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As your business grows, it may be time to do a review of the credit card you’re using to help fuel it. Which card you choose depends on what features are most important for your business.
You may want a card that comes with options such as a lucrative sign-up bonus or welcome offer, high rewards in key spending categories, flexibility in redeeming rewards, travel/protection benefits and tools to manage your business. Below we review five cards we feel are the best in key categories that are important for running a business.
|Best overall||The Business Platinum Card® from American Express|
|Best for hotels||Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card|
|Best for airlines||CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®|
|Best for gas||Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card|
|Best no annual fee||The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express|
How we chose the cards in this round-up
We chose these cards based on their potential to earn high cash rewards after considering rewards rate, sign-up bonus/welcome offer, flexibility in redeeming points, additional benefits and annual fees. We focused on cards we felt provide the best value for businesses.
Best overall cashback card: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points*
Complimentary access to over 1000+ airport lounges*
Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more*
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 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 an extra half point 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 when you book on amextravel.com.
- 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.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Best for: Businesses owners who want to earn top Membership Rewards® points for airlines and hotels, along with access to benefits designed to make travel easier — and don’t mind paying a high annual fee to get it all.
Why we like it: New cardholders Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1.5 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. There are also opportunities for bonus points, including getting 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more.
You get 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar (that’s an extra one-half point per dollar) for each single eligible purchase transaction of $5,000 or more made with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. For example, for a single eligible purchase transaction of $5,000, you will get an extra 2,500 points. These extra points are in addition to any points you already get from using the card. You can get a maximum of 1,000,000 extra points associated with this benefit per calendar year per account.
You can also receive an extra 3.5 points for every 10 points you redeem for either a first or business class flight on any airline, or for flights on your chosen airline using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points, up to 500,000 points per calendar year.
Flexible redemption. Transfer your points to 18 airline and three hotel loyalty programs. Redeem them at the Membership Rewards website for travel, merchandise, gift cards, Amazon.com, Pay with Points or a statement credit.
A plethora of benefits. If you’re paying a $595 annual fee for a business card, you expect great benefits to come with it, and this one delivers. After choosing an airline, cardholders receive an annual $200 credit that can be used for air travel fees such as baggage fees or in-flight food and beverages. There’s also a credit for up to $100 to cover enrollment fees for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Receive automatic Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy™ gold status. When booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts, receive free benefits including room upgrades upon arrival when available, daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out and noon check-in when available, free Wi-Fi and an amenity valued at $100, such as a food and beverage credit or a one-way private sedan transfer.
The card comes with access to Centurion® Lounges, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Clubs®, Priority PassTM Select lounges, Airspace Lounges and U.S. locations of Escape Lounges. Stay connected on the road with free unlimited Wi-Fi access under the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan on up to four devices at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide.
Business Platinum Travel Service counselors can help with custom itineraries and tailored recommendations for your travels. There’s also access to the Business Platinum Card Concierge for support with tasks ranging from arranging lunch meetings to finding the best concert tickets to entertain clients.
Other benefits include travel accident insurance; baggage insurance plan; car rental loss and damage insurance; premium roadside assistance; Global Dining Collection; premium car rental privileges; Preferred Seating for sports and entertainment events; purchase protection and extended warranty.
Great business tools. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with tools that help you manage company expenses. Plus, you can add up to 99 employee cards for free and earn Membership Rewards points on their spending. Assign a dedicated account manager to handle tasks such as reviewing statements, making payments and disputing charges on your cards. Use the American Express® Business App to help manage card expenses by adding receipts and notes to transactions on your desktop or mobile device.
Account holders can track card expenses by connecting them to QuickBooks. Set account alerts to avoid late payments, get notifications on irregular activity and monitor employee card spending. Plus, a year-end summary, which can categorize spending by month and purchase type and help track business expenses, is available.
Things to watch out for. This is a charge card, so it must be paid off every month — still, you can use the card’s Pay Over Time feature for eligible charges of $100 or more. Choose to pay the minimum amount due or anything in between, with interest.
Competing cards offer more points in categories popular with businesses, such as office supplies, dining, gas and internet/cable/phone services. Make sure you’ll take advantage of all the card’s credits and benefits to justify the $595 annual fee.
Hotels: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
- Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
- 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Best for: Frequent business travelers loyal to the newly branded Marriott Bonvoy hotel program.
Why we like it: The welcome offer allows new cardmembers to earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Use those points to reward an employee — or yourself — with a long weekend at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa at the end of February.
Earn 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases. The higher points cover categories that are attractive to businesses — at an annual fee of $125.
Transfer points to more than 40 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly at a ratio of 3 points to 1 mile. Receive 5,000 points back every time you transfer 60,000 points to an airline loyalty program.
You can use your points for free nights and room upgrades at more than 6,700 hotels worldwide, with no blackout dates. Also redeem them for unique sports, dining and entertainment experiences at Marriott Bonvoy Moments, vacations, merchandise, sharing with friends and family or donating them to charity.
The card comes with free silver elite status. Get a free night at a hotel with redemption levels of up to 35,000 points every year after your card account anniversary.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card comes with free, premium in-room Wi-Fi participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. If you’re on the road, get unlimited Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than a million hotspots worldwide with the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan.
Receive free cards for your employees and earn points on them. Designate an account manager to administer the card. Use the American Express® Business App to help manage card expenses by adding receipts and notes to your transactions either via desktop or your mobile device, plus transfer transaction data from your online statement directly into a QuickBooks account.
Set up account alerts to help you avoid late payments, notify you of irregular activity and monitor spending on employee cards. At the end of the year, receive a summary of card spending, broken down by month and purchase type.
The card comes with good travel-related benefits including travel accident insurance; baggage insurance plan; Global Assist® Hotline; roadside assistance; car rental loss and damage insurance; extended warranty; and purchase protection.
Things to watch out for. The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card doesn’t come with the trip interruption/trip cancellation insurance you’d expect from a travel-branded business credit card.
You must spend $30,000 in a calendar year in order to make the leap to Marriott gold status; other hotel credit cards come with gold or higher status automatically.
Airlines: CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
Best for: This is the business credit card to have if American Airlines is the carrier you and your employees fly the most — and even more so if you belong to the AAdvantage® Loyalty Program. The card’s annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months.
Why we like it: New cardmembers Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. That’s enough for a round-trip Mile SAAver coach ticket to Europe. Mile SAAver awards allow you to book reward travel at lower rates if you have flexibility.
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
Not only does the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® offer higher miles per dollar spent on airline-related spending, you also earn more in popular business categories, including cable and satellite providers, gas, telecommunications and car rentals.
Use the miles earned on the card to book reward travel to more than 1,000 destinations served by American Airlines on its 12 Oneworld alliance partners. Miles can also be redeemed for seat upgrades, car rentals, hotels, vacations, an Admirals Club airport lounge membership, newspapers and magazine subscriptions and charitable donations.
Earn an American Airlines companion certificate for domestic travel after spending $30,000 on the card each year it is renewed. Card benefits include travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance, car rental insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty.
Cardmembers and up to four traveling companions get a free checked bag and priority boarding when they travel. You can also receive a 25% credit for in-flight Wi-Fi and food and beverage purchases when you pay for it with the card.
Add employees as authorized users and earn AAdvantage® miles on their purchases. The card comes with online access to monthly billing statements and account summaries to streamline accounting, and a personal business assistant to help with travel, hotel and dining arrangements.
Things to watch out for. Users can’t earn higher miles in popular business categories such as dining or office supplies. You must be a regular flyer on American since you can’t transfer your miles to other airline or hotel loyalty programs.
The CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® doesn’t come with Admirals Club airport lounge access, nor does it offer travel benefits such as trip interruption, trip delay or lost baggage insurance. And there’s no mechanism to earn bonus miles that go toward reaching AAdvantage elite status.
Gas: Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
Best for: Businesses with employees who drive a lot and want to earn rewards for gas purchases. Also, earning higher rewards for dining and office supplies is a nice plus.
Why we like it: New cardmembers can earn a sign-up bonus: $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening. The card’s $0 annual fee is attractive for businesses watching their spending.
Earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services, 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can add cardholders to your account and earn cash back based on their purchases.
Simplicity is the key with this card since you can either redeem rewards as a statement credit or have them deposited into a Bank of America® small business checking or savings account.
Businesses with a Bank of America® checking or savings account and belong to the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program can earn additional cashback, between 25% and 75% every time employees swipe their cards.
Card benefits include $100,000 in travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, emergency ticket replacement and lost luggage assistance. It also comes with business management tools, including automatic payments, transfers and transaction downloads into QuickBooks.
Things to watch out for. Other business credit cards offer a more generous sign-up bonus. There’s a calendar year cap of $250,000 on the top cash back earned for gas stations and office supply stores. Once you hit that cap, the rate falls to the lowest cash back.
Read the fine print on the rewards categories. You can’t earn higher cash back on gas purchased at boat marinas or fuel dealers whose primary line of business is selling heating oil, propane and kerosene. You can’t earn higher restaurant cash back when spending at bakeries, coffee shops, grocery stores and other miscellaneous food stores that operate a restaurant inside their premises.
Office supply stores don’t include the following: variety and department stores, discount warehouse stores, drugstores that may sell office supplies or stores that sell large or high-priced office equipment.
And make sure to leave the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card at home if you’re traveling out of the country since it comes with a 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction foreign transaction fee.
No Annual fee: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases up to the annual cap
Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card
- Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
- Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
- You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
- More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
- *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
- 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24%-19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
- No Annual Fee
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Best for: Businesses who want an American Express card that don’t need all the bells and whistles — and an annual fee of $595 — that come with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
Why we like it. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. This card offers a generous rewards rate for small business owners who don’t want the hassle of dealing with bonus spend categories. Cardholders can redeem points for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment, merchandise and charity. Plus, you can transfer points, often at a 1:1 rate, to a variety of airlines and hotels, including Delta SkyMiles, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, AirFrance KLM, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and much more.
A great benefits of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is Expanded Buying Power. The feature gives cardholders the ability to charge above their spending limit and still earn rewards with no fees. It can give your business some breathing room during heavy spending months.
For a card with no annual fee , The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express comes with some pretty generous travel and protection benefits, including travel accident insurance, baggage insurance plan, car rental loss and damage insurance, Roadside Assistance and Global Assist® hotlines, extended warranty, purchase protection and Amex Offers for shopping, dining, travel and more.
Use the tools that come with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express to manage your business, including free employee credit cards; a designated account manager; the American Express® Business App, which allows you to add receipts and notes to your transactions either via desktop or your mobile device; the ability to link your card and your QuickBooks account; set account alerts; and a year-end spending report.
Things to watch out for. Once you hit the card’s yearly purchase cap, you’ll only earn the lowest rewards rate. So if you spend more than $50,000 annually on company expenses, you may be better off with a card that offers unlimited bonus points.
Additionally, if you use your card to make purchases outside of the U.S., you will incur a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
The bottom line
The card you choose for your business involves many factors, but the goal is to decide which one will bring the most value. Read each card’s fine print to see if the pros of any card outweigh potential cons.
If the card comes with a sign-up bonus, look beyond the splashy points total. See how much you’ll actually have to spend to get those bonus points and how much they’re worth when you redeem them. Weigh the cost of the card with the points and benefits you earn on it.
When it comes to earning points, choose the card that offers the highest rewards in the categories that are most important to your business. Also check to see if the card you want gives you the most flexibility when it comes time to redeem your points. Some businesses may be fine with a simple statement credit, while others may find redeeming points on travel, merchandise or gift cards is more appealing.
Finally, look for a card that comes with tools that will help you run your business more effectively. And make sure it comes with free cards for employees that let you earn rewards for their purchases. For businesses with employees who travel outside the U.S. regularly, avoid cards that charge a foreign transaction fee, which can tack on needless dollars to purchases made abroad.