5 Top Business Cards for Big Travel With Small Money! – March 2014

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Some business cards have very good sign-up bonuses to get more Big Travel with Small Money!

Emily and I love the sign-up bonuses we’ve gotten from our business cards, and we use business cards to keep our personal and business expenses separate.

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We Put Our Blog Expenses on Business Credit Cards!

If you already have lots of personal cards, business cards could make sense to earn extra miles and points.

Maybe you haven’t considered business credit cards because you don’t think you have a business.  But many folks already qualify for a business card and don’t even know it!  Read my post on 3 Ways You May Qualify for a Business Credit Card.

And here’s a post on how to fill out a business credit card application.  But don’t lie on the application!

Business cards have less impact on your personal credit score because the business card credit line and spending are usually NOT reported to the personal credit bureaus, unless you don’t pay your bills.

In general, the only impact to your credit score is the initial credit inquiry, because most business cards do not report your balance to credit bureaus unless you miss payments and don’t pay.  Before you apply for any cards, be sure to read the 5 dangers of applying for credit cards.

5 Top Business Cards

Here are my 5 favorite business credit cards.  Of course there are more than 5 business cards available, but I like these the best for their sign-up bonuses, points and miles earning, and overall perks.  This post discusses only the best currently available bonuses.

1.   Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Plus Review

Link:   Chase Ink Bold

Link:   Chase Ink Bold Review

The Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus business credit cards both have 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonuses.  They earn Chase Ultimate Reward points which can be transferred to airlines and hotels including:

  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Korean Air
  • Marriott Hotels
  • IHG (formerly Priority Club) Hotels
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • Ritz-Carlton Hotels
  • Amtrak

You get:

  • 50,000 points when you spend $5,000 within the 1st 3 months
  • 5 points per $1 you spend at office supply stores like Staples, phone bills, internet, and cable TV up to $50,000 a year
  • 2 points per $1 you spend at gas stations and hotel websites.  Maximum $50,000 annually.
  • No foreign transaction fees when you use it outside the US
  • No annual fee for the 1st year, then $95

The main difference between the Chase Ink Bold and the Chase Ink Plus is that the Ink Bold is a charge card, which means you have to pay your balance in full every month.  The Ink Plus is a credit card, so you can carry a balance if needed (but you should try not to!)

Reader Question When Does The 5x Bonus On The Ink Cards Reset

5X Points at Office Supply Stores & Telecom With the Ink Cards!

I like these cards for the sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fees, the 5X points for paying my cable and internet bills, and the flexibility to transfer to so many airlines and hotels.  You can earn a lot of points with these cards, especially if you’re a big spender!

Read my full reviews of the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus to learn more about these cards.  Here’s a post on how to fill out a Chase business card application.

2.   Citi American Airlines Business Card

I like this card for the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus & the free 1st checked bag.  But I actually prefer spending money on the Starwood Business card (#3) to earn American Airlines miles!

Link:   Citi American Airlines Business Card

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Get 50,000 Bonus Miles and a Free 1st Checked Bag

You earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 within 3 months.  You can use your American Airlines miles to fly to Asia on Cathay Pacific, to the Maldives on Etihad, to South America on LAN, or to Australia on Qantas…just to name a few options!

You get:

  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 in the 1st 3 months
  • Check your 1st bag for free – and up to 4 travel companions
  • Priority boarding and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases
  • 2 miles per $1 you spend on American Airlines tickets
  • No annual fee for the 1st year, then $95

50,000 American Airlines miles can get you 2 round-trip domestic tickets or ~1 round-trip ticket to Hawaii!

3.   Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card From American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card From American Express earns Starwood hotel points, which you can use for hotel nights or airline tickets.

You get:

  • 25,000 points: 10,000 after you make your 1st purchase, and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 in the 1st 6 months
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on regular purchases
  • 2 points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (like Sheraton, Westin, and W Hotels)
  • No annual fee for the 1st year, then $65

You can transfer Starwood hotel points to 31 different airlines including American Airlines, US Airways, United, Delta, and British Airways.  You get a bonus of 5,000 points for every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline.

This means that you earn 1.25 American Airlines miles per $1 spent (assuming you transfer Starwood points in increments of 20,000 points to airlines) on the Starwood business card.

I also like the Nights and Flights option to redeem Starwood hotel points for combination of airline miles and hotel stays.  You can use points to book your flight and hotel together for fewer points than if you were to book them separately.

The Starwood card charges foreign transaction fees, so don’t use it outside the US.  Consider using cards like the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus instead.

Read my series on the Starwood hotel program to learn more about how to maximize your Starwood points!

There have been 30,000 point offers for the Starwood card in summer over the last few years, but I can’t say for sure if they will return (though I’d guess they will!)

4.   SimplyCash Business Card From American Express

Link:   SimplyCash Business Card From American Express

Link:   SimplyCash Review 

I applied for the SimplyCash Business Card From American Express in January & earned 100,000 miles and $890 in statement credits.

This is a great card which currently has no annual fee!

You get:

  • $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months (but only until April 28, 2014!)
  • No annual fee
  • 5% back at office supply stores (like Staples) and cell phone, maximum $25,000 annually
  • 3% back on a category you choose, maximum $25,000 annually
  • 1% back on all other purchases.  Terms and Limitations apply.

This card doesn’t normally have a sign-up bonus, so it’s a good card to consider applying for soon.  The $250 sign-up bonus offer is only good until April 28, 2014.

I like that you’re able to choose the 3% cash back category depending on where you spend most of your money.  You can pick between airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, advertising, and shipping.  So you could save a bit if you spend a lot of money in those categories.

Because the card has no annual fee you can keep it for a long time and build a relationship with American Express.  You also get discounts at Hyatt, Fedex and a few other places because this is a small business “OPEN” card.

However, you get the $250 statement credit offer only if you’re approved for this card before April 28, 2014.  Here’s my detailed review of the SimplyCash card.

5.   US Bank Club Carlson Business Card

Link:   US Bank Club Carlson Business Card

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Free Gold Elite Status and 85,000 Sign-Up Bonus Points

Club Carlson hotels includes Country Inns and SuitesRadissonRadisson BluPark Inn by Radisson,  and Park Plaza

You get:

  • 50,000 points after you make your 1st purchase and another 35,000 points after you spend $2,500 in the 1st 3 months
  • 1 free night if you use points for 2 or more consecutive nights at the same hotel
  • Free Club Carlson Gold Elite status as long as you have the card
  • $60 annual fee, NOT waived for the 1st year
  • 3% currency fee when you use it outside the US
  • 40,000 points on your card anniversary each year

85,000 bonus points seems like a lot of points, but many Club Carlson hotels can cost more than 40,000 points per night.  Club Carlson is changing their award chart from March 15, 2014 so some hotels will cost even more points.

But the best things about the Club Carlson card is the free night when you use points for 2 consecutive nights or more.  This means that on a 2 night booking, you’re getting 2 nights for the points of 1!  This a great deal if you’re just staying for 2 nights.

I also like the free Gold Elite status, which gets you free internet, a 15% discount on food and beverage, room upgrades when available, and a welcome gift.

And the 40,000 anniversary point bonus could make up for the annual fee.  Just make sure you don’t use the card outside of the US, because you’ll get hit with a foreign transaction fee.

Note:  Be careful, because US Bank tends to deny applications from people who have a lot of recent credit inquiries.  If you’re thinking of applying for this card, you might want to apply for it 1st, before you apply for others.

Business Card Honorable Mentions

Here are a couple more cards that didn’t make my Top 5, but could still be a good deal for some folks.

1.   US Bank Flex Perks Business Travel Rewards VISA Card

Link:   US Bank Flex Perks Business Travel Rewards VISA Card

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~$600 Towards Airfare With the Olympic Offer

US Bank is running a promotion unto March 15, 2014 which gets you extra sign-up bonus points based on the number of Olympic medals the US team won.  You’ll get an extra 7,450 points on top of the regular 20,000 point sign-up bonus and 3,500 points from completing the minimum spending.

You can use the ~30,000 points for an airline ticket worth up to ~$600.

Emily and I don’t get a commission for the US Bank Flex Perks Visa link with the Olympic bonus points, but we always tell you about better offers, even when they don’t pay us a commission!

The 3 points for every $1 you spend on charitable donations is a unique perk.  If you donate a lot of money to charity, this might be a good card for you.

I like that you can use the points on so many airlines, and the $25 airline allowance with each reward ticket offsets things like baggage fees and in-flight food and drink.

2.   Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

Link:   Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

The regular offer is for 30,000 United miles after completing the minimum spending, but I’d see if you can get the targeted offer for ~50,000 miles.

Here’s a post with tips on how you can get the targeted offer.  I personally got an email for ~50,000 bonus miles, so this could be a great deal if you can find a targeted offer!

Bottom Line

Business cards can be a great alternative way to earn big sign-up miles and points bonuses, especially if you already have a lot of personal cards.

Getting a business credit card may be easier than you think.  Check out my post on ways you can qualify for a business card.  And here’s how to fill out a business card application.

What are your favorite business cards which I’ve left out?

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Responses to 5 Top Business Cards for Big Travel With Small Money! – March 2014

  1. I picked up both the Ink Plus and Ink Bold business cards during a semi app-o-ramma. Great cards, valuable points and nice bonuses. I was unsure if I’d be approved for two business cards on the same day. When I called in after being asked to provide more information, the only issue was the service rep asking, “Do you definitely need two cards?” I explained the benefits of my business having the option to pay one off in full and another to be able to carry a balance if I needed it. The answer was sufficient and I had them within a week.

  2. I’ve been asking around D and I should probably get your 2 cents. We’re restructuring our corporate cards to try to take more advantage of travel rewards and some of these make sense. We have the AMEX corporate account earning those non-transferable MR with about 20 cards carried by employees and 30 BofA cards earning minimal cash back. We do about $20m annual and put about $500k a year on the cards as a company ($100k of that currently being travel expenses.) Based between EWR and PHL but not married to any airlines or hotels at this point. Where do you think we’d best be served? It seems like Ink makes more sense than BofA but it looks like AMEX has other corporate options that make sense as well.

    Just looking for some ideas of what to research to make sense for us. Thanks!

  3. I’m pretty sure a lot of people who have these business cards don’t have any real business expenses. So I’ll bring out the elephant in the room and ask whether anyone has had any issues like closed accounts or penalties for personal use of any of these credit cards. The rewards are too good to pass up, and while technically I do have business expenditures, I will hardly be using it strictly only for business, because then I wouldn’t be taking advantage of the rewards. I’m primarily interested in the Ink and SimplyCash cards if it matters.

  4. Hi. Yesterday American Express launched a new offer for platinum card with increased bonus of 40000 points (earlier 25000 points).
    got to know of it thru a friend who sent me link to another blog.

    Being a long time reader of your blog, I was hoping you would share it with the readers. Why have you not shared it? Any particular reason?

    Sorry this post might not be the right one to ask this.

    Thanks.

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