Top 10 Business Credit Cards for Travel Rewards: April 2018

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Applying for business credit and charge cards is a great way to earn more miles and points than you already do, but many people don’t apply for business cards because they incorrectly believe they don’t qualify.

You don’t need to have employees, nor does your business need to be profitable. You can use your social security number instead of an EIN on the application. Your business doesn’t even need to have it’s own name or separate address from your personal one!

Sell things on Etsy? Ebay? Bake sales? Yard sales? Those are legitimate businesses to open a business credit card for.

Last year I opened a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card under my own name and social (not with a business name nor EIN) for the purpose of organizing spending involved with selling items on ebay.
Last year I opened a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card under my own name and social (not with a business name nor EIN) for the purpose of organizing spending involved with selling items on ebay.

Learn more in How to Get Approved for Business Credit Cards.

Apply for business cards if you’re trying to get back under 5/24

Another interesting prospect of business credit cards is that they don’t count towards your Chase 5/24 limit. The Chase 5/24 rule means that if you have opened five credit cards from any issuing bank in the last 24 months, Chase will not approve you for the majority of their credit cards.

Luckily, business cards are exception to this rule–so if you’re trying to fly under the 5/24 limit or get back under it, you can apply for most business cards without affecting your total. Why’s that? Business credit cards from the majority of issuing banks are not considered in your Chase 5/24 count because they do not show up as new accounts on your personal credit report. The only banks’ business cards that do show up on your personal credit card are those issued by Barclay’s and Capital One.

There are even enough data points out there now that I can pretty confidently say that Chase doesn’t even count their own business cards toward your 5/24 total.


 

Without further ado, here are what I think are ten of the most lucrative business credit cards/offers on the market right now.

1. Ink Preferred

The Ink Preferred is a business card that offers 80,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Singapore, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more.

The Ink Preferred earns 3x points on travel; shipping; internet, cable, and phone services; and search engine or social network advertising and 1x points on everything else.

You’ll also get up to $500 in coverage per claim in cell phone protection against theft or damage for you and your employees (for every cell who’s bill you with the Ink Preferred).

The $95 annual fee is not waived.

2. Chase Ink Business Cash Card

For no annual fee, this card is dressed to impress. The 50,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus you’ll get for spending $3,000 within three months of opening the Ink Business Cash card and its category bonuses make this card worth your attention, especially if you have a more premium Chase card to pair with it.

While the Ink Business Cash is marketed as a cash back card–that earns $300 cash back after meeting the minimum spending requirement–what you’re actually earning is 30,000 Ultimate Rewards. If redeemed directly from your Ink Business Cash account, then they are only worth 1 cent each. But if you have a Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred, then you can transfer those Ultimate rewards earned by the Ink Business Cash (or the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, for that matter) to your other Chase account and they magically turn into the kind of Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred to airline loyalty programs. This increases their value to somewhere around 2 cents each (meaning 30k Ultimate Rewards would be worth around $600 instead of $300).

You’ll earn…

  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on the first $25,000 in purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services.
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on the first $25,000 in purchases at gas stations and restaurants

If you have a Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred, then I highly recommend scooping up this card for it’s (higher than usual) 30k bonus, and the earning potential with that 5x category bonus in business specific expenses.

 

3. Business Platinum from American Express Open

While not unusual for business cards, the minimum spending requirement on Business Platinum is rather high–$10,000 within three months of opening the card will get you 50,000 points, and another 25,000 for spending another $10,000 within the same three month period. But a 75k bonus is a big chunk of points. I don’t recommend manufacturing spend on Amex cards, though. Amex is known for clawing back points if they figure it out. If you can manage the spending organically, you’ll be getting essentially a 7.5% return on spend (I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each).

The card comes with many of the same valuable perks that the personal Platinum does, like $200 in airline incidental fee credits every cardmember year (but not $200 in Uber credit). You’ll also get some unique benefits like 5x points on airfare and hotels booked through the Amex travel portal and 35% points rebate when paying with Membership Rewards for travel booked through the Amex travel portal. The rebate applies to one designated airline when buying economy tickets, but any airline when purchasing premium cabin tickets.

The annual fee is also $100 cheaper than the personal card’s at $450/year instead of $550.

4. Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card

The SPG Business Amex offers 25,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening.

When you transfer SPG points to airline partners, you get a 5k mile bonus for each increment of 20k SPG points transferred. So the 42k SPG points you’ll have after meeting the minimum spending requirement for the bonus is really like 52k airline miles (and SPG has TONS of airline transfer partners, more than any other transferrable point type).

The card comes with other benefits like a category bonuses of 2 points per dollar spent at SPG & Marriott properties. You’ll also get complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices, and–not included as a perk on the personal SPG card–access to Starwood chain hotel club lounges, which can prove quite valuable if you frequent SPG properties.

Read about why both of the SPG credit cards (personal and business) should be on your immediate radar for credit card applications…especially this limited time 35k offer expiring at the end of this month.

5. Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express Open now comes with 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 on your card in the first three months the account is open.

The normal offer for the Business Gold Rewards Card is 25k Membership Rewards after spending $5,000. This improved offer is twice is good as it was before, and the best we’ve seen in years. Since you can only earn the sign-up bonus from a publicly available American Express card offer once per lifetime, that is significant when we say it’s the best sign up bonus we’ve seen in years.

It also has customizable category bonuses with unique options to choose from and the annual fee is waived the first year. You’ll get 3x Membership Rewards on one category of your choice out of the following five choices…

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

…2X Membership Rewards on the four remaining categories, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases. Read a full breakdown of the Business Gold Rewards card here.

6. United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

The Chase United MileagePlus Business Explorer card comes with 50,000 United miles after spending $3,000 on the card within three months of opening it. Spending $25,000 on the card within the first year will earn you an additional 10,000 bonus miles, for a total of 60,000 miles.

The card comes with 2 United miles per dollar spent on United purchases, as well as restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores purchases.

You also get a ton of perks United related perks–one highly valuable and non-marketed one being extra MileagePlus award space called “last seat availability”. This basically means cardholders have access to more United award space than non-cardholders.

You and one travel companion can check your first bag for free to save up to $100 per roundtrip flight. You and anyone on your reservation get Priority Boarding, which means you get to board before the majority of people and have a better chance to get your carry on luggage in the overhead bin. You’ll also get two passes for the United Club per year, and if you’re a MileagePlus Elite, cardholders are eligible for upgrades on domestic award travel.

The card charges no foreign transaction fees but has a $95 annual fee.

7. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard

The Citi / AAdvantage card comes with 60,000 American Airlines bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of opening the account. Benefits include:

  • Free checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and four companions
  • Preferred Boarding on American Airlines flights (this means after Business/First/elite passengers and before economy)
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights
  • Double AA miles on eligible American Airlines and telecommunications purchases, car rental merchants and at gas stations
  • If you spend $30,000 in a year on the card, you also get a $99 companion certificate for use within the continental United States.
  • Access to American Airlines’ domestic Reduced Mileage Awards
  • No foreign transaction fees

The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year. 

8. Gold Delta Business SkyMiles from Amex

Through April 11, the Delta Gold Business card is offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. If you spend an additional $1,000 on the card within six months of opening it, you’ll get an additional 10,000 bonus miles for a total of 60,000. You also get a $50 statement credit after your first Delta purchase in the first three months. In the past, all Delta purchases (even very small ones) and gift cards have activated the statement credit.

You will also earn 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and a get a free checked bag on Delta reservations. This card does not charge foreign transaction fees and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

This is exactly the same offer as the personal version of the Gold Delta Amex.

9. Southwest Business

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card comes with 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in three months. You’ll get 6,000 bonus points after every account anniversary. The $99 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.

If you live in a city served by Southwest and want a Companion Pass, then this card should be a part of your strategy to earn the 110,000 points necessary. Read the description of the Chase Southwest Rapid Reward Visas in the Top 10 Personal Travel Credit Cards for more specific info.

 

10. Blue Business Plus from American Express

 The Blue Business Plus from American Express does not come with a sign up bonus, but the fact that it earns 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on ALL kinds of purchases makes it the best business credit card for non-bonused spending available. Since I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, that’s like getting a 4% return on everything–up to the first $50,000 in spending per year. After that you’ll earn 1x. 

If you have lots of spending power that wouldn’t otherwise earn a higher category bonus on another card, then the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a fantastic option for you.

 


Before rushing to sign up for new cards, remember to take into account that some miles are better than others for getting to specific destinations–not to mention issuing bank rules concerning eligibility if you’ve had rewards cards in the past.

  • If you need help deciding which card is the right one for you, try our Free Credit Card Consultation Service. We’re happy to help guide you in the right direction towards effectively and efficiently collecting the appropriate rewards.
  • Need help redeeming your miles efficiently? Try our Award Booking Service. You send us your goal and current balances, and we do the work making sure your miles are stretched just as far as possible.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Sarah, I think the Blue Business Plus is giving 10K right now. I got the card between the 20K and 10K offers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The Bus. Plat only gives 1.5x, yet this free card gives 2x.

    Time to pay taxes soon, so which one will I choose.

    • Hey Bryon, are you sure that’s not a targeted offer you’re seeing within your Amex account online? I do not see a sign up bonus for the public offer.

  2. B
    I don’t know the time span of ur card BUT I have called on cards and the bank gave me the higher points . Taxes are a No Hassle way to hit min. BUT no one will give me a card To many Look sees on my credit .I’ll lay low for a year.
    CHEERs

  3. You state that the Amex SPG Business card gets “5 points per dollar spent at SPG properties.” You sure about that?

    • That line was confusing so I changed it–thanks for pointing that out. What I meant was that you can “earn up to 5 points per for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® hotels‡ – that’s 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member”… you’ll get 2 points per dollar spent on SPG properties from Amex, and you’ll get an additional 2 points per dollar spent on SPG properties just for being an SPG member. So even without status you’ll earn 4x. If you have status, you’d earn 3 points per dollar spent on SPG properties, making your grand total 5x if you put the spending on the Amex card. But the additional 2 or 3 points for being an SPG member/elite member you will earn regardless of whether you have this credit card.

  4. Is it ok to sign up for a credit card under your employer’s business name if they don’t offer you a “company card” or is it better to just sign up under your own name and side business?

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