Every business has necessary expenses. But it can be frustrating to see hard-earned revenue diverted to cover costs like supplier invoices, travel, replacement equipment, or utility bills. Charge those transactions to a business credit card, however, and they earn rewards that can then be reinvested in the company. Here’s a look at how to choose the best business credit card for rewards, based on your business needs.
How to Choose the Right Business Credit Card for Rewards
Unfortunately, there’s no one single “best” business rewards credit card. It’s more about finding the “right” card. This is because different credit cards offer disparate rewards, and all businesses have different needs. To find the right business rewards card, consider the following questions:
- What type of rewards do you want to earn – points or cash back?
- What types of expenses do you have? Do you spend a lot on travel and dining? Rent? Equipment? Marketing and advertising? Office supplies? Utilities? Or all of the above?
- Are you willing to pay an annual fee? Annual fees usually range anywhere from $95 to $595 a year, but these cards tend to offer more lucrative rewards and additional benefits compared to no annual fee cards.
- Do you want to earn a welcome bonus? Some cards offer big points bonuses for spending a certain amount within your first few months of card membership.
- Are you interested in other business-specific benefits like expense tracking tools?
Types of Business Rewards Credit Cards
Like consumer credit cards, business credit cards offer rewards in many different ways. For example, many cards offer rewards points for business purchases. Depending on the card, you might earn a flat number of points per dollar on eligible purchases, or you might earn more in specific categories. Other cards offer cash back rewards. To find the right rewards card for your business, it’s a good idea to understand the different types available:
Flat-rate rewards points business credit cards: Some business credit cards offer flexible rewards-earning options, making them particularly useful rewards cards for business owners with roughly equivalent across-the-board expenses. These cards typically offer a fixed number of points – say two points per dollar spent – for all purchases in any spending category, from bill payments and office supplies to restaurants and travel and advertising and marketing. Note that spending limits are common, meaning you might only get two points per dollar up to some threshold level – say, $50,000 in purchases in a year – and one point per dollar thereafter, depending on the card and card issuer.
Bonus spending category rewards points cards: Other cards enable you to earn bonus points – usually up to about four points per dollar spent – in one or more specific business spending category, such as office supplies, dining, travel, advertising, or tech purchases. Some card issuers require you to routinely activate which eligible spending categories you expect to spend the most in, meaning you must play an active role to max out your rewards-earning potential.
Other card issuers automatically apply bonus rewards to whichever two eligible spending categories you spent the most on each month. For example, if you spent the most on advertising and shipping costs one month, then airfare and dining the next, the card issuer will automatically apply your bonus rewards to the eligible categories with the highest spend – no activation necessary.
Note that depending on the card issuer, these business rewards credit cards might also have spending limits. You might only get four rewards points per dollar on the first $100,000 in eligible purchases in a year and one point per dollar thereafter, for instance.
Travel rewards business credit cards. Some business rewards credit cards offer big points-earning opportunities for avid business travelers, especially for those not loyal to a specific airline or hotel company. These cards can help you make the most out of business trips and other business spending. Depending on the card issuer, you might be able to earn up to five points per dollar spent on flights and hotels, in addition to one point on other eligible purchases. These cards might offer additional travel benefits like fee credits for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, car rental insurance, and airport lounge access.
Co-branded travel rewards business credit cards. Co-branded airline miles and hotel rewards cards can be a great choice for business travelers who are loyal to a specific airline or hotel chain because they allow you to earn bonus hotel points or miles, depending on the card. This can help you redeem points in ways that ease future travel costs. In addition to earning miles or points that can be redeemed for airfare or hotel stays, these rewards cards might offer additional travel incentives like airport lounge access.
Cash back business credit cards. Cash back credit cards are like getting a small discount on every eligible transaction you make, meaning you get to save a little every time you spend a little. These rewards are usually automatically applied as statement credits. To decide if a cash back business credit card is right for you, read “Should I Get a Cash Back Business Card?”
Using Rewards to Reinvest in Your Business
Perhaps the biggest perk of business rewards credit cards is that you get rewarded for purchases you’re already making – and those rewards can be reinvested in the business. For example, if your card offers a two-point-per-dollar flat rate on all business purchases and you use it to pay for $50,000 worth of regular business expenses in a year – such as phone and internet, electricity, office supplies, travel, and transit – you can earn 100,000 points.
Depending on the card issuer and redemption method, you may be able to redeem those points for a value of anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more. These rewards can then be reinvested into your business – you can buy the supplies your business needs to keep going, or if a business trip is in the works, use the points towards flights or hotel stays. Just remember that different card issuers offer different redemption methods, and it’s often worth taking the time to figure out which redemption method will get you the most bang for your business buck.
To make the most out of a business rewards credit card, use it for as many eligible business expenses as possible. But don’t forget – you’ll get the most value out of rewards points only if you pay the balance in full every month, by the due date, to avoid paying interest.