If you’re a small business owner, you likely have a lot of expenses that are used in the day-to-day course of keeping your business running. Many credit cards offer rewards tailored for small business owners and that can be a good way to help defray some of your business expenses. Benefits on particular credit cards differ, but we’re talking about anywhere from a 1 to 2% rebate on all of your spending. Depending on how much spending your business does, these rewards can certainly add up to some serious money!
Today we’re going to take a look at 5 different rewards credit cards that are perfect for small business owners.
The Difference Between Personal and Business Credit Cards
Before we dive into looking at some of the best rewards credit cards for small business owners, I wanted to walk through the difference between personal and business credit cards. Some credit cards are marketed specifically towards business owners, but there is nothing in the terms of any credit card that says that it has to be used for personal or business expenses.
Many cards that are marketed towards small businesses have features that make them attractive to those businesses, such as spending bonuses in categories that many businesses use (such as office supply stores or online advertising). Many business cards also offer employee cards and allow you to set specific spending limits on cards as well as provide charts, displays and reports that allow you to keep on top of your spending.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure to check with your accountant on the best way to keep your business and personal expenses separate, but if you find the perfect card for your particular situation that is a “personal” card, there’s nothing that is stopping you from using it for business expenses.
Capital One Spark
Capital One has two cards that it markets under its Spark brand, the Spark Cash and Spark Miles cards. Both cards are considered business credit cards and they have very similar bonus and earning structures. The main difference is that the Spark Cash card earns cashback, while the Spark Miles card earns Capital One Rewards miles, which can be used towards flights, hotels or other travel expenses. Capital One Rewards miles can also be transferred to 15 different airline partners.
The Spark Cash card earns an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, which makes it an attractive option for a small business owner who wants to focus on her business and not deal with overly complicated rewards programs. It has a $95 annual fee which is waived the first year, and you can get unlimited employee cards for free. The Spark Cash currently has a limited-time welcome offer where you can get $2,000 as an initial welcome offer: $500 when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and an additional $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months.
The Spark Miles card has a very similar structure. It also has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) with free employee cards, and earns unlimited 2 Capital One Rewards miles on all purchases but also additionally earns 5 miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel. Its welcome offer is currently analogous to the offer on the Spark Cash card – 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months. The Spark Miles card also offers a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre.
If you’re trying to decide between the Spark Cash and Spark Miles cards, one question to ask yourself is whether you’d prefer travel rewards to use or whether you would rather have cash back to potentially invest back in your business.
Another solid business credit card family is the three Chase Ink cards. All business cards, there is the Chase Ink Preferred, Chase Ink Unlimited and Chase Ink Cash cards. Each different Chase Ink business card comes with different rewards, benefits and bonus categories
Chase Ink Preferred
The Chase Ink Preferred is currently offering a welcome offer of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. The Ink Preferred comes with an annual fee of $95, but also earns 3x points on the first $150,000 spent each year in travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines. Unlike the Ink Unlimited and Ink Cash, the Ink Preferred is considered one of Chase’s premium cards, which means you can redeem each Ultimate Reward point for 1.25 cents per point towards travel or transfer to one of Chase’s airline or hotel transfer partners
Chase Ink Cash
The Chase Ink Cash is currently offering a welcome offer of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. The Ink Cash card has no annual fee and earns 5 Ultimate Rewards points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year at office supply stores and on Internet, cable and phone services. It also earns 2 Ultimate Rewards points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year at gas stations and restaurants. Points earned on the Chase Ink Cash are worth 1 cent, though if you also have a premium Chase card, you can combine your points and potentially redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point.
Chase Ink Unlimited
The Chase Ink Unlimited currently offers a welcome offer of 50,000 Ultimate rewards points. after spending $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. The Ink Unlimited card has no annual fee and earns 1.5 Ultimate rewards points on all purchases. Points earned on the Chase Ink Unlimited are worth 1 cent, though if you also have a premium Chase card, you can combine your points and potentially redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point.
Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
The American Express Blue Business Plus card is another card that has a simple rewards earning structure. You earn 2 American Express Membership Rewards points for all purchases up to $50,000 in spending each year, and 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent after that. This compares to the Chase Ink Unlimited or Capital One Spark cards, but generally I find Membership Rewards to be more valuable than other currencies. The Blue Business Plus card has no annual fee but also currently offers no initial welcome offer.
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards card
The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards card has no annual fee and currently offers a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within the first 90 days of having the card. The Business Advantage Cash Rewards card also has a tiered system for earning ongoing rewards, but one difference is that you control the categories that earn bonus cashback.
With the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards card, you earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services. You can change your 3% category once each month. You’ll also earn 2% back in dining and your extra cash back is limited to the first $50,000 of spending each year in combined spending in the 2% and 3% categories.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has the highest annual fee of any card on this list ($595), but also packs quite a few benefits. The public welcome offer on the American Express Business Platinum ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 Membership Rewards points, and there have been targeted offers as high as 150,000 Membership Rewards points.
The rewards on the Business Platinum card are focused towards travel, so this card would be a better fit if your business has a lot of travel expenses or if you’re interested in travel rewards specifically. You have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including a Priority Pass membership, access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta and access to American Express’s own Centurion lounges. You’ll also get a variety of statement credits, including a $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA Pre, $200 towards purchases with Dell, and $100 a year at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Another credit you’ll get on The Business Platinum card is a $200 annual credit on an airline of your choosing, which can be used for incidental fees like bag fees or seat selection fees. You’ll also get a 35% points rebate on all travel on your chosen airline, which can be a great way to get a discount if your business has a lot of travel expenses. You’ll earn 1 Membership Rewards point on most purchases, but 5 points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1.5 points on all purchases over $5,000. If you have a lot of hotel stays, the Business Platinum card also comes with complimentary Marriott Gold and Hilton Gold status.
Hopefully if you are looking for the best rewards credit cards for small business owners, this guide has helped you to make a decision of which card is best for you.