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The Best Business Credit Cards for Travel Rewards
November 13, 2017
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The Best Business Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

One of the advantages of being a business owner is that many operating expenses can be paid for with a business credit card to earn perks. If you are using a cash-back credit card however, you may be leaving money on the table.

Redeeming points for travel often offers a better return on your spending than a straight dividend. Plus, if your business has locations around the country, using points can help you save on the cost of flying between them. You might even want to use the extra miles to attend industry events and conferences that you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.

There are many ways to use your credit card travel rewards, and almost as many companies to choose from. You should choose the card that offers the best APR, sign-up bonuses and rewards for your small business’s needs. Here is a rundown of a few major brands and their current offerings.

Finding the Best Credit Card Travel Rewards

 American Express

A self-proclaimed champion of small businesses, American Express is a popular option among entrepreneurs. They offer a range of cards targeted to small and mid-sized businesses with annual revenues under $25 million, and even offers tools for managing business card expenses. Their business cards also come with access their signature OPEN Savings program, which offers discounts and bonus points with partner merchants, including FedEx, Hertz, and HP.

American Express cards earn Membership Reward points which can be redeemed as a statement credit, used to book flights and hotel stays directly. They can also be transferred to several popular frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs, including Starwood Preferred Guest and Delta SkyMiles.

The primary advantage of going with AmEx is customization. They offer a variety of cards tailored to businesses of various sizes, needs and spending styles. In fact, their Business Gold Rewards Card now lets you choose one of five categories where spending will earn you 3x points, such as airfare, shipping or even computer products and services. The drawback is that American Express cards are not as commonly accepted as Visa or Mastercard.

Chase

The company’s signature Ink Business-brand small business credit cards have long been a favorite of points and miles gurus for their flexible earning and spending options, especially when combined with personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Rewards are collected as Ultimate Reward points that can be redeemed flexibly for cash, air travel, hotel stays or transferred to benefit programs at select partners. Some of their cards also come sweetened with extra perks, like complimentary insurance on corporate cellphones and car rentals.

Capital One

For small business owners looking for a simpler way to earn and redeem miles, Capital One Spark Business cards offer a straightforward, flat-rate return on all purchases, regardless of category. There is potential for getting more value out of a flexible travel rewards program, like those offered by Chase, Citi or American Express. However, you must also weigh the additional steps to maximize how you earn and redeem points. For peace of mind while still earning respectable travel rewards, a simple card might be the best o for your needs.

Discover

The Discover it® Miles card offered by the eponymous online bank is a relative newcomer to the travel rewards game. While not specifically a business credit card, it may be worth considering if you are looking for a ‘best of both worlds’ deal. Like the Capital One Spark Business cards, rewards are earned at a flat 1.5 percent for all purchases, regardless of category. Points can be redeemed as a statement credit to negate travel purchases, which means there are no “blackout dates,” specific shopping portals to use, or other restrictions on how you arrange your travel plans.

The unique aspect of this card is the sign-up bonus. Rather than offering a specific reward for meeting minimum spending requirements within the first few months, Discover will match all the rewards you earn over your first year of owning the card—essentially doubling your rewards for 12 months. Like American Express however, Discover cards are not accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard.

Airlines/Hotel

If you plan to, or already, spend a significant amount on travel expenses such as flights or hotel stays, it may be worth looking at cards offered by the brands you use the most. For example, if you frequently use American Airlines for business travel, Citibank offers the cobranded Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard which earns miles directly for your linked AAdvantage account. Having this card also gives you access to priority boarding on flights, a free checked bag on domestic flights, and a 25 percent discount on inflight purchases. Barclaycard offers a similar card for Hawaiian Airlines.

If your business often requires putting yourself or other employees up in hotels, it may be worth looking into a credit card with hotel benefits, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card, which earn points that can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood properties, or free flights with select partner airlines. The card also comes with access to the Sheraton Club Lounge at over 350 hotels and resorts around the world.

Conclusion

There are numerous factors that you should consider when applying for a business credit card. However, the benefits of earning credit card travel rewards can be significant. If you frequently travel for work, or simply want to accrue miles for potential travel plans in the future, it might be worth it to consider the travel rewards you’ll receive prior to applying for a credit card for your business.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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