Can Company Employees Apply for Their Own Small Business Cards?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Rachel, sent us this message on Facebook:

Can I get a small business credit card to use for expenses at my job?  I have some travel for work coming up and I think I could meet the minimum spending requirement for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.  I already have the personal version.

Great question, Rachel!

It’s unlikely you’ll qualify for your own small business card and earn a sign-up bonus as an employee of a company.  Unless you’re an independent contractor and receive a 1099 tax form.

Banks will only extend credit to you for a business card if you’re an owner of a for-profit company.  Employees can only become an authorized user on a business credit card account.

That said, it’s possible to get a small business card with just your Social Security Number if you’re an Airbnb host, Uber driver, sell on eBay, or with many other side activities!

Qualify For A Small Business Card
As a Traditional Employee, It’s Unlikely You’ll Qualify for a Small Business Card

I’ll explain who can qualify for a small business card!

Qualify for a Small Business Card

Link:   How to Qualify for a Small Business Credit Card (And Why You Should Get One!)

Link:   Earn Big Miles & Points With These 7 Quick Small Business Ideas

There are many fantastic small business credit cards with big sign-up bonuses.

And many of them have special perks for business owners, like discounts, built-in savings, and extra miles or points in certain categories (like office supplies, gas, and advertising).

Plus, most small business cards don’t appear on you personal credit report.  But you’re still ultimately personally responsible for any charges you make on your small business credit card.  So be sure to make payments on time so you don’t incur any charges or fees!

Qualify For A Small Business Card
Many Small Business Cards Do NOT Appear on Your Personal Credit Report.  But You’re Still Ultimately Responsible for All Charges

You can qualify for a small business card if you earn income for performing a service or selling goods.  I shared 7 quick small business ideas that work!

If you’re an employee at a company that receives a W-2 for your earnings, you will NOT be able to use the company’s information to earn a sign-up bonus on a small business card.  Even if you’re using the card for company-related expenses.

The exception is if you work as an independent contractor.  For example, Million Mile Secrets team member Keith has friends who work for large corporations or the government and receive a 1099 tax form instead of a W-2.

These folks can apply for a small business card as a sole proprietor by using their Social Security number.

Top Small Business Card Offers

Link:   Best Small Business Credit Cards for Dentists, Real Estate Agents, & More

Link:   Best Business Credit Cards for Travel

If you’re eligible for a small business card, there are some fantastic offers currently available!

1.   AMEX Starwood

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the Best-Ever AMEX Starwood Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Until April 5, 2017, you can earn up to 35,000 Starwood points with the best-ever AMEX Starwood small business card sign-up bonus.

You’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.

Qualify For A Small Business Card
Use Points From the AMEX Starwood Sign-Up Bonus to Book an Award Night at Le Meridien Panama!

This card also gets you:

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

Note:   American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on ALL their cards.

You can read how to use the sign-up bonus to get a week-long vacation!  Or to book a night at the best US Starwood hotels.

2.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

When you open the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Qualify For A Small Business Card
The Online or Targeted In-Branch Sign-Up Bonus Offer on the Ink Business Preferred Can Get You Big Travel to Places Like Hawaii!

With this card, you also get:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • Primary auto rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection

The card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year when you apply in-branch.

This card earns my favorite type of transferable points.  You can transfer the points to Chase’s terrific airline and hotel transfer partners.  Or book travel through the Chase travel portal.

But don’t forget about Chase’s 5/24 rule.  It’s now tougher to be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened ~5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards) in the past 24 months.

Bottom Line

Unless you’re an independent contractor, you won’t qualify to earn a small business card sign-up bonus working as an employee for a company.

If you’re looking to get a business card, check out these 7 quick small business ideas.

If you qualify, there are some fantastic business card sign-up bonuses available, including the limited-time best-ever 35,000-point offer with the AMEX Starwood small business card.  Or 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Ink Business Preferred

I’d love to hear if you’ve had a unique experience qualifying for a small business card!

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! :)

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