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Following the submission of an online application, the average credit card approval process takes roughly 60 seconds.
But with so much at stake — valuable welcome bonuses worth $500-plus in free travel or cold, hard cash — that minute can feel like a tantalizing eternity.
Of course, there are few greater joys than the “You’re Approved!” screen after a successful application turns into a new card — and its accompanying welcome bonus.
Now, you may be sitting pretty with a decent points stash, yet envious of your business-owner buddy, who gleefully applies for twice as many cards as you. With a small business, your friend managed to pair the United Explorer Card with the United Explorer Business Card. And the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Plus … well, you get the idea.
But what if we were to say that you, too, are eligible for business credit cards? That’s right; you don’t need to be a big, official LLC or Inc. to get a business credit card. Below are five jobs — sometimes done full-time, sometimes done as a side hustle — that could open new doors to the business credit card world.
Tutoring tends to be a part-time endeavor, but the job’s replete with business expenses. Driving to sessions and various office supplies rank among the most common costs for tutors, who could segregate work and personal expenses with the Ink Business Cash Credit Card (no annual fee). Why that card, you ask? Try 5% cash back, or if you pair it with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. You don’t need to be a math tutor to know that that’s a really good deal. The Ink Business Cash Card also has a solid welcome bonus, offering $500 (or 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening.
In some ways, consultants are tutors for companies. Coming in from the outside to provide a fresh perspective or working hand in hand with internal employees, consultants tend to do a great deal of travel. In fact, many of the most frequent flyers consult full-time, spending upwards of 100+ nights per year in hotels. And given the need to book their own travel, consultants are uniquely positioned to rack up an impressive number of points and miles. That’s why every consultant should consider wallet space for the Business Platinum® Card from American Express ($595 annual fee; see rates & fees), which earns 5x Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. With Membership Reward points worth 2 cents apiece according to TPG’s valuations, a consultant would be looking at 10% ROI on all reservations. Currently, this card offers 75,000 Membership Reward points after $20,000 spend — with the first 50,000 being awarded after $10,000 in the first three months and the final 25,000 points coming when the full threshold is met (an additional $10,000 within the first three months).
Imagine learning that one of your very first jobs made you business card-eligible. Babysitters — just like tutors, consultants, doctors, lawyers and bankers — have legitimate expenses. And given the need to wear many hats — from chauffeur to chef — babysitters often have myriad categories of expenses for which to account. That’s why a card such as the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite MasterCard (with no annual fee) makes so much sense here given the unlimited 3% cash back earned on gas and cellular as well as office-supply-store charges. There is a nice little incentive to open the card too, as $200 can be had after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
4. Landscaper/Snow Shoveler
From raking leaves in the fall to shoveling snow during the winter to mowing grass across the spring and summer, yard work is a year-round job. Those who do it for a primary living or second income stream can attest that it’s a job that comes with plenty of business expenses, which don’t need to go on your personal cards. Supplies and even equipment can often be had at great rates via wholesale clubs, whose store cards often come with lucrative spend incentives. The Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi (no annual fee but Costco membership required), for instance, is a strong option not just for shopping done at Costco and Costco.com (2% cash back), but on gas (4% on the first $7,000 per year; then 1%) as well as restaurant and eligible travel purchases (3%). In a nutshell, the one-stop shop has a one-stop credit card to boot. How fitting.
5. Online Seller
Last — but certainly not least — let’s cover a job you can do from the comfort of your own home. Online selling is big business, with many earning six-figure incomes thanks to online shops on sites such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify. But you don’t need to go to great lengths to be an online seller. Trying to make a few bucks on that old suit you no longer wear? You are a seller. Looking to get rid of some of the kids’ old toys? Congrats, as you are now officially a seller.
Sure, selling hand-me-downs isn’t the new get-rich-quick scheme, but it positions you to get business credit cards. For those looking to work in their pajamas — and, let’s be real, who wouldn’t want that? — the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase ($95 annual fee) is a strong choice that earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on shipping, online advertising and internet/phone expenses each year. And don’t forget about its impressive bonus — 80,000 Ultimate Reward points after meeting a $5,000 spend in the first three months of account opening. Given a 2 cents per point valuation per TPG, that bonus nets you $1,600 in value.
Getting approved for a business credit card is not as daunting as some people think, and there’s real value to keeping personal and work expenses separate. Welcome bonuses on business cards can be just as lucrative as those offered on personal cards, meaning your points balance could grow substantially.
As always, it’s important to remain vigilant and know when your statements close and annual fees are due. Many small business owners apply as sole proprietors, but do not hesitate to consult with your tax expert should questions arise during the application process.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Business Card, please click here.
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Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees