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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.
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!
I’ll explain who can qualify for a small business card!
Qualify for a Small Business Card
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!
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
If you’re eligible for a small business card, there are some fantastic offers currently available!
1. AMEX Starwood
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.
This card also gets you:
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Westin and W brand hotels)
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels
- 1X Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
- Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding in-flight)
- Access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) for cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd-party bookings are excluded).
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- No foreign transaction fees
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.
2. Chase Ink Business Preferred
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.
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 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!