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If you’re a business owner who’s looking to collect credit card rewards to put money right back into your company, you’d be best off with a business cash-back card. But if you’d rather potentially reward yourself with a vacation (or use points for business travel) and are willing to put some effort into finding the best redemptions, you’d be better off with a credit card that earns transferable points.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the six best business cards for earning points that could be transferred to airline and hotel programs. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to have a formal business to get approved for one of these cards. You may qualify for a business credit card just by selling items on Amazon or eBay or doing some freelance work
Welcome bonus: For a limited time,50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months and an additional 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first six months
Earning rate: 2x miles on all purchases
Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Why you’ll love it: This card is currently offering the highest sign-up bonus of any business credit card. We value the newly transferable Capital One miles at 1.4 cents apiece, so if you meet the $50,000 minimum spending requirement and earn the full 200,000-mile bonus you’re getting a mind-boggling $2,800 in value. Since miles all transfers will be at a 2:1.5 (4:3) ratio, you’ll basically be getting 1.5 miles or points with an airline transfer partner for every dollar you spend. Additional perks of the card include primary car rental coverage (when traveling for business), free employee cards and no foreign transaction fees.
Welcome bonus: There is no publicly available offer, though you may be able to get a 10,000-point bonus through a referral from a friend (offer subject to change at anytime).
Earning rate: 2x points on the first $50,000 spent each year (then 1x)
Annual fee: $0
Why you’ll love it: Despite being a no-annual fee card, the Blue Business Plus earns the same full-fledged Membership Rewards points as higher-end cards like the American Express® Business Gold Card. The 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent each year amounts to a fantastic 4% return based on our valuation of 2 cents per point. The card also comes with several perks that could help out any small business, such as expanded buying power, 0% introductory APR (then a variable rate of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24%) and free employee cards.
Welcome bonus: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Earning rate: 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping, social media advertising and internet/cable/phone services each account anniversary year, plus 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Annual fee: $95
Why you’ll love it: Worth a whopping $1,600 based on TPG’s latest valuations, the Ink Business Preferred’s sign-up offer is the highest of any business credit card (save for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business), and it’s the most valuable of any Chase card right now. Its annual fee of $95 will get you access to a number of valuable perks such as cell phone protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and primary car rental coverage (when traveling for business), as well as some strong business-friendly bonus earning categories.
Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 in the first three months.
Earning rate: 5x points on airfare and on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, 1.5x points on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year) and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Annual fee: $450 (increasing to $595 in 2019)
Why you’ll love it: You can redeem points directly for first or business class, or for any seat on the airline of your choice, and get a 35% points rebate. As a card holder you’ll enjoy access to Centurion and Priority Pass lounges, plus Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta. You’ll also get a $200 annual airline fee credit and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate. Starting in 2019, card holders will also get a year of complimentary global WeWork access and a $200 annual Dell statement credit, plus an increased hotel credit of $100 when booking through the Hotel Collection.
Welcome bonus: Up to one free year of ZipRecruiter Standard, up to one free year of G Suite Basic for three users.
Earning rate: 4x points (on the first $150,000 spent each year) on your top two select spending categories each month, from a list of six options including US restaurants and US purchases for shipping and advertising.
Annual fee: $295
Why you’ll love it: Although this new card lacks a points-based welcome bonus, it makes up for it by offering 4x points on your top two areas of business spending each month. This is great because it means that you have flexibility to earn bonus points on different categories on a month-to-month basis, rather than being locked into a single select category per year. Similar to the Business Platinum card, it offers a 25% Pay With Points rebate when you use points to book airfare through Amex.
Sign-up bonus: 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Earning rate: 6x points at Marriott and SPG properties; 4x points at US restaurants and US gas stations and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers and on US purchases for shipping; and 2x points on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
Why you’ll love it: Marriott points can be transferred to 45 frequent flyer programs, mostly at a pretty solid 2.4:1 ratio, factoring in the 5,000-mile bonus given for every 60,000 points transferred. You’ll receive one free award night (for stays costing up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary, automatic Silver elite status and the ability to earn Gold status if you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year ($35,000 starting in 2019). Also starting in 2019, you’ll get 15 elite credits toward the next level of elite status.
Honorable Mention: Ink Business Cash Credit Card
While the Ink Business Cash card is technically a cash-back option, if you hold a premium Chase card (those that carry annual fees, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred) you can transfer your points there and turn them into full-fledged Ultimate Rewards points. The no-annual-fee card earns 5% cash back (or 5x points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services; 2% cash back (or 2x points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and at restaurants; and 1% cash back (or 1x points) on everything else.
There are a variety of travel rewards credit cards geared toward small businesses that allow you to unlock terrific redemptions by leveraging transfer partners. Since every card on this list has its own set of benefits, you don’t necessarily need to consider them as mutually exclusive. For example, if you have the Blue Business Plus, you’ll want to pair it with the Business Platinum Card to earn 5x points, a return of 10%, when booking flights.
For more on maximizing the transferable points currencies discussed, dig into these guides:
- Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for Maximum Value
- Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards for Maximum Value
- Best Ways to Redeem 75,000 Capital One Miles
- An In-Depth Look at the New Marriott Airline Transfer Partners
- Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
- Earn up to 200,000 miles. Earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account
- Plus, earn 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first 6 months. Limited Time Offer
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn
- Redeem miles for travel, cash back, gift cards and more
- No foreign transaction fees and fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions