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Business credit cards play a key role meeting the lending needs of SME's, providing access to credit that may otherwise be out of reach, and offering flexibility to business operators, freelancers, consultants, and entrepreneurs. They also allow business owners to build a substantial balance of rewards points from large company purchases and everyday business expenses, that may otherwise go under-utilized. These are not, however, the only benefits to acquiring business credit cards.
Tightened rules surrounding personal credit card applications at Chase, and policies already in place with other providers like American Express stating consumers can only obtain the welcome bonus for each credit card product once, mean that rewards cards targeting small business are becoming increasingly necessary for a successful long-term rewards strategy.
For example, current data shows that Chase’s Ultimate Rewards earning Ink cards, while subject to the 5/24 rule, do not count towards it. This opens up alternate strategies for rewards fans to still obtain bulk Ultimate Rewards while staying under the magic 5 cards in a 24-month period.
Business credit cards are also becoming more accessible. The nature of employment is changing as we push further into the 21st century, with a growing portion of the workforce self-employed, freelance, contracting, or consulting as opposed to historical full-time employment. This, in turn, qualifies more individuals to take advantage of the opportunity business rewards cards represent.
What Makes a Great Small Business Credit Card?
The one that works for your circumstances! It’s not rocket science, but just like a good bar of soap, a business credit card must perform it’s primary duties well to qualify as a great card. What works best for a chef running a restaurant may not be the best product for a mechanic, an online retailer, consultant, or events planner. Each business has unique requirements and operates in a different environment to its peers.
If you are a consultant required to travel for work but with few out of pocket expenses, your needs will differ vastly from those of a brick and mortar fashion retailer who doesn’t travel and is aiming to maximize cash back returns. Some business cards offer flexibility on big purchases via introductory 0% APR offers and low annual fees, other offer travel benefits such as elite status with hotels and annual travel credits in return for higher fees, while there are several cash back cards designed solely to maximize cash return on everyday business expenses.
With all that in mind, we’ve put together a list of highlights from some of our favorite rewards earning business cards, covering a wide range of the rewards spectrum and from a variety of credit providers.
Our Top Small Business Rewards Credit Cards
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Ink Preferred is one of our favorite business rewards credits, with a mammoth signup bonus for a very reasonable minimum spend, a great bonus category structure, and accessible benefits that provide genuine value. At $95 a year, it offers one of the best cost/benefit ratios of any business card on the market.
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business with no limit on the number of cashback/points you can earn.
- If you also hold the Ink Preferred or one of the premium Ultimate Rewards earning personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the $500 cashback could transfer 1:1 to Chase travel partners as the equivalent of 50,000 points.
- $0 Annual Fee
The Ink Business Unlimited is the perfect companion card for the Ink Cash and Ink Preferred, earning 1.5% on every purchase, with no spending caps or bonus categories to think about. A monster points earning card for non-bonus business spending!
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- If you also hold the Ink Preferred or one of the premium Ultimate Rewards earning personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the $500 cash back could transfer 1:1 to Chase travel partners as the equivalent of 50,000 points (combined with the 80,000-point signup bonus from the Ink Preferred this would equal over 130,000 Ultimate rewards after meeting the minimum spend)
- $0 Annual Fee
When paired together, the Ink Business Unlimited, Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, and Ink Preferred make a formidable team, particularly for new cardmembers. For a total annual cost of $95, you gain access to great benefits and bonus categories, with every point earned redeemable for a minimum 1.25 cents per point through Ultimate Rewards, or more when transferred to Chase travel partners. And, for $11,000 minimum spend, you’ll receive 188,000 Ultimate Rewards points!
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- Rates & Fees
The Business Platinum Card maintains its place at the top of business rewards cards due to its stellar list of travel benefits. Aimed squarely at C-suite execs and entrepreneurs that travel for business, this card carries the best elite status perks of any card on this list.
- MORE REWARDS: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month
- 4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
- AIRLINE BONUS: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
- EXCLUSIVE OFFERS: Get up to 1 year free on subscriptions to both G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and ZipRecruiter Standard, a combined value up to $3,188.*
- PAY OVER TIME OPTION: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
- EXPENSE MANAGEMENT TOOLS: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManagerSM, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
- Add EMPLOYEE CARDS with a no annual fee option. Earn rewards on employee purchases and track employee expenses with spending limits, alerts, and summary reports.*
- *Terms Apply
- Rates & Fees
- Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
- 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
- Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
- You've got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
- More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That's everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
- *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
- 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, 13.49%, 17.49% or 21.49%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- Terms Apply
- Rates & Fees
The new go-to business credit card for everyday spending, the Blue Business Plus earns transferable Membership Rewards points on all business purchases. Earn Earn 2X Membership Rewards(R) points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.!
- Special offer: save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; after that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 14.49% - 21.49%
- No annual fee
- Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back in the form of a monthly statement credit. Plus take control by choosing the 3% category that best fits your business
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
- Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases
- With Expanded Buying Power you can spend beyond your credit limit* to make bigger purchases for your business plus earn cash back on those purchases too
- *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors
- Terms apply
- Rates & Fees
- Limited-time offer of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
- Group 5 Boarding on American Airlines flights
- 2 miles for every $1 spent on select business categories including gas stations
- 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year after spending $30,000
- World MasterCard benefits
- $95 annual fee, waived for the first year
Great for any business operator that regularly flies American, the 50,000 bonus AAdvantage miles are good for two domestic return flights and the free checked bag is a big money saver over the long term.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
- Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
- Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
- Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
The best straight business cash back card available, the Spark Cash offers a fantastic bonus, a low annual fee, great benefits, and unlimited cash back on business purchases.
Special mention also goes out to the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, both exceptional cards in their respective programs offering a combination of sharp benefits and stellar welcome bonuses.
You don’t need to be an established business with years of history to obtain a business credit card. You could operate an Airbnb rental, resell products on Amazon, or walk dogs for in your local neighborhood. As long as you have a decent income and a fantastic credit rating, it may be easier than you think to take advantage of all that business rewards cards offer.
If there are any cards not on the list you think should have made the cut, let us know in the comments.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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