If you’re thinking, “Why should I get a business credit card for travel?”, here are your answers. It’s not the right type of credit card for every small business owner. But if the bulk of your spending involves airfare, lodging and rental car expenses, a travel rewards-focused card is for you.
What is a Business Travel Credit Card?
If you’re a small business owner and/or sole proprietor, you need separation between your personal and business credit cards. What are business credit cards? They are cards used solely for business expenses.
A business travel card is for small business people who spend the bulk of business expenses on travel purchases. You’ll get travel rewards, in the form of points per dollar spent, on eligible purchases.
Why You Should Get a Business Credit Card for Travel
Here are reasons to get business credit cards for travel:
- You’ll get rewards and bonuses on eligible purchases
- You’ll get discounts on travel-related purchases
- In addition to deals and discounts, you will also get insurance coverage on rental cars
- You’ll get purchase protection on those expenses
- There are different types of credit cards for businesses, and you may choose one with a focus on discounts on gas purchases.
How to Choose the Best Business Credit Cards for Travel
Choosing the best business credit cards for travel depends on where you spend most on travel expenses.
- Foreign Transaction Fees – Foreign transaction fees can cause additional expenses for you. Fees can range from 1 to 5% on purchases.
- Rewards – You can accumulate membership rewards points from hotel and car partners. The membership rewards points per dollar spent can be used to reduce the credit card bill or get a discount on new purchases. Some cards offer cash credit on partner businesses. For example, the American Express Business Gold Card from American Express (see below) includes credits on Dell, Indeed, and wireless telephone purchases.
- Purchase Protection – Purchase protection acts as insurance on your purchases. For example, purchases eligible for protection may include airfare, lodging, and rental cars.
- Fees – Some business credit cards have no annual fee. Those with an annual fee negate that against other discount programs. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express business credit card (see below) has $95 in annual fees, but you get 130,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 during the first 3 months you have the card from American Express.
- Gas – If your small business requires a lot of driving, or if you have a fleet of vehicles, you can choose a card that includes cashback on gas purchases, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Discover IT cards. See the specifics on those cards below.
8 Best Business Travel Credit Cards
Here are some of the details for our picks for the 8 best business credit cards.
1. Chase Ultimate Rewards Freedom Unlimited
APR: 15.24-23.99 variable
Annual Fee: 0
With the Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll earn 5% cash back on travel expenses, and an additional 3% cashback on dining. You can also earn 5% cashback on gasoline purchases (up to $6,000). There is no foreign transaction fee. Also, take a look at the Chase Ink business preferred credit card. With both, you can get free employee cards and can set individual spending limits. Another option is the Chase Venture Rewards credit card, where you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent.
2. American Express Business Platinum Card
Annual fee: 0
With American Express business card platinum membership, rewards points per dollar spent are multiplied. With the platinum business American Express card membership, you’ll get 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels and 1.5X on select business categories (shipping purchases, eligible delivery services, shipping providers) and purchases of 5K or more. On opening an American Express business card account you’ll get a $400 credit to use on Dell purchases, $360 for Indeed search engine advertising and $120 for wireless telephone services and cloud system providers. When you fly, you’ll be treated to Global Entry – you’ll wait in a lounge for your flight to be called.
3. Hilton Honors Business Card
Annual fee: $95
Another business American Express card, the Hilton Honors card membership includes 12X Hilton honors bonus points at Hilton hotels, 6X points at restaurants, plus 130,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 on hotels, restaurants and other purchases (where your business spent money, such as office supply stores) during the first 3 months you have the card. You can get an additional free night award after set amounts of lodging purchases.
4. American Express Business Gold Card
APR: 14.99 – 22.99
Annual fee: $295
This American Express business card has a high annual fee but lets you focus on points where you spend the most. For example, you’ll earn 4X points in your two chosen categories. You can pay with points while booking airfare, and also get 25% of those points credited back to you.
5. Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard
APR: 12.49 – 22.49
Annual fee: 0
You’ll get 30,000 bonus points when you activate the Bank of America card. You’ll get 1.5% on combined purchases everywhere, and 3 points per dollar on travel purchases. If you have a business checking account with Bank of America, you’ll earn 75% more points (2.62 points for every dollar spent) on travel and other purchases.
6. Discover IT
APR: 12.24 – 23.24
Annual fee: 0
With the Discover It card, you’ll earn 2% cashback on eligible purchases of gas and dining, up to $1,000 per quarter. You’ll also earn 1% on other eligible purchases, such as buys at office supply stores and phone services. As you spend, you’ll be earning 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, once you pay eligible purchases. At the end of your first year, and on every card account anniversary, you’ll get the Discover Cash Back Match – matching cashback for every cashback dollar you earned, which can be used as statement credits.
7. Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card
APR: 16.24 – 23.24
Annual fee: $69
With the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance card, you’ll earn 2X points on Southwest purchases, and 1X points on other airline purchases. You’ll get 3,000 account anniversary year points annually, and can earn up to 40,000 points on qualifying purchases, including internet cable and phone services. Points can be applied to travel purchases or you can redeem points as a statement credit.
8. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business
APR: 16.49 – 25.49
Annual fee: $550
With the Delta SkyMiles card, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles plus 10,000 qualification miles if you spend $4,000 during the first 3 months you have the card. You’ll earn 3 miles for every dollar you spend with Delta, up to $150,000. After you spend $150,000, you’ll get 1.5 miles for every dollar. There will be no baggage fees for your first checked bag.
How to Apply for a Business Travel Credit Card
It’s easy to apply. Just take these steps:
- Go to the websites we’ve listed here. Look at the features of the listed cards, but surf the site and see if there’s a similar card that better suits your needs.
- Fill out an application, which will include income information. The card company will research your creditworthiness.
- Your creditworthiness will determine the APR rate – low, someplace in the middle, or high.
- Many times card companies offer a special sign-up bonus on account opening.
- Once you’ve received a card, take the steps to activate it.
What is the best credit card for business travel?
Business travelers have different needs. There’s the salesperson who routinely flies and rents a vehicle, for example. Or there’s the small business owner who drives to make sales calls or pick up products.
We choose Chase Freedom Unlimited for its flexibility. You can earn 5% cashback on travel, which includes airfare and rental cars, plus 5% back on gas purchases.
Check out our card descriptions, and see which card sounds best for your business needs. For example, if you’re based in Atlanta and are a frequent flyer, a Delta Skymiles card makes sense as you’ll be flying out of a Delta hub. If you like the idea of an annual cashback match, take a look at the Discover IT card.
Can you use business credit card points for personal travel?
Yes. But you shouldn’t try to write off personal travel as a business expense.
If you do use your points for personal travel, you’re taking that credit away from your business purchase capabilities.
Do corporate travel cards affect credit score?
No, a business credit card doesn’t affect your personal credit score. But, if you default on the amount owed and/or make late payments, that will affect your ability to obtain loans for the business.
If you have a poor personal credit score, it’s a good practice to get a pre-paid or deposit secured credit card. You’ll use that card only for business, but by making regular payments on time, you’ll begin to improve your personal credit score. And by only using it for business, you’ll have an accurate account of expenses and costs.
Do I have to tell my business credit card company when I travel?
It’s a great practice to do so. A credit card company gets “used” to your purchases. When something unusual crops up – such as a gas fillup in another state – your card may be flagged. To avoid this type of problem, make it a point to provide travel start and end dates.
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