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Credit Cards

I got the Ink Business Cash Credit Card even though my Amex card earns more points — here’s why

These key benefits outweigh the points-earning potential of the Amex Blue Business Plus Credit Card.

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Vladimir Vladimirov | E+ | Getty Images

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

For years, my go-to card for business spending has been The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which earns a flat 2X points per dollar spent on everything and has no annual fee; see rates and fees. Thanks to this card, I've been able to amass a substantial amount of Amex Membership Rewards® points, so there's never been a reason to swap it out for another card. That is, until now.

Even though my Amex Blue Business Plus card earns more points per dollar, I've recently made the switch to Chase's Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. To be clear, I'm still holding onto my Amex card, but now I'm channeling most of my spending to the Ink Business Cash Card. Here's why.

Ink Business Cash vs. Amex Blue Business Plus

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1%); 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1%); 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months from account opening on purchases; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    18.49% - 24.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, then 1X point per dollar

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening

  • Regular APR

    18.49% - 26.49% variable; APRs will not exceed 29.99%

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Unusually high welcome bonus

First thing's first: the Ink Business Cash is currently offering new cardholders $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening. It's one of the highest welcome bonuses we've seen for any card. And as you'll see below, the bonus could potentially be worth even more than that.

As a point of comparison, the Amex Blue Business Plus offers new cardholders 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Instead of cashback, it earns American Express Membership Rewards points. These are some of the most valuable rewards around due to the ability to transfer them to airline and hotel partners, such as Delta SkyMiles, Air Canada Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy. Terms Apply. Due to the high cash back bonus value, the Ink Business Cash is worth getting for the welcome bonus alone.

I can top off my World of Hyatt account

While the Membership Rewards® points I've earned from using my Amex Blue Business Plus card are incredibly valuable, they're not the best when it comes to redeeming points for hotel stays, mainly because they can only be transferred to Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, or Marriott Bonvoy. Those particular loyalty programs aren't always ideal options, as Choice Privileges offers mostly budget properties, while Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy tend to have inflated award charts.

World of Hyatt is often the sweet spot for booking award nights, offering reasonable redemptions and top-notch hotels and resorts worldwide. The only problem? World of Hyatt is not a transfer partner of American Express. But it is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The Ink Business Cash Card technically earns cash back. However, those rewards can be converted to transferable Ultimate Rewards points if you have another Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

So, the full $750 welcome bonus you can earn by signing up for the Ink Business Cash Card ($350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening) would translate to 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which can then be redeemed for World of Hyatt stays. Considering free nights start at just 3,500 points, that Ink Business Cash Card welcome bonus will go a long way when it's time to top off my Hyatt account.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.49% - 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase’s secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ 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 plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    22.49% - 29.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

  • Terms apply.

 

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • Terms apply.

There's a 0% APR

The economy isn't so great at the moment so I have to be especially cautious with my finances. That means keeping a robust rainy day fund as well as covering other bases.

Having a low- or no-interest credit card offer can be a real perk when it comes to paying the bills during an economic downturn. The Ink Business Cash Credit Card currently offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months from account opening on purchases (then a variable APR of 18.49% - 24.49%), providing a solid backup option if I need it. 

If a downturn occurs in the next 12 months, as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic, I won't have to stress about paying off my credit card bill if I don't have sufficient cash reserves — I can take advantage of the 0% APR option and simply pay my balance over time. Granted, that's not exactly ideal as it's typically best to pay your bills in full each month, but it's still good to know I'll have a bit of a cushion if I need it.

It's also worth noting that The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express also has a intro 0% APR offer for the first 12 months on purchases from date of account opening (then a variable APR of 18.49% - 26.49%, APR will not exceed 29.99% ; see rates and fees), but that's just a perk for new cardholders and I've had mine for several years now so I wouldn't be eligible.

The rewards-earning potential is higher

The Amex Blue Business Plus has been my go-to card for years thanks to its flat 2X points-earning rate on all purchases, which has allowed me to maximize purchases that didn't qualify for category bonuses with my other cards.

That said, this card does have its limits — the 2X points earning rate is actually capped at the first $50,000 spent per calendar year. That's where the Ink Business Cash Credit Card comes in handy, providing additional bonus categories to help me maximize all my spending.

The Ink Business Cash Credit Card card earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined spending at office supply stores, and on internet, cable, and phone services every anniversary year — that's a pretty extensive spending category, so 5% is a substantial number for me. The card also lets me earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants, which provides a nice backup whenever I max out the Blue Business Plus card's 2X points bonus.

Overall, the Ink Business Cash card provides higher earning potential without me having to pay an annual fee. The fact that the cash back you receive can be converted to Ultimate Rewards® points is useful since the points are actually more valuable than the cash-back rewards.

Instead of redeeming them at a rate of one cent each, I can put them toward World of Hyatt stays and end up scoring 1.8 cents per point or higher value. Better yet, I can also redeem those points for international business or first-class tickets through one of Chase's airline partners such as Air Canada Aeroplan or United MileagePlus for a return of 3 cents per point or more. 

For those that prefer simplicity, points can be redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and 1.5 cents per point through Chase Travel℠ with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Travel protections are included

One of the most substantial benefits of the Ink Business Cash — and one that's especially rare for a card with no annual fee — is the included primary auto rental collision damage waiver.

If you've ever rented a car, you've probably been subject to a sales pitch at the check-in counter where you're told that paying an extra $15 or so per day will fully protect you in case of an accident, and you won't have to go through your own insurance company. While that's an invaluable benefit, you don't have to pay for it if you have certain credit cards, including the Ink Business Cash card.

Two years ago, I was involved in a rental car accident while traveling through Virginia. I had paid for it with my American Express® Gold Card, which only provides secondary coverage. Thankfully, I'd had the foresight to enroll in *premium car rental protection for just $14.99 more, which covered my entire rental period. Enterprise sent me a bill for nearly $4,000 but American Express completely took care of it and I didn't even have to get my own car insurance company involved. Terms apply.

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

The Amex Blue Business Plus, on the other hand, only offers secondary rental car insurance, meaning my insurance company would have needed to reject the claim before my credit card benefit could kick in. Although that's a less-than-ideal situation to be in, it's pretty typical when you have a no-annual-fee credit card.

Luckily, the Ink Business Cash card does provide primary coverage, so I won't have to pay extra for supplemental insurance as long as I charge the car rental to that card. This invaluable benefit will eliminate plenty of headaches if I'm ever involved in another rental car accident. Having experienced it first-hand, it became even more important than ever for me to receive this perk from my credit card. 

Bottom line

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is an all-around excellent card with an enticing welcome bonus and lots of generous perks. And while the welcome bonus was certainly the main reason I signed up for the card, the spending bonuses and primary rental car coverage are why I'll be channeling my spending away from my Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express for the time being. Plus, neither card carries an annual fee, providing an even greater incentive to hold onto them both in the long run.

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*Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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