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For a long time, American Express was at the top of the heap with the best offerings in business charge cards. But there’s a new kid in town, with a bold (if you’ll excuse the pun) new look and a great rewards programs. The American Express Gold and Platinum cards still rank second and third, respectively, for the best business charge cards. But let’s take a look at what Chase Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards can give business owners, and especially SMBs.
A direct competitor to the American Express Gold Business card, Ink(SM) Bold with Ultimate Rewards(SM)’s points are 25% more valuable than American Express Membership Rewards points when you book your travel through the Chase shopping portal, Ultimate Rewards. The annual fee is $30 less than American Express Gold, at $95 with the first year waived. (Amex Gold offers no annual fee the first year, too, but $125 after that.)
Where this card really shines is its introductory offer and its rewards program.
First, you’ll get:
- $100 cash back after your first purchase in the form of 10,000 bonus points
- 7,500 bonus points when you spend $25,000 in a year (every year)
- 15,000 more bonus points after the second $25,000 spent each year
- 25,000 bonus points if you spend another $50,000 each year
This totals 47,500 bonus points, which converts to $475 cash back at the end of a year or a host of other rewards you can purchase through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall.
But this card doesn’t only reward businesses that spend more than $100,000 each year. Anyone can use their points for travel, gift cards, or cash back, and points never expire. You can even transfer points to the loyalty programs of many major airlines and hotels.
If you travel, you’ll really begin to see the benefit of this card. Your first year’s $99 membership fee to the Priority Pass Airport Lounge Membership is waived, giving you two complimentary visits to your choice of more than 600 airport lounges.
Chase Bold Ink also has a concierge service, for help booking restaurant reservations, securing show tickets, and more.
The Chase Bold Ink, like Amex, has no pre-set spending limit, and you have 30 days from receiving your statement to pay your balance in full, with no finance charges. You get free employee credit cards, and their purchases count toward rewards points, too.
Set individual employee spending limits, and track it all online.
The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN offers similar benefits to Chase Bold Ink but, to be honest, the rewards just don’t compare. The maximum bonus points you can earn when you shop through the Amex portal is 3X bonus points with this card. The Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall offers up to 10X bonus points with some retailers.
The Chase card also offers more options to redeem your bonus points.
Finally, The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN, according to the website, no longer offers concierge service. You have to upgrade to the top-of-the-line Platinum card to enjoy that coveted benefit.
However, with an annual fee of just $175 and American Express’ renowned customer service and reputation, this is still a good card for business owners.
Viewed for a long time as THE business charge card to carry, the American Express Platinum Business card still carries tremendous prestige and a lengthy list of benefits, especially for travelers. Right now (until February 2011) you earn 5,000 bonus points each month you spend $10,000 or more, meaning you could earn between 40,000 and 50,000 bonus points in the next six months if you apply today.
With a $450 annual fee, the American Express Platinum Business card is a hefty expense for small business owners, but for larger businesses with employees who travel a lot, the card is worth it.