Running a business is often about carefully considering if an expense is worth it. And while credit card annual fees are difficult to justify, other credit cards can offer tangible value that can exceed a high annual fee. The most valuable perks can include airline fee credits, business lounge access and elite status with hotels and rental car companies.
Before you apply, be sure to know where your credit stands, since unnecessary applications (aka inquiries) can ding your credit. Most business credit cards with high annual fees are open only to those with good or excellent credit (your personal credit score, not your business credit score, is used for approval). You can check your full business credit profile for free at Nav.
Here are five credit cards that have a high annual fee, but can still be worth it if you work the rewards right.
1. The Business Platinum Card From American Express
This card comes with a generous bonus offer of up to 75,000 points total. You’ll earn the first 50,000 when you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 worth of purchases, all within three months.
The Business Platinum does charge a $450 annual fee, but for business travelers, the fee might be worth it. There are no foreign transaction fees and customers receive a $100 statement credit if they apply for the TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry program. Consumers also become part of the Starwood Preferred Guest Program and access to the Priority Pass Select service with more than 1,000 airline lounges. You also get a $200 annual airline travel fee credit good towards things like baggage fees, change fees and seat selection fees. Finally, you get elite status in the Starwood, Marriott and Hilton hotel programs as well as Avis, National and Hertz car rentals. (Editor’s Note: This offer was updated June 1.)
2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an expensive card when you look at its annual fee, but one that offers the perks to justify the price. First, you can receive 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in three months. Cardholders also earn 3x points for travel and dining purchases and one point per dollar spent on everything else. You also receive a $300 annual credit towards any travel purchases, and a $100 credit towards the application fee for the TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry program. This card provides access to airport lounges and extra perks with National Car Rental, Avis and Silvercar. There’s a $450 annual fee with a $75 fee for each additional user.
3. The Business Gold Rewards Card From American Express
Out of every card on this list, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express is the only one to have the annual fee waived for the first year. After that, it’s only $175. This card is a charge card, which means cardholders have to pay off the balance each month or pay a fee.
The card currently offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend more than $5,000 within three months. Consumers will also earn 3x points in one category from a pre-approved list, such as airfare, advertising, gas stations or shipping. They’ll also earn 2x from each of the remaining choices and 1% on all other purchases. Other benefits include premium roadside assistance, a baggage insurance plan and extended warranty coverage. There are no foreign transaction fees.
4. Citi Prestige
The Citi Prestige card isn’t cheap, but it offers numerous valuable benefits. First, you can earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points, when you use your card to spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening. You also earn 3x points on air travel and hotel purchases, 2x on dining and entertaining and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Consumers will receive airport business lounge access and an annual $250 statement credit towards any air travel expenses. And when booking a hotel stay of at least three consecutive nights through Citi, you’ll always receive a free fourth night free. Like most cards in this category, this one has a $450 annual fee and an additional $50 per employee.
5. United MileagePlus Club Business Card
If you are looking to earn more than just one mile per dollar spent, then you can consider the United MileagePlus Club Business Card. This card automatically enrolls you in the United Club, a value of $550 a year. Cardholders also get their first and second bags checked for free when they purchase tickets with the card.
But what’s unique about this card is that you can earn 1.5 United miles for each dollar spent, and double miles on all United purchases. You also receive Hertz President’s Circle and Hyatt Discoverist status. Unlike its competitors, there’s no sign-up bonus with this card, which has a $450 annual fee.