The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN vs The Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

Jan 27, 2015 | Updated Mar 01, 2016

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This is a comparison of two great business cards, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and the Chase Ink Plus® Business Card. The first is a charge card, meaning that the balance needs to be repaid in full each month, while the second is a typical credit card that lets you revolve a balance from month to month, incurring interest.

Each offers rewards for frequent business purchases, as well as opportunities to earn bonus points and a number of additional shopping and traveling benefits.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $175 (waived for the first year)
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • Redeem points for everyday business expenses, to help with travel costs or to reward employees and entertain clients
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • New: No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply

Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
  • Interest Rate: 15.49% - 19.49% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases-with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • Free employee cards
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

The information for Chase Ink Plus® Business Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Rewards

Business Gold Rewards Card

The Amex Business Gold Rewards card is fairly unique in that it offers cardholders a chance to choose a category to earn 3 points in. 2 points will be earned in each of the remaining categories, and 1 point is awarded for all other purchases. The categories to choose from are:

Airfare purchased directly through airlines
U.S. purchases of advertising in select media
U.S. Gas stations
U.S. Shipping costs
U.S. Direct purchases of select computer software, hardware, and cloud computing services.

The 3 and 2-point offers are only valid in each of the 5 categories mentioned up to $100,000, for a total of $500,000. After the limit is reached, 1 point will be awarded per dollar.

You can earn 50,000 bonus points by spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of owning the card.

Points can be redeemed in a number of ways, including for statement credits or redemption with frequent flyer programs and through American Express Travel, where many useful discounts can be found.

Chase Ink Plus

The Ink Plus card also offers 3 different point categories that business owners, especially of office-based businesses, will appreciate:

Points per dollar Category
5 Office supply stores and cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
2 Gas stations and hotel accommodations purchased directly through the hotel
1 All other purchases

The 5 and 2-point offers are only valid up to $50,000 in each category, after which 1 point will be earned.

Just like the previous card, you can earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

A 20% discount is applied to hotels, car rentals, airfare, and cruises when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards marketplace.

Points from multiple Chase cards can be combined, and they can be also be redeemed as statement credits or transferred at a 1-to-1 value with other frequent flyer programs:

IHG Rewards Club Southwest Rapid Rewards The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Amtrak Guest Rewards Hyatt Gold Passport
MileagePlus United Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Korean Air Skypass Marriott Rewards Singapore Airlines Krisflyer

The Verdict

Each card provides some valuable rewards for businesses, but the right card for you will depend on the types of purchases your business most frequently makes.

Are you traveling all the time? If so, are you flying or driving? Do you spend more money on advertising than you can imagine, or are you anguishing over your internet or cell phone bills? Do you run an e-commerce website? Are you in the office all day? The answers to these questions should help you narrow it down. The Amex card will offer you more options for earning points, but you may end up being able to earn more with the 5 points offered by the Ink Plus.

If you choose either card you’ll get the 50,000 point bonus, an offer that should definitely be taken advantage of.

The Benefits

Each card provides a variety of business specific services, as well as extra shopping and travel benefits.

Business Gold Rewards Card

American Express provides cardholders with the ReceiptMatchSM with QuickBooks® program, which integrates with Intuit Quickbooks®. This service, along with its companion app, will help you catalogue and tag your receipts, providing an effective way to manage your expenses as you go. Account alerts can be set up to quickly find irregular spending, help you avoid late payments, and monitor employee spending. Other employees can be designated as Account Managers, letting them take on those responsibilities.

Additional employee cards can be requested. There is no annual fee for these additional cards for the first year, but after that a $50 annual fee will be required for the first additional card requested. There is no fee for additional cards after that.

Cardmembers also have access to the OPEN Forum®, a community of small business owners where you can learn, share experiences and advice, and find new avenues for your business.

When shopping you’re covered by Purchase Protection, an insurance plan that will protect your eligible purchases against accidental damage or theft, up to 90 days after the date of purchase. An Extended Warranty is also available, which will add up to 1 year to a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less, and a Dispute Resolution service will investigate unauthorized charges for you.

On the road, you’ll have Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, covering rented vehicles against collision damage and theft. This benefit only applies within the U.S., does not cover all vehicle types, and requires you to decline the rental car company’s own insurance.

If you get into trouble while driving you can call for Premium Roadside Assistance, which will provide services like jumpstarts, flat tire changes, towing up to 10 miles, and locksmith services. This benefit is free for the first 4 times each year, after which charges may be applied.

When more than 100 miles from home, you can access the Global Assist Hotline, a 24/7 phone line for emergency help, including services like medical and legal referrals, emergency cash advances, passport and document replacement, and help finding lost luggage.

There are two more travel insurance benefits. Travel Accident Insurance will cover you and your family against accidental death and dismemberment while traveling by common carrier, up to $100,000. A Baggage Insurance Plan will provide compensation for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage when traveling by common carrier. Up to $1,250 is available for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage.

As an American Express Gold cardholders, you’ll also have access to VIP airport lounges all over the world.

Chase Ink Plus

Like the previous card, Chase also provides business owners with a useful mobile app, called Jot, that can be used to capture receipts, tag them, and organize them. It will also provide account alerts when purchases are made, and lets you manage the free employee cards that can be requested. Employee cards can have their credit limits set individually at any time through the mobile app.

When shopping, the Ink Plus card provides Purchase Protection for up to 120 days from the date of purchase, providing coverage against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim. The Extended Warranty Protection will add 1 year to a manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less, and Return Protection provides reimbursement when the retailer won’t take the item back, for up to 90 days after the date of purchase and for up to $500 per item.

An interesting feature, Price Protection, provides reimbursement for items you buy if you find the same item being advertised for a lesser price.

This card comes equipped with Chip-and-Signature technology, which is accepted in more locations around the world and is a more secure system.

When traveling, you’re covered by Travel Accident Insurance against accidental death and dismemberment when traveling by common carrier, up to $500,000. Travel and Emergency Assistance Services are always available in an emergency, but you’ll be responsible for paying any third-party costs.

Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance provides coverage if your trip is cut short for an eligible reason. Eligible reasons include severe weather and sickness. Compensation is available up to $5,000, for nonrefundable travel expenses like prepaid fares, tours, or hotels.

A similar benefit, Trip Delay Reimbursement, will compensate you for costs that result from delays of 12 hours or more, or that require an overnight stay. Expenses like meals and lodging can be covered for up to $500 per ticket.

Your luggage is protected as well. When traveling by common carrier, you’re covered by Baggage Delay Insurance and Lost Luggage Reimbursement. The first will provide compensation for the purchase of essential items as a result of your bags being delayed at least 6 hours, up to $100 a day for 5 days. The second will provide up to $3,000 in reimbursement per passenger for damaged or lost checked or carry-on bags.

On the road, you have an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, providing coverage for rented vehicles against damage and theft, as long as the rental company’s own insurance is declined. The Roadside Dispatch phone line will help you find assistance like locksmiths, towing, flat tire changes, fuel deliveries, and more, for a minimum of $59.95 per service call.

Ink cardholders also have access to a Lounge Club Membership, which boasts 350 airport lounges around the world. 20 airports in the U.S. feature Lounge Clubs. 2 free passes are provided to the lounge each year, and each visit after that will cost $27 per person.

This card is a Visa Signature credit card, which means that it may also feature other benefits provided by Visa. These benefits are not fully disclosed to non-cardholders and are mailed along with the card, but you can get an idea of the types of benefits offered by looking at our listing of Visa Signature benefits.

The Verdict

As you can see, each of these cards offers a wide swath of additional benefits. For the most part their benefits overlap, especially with the travel and shopping protections. Despite the variety offered by each there are few significant differences.

If you are a huge fan of Quickbooks, you may prefer the American Express card. Each card comes with a business account manager, a mobile app, and the ability to issue and manage employee cards. American Express will charge a $50 annual fee for the first employee card you get, starting the second year, while all of the Chase employee cards are free. Overall, there is not much to distinguish these cards in terms of their additional benefits.

The Costs

Card Annual Fee Regular APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Business Gold Rewards $175 (waived for the first year) Not Applicable – Paid in full every billing period Not Applicable Not Applicable 0%
Ink Plus Business $95 (waived the first year) 15.49% - 19.49% *Variable 15.49% - 19.49% *Variable 25.24% *Variable 0%

The Fees

Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Business Gold Rewards Not Applicable Up to $38 or 2.99%, whichever is greater $38
Ink Plus Business Up to 29.99% *Variable Up to $39 $39

The Verdict

Here is the most significant difference between the two cards: the Business Gold Rewards card is a charge card, with no interest rates, while the Ink Plus is a credit card. Charge cards must be paid off in full each billing period, so you cannot take your time to pay for purchases. The Ink Plus is a basic credit card that lets you pay off purchases over time, incurring interest as you go.

Take note that the Business Gold Rewards card has no pre-set spending limit, but that does not mean that you can spend an unlimited amount with it. You will have a limit to what you can spend, but this limit is subject to change (hopefully going up) as you prove your financial responsibility and establish a good payment history.

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each card type. If you’ve had a hard time making regular payments and keeping your credit card balances low in the past, the charge card might be a good idea to force you to pay on time. Otherwise, you can deal with the APR of the Ink Plus card, which is pretty much at the average rate for credit cards.

The Bottom Line

The most significant difference between these two cards is that one is a charge card while the other is a credit card, and this fact should weigh most prominently in your mind as you consider each card. Will you be able to consistently pay off the entire balance each period, or will you sometimes need to revolve the balance from month to month?

After that, examine your current spending habits. Which card would fit most neatly into your typical spending, without needing to make any changes? That is the card that is right for you. Insteading of adjusting your life around a new card, it should help you save money and access other benefits without much extra work.

When it comes to customer service, you’ll be in good hands with each of these cards. American Express recently tied with Discover for highest customer satisfaction while Chase came in third place, while still being above the industry average.

Looking for more on business credit? See our business credit resource page.
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