Best business credit cards of 2020

May 19, 2020

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If you’ve got a business — new or old, big or small — you should consider getting a small business credit card. Small businesses need access to credit, and these specialized business rewards credit cards can be a great way to fund purchases, manage spending and help save money and/or earn rewards over time. This guide will review the best business credit cards, broken down by categories, and explain how to maximize the benefits of each card.

Remember, small business credit cards aren’t just reserved for large businesses with multiple employees and traditional brick and mortar storefronts. You can qualify for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, which means your freelance or independent contractor gig could make you eligible. As a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security number as your business tax ID and your name as your official business name on your application. If you need help applying, reference our guide to applying for small business credit cards.

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The Points Guy’s best business credit cards

The information for the Ink Business Preferred, Capital One Spark Cash, Capital One Spark Miles, United Business Card, Southwest Performance Business Card and Alaska Airlines Business 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.

Here’s how these small business credit cards stack up against each other in terms of the total value you can obtain in your first year. Note that for bonuses that have two spending tiers, we’re factoring in the rewards you’d earn for meeting both tiers. And for cards that offer select perks that we can assign a discrete value to, we’re also factoring those in.

In This Post

Comparing business credit card offers

Credit card Best For Bonus value* Annual fee Total first-year value (including select perks)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express Travel perks $1,500 $595
(see rates and fees)
$2,250
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Travel insurance $2,000 $95 $1,905
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Business cash back $500 $95, waived the first year $500
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Everyday business spending $700 $95, waived the first year $800
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
American Airlines flyers $980 $99, waived the first year $980
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Hilton business travelers $750 $95
(see rates and fees)
$730
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card Marriott business travelers $600 $125
(see rates and fees)
$475
United Business Card United Airlines flyers $780 $99, waived the first year $820
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card Occasional Delta flyers $480 $99, waived the first year (see rates and fees) $480
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card Frequent Delta flyers $540 $250 (see rates and fees) $290
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card Southwest flyers $1,500 $199 $1,721
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express Everyday business spending with no annual fee  None $0 (see rates and fees) None 
Brex Corporate Card for Startups Corporate card None $0 None
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card Alaska Airlines flyers $720 $50 for the company plus $25 per card $645

*Bonus value is an estimate based on TPG’s monthly valuations and is not provided by the card issuer.

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 small business.

Note that the bonus valuations listed below are based on TPG’s latest valuations and are not provided by the card issuers.

The best business credit cards

The Business Platinum Card from American Express: Best for travel perks

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: If you’re after travel perks, the Amex Business Platinum card is for you. Cardholders will enjoy automatic Gold status in both the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs along with numerous other benefits.

At the airport, cardholders get access to lounges including Centurion, Priority Pass and Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta). In addition, the card comes with $200 in annual airline fee credits and a 35% points rebate for flights booked through Amex Travel in first or business class on any airline, or in any class on the airline of your choice each year.

The Business Platinum features a 5x bonus category for airfare and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, along with a 1.5x earning rate for eligible purchases over $5,000.

For more details, check our American Express Business Platinum Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $1,500. Note that new card accounts approved between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, will receive a three-month extension to meet card spending requirements.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 1.5x points per dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to one million extra points per calendar year)
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass lounges, plus Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta (valued by TPG at $325 annually)
  • Up to $200 annual airline-fee credit
  • Redeem points directly for first or business class, or for any seat on the airline of your choice, and get a 35% points rebate
  • Up to $100 in Dell statement credits between January and June and up to $100 in Dell statement credits between July and December for U.S. purchases made on an enrolled card
  • Limited time perk: Up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each) from May through December 2020
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate every four years for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)

Annual fee: $595 (see rates and fees)

Official application link: American Express Business Platinum Card

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for travel insurance

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: If you spend a lot on business travel or social media advertising, you’ll be able to keep earning significant points with the Ink Business Preferred card after the sign-up bonus. The card earns 3x bonus for the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping ,internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases made social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

TPG’s most recent point valuations peg the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, so you’ll get a fantastic return of 6% on purchases in these categories. If you spend the full $150,000, you’ll take home 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points (which are worth $9,000 based on TPG’s valuations).

You also get great value out of Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline and hotel loyalty programs. Plus the card gives you 25% more value for the points you earn when you redeem them for travel at a fixed value in the Ultimate Rewards portal, a perk also available on other Chase credit cards.

For more details, check our Chase Ink Preferred Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $2,000.

Benefits and rewards: 

Annual fee: $95

Capital One Spark Cash for Business: Best for business cash back

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: The value in the simplicity of cash-back business cards can’t be overstated. Although earning transferable points can be more valuable, it can be time-consuming to extract that extra value. Also, when it comes to travel rewards credit cards, the rewards can often only be used for travel. Sometimes, your business needs that extra cash for other expenses.

What makes this card even better is that it earns an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase. You don’t need to juggle multiple cards as you try to maximize specific bonus categories. Simply swipe the card and enjoy a straightforward return on every purchase.

For more details, see our full card review of the Capital One Spark Cash.

Current bonus: The Capital One Spark Cash card earns a $500 bonus after spending $4,500 in the first three months from account opening.

Benefits and rewards:

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Best for everyday business spending

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: Capital One miles transfer to over a dozen airline and hotel partners including Avianca, Flying Blue and Air Canada. And because this card earns at least 2x miles on every purchase, it’s a great option for business owners who want to maximize their everyday purchases.

TPG values Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each, so you’re getting a return of at least 2.8%, regardless of what category your business expenses fall into. You also have the option to use your miles to cover travel expenses at a fixed value of 1 cent apiece, so you’re guaranteed to get an effective return of at least 2% on every purchase.

This is also one of the few cards without a massive annual fee that comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100 every four years). The $95 annual fee is even waived for the first year. Plus, if you spend a lot on hotels or rental cars, you can earn 5x miles when you book with the card through Capital One Travel.

For more details, see our full card review of the Capital One Spark Miles.

Current bonus: The Capital One Spark Miles card has an intro offer of 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $700.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked with the card through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles on all other purchases
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard: Best for American Airlines flyers

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

Why we like it: The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card comes with some solid bonus categories for an airline credit card, and miles earned on this card can be redeemed not only on American Airlines but on the carrier’s Oneworld alliance partners. And, for a limited time, spending on this card will count toward your Million Miler balance.

You’ll also get a free checked bag for you and up to four companions when you have this card, even if you don’t charge the airfare to it. Best of all, the $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months.

For more details, read our CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Credit Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $980.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles on telecommunications, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else
  • Free checked bag for you and up to four traveling companions
  • Earn a companion certificate for domestic main cabin economy travel after spending $30,000 or more each membership year and after the card is renewed (account must remain open at least 45 days after anniversary date)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $99 (fee waived for the first 12 months)

Official application link: CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Best for Hilton business travelers

(Photo by Meghan Hunter/The Points Guy)
Use your Hilton points to visit the Hilton Grand Wailea. (Photo by Meghan Hunter/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: The Hilton Gold elite status that comes with the Amex Hilton Honors business credit card gets you several perks, including a 20% point bonus on qualifying spending, a fifth night free on standard room award stays of five nights or more, room upgrades and free breakfast at most properties.

For more details, read our Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $750. Note that new card accounts approved between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will receive a three-month extension to meet card spending requirements.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 12x Hilton Honors points for eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in Hilton’s portfolio
  • 6x points at eligible U.S. gas stations; wireless telephone services purchases directly from U.S. service providers; U.S. shipping companies; U.S. restaurants; flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel, and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • 3x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status and the ability to spend to Diamond status
  • 10 passes per year for Priority Pass Select lounges without restaurant access (valued by TPG at $75)
  • Free employee credit cards (see rates and fees) and expense-management tools help you track and organize expenses
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)

Official application link: Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Best for Marriott business travelers

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: If you plan to stay at Marriott properties once coronavirus concerns subside, this is a great time to get the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and score its welcome bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after meeting minimum spend requirements. Those bonus points alone can be enough for a five-night stay at most Category 3 properties — or even longer at lower-category locations.

For more details, read our Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Credit Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $600. Note that new card accounts approved between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will receive a three-month extension to meet card spending requirements.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 6x Marriott Rewards points at participating Marriott properties
  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants and gas stations; wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping
  • 2x points on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status and the ability to earn Marriott Gold Elite status if you spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Get 15 elite credits toward the next level of status
  • Receive a free award night good for stays costing up to 35,000 points every year after your account anniversary
  • Earn an additional 35,000-point free-night award after you spend $60,000 on your card in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)

Annual fee: $125 (see rates and fees)

Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

United Business Card: Best for United Airlines flyers

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: This is a relatively new card that earns 60,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in spending the first three months of account opening. Even though United removed its fixed-award chart for flights, you can still find excellent value through the airline’s Star Alliance partnerships. If you normally fly on United, the card provides useful perks, including a first free checked bag for you and one companion on the same reservation, priority boarding, two United Club one-time passes each year and — most importantly — expanded award availability for United-operated flights.

For more details, check out our United Business Card review.

Current bonus: New cardholders will earn 60,000 bonus miles on the United Business Card after they spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $780.

Benefits and rewards:

  • Earn 2x miles on United purchases, gas stations, office supply stores, restaurants and local transit and commuting
  • First checked bag free for you and one companion traveling on your same reservation
  • 2 United Club one-time passes after account opening and on each anniversary year (valued by TPG at $40)
  • Priority boarding
  • $100 annual United travel credit after seven United flight purchases over $100
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases — includes Wi-Fi, beverages and food
  • 5,000 anniversary bonus miles each year when you have both the United Business Card and a personal United cobranded card
  • Expanded award availability
  • Employee cards at no extra cost
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $99, waived the first year

Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card: Best for occasional Delta flyers

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Why we like it: If you fly Delta for business travel even twice a year, having the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card may easily pay for itself in the money you’ll save on checked bag fees. Along with a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on your reservations, you’ll also get priority boarding on Delta flights and 20% off inflight purchases. The cherry on top is that the card has no annual fee for the first year, so you can try it out at no cost for a full 12 months. Then an ongoing annual fee of $99 applies (see rates and fees).

For more details, read our Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Credit Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $480. Note that new card accounts approved between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will receive a three-month extension to meet card spending requirements.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 2x Delta SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases, at restaurants, U.S. purchases on advertising in select media and U.S. shipping purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on other eligible purchases
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding on Delta flights
  • Free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation
  • 20% off inflight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 or more on the card in a calendar year

Annual fee: $99, waived the first year (see rates and fees)

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Best for frequent Delta flyers

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Why we like it: Along with all the features of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Amex, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card helps you keep your Delta Medallion elite status — with its Status Boost feature, you can earn 10,000  Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year and earn another 10,000 MQMs if you spend $50,000 on the card in a calendar year.

If you want to go for Silver, Gold or Platinum status, you can get Delta’s Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) requirement waived by spending $25,000 on the card during a calendar year (though if you want to go for Diamond Medallion status, you’ll have to spend $250,000 on the card to get the MQD waiver for it). The card comes with a baggage insurance plan as well as secondary car rental loss and damage insurance.

For more details, read our Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Amex Card review.

Current bonus: Earn 45,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of account opening. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after your first Delta purchase on your new card in the first three months. Note that new card accounts approved between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, will receive a three-month extension to meet card spending requirements.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 3x Delta SkyMiles on Delta purchases and eligible purchases made directly with hotels
  • 1.5x miles on all eligible single purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 50,000 additional miles per year)
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on other eligible purchases
  • Get a free companion certificate (plus taxes and fees) each year after your account renewal for round-trip, main-cabin domestic travel
  • Free checked bag and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation
  • 20% statement credit when using the card for Delta inflight purchases (not including Wi-Fi)
  • Get a discount on Sky Club airport lounge passes for you and up to two companions or immediate family for $39 per person per visit
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card: Best for Southwest flyers

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: The Southwest Performance Business credit card is a perfect fit for Southwest fans. It comes with plenty of perks that will make business trips on the airline more comfortable than ever, especially for those who don’t have A-List or A-List Preferred status.

You’ll get four priority boarding positions each year, which normally cost $30-$50 each, so that perk alone can offset the annual fee. The 365 annual Wi-Fi credits that come with the card mean you can have free internet service on Southwest every day of the year, if you need it.

But the best thing is the current sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 bonus points. You’ll earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months plus an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

These 100,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth $1,500 based on TPG’s valuations, and they also count toward earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. If you earn the full sign-up bonus and include the base earning from spending $25,000, you’ll have at least 125,000 qualifying points and earn the Companion Pass outright with this card.

For more details, read our Southwest Performance Business credit card review.

Current bonus: Up to 100,000 bonus points — earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus, an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months. Based on TPG’s valuations, the full bonus is worth $1,500.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 3 Southwest Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent with Southwest and its hotel and car partners
  • 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Four A1-A15 boarding passes per year when available so you can grab whatever seat you want (valued by TPG at $120 annually)
  • Up to 365 $8 inflight Wi-Fi credits per year ($8 covers an all-day pass, valued by TPG at $200 annually)
  • Up to $100 every four years to cover enrollment fees for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • 9,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points after every cardmember anniversary (worth $135 based on TPG’s latest valuations)
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $199

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for everyday business spending with no annual fee

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Why we like it: The Blue Business Plus has a solid earning rate of 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1x). If your small business spends less than $50,000 each year in purchases, the Blue Business Plus can be a good no-annual-fee option that provides an effective 4% return on spending based on TPG’s valuations. The main downside to this card is the lack of a welcome bonus, but this may not be an important consideration if you’re looking for a card to keep long-term.

For more details, read our Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express review.

Current bonus: None

Benefits and rewards:

Annual fee: None (see rates and fees)

Official application link: The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Brex Corporate Card for Startups: Best corporate card

Brex corporate card
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Why we like it: If your company is looking for access to credit without all the headaches of credit checks or security deposits, the Brex Corporate Card for Startups could be the perfect card for you. This independent underwriter uses your company’s cash and equity to determine the credit limit, meaning there are no hard pulls on your personal credit report and no personal liability for the credit line. Brex Exclusive Rewards is a competitive rewards program, and now Brex points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to JetBlue TrueBlue along with other lucrative airline programs such as Singapore KrisFlyer, Avianca LifeMiles and Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

For more details, read our Brex Corporate Card for Startups review.

Current bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 with Brex

Benefits and rewards:

  • If your company uses the Brex card exclusively, it will earn:
    • 7x on ride-hailing services and taxis
    • 4x on travel booked through the Brex travel portal
    • 3x on restaurants
    • 2x on recurring software
    • 1x on all other spending
  • Credit limits 10-20x higher than traditional small business corporate cards
  • Partner offers from Google Ads, Zoom and many others
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: TPG readers who sign-up via the exclusive TPG link will receive waived card fees for life from Brex

Official application link: Brex Corporate Card for Startups

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card: Best for Alaska Airlines flyers

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

Why we like it: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles can be exceptionally valuable thanks to the program’s slew of valuable partners. Alaska also allows free stopovers (in hub cities) on international award flights. This opens up all sorts of sweet spots with Alaska miles. You could fly from the U.S. to Fiji in Fiji Airways business class for 55,000 miles one way, or you could stopover in Fiji on your way to Australia or New Zealand for the same price.

With the Alaska Airlines business card, you also get an annual companion fare every year you renew the card. The companion fare is valid for any Alaska Airlines coach flight and it only costs $99 plus taxes and fees (from $22). I conservatively peg the value of this fare at $100, but it would be hard to save any less than that. You and the companion will also earn Alaska miles on the flight, and if you have Alaska Airlines elite status, you and your companion are both eligible for upgrades.

For more details, see the full card review for the Alaska Airlines business card.

Current bonus: Earn 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles and a companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Benefits and rewards:

  • 3 Alaska miles for every dollar spent directly on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Free checked bag for the cardholder and up to six guests traveling on the same reservation
  • 20% back on inflight purchases (food, beverage and Wi-Fi)
  • 50% off Alaska Airlines lounge day passes when you pay with your card
  • Companion fare every year after account renewal
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $50 for the company and $25 per card

Research methodology

There are a lot of credit cards geared toward small businesses, so narrowing down the list to the best ones can be challenging. Here are the criteria we used to choose the cards listed above:

Bonus value

As you can see, the bulk of the first-year value comes from the welcome bonus itself — I used our latest valuations to calculate a dollar amount for each offer. Although I did include a couple of cards without a welcome bonus such as The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express and the Brex Corporate Card for Startups, other solid business cards such as the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi aren’t included because they don’t currently offer a welcome bonus and are bested by other cards in terms of first-year value as a result.

Related reading: The best cards for each business credit card category

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 various types of lounge access through the American Express Global Lounge Collection, I assigned a value of $325 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.

Related reading: Top credit cards for cash-back rewards and statement credits

Bonus requirements

More and more business credit cards offer tiered bonuses based on how much your business spends in the first three to six months. In the past, I focused on the value you’d get by meeting only the lowest spending requirement, but with many business credit cards requiring higher tiers of spending and the ability of businesses to put large expenses on credit cards, I’m now including the maximum number of bonus points you can earn assuming your business meets all the spending requirements.

Related reading: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

Why should you get a business credit card?

A business credit card can help you maximize your purchases, separate your expenses and save money on interest each year. These business credit cards offer bonus rewards on categories popular with small businesses, such as office supplies, airfare, advertising and gas.

In fact, business-specific bonus categories are one of the main ways that business credit cards differ from personal credit cards. For more information about the best personal credit cards on the market, be sure to check out our best credit cards, best rewards credit cards, and best travel credit cards pages to find the perfect partner to pair with your new business card.

But you need to do your research before applying for a small-business credit card. So check out these TPG posts for reasons to get a business credit card and to learn how to choose the right credit card for your business expenses.

Related reading: The best business and personal credit card combinations

Requirements to apply for a business credit card

If you own a small business or even if you just do freelance gigs, you could be eligible for a business credit card. You don’t necessarily need a tax ID or an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to qualify for a business credit card; if you’re a sole proprietor with a small business or side gig, you can usually enter your Social Security number (SSN) instead.

Check out the following guides to applying for small-business cards for issuer-specific strategies:

Related reading: 5 ways you might be eligible for a business credit card without realizing it

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 such as, Experian, Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet.

Related reading: Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum

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 changes 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.”

Related reading: The best no-annual-fee business credit cards

What is the best business card to get?

There’s no single best business card. Instead, the best business card for your small business depends on various aspects. For example, do you prefer earning cash-back rewards, airline miles, hotel points or transferrable currencies? Are you willing to pay an annual fee? What categories does your business spend the most in each year? Do you or your employees travel frequently and if so, would there be a benefit in having hotel elite status or a checked bag allowance when flying?

This being said, many businesses that are looking for simplicity will opt for the Capital One Spark Cash card to earn 2% cash back on all purchases or the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express to earn 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1x). And, business travelers may opt for the American Express Business Platinum Card due to the various travel-related benefits offered by the Amex Platinum — especially if they aren’t loyal to a specific airline or hotel brand.

Related reading: How to choose the right credit card for you

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 — though if you aren’t able to pay your balances in full and on time every month, you may be hit with big interest charges. If your business cycle is a few months between incurring the expenses and receiving payment from a customer, a business loan may be a more cost-effective solution.

Related reading: Small-business credit card vs. corporate credit card: Which is right for your business?

Featured photo by vgajic/Getty Images.

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, please click here.


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