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For most people, stepping into the world of travel rewards means (in one way or another) stepping out of your comfort zone. Maybe that means applying for your first credit card, your first premium credit card or even taking your first flight in international first class (which can be simultaneously exhilarating and awkward).

For many people, the first boundary that they’ll push is the realization that they might qualify for a business credit card and the decision to apply for one. While it’s not any harder to fill out the application for a business credit card than for a personal one, it can be confusing. When you apply for a personal credit card, there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind about what to put under “name,” but that can be an important decision to make when applying for a business card.

Photo by RawPixel/Unsplash
Photo by RawPixel/Unsplash

Why You’d Want a Business Card

There are plenty of reasons to apply for a business credit card, the simplest of course being that you have an established business and are looking for a way to better organize your expenses.

Even if you don’t need a business card, if you’re eligible for one, you might decide that you want one because your balances don’t get reported to your personal credit report. This can help big spenders keep their utilization low and their score high. Or, maybe you’re looking to earn some nice sign-up bonuses without affecting your Chase 5/24 status.

What Name Should I Apply With?

The specific answer to this question will depend on how your business is structured, with banks giving you the chance to specify whether you are applying as a partnership, corporation or sole proprietorship. Some card issuers such as Citi will give you an overwhelming number of options to pick. Larger companies, or those registered as corporations, LLCs or partnerships, will have an easier time deciding what name to use, as they will simply apply with the name of the business.

If you aren’t 100% sure you should speak with a lawyer or tax professional, but many points enthusiasts will be applying as sole proprietors/self employed.

This is a great option because you don’t need to file any paperwork with the state or federal government to form a sole proprietorship, you simply become one by doing business. If you go this simple and hassle-free route, you’ll apply for business credit cards using your own name. Some banks (especially Chase) like to ask for supporting documentation before approving a business credit application, including proof of physical address. By using your name as the business name, you’ll be able to submit rent or utility bills that are consistent with the information you gave on your application.

Branding is half the battle in attracting customers, and maybe you don’t want to call your new consulting firm “Ethan Steinberg” (sorry, that name is taken already). If your business is operating under a name that doesn’t include the owner’s first or last name, you’ll need to file a DBA (doing business as) form. The specific regulations on this (who/where/when/what you need to file) vary by state, and again, you should consult a legal professional before proceeding. This is a necessary step before you can open a bank account or line of credit in the businesses name.

In many ways, this is a warning about what not to do. Never, under any circumstances, should you make up a business name for your application without having filled out the necessary paperwork first. Not only will you have no recourse if a card issuer asks you for supporting business documentation, but you’d be committing fraud by passing yourself off as a business that doesn’t exist/you don’t represent. The simple and short answer for most award travelers looking to apply for business cards is to use your own name and keep things simple and legal.

Bottom Line

Business rewards cards can be a great way to enjoy even more sign-up bonuses, bonus categories and valuable perks. Most people would be surprised to know that they already qualify for business cards, or could with just a small amount of work, but it’s important to remember that these applications will often face slightly more manual scrutiny and review than personal credit card applications. It’s very important not to lie or make up a name, and to always be prepared to present your business registration certificate or other relevant documents if needed.

Featured photo by Rawpixel/Unsplash

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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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.