Updated on Sep 19, 2017

Best Business Credit Cards for 2017

Streamline your expenses and earn rewards with the right business credit card.
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Businesses – both large and small – make purchases on a variety of things depending on the need and profession. That’s where having a business credit card can really save the day. These cards can offer all kinds of rewards for purchases made in categories that align with particular business expenses. Business credit cards are also helpful in separating the professional expenses from the personal ones made by the business owner. This is especially important when it comes time to file one’s taxes as it eliminates a lot of confusion.
When you’re running your own business, no matter the size, it pays to have a business card in your wallet. We’ve combed through some of the best to bring you our top picks for business credit cards of 2017. Read our rundown and apply online in minutes.

If you’re running your own business — large or small — it pays to have a good business credit card. Our list covers the top business credit cards of 2017. Take a look at our rundown and apply online in minutes.

Summary

Best business credit cards for 2017

Best overall

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Reward details Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year
Redeem for... Travel, cash back, gift cards, and more

Signup bonus 80,000 points
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by Chase Show 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
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.99% - 21.99% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

For the business credit card with the best signup bonus, we have to give it to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. That’s $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. And if you’re running a business that makes a lot of purchases, it’s a threshold you can reach in no time. Furthermore, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card also grants 3 points per every dollar spent on combined purchases in categories that include travel and advertising purchases (up to $150,000). There are also no foreign transaction fees, making this a well-rounded business credit card suitable to all kinds of business owners.

How to use it
  • 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.
Consider this

The hefty signup bonus alone makes the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card an ideal choice, along with 3X points on those and other eligible categories. However, if your business expenses do not fall within the realm of airfare or advertising, you might consider The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. With this card, you’ll receive 3X points on the category of your choosing (from a list of 5). You’ll also get an additional 2X points on the remaining categories.

Why you'll love it

If the rewards categories fall in line with your business-relevant purchases, then the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card might just be the one for you. Its robust rewards potential alone makes this card a perfect fit for businesses of all sizes. Plus, redeeming points through Chase Ultimate Rewards® means plenty of flexibility — and a 25% points bonus when you redeem for travel. And with 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months, what’s not to love?

Start your application now

Best for small business

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Reward details 5% cash back on select business expenses and 2% on gas and restaurants
Redeem for... Cash back, gift cards, and travel

Signup bonus $300 cash back
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Chase Show 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
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: Earn 5% cash back in select business categories
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn $300 bonus cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% - 20.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: See Terms

Our two cents

Who should get it

For small businesses, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is one option definitely worth considering. It comes with a modest signup bonus of $300 cash back after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Additionally, there’s a nice year-long window of 0% intro APR, allowing for some big-time spending and time enough to pay it all back. Smaller businesses will likely not have to worry about the $25,000 cap on larger rewards, leaving them free to enjoy the 5% and 2% cash back within said threshold. And, if you need further proof, just look at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (September 2016), which named the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card as “A Great Card for Small Businesses.”

How to use it
  • 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.
Consider this

Larger businesses may find themselves bumping their heads against the ceiling when it comes to the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card’s rewards cap. You should consider your regular spending habits to ensure that you can get the most out of this card. For those who need a higher rewards cap, there’s always The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. This card is perfect for any larger businesses that annually spend upwards of $25,000. In addition to a higher rewards cap (up to $100,000 in the 3X and 2X categories), it offers the opportunity to choose your 3X points category from a list of five options.

Why you'll love it

For any small businesses, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is an attractive option. It’s a substantial, no frills, low maintenance solution with high-rate rewards and no annual fee.

Start your application now

Best hotel card for business owners

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Reward details 2x points for purchases at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels; Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases. (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Stays at 1,300+ hotels and resorts; flights with 150+ airlines

Signup bonus 25,000 points
Annual Fee $95 (Waived first year)
Highlights Provided by American Express Show 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
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: See Rates & Fees
  • Introductory APR Period: See Rates & Fees
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: See Rates & Fees
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: See Rates & Fees
  • Ongoing APR: 16.24% - 20.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%

Our two cents

Who should get it

For business owners who like to travel and sleep in comfort, there’s the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Just by signing up and spending $5,000 within the first 3 months, cardholders can earn 25,000 Starpoints®. Furthermore, business owners who make eligible purchases with this card at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels can also earn back 2 Starpoints® per dollar spent. Business travelers will also be happy to know that, along with the earning potential, there are no foreign transaction fees. However, there is a pretty standard $95 annual fee that comes with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, but it’s also waived for the first year.

How to use it
  • 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.
Consider this

Unfortunately, there is currently no redemption option for cash back when using this card. This can be a dealbreaker for some potential cardholders. Additionally, points redemption rates for airfare will vary based on the airline you are booking with. If these are areas of concern, you might consider a more straightforward card like the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It offers the option to redeem points for cash back, travel, and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards® — and points transfer 1:1 to Chase’s airline partners.

Why you'll love it

There isn’t much that can compare with the affordability and flexibility of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, especially if your business involves a lot of travel. Valuable cardmember perks like baggage insurance help take some of the hassle out of business travel. You can also use this card to earn your way toward free nights at high-end hotels – even overseas. With over 1,300 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries, you’ll have no shortage of options when it’s time to redeem your points.

Start your application now

Choose your own rewards category

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
See Rates & Fees
Reward details 3x and 2x points on select categories; 1x points on everything else (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Travel, merchandise, entertainment, gift cards

Signup bonus 50,000 points
Annual Fee $175 (Waived first year)
Highlights Provided by American Express Show 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
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Sign Up Bonus: 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
  • Annual Fee: See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A*
  • Cash Advance APR: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: See Details
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A*
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A*
  • Ongoing APR: N/A
  • Penalty APR: N/A

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is most ideal for business owners who do a lot of spending and, most importantly, want the power to choose their own rewards categories. This card’s hefty signup bonus comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. Cardholders can also select the rewards categories that fall in line with their professional spending in order to earn 3x points in one category and 2X points in the remaining four categories. When used properly, it’s easy to earn points and rewards with The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN without having to adjust your everyday business purchases. One important thing to keep in mind, however, is that this is a charge card. That means that you must pay off your statement in full every month.

How to use it
  • 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 and 2x points categories 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.)
Consider this

One thing to remember right off the bat is that The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a charge card. That means that while there’s no pre-set spending limit, you do need to pay off your statement every month. There’s also the matter of the $175 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. Still, you’re going to want to make sure your business costs are high enough to warrant this. If you own a smaller business, compare with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It has no annual fee and offers higher-rate rewards (5%!) on up to $25,000 per year at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services.

Why you'll love it

If you run a large business, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is a strong choice. It offers high-rate rewards on big-ticket purchases like travel expenses, hardware, and software. We’re talking 3x points on purchases in a variety of categories and a generous signup bonus to boot. Furthermore, you can actually choose which types of purchases will yield the greatest rewards. The ability to choose your own 3X points category will help you maximize rewards potential on the types of purchases you make most.

Start your application now

Best for big businesses

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
See Rates & Fees
Reward details 1.5x points on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more; You can get up to 1 million additional points per year (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Flights; hotel and resort stays; rewards from many of your favorite brands, restaurants, and retailers at membershiprewards.com

Signup bonus 50,000 points
Annual Fee $450
Highlights Provided by American Express Show 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
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Sign Up Bonus: 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.
  • Annual Fee: See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance APR: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: N/A
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: N/A
  • Penalty APR: N/A

Our two cents

Who should get it

Larger businesses tend to have significantly larger expenditures, which is where The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN could really make a difference. Within the first 3 months of owning this card, big spenders can earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points by spending $10,000 on qualifying purchases. An additional $10,000 spent within that window earns cardholders an extra 25,000 points. If your business is large enough to take advantage of this signup bonus, then the annual fee of $450 shouldn’t be that much of a deal breaker. Not when the rewards potential of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is so high.

How to use it
  • 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.
Consider this

If you’re a frequent traveler or your business spends in excess of $5K on big-ticket items, then The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is most ideal. However, for smaller businesses and freelancers, this card’s steep annual fee may pose a problem. Unless your business costs can justify the $450 fee, you would do better with The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. You’ll end up with a smaller annual fee and the ability to choose your top-earning rewards categories.

Why you'll love it

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN features incredible rewards potential if you’re in the business of traveling and purchasing big-ticket items. You can use this card to maximize your rewards in these categories and never have to worry about traveling in style.

Start your application now

Best for low maintenance rewards

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Reward details 5% cash back on wireless phone service and 3% on the category of your choice. This applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% applies thereafter. (Terms apply)
Redeem for... Statement credit

Signup bonus Up to $400 cash back
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by American Express Show 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. Get cash back on business purchases, even those above your credit limit.
  • 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% applies thereafter. Cash back received is automatically credited to your statement.
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Rewards Details: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Annual Fee: See Details
  • Cash Advance APR: See Rates & Fees
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7%
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 9 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: See Rates & Fees
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: See Rates & Fees
  • Ongoing APR: 13.24% - 20.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%

Our two cents

Who should get it

We can’t recommend the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express enough to freelancers and smaller businesses. This low-maintenance, no-frills business credit card comes with a simple and flexible rewards program that anyone can appreciate. Not only can you earn 3% cash back on relevant business expenses, you can actually choose the rewards categories that align with your professional expenditures. These spending categories can include filling up at a U.S. gas station or paying for airfare. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express also comes with a signup bonus of up to $400 cash back when you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases.

How to use it
  • 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: U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping, airfare, U.S. software, and more.
Consider this

The 5% and 3% cash back on select categories can mean significant rewards potential over time. However, it’s important to remember that these percentages only apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year. Once you’ve reached that threshold, you’re knocked back down to the standard 1% until next year. If you’re running a business that frequently exceeds this particular cap, then we recommend the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. You’ll get 3X points in select categories, up to $150,000 per year.

Why you'll love it

Few business cards offer rewards this generous without an annual fee. SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a great cash back card for small businesses looking for low-maintenance rewards.

Start your application now

Best no-fee travel card

Discover it® Miles
Reward details Unlimited 1.5x miles on every purchase
Redeem for... Statement credits towards travel purchases

Signup bonus First year mile-for-mile match
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • New! Free Social Security Number alerts, we’ll monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.*
  • 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 a statement credit 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.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 Miles per dollar on all purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 11.99% – 23.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

While the Discover it® Miles card is not technically a business credit card, it can be a tremendous boon for those freelancers and digital nomads who travel for a living. There are no annual fees with this card and business travelers can appreciate the freedom that comes with no foreign transaction fees, as well. This card also rewards spending in categories that fall within the realm of travel. This means that you could earn 1.5x miles for every dollar you spend on gas, car rentals, and more. Miles that can be redeemed for eligible travel purchases including airfare. Whether you’re representing a large business overseas or a freelancer traveling the world, the Discover it® Miles card makes a wonderful addition to any business owner’s wallet.

How to use it
  • 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.
Consider this

The rewards and miles redemption benefits of Discover it® Miles can be a little limiting at times. For example, there’s a hefty rewards match, but you have to wait until the end of the first year to receive your bonus miles. You also cannot transfer your miles into travel loyalty programs, which could be a dealbreaker for some business travelers who prefer a specific airline or want to combine rewards redemption with airline sales to maximize savings. Consider the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card as an alternative if you would like more flexibility in how you transfer your points. It offers 1:1 points transfer to Chase’s airline partners, plus a signup bonus that’s worth $1,000 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Why you'll love it

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.

Start your application now

Best business credit cards for 2017: summed up

Combining business credit cards with other rewards cards

Each of these business credit cards comes with its own perks and pitfalls. That’s why, sometimes, it pays to have more than one. That way you can use one card for your primary spending while you can benefit from the rewards of another. We call these “power pairings” and listed below are just a few pairs you can consider from our 2017 list of the best business credit cards.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

We’ve already explained all the crucial benefits the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card can bring to small businesses. However, what about the businessman that needs to travel? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have your small business credit card while also staying at some of the best hotels worldwide? Well, now you can, when you pair your Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card with hotel rewards cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, and you can start making those 25,000 signup bonus points work for you towards hotel stays and airfares. Just use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. And, if you’re meeting a business contact for dinner, you can use the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card to earn rewards at participating restaurants.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express and Discover it® Miles

When you’re a digital nomad or a freelancer who needs to travel, there are two things that matter more than anything: travel accommodations and staying connected. We have already gone into detail about all of the travel benefits made possible by the Discover it® Miles card, but there’s more.

In addition to racking up those travel miles, you could receive 5% cash back on wireless phone service expenses by using the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. Not only that, but the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express also lets you earn 3% cash back on the rewards categories of your choice. On top of all that, neither of these cards will hit you with an annual fee. With this pairing, you’re free to travel the world and keep in touch with your clients.

2017’s 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?

When it comes to business credit cards, it’s never a one-size-fits-all scenario. Sometimes, certain businesses will find something to appreciate in certain cards that others will not. This is also true for any of the designated small business credit cards we have covered. And, while it’s true that businesses of all sizes can apply for a small business credit card, generally these cards are best suited for 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

Managing cash flow is crucial to the longevity of your business, big or small. Whether you sit at the head of a large corporation or freelance, it pays to keep track of your cash flow. A business credit card can help, and we’ve put together a handy list of real-life examples that illustrate the impact the right business credit card can have.

Real life example #1

Sometimes a self-employed freelancer will find themselves in that awkward interval waiting to receive payments from various clients. During this period, everyday expenses on office supplies, internet service, and more can pile up. Normally, this freelancer might be out of luck until those payments arrive. However, with a business credit card, those necessary business purchases could be charged temporarily and then paid off once client payments trickle in.

Real life example #2

An owner of a small business (10-12 employees) wraps up a huge project for a client, but payment is forthcoming. Payroll sends an email saying that there are not enough funds in the current budget to maintain business operations and pay the employees. With a business card, all the day-to-day business expenses could be temporarily charged, while freeing up funds to pay the employees on time. And after the client’s payment is received, the company owner could pay off the balance before it accrues interest.

Real life example #3

The CEO of a large business has determined that a purchase of $50,000 worth of equipment is necessary. However, he wants to be able to pay this off over several months without taking out a large loan. In lieu of a loan, the business could utilize a high-limit business credit card. Many cards offer 0% intro APR on purchases, which would function like an interest-free loan if paid in full before the end of the intro period. Plus, the business could earn cash back through the card’s rewards program!

Strategies for maximizing total rewards

One of the great things about business credit cards is that there are lots of little tricks you can do to really maximize your rewards. Tricks as in utilizing the existing rules to your advantage so you can effectively earn rewards in both personal and business expenses. Here are just a few of the strategies we’ve put together to help keep all of those expenses separate while still getting the most out of your business credit cards.

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

Combining expenses is all well and good, but you must keep meticulous notes on your expenses and accounting to divorce your business and personal spending. Otherwise, you’ll have to review months of calendar notes, credit card statements, and receipts just to have an accurate accounting of where your expenses lie. There are, however, tools that can help you keep track of everything.

How to avoid these problems

Getting into the habit of good recordkeeping and accounting will help you avoid these problems and manage your finances. There are also lots of valuable tools online that can make this easier, as well as software you can buy. Jot from Chase Business is a prime example, as it lets you categorize your expenses with tags and take pictures of your receipts for easy recordkeeping. No need to hang onto all those paper receipts and rifle through them at the end of the year.

Another great tool is Expensify, which accomplishes the same thing (with a few more bells and whistles). While Jot works with your Chase business credit card, Expensify can be used to manage all of your finances across accounts. You could also try Quickbooks for keeping detailed accounting notes.

All of these tools can promote responsible financial management and, perhaps more importantly, see you through tax season with minimal hassle.

Research the 25 best business credit cards

We’ve put together a directory of the most popular business credit cards as they stand today. Our listing of business credit cards emphasizes the features we feel will be the most beneficial to you in your business endeavors. Check back often as this directory is maintained and updated on a weekly basis to reflect any new changes to the listing.

Business credit cards directory

There’s a lot to take into account when putting together a comprehensive business credit card directory. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that. We’ve done most of the heavy lifting by considering the annual fees, foreign transaction fees, rewards, signup bonuses, perks, and other characteristics. Based on all of this, we’ve ranked and rated the following business credit cards. This objective comparison of credit cards and features will help you make an informed decision when choosing the card that’s right for you.

Take a moment to sort, filter, or search for what matters most to you in a business credit card.

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

Rating methodology

Understanding how and why we rate these cards can give you better insight into what cards make our list and which ones are right for you. In order to help explain this further, we have included a detailed outline of all the different factors considered for business credit cards.

Signup bonus

A signup bonus refers to a number of extra points or a percentage of cash back offered to a new cardholder. These bonuses tend to be rather large but usually only last for a limited period of time upon activating your account – hence, why they are signup bonuses.

A signup bonus could be as large as 40,000 points or it could offer a lump sum of cash back if you hit a certain purchasing milestone within the first few months. We consider signup bonuses carefully when comparing business credit cards, because they can prove substantial in placing one card over the other.

Rewards

The business credit cards we have covered above include access to rewards programs. These rewards are the incentive a cardholder receives for making purchases with their card. Rewards can come in different forms, from points accrued for every dollar spent to a specific percentage of cash back per every dollar spent. Furthermore, the amount of rewards you’ll earn for each purchase can vary based on rewards categories. For example, with some cards, you might receive 5% by making specific types of purchases and a flat 1% on all other purchases.

Redemption options

Redemption options refer to all the different ways you can spend the points you’ve accumulated through your rewards program. Some of the best redemption options can be found through business credit cards, since many of them are associated with online rewards platforms like Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards. Redeeming your points through these platforms (with an applicable credit card) can often earn you bonus points on certain types of redemption. Common redemption options include the ability to book travel, redeem for gift cards, and more.

Rewards rate

Just like it sounds, rewards rate is the rate at which your purchases on a credit card can earn you points or cash back (rewards). Sometimes this is expressed as a “points per dollar spent” model, while other times you might see a percentage of cash back per dollar spent. Many business credit cards offer as high as 5 points per dollar in particular spending categories (see Rewards categories), plus and 1 point per dollar spent on all other categories.

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” refer to the spending categories wherein your credit card can earn more than 1% or one point per every dollar spent. These percentages and point values can vary based on the credit card you are using, with some going as high as 5% or 5 points per every dollar spent. These rewards categories factor into your business purchasing strategy, as they can boost your points just by funding your day-to-day operations. However, these rewards are not without their limitations, and some spending can be capped in certain categories. These limitations can also vary, along with rewards structure. Understanding these limitations and rewards programs can help you compare business cards to find the one that’s best for you.

Perks

Perks are the other programs and benefits that add further value to a business credit card. For the most part, these perks entail travel benefits like airline credits, lounge access, or hotel upgrades. When it comes to the very best business cards, those perks can include hotel rewards programs, free Wi-Fi, and premium roadside assistance.

The bottom line

Applying for one of the business cards we’ve covered on this list is a sound business strategy that should not be overlooked. The rewards you could earn on your business-related charges can more than make up for any annual fees. Furthermore, these business credit cards serve as a valuable distinction between your personal and professional expenses. It’s wise to keep your business expenses separate — especially where taxes are concerned. If you’ve found a card that aligns with your spending habits, applying online is quick and easy. Apply today to start earning valuable rewards — and streamlining your business expenses — right away.

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