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TPG reader Mark sent me a question on Facebook:
“I’m a business owner and charge between $100,000-$200,000 per month. I’ve been using the Citi AAdvantage & Executive Mastercard, but they don’t have high enough limits. Any suggestions?”
As a business owner, it’s awesome to be able to put all of your business expenses on a points earning credit card and then reap the benefits. Back in my corporate America days, I was putting up to $50,000 a month in expenses on my corporate card that was paid directly by the company, and I got all the points–pretty sweet!
TPG reader Mark is spending $100,000-$200,000 a month on his Citi AAdvantage and Citi Executive Mastercard, and is wondering what other cards to consider, since the limits on those cards aren’t high enough to accommodate all his spending.
First things first: if you want AAdvantage miles, you’re using the wrong cards. It’s fine to hit the $40,000 in spend to get the 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles on the Executive AAdvantage Card, but beyond that, you’ll earn 25% more miles using the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card (either the personal or business version). Starwood points transfer 1:1 to AAdvantage, and for every 20,000 points you transfer, you get a 5, 000 mile bonus.
Consider this as well: at that rate of spend, you really should be diversifying. You’d be better off with points that can transfer to several airlines and hotel partners instead of just AA miles. That way if AA doesn’t have the flights that you want, you’ll have other options. It’s much nicer to have 31 other transfer options and the ability to redeem for hotels too, so don’t put all your miles in one basket; diversify!
Another good reason to diversify is the ongoing AA/US Airways merger. American has already made some negative changes this year and more could be coming. Having other options could make such changes less damaging to your frequent flyer prospects.
You might also consider a charge card that will give you flexible spending. Although there are a lot of business charge cards out there, I think the best one is the Chase Ink Bold Card. Right now Chase offers a 50,000 point sign-up bonus when you spend $5,000 in three months, and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. Beyond that, they have some great earning categories like 2X on hotels and 5X at office supply stores. Granted, Ultimate Rewards can’t be transferred directly to American Airlines, but you can use them on 11 different partners (British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United,Virgin Atlantic, Singapore, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton IHG and Amtrak). Another option I like is the Capital One Spark Card if you’re looking for cash back rewards.
In conclusion, Mark, diversify your credit card spending to maximize rewards, and consider a business charge card to avoid running up against spending limits.