Do you own a small business? How about a side hustle that earns some extra cash? Are you a freelancer, do you own rental property, or do you own a website that makes any sort of money at all?
If so, you are probably eligible to receive a small business credit card.
“Well, whoopidy doo. Why would I need a business credit card anyway?”
It’s not that you need a business credit card. But, if you’re not using a business card to pay for your business expenses, you could be missing out on a whole boatload of free travel and cash back.
Have I got your attention now? Good.
How to Earn Free Travel with a Small Business Credit Card
If you own a business of any kind, you probably have business expenses. They could be anything from office supplies to thousands of dollars in advertising every month. Regardless of what they are, you’re already spending the money. Why not get rewarded for it?
Business cards are a great way to help you earn rewards. Like personal cards, most small business credit cards allow you to earn points, miles, or cash back on everything you spend. And since you have to pay for these expenses anyway, those rewards translate into “free” stuff for you.
Additionally, many small business cards increase your reward hauls for certain categories of spending. For instance, you may be able to earn something like 3 points per dollar spent on advertising costs or on telephone bills. Again, if you’re already paying for these items, these extra points are a huge bonus for you. You can rack up a crapton of points in a hurry.
Oh, and like personal rewards cards, many business credit cards offer a signup bonus for getting started. Personally, I consider these the “Holy Grail” of credit card rewards. By meeting certain spending conditions, you can rack up a ton of points, miles, or cash in a hurry. Ultimately, that means more “free” travel (or cash back) for you!
Types of Small Business Cards
If you’ve ever used rewards credit cards before, you’re probably familiar with how they work. But just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick overview of the types of business cards that are available:
Cash Back Cards – Cash back cards are probably the simplest type of card to understand. With these cards, you earn a percentage of “cash back” for every dollar you spend. Depending on the card, you may earn more for spending in certain categories (like “office supplies”) or at featured stores (like Staples).
Miles Cards – Some business cards help you earn “miles” that can be used only for travel. Typically, these miles are redeemed through a statement credit (more on that in a bit). They are generally very flexible and can be used for most travel related expenses, regardless of the company you purchase from.
Flexible Rewards Cards – Flexible rewards cards are my favorite type of credit card, period. With these cards, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for a number of different items – including gift cards, cash, or travel. Depending on the card, you may either take a statement credit or transfer your points to participating loyalty programs before you book your travel needs.
Redeeming Points, Miles, and Cash Back
So, how do you actually go about redeeming your points? It may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple. I already touched on these a little bit above, but here’s a little more info for you:
Statement Credit – A statement credit sounds exactly like it is. With a statement credit, you make purchases on your card then use your points (or miles) toward the purchase. Depending on the type of card you have (cash back, miles, etc.), you may only be able to use your points toward certain purchase categories. These redemptions are often a very good option.
Gift Card Redemption – Some business credit cards allow you to redeem your points for gift cards. You can usually find which merchants are available by visiting the “rewards” section of your card’s website. While gift cards may be attractive to some, I’ve found their redemption value is typically less than it is for cash back or travel. In other words, while convenient, you’re points usually don’t go as far when you redeem them for gift cards.
Transfer Points and Miles to Partners – This is my absolute favorite way to redeem rewards from my small business credit cards. By transferring points to participating loyalty programs, we’ve been able to book flights and hotels around the world for pennies on the dollar. In my opinion, you get the most value out of your points by using partners – especially when you book travel or excursions through your credit card’s shopping portal (more on that below).
What you do with your points is entirely up to you. Use them for your own travels or redeem the rewards and give them out as gifts or bonuses to your employees. You decide.
Other Perks of Using a Small Business Rewards Card
In addition to earning points, miles, or cash back, many small business credit cards offer a host of other perks. Some business travel cards come with access to airport lounges across the world. This can be an especially nice perk when traveling for business, traveling long distances, or when you have a several hour layover. A few of them even come with a credit for Global Entry and/or TSA Precheck to help get you through the security lines faster.
Several of the major credit card companies have special “shopping portals” that are available to cardholders. There, you’ll find discounted prices on rental cars, airline tickets, guided tours, and more. You can also use the portals to shop online at many popular national chains. You’ll usually get an even bigger discount if you pay using your card.
When it comes to small business credit cards, the biggest thing to watch out for is the annual fee. Many cards have an annual fee, and some of them cost several hundred dollars a year. However, if you use some of the extra perks of the card, you’ll usually get your money back quickly.
3 of My Favorite Small Business Credit Cards with Rewards
Want to take advantage of all the rewards a small business card has to offer? Here are some of my favorites:
Chase Ink Business Preferred – If you’re only going to get one small business credit card, start with the Chase Ink Business Preferred. The card offers a spectacular signup bonus as well as some huge bonus points for spending in several business related categories. Points transfer to almost a dozen different travel partners, but – if you prefer – they are also redeemable for cash or gift cards. You can stretch your points even further when you redeem them through the Chase Portal. It does have a manageable annual fee, but you can add employee cards at no charge. This is easily my favorite business card on the market. Compare this and other small business cards here.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express – I love this card and carry it in my wallet at all times. This is a great card for travelers, especially since it includes access to partnering airport lounges across the world. Oh, and we’ve used the gigantic welcome bonus to help us book flights to Europe and back for free (except for taxes and fees). There is an annual fee, but I use the card benefits enough that it is definitely worth it for me. Compare this card with other business cards here.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business – Like with the other cards, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business offers a one-time welcome bonus. It also offers competitive cash back earnings, and the annual fee is waived for the first year. So, if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward, business cash back card, this is it. I still keep this card in my wallet and will use it on occasion. Compare this and other small business credit cards here.
If you love to travel and own any type of business, be sure you’re making the most of your business spending. Small business rewards cards are a great way to earn extra points, miles, or cash back. Besides, these are expenses you’re already paying, so why not get rewarded for it?!?
Don’t miss out! Learn more about the best small business credit cards here!