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Welcome to the next installment of our Small Business Card Reader Success Series, where Million Mile Secrets readers share how they opened a small business credit card to get Big Travel with Small Money!
Small Business Card Interview: The Free Travel Guy
Daniel shares his success as a small business owner to help others learn how to earn and use miles & points to take dream trips of their own!
You can follow him on Facebook.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your small business.
Hi, my name is Daniel. I currently run a consulting business and travel page on Facebook called “The Free Travel Guy.” My wife & I help people establish credit and guide those that are new to points & miles to get started with the hobby.
Why did you decide on the card(s) you chose?
As a travel enthusiast, I’m always looking for the best sign-up bonuses and offers available from a variety of business & personal cards.
That said, my wife and I always wanted to take a trip to Scandinavia & Eastern Europe. And although I already had enough points with Hilton & IHG for our hotel stays, I still needed to add 2 additional cards to make the trip happen.
First, I applied for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, when it was offering a 35,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements (offer no longer available). I also earned Starwood Gold elite status (that you can match to Marriott!) by spending $30,000+ on the card within a calendar year.
The sign-up bonus alone was enough for 5 nights at the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel in Croatia. And having Starwood Gold elite status was extremely useful on this trip.
That benefit gave us a suite upgrade & buffet breakfast!
I also decided to apply for the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, that came with a sign-up bonus of 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting minimum spending requirements (offer no longer available).
I specifically chose this card for its perks, including:
- $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc.)
- Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
- Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Free Hilton HHonors Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
- No foreign transaction fees
Plus, you’ll get 35% of your points back when you redeem them for certain tickets using Pay With Points through the AMEX travel portal.
Do you have other small business cards?
Yes, I currently have 3 others, the Chase Southwest Premier Business card, Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business card, and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®.
Describe the application. ex. Did you apply as a sole proprietor with your social security number or some other way?
Applying for the AMEX Starwood small business card was seamless. I was instantly approved and given a temporary card number.
As for the AMEX Business Platinum card, the application process was a little more because initially, I was given “pending” status. But I called American Express, and the representative wanted to ask me a few questions verifying my identity and confirming the information on the application.
After a few minutes on the phone, I was approved and all set with my new card added to my online profile!
I have had to call the reconsideration line before, so I knew what to expect and wasn’t nervous about it.
What would you tell someone who’s never applied for a small business card?
Check your personal credit score and number of the hard inquiries on your credit report before applying for your first small business card.
In my experience, you will typically need a credit score of at least 700 to 750+ to get a credit card for your small business. And when applying for your first business card, include your business revenue with your personal income.
If possible, obtain a Tax Identification Number (EIN). And you can use that instead of your social security number.
And if your business is new, you can estimate your annual income to the best of your knowledge.
Now the fun part! How do you plan to use your miles or points to get Big Travel with Small Money? 🙂
We already used most of the recently acquired points for our European trip we took in October.
We used 7,200 Southwest points and the Southwest Companion Pass to fly from Raleigh-Durham to Washington, DC. We changed airlines in the Washington Dulles airport and used 50,000 Merrill Rewards points for 2 round-trip tickets.
On the way out, we flew from Washington, DC, to Stockholm. But returned to Washington, DC, from Paris-Orly. Then took a Southwest flight back to Raleigh-Durham.
The first 3 nights of our trip were spent at the Hilton Stockholm Slussen using Hilton points.
Because of my Hilton Diamond elite status, we received an upgrade with a beautiful view of the city!
After Stockholm, we traveled to Krakow. And spent 3 nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton Krakow Hotel & Convention Center.
They had a great breakfast buffet!
After visiting Krakow & Auschwitz, we flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia, for 5 nights.
In Dubrovnik, we stayed at the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel. That cost 7,000 Starwood points per night.
Our last stop was Paris, where we spent 2 nights total.
Of course, we also took time to see the sights in the City of Light!
Finally, we finished our trip with a flight from Paris back to the US.
Upon arrival in Washington, DC, we cleared customs and immigration in less than 10 minutes thanks to Global Entry. Which I got for free from the AMEX Business Platinum card.
It was the perfect end to a great trip!
If anyone has any questions regarding how to use your miles or points, I’m here to help!
Want to Share Your Story?
If you’d like to share your small business card success, please send me a note! Emily and I would love to hear about how it went for you!