Applying for business credit cards is a great way to earn more miles and points than you already do, but many people don’t apply for business cards because they incorrectly believe they don’t qualify.
You don’t need to have employees, nor does your business need to be profitable. Using a social security number instead of an EIN on the application is totally acceptable. Your business doesn’t even need to have it’s own name or separate address from your personal one!
Sell things on Etsy? Ebay? Bake sales? Yard sales? These are legitimate businesses to open a business credit card for.
Learn more in How to Get Approved for Business Credit Cards.
And just because you have a consumer version of a credit card does not mean you can’t get the business version of the same card. If a co-branded card is available for consumers and businesses, they are generally considered separate products in terms of card eligibility. For example, if you have the Delta Gold Amex card–the consumer version–you can still open and receive the bonus on a Delta Gold Business Amex.
Without further ado, here are the ten most lucrative business credit cards for travel rewards on the market right now.
BONUS: 80K ULTIMATE REWARDS
The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers 80,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. In my opinion that’s the most valuable sign up bonus the credit card market has to offer, considering return on spending.
The Ink Preferred earns 3x points on travel; shipping; internet, cable, and phone services; and search engine or social network advertising (on the first $150,000 spent annually), and 1x points on everything else.
You’ll also get up to $600 in coverage per claim in cell phone protection against theft or damage for you and your employees, as long as you pay that cell’s bill with the Ink Preferred.
This business card offers solid benefits and return on spending as a stand-alone card. I think it’s the best option for the price.
Annual Fee: $95
BONUS: $500 CASH BACK OR 50K ULTIMATE REWARDS
The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card technically comes with a $500 cash back sign up bonus for spending $3,000 within the first three months, but what you are actually earning is 50,000 bonus Ultimate Reward points. They are a different kind of point than what’s earned by the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred.
I said technically above because it is marketed as a cash back card. But the Ultimate Reward points it earns don’t have to be redeemed for 1 cent each, as most card advertisements lead you to believe. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, you can transfer the 50k Ink Business Cash Ultimate Rewards to one of those accounts to turn them into the kind of Ultimate Rewards earned by the respective account… that are transferrable to nine airline or three hotel loyalty programs for outsized value on international/premium cabin award flights and expensive hotel rooms. This increases their value to somewhere around 2 cents each (meaning 50k Ultimate Rewards would be worth around $1,000 instead of $500).
Alternatively, moving them to your Sapphire Reserve card also means you can redeem the points for 1.5 cents each on cash flights through the Chase travel portal, which is often the better deal (compared to turning them into airline miles) for domestic flights.
Category bonuses on this card are lucrative as well:
- 5 Ultimate Reward points per dollar on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services.
- 2 Ultimate Reward points per dollar on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants
And you get all of this for no annual fee, ever. Just don’t charge foreign purchases on it as you’ll get hit with fees.
If you have a Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred, then I highly recommend scooping up this card for its earning potential with that 5x category bonus points in business specific expenses. Even if you don’t have one of those other Chase cards, 5x points redeemed as 5 cents cash back from cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services is a fantastic return.
Annual Fee: $0
BONUS: $500 CASH BACK OR 50K ULTIMATE REWARDS
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card offers a sign up bonus of $500 cash back for spending $3,000 within three months of account opening. Just like the Ink Business Cash, however, if you also hold a Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred, then you can transfer those Ultimate rewards earned by the Ink Business Unlimited to your other Chase account and they magically turn into the kind of Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred to airline loyalty programs, increasing their value dramatically.
What’s also pretty appealing about this card, which is the business counterpart to Chase’s Freedom Unlimited consumer card, is that it will earn 1.5 points on ALL purchases with no cap. That’s a great return (especially if you can transfer those Ultimate Rewards to a more valuable account) for no annual fee. This card charges foreign transaction fees so it won’t be a good option to use when traveling.
Annual Fee: $0
BONUS: 75,000 MEMBERSHIP REWARDS
While not unusual for business cards, the minimum spending requirement on the Business Platinum from American Express is rather high–$10,000 within three months of opening the card will get you 50,000 bonus Membership Reward points, and an additional $10,000 in spend will earn you an additional 25k bonus Membership Reward points within the same three month period. But a 75k bonus is a huge chunk of rewards. I don’t recommend manufacturing spend on Amex cards, as they are known for clawing back points for that kind of behavior. If you can manage the spending organically and can justify the hefty annual fee (checkout benefits below), then apply.
The card comes with many of the same valuable perks that the personal Platinum does, like $200 in airline incidental fee credits every year.
Other benefits include:
- 5x points on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through the Amex travel portal and 35% points rebate when paying with Membership Rewards for air travel booked through the Amex travel portal. The rebate applies to one designated airline when buying economy tickets, but any airline when purchasing premium cabin tickets.
- 1.5x points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more
- Up to $200 in statement credits annually for U.S. purchases with Dell
- Up to $100 hotel credit for qualifying hotels booked through Amex Travel.
Annual Fee: $595
BONUS: 200K CAPITAL ONE MILES
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card comes with a tiered bonus:
- 50,000 bonus “miles” after spending $4,500 on the card in the first three months
I called the card’s rewards “miles” because they’re not like traditional airline miles, but rather bank-issued points like Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. There are two ways to redeem Spark miles:
- 1 cent each toward any travel expense. The 200k bonus miles are worth $2,000 in travel credit if you decide to redeem Spark miles this way.
- Transfer to various airline partners at a rate of 1,000 Spark miles to 750 airline mile(s), and a handful more at a rate of 1,000 to 500. 1,000 to 750 partners include Flying Blue, Aeroplan, Etihad Guest, Avianca LifeMiles and more. If you transfer the 250,000 Spark miles you’ll have after meeting the $50k spending requirement in six months, that translates to up to 187,500 airline miles!
You’ll earn 2 Spark miles per dollar spent on everything you charge to the card. The Capital One Spark Miles for Business does not charge foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year
BONUS: 70k RAPID REWARDS
The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card comes with a large 70,000 point bonus, for spending $5,000 within three months, which is a significant help earning the Companion Pass. As long as you’re a regular Southwest Flyer, the perks will pay for the annual fee.
- 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary (worth ~$135, bringing the effective annual fee to $64)
- Category bonuses: 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
- 365 $8 Inflight WiFi Credits (wifi access on one device costs $8)
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Fee Credit (worth up to $100)
- No foreign transaction fees
To fast track the process of earning the Companion Pass, open one of the consumer cards or the other Southwest business card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card.
Annual Fee: $199
BONUS: 100K UNITED MILES
For spending $10,000 on the Chase United Explorer Business Card within three months, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus United miles. If you spend $25,000 within the first six months of opening the card, you’ll get an additional 50,000 bonus miles. That means you’ll earn at least 110,000 miles for spending $10,000 on your card within three months, or in other words, 11 United miles per dollar spent.
The card comes with 2 United miles per dollar spent on United purchases, as well as local transit and commuting like trains, taxis, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services. Gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores purchases will also earn 2x.
You also get a ton of perks United related perks–one of my personal favorites being extra MileagePlus award space called “last seat availability”. This basically means cardholders have access to more United award space than non-cardholders.
You + one travel companion check your first bag for free, which saves $120 per roundtrip flight. Anyone on your reservation gets Priority Boarding, which means boarding before the majority of people and having a better chance to get carry on luggage in the overhead bin. Two United Club passes per year are also included.
MileagePlus Elite members that hold a United card are eligible for upgrades on domestic award travel.
Annual Fee: $99
8. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage card comes with 65,000 American Airlines bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases within four months of opening the account.
- Free checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and four companions
- Preferred Boarding on American Airlines flights (this means after Business/First/elite passengers and before economy)
- 25% discount on in-flight food, beverage, and wifi purchases on American Airlines flights
- Double AA miles on eligible American Airlines, telecommunications purchases, cable and satellite provider purchases, car rental merchants and at gas stations
- If you spend $30,000 in a year on the card, you also get a $99 companion certificate for use within the continental United States.
- Access to American Airlines’ domestic Reduced Mileage Awards
- No foreign transaction fees
The annual fee of $99 is waived the first year.
9. Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business MasterCard
BONUS: 75K AMERICAN AIRLINES MILES
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business MasterCard offers 65,000 bonus American Airlines for spending just $1,000 on the card within three months. You can get another easy 10,000 bonus miles when an employee makes their first purchase on an authorized user card, for a total of 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles.
Other benefits include two American Airlines miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases, as well as office supply, telecom and car rental merchants. You and four traveling companions get a free checked bag, plus other American specific perks like a discount on inflight purchases and preferred boarding. By spending $30k on the card within a cardmember year, you’ll earn a Companion Certificate ($99 + taxes for a companion on any flight).
This card does not charge foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $95
NO SIGN UP BONUS, BUT 2X ON EVERYDAY BUSINESS SPEND
The draw for the majority of the credit cards on this list are their big sign up bonuses. That’s not the case with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express which does not currently come with an intro bonus. The fact that it earns 2 Membership Reward points per dollar spent on all everyday business purchases makes it the best small business credit card for everyday spending available. Note that the 2 points per dollar earned applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, and you’ll earn 1 point per dollar thereafter.
If you have lots of spending power that wouldn’t otherwise earn a higher category bonus on another card, then the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a fantastic option for you. This card is a heavy-hitter for long-term value, especially because it has no annual fee! Just don’t use it abroad or you’ll incur foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $0
Before rushing to sign up for new cards, remember to take into account that some miles are better than others for getting to specific destinations–not to mention issuing bank rules concerning eligibility if you have/had rewards cards in the past.
- If you need help deciding which card is the right one for you, try our Credit Card Consultation Service. We’re happy to help guide you in the right direction towards effectively and efficiently collecting the appropriate rewards.
- Need help redeeming your miles efficiently? Try our Award Booking Service. You send us your goal and current balances, and we do the work making sure your miles are stretched as far as possible.