If you’re a small-business owner, chances are you spend a decent amount on promoting your business online through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. After all, social media advertising is one of the most effective ways to segment your target audience. Here are the best credit cards for Facebook ad spending from our partners.
- 4X Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month.
- 1X 1X is earned for other purchases. **
- 25% 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.*
Why we chose it
The Amex Business Gold card is a solid choice for high-spending small businesses with the flexibility to earn 4x points in the two categories where you spend the most. The card is ideal for businesses who value simplicity above all. Read our review of the Amex Business Gold Card.
- 3X Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- 1X Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases – with no limit to the amount you can earn
Why we chose it
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card’s sign-up bonus is among the highest we’ve seen from Chase. Plus earn points across the four bonus categories (travel, shipping, advertising and telecommunication providers) that are most popular with businesses. The card comes with travel protections, shopping protections and will also have primary coverage when renting a car for business purposes for you and your employees. Read our review of the Ink Business Preferred.
- 2% Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%.
- 1% 1% cash back on all eligible purchases after spending $50,000 per calendar year.
Why we chose it
For businesses just starting out, we get it: You want to minimize any costs while maximizing your expenses. This is why the American Express Blue Business Cash Card is the perfect fit — there’s no annual fee, and you’ll earn 2% back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases per calendar year, then 1%. With this card, you’ll also have access to exclusive Amex Offers from useful businesses such as FedEx and Bloomberg.com to help you save money on business shopping, dining, travel and so much more. Enrollment required for select benefits. Read our review of the Amex Blue Business Cash.
- 4X New! Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
- 3X Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
- 2X New! Earn 2X points on rideshare.
- 2X Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services.
- 1X 1X points on all other purchases.
Why we chose it
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card is ideal for business travelers and loyal Southwest flyers interested in hitting A-List status or earning a Companion Pass. Read our review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business.
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|Card||Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus||Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||70,000 points||
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||100,000 points||
|American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card||$250||
||No annual fee|
|Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card||80,000 points||
Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees)
Current welcome offer: Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG valuations, this bonus is worth $1,400.
Earning rates: 4x on the two select categories where you spend the most each month (up to $150,000 spent each calendar year; then 1x)
Analysis: The American Express Business Gold Card is great because it automatically gives you 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in the two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle. The six possible bonus categories are:
- Airfare purchased from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers
TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, so you’ll earn an 8% return on spending in the two bonus categories where you spend the most each billing cycle. However, you’ll only earn 4x on the first $150,000 of bonus category spending each year. All subsequent spending will earn 1x point per dollar, which is the earning rate for all non-bonus category spending.
But if you spend the full $150,000 in 4x categories, you’ll earn 600,000 Membership Rewards points each year, which TPG values at $12,000. Stack that with the 25% Pay With Points bonus you get for using Amex points to pay for business or first-class airfare with your selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year) and your business will save some serious cash on employee travel.
For more details on the card’s other benefits, check out our full card review.
APPLY HERE: American Express Business Gold Card
Annual fee: $95
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG valuations, this bonus is worth $2,000.
Earning rates: 3x on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
All other purchases, and purchases in these categories over $150,000 in an account anniversary year, earn 1 point per dollar spent.
This card provides especially good value because it’s part of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. You can use your points to book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents each — or 1.5 cents each if you transfer your points to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. But TPG valuations peg Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents due to the program’s valuable hotel and airline transfer partners including United and Hyatt.
So you’ll effectively get a 6% return on the first $150,000 you spend each account anniversary year in the 3x bonus categories. In fact, if you spend the full $150,000 in 3x categories, you’ll earn 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points each year which TPG values at $9,000.
Related: Maximizing the Chase Trifecta
The Ink Business Preferred also comes with the largest points bonus among the three cards featured in this story. You’ll earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months. That bonus is worth $2,000 according to TPG’s valuations, which looks even more impressive when you consider this card’s annual fee — a modest $95.
APPLY HERE: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)
Current welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership
Earning rates: 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases you make each calendar year, and 1% after that.
Analysis: If cash back is more your speed, Amex’s Blue Business Cash Card is another good pick — especially if you’ve maxed out the bonus categories on the other two business cards above.
The card’s earning structure is very straightforward and is good for more than just paying for Facebook ads. The card earns a flat 2% back on all purchases (on up to $50,000 each calendar year; then 1x), whether that’s for advertising or any other business expense.
Interestingly, the card also offers the ability to spend beyond your credit limit to make large purchases (determined by factors like your payment and credit history), though you’ll have to pay off this additional spending every month.
For details on the card’s other benefits, check out our full card review.
APPLY HERE: American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Annual fee: $199
Current sign-up bonus: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG valuations, the full bonus is worth $1,200.
Earning rates: 4x on Southwest Airlines purchases, 3x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 2x on rideshare, 2x on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Analysis: If Southwest is your company’s preferred airline and you’re considering a cobranded card, this is the one to get. Two Rapid Rewards points per dollar on social media and search engine advertising equates to a solid 3% return.
The card also comes with a number of perks that will make business trips on the airline more comfortable. You’ll get four upgraded boarding positions per year, up to 365 $8 inflight Wi-Fi credits per year (covers all-day pass) and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit every four years, among other benefits. Plus, the 80,000 points you get from the sign-up bonus gets you closer to earning the coveted Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.
For more details, read our Southwest Performance Business credit card review.
What counts as advertising on these cards?
The Business Gold Card specifies the relevant bonus category as spending on “advertising in select media.” Based on information available on Amex’s website, “purchases of online, television and radio advertising must be purchased in the U.S. directly from media providers in order to promote a business” and example of eligible merchants include but aren’t limited to Google, Facebook, Yahoo, NBC National Broadcasting and CBS Radio. The website clearly notes that you won’t “earn additional rewards for direct mail services including list/lead generation.”
So not only will you earn extra rewards — up to 4x on the Business Gold Card — for online advertising with platforms such as Facebook and Google, but also with ad spending across other media formats. Since online ad spending is so popular among businesses large and small these days, that’s likely where most cardholders will be able to maximize this category.
The Ink Business Preferred and Performance Business are issued by Chase and the terms and conditions for Chase are more explicit. Chase’s website states that merchants in the “social media and search engine advertising” category “include social media websites (such as Facebook and Twitter) and online search engines (such as Google AdWords and Microsoft Bing Ads) that advertise a business, brand, products or services.” However, “advertising purchases that are not made directly from a social media website or online search engine merchant may not qualify” and “purchases from social media websites or online search engines that are not for advertising will not qualify.” So, it’s pretty clear you’ll earn up to 3x on the Ink Business Preferred when you purchase Facebook and Google ad spending directly with the merchant.
If you’re wondering how a particular advertising purchase will code and the credit card issuer’s category definition is unclear, consider trying a small advertising purchase to see how it codes.
Online advertising with companies such as Facebook and Google has become an integral part of many business strategies, and luckily there are credit cards that reward spending within this category. If you have a large ad budget, you can spread out the cost over multiple credit cards and continue to bring in significant rewards.
The American Express Business Gold Card is at the top of this list due to its ability to earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on ad spending, which is a terrific 8% return based on TPG’s valuations. Plus, even if your business doesn’t spend much on ads in one month, you’ll still be able to earn 4x on other popular bonus categories.
Although it has a slightly lower return, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is also a solid choice due to its ability to earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on ad spending (a 6% return), its low annual fee and its current sign-up bonus. Meanwhile, the American Express Blue Business Cash Card, which offers a lower 2% return due to its straight cash-back offering, is a solid option as well if you don’t want to pay an annual fee. Or, if you’ve already maxed out your bonus categories on the other cards you can get a 3% return with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Cash card, click here.