TPG reader credit card question: Can I separate points from my business and personal credit cards?

Sep 28, 2020

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Business owners have a unique advantage when it comes to accumulating points, as they can put a wide range of company expenses on their business credit cards and use those points for company travel or personal vacations.

TPG reader Frank wants to know if it’s possible to separate points earned on business and personal credit cards.

Is there a way to keep my Amex points separate between my personal and business credit cards?

TPG READER FRANK

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Frank’s problem is certainly not unique, as plenty of business owners want to use points accumulated from business expenses to help the business out and then use their personal points for vacations. The exact policies vary by issuer, so let’s take a look at how the most popular transferable points programs (Amex, Chase, Capital One and Citi) handle this.

American Express

We’ll start with Amex, since that’s what Frank asked about.

No matter which card you earn your Membership Rewards points on, they’ll all be pooled into a single account under your name. This is true if you have personal cards, business cards or a mix of both. Unfortunately, there’s no way to change this with the small business cards.

However, if Frank’s business is large enough, he might consider getting an Amex corporate card. While this won’t let him separate rewards between his personal and business cards, it will give him the option to let his employees earn points directly into their personal Membership Rewards accounts. He could also choose to consolidate points under the corporate Membership Rewards program, but this is a much less valuable option than what we’re used to.

Related: Ultimate guide to points pooling and sharing

Chase

Chase does things a little differently and keeps your points attached to the card you earned them on, as you can see from this screenshot from TPG Senior Editor Nick Ewen‘s online account:

As you can see, Nick has what he calls the “perfect” Chase quartet of cards, consisting of three personal cards and a small business one. And each one has a separate balance based on his spending. You can choose to consolidate all the points to one card or keep them attached to the card they were earned with.

While I understand the idea of wanting to keep business and personal points separate, depending on what cards you have this may not be a good idea.

For starters, Nick has around 2,000 points between his Chase Freedom (which is no longer accepting new applications) and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards. Those two cards are technically cashback cards, meaning those points are worth roughly $20 cash if used in that manner.

However, if Nick transferred those points to his Chase Sapphire Reserve, he could then transfer them to airline and hotel partners and unlock a much higher redemption value than just 1 cent per point. The information for the Chase Freedom have been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been provided by or reviewed by the issuer. 

Additionally, different Chase cards offer different bonuses when you pay with points to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. With cards like the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited, your points are worth 1 cent each. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card each offer a 25% bonus, making your points worth 1.25 cent each, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve carries a 50% bonus.

Plus, only the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred offer access to Chase’s transfer partners.

Even if Frank decides to keep his points separate for budgeting and accounting purposes, he’ll likely want to consolidate them to his most premium Chase card when it’s time to redeem or else he’s leaving money on the virtual table.

Related: How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Capital One

Capital One is the newest rewards program to the world of transferable rewards, as you can now transfer earnings from cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business to a number of transfer partners.

While you can combine these mileage balances if you have both personal and business cards — and can even share them with another Capital One account holder — they are kept separately for ease of management.

Citi

Finally, Citi doesn’t issue any small business cards that earn ThankYou Points. But if you have multiple Citi cards, your points will be held separately per card account, like with Chase. However, Citi also makes it easy to pool your points between cards either by going online or by calling in.

Bottom line

While Amex offers some terrific small-business cards, Frank won’t be able to lean into Amex for help with keeping his business points separate from his personal points. He can keep a running tally of how many he earns for his business each month and redeem accordingly, but that’s about the best he can do.

While Chase and Capital One make it much easier to keep your points separated based on the card you earned them with, you may not want to do that, especially if you can leverage transfer partners to book a fantastic award by combining your points and miles earnings across accounts.

Thanks for the question, Frank, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo by Hero Images / Getty Images.

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