Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

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

Business owners, sole proprietors, and freelancers alike can benefit from having a dedicated business credit card. Without a business card, you’ll have to manually sort business and personal purchases. With a business card, you can keep your finances separate and in order — and earn valuable rewards that put money back in your pocket. The top business credit cards of 2017 offer impressive signup bonuses and rewards categories that align with common business expenses.

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is a standout due to its generous 80,000 point signup bonus. When it’s time to redeem those points, you’ll have plenty of options, including travel, cash back, gift cards, and more. And with 3X points per dollar on up to $150,000 on qualifying purchases like airfare and advertising, your rewards will stack up fast.

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

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

Looking for a business credit card without an annual fee? Check out the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It comes equipped with a lucrative rewards program: 5% cash back on up to $25,000 on eligible purchases like gas and restaurants, plus 1% on other purchases. With high-rate rewards and $0 annual fee, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a strong choice for smaller business whose annual expenses fall below $25,000.

Whether you’re just starting out or preparing for your business’s next big adventure, a business credit card can be a valuable tool. Explore our shortlist of this year’s top picks — when you find one you like, applying online is quick and easy.

The Simple Dollar’s Best Business Credit Cards of 2017

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 scores top marks for its signup bonus, high-rate rewards program, and flexible redemption. With this card, you’ll earn 3X points per dollar on up to $150,000 spent in the following categories:

  • Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets, and taxis
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

…Plus 1X points on all other purchases. Since those categories align well with common, recurring business purchases, that means serious rewards potential over time. And when you’re ready to redeem your points, you’ll have plenty of options. Points are redeemable for cash back, gift cards and more, though you’ll get the best value when you redeem for travel; points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And let’s not forget, the 80,000 point signup bonus is worth $1,000 for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® — that’ll go a long way toward a free vacation!

How To Use It

Best Use

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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.
  • Bring this card when you travel overseas to skip foreign transaction fees.
  • Redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a 25% bonus.
The $95 annual fee is not waived for the first year. Your rewards outlook is rosiest if several of your core business expenses fall within the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card’s 3X points categories. If they don’t, or if you’d prefer to choose your highest-grossing bonus category, consider another top pick, the The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, which offers 3X points on the category of your choice (from a list of 5), plus 2X points on the remaining 4 categories (and 1X points on everything else).
With 3X points on up to $150,000 on eligible purchases, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is a strong choice for businesses of practically any size. Use it to charge the types of purchases you’re already making, and watch the rewards stack up. (We recommend redeeming your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to score a 25% points bonus!)

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business 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

If you travel frequently for work, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express deserves consideration. While its rewards categories aren’t business-centric, they do benefit the frequent traveler: 2X Starpoints® per dollar at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels, plus 1X points on everything else. And if you’re an SPG member as well as a cardholder, you may be able to increase the rewards rate at participating SPG® hotels — up to 5X Starpoints® per dollar.

When it’s time to redeem your points, you’ll have over 1,300 hotels and resorts to choose from — in over 100 countries. (Perk for the international travelers: there are no foreign transaction fees on international purchases. That could save you 3-5% on each purchase you make abroad!) And unlike many hotel cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express also allows you to redeem points for airfare. You can redeem your points for flights on over 150 flights via SPG Flights.

The perks don’t stop there. Cardmembers also enjoy special perks like access to exclusive Sheraton® Club Lounges and complimentary in-room internet access. There’s also a Baggage Insurance Plan, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, and more, which will come in handy while traveling and at home.

How To Use It

Best Use

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Book with at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels to earn 2X Starpoints®.
  • Redeem points for airfare via SPG Flights.
  • Take advantage of travel perks like free Boingo Wi-Fi at airports and in-room internet access.
  • Bring this card when traveling abroad to avoid foreign transaction fees.
  • Spend $5,000 in your first 3 months to earn the signup bonus.
The ability to redeem points for flights is a standout feature — but point redemption rates may vary by airline. Also, while this card offers plenty of flexibility when redeeming points for hotel stays, cash back is not a redemption option. If you’re looking for straightforward cash back rewards, check out the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.
If you travel frequently, it’s tough to beat the flexibility and style afforded by the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Use it to earn free nights at high-end hotels in more than 100 countries — plus valuable cardmember perks like Sheraton® Club Lounge access and baggage insurance.

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 has a unique value proposition for business owners: the ability to choose your highest-value rewards category. This means the opportunity to tailor your rewards program to your business’s needs — and earn more rewards, faster in the category that aligns best with your spending.

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

Here’s how it works. Choose one category from the list above, and you’ll earn 3X points per dollar on purchases of that type. But that’s not all — you’ll also earn 2X points on the other four categories (and 1X points on everything else). To make the most of your 3X points category, we suggest studying a few months of business expenses to decide which category will be most beneficial long-term.

How To Use It

Best Use

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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 types of purchases you make most.
  • Take advantage of cardmember perks like Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and Premium Roadside Assistance. (Terms apply; see Offer Terms for details.)
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.

This card has a $175, which is waived for your first year. Also, because The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card, you won’t have the option of carrying a balance month to month on most purchases. (Exception: American Express offers Pay Over Time for certain purchases. Note that interest charges will apply.) For smaller businesses that need the flexibility of a traditional credit card, we recommend the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.

With The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, you’ll have the opportunity to earn enormous rewards — and a say in which types of purchases offer the biggest rewards potential. For larger businesses, the ability to choose your 3X points category may justify the annual fee.

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 an attractive option for small operations and businesses that are just getting started. That’s because it offers a low barrier to entry but high rewards potential over time. It’s one of few business credit cards with no annual fee. It also has a relatively low threshold to earn its signup bonus: just spend $3,000 in your first 3 months to earn the $300 bonus.

This card makes sense for businesses whose annual expenses fall below $25,000. (Its 5% and 2% cash back categories are capped at $25,000 in purchases each account anniversary year.) For a similar card with higher rewards caps, we recommend the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, which offers 3X points on up to $150k in purchases.

How To Use It

Best Use

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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.
  • Planning a large purchase? Pay it off during your first 12 months to take advantage of 0% intro APR.
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 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 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.
  • You can also receive 35% 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℠ 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 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 35% 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 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 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

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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 35% 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 Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card. That means you’ll need to pay off your balance in full each month; you won’t have the option to carry a running balance. Additionally, this card’s $450 is steeper than average. Frequent travelers and businesses that frequently purchase big-ticket items over $5k will see the greatest benefit from this card. For a smaller annual fee and the ability to choose your top-earning rewards category, compare with The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.
If your company spends significantly on travel and big-ticket items, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN boasts impressive rewards potential. Use it to maximize rewards on the types of purchases you’re already making — and travel in style.

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 makes a lot of sense for smaller operations and those just getting their start. Its $0 annual fee means you can start maximizing rewards on business purchases without paying a large fee for the privilege.

Similar to The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, this card gives you the opportunity to customize your rewards program for maximum rewards potential. You’ll earn 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers; 3% on the category of your choice (from a list of eight) and 1% on other purchases. Your choices for the 3% categories are:

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

To make the most of this unique opportunity, take a good look at your recurring business expenses and the categories you spend the most in. Then choose accordingly.

How To Use It

Best Use

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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.
5% and 3% cash back in select categories means big rewards potential in the long term. But there’s a caveat: 5% and 3% rewards apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year; after that, you’ll earn the standard 1%. If your business frequently spends in excess of $50k per year, we recommend a card with a higher rewards cap, like the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. It offers 3X points in select categories on up to $150,000 per year.
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

Apply Now on Discover.com's secure website

Card Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Match Mile For Mile: We’ll match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as statement credits towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.

It’s not technically a business card, but the Discover it® Miles could make sense for the small business owner or freelancer (or maybe digital nomad) looking to earn free travel. This no-annual-fee card offers unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. That means you’ll earn rewards toward travel each time you use your card. And since miles are redeemable for a travel statement credit, you have tons of flexibility at redemption: miles are good for any eligible purchase, no matter where you book. Eligible purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Savvy travelers can book through a discount travel site or during a sale to make their miles stretch even further.

What the Discover it® Miles lacks in an upfront signup bonus, it makes up at the end of your first year: Discover will match the rewards you’ve earned mile-for-mile. That means if you earn 500 miles, you’ll have 1,000 at the end of your first year. A strong first-year bonus and $0 annual fee make the Discover it® Miles a strong option for anyone in search of low-maintenance travel rewards.

How To Use It

Best Use

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Buy everything with this card (unless you have a specific airline or hotel card that offers more than 1.5x miles). The more you spend in the first year, the more you’ll get with your first year rewards match.
  • Traveling overseas? Bring this card! Rest assured that you won’t be charged a foreign transaction fee.
  • Book travel through your favorite discount travel site or during a sale, then reimburse yourself with a travel statement credit.
The first year rewards matching can mean a pretty big bonus — but you’ll have to wait a year to get it. Also, while the ability to redeem miles for statement credits towards travel purchases, you can’t transfer them to travel loyalty programs. If point transfer is a priority for you, we recommend the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
The Discover it® Miles makes earning free travel effortless. There’s no need to track spending in select categories; simply use the card for every purchase you make, and watch the rewards stack up. Automatic mile-for-mile match at the end of your first year makes this $0-annual-fee card an even sweeter deal for business and leisure travelers alike.

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, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers

Last up: the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. Like the Discover it® Miles, this card is a strong travel-centric option for the small business owner, freelancer, or sole proprietor. With this card, you’ll earn 2X miles on all purchases — plus a 50,000 mile signup bonus if you spend $3,000 in your first 90 days. There’s also an interesting redemption bonus: you’ll get 5% miles good toward your next redemption each time you redeem. The large upfront signup bonus and strong everyday rewards potential will justify the small annual fee ($89) for many people. And if your business travels take you out of the country, this card will prove a useful addition to your wallet: it has no foreign transaction fees. That will save you around 3-5% on each purchase you make overseas.

How To Use It

Best Use

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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.
A large signup bonus, 2X points on every purchase, and the flexibility to book your travel when and how you want — all with a modest $89 annual fee. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has a lot to offer. Use it to turn everyday purchases for your business into free travel.

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 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 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 $550 annual fee. Then, US Airways/American Airlines severed ties with AMEX for their airport lounge access. The Platinum Card® from American Express has scrambled to try and replace that value.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN still excels with airport lounge access with over 1000+ 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 35% of the points back. However, if you don’t travel much, none of this means anything to you.

Frequent travelers will enjoy getting 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through the American Express travel site. But, with a $450 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:

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.

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® Card, 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® Card instead of my Chase Ink Bold® because I earn double points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. 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.

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
Perks Tier Level
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Rewards Tier Level
Apply Online
Credit Card
Annual Fee
Perks Tier Level
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Rewards Tier Level
Apply Online
$0
None
Average
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Excellent
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$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
None
Average
* (?)
Excellent
* (?)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
None
Below Average
* (?)
Excellent
* (?)
$75
Poor
* (?)
Good
* (?)
Below Average
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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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