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Just as you can maximize spending on dining out, travel, office supply purchases and more by choosing the right credit card, you can also get the most out of your spending on internet advertising if you know where to look. In this article, I present three business credit cards that offer especially generous bonus points on social media and search engine ad purchases.
The American Express Business Gold Card 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
- US purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- US purchases for shipping
- US purchases at gas stations
- US purchases at restaurants
- US purchases made directly from select technology providers
TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, so you’ll earn a 8% return on spending in the two bonus categories where you spend the most each billing cycle. You’ll only earn 4x on the first $150,000 of bonus category spending each year though. All subsequent spending will earn 1 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.
The American Express Business Gold Card currently offers a welcome bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 within your first three months. Plus, get up to one year free of G Suite Basic for up to three users and up to one year of ZipRecruiter Standard in the form of statement credits for purchases of these services on your new Gold Card within the first 12 months of card membership. Using TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, the 35,000-point welcome bonus is worth $700. This card has a $295 annual fee (see rates & fees) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees).
For more details on the card’s other benefits, check out our full card review.
- 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’s valuations peg Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents due to the program’s valuable hotel and airline transfer partners. So, based on TPG’s valuations, you’ll 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.
The Ink Business Preferred also comes with the largest points bonus among the three cards featured in this story. You’ll earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. That bonus is worth $1,600 according to TPG’s valuations, which looks even more impressive when you consider this card’s annual fee — a modest $95.
Amex’s SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card is another good pick if you spend a significant amount on advertising in the US — especially if you’ve maxed out the bonus categories on the other two business cards above. In this case, though, you’ll be earning cash back rather than transferable points.
You’ll earn 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers and on purchases at US office supply stores. Additionally, you’ll earn 3% back in your choice of one of the following eight categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- US gas stations
- US restaurants
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US purchases for shipping
- US computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
If you select advertising, you’ll be getting a 3% return on eligible purchases within that category, but as with the two cards discussed above, there’s a cap on bonus earnings. In this case, you’ll only earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined purchases in a calendar year in the 5% categories and 3% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases in your chosen 3% category in a calendar year. You’ll earn 1% cash back on spending over the cap as well as on non-bonus category purchases. This means that if you select advertising as your bonus 3% category and spend $50,000 on eligible advertising in a calendar year, you’ll get $1,500 cash back.
The SimplyCash Plus Business card currently doesn’t carry a bonus, but it also doesn’t charge an annual fee (see rates & fees). 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.
What Counts as Advertising on These Cards?
Both the Business Gold Card and the SimplyCash Plus are issued by American Express, with the relevant bonus category specified 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 and up to 3% cash back with the SimplyCash Plus — for online advertising with Facebook and Google, but also with ad spending across other media formats. Though 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 terms and conditions for Chase are more explicit, as 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 with 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 a great choice due to its ability to earn 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on ad spending, which is an 8% return based on TPG’s valuations. 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 no-fee SimplyCash Plus Business card, which offers a lower 3% return due to its straight cash-back offering, is a great option as well — especially if you’ve already maxed out your bonus categories on the other two business cards or don’t want to pay an annual fee.
Watch the video below to see which card TPG himself uses for his business ad spending!
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee