Business credit card rewards may not sound like an important part of your business strategy, but they can help you expand your business if you use them correctly. Specifically, travel rewards may help you do things that you might not have the cash flow to do otherwise.
If you have a business travel credit card or are considering getting one, here are some ways you can use those rewards to take your business to the next level.
3 ways to use travel rewards for your business
Whether it’s connecting with the right people, establishing relationships, or investing in your human capital, here are three things you can do with all the travel rewards you rack up on your business credit card.
1. Attend conferences or trade shows
If the industry you’re in has regular conferences, it could be an excellent way for you get some extra value that you can add back into your business.
For example, you may be able to learn some tricks of the trade from some of the most successful people in your line of work. You may also have the chance to network with others in the industry, and those connections can open up new opportunities that may not have been available to you before.
If attending trade shows is more important for the type of business you own, you can use your travel credit card rewards to cover some or all of your expenses to get there.
2. Visit clients or suppliers
Client and supplier relations are important for any small business, and depending on the setup of yours, it may be worth investing in those relationships.
If you’re a freelancer in Oregon, for instance, and one of your clients has an office in San Francisco, it may be worth it to spend a day or two in the big city meeting with them — maybe even going out for a meal or a drink — and strengthening that professional bond.
If you have a product- or service-based business that includes working with suppliers, it could be wise to invest in a trip to visit them and show that you value your relationship. Doing so could potentially give you more options or favors when it’s time to renew your contract.
3. Create an employee incentive program
One of the most important components of a successful business is the people. If you can hire top talent and retain them longer, you’ll have a much easier time achieving your goals as a business owner.
One way you can do that is by sharing your travel rewards with your employees. Some companies, for instance, have used travel rewards to send employees on an all-expenses-paid trip when they’ve earned enough to make it happen.
Alternatively, you can buy travel gift cards to help beef up your recognition program, plan a company-wide retreat in another city, or hold drawings. Whatever you do, using your business travel rewards to invest in one of your most important assets can be a great way to grow your business.
Not only can it help improve your retention numbers, but it can also ensure that employees are happier and more productive.
What to know about using travel rewards to build your business
Depending on the type of business travel rewards credit card you have, you can cover some or all of a business-related trip. If you have an airline credit card, for instance, you’ll typically only be able to use your points or miles to cover the cost of flights. You’ll also be restricted to hotel stays with a hotel credit card.
If you have a general travel rewards card, however, you may get more flexibility in what ways you can redeem your rewards.
It’s also important to keep in mind that you won’t be able to deduct any expenses that you cover with your points or miles when you file your tax return.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing — holding onto $100 is generally better than getting a portion of it back in tax savings — it’s still something to consider as you think about your tax situation. You may even want to consult your tax accountant to get an idea of which option is better for your business at the time.
The bottom line
Business credit cards can be a valuable asset for several reasons. They can help you build your business credit history, give you access to business-related perks, and provide rewards on every purchase you make.
Depending on how you use those rewards, you could put yourself in a better position to succeed and achieve your business goals. Just be sure to pick the right rewards credit card to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Also, be sure to pay your balance in full each month, if possible. If you’re incurring interest charges, they’ll eat into the value of any rewards you earn.
This article was originally written on May 20, 2019 and updated on November 8, 2019.