If you’re a business owner, you don’t have time to waste by researching cards. We’ve done it for you. This list includes the very best business card offers. Check out Rewards Cards 101 to understand the basics about rewards cards. You can support Travel Freely by using our partner links when you sign up for a card, which may earn us a commission. See full advertising disclosure below.
Please note: If there’s a better link I can offer that will not earn us commission, I will post the better offer. I hope that earns your respect and trust over time.
Not sure if you’re eligible? You probably are. Read “Am I Eligible for a Business Card?”
#1 Overall Business Travel Card – #1 Sign-up Bonus for Cash Back
Chase Ink Business Preferred – 80,000 Points (Learn More)
This is the best overall business card right now with a great sign-up bonus and 3X categories. It’s hard to beat the Chase Ink Business Preferred if you’re looking for an all-around business card that has flexible redemption options and can be combined with your personal Chase Ultimate Rewards points. We value Chase points at 1.8 cents per point because of their value when transferred to travel partners like Southwest, United, and Hyatt.
Who’s it for? Anyone with a business who can reach the required spending of $5,000 in the first 3 months, especially those who value Chase points as high as we do (1.8 cents per point).
Estimated Value: $800 – $1,500+ ($800 when you redeem for cash back, or $1,500 when you use Chase’s transfer partners)
Annual Fee: $95
Spending Categories: Earns 3X rewards on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year)
Notable Perks: Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel; Cell phone protection against theft or damage; No foreign transaction fees
Major Transfer Partners: British Airways, Southwest, and United; Hyatt, IHG, and Bonvoy (see all transfer partners)
#1 Business Travel Card with No Annual Fee – #1 Business 0% APR
Chase Ink Business Cash – 50,000 Points (Learn More)
Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. An excellent companion to the Ink Preferred, personal Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred. Like the personal Sapphire cards, this card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards. We value Chase points at 1.8 cents per point because of their value when transferred to travel partners like Southwest, United, and Hyatt.
Who’s it for? Anyone with a business who cannot reach the required spending of the Ink Preferred but can reach $3,000 in the first 3 months. Also, it’s great for those who may need 0% APR and who do not want to pay an annual fee. We value Chase points at 1.8 cents per point because of their value when transferred to travel partners like Southwest, United, and Hyatt.
Estimated Value: $500 – $900 ($500 when you redeem for cash back, or $900+ when you use Chase’s transfer partners)
Annual Fee: $0
Spending Categories: Earn 5X rewards (on first $25k spent) for phone, TV, internet, and office supply stores; Earn 2X rewards on gas and restaurants
Notable Perks: Has 0% APR for 12 months; No Annual Fee
Major Transfer Partners: British Airways, Southwest, and United; Hyatt, IHG, and Bonvoy (see all transfer partners)
#1 Ultra Premium Business Card – #1 for Elite Travel Perks
Amex Business Platinum – Up to 75,000 Points (Learn More)
An ultra-premium card with a high annual fee, but it’s well worth it for those frequent travelers who can get instant hotel status and airport lounge access. Some of my friends love the hotel deals that come with the Platinum card, too. For many, the benefits will far outweigh the high annual fee. The welcome bonus is 50,000 points when you spend $10,000 within first 3 months; then an extra 25,000 points after you spend an add’l $10,000 within your first 3 months.
Who’s it for? Medium to larger business owner who can handle the larger spending, or frequent travelers who can benefit from the elite travel perks that come with this card.
Estimated Value: $700
Annual Fee: $595
Pair with Personal Card: Any Amex card that earns Amex Membership Rewards
Spending Categories: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com; 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (up to 1 million additional Membership Rewards points per year); 1X elsewhere
Notable Perks: Up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees; $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement; Airport lounge access benefits; Rental car elite status; SPG and Hilton Gold status; Free Boingo wifi; and more
Major Transfer Partners: Air Canada, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, and JetBlue; Hilton and Bonvoy (see all transfer partners)
#1 Card for Everyday Cash Back
Not many business cards offer unlimited 2% cash back, and this card has an awesome early spend bonus with a waived first year annual fee. While some cards have specific bonus categories, this card earn 2% cash back on everything. That’s straight forward and simple for business owners who don’t want to mess with complicated rewards programs.
Who’s it for? Any business owners looking for the simplest card with best cash back.
Estimated Value: $500
Annual Fee: $0 first year, then 95
Pair with Personal Card: Those who like cash back and Capital One will be drawn to the Capital One Savor card.
Spending Categories: 2% cash back on everything
Notable Perks: No foreign transaction fees
Major Transfer Partners: Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Air France (see all transfer partners)
#1 Card for Hotels
Brand new… Now known as the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Busienss card (formerly SPG), this card has a great welcome bonus and several great perks. One of the best perks about this card is 1 Free Night Award annually after your Card account anniversary. The one night stay is for 35,000 points or under at participating hotels.
Note: if you apply before 3/27/19, the annual fee will be $95 per year and waived for the first year. After 3/27/19, the annual fee will be $125 and NOT waived.
Who’s it for? Any business owners looking for a great hotel card with a major rewards program.
Estimated Value: $800
Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95 (until 3/26/19). After 3/27/19, the annual fee will be $125 and NOT waived.
Pair with Personal Card: Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
Spending Categories: 6X Marriott Bonvoy Hotels (formerly Marriott/SPG); 4X dining, internet, cable and phone service; 4X gas stations and shipping; 2X everywhere else
Notable Perks: 35K free night award each year upon renewal; Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status; 15 elite night credits each calendar year; Free in-room premium internet
Major Transfer Partners: TBD (see all transfer partners)
Next Best Cards
This card has a great signup bonus for a big chunk of miles. It’s also a must get if you are looking to get the Southwest Companion Pass for up to 2 years. Southwest is one of the best airlines for free travel. Southwest offers free cancellation for reward flights, which makes it super easy to book and change as needed. Also, remember that Southwest offers free bags. (Note: If you love Southwest, don’t skip straight to this card. Consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred which allows you to transfer points 1:1 to Southwest. Translation: Instead of 60,000 miles sign-up bonus, you could get 80,000 miles!)
This card has some nice perks for frequent AA flyers, including first checked bag free, priority boarding, reduced mileage awards, and save 25% on inflight purchases. You can earn double miles on AA purchases, certain telecommunications merchants, car rental companies, and gas.
If you travel frequently on United, this card is a no-brainer. Get free bags, 2 United Club passes, but most importantly, a nice signup bonus. If your travel dates are flexible, you can often find good deals on award flights for lower than standard rates.
This high annual fee will deter most business owners, but you could really benefit if you utilize the 4X earning on the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle. The categories are: US purchases at restaurants, shipping, advertising in select media, gas stations, airfare purchased directly from airlines, and U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. Note that the 4X applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases in your two categories each calendar year, 1X point per dollar thereafter and on other purchases.
This card allows you to use miles as statement credits for travel purchases. A nice early spend bonus, but slightly less valuable rewards compared to something like Chase Ultimate Rewards. You earn double miles on everything. This card does not charge foreign transaction fees, includes travel and emergency assistance services, and offers some purchase protections. (Pair with Capital One Venture personal card)
Barclays can sometimes be stingy regarding application approvals, but if this is a great card for those with low spending habits. Benefits include first checked bag free and preferred boarding.
Click through on a link to move forward with a certain card.
Tell the bank about your business
The first part of the application is about your business. If you already have a well established business, then the answers should be straightforward. If you are just getting started with your business and you do not have any employees, then you most likely operate as a sole proprietorship
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you need to use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business’ address and phone, and your social security number as the business’ Tax ID / EIN. However, it may help your approval odds to have an EIN, and you can get one for free from the IRS, in about a minute, through this website.
If you are a sole prop, do NOT make up a business name and do NOT add a title to the end of your name. For example, if you do consulting but you are a sole prop, write “John Smith.” Do not write “John Smith Consulting.” This will most likely cause a denial.
Business Information Based on Sole Proprietorship Application
- Legal Name of Business: If you don’t already have a business name, I recommend using your own name as the business name.
- Business Name on Card: Again, this can be your own name if you don’t have a business name to use.
- Business Mailing Address: This can be your home address if you don’t have a separate business address.
- Type of business: Sole Proprietor
- Tax Identification Number: This can be your SSN, but I you can also create an EIN for your business (found here)
- Business category/type/subtype: Pick whichever categories are closest to your business
- Number of Employees: 1 (you)
- Annual Business Revenue: 0 (or project an amount based on monthly revenue to-date)
- Years in Business: (number of years you’ve been operating the business with or without revenue)
This part of the application is about you, personally:
- Authorizing Officer: Owner
- Gross annual income: Include all of your income, not just business income
- The rest should be self explanatory
How to improve your chances of success
The following tips can help with approval, but none are guaranteed:
Do not call if your application goes to pending
When applications go to pending, people frequently find that they get approved without calling. When people do call, they often get tough analysts who deny the application.
Of course, if the bank contacts you asking for more information, then you absolutely should talk to them on the phone. In some cases they may simply need more information about you or your business before your application can go through the next review stage.
Call if you are denied (and call again)
If your application is outright denied (either instantly or by mail), then call the business reconsideration number listed below. There are many cases where analysts have overturned denials over the phone. If denied, call reconsideration.
Reconsideration Phone Numbers
1. American Express Credit Card Reconsideration
- 800-567-1083 (application status)
- 877-399-3083 (new accounts; can forward you to reconsideration reps) 8am-midnight EST M-F, 10am-6:30pm Saturday
2. Bank of America / Bank of Hawaii Credit Card Reconsideration
- 888-663-6262 (business credit analyst)
- Bank of America Online Application Status Check to check the status of a credit card application
3. Barclaycard Credit Card Reconsideration
- Business Cards: 866-710-2688, open 8AM-8PM ET
- Barclaycard Online Application Status Check to check the status of a credit card application.
4. Chase Credit Card Reconsideration
- 800-453-9719 (business credit analyst, 8am-10pm EST M-F)
5. Citibank Credit Card Reconsideration
- 800-695-5171 or 888-201-4523 (credit analyst) 7am – midnight ET (6am – 11pm CT) daily
- 800-763-9795 (personal and business card application status) 7am-midnight EST 7 days a week
The analyst will likely ask a lot of questions. Make sure your answers match your application. Also, if you have multiple business cards, make sure to let the analyst know that you don’t need more credit. Tell them that you are willing to move available credit from another card or to cancel another card if necessary. Be prepared to answer financial questions about your business. It’s okay if you have $0 revenue. Be prepared to answer questions about why you want the card and how you expect to use it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you were attracted by the signup bonus, the spending categories, and other benefits.
If the analyst doesn’t approve your application, call again. Many people have had luck simply calling a few times until the reached an analyst willing to take a chance on their business.
Best Strategies by Business Type
For large businesses or owners of multiple businesses: If your business spends a lot of money in certain categories, it may be worth having two of these cards. For example, you would obviously want the Ink Business Preferred for the large sign-up bonus and great ongoing benefits like 3x categories with monthly spending. Then, you could pair it with the Ink Business Cash and utilize the 5x categories for specific monthly spending. Then, you would connect your accounts and transfer those Ink Cash points to the Ink Preferred portal to get an extra 25% in the Chase Travel Portal.
For owners of multiple businesses: You can get more than one of these cards if you have multiple EINs or a spouse that can apply for an additional card using her SSN. You want to take a look at your monthly spending, and see if you could benefit by having separate business cards for each business. Travel Freely Member Rob has 6 LLCs and got six Ink Preferred cards this year! Tip: Use Travel Freely to automate your card management.
For very small or side business owners: Yes, you have a business. It’s common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale, or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
For Sole Proprietors: When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business’ address and phone, and your social security number as the business’ Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Can I put personal spending on business cards?
This is fairly common. While it’s good practice to separate business and personal spending, and banks may dissuade you from doing this, it isn’t illegal and many people do this.
What are the rules on getting more than one of these cards?
These cards are all treated as separate cards. You can only apply and get approved for more than one. Keep in mind that Chase only allows you to apply and be approved for 2 cards (2 personal, 2 business, or 1 personal + 1 business) per 30 days. Also, people have reported issues when trying to apply for two cards on the same day. So it’s better to space out the applications by a few days.
If I have a personal Chase card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, can I transfer the points I earn on my business card to my personal card?
Absolutely. You can transfer points to other Chase accounts you have or those who are household members or authorized users. Here’s a walkthrough on how to Chase merge points.
Do these cards count towards 5/24?
If you’re getting into travel rewards, you know that the Chase 5/24 rule is important. You must be under 5/24 to be approved. However, compared to personal cards, these Chase cards do NOT count towards your 5/24 count.
Need help choosing a card? Travel Freely members can check their CardGenie in order to utilize our card rankings and to make sure they’re eligible for the card they want. Otherwise, we’re here to help, too. Email us at [email protected] Also, consider signing up for our free Travel Freely: Business eCourse.