Earn bonus points on office supplies with these credit cards
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card information.
It’s always a good time to evaluate which travel rewards credit cards you’re currently carrying in your wallet to make sure that you’re getting the best value on your everyday purchases. A large part of this strategy should involve bonus categories, and today I want to go through the top credit cards that allow you to earn bonus points or miles on office supplies.
The Ink Business Cash Card from Chase is a terrific choice for these purchases. It offers 5% cash back at office supply stores on up to $25,000 in combined spending each cardmembership year. The card becomes a much more lucrative option if you also have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in your wallet.
If you have an Ultimate Rewards card — Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve — you can pair it and transfer the cash back earned on the Ink Cash to any of the three cards. This, in essence, converts the points to more valuable Ultimate Rewards points, opening up a plethora of additional redemption options.
Though, keep in mind that you currently have to sign into a Chase account before you can apply for this card.
Current sign-up bonus: $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.
Other benefits: 5% cash back on office supply stores, cellphone, landline, internet and cable TV purchases (up to $25,000 in combined purchases each card membership year); 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 each card memberhip year); 1% cash back everywhere else
Annual fee: None
The information for the Ink Business Cash and the Ink Business Preferred 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.
A second option is another business credit card: The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express offers 2x Membership Rewards points on anything (up to $50,000 in purchases per calendar year), then 1x after that.
Current bonus: Limited time offer: Earn up to $300 when they make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 per merchant). This offer will run through November 4, 2020.
Other benefits: Car rental loss and damage insurance, access to the Global Assist Hotline, extended warranty and purchase protection.
Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)
Thanks to this card’s flexibility that allows its rewards structure to fit changing business needs, this is a great pick for office supplies. You can choose earns 3% bonus rewards in one of six categories — gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom and wireless services, computer services and business consulting services — with the chance to change it every month. Plus earn 2% back on dining and 1% on everything else. But be warned: there’s a $50,000 total cap on the 3% and 2% bonus category spend each calendar year; then 1% thereafter.
Those who are members of the Preferred Rewards program can also get even more value from the rewards structure.
Current sign-up bonus: $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days your account is open.
Other benefits: The card comes with online services that help you manage your business, including the ability to download your transactions into Quickbooks for easy organization come tax season. You’ll also have $100,000 in travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, emergency ticket replacement, lost luggage assistance and the option to get extended protection.
Annual fee: $0
The information for the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash 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.
Related reading: Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards review
For a no-annual-fee business credit card, 3% back on gas stations, office supply stores and cell phone services is a solid earning structure. And, you’ll get a 25% annual bonus of up to $250. So, if you earned $500 in cash rewards the previous year, you’d get an additional $125 in bonus cash back.
Current sign-up bonus: Earn $500 in cash back after you spend $4,500 on the account owner’s card within the first 150 days of account opening. Plus, enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles, and after that a variable APR, currently 11.99% to 22.99%.
Other benefits: Earn additional rewards through the Encore Relationship Program. All in all, the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard is a solid small business card for any business owner who spends a lot on gas, office supplies and/or cell phone services.
Annual fee: $0
The information for the U.S. Bank Business Cash 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.
Related reading: Best U.S. Bank credit cards
Can You Get a Business Card?
Chances are you saw a common attribute for the cards I list above: they’re all business credit cards. A common misconception about these products is that you must have a formal business to open one. Both my wife and I have Ink Plus cards, and we applied (and were approved) for both using our Social Security Numbers as the federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
There are many reasons why you might want to open a business credit card — you might sell items on Ebay and Amazon or freelance as a writer or graphic designer, for example. In all these cases, you can get approved for a business card. For more information, check out TPG’s post on top reasons to get a business credit card.
Other Ways to Maximize These Purchases
Using the right credit card is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your office supply purchases. There are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Take advantage of reward programs — Both Staples and Office Depot have rewards programs that offer additional benefits for your purchases.
- Click through a shopping portal — One of the easiest ways to make the most of your online shopping is by clicking through a shopping portal, which will award you additional points or miles (regardless of the credit card you use for the purchase). Both Staples and Office Depot appear on many of the popular sites; I suggest using CashBackMonitor.com to make sure you’re getting the best bonus.
- Look for gift cards — A final suggestion is to look for office supply store gift cards at retailers that offer bonuses on other cards. For example, you may be able to find a Staples gift card in a grocery store and use your American Express® Gold Card to earn 4x Membership Rewards points on the purchase. However, if you spend a decent amount on office supplies each year, I would strongly encourage you to open one of the above cards to save the hassle of the extra step.
Choosing the right credit cards for your wallet and daily purchases is a critical element of a successful points and miles strategy. While bonuses at office supply stores are limited to fewer cards than some other categories, the above cards can give you a nice return on these purchases. Remember, too, that the larger office supply stores carry all kinds of additional items, including electronics, cleaning supplies and even some grocery products.
Related reading: Best business credit cards of 2020
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
Additional reporting by Nick Ewen
Featured photo by Thomas-Litangen/Unsplash
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WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.