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Business Credit Card Comparison: Bonus Categories

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I try to maximize my points and miles by using credit cards that offer spending category bonuses for all my purchases, including business expenses. Today, TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Jason Steele looks at which business credit cards offer the most rewards to help you do the same.

Just about all rewards credit cards offer one point or mile per dollar spent on most purchases. Co-branded travel cards usually offer bonus points for spending with the airline or hotel partner, but many cards offer bonuses in more general categories like travel or office supplies. Some of the most coveted opportunities to earn travel rewards from business spending come from these category bonuses, which range from 2x to 5x depending on the card and category.

Today I want to look at which business credit cards are best for various spending categories. To focus on the most accessible bonuses, I’m excluding co-branded cards that only earn a bonus with travel partners, as well as bonuses for travel reservations that must be booked through a travel agency run by the credit card issuer (like the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or American Express Travel Services).

Below you’ll find the best category bonuses offered by business credit cards for various travel expenses and other common business expenses, ranked in order of the best value (according to TPG’s most recent monthly valuations).

For more info, check out these posts:

Maximize your business expenses with spending category bonuses. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Travel related categories

As a business traveler, you may use a particular airline or hotel credit card for your carrier and hotel of choice, but it’s still useful to have a business card that offers category bonuses for airlines and hotel spending in general (for those times when you’re forced to fly another airline or stay elsewhere). Furthermore, there are plenty of common travel expenses like dining, rental cars, and gas stations for which there are no co-branded cards. The following cards can help you maximize rewards on those purchases as well.

Airfare purchased from airlines

  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express recently updated its bonus categories to offer 3x Membership Rewards on a category of your choice, including airfare purchased directly from airlines.
  • The SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express offers 3% cash back on a category of your choice, including airfare.
  • The FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards Card from US Bank offers 2x FlexPoints on gas, office supplies or airline purchases (whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle).

Hotel rooms booked directly with the hotel

  • The SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express offers 3% cash back on a category of your choice, including hotels.
  • Chase Ink Plus offers 2x Ultimate Rewards points.

Rental cars paid for directly with the rental company 

Photo
Earn extra rewards for your dining expenses. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Restaurants

  • The Chase Ink Cash offers 2x rewards at restaurants. Points can also be sent to Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred accounts, and can then be transferred to travel partners.
  • The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card from Chase offers 2x MileagePlus miles.
  • The Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard offers 2% cash back.

Gas stations

  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express offers 3x Membership Rewards on a category of your choice, including gas.
  • The SimplyCash Business Credit Card  from American Express offers 3% cash back on a category of your choice, including gas.
  • The Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard offers 3% cash back.
  • The Chase Ink Cash and Ink Plus both offer 2x rewards at gas stations.
  • The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card from Chase offers 2x MileagePlus miles.
  • The FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards Card from US Bank offers 2x FlexPoints on gas, office supplies or airline purchases (whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle).
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Several business cards offer big bonuses for office supplies. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Category bonuses for non-travel purchases

Beyond travel purchases, there are several business credit cards that offer bonuses for other common business expenses:

Office supply stores

  • The Chase Ink Plus offers 5x Ultimate Rewards, and Ink Cash offers 5% cash back at office supply stores.
  • The Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard offers 3% cash back.
  • The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard offers 2x AAdvantage miles.
  • The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card from Chase offers 2x MileagePlus miles.
  • The FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards Card from US Bank offers 2x FlexPoints on gas, office supplies or airline purchases (whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle).

Telecommunications

  • The Chase Ink Plus and Ink Cash both offer 5x rewards on cellular phone, landline, Internet and cable TV services.
  • The SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express offers 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.
  • The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard offers 2x AAdvantage miles.
  • The FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards Card from US Bank offers 2x FlexPoints on most cell phone net purchases, including monthly bills, accessories and Internet charges.

Shipping

  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express offers 3x Membership Rewards on a category of your choice, including U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • The SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express offers 3% cash back.

Advertising

  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express offers 3x Membership Rewards on a category of your choice, including U.S. purchases for advertising in select media.
  • The SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express offers 3% cash back.

Computer purchases

  • The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express offers 3x Membership Rewards on a category of your choice, including U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers.
Credit Cards stack featured shutterstock 115341850
Which cards offer the best category bonuses? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Analysis

The best category bonuses available continue to be the 5x rewards offered by the Chase Ink Plus and Ink Cash cards at office supply stores and on telecommunications, which is worth more than 5% cash back offered by the Amex SimplyCash card. Close behind is the newly enhanced Amex Business Gold Rewards card, which offers 3x Membership Rewards points on your choice of airfare, gas stations, advertising, shipping, or computer purchases, and 2x points on the four remaining categories.

Behind these leaders are several cards that may offer 3x cash back or 2x travel rewards for a variety of categories, but if I had to pick two cards, they would be the Ink Plus and the new Business Gold Rewards. I might also get the Ink Cash (with no annual fee) to earn 2x rewards at restaurants on a business card, rather than with a personal card like the Sapphire Preferred.
Ink Plus® Business Credit Card