If you’re looking for a credit card that’s part of a major rewards program that gives you the flexibility to transfer points to several different airlines, you should consider the Chase Ink Plus Business and American Express EveryDay Preferred cards.
Both cards are great, but often overlooked options for getting into the Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards programs. If you’re a small business owner or independent contractor, the Ink Plus card may in fact be a better choice than the perennial favorite, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It comes with a larger sign-up bonus and, depending on your spending habits, potentially better bonus earning categories for purchases.
In the American Express lineup, the EveryDay Preferred card sits between the standard EveryDay card and the oft-recommended Premier Rewards Gold card. While the standard EveryDay card is a good no-annual-fee option, it has a smaller sign-up bonus and less generous bonus earning categories.
The Premier Rewards Gold card is good too, but it has a higher annual fee and, depending on your spending habits, potentially less lucrative bonus earning categories than the EveryDay Preferred card.
Here’s a brief overview of what the Ink Plus and EveryDay Preferred cards have to offer:
Which card will be right for you? Let’s take a closer look:
Ink Plus comes with a much bigger sign-up bonus. At 60,000 Ultimate Reward points, it dwarfs the EveryDay Preferred’s 15,000-point bonus. You’ll have to spend $5,000 in three months to get the Ink Plus bonus, compared to only $1,000 for EveryDay.
The minimum spend for the Ink Plus is higher than most, but it works out to only $1,666 a month. That’s doable, particularly if you plan a few big purchases right after you get the card.
With 17 airline transfer partners, the American Express Membership Rewards program is hard to beat. Those partners include Delta, British Airways, ANA, Air France, KLM, JetBlue and Virgin America. If you like luxury flying, you can also transfer points to Emirates and Singapore Airlines. You’ll be able to book award travel with any of the three major airline alliances, so you’ll be able to get wherever you want to go.
There’s no doubt that you’ll have less flexibility in how you spend your Ultimate Rewards points, but Chase has chosen its airline partners wisely. You can transfer points to British Airways, Air France KLM, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United and Virgin Atlantic.
You’ll have access to all three of the major airline alliances since United and Singapore Airlines are Star Alliance members, British Airways is a oneworld member and Korean Air belongs to SkyTeam. Plus Southwest, the world’s largest low-cost carrier, is great for domestic flights and Ultimate Rewards is the only program it partners with.
You can also purchase travel directly from either program’s online travel center. While you can potentially get more value for your points by transferring them directly to airlines, online travel centers are a good backup to have if the best redemption rates aren’t available or if you want to fly on a carrier that is not a partner.
Both cards come with excellent bonus earning categories, but Ink Plus edges out Amex with its impressive five points per dollar for certain purchases.
You’ll get quintuple points on office supplies, landlines, cell phones, internet and cable. And recurring bills, like phones and internet, can quickly boost your points balance. The card also offers double points on gas and hotels. You can earn bonus points on up to $50,000 of annual purchases in each of the 5x and 2x categories.
The EveryDay Preferred card gives you triple points on groceries, something most of us buy regularly. Unfortunately, that’s only available for up to $6,000 in purchases annually. Like the Chase card, you’ll also get double points for gas.
What Else Do You Get?
The EveryDay Preferred card gives you 50 percent more points if you make at least 30 purchases in a billing cycle. This is a great benefit if you can take advantage of it. For example, if you make 30 purchases that earned 4,500 points in a month, you’ll get an additional 2,250 points.
The Chase card includes a 20 percent discount on all travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards travel center. This helps make up for the fact that you won’t be getting the maximum value for your points since you aren’t redeeming directly with an airline.
These cards come with similar cardholder benefits. You’ll get rental car insurance, roadside assistance, extended warranty on purchases, return protection and purchase protection.
The Amex card also includes travel accident insurance, dispute resolution and a global assistance hotline. Ink Plus includes trip cancellation or interruption insurance and access to Ink, Chase’s small business support program.
The EveryDay Preferred card has a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee, whereas the Ink Plus does not charge extra for international purchases. That’s important to keep in mind if you’re planning to travel abroad.
Both cards have a $95 annual fee that is not waived the first year.
Which Card Do You Get?
In most ways the Chase Ink Plus Business card is better than the Amex EveryDay Preferred card. It has a notably bigger sign-up bonus, unbeatable quintuple-point earning categories and slightly better cardholder perks, including no foreign transaction fees.
But the Amex card has a few things going for it. Triple points for groceries are great, plus you’ll get 50 percent more points if you make enough purchases in a month. That can add up fast. Best of all, the Membership Rewards program has a lot more airline transfer partners. You can’t beat it for flexibility.
If you’re looking for a card that you might not keep for more than a year, get the Ink Plus for its 60,000-point sign-up bonus. But if you want a card that you’ll hang on to for a while, your decision gets much harder. Depending on your spending habits, you might earn more in the long term with the EveryDay Preferred card, plus it’s impossible to beat Amex for its vast selection of transfer partners.