Some of the best credit cards for points and miles collectors are small business credit cards. However, many people believe that since they do not have a business with employees, that they are not eligible to apply for one of these cards. In fact, for most small business cards, individuals are eligible to apply as a sole proprietorship even if you are just starting out.
General Benefits of Having Business Credit Cards
Before we get into specific cards, there are some benefits of having business cards in general.
- Better Credit Score
Business credit lines are tracked separately from your personal cards which means that spending on your business card does not affect your utilization ratio. Therefore, putting spend on a business card instead of a personal card will help you maintain a higher credit score.
- More Sign-up Bonuses
Many business cards are nearly identical to the personal versions of various cards, but are regarded as separate products by the card issuers. Since the large card issuers all have limits on how often you can earn sign-up bonuses, applying for business cards increases the overall number of bonuses that are available to you.
- Bigger Sign-up Bonuses
Several business cards often have bigger sign-up bonuses that similar or corresponding personal cards. These also sometimes come with bigger minimum spend requirements that may be difficult for some people without real business expenses to meet. The business version of the Amex Platinum card has had targeted bonuses of up to 250,000 points for those who are able to make 10 purchases of $5,000 or more.
Best Business Credit Cards
- Chase Ink Plus
The Chase Ink Plus card has an excellent sign-up bonus, is part of a great rewards program and has very lucrative bonus categories. The public sign-up bonus is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. It is often possible to get 70,000 points offers if you apply in branch. Ultimate Rewards is definitely one of the top two transferable rewards programs along with SPG Starpoints.
Chase’s network of hotel and airline transfer partners allows cardholders to unlock tremendous value from their points. The Ink Plus card gives five points per dollar on purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable/satellite TV services on up to $50,000 worth of purchases in these categories. You also earn two points per dollar on up to $50,000 of purchases at gas stations and on hotel accommodations. The bonus caps on these categories apply per card member year, not calendar year, so be sure to keep track of your account anniversary date. For those inclined to partake in manufactured spending, the 5x category can be maxed out by purchasing Visa gift cards at office supply stores like Staples. This card has a $95 annual fee which is not waived the first year.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card
Coming in 2nd place is the SPG business card. SPG Starpoints are widely considered the most valuable transferable currency in the points industry, with over 30 airline transfer partners. SPG members receive a 5,000 points bonus for every increment of 20,000 points transferred to airline partners. The public sign-up bonus is not as good as the Ink Plus card at only 25,000 points, although bonuses of 30-35K do pop up from time to time.
This card doesn’t have any bonus categories outside of spending at SPG hotels, but does come with some other valuable benefits. One benefit this card has which the personal version of the SPG card does not is club lounge access Sheraton hotels. These lounges offer free breakfast, snacks, drinks, and Wi-Fi, so they can be quite lucrative for those who often stay at Sheraton hotels. This card has a $95 annual fee which is waived the first year.
- Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum card comes with a diverse network of benefits for those looking for a high end experience. The public sign-up bonus is currently 40,000 Membership Rewards points, but targeted offers of 100,000 points or more are not rare. Many of the benefits are shared with the personal version of the card such as an annual $200 airline fee credit, which helps offset the $450 annual fee, access to a variety of airport lounges, Boingo internet service, a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees, and access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program which offers benefits such as free breakfast and food/spa credits at luxury hotels.
This card is a charge card, not a credit card, which means there is no pre-set spending limit. There are also some key benefits that the personal version does not have. Card members receive 10 complimentary Go-Go inflight Wi-Fi passes each calendar year. In addition, all Amex business card holders are eligible to enroll in the Amex Open program. This program offers a choice of either 5% cash back or two extra Membership Reward points per dollar on a variety of business partners such as FedEX, Hertz, and HP.
Will I get approved?
The first piece of advice when applying for a small business card is to be honest. Do not make up fake business details and especially do not falsify income. The best small business cards are issued by Chase and American Express and both companies will approve applicants who apply using their name and Social Security number instead of a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Just as it has become more difficult to get approved for Chase personal credit cards, it has also become more difficult to get approved for Chase business credit cards. If you do apply using an EIN, do not expect instant approval. If your application is pending, it is generally better to wait for a response rather than to immediately call the reconsideration line.
Chase will likely request documentation to verify your business address, EIN, and possibly income. If you apply using your Social Security number and do receive an instant approval, you may end up speaking to a Chase analyst on the phone. If they ask questions about your business just be honest and say you are just starting out if that is the case and that you want a separate card for business expenses. Almost anything can qualify as business activity such as selling something on eBay on occasion.
It is easier to get approved for Amex small business cards but the same advice applies.