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Reader Raj P says he’s just started a business in his home state of California and “will be applying for a Business credit card. I would like to know from you which business credit card you would recommend from a standpoint of miles/bonus miles earning, travel benefits, lounge access etc.”
I was looking at the AMEX platinum business card but my only worry about AMEX is that they want statement payment made right away with no grace period.
Congratulations Raj! The first two things you do when you start a business, whether it’s part-time or full time, a sole proprietorship (just revenue and expense that runs through your own taxes) or a separate entity like an LLC or corporation, is set up a bank account and set up a credit card (in no particular order, the credit card can come first).
Even before you do any business, earn any money, you want to clearly separate out personal and business finances. It will keep things clean for tax reporting, and also help bolster your case that it’s a legitimate business and not a hobby, something that’s key to be able to write off your expenses for tax purposes.
Not to mention that a small business credit card can help build the identity and credit history of your business from day one. So if you do consulting work on the side, or you sell items on eBay or craigslist it can be a good idea to set up a business card.
Now I I like the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card for fastest earning [though it depends what your spending is mostly on] and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN for benefits. In other words the best one for spending is not the best one for lounge access and travel benefits. Here’s an overview of the best in small business cards.
Ink Business Preferred
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers 80,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months and earns triple points on the first $150,000 spend on travel, telecommunications, shipping and advertising on social-media and search engines. It even comes with protection for your cell phone if you buy it using the card.
Most customers need to have had fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months to be approved for this one.
Transfer Points and Redeem for Singapore Airlines A380 Suites
American Express Business Platinum
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN lets you earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points as a signup bonus: 50,000 after you spend $10,000 and 25,000 more points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
The $450 card comes with a $200 airline fee credit. It gets you lounge access — Priority Pass, Delta lounges when flying Delta same-day, and their own Centurion lounges. And it gets you elite status — Hilton Gold and Starwood Gold which matches to Marriott Gold.
American Express Centurion Lounge Houston
You get to pick an airline for a $200 fee credit per year and get 10 Gogo inflight internet passes annually. You earn 1.5 points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more up to 1 million additional points per year.
As for statement payment right away ‘with no grace period’ that’s not exactly right, you do have a period of time to make your payment, the key here is that this is a charge card and not a credit card meaning you’re expected to pay your balance off in full each month (unless you make other arrangements for a revolving line). Of course if you aren’t paying your balance off in full each month you should be more focused on the terms of credit such as interest rate than on rewards or benefits.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a limited time offer through March 28, 2018 of 35,000 points after $7,000 in purchases on the new card within the first 3 months. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 (Offer expired)
Points transfer to the largest array of airline programs of any card, and when you transfer points to 20,000 miles at once you get 5000 bonus miles. Cardholders get access to Sheraton club lounges as well.
St. Regis Abu Dhabi
American Express Business Gold Rewards
Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN lets you earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 spend on purchases with the card within your first 3 months of cardmembership. There’s a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175.
You get to choose your triple points category (and the categories you don’t choose earn double points) from: Airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media; U.S. purchases at gas stations; U.S. purchases for shipping; U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers.
American Express Points Can Be Transferred to Etihad
American Express Blue Business Plus
These are real Membership Rewards points that transfer to a variety of airline frequent flyer programs. This is the best most rewarding card for otherwise-unbonused spend.
Citi American Airlines Business Card
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has an offer to earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
There’s a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95. Cardmembers receive one free checked bag (on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation) and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.
No One Best Card
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card has the best signup bonus and is great for spend. Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN has a good signup bonus and is great for spend in your chosen category.
Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is good for spend and so is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express simply because Starwood points are so valuable.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is great for benefits and only reasonable for large purchase spend.
And CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has a very good signup bonus and good benefits for non-elite frequent flyers traveling on American Airlines.