Charge or credit cards can be helpful when you're running a business. Assuming you use them correctly by paying everything off on time, they are designed to save you money. And who doesn't like saving money? For business owners, CFOs and accountants, it means they don't have to lie awake at night in a pool of sweat. They can sleep and dream about rainbows and kittens instead.
So if you have business cards with rewards, and you'd like to use your points, miles, cash back or what have you to help your business, you may want to try the following.
1. Invest your rewards back into your business.
OK, this may not be all that creative of a way to use your business charge or credit cards, like the headline of this article promises, but it's smart: Put the rewards back into your business.
Gallagher makes sure every business expense is charged on his business cards.
"Then, after a couple of months when tens of thousands have been charged and paid off," he explains, "I use the resulting rewards for either more cash back or to replace equipment on my tours like coolers or binoculars."
2. Allow your employees to keep their rewards.
Patrick West is the founder and CEO of Be the Machine, an experiential marketing shop in New York City.
He says that he allows his employees to use their rewards when they use their corporate cards.
“Employees directly getting the rewards points is part of their compensation—a nice perk and bonus they cherish," West says.
He admits that there were days early on where he found himself wishing the company rewards were going back directly into his business. But that thinking didn't last long.
“I have realized by going to employees, it comes back to the business indirectly," he says.
Being an entrepreneur is stressful, so it's important to take mental and physical breaks. Using points for things like massages, yoga or even trips that you might not normally pay for with your own money are an excellent investment.
—Justin Fenchl, founder and CEO, BeatBox Beverages
The company also uses its rewards to purchase gift cards that he and he executives give away during the holidays to the junior staff.
“Too often, only senior staff at clients get the 'goodies,' but it is the junior staff who always remember we cared about them," West says.
3. Use your rewards for business travel.
Marisa Vallbona does this. She owns CIM Inc PR, a public relations firm headquartered in San Diego.
“A few years ago I opened a Houston office for my PR firm and started commuting between San Diego and Houston. I charge most of my office expenses on my card and use the points for travel between San Diego and Houston every two weeks," Vallbona says.
Because she uses a business card that partners with the airline she uses, the money she spends on travel also ends up giving her rewards.
“It's a win-win," she says.
4. Put them toward online purchases.
Ray McKenzie, founder and managing director of Red Beach Advisors, a technology management consulting business with offices in Stockton and Redondo Beach, California, says that he uses his card for Amazon rewards. If you have business charge or credit card that allow you to shave off the purchases that you're making at the retail giant, that may be the way to go.
“I'm able to purchase office supplies and materials needed to proceed with business proposals and requirements," McKenzie says.
He buys books and training materials for his office and staff, and he also buys holiday gifts for his staff, usually luggage or travel accessories since they're consultants who are often on the road.
“All of that has been extremely helpful," he says.
5. Help out a charity.
Spencer Smith is the founder of AmpliPhi, a social media marketing company, and an instructor in social media at the University of Wisconsin and Rutgers University. Smith gives the points from his business card to charity, but does it in a way that helps the company, too.
“Instead of using the points for our business, we've been rewarding them to employees with a stipulation—the points needs to be redeemed for a nonprofit or charity about which they're passionate," he says.
"The children's hospital here in Madison has a list of most-wanted items like crayons, Play-Doh, Legos and so on," he explains. "One of our staff is especially passionate about helping the hospital, and she uses her points to get gift cards to purchase the most-wanted items. It's been a wonderful way to help our employees feel good about giving back."
6. Help yourself out.
You can use the perks and points from your business charge or credit card for yourself.
Justin Fenchl, founder and CEO of BeatBox Beverages, admits that he uses some of his points to go toward himself.
“Being an entrepreneur is stressful, so it's important to take mental and physical breaks," Fenchl says. “Using points for things like massages, yoga or even trips that you might not normally pay for with your own money are an excellent investment."
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Photo: Getty Images
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