Which Is the Better No Annual Fee Business Card?
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
But which 1 is better for your situation?
AMEX SimplyCash or Chase Ink Cash?
Link: AMEX SimplyCash
Link: Chase Ink Cash
If you might want to use points for Big Travel, the Chase Ink Cash is the better card for you. That’s because when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold, you can transfer the points you’ve earned with the Chase Ink Cash to partner airlines and hotels.
But if you’re more interested in cash, here’s what you should consider.
1. Sign-Up BonusAMEX SimplyCash currently gives you a $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 on the card within the 1st 6 months.
Chase Ink Cash gives you 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $200 in cash) after you spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months.
If you’ll have no problem meeting minimum spending requirements on cards you plan to open soon, the AMEX SimplyCash gives you $50 more. But you’ll have to spend an extra $2,000 to get it.Note: With the AMEX SimplyCash you get a statement credit. The Chase Ink Cash offers you a statement credit OR a deposit into your bank account.
2. In Which Categories Do You Want 5% Back?
The AMEX SimplyCash gives you a 5% discount at Office Supply Stores in the US and on your US wireless phone bill.
This maximum you can spend in 1 card year (this means 12 billing cycles, NOT a calendar year) is $25,000. After that, the rebate on these categories drops to 1%.
The Chase Ink Cash earns 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (or 5% cash back) on up to $25,000 in combined spending at office supply stores, wireless phone service, landline phone service, internet, and cable TV.
So for the many folks looking to reduce the cost of cable TV and internet, the Chase Ink Cash is your card.
And remember, office supply stores sell everything from restaurant and movie gift cards to new iPhones, coffee, and laundry detergent.
3. In Which Category Do You Want 3% Back?
Within your 1st 2 months of owning the AMEX SimplyCash, you can choose a 3% rebate category. You can only change it once per year, and not until the official “annual selection period” from December 1st to January 31st.
You can get 3% back on the 1st $25,000 you spend on eligible purchases in 1 of the following categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel stays (excluding timeshares, banquets and events)
- Purchases made directly from the car rental companies listed here. (Includes Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, Thrifty, etc.)
- Purchases at US gas stations
- Purchases at US restaurants
- US purchases for shipping
- US purchases for advertising in select media. (This includes placing ads on Google & Facebook.)
The Chase Ink Cash does not have a 3% cash back category.
4. Where Do You Want to Save 2%?
You’ll get 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points with your Chase Ink Cash card on the 1st $25,000 you spend each card year at restaurants and gas stations combined.
5. Other Discounts
This year, using my SimplyCash card on Small Business Saturday will be worth $60.
That’s because I’ll get up to three $10 statement credits for $10+ purchases made at participating small businesses. And with Emily’s authorized user card, she’ll collect $30 too!
The Chase Ink Cash gets you discounts when you enroll in the Visa SavingsEdge program.
For most folks, you’d probably save more money in the “other discounts” category with the AMEX SimplyCash card. Although you should check the details of each program to be sure!
So Which Card Is Better for Your Situation?
1. Trouble Meeting Minimum SpendingFor anyone who has difficulty meeting large minimum spending requirements, the Chase Ink Cash is the better card. That’s because AMEX SimplyCash has a $2,000 greater threshold in order to get a sign-up bonus that’s $50 higher. (Although you do have 2 months longer to spend the money.)
2. Considering Travel Awards
Thinking you might change your mind later and want Big Travel instead of cash back? Then the Chase Ink Cash is for you. Because you can transfer the points to partner airlines and hotels when you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.
3. When Minimum Spending Isn’t a ProblemFor folks who can manage the minimum spending requirement for either card, figure out in which categories you spend the most money.
If you’re NOT going to spend the maximum of $25,000 per card year at office supply stores on gift cards, computers, bottled water, etc., then consider how much you spend on cable TV, internet, and landline phones.
Because those are 3 categories where you’ll save 5% with the Chase Ink Cash but NOT with the AMEX SimplyCash.
4. When You Advertise Online
Professionals such as dentists, attorneys, and real estate agents who advertise their services using Google and Facebook ads will benefit from saving 3% with their AMEX SimplyCash card.
To counter, when you enroll in the Visa SavingsEdge program, the Chase Ink Cash card gives you 5% back when you advertise on the Yahoo Bing Network.
5. When You Dine Out Often
Restaurants can be a considerable expense each year, and the advantage goes to AMEX SimplyCash (if you choose that as your 3% category). Remember, you can buy gift cards to many chain restaurants in office supply stores to get 5% back!
6. When You Pay for Hotels
Paid hotel stays get 3% back with the AMEX SimplyCash (when you select it as your sole 3% category) while Chase Ink Cash gives you the standard 1% back.
Saving a total of 8% at Hyatt hotels is a pretty good cash back deal.
Although when you enroll your Chase Ink Cash card in the Visa SavingsEdge program, you’ll save a total of 6% at certain hotels including:
- Days Inn
- Howard Johnson
- La Quinta
- Super 8
Some of you will see that 1 of these cards is clearly better for your situation than the other. But for folks where it’s a close call, do what I usually do…get both! 😉
The better card for you depends on in which categories you spend the most!
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)