The best cards for each business credit card category

Jul 29, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Business credit cards have a number of great advantages, including allowing your company to make large purchases without affecting your personal credit and offering even more bonus categories to choose from than their personal travel credit card counterparts. The trick is finding the card that matches your business spending.

Related reading: The best travel rewards credit cards for each bonus category

Related reading: The best cash-back credit cards for each bonus category

So in this part of our three-part series, we consider the best cards for the spending categories in which businesses tend to spend the most.

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In This Post

Best cards for each business credit card category

Comparison of the best cards for each business credit card category

Card Best in which category (% return based on TPG’s valuations) WELCOME OFFER Annual fee
American Express Business Gold Card Dining at U.S restaurants and gas at U.S. gas stations, when these are your 4x categories (8% return) Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months $295 (see rates & fees)
The Business Platinum Card from American Express Booking airfare and prepaid hotel stays through Amex Travel (10% return) Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months  $595 (see rates & fees)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card General travel expenses (6% return) Earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months  $95
Ink Business Cash Credit Card Office supplies (10% return if paired with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards, 5% return otherwise) Earn $500 (50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months None
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express Non-bonus spending (4% return) Limited time offer: Earn up to $300 in statement credits when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 in statement credits per merchant). This offer will run through November 4, 2020. None (see rates and fees)

Although the above table shows our top business card for each spending category, often multiple cards perform well — and may even perform better for your specific business. So for each category, we’ll present the card that provides the highest return followed by a selection of additional cards to consider.

Best cards for office supplies

Winner — Ink Business Cash Credit Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, phone and cable services on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1% thereafter. This card normally earns cash back, but if you pair the card with one that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards and transfer your points to that card, you’ll unlock the ability to transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners, approximately doubling the value of your rewards.

Current sign-up bonus: Earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases during your first three months after account opening.

Benefits: Get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and restaurants. This card also has solid travel and purchase protections for a card with no annual fee.

Annual fee: None

Related reading:

Top business cards for office supplies

Card Office supplies return  Annual fee SIGN-UP bonus
Ink Business Cash Credit Card 5% (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account year, then 1%) None $500 after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ MasterCard® 3% None $500 cash back after spending $4,500 in eligible net purchases in the first 150 days of account opening
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25%* if selected as your category of choice (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 90 days of account opening

*Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings
The information for the U.S. Business Cash and the Bank of America Business Advantage cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Best cards for dining

Winner — American Express Business Gold Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: This card has a unique earnings structure: You’ll earn 4x points on your top two select spending categories each month (from a list of six). One of the options is purchases at U.S. restaurants, so if this is a top spending area for your business, you can get an 8% return on these purchases. Other options include airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and at U.S. gas stations.

Your top two select spending categories each month are determined by the amount spent in each on your billing cycle. You’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across these categories each calendar year, and then 1x points. This flexibility is great for businesses whose expenses change from month to month, especially if you primarily spend on travel around certain events, such as an annual industry conference.

Current welcome offer: Earn 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: A 25% Pay With Points bonus when you use Amex points to pay for business or first-class airfare with any airline or any class of airfare with your Amex selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year).

Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: American Express Business Gold Card

Top business cards for dining

Card Dining category return (% return based on TPG VALUATIONS)
Annual fee welcome offer Notes
American Express Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) $295 (see rates & fees) 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening 4x only at U.S. restaurants if U.S. restaurants is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1x)
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 6x points (3.6%) $95 (see rates & fees) 130,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months 6x only at U.S. restaurants
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card 4x points (3.2%) $125 (see rates & fees) Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first 6 months of Card Membership for all eligible purchases on your Card on U.S. Advertising in select Media. Plus receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022). Offer ends 1/13/21. Terms Apply. 4x only at U.S. restaurants
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi 3% None (with paid Costco membership) None 3% on restaurants and eligible travel (requires Costco membership)

Best cards for airfare and prepaid hotels

Winner — The Business Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com for an effective return of 10%, based on TPG’s valuation of Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.

Current bonus: Earn 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: You’ll also earn 1.5x points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year) and 1x point per dollar spent on everything else. Plus, you’ll get access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, and more through Amex’s Global Lounge Collection.

You’ll also get up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, $200 in annual statement credits for Dell technology purchases and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate (up to $100). Redeem points directly for first or business class, or any seat on the airline of your choice, and get a 35% points rebate (up to 500,000 points per calendar year). Transfer points to airline and hotel transfer partners.

Annual fee: $595 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Top business cards for airfare and prepaid hotels

Card Airfare category return (% Based on TPG VALUATIONS)
Hotel category return (% Return Based on TPG VALUATIONS) Annual fee welcome offer Notes
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 5x points (10%) 5x points (10%) $595 (see rates & fees) Earn 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. 5x only on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com
American Express® Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) 1x points (2%) $295 (see rates & fees) 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening 4x only if airfare purchased directly from airlines is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to $150,000 each calendar year, then 1x)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 3x points (6%) 3x points (6%) $95 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 3x only on the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping, internet, phone, cable and advertising purchases
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business 2x miles (2.8%) 5x miles (7%) $95 (waived the first year) 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 in the first three months of account opening 5x miles per dollar spent on hotel and rental car bookings made paid with the card through Capital One Travel
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 6x points (3.6%) on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel 12x points (7.2%) at Hilton properties $95 (see rates and fees) 130,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card 2x points (1.6%) 6x points (4.8%) at Marriott properties $125 (see rates & fees) Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first 6 months of Card Membership for all eligible purchases on your Card on U.S. Advertising in select Media. Plus receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022). Offer ends 1/13/21.Terms Apply.

The information for the Cap One Spark Miles card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Best cards for general travel

Winner — Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary across the following categories: travel, shipping purchases, internet, phone and cable purchases and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.

Current bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Benefits: Cellphone protection when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your Ink Business Preferred. Shopping and travel protections that include purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation and interruption protection and primary auto rental collision damage waiver when renting for business purposes. Transfer your points to airline and hotel partners or redeem through the Chase travel portal for 1.25 cents per point. It’s important to note that the Ink Business Preferred has long offered the largest and most valuable welcome bonus of any Ultimate Rewards earning card, even more than the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Annual fee: $95

Related reading:

Apply here: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Top business cards for general travel

Card Travel category return (% Return Based on TPG VALUATIONS)
Annual fee welcome offer Notes
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 3x points (6% return) $95 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 3x only on the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping, Internet, phone, cable and advertising purchases
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25%* if chosen as your category of choice (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 90 days of account opening
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card 3x points (3% to 5.25%* return) None 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 90 days of account opening. 3x only when you book travel (car, airline, hotel) through the Bank of America Travel Center
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi 3% None but requires Costco membership None 3% on eligible travel

*Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings

The information for the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Best cards for gas

Winner — American Express Business Gold Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 4x Membership Rewards points on your top two select spending categories each month (from a list of six). One category is purchases at U.S. gas stations, so if this is a top spending area for your business, you can get an 8% return on these purchases. Other options include airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and purchases at restaurants in the U.S. Your top two select spending categories each month are determined by the amount spent in each on your billing cycle, and you’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across these categories each calendar year.

Current bonus: 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: A 25% Pay With Points bonus when you use Amex points to pay for business- or first-class airfare with any airline or any class of airfare with your Amex selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year).

Annual Fee: $295 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: American Express Business Gold Card

Top business cards for gas

Card Gas category return (% Return Based on TPG Valuations) Annual fee welcome offer
American Express Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) at U.S. gas stations if U.S. gas stations is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to $150,000 each calendar year, then 1x) $295 (see rates & fees) 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi 4% on eligible gas; up to $7,000 per year, then 1% None but requires Costco membership None
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ MasterCard® 3% None $500 cash back after spending $4,500 in eligible net purchases in the first 150 days of account opening
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25%* if chosen as your category of choice (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® 2x miles (2.8%) $99 (waived the first year) 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

*Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings

The information for the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite card and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Best cards for non-bonus spending

Winner — The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Return: If you want a business rewards credit card that will provide a strong return on all the purchases that don’t fit neatly into one of the other categories on the list, then the Blue Business Plus card is right for you. Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on all purchases for the first $50,000 spent each calendar year, and then 1x points. That equals a 4% return based on TPG’s valuations.

Current bonus: Limited Time Offer:Earn up to $300 in statement credits when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 in statement credits per merchant). This offer will run through November 4, 2020.

Benefits: Employee cards are available at no cost (see rates and fees), and you’ll earn rewards from their business spend.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Top business cards for non-bonus spending

Card Non-bonus category return (% Return Based on TPG VALUATIONS)
Annual fee welcome offer
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express 2x on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1% (4%) None (see rates & fees) Earn up to $300 when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 per merchant).
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card 1.5% cash back (a 3% value if you hold another Ultimate Rewards earning card) None Earn $500 (50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 2x (2.8%) $95 (waived the first year) 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business 2% $95 (waived the first year) $500 after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 1x (2%) but 1.5x earnings (3%) on purchases of $5,000 or more $595 (see rates & fees) Earn 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The information for the Capital One Spark Cash card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related guides

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, please click here.

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg

Featured photo by Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.