This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

Not all business credit cards are equal when it comes to large purchases. They don’t all offer the same protections or perks for big spending. What’s more, not all spending is the same. The definition of a “large” business purchase is very much in the eye of the spender, but if you need to purchase computer equipment for your office, a new refrigerator for your restaurant or make a big internet ad buy, you could easily be talking about a bill in the thousands of dollars.

If points and miles are important to you, one of the first things you should consider when making a large purchase is which card will give you the largest rewards return. That means examining both bonus category rewards and points valuations beforehand. After all, you don’t want to make a major office supply store purchase with a card that pays its top rewards on travel spending. But there are other considerations as well, so let’s walk through five questions you should ask yourself when deciding which business card to use for a major purchase.

Is It a Charge Card?

Charge cards are ideal for large purchases because they have no preset spending limits, although that doesn’t mean the issuer will let you spend whatever you want. The primary issuer of charge cards, American Express, says this about spending restrictions on The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN:

“No preset spending limit does not mean unlimited spending. Purchasing power adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record and financial resources known to us and other factors.”

Also, unlike with a credit card, you’ll be required to pay off your balance in full each month with a charge card. So if you need to make a big purchase, make sure you have the cash on hand to pay for it. (This is a smart habit to form in any case.) If you do need extra time, both the Business Platinum and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express offer a feature called Pay Over Time, which allows eligible cardholders to pay for certain purchases beyond the due date — although you’ll accrue significant interest by doing so.

Does the Card Offer Purchase Protection?

Save hundreds of dollars or more if your big purchase breaks or is stolen. Photo by Jaap Arriens/ NurPhoto / Getty Images
Save hundreds of dollars or more if your big purchase breaks or is stolen. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/ NurPhoto / Getty Images)

Bad news first: Some issuers are devaluing or eliminating altogether benefits like this. But here’s the good news: American Express says it will improve its purchase protection and extended warranty benefits (more on that later) come August 1, 2018.

Under purchase protection programs, issuers pay to reimburse or replace goods that are stolen or damaged which have been purchased with that card. In all cases, you’re limited by time and value — issuers will only approve claims made within a certain period of time after a purchase and only up to a certain amount. You’ll also have to look out for items excluded from coverage like antiques or motorized vehicles. When filing a claim, you’ll need to document your loss with receipts and a police report in case of theft.

Many consumer cards offer low coverage limits, but a number of business cards offer higher levels of coverage. Cards that offer maximum coverage of up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account in a calendar year include the Amex Business PlatinumCapital One Spark Cash for Business and the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard.

If you have a claim, make sure to be mindful about when you file, as issuers set a deadline of between 90 and 120 days after purchase. After that, purchase protection claims will no longer be valid.

Does the Card Offer Extended Warranty Protection?

Extended warranty protection is both widely available (for now) on business credit cards and relatively uniform. In many cases, it extends the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of up to three or five years, depending on the issuer. Come August, American Express cards will improve their protection to match the length of any manufacturer’s warranty that’s less than two years; for warranties between two and five years, American Express will add two additional years of coverage.

These warranties cover you against breakage for items you purchase with your credit card if it occurs after the manufacturer’s warranty has already expired. If your claim is approved, you’ll typically receive a check or statement credit reimbursing you for repair costs, replacement costs or the original purchase cost.

Business credit cards that carry this benefit include the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express and the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card.

Does the Card Earn Transferable Points?

Transfer your Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines and enjoy the airline’s new A380 business class.

As mentioned earlier, when you make large purchases, you want to make sure you maximize your reward-earning potential. One way to do that is to take advantage of category bonuses. The other way is to ensure you’re using a card that offers the flexibility to transfer points and miles to other loyalty programs — and potentially reap a larger payoff.

This is where TPG’s monthly valuations come into play. Find a card that earns points in programs that offer transfer options, and you’ll find a card that offers the potential for maximum redemption value. Here are a few of the top valued programs and their current point valuations:

Note that the Starwood program will be changing in August when its points are converted into Marriott’s new loyalty program. But the new program will still feature dozens of airline transfer partners, which means the points will still be useful as a flexible currency.

Cards that offer transferrable points include many of the previously mentioned cards, such as the Business Gold Rewards, SPG Business and the newly released Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card, although with the latter you’ll need to pair it with another transfer-enabled card in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portfolio in order to be able to transfer.

Does the Card Offer Spending Bonuses?

Spending threshold bonuses are different than welcome bonuses, and can prove valuable to cardholders who have a large purchase in mind. Threshold bonuses come in the form of extra rewards, free hotel stays or elite status after a high amount of spend, usually in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The only major bonus that’s focused on a single purchase is the one currently offered by the Business Platinum card, which normally pays only 1 point per dollar on non-travel spending. But if you make a single purchase over $5,000, the card earns 1.5x. Since Amex points are so valuable, that could be a nice boost.

Other bonuses are focused on annual spending, so a large purchase can help you get closer to the bonus. But unless it’s a really large purchase, you’ll need to hit these marks with additional spending. Here are some examples:

Which Are the Best Cards?

Much like the definition of “large,” your mileage may vary on which cards are the “best” to use on big purchases. Look for the combination of features you value the most — so if purchase protection isn’t an insurance you’re interested in, don’t factor it in your own math. For the purposes of this analysis, however, we’re judging cards based on how many categories of benefits they offer. Here’s a table that breaks down these benefits on a number of popular business cards:

Card Charge Card? Purchase Protection? Extended Warranty? Transferable Points? Spending Threshold Bonus?
Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card From American Express No Yes Yes Yes No
Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Business Platinum Card from American Express Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Capital One Spark Cash for Business No Yes Yes No No
Capital One Spark Miles for Business No Yes Yes No No
CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard No No No No Yes
Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi No Yes Yes No No
Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card No Yes Yes No Yes
Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card No Yes Yes No Yes
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card No Yes Yes No Yes
Ink Business Cash Credit Card No Yes Yes Yes* No
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card No Yes** Yes Yes No
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card No Yes Yes Yes* No
JetBlue Business Card No Yes Yes No Yes
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express No Yes Yes No Yes
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express No Yes Yes No No
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card No Yes Yes No Yes
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express No Yes Yes Yes Yes
United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card No Yes Yes No Yes
* You can transfer points only if you pair this card with a transfer-enabled card in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program.
** Purchase protection on the Ink Business Preferred is being eliminated on August 26, 2018.

There’s a pretty wide range of scores. Here’s how they stack up if you assign a point to each consideration.

Five points:

Four points:

Three points:

Bottom Line

One of the great things about business rewards credit cards is their diversity. Look at all the different ways you can be rewarded for your spending. You should be able to find a card that matches what you buy with the rewards and protections you seek. There’s one other thing to consider, however. If you need to make a large business purchase — and liquidity is a concern — you may want to consider a card that offers a 0% introductory offer. Although more common on personal credit cards, there are a number of business cards that offer initial interest-free periods on purchases and balance transfers of 12 months or longer.

Some examples include the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, which offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months (which then rises to a variable 14.24% to 21.24% APR), and the Ink Business Cash Credit Card, which offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months before rising to a variable 15.24% to 21.24% APR. Keep in mind we always recommend you pay off your credit card bill in full and on time every month, so you should only take advantage of these options if you’re certain you’ll be able to make the payments on time and that you’ll pay down the balance in full before the interest eats up any travel rewards you earned from the purchases.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.