The best business credit cards on the market help business owners earn cash back and travel rewards along with special perks they can't get elsewhere. Some of the top cards even offer huge signup bonuses worth $500 or more. Best of all, the only thing you have to do to earn thousands of dollars in rewards is sign up and start using your card. Sounds easy, right?
If your business is spending hundreds – and especially thousands – of dollars on business expenses or inventory each month, you could be missing out on cash back, gift cards, and even free airfare or hotel stays by not having a top business rewards credit card in your wallet. To show you what you mean, we’ve scoured through all of the top business credit card offers to show you the best from each of the major card issuers. With any of the cards featured below, you could secure all kinds of rewards just for using your card for business purchases you were going to make anyway.
Top Business Credit Cards for 2017
Before we hash out the details for each offer, here’s a list of the top business credit cards for 2017:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred℠
- Ink Cash® Business Credit Card
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express
- CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select®World MasterCard®
- The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN
- SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express
- Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Chase Ink Business Preferred℠
The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ is the top card on our list because of the myriad useful benefits and excellent rewards it offers. Amazingly, you’ll earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases that fall under internet, cable and phone, shipping, online advertising, and travel each year, and 1x points on all other purchases. If you need the best credit card for airline miles because you travel frequently for business, this is a great option for you. And if you're spending a ton in the 3x bonus categories already, you can't really go wrong.
In addition to ongoing rewards, the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ offers a 80,000 point signup bonus after you spend just $5,000 on the card within 90 days. The signup bonus alone is worth $800 in cash back or high value gift cards or $1,000 in travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. And since the points you earn belong in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, they transfer at a 1:1 ratio to some of the top hotel and airline loyalty programs in the business, including:
- United Airlines
- Southwest Airlines – Check out our review on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card!
- British Airways
- Korean Air
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic
Free trip cancellation/interruption insurance, no foreign transaction fees, and updated chip and pin technology are just icing on the cake with this offer. If you’re interested in reading more, here are the full details:
- Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases that fall under internet, cable and phone, shipping, online advertising, and travel each year, and 1x points on all other purchases.
- Earn 80,000 points after you put $5,000 in business expenses on your card within the first 90 days of account opening
- Unlimited rewards
- No foreign transaction fees
- Chip-enabled enhanced security
- $95 annual fee, not waived the first year
Ink Cash® Business Credit Card
If you’re looking for a top business credit card with no annual fee, look no further than the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card. While the rewards aren’t quite as lucrative as those offered by the Preferred version, you’ll still benefit handsomely if you use this card the way it was intended.
For starters, you’ll earn 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year, plus 2x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. You’ll also score 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases with no caps or limits to how much you can earn.
In addition to these excellent ongoing rewards, you’ll also get a $300 cash bonus after using your card for just $3,000 in business purchases within the first 90 days. Since these rewards come without the hassle of an annual fee, there is almost no way to lose with this offer. Simply charge your business expenses as they come in, pay your bill in full each month when it arrives, and earn rewards out of thin air. It’s as simple as that.
- $300 bonus after you spend just $3,000 on your card within the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year, plus 2x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1x point on all other purchases
- No annual fee
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express
Limited time offer: Earn 25,000 Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Earn an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer ends 4/5/2017.
While the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express is mainly a hotel credit card, the fact that you can transfer your point to more than 30 airline makes it a valuable card for frequent flyers as well. Transfer partners include popular options like British Airways, American AAdvantage, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, AeroMexico, and Hawaiian Airlines, among others. Better yet, airlines that let you transfer at a 1:1 ratio offer a 5,000 mile “bonus” for every 20,000 points you transfer from the Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Free hotel stays with this program are easy to come by and downright cheap in terms of how many points they cost. Rooms start at just 3,000 points per night, making the value of this travel currency exceptionally high. Meanwhile, programs like Starwood Preferred Guest’s “Nights & Flights” make it easy to create travel packages that include both hotel stays and airline miles.
The best part about this card, however, is that points are easy to earn – especially at the beginning. Currently, you’ll earn 25,000 points after you put just $5,000 on your card in the first 90 days – and another 10,000 starpoints after making $3,000 more in purchases within six months. In terms of ongoing rewards, you’ll earn 1x points for every dollar you spend on the card. Add in no foreign transaction fees, free BOINGO wifi at airports worldwide, and free, in-room premium internet access, and you’ll see why this card is such a huge deal. (And yes, you can get both the personal and business version of this card to double your bonus. Read more about the personal version in our post on the Top Travel Credit Cards for 2016)
Here are some details on the business version of this card:
- Read here to learn more about the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express
- Earn 25,000 points after you spend $5,000 on your card within the first three months, then another 10,000 points within six months
- No foreign transaction fees
- Enjoy free BOINGO wifi at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide
- $95 annual fee, waived the first year
CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select®World MasterCard®
The CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select®World MasterCard® is the perfect card for business owners who want to earn airline miles for both domestic and international flights. With this card, you’ll earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines®, telecommunications, car rental, and gas station purchases, plus 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. And if you fly on American frequently, you’ll love the fact that you and up to four travel companions get a free checked bag on domestic itineraries.
The current offer lets you earn 30,000 American AAdvantage miles after you spend just $1,000 on your card within the first three months. That’s enough for one free domestic flight – and maybe more! (And in case you were wondering, you can definitely pair this card with the personal version for double the rewards. Read more about the personal version of this card in our post on the Top Travel Credit Cards for 2016)
- Earn 30,000 American AAdvantage miles after you spend just $3,000 on your card within the first three months
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines®, telecommunications, car rental, and gas station purchases, plus 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
- $95 annual fee, waived the first year
The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN
If you’re looking for a business credit card without an annual fee, The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN should be at the top of your list. Not only does this card offer 2x points per dollar purchases through the American Express travel portal and 1x point on all other purchases, but it also offers a healthy signup bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points after your first purchase and 15,000 more points after you pend $5,000 on your card within six months.
An annual bonus will also help you earn 30% more points if you meet certain criteria. Meanwhile, this card offers 0% APR on balance transfers for the first nine months, making it the perfect option for those who have existing business debts to pay down. The details:
- No annual fee
- Earn a healthy signup bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points after your first purchase and 15,000 more points after you pend $5,000 on your card within six months
- 0% APR on balance transfers for nine months
If you are getting this card just for the balance transfer, and have the option of putting the balance on a personal account, check out our list of the best 0% balance transfer cards where you can get 15 months with no interest.
SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express
Another top business credit card with no annual fee is the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express. As one of the most lucrative no-fee cards on the market, this offer lets you earn up between 3 – 5% cash back in the business spending categories you use most often (this beat the best cash back credit cards for consumers).
Sign up and you'll earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from the provider, plus 3% cash back in one category out of the following:
- Airfare purchased from an airline
- Hotel stays purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals purchased through a car rental agency
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants
- Shipping purchases through U.S. providers
If you’re getting ready to make a large purchase for your business, you can also benefit from 0% APR on purchases for the first nine months of card ownership. This is exceptional news for any business owner who needs to beef up their inventory, buy equipment, or manage their cash flow more effectively.
- Read here to learn more about the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express
- No annual fee
- Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn an additional $200 statement credit after you spend an additional $10,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first year of Card Membership.
- Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and telephone services purchased directly from the provider, plus 3% cash back in a special category of your choosing a 1% cash back on all other purchases
- 0% APR on purchases for the first nine months
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Unlike some of the other cards on this list, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card – not a credit card. In other words, you’ll need to pay your balance in full each month and don’t have the option of carrying a balance.
This makes it perfect for business owners who have no plan to carry long-term debt anyway. Without the prospect of carrying a balance and paying credit card interest, you can focus all of your efforts on earning valuable rewards.
Here’s how those rewards work: The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN doles out 3x Membership Rewards points in one of the following categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from an airline
- Purchases in select advertising media
- Gas station purchases
- Shipping purchases
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
Once you choose a 3x bonus category, you’ll earn 2x points on the remaining four categories and 1x points on all other purchases. The current signup bonus on this card is nothing to shake a stick at, either. Currently, you’ll earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend just $5,000 on the card within 90 days.
- Read here to learn more about the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your card for $5,000 in purchases within the 90 days
- Earn 3X points in your chosen bonus category, 2x points in the remaining four categories, and 1x points on everything else
- No foreign transaction fees
- $0 annual fee the first year, $175 for each year after
How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Credit Card
While it's easy to think you need a line of credit to sign up for a business credit card, that couldn’t be further from the truth. All across the nation, savvy business owners use credit not only to manage their business cash flow effectively, but to earn valuable rewards they can use for their business or in their personal lives.
To get the most out of the business credit card of your choosing, you should try to follow these simple rules:
Understand your rewards program and create a plan to maximize it.
If your new business credit card offers bonus categories that offer extra rewards, you should go out of your way to get the most out of them. Let's say you chose the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ as your main business credit card. This card offers 3x points in categories like travel, shipping, and online advertising. If you spend in these categories frequently, you'll want to set all these expenses up so they're going on the card that offers the most bang for your buck.
Make sure you're putting as many business expenses on credit as you can get away with.
While some business expenses were made to put on your business credit card, others might not be so obvious. As you map out a comprehensive rewards strategy, look for additional expenses you can put on credit to boost your point haul even further. Depending on your business plan, that could include anything from inventory purchases to rent for your storefront, utility bills, insurance benefits, or employee perks. Remember, the more expenses you can charge, the more points you'll earn over time.
Use your card’s online account management tools to track and prioritize your business spending.
If you have been putting all of your business expenses on a debit card or writing a check until now, you have been missing out on valuable budgeting tools offered by the top business credit cards. Most business credit cards categorize your spending for you on your monthly statement – a task which makes it easy to see how much your business is spending and how that spending fluctuates from month to month. This can be especially powerful as you learn to grow your business while keeping your monthly spending and cash flow under a watchful eye.
Try not to get into the habit of carrying a balance.
Having a line of credit handy is a smart move for any business owner with cash flow that fluctuates from month to month. However, that freedom comes with plenty of responsibility as well. If you get into the habit of carrying a balance, you could run up a tab that might prove difficult to pay off. And if you wind up paying interest on your purchases, any rewards you earn will be wiped out by the monthly interest payments you’ll pay. Trust us when we say that paying interest on your purchases isn't rewarding at all.
Consider pairing a personal and business card to earn even more rewards.
With some programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, you can rack up points in your personal accounts and business accounts and pool them together. This is especially helpful if you like to transfer points to hotel and airline partners, or if you want to save up your points for one huge redemption. If you're especially fond of a specific rewards program, check to see if you can get a business credit card and a personal card in that program to earn more rewards over time.
How to Find the Right Business Credit Card in 6 Steps
While all the business credit cards on this list are good ones, one card might work better for your business than another. These six steps can help you find the ideal card for your needs:
#1: Figure out where your business spends the most money.
Since so many business credit cards offer amazing rewards in special bonus categories, figuring out where your business spends the money is crucial. If you spend a ton on travel, for example, you'll want to make sure your business credit card offers extra rewards in that category. But if you mostly spend on shipping and advertising, a different card might work better.
To figure out which card might work best for you, it helps to take a look at your business expenses from previous years. Write down the categories where your business spends the most, then run some quick numbers to see how many points you could earn with each. If a specific category pulls away from the pack, you should make sure your new business cards offers extra points in that area.
#2: Weigh the pros and cons of paying an annual fee.
While many credit cards – including business credit cards – waive the annual fee the first year, it's important to consider the fact you may need to pay this fee eventually. If your business has few expenses, it can be hard to justify spending several hundred dollars per year for the convenience of a credit card. Likewise, the fee may not be a big deal if you're spending – and earning – a lot.
If you find you're uncomfortable paying an annual fee on your rewards card, you can also look for a business card that's fee-free for the long run. You may not earn as many rewards this way, but you can avoid those pesky fees altogether.
#3: Decide whether you want cash back or travel rewards.
An important decision for any business owner to make is whether they want to pursue travel rewards or cash back. Most business credit cards are geared to one type of rewards or the other – but not both. By deciding what type of rewards to go after ahead of time, you can choose a card that will support your efforts.
Also note that some cards offer more flexibility than others. The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ is the perfect example. Even though this card is mostly geared to those who want travel rewards, you can also redeem your points for merchandise, gift cards, or cash back. Make sure you understand any rewards card's program before you sign up.
#4: Consider whether you'll need to carry a balance.
Before you sign up for a business credit card, you should figure out your goal. If you want to earn rewards, you should make sure you won't ever have to carry a balance. If you want a credit card you can use as a short-term loan, you should opt for a card with a low interest rate instead.
While it's unfortunate, the cards with the best rewards programs typically charge the highest interest rates. If you sign up for a business card to rack up rewards but wind up carrying a balance, you could pay a lot more in interest than you realize.
#5: Ask yourself if you need employee cards.
Before you sign up for a business credit card, make sure you know whether you need authorized user cards for other people in your business. While some business credit cards offer additional cards for free, others charge fees for extra cards.
If you need authorized user cards – and especially several cards – make sure you know of any fees involved and factor in those costs before you sign up.
#6: Choose the card with the best combination of benefits.
The final step to choosing a business credit card is comparing the sum of all benefits and rewards from each card you're considering. Make sure to weigh any rewards programs, signup bonuses, annual fees, and added perks to find a card with the ideal combination for your business needs.
Once you're ready to pull the trigger, it's easy to apply for your business credit card online. Many times, you can get instant approval in a matter of minutes.
Choosing a business card can be both stressful and exciting. On one hand you’re venturing into uncharted territory, but on the other, you’re that much closer to earning hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars in rewards!
The key to finding the best business credit card for your needs is taking a close look at your spending. Once you determine where you spend the most money, you can find the card that would serve as the perfect complement to your business plan and long-term goals.