Best Business Rewards Credit Cards

Business rewards credit cards can help you make the most of everyday business expenses, including travel, office supplies, wireless and internet communications, and even purchases at gas stations and restaurants.

Types of Business Credit Card Rewards

There are a number of rewards offered by business credit card providers that offer a lot of value to small business owners. Depending on the nature of your business and they type of rewards that make sense for you, you have a number to choose from:

  • Introductory rate period: sometimes as low as 0% APR on new purchases and transfers
  • Cash back on purchases
  • Air travel miles
  • Discount or gift cards
  • Rental car benefits

If you have good to excellent personal credit, you will likely be able to pick and choose the card that offers the rewards best suited to your business needs.

How to Choose a Business Rewards Credit Card

I would expect 0% APR will likely appeal to a lot of business owners considering a business credit card, but if you and your employees travel a lot, a card that helps build travel miles is another option you might consider. The same could be true for rental car benefits.

If you or your team does not travel regularly, cash back bonuses, discounts on merchandise, or gift cards could make sense.

The key to choosing the best business credit card for your business will be choosing the card that complements the way you do business and offers the types of benefits you will most likely be able to use.

Pros and Cons of Business Rewards Credit Cards

I’m a big fan of business credit cards for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about the pros and cons of business rewards credit cards.

Pros of Business Rewards Credit Cards

  • It’s relatively easier to qualify for a business credit card than a small business loan. This is still true for many business rewards credit card. If you have good to excellent personal credit, most credit card providers will welcome your business. If you have fair credit, there are even providers who will work with you and your business.
  • Business credit cards are a good way to establish business credit. Although many card providers will base their approval decisions on your personal credit score, if they report your good credit behavior to the business credit bureaus, your good credit history will help you build a good business credit foundation and help you qualify for other types of business financing in the future.
  • The rewards and incentives offered as part of the rewards card can add value to your business every time you use your credit card, regardless of the type of rewards you choose.

Cons of Business Rewards Credit Cards

  • If you don’t stay on top of your credit card payments, you could hurt your personal credit score. Many business credit card companies don’t report to the personal credit bureaus—unless you don’t meet your credit obligations and default.
  • Business credit cards aren’t subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) like personal credit cards, so it’s important to pay close attention to payment due dates and other terms you might think are the same as your personal credit cards. This could include purchase protection and other benefits associated with personal cards. Fortunately, most card providers still offer many of those same benefits, so it’s worth asking.
  • Like your personal credit cards, business credit cards are also susceptible to fraud. However they don’t always have the same level of protection your personal cards have, so you’ll want to make sure you have strict policies in place for who can use your business credit cards and what is an authorized purchase. Employees can potentially take advantage of a business credit card if you don’t have these systems in place and aren’t regularly monitoring their use.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Rewards Credit Card

Maximizing rewards opportunities, however, means taking a careful look at all the available cards and selecting the one best suited for your specific need. To do that, it’s important to consider the following as they relate to your business:

  • Your spending habits
  • Rewards programs (e.g., miles, points, cash back) and redemption options
  • Bonus points & welcome offers
  • Introductory APR offers
  • Annual fees
  • Foreign fees
  • Additional perks or benefits (e.g., free night stay, exclusive memberships, business software, etc.)

Fortunately, we’ve selected what we consider to be some of the best business rewards credit cards.

Best Business Rewards Credit Cards

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for Big Spenders with Travel Needs

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express often holds a spot in “best business credit card” lists, and with good reason.  The card typically boasts a strong welcome offer; industry leading rewards earning potential; and a bevy of travel perks, including airline credits.

Business owners who frequently travel can also take advantage of a 35% airline points bonus when they book through Amex Travel, access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, and an annual $200 airline credit.  It’s also worth noting that Amex has some noteworthy airline partners, including Delta, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and ANA.

Of course, with a $595 annual fee, this card is really designed for businesses with significant expenditures, especially when it comes to travel.  However, when all perks, rewards, and statement credits are factored in, it certainly remains a top contender.

American Express® Business Gold Card: Most Flexible Rewards Program

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is certainly a solid card for specific users, but if don’t have a lot of travel needs or you’re not spending enough to outweigh the high annual fee, then you may want to consider American Express® Business Gold Card. It too has a lot to offer, and with a much lower annual fee.

This card doesn’t currently have a welcome offer, which won’t make it ideal for business owners looking to quickly earn and cash in on points, but it does have one of the most unique rewards programs.

With the American Express® Business Gold Card, you have a simplified but potentially lucrative points system. MORE REWARDS: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. 1X is earned for other purchases. These categories are revolving and will change monthly based on your spending patterns. Points, therefore, are earned retroactively. This is really a boon to business owners who won’t benefit from a single earning category, especially if spending needs change from month to month. 

Though cardholders will need to pay a $295 annual fee, there are no foreign transaction fees, and there are other perks, like Roadside Assistance, Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, and Travel Accident.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Best Hotel Rewards Credit Card for Small Business Owners

In the past discussions of hotel rewards, the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Business card held a regular seat at the “best of” table. Unfortunately, SPG was acquired by Marriott, and by January 2019, Amex no longer offered the SPG co-branded business card. It was, however, replaced by the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

As with most co-branded hotel cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card allows you to earn the most points on eligible purchases at participating Marriot Bonvoy properties. Earn 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.

There’s also a pretty long list of additional perks, including an annual free night award, complimentary silver elite status, and premium on-property internet access and Boingo Wi-Fi.  Plus, you can also transfer points to over 40 airline frequent flyer miles. And, while you’ll lose out on the standard 3:1 conversion, the blow is lessened with a 15,000-point bonus for when you transfer 60,000.

Though this card does not carry a foreign transaction fee, there is a $125 annual fee.  However, if you’re a Marriot, SPG, or Ritz-Carton loyalist, then this card really makes up for it in both rewards and travel perks.

How to Apply for a Business Rewards Credit Card

When it’s time to apply for a business rewards card it can be pretty easy if you have all the information you’ll need at your fingertips. These six steps to apply for a business rewards card will help:

  1. Check your credit scores. Your personal credit scores are a main determining factor behind which cards you will qualify for.
  2. Know your annual income. You’ll be asked for your personal income on your business credit card application. This means any source of income, not just income you’re making from your business.
  3. Research available reward options. Do you travel frequently for business? Maybe a travel rewards business credit card is right for you. Do you need a card you can transfer existing debt onto? Consider a balance transfer card.
  4. Understand the rates you’ll be paying on your credit card debt. Business credit cards offer comparable APRs to that of personal credit cards, but APRs do vary by card and are influenced by your credit scores and income. If you are applying for a business charge card, make sure you understand the fees.
  5. Know the eligibility requirements for the card you select. In particular, you should know the credit score requirements for the card. If you end up getting denied, understand that multiple credit card applications over an extended period can damage your personal credit scores.
  6. Apply for the business credit card. You can use your SSN or an EIN for your business if you have one. If applying online, you’ll usually get a decision right away.

What Does it Take to Qualify for a Business Rewards Credit Card?

Qualifying for a business rewards card is petty straight forward, but the basic requirements include:

  • You need to be a business of some kind (this includes gig workers and sole proprietors)
  • A business name and address
  • The better your personal credit score the better the rewards cards that will be available to you, but you should expect to have a personal credit score of 640 on the low end and above 699 for the top-of-the-line business credit cards

Are business credit card rewards taxable?

Earning rewards can certainly save you money but are you responsible for paying taxes once you’ve redeemed them.  Generally, the rules governing rewards earned through a business credit card are similar to those earned through personal credit cards.  

For the most part, the use of miles, points, and cash back is considered as a discount and not taxable income. Therefore, there is no specific tax liability associated with most of the basic rewards programs available.

However, there are some considerations that should be made when it comes to dedications.  Typically, if you’re using rewards to cover all or a portion of a purchase, you should avoid writing it off as a business expense.

That said, there is one instance in which your rewards may become taxable. If you didn’t have to do anything to receive the reward, e.g., spend $3,000 in sixty days, then taxes may apply.

The best bet? Be diligent when it comes to recording your expenses and rewards redemptions, and when tax time comes, speak to your accountant so that they can offer the best advice for your specific situation.