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Using business credit cards for your expenses makes sense, if for no other reason than to separate your business and personal expenses. But when you add in the fact that there many business credit card with rewards you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have one. Whether your small business is a side gig (like running an Airbnb, freelancing or driving for Uber or Lyft) or a full-time occupation you can use business rewards credit cards to save for vacation or earn cash back to reinvest in your business.
Wondering which is the best business credit card for you? We’ve examined all the top offers and we’ll help you choose the best business credit card for your needs. Some have no annual fee; others are loaded with top-tier perks.
Best small business credit cards for 2020
- Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business: Best business credit card with a cash bonus
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: Best business credit card with a transferable-miles bonus
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card: Best business credit card for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®: Best for earning American Airlines miles
- Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card: Best for Alaska Airlines miles
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance® Business Credit Card: Best for Southwest points
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card: Best with no annual fee
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card: Best for cash back
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Best for travel/airport lounge access
Comparing business credit card offers
|Credit Card||Intro Bonus Offer||Annual Fee|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||$500 cash bonus after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.||$95, waived the first year|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||50,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening||$95, waived the first year|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after making $5,000 in purchases in first three months of account opening||$95|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®||65,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.||$99, waived the first 12 months|
|Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card||40,000 Alaska Airlines miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening||$75|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card||Up to 100,000 Southwest points; earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus, an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months.||$199|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||$500 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account||$0|
|Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||$500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening||$0|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Earn up to 75,000 points Amex Membership Rewards points.: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases made on the card within the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply.||$595 annual fee (see rates and fees)|
Best small business credit cards
Benefits and perks
The card earns an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. You can get your rewards as a check or statement credit any time with no minimum redemption amount.
You’ll get other built-in benefits, like purchase security and extended protection, auto-rental collision damage waiver (primary coverage) and lost-luggage reimbursement. You also don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees; employee cards are free to add.
The card has a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year.
This is a great card to try out because the $95 annual fee doesn’t kick in until after your first year.
If you want to earn rewards that you can redeem for any expense, this is the card for you. The minimum spend might be easier to hit than you think because you can pay your taxes with a credit card (for a fee). If you apply for the card now, both your annual and quarterly tax payments (depending on when you file) could be used to help meet your minimum spending.
With the Capital One Spark Miles business card, you’ll earn 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
You can transfer Capital One miles to the Accor Live Limitless hotel rewards program at a 2:1 ratio. This unlocks the ability to transfer your miles to three airlines that aren’t direct partners with Capital One (Finnair, Iberia and Virgin Australia) at a 2:1 ratio because those airlines are 1:1 transfer partners with Accor.
Every purchase you make with the Capital One Spark Miles card earns 2 miles per dollar. So you always know how much you’re getting regardless of what you’re purchasing. On top of that, you can now earn 5 Spark miles per dollar on hotel and rental car purchases made through the Capital One Travel site.
You can transfer Spark miles to 15 different airlines partners. For most of the partners, the transfer ratio is 2:1.5 (except for Singapore Airlines, JetBlue and Emirates, which transfer at 2:1). Capital One has partnered with programs like Flying Blue (Air France and KLM), Air Canada and Avianca Airlines, which are good options for booking award flights to Europe.
For example, Avianca only charges 63,000 miles for one-way business-class flights to Europe. So with 225,000 Avianca miles, you could book three one-way business-class flights to Europe with partners like SWISS. Booking those same three tickets could easily cost $7,000-$10,000 if you paid cash — that’s the power of being able to transfer miles to airlines. If you need help transferring your miles, read our step-by-step guide on how to transfer Capital One miles.
This card also comes with a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit (worth up to $100).
The card has a $95 annual fee but it is waived the first year.
Even though you can only transfer Spark Miles at a 2:1.5 ratio (2:1 ratio for Singapore Airlines, JetBlue and Emirates), this is still an exceptional card offer. Using credit card rewards to fly in international business class is one of the best ways to maximize the value you get for your miles and you won’t find a better way to stock up on miles than with this offer.
Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
This is a fantastic welcome bonus and a big reason why the Chase Ink Business Preferred is our #1 pick. If you like cash, the 80,000-point bonus offer is worth $800 but can be worth much more when it is used for travel.
Chase business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report, the benefit of this is they don’t count toward your Chase 5/24 limit. So opening the Ink Business Preferred won’t limit you from being approved for other Chase credit cards in the future.
Benefits and perks
Do you prefer to trade in your points for super-easy travel? Good idea. Because when you book through the Chase Travel Portal (it looks and works just like Expedia or Travelocity) your Chase Ink Business Preferred makes your Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth 25% more (1.25 cents each instead of 1 cent each). So the bonus gets you $1,000 worth of airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more.
Or you could move the points you earn to a Chase transfer partner for even more value. For example, your 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points can become 80,000 United Airlines miles or 80,000 Hyatt points.
The card also comes with the following coverages:
- Cellphone Protection – You get up to $600 per claim in cellphone protection against covered theft or damage for you and your employees listed on your monthly phone bill when you pay it with your credit card.
- Extended Warranty – When you buy stuff with your card, they add one extra year when the warranty is three years or less. The extended warranty protection is up to the amount charged to your card less shipping and handling fees, with a maximum of $10,000 and no more than $50,000 per calendar year. (Sorry, your business yacht is not covered.)
- Rental Car Insurance – Rental car insurance is primary when renting for business purposes and you decline the car rental agency’s CDW.
- Baggage Coverage – If your baggage is delayed for more than six hours, you could be reimbursed for emergency purchases of essential items (i.e. clothing, toiletries, cellphone charging cables and more). You can get up to $100 per day for a maximum of five days.
- Lost Luggage – This benefit covers the cost to repair or replace lost luggage and the personal items inside. You can be reimbursed up to $3,000 per person each trip with a limit of $500 for items such as jewelry and electronics. (So don’t pack your original Picasso.)
- Trip Delay Protection – If your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours (or requires an overnight stay), you could be reimbursed for up to $500 per ticket for reasonable expenses (meals, lodging, toiletries, medication and other personal use items).
In addition, you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees and it’s free to add employee cards to your account.
Ongoing earning potential
The Ink Business Preferred card earns 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year). You’ll also earn 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all other purchases.
The Ink Business Preferred card has a $95 annual fee.
You can’t go wrong with this card. In the absolute worst case, you earn the intro bonus and take home $800 minus the annual fee. Best case: Fly to dream destinations and stay in luxury hotels.
We selected the Ink Business Preferred as our best overall business credit card because, aside from the huge intro bonus, it also has generous spending bonus categories and great built-in insurances. Million Mile Secrets staff and readers alike have saved by using perks like the card’s trip delay coverage, rental car insurance and cellphone insurance.
With the CitiBusiness AAdvantage you can earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening.
Those 65,000 American Airlines miles are more than enough to take a couple of domestic award trips round-trip in coach. All you’ll pay is the taxes and fees which are ~$6 each way. Plus, American Airlines has amazing Oneworld travel partners like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and LATAM, with excellent rates to Asia, South America and beyond.
Those bonus miles can get you a trip or two in coach or maybe even a luxurious first- or business-class seat, depending on where you want to go. These flights can easily cost thousands, so using American Airlines miles instead can be a huge money-saver.
Citi has changed the application rules that apply to its American Airlines cards, including this one. Now, you aren’t eligible for the welcome bonus on this card if you’ve received a new account bonus for this specific card in the past 48 months.
Benefits and perks
Nearly everyone on the MMS team has had an American Airlines card at some point and for good reason. The miles you earn are extremely valuable, especially for travel. With this card, you’ll earn 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations. After that, you’ll earn 1x miles on everything else.
It’s easy to book award flights directly on the American Airlines website. Just enter where you want to go and your dates, be sure to check the “Redeem miles” box and you’re golden. You can easily filter for nonstop flights, explore the monthly calendar and find prices for all classes of service, using simple tools built into the search engine.
Beyond the ability to earn AA miles, you’ll also get access to perks like:
- First checked bag free – You’ll get the first bag checked for free on domestic American Airlines flights for you and up to four companions on the same reservation. Considering it costs $30 to check a bag each way, this can add up to huge savings.
- Preferred boarding
- 25% off food, drinks, and inflight Wi-Fi
- Companion certificate – When you spend $30,000 or more in purchases during your card year and renew your card (account must remain open for 45 days after account anniversary date), you’ll earn a companion certificate. After purchasing a qualifying airfare, you’ll pay a $99 companion ticket fee plus ~$22 to ~$43 in taxes and fees to add a friend or loved one to your flight. There are blackout dates, but if you can make it work, you stand to save much more than the card’s annual fee.
The card has a $99 annual fee that is waived for the first 12 months.
American Airlines miles are valuable for booking Oneworld partner awards. You can now search for award space with Cathay Pacific, Eithad and Japan Airlines right from the American Airlines site.
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage card usually has the biggest intro bonus of all the Citi American Airlines cards, so it’s a great choice for stocking up on these useful miles. If you fly with American even just a few times per year, I recommend having a card like this one that will get you priority boarding and a free checked bag. Also, this card won’t appear on your personal credit report, so it won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count.
With the Alaska Airlines Business credit card you’ll earn 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles, plus a Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Domestic award flights start at just 7,500 Alaska Airlines miles, but you’re not limited to flying on Alaska Airlines. They have partnerships with over a dozen international airlines, like Fiji Airways, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas. The award chart is surprisingly generous, though it varies by partner airline.
This welcome offer is as high as we’ve ever seen it.
If you’re short of having enough miles for your next Alaska Airlines award you can transfer Marriott points to Alaska Airlines. The transfer ratio is 3:1 and for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer you’ll get 5,000 bonus Alaska miles.
Benefits and perks
With this card you’ll earn 3x Alaska Airlines miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1x miles on everything else.
When it’s time to use your miles, simply head to the Alaska Airlines website. There you can book all partner awards online with the exception of Cathay Pacific and LATAM.
The Alaska Airlines Business card also comes with an annual Companion Fare each year you renew your card. With that fare you’ll get to bring a companion along on a domestic economy flight (paid for with cash) for only $99 + taxes and fees. This is an especially good deal for flights to Hawaii or other markets that tend to have seasonal price jumps. You’ll also get a free checked bag on Alaska Airlines for yourself and up to six travel companions.
The annual fee is $75 a year.
The intro bonus is unlikely to go higher than it is now. In the past, it’s been as low as 30,000 miles as a standard offer. If you use the companion ticket and check bags on a trip or two, you’ll come out way ahead. Plus if you fly Alaska Airlines regularly, you’ll earn 3x miles on ticket purchases, which is an easy way to earn more miles.
Alaska Airlines is unique in that it is not part of an airline alliance, but the domestic routes and bevy of excellent partnerships make these airline miles worth collecting.
The Southwest Performance Business credit card has a bonus of up to 100,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points; earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months.
A Southwest point’s value is about 1.5 cents for flights (based on our valuations), so this bonus is worth around $1,500 in Southwest airfare — and potentially almost double that if you have the Southwest Companion Pass. The good news is that this bonus counts toward earning a companion pass.
You can only have one personal Southwest credit card at anytime. But you can have a business Southwest card and a personal Southwest card at the same time. So if you earn the intro bonus on both cards, you’re likely to have earned enough points for a Southwest Companion Pass.
Benefits and perks
This is the best Southwest card for earning points because you’ll get triple points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners; 2x points on social media and search advertising purchases, internet, cable and phone service purchases, and 1x Southwest points on all other purchases.
In addition, every year you’ll get 9,000 bonus Southwest points on the anniversary of cardmembership (worth ~$135 in Southwest flights).
Using Southwest points is incredibly easy. There’s no Southwest award chart; instead, if there’s a seat for sale, you can book it with points. The price of an award flight is tied to the cost of a paid ticket, so if there’s a Southwest fare sale, you’ll need fewer points.
This card is also loaded with perks like four upgraded boardings per year (when available), up to 365 $8 Wi-Fi credits per year, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (worth up to $100), and 1,500 tier-qualifying points after every $10,000 in purchases (on up to $100,000 in purchases every cardmember year). Plus if you use it overseas you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees.
This card has a $199 annual fee.
This card has the highest annual fee of all the Southwest cards, but if you make the most of the perks (9,000 points each card anniversary, four upgraded boardings, inflight Wi-Fi credits and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit), you’ll come out way ahead.
It’s worth a hard look for anyone who flies Southwest because you only need to earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year to get the coveted Southwest Companion Pass — and this bonus will get you most of the way there.
Earning $500 in cash from a business credit card with no annual fee is a fantastic deal.
If you pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred, you can pool your points onto one of those cards and then transfer them to any of Chase’s transfer partners.
Benefits and perks
The Ink Business Cash card also has excellent bonus spending categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year. In addition, you’ll get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
I’ve had this card for many years. I rock it at office supply stores and to pay my internet and cable bills. Whenever I have a business meal, I use it to earn double points. Often business beer and cocktails earn 2x points too because many bars and lounges code as restaurants to the credit card company.
If you only have the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card, all the points you earn are worth 1 cent each and you can redeem them for statement credit, gift cards or travel. But if you also have the Chase Ink Business Preferred (yes, you can have both cards), the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you have powered up from small Mario to Super Mario because you can move the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Ink Cash to one of those cards. And from there you have access to all the great travel partners I talked about in the Chase Ink Business Preferred section.
This card comes with many of the same benefits as the Chase Ink Business Preferred, like primary rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes), extended warranty protection and delayed baggage and lost luggage protection.
When I bought my semi-fancy office chair at Staples with my Ink Cash (to earn 5x points), I chuckled when they tried to sell me their extended warranty.
The Ink Business Cash card has no annual fee.
I love this card. You will too. It costs nothing to own and earns 5% back on your phone, internet and cable bill. It does, however, charge foreign transaction fees, which is why I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred when I travel abroad.
With the Chase Ink Business Unlimited card, you can earn a $500 cash bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Again, that is a great intro bonus for a credit card with no annual fee.
Just like with the Ink Business Cash card, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, you can pool your points onto one of those cards and then transfer them to any of Chase’s travel partners.
Benefits and perks
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited card is similar to the Chase Ink Business Cash card. The biggest difference is that it doesn’t have any bonus categories. Instead, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back (1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on every purchase with no yearly limits.
This is the no-annual-fee, cash-back business credit card I recommend most to my friends and family who have businesses. You’ll be earning a higher cash-back rate on every purchase, regardless of how much you spend per year and most businesses have lots of large expenses that don’t fall into narrowly defined bonus categories.
As with the Chase Ink Business Cash card, you can pool the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn onto an eligible Chase credit card and then transfer them to Chase’s travel partners. You’ll also get similar coverages, like extended warranty, purchase protection and rental car insurance (when you rent for business purposes).
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited card is impacted by the Chase “5/24” rule, so you’re not likely to be approved if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months. But you can still have this card even if you have other Chase business cards like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card or Chase Ink Business Cash card.
As with the Ink Business Cash card, you can only redeem your points for cash unless you have one of these other annual-fee Ultimate Rewards points cards: the Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can move the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Ink Business Unlimited to one of those cards. And from there you have access to all the great travel partners I talked about in the Chase Ink Business Preferred section.
This card has no annual fee.
This is the perfect card for earning those coveted Chase Ultimate Rewards points for non-bonus business spending without paying an annual fee. There are very few business owners who wouldn’t benefit by having this card because they can earn 50% more rewards (1.5% back on everything) for all of the non-bonus spending, which for some businesses can be the majority of expenses.
You’ll earn the American Express Business Platinum card’s full bonus after meeting these spending requirements:
- Earn up to 75,000 points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases made on the card within the first 3 months of account opening.
You can only earn the welcome bonus for an American Express card once per lifetime. But the personal and business version of a card are considered different products, so if you’ve had The Platinum Card® from American Express you are still eligible for the intro offer with this card.
Benefits and perks
The Business Platinum card is a good option for large business purchases and travel spending. It earns 1.5x Amex Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+ (up to 1,000,000 bonus points per calendar year) and 5x Amex Membership Rewards points when you book airfare or prepaid hotels through the Amex travel site.
To get the most value from your rewards points you’ll want to transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to travel partners. To redeem them without having to worry about award charts and blackout dates, take advantage of Amex’s Pay With Points feature. And if you’re looking to keep things super-simple (though we don’t recommend this route), you can use your points for gift cards through Amex’s portal.
One extremely valuable benefit that is unique to the Business Platinum is the 35% points rebate you get on all Pay with Points bookings in first class or business class, or any other flights (including coach) booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points (up to 500,000 points per calendar year).
The card is also loaded with valuable statement credits. You get up to $200 in credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, inflight food and drink, etc.) and an annual Dell credit (up to $100 from January to June; up to $100 from July to December). That’s in addition to a credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.
Perhaps the best travel perk of this card is the top-of-the-line airport lounge access. You’ll have access to 1,200 Priority Pass lounges around the world and you can visit Delta SkyClub lounges (when you’re travel with Delta), Airspace lounges, Escapes lounge, Plaza Premium lounge and the posh American Express Centurion Lounges. This is the most extensive network of airport lounges you can access with any credit card.
The Amex Business Platinum annual fee is $595 and it is not waived for the first year (see rates and fees).
This is a platinum card that is actually worthy of the name. It is always a strong pick, especially for frequent travelers, because it is easy to offset the annual fee with the welcome bonus, perks and benefits.
If you can take full advantage of the many statement credits and lounge access, it can be easy to justify the annual fee.
How we selected the best business credit card offers
The bonus offer: Credit card companies make money every time you use their card and when you pay them interest (so pay those bills on time!). To entice you to become their customer, they give you an opportunity to earn lots of miles or cash when you first open the new card. Some bonuses are very generous, but some are not. We deleted all the cheapskate bonuses and kept only the cards with big offers.
Minimum spending requirement: So what’s the “catch” to a bonus offer? You have to spend a certain amount on your new card within a certain timeframe. Smaller spending requirements that make it easier for you to unlock the bonus make a card offer better. At Million Mile Secrets we want you to earn that bonus.
Ongoing bonus opportunities: We prefer business credit cards that keep rewarding you even after you earn the initial big intro bonus.
Other special benefits: Airport lounges, no foreign transaction fees, TSA PreCheck … these perks and others can save you money and time.
Having a small-business card is also a terrific way to stay organized because you can separate personal and business expenses, which makes it easier to track your spending.
We ranked the best business credit cards by category to help you decide which is a good fit for your situation.
Who qualifies for business credit cards?
Qualifying for a business credit card might be easier than you realize. You don’t need to own a multimillion-dollar corporation. In fact, you don’t even need to be officially registered as a business with your local or state government or the IRS to qualify for the best small-business credit card offers. You can apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor by using your Social Security number on the application. Team members Meghan and Jasmin have received cards this way. At the same time, you’ll have to show the bank that you’re operating a for-profit venture. Anything you do as an independent contractor may count, especially if you get a 1099 form for it.
The good news is most banks do not have any minimum business-income requirements for opening business credit cards. So you’re eligible to apply for business credit cards even if you don’t make deposits for your business at the bank that issues the card.
It’s awesome to see business owners travel first class, stay in luxurious hotels or earn lots of cash using our tips and tricks. I loved the story of our reader Darren who owns a property management company. He treated his family of six to trips to Greece, Egypt, London, Montreal and New York City using miles — and they flew in business class. Nice.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.
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