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I’ve been a small business owner for most of my career. In recent years, I’ve learned how to leverage various credit cards to maximize rewards.

You may be a small business owner, too. If you have a private practice or a partnership, that’s obviously a business. If you earn money with a blog or podcast, do freelance work, or sell products online, that’s a business. If you watch or walk dogs via Rover, that’s a business!

pearson 250web

When I was a locum tenens physician, I had a business for that. Now that I’m a blogger, I’ve got a business that encompasses the website and all related activities.

A small business credit card is a great way to help keep track of expenses related to the business. Personally, I track business expenses on a spreadsheet and tend to commingle business and personal expenses on different cards depending on what I’m trying to achieve.

I’ve already shared my credit card rewards strategies and top tips in the freshly updated Credit Cards for People Who Love Travel and Money. If you haven’t yet, give that a read and return here to learn more specifically about business cards.

Jump to:


Cash Back Business Credit Cards

Flexible Point Business Credit Cards

Airline Business Credit Cards

Hotel Business Credit Cards

Credit Card Tracking Spreadsheet


Note: I might earn money if you apply for a card via links on this page, and I will donate half of my profits if that happens. Not many sites make that pledge, so please, do your research wherever the world wide web takes you, but consider coming back to this site for your credit card needs and support our charitable mission. Cheers!


The Best Business Credit Cards for Your Small Business


What’s best for you and your business will depend on the answer to several questions.

How much do you spend in a year?

Are you more interested in welcome bonus offers? Or do the long-term benefits of the card matter more to you?

Do you prefer cash back or flexible rewards points?

Is there a particular airline or hotel chain that you use often for business or personal travel?

I’ve selected the best cards based on what I feel is the best combination of a valuable welcome bonus, solid ongoing rewards, and a reasonable annual fee. There are additional cards that offer more perks but come with annual fees of $450 or more. I’ve included one for the big ballers out there.

In the spreadsheet that accompanies this article, I did include a couple cards with no welcome bonus for those that frequent Costco or want a no-annual-fee card, but the rest of the cards feature offer bonuses worth anywhere from $500 to $2,000 or more.


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Best Cash Back Business Credit Cards


If you don’t plan on charging big bucks on a business card, there a couple of Chase Business Cards that are excellent choices. Both offer a $500 cash back welcome bonus and ongoing cash back throughout the year.

I like to think of these cards as the Business equivalent of the personal cards Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5% cash back on every purchase) and Chase Freedom (5% cash back on rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarterand 1% on everything else).

Like the personal cards, the Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Business Unlimited have no annual fees, ever.

Compared to the Capital One Spark cards, the minimum spends are much lower and the annual fee is non-existent. To earn the $500 welcome bonus, you must spend $3,000 on these Chase business cards.

Even if you plan to use another business card, I would recommend having one or both of these cards in your armamentarium.

Chase Ink Business Cash: $500

Chase Ink Business Cash 170

  • $500 after $3,000 spend in first three months
  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent on cable, internet, phone, and office supply stores.
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Learn more about the
Ink Business Cash Card


Chase Ink Business Unlimited: $500


  • $500 after $3,000 spend in first three months
  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase


Learn more about the
Ink Business Unlimited Card



Pro tip: Sign up for both the Ink Cash and the Ink Unlimited sequentially, collect both welcome bonuses, and then using each on its best rewards categories to maximize points with the highly transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The next two cards from Capital One will give you 2% cash back (or a miles equivalent) for life.


Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Spark Cash

  • $95 annual fee, waived first year
  • $500 welcome bonus after $4,500 spend in first 3 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
Compare this card to others


If travel is more your thing, you’ll get a similar value in travel credits with miles that also can also be transferred to valuable travel partners. A $100 global entry or TSA pre✓ reimbursement is another sweet perk from this next card.


Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Spark Miles 170


  • $95 annual fee, waived first year
  • 50,000 mile welcome bonus after $4,5000 spend in first 3 months
  • 200 miles per dollar spent on all purchases
  • 500 miles per dollar on hotel & car rental via Capital One Travel portal
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre✓ reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees

Compare this card to others


Best Business Credit Cards with Flexible Points


Chase has a valuable third business card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred. There are a few key differences between the cash back cards and the Preferred card.

First, the Preferred card gives you an industry-leading 100,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points (after a $15,000 spend in 3 months) instead of cash back. 100,000 points can be used to book $1,250 to $1,500 in travel via the Chase portal or can be transferred to one of several popular travel partners.

Those partners include United, Southwest, and Jetblue airlines and Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, or Ritz Carlton hotels. A good redemption of 80,000 points could easily carry a value of $2,000 or more. The minimum spend is high at a total of $15,000 in the first three months.

This card also comes with an annual fee of $95 and adds the benefit of no foreign transaction fees.


Chase Ink Business Preferred: 100,000 Points

Chase Ink Business Preferred 170

  • 100,000 points after $15,000 spend in first three months
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3 UR points per dollar on travel and select business categories (on up to $150k in purchases per year)
  • No foreign transaction fees


Learn more about the
Ink Business Preferred


Another business card with flexible rewards points to consider is the American Express Blue Business Plus card. This card has no annual fee and the first $50,000 spent on the card are rewarded at a rate of 2 points per dollar spent.

Unfortunately, there is no welcome bonus with this card.

The American Express Awards points for this card and other AmEx cards are quite flexible with airline partners Delta, Air France / KLM, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines. You can also transfer points to the Hilton and Starwood / Marriott hotel chains.


The Blue Business Plus Card from American Express

Blue Business Plus

  • 2 points per dollar spent up to $50,000 per year
  • 1 point per dollar spent after $50,000 spent in a year
  • No annual fee
  • Flexible Amex Membership Rewards points
Compare this card to others


Note, there is also an excellent personal card from American Express called the Blue Cash Preferred, offering 6% back at U.S. grocery stores / U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases) and U.S. streaming services,  and 3% back at U.S. gas stations, taxis, and ride sharing services. The card has a $95 annual fee and you’ll get a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months.


Finally, if you prefer the finer things in life, American Express also offers a Business Gold and Business Platinum card. Only the Platinum card currently offers a welcome bonus and the Gold with its $250 annual fee doesn’t seem to have the perks to justify the cost compared to the Chase cards above.

The Business Platinum Card carries a hefty $550 annual fee but gives you some valuable perks including access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, offering the widest range of airport lounges with free food and drink of any program. Additionally, $200 of the annual fee can be offset with an airline credit for baggage fees.

You’ll also receive 35% back in points when purchasing flights with points through the AmEx portal. Regular spending is rewarded at 1.5 points per dollar.

The welcome bonus is generous but requires a large initial outlay, with 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 in the first three months and an additional 25,000 points with an additional $10,000 in spending in that same three months timeframe.

If you were to spend the $20,000 in the first three months, you would have at least 105,000 points after factoring in the two-tiered bonus and 30,000+ points from the $20,000 spend.

I would only recommend this card if you are a frequent business traveler, love the lounges, and plan to spend enough to get the full welcome bonus in the first three months.


The Business Platinum Card from American Express

  • 50,000 points with a $10,000 spend in first 3 months
  • 25,000 extra points with another $10,000 spend in first 3 months
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent
  • $200 airline credit for baggage fees
  • Global Lounge Collection access
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre✓ reimbursement every 4 years
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Free upgrade to Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
Compare this card to others


How to Keep Track of Multiple Business Credit Cards


If you’re only going to get one card and use it for everything, there’s not much to do. Set up an online account, set up autopay (every time on every card!), and keep enough money in your checking or savings account to cover your monthly tab.

However, if you’re like me and you want to earn multiple welcome bonuses and use the right cards in the right situations (airline specific card for free checked bags, Chase Freedom for the 5 points per dollar at Costco this quarter for example), you’ll want to keep track of which cards you have.

That’s where my spreadsheet comes into play, and I’ll give you an opportunity to download it.


Business Credit Cards

The sheet shows each of the cards featured here and there’s a tab for personal cards, many of which are featured in my travel and cash back credit cards article. Limited time bonuses are shown in red, others in black, and the minimum spend to reach those bonuses is listed, as well.

I’ve filled in the annual fees and whether or not they’re waived the first year. Most, but not all cards have no foreign transaction fees. The cash back cards are less likely to have this feature which is valuable if you spend time outside of the United States.

I created columns to mark if you’ve gotten the card(s) for you and your spouse. I highly recommend not adding a spouse as an authorized user, but rather applying for a new card in his or her name once you’ve reached the minimum spend on yours. That way, your household can earn the welcome bonus twice.

The key perks are also listed to the right of the spreadsheet. I truncated the sheet in the image below to make it better fit on your screen in this article.


Business Credit Card Perks


The personal credit card portion is a little more robust. I’ve also created a third tab which is a blank slate where you can copy and past info from the first two as you add cards to your collection or enter information from other cards on your own.


Personal credit cards

Personal Credit Card Tracker 1


The best way to send the spreadsheet to you (it’s an Excel file in .XLS format and can easily be converted to other formats after downloaded) is to ask for your email address in the box below. An email with a download link will be generated and sent to you immediately. You can opt out of future emails if you prefer, but if you remain subscribed, I’ll be able to send you updated versions of the sheet as the limited time offers and top cards change.



Best Business Cards for Frequent Fliers


United Airlines, one of the United States’ “Big Three Airlines” has a business card with a tremendous welcome offer of 100,000 bonus miles with an initial spend of $10,000 in the first three months.

Like many other airline cards, they offer a free checked bag when booking with United using the card. You’ll also get priority boarding for you and a companion, and two passes to use in any United Club. I used these at DFW for my wife and myself after FinCon17. It was a nice place!


United Business Card: 100,000 milesexplorer business 231

  • 100,000 miles after $10,000 spend in first three months
  • $99 annual fee
  • 2 points per dollar spent on United, gas stations, office supply stores, and restaurants
  • free checked bag
  • priority boarding
  • 2 United Club lounge passes per year


Southwest Airlines is popular with frequent fliers for their low fares, “bags fly free” policy that is rare, and the transparent system with frequent flier miles. Theirs is the least complicated where a mile has a dollar value and you don’t have to search for the best dates to use your miles.


Chase offers a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card that offers 60,000 Rapid Rewards points with a $3,000 spend in the first three months and the premium card known as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card offering 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. The Performance has a higher annual fee ($199 vs. $99), but has additional perks like Global Entry / TSA Pre✓ reimbursement every four years and up to four upgraded boardings per year. More details below.

A savvy traveler will obtain one of these cards and the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and/or the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier cards and meet the minimum spend to earn over 120,000 miles, qualifying for the coveted Companion Pass which gives you a free companion on every Southwest flight you take this year and next.

This is the perfect time to set up such a strategy. Apply for the cards now, meet the minimum spend early in 2020 and enjoy buy-one-get-one-free flights on Southwest for the next 22 months or so.


Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card: 60,000 Points

Southwest Business Premier
  • 60,000 points after $3,000 spend in first three months
  • $99 annual fee
  • 6,000 points on cardmember anniversary
  • double points per dollar spent on Southwest and travel partners
  • no foreign transaction fees


Learn more about this card



Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card: 70,000 Points

  • 70,000 points after $5,000 spend in first three months
  • $199 annual fee
  • 9,000 points on cardmember anniversary
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • In-flight wifi reimbursement ($8 per flight)
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre✓ reimbursement
  • 3 points per dollar spent on Southwest
  • 2 points per dollar on select business categories
  • no foreign transaction fees


Learn more about this card



Delta is one of the “big three” U.S. airlines and they’ve got a quality business card via their partnership with American Express. The welcome bonus is occasionally substantially higher than the current 60,000 mile bonus, but if you’re more interested in the long-term benefits of the card, the Gold Delta Skymiles Business Card may be a good option for you.

Those benefits include 60,000 Delta Skymiles after $2,000 spent in the first three months and a $100 statement credit towards a Delta flight made if you spend $10,000 in a calendar year. Your first checked bag flies free and you’ll qualify for priority boarding. The $99 annual fee is waived the first year.


Gold Delta Skymiles Business Card: 30,000 Miles

Delta Skymiles Gold Biz 170



  • 60,000 miles after $2,000 spend in first three months
  • $95 annual fee waived first year
  • $100 statement credit towards Delta flight after spending $10,000 in a calendar year
  • free 1st checked bag on Delta flights
  • double points when spent on Delta
  • 20% discount on in-flight drinks and snacks
Compare this card to others


Finally, there’s another “big three” airline business card offered by the same bank that offers the Costco card. Their rules prohibit direct linking, but if you, like me, like accumulating AAdvantage miles, this business card will give you 70,000 AAdvantage Miles after spending $4,000 in four months.

That’s enough to get you to Asia, South America, or Europe and back. If your spouse or a friend gets one, as well, you can take a pretty swell trip together after meeting the minimum spend on each card.

Unfortunately, I cannot link directly to the card, but I can direct you to airline reward cards and you’ll find it, along with its personal card counterpart, on the Cardratings website.



Best Business Cards for Hotel Stays


I’ll highlight a couple business cards from the popular chains Hilton and Marriott. Both have excellent reward programs and these cards will get you automatic upgraded status in those programs and enough points in the welcome bonus for at least a long weekend in one of their upscale hotels.

The Hilton Honors Business card is currently offering a whopping 130,000 Hilton Honors points as a welcome bonus after a $3,000 spend in the first three months. As a cardholder, you’ll enjoy Gold status and 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton Hotels. Spend $15,000 any year for a free weekend night with a second complimentary night after another $45,000 spent.

This card also comes with an airport lounge Priority Pass good for 10 free visits each year. With a $95 annual fee, that’s a pretty sweet perk when most cards with lounge access cost have annual fees of $550 or more.


Hilton Honors Business from American Express125,000 Points

Hilton Amex Biz

  • 125,000 points after $3,000 spend in first 3 months
  • Weekend night free after $15,000 spend in a calendar year
  • 12x Points per dollar spent at Hilton, 6x or 3x in other categories
  • Automatic Gold Status
  • 10 Free Priority Pass Select Lounge visits per year
  • No foreign transaction fees
Compare this card to others


Finally, after the recent Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) merger with Marriott, points earned on the Marriott Bonvoy Business card can be redeemed for stays at many hotels and resorts in the following families:

  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Marriott
  • JW Marriott
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites
  • Autograph Collection
  • St. Regis
  • W Hotels
  • Westin
  • Sheraton
  • Four Points
  • Luxury Collection
  • Meridien


The card currently has a 100,000 point bonus after a $5,000 spend in the first three months. As with any hotel card, you’ll earn extra points (6 per dollar) when using the card within the hotel chain’s properties.

You’ll also earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and gas stations. On your cardmember anniversary, you’re gifted a free night’s stay. Silver Elite status is automatic and you’ll get Gold Elite status with $35,000 in purchases in a calendar year.

If you apply by 3/28/2019, the annual fee will be $95 and waived the first year. After 3/28/2019, the annual fee will be $125. There are no foreign transaction fees.


Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: 100,000 points

  • 75,000 points after $3,000 spend in first three monthsMarriott Bonvoy 170
  • 1 Free Night Award on Cardmember Anniversary (up to 35,000 point value)
  • 6x points at participating hotels
  • 4x points on US restaurants, gas stations, cell services
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual fees: If applied by 3/28/2019, $0 the first year and $95 thereafter. After 3/28/2019, it will be $125.

Compare this card to others

Start Earning Rewards with a Business Credit Card


If you’re a small business owner, you should be reaping the rewards of a good business credit card on every business purchase made by you and your employees. Most of the cards featured here offer additional cards for employees at no additional cost.

While it’s true that this site can turn a profit if you apply for a card after clicking on the links from this article, it’s also true that I donate half of my profits. Do the research you need to do, but please return here to follow my links to the cards if you’re so inclined. And of course, do not use credit cards if you cannot afford to pay them off completely every month!


Download the spreadsheet and start earning that cash back, those flexible points, airline or hotel points today!



Please exercise caution with the language in the comments. The card issuers don’t like terms that rhyme with “travel snacking” or “travel packing.” Also, please avoid the yearning to use any word that starts like “church” and ends like “burning.” Thank you for your discretion.


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Have you been earning cash back or travel rewards with small business credit cards? What are your favorite reward cards, business or otherwise?


The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.” Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses below have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

11 thoughts on “The Best Business Credit Cards for Your Small Business”

  1. Man, this is a comprehensive list, POF. My buddy and I were just talking about this yesterday. He scored a first class ticket to Japan ($23,000) by using around 100,000 points on his American Express card through one of the Japanese airlines (ANA, I think).

    This stuff can really work.


    • That’s a sweet redemption. I’m usually happy getting 2 cents per point /mile. That’s 23 cents per point, which is incredible!

      You’re right, though. There are some really valuable opportunities out there, particularly when looking at business class and first class overseas fares.


    • Yup! It definitely works. I’m proof of concept 🙂

      I have probably redeemed the equivalent of $60-80k in points over the past few years (depending on how you truly value those points).

      It’s definitely doable. But like PoF said in his reply,… the only way to get truly outsized value is by redeeming for international first class seats/suites. Much easier to do without kids. But I might consider redeeming first class tickets for the baby. I’m not sure if the other first class passengers will appreciate it though ;P

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Great roundup.

    A few thoughts…

    There best available current offer for the Chase Southwest Plus card is a tiered 60,000 bonus points offer (40,000 after $1,000 in spending in the first 3 months and an additional 20,000 after spending $12,000 in the first year). Just wanted PoF readers know so that they miss out on additional points.

    Also important to note is that the Amex Business Platinum annual fee will go up to a whopping $595 in a few months on February 2019. That’s crazy high!

    And finally, I’m pretty sure the current offer for Chase Southwest Premier Business is 60,000 points, not 80,000 points (as stated on your post).

    • Good catch — I’m not sure if that was a typo or a “copy and paste” error, but either way, I’ve fixed it. I do have that offer on the Southwest Plus Card — in the perks section of the spreadsheet, I list the additional 20,0000 bonus points with the extra $12,000 spent.

      Reader Toby opened my eyes to the benefit of the more expensive Southwest Priority Card. The annual fee of $149 is about half offset with a $75 Southwest credit, making it effectively $6 more than the $69 fee on the Plus, but with the added benefit of 7,500 points on your cardmember anniversary (versus 3,000 on the Plus),20% in-flight purchases, and four upgraded boardings per year.


  4. Very nice list of cards. I just started as a business owner myself so this is some good info.

    A small disclaimer: If you’re a beginner in the credit card rewards realm, always start with Chase cards. They usually have amazing sign on bonuses as you have just read but if they see you have signed up for as little as 5 cards from ANY OTHER COMPANY in the past 2 years, they will deny every application. The only way to get back in their good graces is by going on a credit card fast for 2 years. Not fun.

    Other than that, good luck to all!

    • Yup — “Chase Cards First” is a heading on my personal cards post.

      Fortunately, Citi and AmEx business cards do not count towards 5 / 24.

      And you wouldn’t have to wait 2 full years, either if you had gotten a number of other cards. If you had gotten five cards a year, you’d be able to apply for Chase cards after about a one-year hiatus.


  5. Having a small business line of credit is good for any side hustle millionaire because in my personal opinion, it helps you to effectively itemize on your taxes and can be an avenue for you to save money in the long run. Agree? 🙂


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