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If you’ve got a business, new or old, big or small, you should consider getting a business credit card. That’s because businesses need access to credit, and these specialized business credit cards can be a great way to fund business purchases, along with saving large amounts of money over time. This guide will review all the best small business credit card offers and explain how to maximize the benefits of each card. As with my list of the top personal travel rewards cards, I’m compiling my business picks based on which bonuses are the most valuable.

Here are the Best Business Credit Cards of 2018:

Here’s my list of the best business credit card offers available right now. As always, head to the All Cards Hub to see every credit card currently available.

— a star (⭐) indicates a limited time offer with the highest ever publicly available welcome bonus.

Can I Get a Business Credit Card?

If you are a small business or even if you just do some freelancing gigs, a business credit card can help you maximize your purchases, separate your expenses and save money on interest each year. Business credit cards offer bonus rewards on categories such as office supplies, airfare, advertising and gas. You can find more information on how to get business card right here.

Here are some things to research before you apply for a business credit card:

Before diving into the list, make sure to check out these posts for information on how applying for new cards affects your credit score, what to know about credit scores, mistakes to avoid and more.

Compare the Best Business Credit Cards

Here’s how each of these cards stack up against each other. Note that for bonuses that have two spending tiers, we’re only factoring in the rewards you’d earn for meeting the first tier.

Credit Card Bonus Offer Bonus Value** Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
Capital One Spark Miles for Business Up to 200,000 miles – 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus 150,000 miles after you spend $50,000 in the first six months $2,800 N/A $95* $2,800
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months $1,600 N/A $95 $1,600
CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard 70,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first four months $980 N/A $99* $980
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 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. Terms Apply.  $950 $200 air travel credit, $250 worth of lounge access ($450 total). Terms Apply.  $450 $950
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Terms apply.  $675 N/A  $95* $675
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months $900 N/A $99 $801
United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months $700 N/A $95* $700
Capital One Spark Cash for Business Up to $2,000 cash bonus – $500 after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus $1,500 after you spend $50,000 in the first six months $2,000 N/A $95* $500
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months $500 N/A $0 $500

*Annual fee waived the first year.
**Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

In addition, I’m adding two bonus cards to my list. They don’t have a standard points-based welcome bonus, but one comes with statement credits for two business services and the other offers discounts on business purchases. Both are worth considering for the right business.

Credit Card Perks for New Card Holders
American Express Business Gold Card New card holders can get up to one free year of ZipRecruiter and up to one free year of G Suite Basic for three users when they pay for their subscriptions to these services using this card.

 

Brex Corporate Card with Exclusive Rewards $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credits to be used over a year (only available to startups that have previously received fewer than $5,000 AWS credits through AWS, a VC accelerator or other AWS-partnered organization)

$1,560 worth of credits ($129.95 per month for 12 months) for the SendGrid Pro 100K Plan

$375 off an annual Salesforce subscription with a 25% subscription discount.

15% discount off of the list price for any new WeWork desk or office space for up to 6 months across all US locations.

40% off of first year with Hubspot and 20% off of second year of Hubspot subscription costs

$105 in savings for Caviar orders ($35 off 3 orders of $75 or more)

$500 in Twilio credits to be used over 1 year (only available to startups that have previously not received Twilio credits through a VC, accelerator or other Twilio-partnered organization)

$5,232 in Zendesk credits ($436 for 12 months), including tools like Email Ticketing, Help Center, Mobile SDK, and Chat

$105 in savings for Instacart orders ($35 off 3 orders of $75 or more)

Finding the Business Credit Card That Fits Your Business Needs

Now, here’s a detailed rundown of the best business credit cards, with each card’s standout benefits and why it could be worth it for your business.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Current Bonus: Earn up to 200,000 miles – 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus 150,000 miles after you spend $50,000 in the first six months

Current Bonus Value: $2,800

Standout Benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases with no minimum for redeeming. No foreign transaction fees. Free employee cards.

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Why it’s worth it: Capital One recently announced that in December 2018, 12 airline transfer partners will be available to transfer your miles to. While this used to be a fixed-value point credit card with miles that were worth 1 cent each, you’ll now be able to get up to 1.4 cents in value for each mile you transfer. Still, if you value convenience over the potential to get much more than 1 cent per mile in value, a card like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business could make sense for you. With the addition of transfer partners, the limited-time sign-up bonus for Spark Miles could be worth worth $2,800 depending on which transfer partners you choose.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

DSC04160-as-Smart-Object-1
Ultimate Rewards can open up some extremely valuable redemptions, like Korean Air first class.

Current Bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Current Bonus Value: $1,600

Standout Benefits: Get 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, social media advertising and internet/cable/phone services each account anniversary year, plus 1 point per dollar on everything else. This card also offers cell phone insurance when you use it to pay your (and your employees’) cell phone bill, and primary rental car insurance. You can get employee cards at no additional cost, and there are no foreign transaction fees. Read the full card review here.

Annual Fee: $95

Why it’s worth it: The Ultimate Rewards program may not have the most transfer partners (it has 11 compared to Amex Membership Rewards’ 20), but they can get you outsized value when you redeem points for free flights with carriers such as British Airways and United, or for award stays at Hyatt properties. And if you spend a lot on travel or social media advertising, you’ll be able to keep earning significant UR points after the sign-up bonus thanks to the 3x bonus category for the first $150,000 in combined purchases made each year.

Apart from the large stash of Ultimate Rewards points you will get with the Ink Business Preferred‘s current sign-up offer, this card stands out for its unique cell phone insurance benefit. It offers up to $600 in protection against covered theft or damage, for up to three claims per year with just a $100 deductible. Even better, this covers employees’ cell phones too, though remember that you need to pay the respective bills using this card to get coverage. Primary rental car insurance is another great perk as well.

For the reasons outlined above, I consider this one of the top two business credit cards currently available. The Ink Business Preferred can be an even more powerful tool if you also hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve, since you’ll then be able to redeem points for 1.5 cents apiece through the Chase travel portal.

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard ⭐

WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 24, 2018: An American Airlines Airbus A320 passenger plane is serviced at a gate at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

Current Bonus: Earn 70,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first 4 months.

Current Bonus Value: $980

Standout Benefits: Earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations. Earn 1 mile per dollar everywhere else. Get a first checked bag for free on domestic itineraries and 25% off inflight purchases. If you put $30,000 in spending on the card in a calendar year, you’ll get a companion certificate, letting you add a companion to a flight for $99 plus taxes and fees.

Annual Fee: $99 (waived the first 12 months)

Why it’s worth it: This card is offering an elevated bonus of 70,000 AAdvantage miles, making now a great time to pick it up. If your business frequently travels on American Airlines, benefits like a free checked bag can come in handy, as can the companion certificate you’ll earn after putting $30,000 of spending on the card in a calendar year.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card is an even stronger option now that you can redeem points for 2 cents apiece toward premium air travel like JetBlue
Even though the points rebate dropped to 35%, the Business Platinum is still a strong choice for booking premium seats such as JetBlue Mint.

Current Bonus: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in the first three months and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 also within the first three months from account opening.

Current Bonus Value: $950

Standout Benefits: Earn 5 points per dollar on airfare and on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year) and 1 point per dollar on everything else. 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 cardholder you’ll enjoy access to Centurion and Priority Pass lounges, plus Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta. You also get a $200 annual airline fee credit and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate. There are no foreign transaction fees. Read the full card review here.

Annual Fee: $450

Why it’s worth it: I’m still disappointed that the points rebate for flights booked through Amex Travel has dropped to 35%, but this remains a lucrative benefit, allowing you to get 1.54 cents per point in value when you redeem for airfare. With the 35% rebate, I can book my favorite premium domestic seat, JetBlue’s Mint, for fewer than 39,000 points one-way. Like the personal Amex Platinum, the Business Platinum recently received some new benefits, including a 5x bonus category for airfare and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. And unlike the personal Platinum card, this card’s annual fee is staying put at $450. If your business can hit the steep spending requirements, the opportunity to earn up to 75,000 points is definitely worth considering.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

Current Bonus: 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Current Bonus Value: $675

Standout Benefits: Get 6 points per dollar at Marriott and SPG properties; 4 points per dollar at US restaurants and gas stations and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers and on US purchases for shipping; and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases. Receive one free award night every year after your account anniversary — good for stays costing up to 35,000 points. Get complimentary Silver elite status in the new Marriott program, and if you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year ($35,000 starting in 2019), earn Gold status. Also starting in 2019, get 15 elite credits toward the next level of elite status.

Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95

Why it’s worth it: Keep in mind the Starwood Preferred Guest program is on the cusp of combining with Marriott — the official switchover date is August 18 — and the points you earn on this card and from its welcome bonus will be the Marriott rewards currency, not Starpoints. Still, the bonus is worth an estimated $675 based on our valuations. Also note the application restrictions starting on August 26, which prevent you from earning the welcome bonus on the Starwood Business Amex if you have or have had a Marriott business card in the last 30 days or if you’ve had a personal Marriott card welcome bonus in the last 24 months.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

(Photo by Shutterstock.com)

Current Bonus: Earn 60,000 Rapid Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Current Bonus Value: $900

Standout Benefits: Get 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Plus, get 6,000 points after your cardmember anniversary. Earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward Southwest elite status for every $10,000 you spend on the card annually (up to 15,000 TQPs). No foreign transaction fees.

Annual Fee: $99

Why it’s worth it: The business versions of this Southwest card is offering an elevated sign-up bonus, giving you the opportunity to score 60,000 Rapid Rewards points. This is a good time to sign up if you want to boost your points balance for an upcoming award booking. And if you’re working toward A-List or A-List Preferred status, the card can earn you Tier Qualifying Points when you meet certain spending thresholds.

United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

united 77w polaris brian featured
Redeem your United miles for a seat in the carrier’s new Polaris cabin.

Current Bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months

Current Bonus Value: $700

Standout Benefits: You’ll get 2 miles per dollar on United purchases and at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. As a cardholder you’ll have access to enhanced award availability and will enjoy priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and one companion on the same reservation. Plus, get two United Club passes each year. No foreign transaction fees.

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Why it’s worth it: Just as the Citi / AAdvantage cards make sense if you frequently travel on American, this co-branded option can make your life easier if you often fly with United. Also like with those American cards, the business version of the United card is currently offering an elevated sign-up bonus (50,000 miles vs. the standard 30,000) so now’s an ideal time to add it to your wallet. One of the most appealing benefits is the extra United award seat availability you get access to, letting you book seats that non-cardholders can’t. Another solid perk is the ability to waive the Premier-Qualifying Dollar (PQD) requirement for United elite status (excluding Premier 1K) when you spend $25,000 on the card (or across multiple United cards) in a calendar year.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Current Bonus: Up to $2,000 cash bonus – $500 after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus $1,500 after you spend $50,000 in the first six months

Current Bonus Value: $2,000

Standout Benefits: Get an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. Employee cards at no additional cost.

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Why it’s worth it: Though fixed-value points function like cash in the sense that you know exactly how much value you can get out of them, some prefer earning straight cash back, since there aren’t the same restrictions on how you can redeem your rewards. With the Spark Cash for Business, you’ll earn 2% back on every purchase, with the cash back awarded either in the form of a statement credit or a check. 2% back is pretty standard as far as cash-back rates go, but if you could use the sign-up bonus and value simplicity over tracking bonus categories, this is a solid choice.

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Current Bonus: Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Current Bonus Value: $500

Standout Benefits: Get 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. Get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and at restaurants. Get an unlimited 1% cash back on everything else.

Annual Fee: $0

Why it’s worth it: While the Ink Business Cash card is billed as a cash-back option — and it does offer a solid return with the 5% and 2% bonus categories — it can be even more valuable if you transfer your earnings to another account for a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, since you could then transfer your rewards to Chase’s 13 airline and hotel partners and get more than 1 cent per point in value. I also like that this card offers some solid travel and purchase protections despite not charging an annual fee.

American Express® Business Gold Card

Current Bonus: Up to one free year of ZipRecruiter Standard, up to one free year of G Suite Basic for three users.

Standout Benefits: This just-launched card offers 4x points 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. This is a step up from the Business Gold Rewards Card from Amex (which is no longer open for applications), which offers 3x points on your choice of category from a list of five options, which doesn’t include US restaurants. You can earn 4x points on your top two select spending categories on the first $150,000 spent each year (then 1x) — if you max this out, you’d walk away with a whopping 600,000 Membership Rewards points. Another standout benefit is a 25% Pay With Points rebate when you use points to book airfare through Amex.

Annual Fee: $295

Why it’s worth it: The lack of a points-based welcome bonus may be a disadvantage to some, but there’s no denying that this new card is a great option when it comes to points-earning opportunities. The ability to earn 4x points on your top two select spending categories is great, and you have the 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. Plus, up to a free year of ZipRecruiter Standard and G Suite Basic could come in handy depending on your business’ needs. It’s also great that Amex is offering a Pay With Points rebate on this card; previously, only the Business Platinum and Business Centurion had this perk (at a 35% rate rather than 25% on this new card).

Brex Corporate Card with Exclusive Rewards

Current Bonus: While Brex doesn’t have a standard points-based sign-up bonus like most business cards, businesses can take advantage of multiple partner discount offers, such as up to $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credit in the first year, up to $436 per month in Zendesk credits for the first 12 months and $375 off an annual Salesforce subscription with a 25% subscription discount, just to name a few.

Standout Benefits: Brex starts out with a bang, offering thousands of dollars in partner credits in the first year you hold the card. Then if you use the Brex card exclusively for your business charges, the newly introduced Brex Exclusive Rewards program offers 7x points on rideshare and taxis, along with 3x on travel including airlines, hotels and short term rentals like Airbnb, 3x on restaurants, 2x on recurring software/SAAS and 1x on all other purchases. Enhanced control of employee cards and no personal liability will save business owners plenty of headaches.

Annual Fee: None

Why it’s worth it: Brex requires you to think a bit differently to understand the value. The issuer links to your corporate bank account and underwrites your credit limit based on your company’s cash assets, meaning there’s no personal liability. If your business can take advantage of the sign-up discounts with Brex’s partners, this card has a perfect place in your wallet for the first year.  Then once you get past those money-saving offers, the value of Brex revolves around heavy spending on Uber or Lyft, travel and restaurants. Brex is effectively a cash-back card, so earning 7x points on an Uber ride is a 7% discount, unparalleled in the credit card world right now, while 3% back on travel and restaurants is competitive, and 2% back on SaaS can really add up for a new business.

How We Chose the Best Business Credit Cards

Bonus Value: As you can see, the bulk of the value comes from the welcome bonus itself — I used my latest valuations to calculate a dollar amount for each offer.

Travel Credits: From there, I factored in annual travel credits, like the $200 air travel credit offered by the Business Platinum Card from American Express. As the Amex Business Platinum also offers Centurion Lounge access plus Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying Delta, I assigned a value of $250 for these perks. Additionally, if a card waives its annual fee for the first year, I didn’t subtract that from the value of the welcome bonus and other perks, since this post is focused on how much you’ll get from the card as a new applicant.

Bonus Requirements: Also, a few of these cards offer tiered bonuses. For these cards, I focused on the value you’d get by meeting the lowest spending requirement. As an example, the Business Platinum Card’s welcome offer has a high minimum spending requirement of $10,000 in the first three months — and that’s only the first year; to earn the full 75,000-point bonus, you’ll have to spend $20,000 in the first three months

Here’s a Review of the Best Business Credit Cards of 2018:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are business credit and personal credit the same?
Business credit is similar to your personal credit in that it allows potential creditors to judge what kind of a credit risk your business poses. For established firms, a higher business credit score could mean you’ll have better access to loans and lines of credit, lower interest rates and cheaper insurance premiums. When you’re just starting out, you won’t have a business credit score, at least until you open a business credit card or secure a line of credit from a vendor that reports to the business credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet.

How do I check my business credit score?
Dun & Bradstreet offers a free service called CreditSignal, which gives you alerts when your scores or reports change, but doesn’t give you access to the full reports themselves. Here’s what the fine print on the website says: “CreditSignal only indicates that your D&B scores and ratings have changed and alerts you when your business credit file has been purchased. To view actual scores and ratings and learn about what industries are purchasing your D&B file, we recommend that you upgrade to one of our business credit monitoring or credit building solutions.”

Can I use a business credit card instead of a business loan?
Yes, but you should take into account your specific business needs. Business credit cards are faster and allow you to use only what you need.

Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. Featured image by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.

American Express® Business Gold Card

Get up to 1 year free of G Suite Basic and up to 1 year of ZipRecruiter Standard

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month †
  • †4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
  • Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
  • Exclusive Offers: Get up to 1 year free on subscriptions to both G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and ZipRecruiter Standard, a combined value up to $3,188.*
  • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
  • Expense Management Tools: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManager℠, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
  • Add Employee Cards with a no annual fee option. Earn rewards on employee purchases and track employee expenses with spending limits, alerts, and summary reports.*
  • *Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% - 24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$295
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.