Check Out How Designer (and Reader!) Deborah Uses Her Small Business to Fund Her Travels!
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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: Prosperity Designs
Deborah shares her success as a small business owner to help others learn how to earn and use miles & points to make their travel dreams come true!
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your small business.
My name is Deborah, and while I have a full-time corporate job, I also own an interior design & staging business. I’ve always loved design, and even owned a furniture import company many years ago! Although my small business isn’t a huge operation, I find it incredibly fulfilling. Plus, it’s a great way to earn more miles, points, and cash back!
I make sure to put all my business expenses on a rewards earning card. And if I have a big project coming up, I’ll even time a new credit card application around those expenses. So I can meet the card’s minimum spending requirement more easily.
If I’m redecorating someone’s living room, for example, I can buy the furniture with my own credit card and bill the clients. That way I’m earning the rewards for any purchases made for the project! In my opinion, double dipping like that is a no-brainer if you own a small business.
Why did you decide on the card(s) you chose?
I really like the flexibility of points like Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards points, and Starwood points. Over the past ~1.5 years, I’ve gotten the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
I chose these cards, again, because of the flexibility they offer.
For example, I can use the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with the Ink Business Preferred card for cash back or travel. I fly United Airlines a lot, and they’re a Chase Ultimate Rewards point transfer partner, so those points come in handy.
I was also lucky enough to be targeted for a 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards point sign-up bonus on the AMEX Business Platinum card (the public offer is 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points; 50,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 in the first three months. Plus, an extra 25,000 bonus points after spending an additional $10,000 in the same time frame). So I couldn’t pass that up. And I’ve redeemed my AMEX Membership Rewards points for Delta flights (my selected airline), and get 35% of my points back.
I haven’t used my Starwood points yet. But I like that I have the option to use them at Starwood OR Marriott hotels. Or, I can transfer them to airlines for flights. Guess I need to start planning another trip!
Describe the application. ex. Did you apply as a sole proprietor with your social security number or some other way?
I don’t have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) because I’m the only employee, so I’ve never felt the need for one. I’ve always just used my name and social security number to apply for business cards. And I’ve never had any issues with it.
Most recently, I applied for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. This was the first time an application of mine went into pending. And Chase requested a number of different items in order to approve me, including a copy of my business card and drivers license, and a copy of a bill showing my business’ mailing address.
It was a bit of a pain, but I was approved in the end. So I’m not complaining!
Which factors do you think led to you eventually being approved for the small business cards you have?
I have an excellent credit score (~815!) and I can show proof of my business if I need to, because the income is reported on my taxes. It has never come to that, but I’d imagine my overall yearly income and good credit history help a lot.
What would you tell someone who’s never applied for a small business card?
Don’t sweat it! Business card applications are usually longer than personal card applications, because they’ll ask for business information.
Plus, they’re easier to qualify for than you might think. And lots of different kinds of small businesses count. So they’re worth applying for, because small business cards offer some BIG sign-up bonuses. And most do NOT appear on your personal credit report, so won’t count against Chase’s “5/24” rule.
Now the fun part! How do you plan to use your miles or points to get Big Travel with Small Money? 🙂
My daughter is considering a move to San Diego, so I’d like to meet here there for a visit in April. I’ve never been, so it would be a great use for some of the miles & points I have stashed.
I’ve already started looking into hotels, and THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel caught my eye. Rooms can go for $350+ per night, but I could use 12,000 Starwood points per night instead. And save $1,200+ for a long-weekend stay!
As for the rest of the rewards I’ve earned…who knows. I’d like to visit Hawaii, or make a trip to Norway to trace my ancestry. How neat would that be?
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!
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! :)