150,000 in combined spending in the following categories each account anniversary year:

• Travel
• Shipping purchases
• Internet, cable and phone services
• Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

Read more: Ink Business Preferred card review

We're essentially comparing apples and oranges here. Which card offers the more beneficial category bonuses depends on your individual spending patterns. For the average business owner, the Ink Business Preferred might be a better fit, since it offers 3x points on a wider variety of spending categories. It's important to compare the two cards against your own spending patterns and decide which one will help you earn the most points.

Redeeming points

Both the Amex Business Platinum card and the Ink Business Preferred offer cardholders multiple options when it comes to redeeming points for travel rewards. Cardholders can redeem points directly through the respective program's travel portal or transfer them to participating airlines and hotels. Some transfer partners overlap, so you'll want to keep that in mind when deciding which program is best for you.

Redeeming points for direct travel bookings

The Business Platinum card allows you to redeem your points for travel bookings made on amextravel.com. When you use Pay With Points to book a business or first-class ticket (or a ticket in any class with your selected airline), you'll get 35% of your points back. That can be a good deal, depending on the cost of the fare.

However, the Ink Business Preferred has the advantage here. All point bookings through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal are worth 25% more. So that 80,000-point welcome bonus is worth $1,200 when used through Chase's travel booking site.

Transfer partners

The Business Platinum card earns Membership Rewards points. The Membership Rewards program has 22 transfer partners:

• Aer Lingus Aeroclub
• Aero Mexico Club Premier (1:1.6 transfer ratio)
• Air Canada Aeroplan
• Air France/KLM Flying Blue
• Alitalia MileMiglia
• ANA Mileage Club

• Avianca Lifemiles
• British Airways Executive Club
• Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
• Choice Privileges Rewards
• Delta SkyMiles
• El Al Matmid (1,000 points = 20 Matmid points)
• Emirates Skywards
• Etihad Airways
• Hawaiian Airlines
• Hilton Honors (1:2 transfer ratio)
• Iberia Plus
• JetBlue TrueBlue
• Marriott Bonvoy
• Qantas Frequent Flyer
• Singapore KrisFlyer
• Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Meanwhile, the Ink Business Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to 13 airline and hotel partners:

• Aer Lingus Aeroclub
• Air France/KLM Flying Blue
• British Airways Executive Club
• Emirates Skywards
• Iberia Plus
• IHG Rewards Club

• JetBlue TrueBlue
• Marriott Bonvoy
• Singapore KrisFlyer
• Southwest Rapid Rewards
• United MileagePlus
• Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
• World of Hyatt

Both programs have valuable transfer partners, but the best option will depend on your travel habits. The Membership Rewards program's partnership with ANA Mileage Club, Avianca Lifemiles, and Aeroplan can be particularly useful for premium-cabin flights at favorable redemption rates.

Meanwhile, Chase Ultimate Rewards has the distinction of having World of Hyatt as a transfer partner. A free night at a Hyatt hotel ranges from 5,000 to 40,000 points, which is much more preferable to Hilton's 5,000 to 95,000 points per night.

Benefits shared by both cards

For all their differences, the Business Platinum card and Chase Ink Business Preferred have a few important features in common. For starters, neither card charges foreign transaction fees. They also offer various travel protections, purchase protection, roadside assistance, extended warranty and rental car insurance. The level of coverage varies by card.

Travel protection

The Business Platinum card currently offers travel accident insurance of up to $500,000 per person. Starting in January 2020, the card will also include trip cancellation insurance of up to $10,000 per trip, as well trip delay coverage of up to $500.

The Ink Business Preferred offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Cardholders receive up to $5,000 per trip in case a trip is canceled or cut short due to weather and sickness.

The coverage offered by American Express is superior to what Chase is offering, especially when you factor in the upcoming additions.

Purchase protection

Sometimes you make a big purchase and it turns out to be lacking in quality. It gets damaged or maybe it's stolen. Either way, you're out a large chunk of cash. Not if you have an Amex Business Platinum or Chase Ink Business Preferred. Both cards offer purchase protection of up to $10,000 per item within 120 days of purchase. A limit of $50,000 worth of coverage is imposed per calendar year.

Extended warranty

Your purchases aren't just protected in case of damage or theft - both cards also offer extended warranty as a benefit. Make your purchases with the Business Platinum card, and American Express will match the manufacturer's warranty, if it's five years or less.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred extends the US manufacturer's warranty by just one additional year. This benefit only applies to warranties of three years or less.

Car rental insurance

If you've ever rented a car, chances are you've been subject to a pretty aggressive sales pitch for buying additional insurance. You've heard how your primary insurance won't be affected if you're in an accident, and how could you possibly turn this incredible offer down? "My credit card covers it." That's all you have to say when you have an Ink Business Preferred card, which comes with primary car rental coverage in case of an accident when you're renting a car for business purposes.

The Business Platinum card, meanwhile, offers secondary coverage, which kicks in after your personal car insurance in the event of an accident.

No matter which card you use, remember that some exclusions apply. I recently tried to rent a large 12-passenger van and found out the Ink Business Preferred did not cover vehicles of this size. Be sure to read up on your card coverage ahead of time.

Benefits that are unique to each card

The Business Platinum card offers more benefits than the Ink Business Preferred card, which makes sense given their very different annual fees.

From hotel elite status to merchant discounts to annual travel rebates, these benefits are ideal for frequent travelers who don't mind paying the $595 annual fee:

The only distinctive benefit offered by the Ink Business Preferred is cell phone protection, which covers up to $600 toward cell phone theft and damage per incident. The benefit does come with a $100 deductible, and cardholders can make up to three claims per 12 months.

Which card is right for you?

If you're a business owner deciding between these cards, it's important to focus on the relevance of benefits for you rather than the quantity. The Business Platinum card has an impressive lineup of travel benefits, point transfer partners, and protections in place, but they're only valuable if you put them to use. You'll want to make sure you can utilize most of the card's perks before you commit to the $595 annual fee. If you don't think you'll use the various travel perks and statement credits from the Business Platinum, the Chase Ink Business Preferred might be a better option for you.

And if neither card has what you're looking for and you just want a card with straightforward rewards and no annual fee, then you may want to consider the Blue Business Plus® Credit Card frm American Express. It earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 (then 1x) and has no annual fee. It's great if you want access to the Membership Rewards program and accelerated rewards without thinking about category bonuses or whether you're getting your money's worth out of an annual fee.

Click here to learn more about the Business Platinum card from American Express.

Click here to learn more about the Ink Business Preferred card from Chase.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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