Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

Streamline your expenses and earn rewards with the right business credit card.

Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer, or sole proprietor, a business credit card should be a part of your financial strategy. The right business card can help you manage expenses and maximize rewards on business expenses. When compared with more general rewards cards, business cards typically offer larger signup bonuses and higher rewards rates in business-friendly categories like travel and advertising. Many also offer employee cards at no additional cost.

A new addition:
Our top pick, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
has a lot to offer entrepreneurs, starting with a huge signup bonus. If you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, you’ll land a cool 80,000 points redeemable for travel, cash back, gift cards, and more. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar on your first $150,000 spent per year on purchases like airfare, internet service, and advertising purchases. Points don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Another top business credit card:
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a high-quality option with no annual fee. It offers high-rate rewards (5% cash back!) on up to $25,000 in eligible purchases like internet service and office supply stores. You’ll also earn 2% on up to $25,000 spent on gas and at restaurants — and a flat 1% on everything else. This combination of high cash back rates and no annual fee works very well for small businesses and freelancers who aren’t likely to spend more than $25,000 in each reward category.

Whatever the size of your business, it’s important to find a business credit card that fits your spending habits and goals. Browse our shortlist to find the perfect fit.

The Simple Dollar’s Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

The Simple Dollar’s Top Pick:
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is our top pick for 2017 for several reasons. Firstly, it offers a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 toward travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program is a huge plus. In addition to members-only deals and special offers, points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel. And this card is a great fit for business owners who travel frequently: you’ll earn 3X points per dollar on airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets, and more. Owners of large businesses will be glad to see the generous rewards cap. (3X points apply to up to $150,000 per anniversary year.)

While its travel rewards are impressive, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is much more than a travel rewards card. You’ll also earn 3X points on eligible advertising purchases, including those made with social media sites and search engines, plus internet, cable, and phone services. And the points you’ll earn are very flexible, too: cardmembers enjoy 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs. Other cardmember perks include extended warranty protection, trip cancellation insurance, and purchase protection covering purchases made with your card.

What makes the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card great for big businesses?

  • A huge signup bonus
    Earn 80,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • 3X points
    Earn 3 points per dollar on up to $150,000 in eligible travel, advertising, shipping, and utility costs. (Terms apply.)
  • 25% redemption bonus
    Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Cardmember perks
    Enjoy trip cancellation insurance, purchase protection, and more for eligible purchases made on your Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Planning any large purchases? Make them upfront to grab that huge welcome offer. (Of our favorite business cards, this one offers the most generous signup bonus!)
  • Charge your core business expenses to this card.
  • Redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a 25% bonus.
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card doesn’t waive its annual fee for the first year. Before choosing this card, crunch the numbers and make sure that you’ll earn enough in rewards to offset the upfront cost. The 3x points categories offer great earnings potential, but they apply to specific types of purchases; it’ll likely require mindful spending to fully optimize your rewards. If you don’t want to keep track of your purchases, consider a cash back card like the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.
This card is a good fit for businesses big and small. With no foreign transaction fees, a high earnings cap, and a simple rewards structure, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card makes it easy to earn points on everyday business purchases.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on AmericanExpress.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges.
  • Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is an excellent choice for the business owner who travels often. With this card, you’ll earn 2 Starpoints® per dollar on eligible purchases at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels (plus 1 point per dollar on all other purchases). If you’re an SPG member, you can earn even more points — up to 5 Starpoints® per dollar at participating Starwood hotels. Combine that earning power with the 25,000 point signup bonus, and your travel rewards will add up fast.

Redeeming points is easy and flexible, with more than 1,300 hotels to choose from in over 100 countries. You can also transfer Starpoints® to participating frequent flyer programs — or redeem them for free flights on over 150 airlines via SPG Flights. That level of flexibility is unusual in a hotel credit card and is what sets the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express apart.

Cardmembers also enjoy an array of standout perks. Some will come in handy when you stay in an SPG® property, like complimentary in-room, premium internet access and access to exclusive Sheraton® Club Lounges. Other cardmember perks will be useful at home or on the road: there’s a Baggage Insurance Plan, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, and more. (Terms apply; see Offer Terms for details.)

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Book all your business trips with Starwood properties and airline partners.
  • Take advantage of travel perks like free Boingo Wi-Fi at airports and in-room internet access.
  • Spend $3,000 in your first 3 months to earn the signup bonus.
Since your $95 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months, you have a full year to give this business card a trial run. Feel free to transfer your rewards to select frequent flier programs, but be aware that point transfer rates vary by airline. Also, note that while there are lots ways to redeem rewards with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, cash back isn’t one of them. If you want to get all your rewards in cold, hard cash, consider the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers flexible rewards for business travel, plus a solid welcome bonus. This card is a perfect fit for loyal Starwood customers who’d rather get rewards in the form of free flights/nights than cash.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Apply Now on AmericanExpress.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN isn’t your average rewards card. It offers the unique opportunity to choose your highest-earning rewards category. This gives business owners the flexibility to maximize their rewards in the category that aligns best with their spending — and maximize rewards in that category.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Rewards Categories

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

Choose one category from that list, and you’ll earn 3X Membership Rewards® points per dollar on purchases of that type. You’ll also earn 2X points per dollar on the remaining four categories — and 1X points on other purchases.

In addition to its flexible rewards program, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN comes with plenty of perks tailored to the needs of the modern entrepreneur, including Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and Premium Roadside Assistance. (Terms apply; see Offer Terms for details.)

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Spend $5,000 in the first 3 months to claim your big signup bonus.
  • Choose your rewards categories wisely. Then spend as much as you can (up to the $100,000 limit) on your 3x points category to collect rewards on the big-ticket items you need most.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card. This means that you must pay off your statement every month — you can’t carry a balance. But, on the bright side, there’s no pre-set spending limit. Since the card has a hefty annual fee, you’ll want to ensure that your business costs are high enough to earn at least $175 in rewards. Bottom line: don’t spring for this card unless your expense reports really add up.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers huge rewards and control over where you earn them. Choose this prestigious card if your business requires significant spending in one or more of the bonus categories.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Earn $300 bonus cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named "A Great Card for Small Businesses" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, September 2016
  • Earn 5% cash back 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
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a great choice for small businesses and those who are just getting started. Upfront costs for this card are low, but its reward potential is high. It has no annual fee, and its signup bonus is easier to earn than many on our shortlist, with a $3,000 threshold vs. the more common threshold of $5,000+.

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is ideal for businesses that spend $25,000 per year or less. That’s because its 5% and 2% cash back categories are capped at $25,000 in purchases each account anniversary year. If your business regularly spends more than $25k per year, we recommend the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card for 3X points on up to $150k in purchases. (Note: the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a $95 annual fee — but the rewards potential for larger businesses more than justifies the fee.)

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Use this card for all costs that fall into your bonus reward categories.
  • Anticipate big business expenses and take care of them in the first three months. Then collect your $300 cash back bonus.
The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers a whopping 5% bonus cash back on select reward categories. But there is a limit to how much you can earn. If your business spends upwards of $25,000 annually, this card may not be the right fit. Companies with bigger budgets will benefit from a higher rewards cap. If this sounds like you, check out the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card or The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.
Simply put, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is the perfect solution for small businesses with low monthly spending. Count on this card for substantial rewards, little maintenance, and no annual fee.

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Apply Now on AmericanExpress.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • New: Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each qualifying purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • You can also receive 50% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection(SM) offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2016
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN boasts incredible earning potential and perks — especially for cardmembers who travel frequently. With this card, you’ll earn 5X points per dollar on eligible purchases made through the American Express Travel website. When you use Membership Rewards to pay for all or part of eligible airfare purchases, you’ll get 50% of your points back to use later. And with travel perks like access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, Concierge Service, and a fee credit for TSA Pre✔®, The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN makes it easy for cardmembers to travel in comfort and style. There are also no foreign transaction fees, so be sure to bring this card along for your next international trip!

Cardmembers also have the unique opportunity to earn 1.5X points per dollar on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more. (And if you make 6 purchases of exactly $5,000, the rewards you earn on those purchases alone will cover the annual fee.) If you’re planning any big-ticket items, plan to make them in the first 3 months to earn both 1.5X points and the signup bonus. If you spend $10k, you’ll earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points; spend $20k, and you’ll get 75,000 points.

A word on the annual fee. At $450, it’s the highest on this year’s shortlist — but the rewards potential and premium cardmember perks will justify the cost for larger businesses. The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is unquestionably a premium card option. But for a larger business that frequently books travel or makes purchases larger than $5,000, the rewards — and perks — it offers are significant.

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Use this card for purchases over $5,000 to earn 1.5X points.
  • Book all your business trips through the American Express Travel site and pay with points to get 50% points back. (Terms apply.)
  • Take advantage of valuable travel perks including car rental upgrades, airline fee credits, complimentary Wi-Fi, American Express Global Lounge Collection access, and more.
The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card, so you can’t carry a balance month to month. (That’s the trade-off for being able to make big purchases without a credit limit.) Compared to other cards, this card has a steep annual fee. If you don’t travel often or rarely make purchases over $5,000, you might not earn enough in rewards alone to justify the cost. Looking for a card without an annual fee? Consider the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.
For the right company, this card offers impressive savings on travel and big-ticket purchases. Plus, it embodies a spirit of luxury only American Express can offer. If you spend enough on business travel, the rewards and perks are well worth the annual fee.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on AmericanExpress.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Special Offer: Earn up to $400 cash back
  • 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.
  • No Annual Fee. Plus, more buying power and more cash back.
  • 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
  • 3% on the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • 5% and 3% apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% thereafter. Cash back received is automatically credited to your statement.
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express has two standout features: a $0 annual fee and the ability to customize your rewards categories to fit your business’s spending patterns. Cardmembers earn 5% cash back on wireless telephone services and purchases at office supply stores — and 3% in the category of their choice! (Note: 5% and 3% rewards apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per year. After that, you’ll earn 1%. For a higher rewards cap, check out the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.)

When choosing your 3% cash back category, we recommend analyzing a few months of your business’s spending to maximize rewards long-term.

Earn 3% Cash Back in 1 of the Following Categories:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for advertising on select media
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

In addition to a flexible rewards program, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers Expanded Buying Power, a benefit that will be especially helpful for smaller and new businesses. With Expanded Buying Power, cardmembers can charge purchases beyond their credit limit when they need to. For these purchases, the card functions like a charge card: the purchases made beyond your credit limit will be due in full each month with your minimum payment due. But there are no overlimit fees and no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn. Expanded Buying Power allows small businesses to charge more in the short term when necessary — and earn cash back while they’re at it.

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases to cash in on the $400 signup bonus.
  • Pay for your all your company’s internet and wireless phone services with this card.
  • Analyze upcoming expenses and choose your rewards category carefully. You can earn 3% cash back in the spending category that best fits your business plan: gas stations, shipping, airfare, software, and more.
Cash back bonuses only apply to the first $50,000 spent in your chosen rewards category. If your annual expenses are much higher, consider a general rewards card with fewer restrictions, like the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card.
Few business cards offer rewards this generous without an annual fee. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a great cash back card for small businesses looking for low maintenance rewards.

Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card

Apply Now on Discover.com's secure website

Card Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Unlimited 1.5x rewards on every purchase, every day. For every $1 you spend, you earn 1.5x Miles.
  • Get a mile-for-mile match of all the rewards you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem your rewards in any amount for cash or a travel credit. You’ll always get $1 for every 100 Miles you’ve earned.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service. Talk to a real person any time.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.

Are you a small business owner looking to earn travel rewards? While it’s not technically a business credit card, the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card is a high-quality, low-cost option for earning rewards toward your next trip. Its rewards structure is very straightforward: you’ll earn 1.5X rewards per dollar on every purchase, every day. Because points are redeemable cash back and travel statement credits, you can use them as you like. (Bonus: redeeming points as a travel statement credit gives you the option to compound savings by booking through a discount travel site like Expedia or Priceline! Simply book through the online travel site of your choice, then reimburse yourself with a travel statement credit.)

While this card doesn’t have an upfront signup bonus, it offers an interesting alternative. At the end of your first year, Discover will match the rewards you’ve earned mile-for-mile, doubling your rewards automatically. The first year rewards matching and $0 annual fee make the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card a strong choice for smaller businesses, freelancers, and sole proprietors looking for a low-maintenance rewards card.

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Buy everything with this card (unless you have a specific airline or hotel card that offers more than 1.5x points). The more you spend in the first year, the more you’ll get with your first year Cashback Match™.
  • Traveling overseas? Bring this card! Rest assured that you won’t be charged a foreign transaction fee.
This card does not offer a signup bonus. (While you won’t enjoy big rewards upfront, the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card delivers at the end of the year with an unlimited mile-per-mile match.) Additionally, your rewards can only be redeemed as statement credits or cash back — miles aren’t transferrable to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs. If you’re constantly on the road, you’ll get better travel perks with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
Two words: effortless rewards. With the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card, there’s no need to keep track of limited time offers or spending categories. And since there’s no earnings cap, you can get cash back on every purchase without changing the way you shop.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Apply Now on Barclaycard.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Redeem for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Redemption values vary
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.74%, 20.74% or 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is worth a mention as another travel card option for small businesses. Cardmembers earn 2X miles on all purchases and can redeem their rewards for travel statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise. (Note: redemption values vary; you’ll get the most value per rewards mile with a travel statement credit.) This card also offers an interesting redemption bonus, with 5% miles back toward your next redemption each time you redeem.

This card’s rewards structure and redemption options have a lot in common with the Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card. But where the Discover option offers 1.5X rewards with no annual fee, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® gives you 2X miles and charges a $89 fee. This card also offers a traditional signup bonus if you spend $3,000 in your first 90 days. The card that works best for you will depend on your willingness to pay an annual fee for .5% more rewards.

How To Use It

Best Use

The Fine Print

Fine Print

Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Spend big bucks upfront to claim your signup bonus.
  • Book all your hotels and flights with this card (for both work-related and personal trips).
  • Shop overseas with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Save up your points and redeem them in large amounts. The more points you redeem at once, the more bonus points you’ll get back.
Since there’s no annual fee for the first year, you can explore everything the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has to offer with minimal upfront cost. Keep in mind that you’ll get the greatest value for your points if you redeem them through the RewardsBoost online shopping portal. Additionally, while it’s hard to beat double points on every purchase, you could be missing out on bonus rewards points if the bulk of your business expenses fit into certain popular categories. If you don’t mind tracking spending categories, consider the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express.
This card offers a huge signup bonus, double points on all your purchases, and flexible redemption options. If you want straightforward rewards plus the freedom to travel with minimal restrictions, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is a solid option.

The Simple Dollar’s Best Business Credit Cards of 2017: Summed Up

2017 Best Business Credit Cards for Premium Services

If your business has made it to the top, you may be searching for ways to make your business travel more comfortable instead of pinching pennies on day-to-day expenses. The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN can serve you well because they are loaded with premium travel benefits that help you relax and travel in style.

The trade-off is cost: The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN carries a $450 annual fee, while The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will set you back a mere $175 annually.

The king of business travel cards has traditionally been the Platinum Card® from American express due to its previously unmatched benefits for travel. However, recently it has been losing a bit of its luster. First, there is a $450 annual fee — almost five times what Ink Plus® Business Credit Card charges. Then, US Airways/American Airlines severed ties with AMEX for their airport lounge access. The Platinum Card® has scrambled to try and replace that value.

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN still excels with airport lounge access with over 700 participating lounges through Priority PassTM Select and Airport Club Access programs worldwide. You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 50% of the points back. However, if you don’t travel much, none of this means anything to you.

Frequent travelers will enjoy getting 3x the points and are chosen from 1 of 5 categories. Also, 2x the points are earned in the other 4 categories, with 3x and 2x applying on the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1x point per dollar thereafter. But, with a $175 annual fee, make sure to check your spending levels to make sure you will get enough value for this card.

Who Are Small Business Credit Cards Good For?

While technically anyone can apply for a business credit card, these cards are usually best for small businesses and individuals who fall into the following categories:

  • Self-employed individuals who travel frequently for work and want to rack up rewards
  • Freelancers who need help managing their cash flow
  • Consultants who may travel or entertain clients
  • Small business owners or freelancers who experience irregular cash flow throughout the month
  • Doctors or dentists who are part of their own practice
  • Financial advisors
  • Salespeople who travel for work and want to maximize travel-related rewards
  • Business owners who spend heavily on office supplies and equipment

People who fall in these categories all have certain expenses that can be separated and classified as “business” expenses. These type of expenses can include things like meals, required travel, advertising, business development, entertainment and office space.

Meanwhile, certain types of individuals are employed by an outside company, yet asked to front expenses like gas, meals and parking. Their company is then expected to reimburse them for their purchases, but this arrangement doesn’t preclude them from getting a business credit card. In fact, this may be the type of person who could benefit from a business card the most. By using a card for their business-related expenses, they keep their expenses on a separate tab without messing with their personal cash flow.

Here are some other ways almost anyone could benefit from having a business credit card:

  • Individuals who spend a lot in specific categories, such as dining and gas, could choose a card like the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, which offers 3% cash back in 8 different categories of your choosing
  • Like we mentioned above, individuals who are expected to pay for work-related expenses then get reimbursed can use a business card for those expenses instead of paying for everything with their own money
  • Salespeople who drive a lot could benefit from a card with increased earnings on gas purchases, such as the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express or the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Businesses who spend a lot of money at office supply stores have the opportunity to earn 5 points per $1 on up to $50,000 in office supply purchases each calendar year with the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

Which is the Better Corporate Rewards Platform in 2017: Chase or Amex?

I’ve personally used two cards on this list for businesses I’ve been a part of — The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, and most recently, the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card.

These cards are comparable in many ways, like their rewards programs and bonus rewards categories. I have always wanted to use American Express because of the prestige the brand carries, but I’ve just never been able to find the right level of value for my lifestyle.

However, the signup bonus for the two cards is different: 50,000 points for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and 60,000 for the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card. Amex Gold carries a $175 annual fee, while the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card has a $95 annual fee. Some of the American Express cards cost even more if you look at the $450 annual fee that comes with The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN!

How to Use a Business Credit Card to Manage Cash Flow

Whether you run a small business, lead a large corporation, or work as a self-employed freelancer, you will probably experience cash flow issues from time to time. Sometimes this can happen when you’re waiting on various payments from your customers, and other times it is simply the result of having to purchase equipment or supplies when money is tight.

This is where business cards can really come in handy. Here are a few examples of when having a business card could solve a cash flow problem instantly:

Real Life Example #1

A self-employed freelancer is waiting on several large payments from various clients, but they don’t expect to receive those funds until the end of the month. In the meantime, they need to purchase essential office and computer equipment from an office supply store. A business credit card would allow them to charge their equipment purchases temporarily until they received payment from their customers later in the month. Further, a card like the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card would even reward them with 5% cash back on their purchases.

Real Life Example #2

A small business owner with ten employees just finished a huge project for a client that they have yet to be paid for. Unfortunately, payroll is coming up, and they don’t have enough funds to keep operations running and pay their employees. If necessary, they could cover many of their business-related expenses with a business card for a limited time so they could pay their employees. Once they received payment from their client, they could pay their balance in full and “catch up.”

Real Life Example #3

A large business needs to purchase $50,000 worth of equipment that they will need to pay off over several months. Instead of taking out a loan, the business could leverage the credit line on their business credit card instead. While they would need to pay interest, in this case, they could write it off as a business expense.

Strategies for Maximizing Total Rewards

Since I have been a freelance consultant for a while, and I am interested in maximizing my credit card rewards, I have made the decision to maximize the rewards I earn on both personal and business expenses. Although it can be tricky to keep it all separate, several strategies I employ make the process a whole lot easier.
Here’s what I do.

Overlap Categories

As we have seen, most rewards credit cards offer bonus rewards in certain categories of spending. I sought out a business credit card that earns more points in categories that my personal rewards credit card does not.

For me, Chase has the best combination of personal and business cards on the market right now. For business, I use my Chase Ink Bold®, which earns 5x points on cell phone service, internet service, landline service and office supply stores plus 2x points on gas and hotels. I pair that card with my personal Chase Sapphire Preferred®, which earns 2x points on travel and dining.

If I am out to eat with a client, a business expense, I use my personal Chase Sapphire Preferred® instead of my Chase Ink Bold® because I earn double points with the Sapphire Preferred®.

If I spend on an item outside of any of these bonus categories, I still earn 1 point per dollar, so I’m always earning.

Using the Same Rewards Platform

What I like about these two cards is that they are both on the same rewards platform so I am able to combine the points where I wouldn’t if I paired an Ink Plus® Business Credit Card with the personal rewards card from American Express.

Two added advantages of the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform are transferring points and redeeming points for travel. Both the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® transfer points to frequent flier partners on a 1:1 basis AND both cards’ points are worth 20% more when redeemed for travel through the UR platform.

The result is that when you have the same rewards platform, you have added flexibility to combine and redeem points. If you have business and personal cards on different networks, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

What to Watch Out For

Because I combine my expenses, I have developed a great system of tracking, keeping notes and accounting for which expenses are business vs. personal. This approach is not for the faint of heart. You need to keep up on tracking these expenses at all times. If you fall behind it can be a nightmare to sift back through your calendar, credit card statements and memory to put the right pieces of the puzzle together.

How to Avoid These Problems

First, Jot from Chase Business is great. I can tag expenses and take pictures of receipts. The only tag I really use is “Business” to denote a business expense I want to transfer to my accounting software.

For my personal card I use Expensify. This is essentially the same thing as Jot, but you can use it for any expense whereas Jot only works with your Chase business credit card.

With Expensify, I take a picture of my receipt only for purchases I want to use as business expenses. Expensify saves each receipt and any information I manually input. I then transfer these expenses to my accounting software at the end of each week.

I use Quickbooks for all of my accounting, which lets me keep detailed notes on all my expenses. Once I transfer my expenses, I make sure to add each receipt picture to my digital tax files, so I can back up any expense easily if I ever face an audit.

Research The 25 Best Business Credit Cards

Below is a directory with the most popular business credit cards today. The directory is updated on a weekly basis to reflect any new changes, to add new cards, and to remove expired cards. The business credit cards directory is a highlights the most important features for each card. The directory is maintained and updated consistently to make sure it’s always current.

Business Credit Cards Directory

We analyzed many features of each business credit card to develop an overall rating for each card. The most heavily weighted features of a business credit card are Rewards, Sign Up Bonus, and Perks. I also considered the annual fees and foreign transaction fees associated with the cards.

Based on these features and other data, I came up with a Business Credit Card Rating for each card. This rating provides an objective basis to compare cards based on the features we decided are most valuable to the majority of businesses. Noting that what’s best for the majority isn’t necessarily best for each individual, we also included all of the information for every card so you can decide which card is best for you based on what you value most.

Sort, filter, or search for what matters most to find the best business credit card for you.

Sort By Card Name
Perks Tier Level
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Rewards Tier Level
Common Filters Great Signup Bonus
Great Ongoing Rewards
Great Perks
No Annual Fee
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Search Do you know of a card that is not in our directory? Suggest a Card Here
Credit Card
Annual Fee
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Perks Tier Level
Apply Online
Credit Card
Annual Fee
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Perks Tier Level
Apply Online
$0
None
Average
* (?)
Excellent
* (?)
$59 ($0 for first year)
None
Average
* (?)
Excellent
* (?)
$59 ($0 for first year)
None
Below Average
* (?)
Excellent
* (?)
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
None
Average
* (?)
Excellent
$75
Poor
* (?)
Good
* (?)
Below Average
* (?)

Rating Methodology

We used the features and data from the directory above to develop a rating for each of the best business credit cards available today. To help explain what we looked at, a more detailed outline is included below.

Sign Up Bonus

Sign Up Bonus is a number of extra points the business card offers to a new cardholder. Business card Signup Bonuses are often high but only last for a certain period, as cards compete for new members. Sign up bonuses usually range between 25,000 and 40,000 points, but the best go to 50,000 and beyond (with special offers).

Sign Up Bonus carries a high importance rating because the bonus can tip the scales when comparing two similar cards. The hefty bonus can easily save you a bundle on an upcoming flight.

Don’t wait until the last minute to act on a signup bonus, however. There are usually certain spending requirements you need to fulfill before you actually earn the points and can use them. It is common for credit card issuers to require you to spend $3,000 in the first three months you have the card before the signup bonus kicks in. This means that you’re out of luck if you want to apply the bonus to your New York to LA flight next week.

Rewards

There are a few components within rewards that I looked at to select the top cards. I go into each of these in detail to explain how I graded each card on its rewards level.

Redemption Options

Redemption Options refers to all the ways you can use your accumulated points. Business credit cards usually have the best Redemption Options because they are tied to large travel rewards platforms like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Points. These programs give you flexibility for how you use points when compared to specific airline credit cards and frequent flyer programs. These portals let you book travel on their sites with most carriers and hotels. They also facilitate points redemption for merchandise, gift cards, and services.

Your points are always redeemable for travel through the portals, but these programs also give you the option to transfer your points to specific airline frequent flyer programs for another option.

Once transferred to a partner airline, you can move points to other airlines by taking advantage of airline alliance networks. The largest airline networks are Oneworld and Star Alliance. Other airlines create their own partner networks and join forces with hotels and rental car companies to give the customer more options for redeeming points.

Rewards Rate

We also looked at rewards rate, which is the rate at which your purchases on the card earn you points. This is either expressed as “points per dollar spent” or, for cash back cards, it is expressed as a percentage. It is common to see business cards earn up to five points per dollar in certain categories and one point per dollar on all other purchases.

There are also flat rate rewards cards that reward you two points per dollar on all purchases instead of higher points on only limited categories.

Rewards Categories

Rewards Categories are the spending categories in which your credit card earns greater than 1% or one point per dollar. Rewards Categories play a factor because they can significantly boost your points, they also usually contain limitations. Spending in each category is often capped and any spending above that cap in the category will only earn one point per dollar.

Popular rewards categories are Internet/phone services, gas, hotels, and dining. Depending on how your specific spending breaks down, Rewards Categories can sway your decision between two comparable cards.

Again, some flat rate cards simply offer two points per dollar on all expenditures instead of using Rewards Categories.

Perks

Perks refers to other benefits or programs that make a business card valuable. Most perks are geared toward travel. Many of the best business cards offer airline credits, lounge access, or hotel upgrades. The very best business cards for Perks kick in free preferred status with hotel rewards programs, free Wi-Fi services, and premium roadside assistance packages.

The Bottom Line

If you’re self-employed or your profession has certain characteristics of self-employment, you can use one of the best business credit cards to earn more rewards on your business purchases and keep your personal and business expenses separate.

If you are like me and want to max out your rewards bottom line, you can employ some of my strategies above to get the most out of your cards, but beware of the added importance of diligent record keeping.

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