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How to Choose the Right Credit Card for Your Business Expenses

May 10, 2019
5 min read
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No matter what type of business or side hustle you run, there is a great business credit card out there to help you earn rewards and make the most out of your business charges. It all comes down to which categories you spend the most on every month, and which cards offer the best rewards in those categories.

Today, we'll cover some common types of business owners, and the cards that will offer the highest long-term earning potential for each.

For Frequent Business Travelers: A Cobranded Card

(Photo by Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images)

If you’re traveling the same routes multiple times throughout the year and flying on the same airline and/or staying with the same hotel brand, a cobranded business credit card is a great option. You’ll get bonus points or miles on every dollar spent with the airline or hotel chain associated with the card, plus additional perks like free checked bags, preferred boarding and easier paths to elite status.

Cobranded business credit cards make it easier to hit elite status, which can come with benefits like lounge access, early boarding, free seat selection and more. Some cards waive mileage or revenue requirements for elite status after hitting a certain annual spend. Others, including the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, let you earn elite-qualifying miles at certain spending thresholds.

If you don’t stick with the same airline when you fly, but stay at the same hotel brand often, a hotel card is a better option. The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card offers automatic Silver elite status, and you can earn Gold elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year. Alternatively, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, and you’ll receive Diamond status after spending $40,000 annually. Enrollment required for select benefits.

For Side Hustlers: A Flat-Earning-Rate Credit Card

You don’t have to own a brick-and-mortar store in order to apply for a business credit card. Whether you’re a Lyft driver on the weekends or run a small Etsy store in your free time, you can rack up rewards on your business expenses. If you don’t have a large budget for monthly business purchases, there are two things to look for in a business card: a flat rewards rate and a low annual fee.

Flat rewards aren’t always as lucrative as some of the tiered rewards structures, but it allows you to earn points or cash back on every single purchase no matter the spending category. Plus, if you aren’t spending thousands of dollars each month on your business card, an annual fee isn’t usually worth it.

The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express and the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card from Chase both offer solid flat-rate rewards, and neither charges an annual fee (see rates & fees of the Blue Business Plus card). These are exceptional options if you also have a personal Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards card. Both issuers allow card holders to pool points between personal and business accounts, so you’ll be able to combine rewards for maximum redemption value.

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For Office Startups: A Card With Related Bonus Categories

There are multiple business cards that offer rewards in spending categories like office supplies and telecommunications services. If you run your business out of an office, you can earn a great return on your everyday business expenses with these cards.

The American Express® Business Gold Card offers a bit more flexibility, with 4x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases from two categories where you spend the most each month, each calendar year and 1x points on all other purchases. The list of potential bonus categories includes select US advertising purchases, US shipping purchases, select tech purchases made in the US and more.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

For Retail Business Owners: A Card That Offers Rewards on Advertising

Whether you own a brick-and-mortar boutique or an e-commerce site, chances are you're spending money each month on advertising your business. Plus, most business cards that offer rewards on advertising also offer rewards in other valuable categories like US shipping.

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase offers 3x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases (1x point thereafter) in categories like travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and digital advertising. Just as with the Ink Business Unlimited, you can pool your points with your personal Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to help maximize earning and redemption potential. The Amex Business Gold Card is also a stellar choice, with advertising and shipping as potential bonus categories.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, click here.

Featured image by (Photo by jesus kiteque / Unsplash)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees