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You can earn thousands of bonus points on office supplies and mobile phone services by swiping the right credit card.
Whether you’re a one-man-band, bootstrapped out of your parent's garage, or department head at a multi-national corporation, office supplies, and cellular services can make up a significant portion of your business spend each month. By utilizing business rewards cards featuring office supplies and mobile phone services as bonus categories, you can earn hundreds of thousands of extra points, or thousands of dollars cash back each year.
The Best Credit Card for Office Supplies & Mobile Phone Services
Our Pick – Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
While we have to select a winner, the ‘best’ card for office supplies and mobile phone services is, in fact, two cards paired together. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. They make a formidable pairing for any small business. The Ink Cash earns 5x Ultimate Rewards (marketed as 5% cash back) for the first $25,000 spent on combined office supply stores; internet, cable, and phone services each account year. And the Ink Preferred earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent in combined travel, shipping; Internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases on social media and search engine optimization.
The kicker is pairing the Ink Cash with either the Ink Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which allows you to combine the points earned on the Ink Cash, with rewards on the annual fee cards. You can then transfer those points to travel partners to achieve a much higher redemption value, or redeem them for 1.25¢ or 1.5¢ per point through the Chase Travel Portal, depending on which card you hold.
If you max out the 5% categories on the Ink Cash, you’ll collect 125,000 points. Max out the 3X categories on the Ink Preferred (which can all go on mobile phone spend if required), and you’ll tally up 450,000 points. That’s more than seven round-trip business class awards to Europe if transferred to the right airline partner, or over $7,000 value if redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal.
The other feature to take into account is the cell phone insurance provided by the Ink Preferred. Provided you pay for each phone's monthly service with your Ink Preferred, the policy covers employee phones up to 3 claims per year, or a maximum of $600 per claim or $1,800 per 12 months.
“Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephones are the lines listed on Your most recent cellular provider’s monthly billing statement for the billing cycle prior to when the incident occurred.”
Best Rewards Credit Cards for Office Supplies & Mobile Phone Service
|Credit Card||Points Earned on Office Supplies & Mobile Phone Services||Other Bonus Categories||Annual Fee|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each account anniversary year on combined office supply stores; internet, cable, and phone services spending||N/A||$0|
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||3X Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year on Internet, cable and phone services (combined with other bonus categories)||• 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year||$95|
|SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express|
*No longer accepting applications
|5% cash back on first $50,000 (combined) spent at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers||3% cash back on the category of your choice:|
• Airfare purchased directly from airlines
• Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
• Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
• U.S. gas stations
• U.S. restaurants
• U.S. purchases for advertising on select media
• U.S. purchases for shipping
• U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
|No annual fee|
|Huntington Voice Business Credit Card||4% cash back in one of 10 categories including Utilities & Office Supplies (up to $7,000 per quarter)||Other 4% categories include:|
• Gas stations
• Travel & entertainment
• Discount & warehouse stores
• Grocery stores
• Electronics, computer & camera stores
• Department, apparel & sporting goods stores
• Home improvement stores
• Auto parts & service stores
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||2X Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners (applies to first $50,000 spent each year, then 1X)||N/A||No annual fee - Rates & Fees|
|U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®||Uncapped 3% cash back on eligible gas station, office supply store and cell phone/service provider purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.||25% annual bonus based on your prior year's Cash Rewards, up to $250||$0|
|Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card||3% on office supply stores (up to $250,000 in combined gas station and office supply store purchases annually)||3% cash back at gas stations (up to $250,000 in gas station and office supply store purchases annually)|
2% cash back at restaurants
If it’s straight cashback you’re after, the Ink Cash returns 5% on up to $25,000 of office supplies and mobile phone services each year. For enterprise size accounts, the Bank of America and U.S. Bank business cards offer significantly higher spending caps, but you would need to spend an awful lot on either card to eclipse the value supplied by the Chase pair at the top of the table.
What Purchases are Included in the Office Supplies & Mobile Phone Category?
Chase leaves the office supply store category somewhat vague, although they do specify exclusions which we’ve outlined below. The other thing to note with Chase, Amex, and Bank of America, is the bonus only applies to mobile phone services, not the purchase of equipment. U.S. Bank offers cash back on the purchase of cellular equipment in addition to services, which is a big plus.
“Merchants in the office supply stores category specialize in selling a variety of office supplies, from larger office supply stores to smaller stationary stores.”
“Only purchases for internet, cable, satellite television, radio, cellular, wireless data, and landline services will qualify. Please note that purchases of equipment are not included.”
“…5% on your first $50,000 of eligible purchases made in the following two categories combined, (1) monthly wireless telephone services purchased directly from wireless telephone service providers in the U.S. (purchases of hardware and equipment, and purchases from third parties and resellers, are excluded) and (2) office supplies purchased directly from U.S. office supply stores (supplies purchased at other retail stores are excluded)”
“…the term ”Cellular” means cellular telephone equipment as well as cellular service; (ii) the term ”Office Supplies” means those goods and services offered for sale by a retailer designated with an Office Supply, Business Supply, Printing Supply or a Commercial Furniture merchant or industry code, established by the credit card associations and the merchant.”
Bank of America
“Office Supply Stores, which include: wholesale distributors of stationery, office supplies, and printing and writing paper…”
Are Any Purchases Excluded from the Office Supplies & Mobile Phone Category?
“…some larger merchants that sell a wide variety of general goods which may include office supplies, for example, discount stores, department stores, or electronics stores, are not included in this category. Also, merchants and wholesale distributors that specialize in only a few large office supplies, such as computer software and hardware, office furniture, photocopiers, and office equipment, are not included even if they also sell some smaller office supplies.”
“…purchases of equipment are not included. In addition, if you purchase or pay for your internet, cable and satellite television, phone or related services in a merchant's store that is not classified by the merchant in the applicable services category, the purchase or payment will not qualify; for example, phone bill payments in a merchant's store that is classified as a telephone equipment store.”
“…purchases of hardware and equipment, and purchases from third parties and resellers, are excluded…”
“…(office) supplies purchased at other retail stores are excluded.”
U.S. Bank doesn’t provide any specific exclusions outside of merchant category codes.
Bank of America
“…do not include variety, department, discount warehouse, or drug stores that may sell office supplies, and do not include merchants that sell large or high-priced office equipment such as computers or desk units.”
Unless your goal is straight cash back or your spend runs deep into the hundreds of thousands, it’s hard to go past the Ultimate Rewards earning pair, the Ink Preferred and Ink Cash. You’ll pay just $95 per year in annual fees, and make a ton of the most valuable, flexible points available in the U.S. If you want to maximize your office supply spend even further, try leveraging shopping portals and loyalty programs for office supply retailers such as Staples for additional profit.
Have a favorite rewards credit card for office supplies or cell phone services we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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