This blog was updated July, 2020
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your business travel when you select your best choice from among business travel card options.
Your business travel spend can have some hidden benefits — if you choose to use the right credit card for spend management.
If you often travel as an employee for a specific company, there are several personal cards that allow you to accrue points that can be used for all sorts of perks. And, if you often travel for your own business, there are several business cards that allow you to do the same — turn your business travel spend (and other expenditures) into cash back or points that can be redeemed for leisure travel, merchandise and more.
Below, we’ve provided a rundown of the best cards for your business travel spend in 2020.
The first 2 options (the Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard from Bank of America and the Sapphire Preferred card from Chase) are credit cards for individuals. You can use these cards for bookings when you’re a frequent business Traveler to access a wide range of benefits, but they are cards designed for personal use.
The last 3 options (the Ink Business Preferred Card from Chase, the Spark Miles for Business Card from Capital One and the Business Gold Card from American Express) are cards designed for businesses. You can use these options to buy inventory, place ads, ship packages and much more — and you enjoy a number of travel benefits in return.
Looking a solid credit card with no fee? The Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard from Bank of America is a great place to start. There’s no annual fee and no interational transaction fees.
You 1.5 points for every dollar spent, plus 3 points for each dollar when you book rental cars, flights and hotel stays via the Bank of America Travel Center. Spend $3,000 in the first 90 days after opening your account, and you’ll automatically get a 30,000-point bonus — which you can use for a $300 statement credit toward travel purchases.
As an additional benefit, this card comes with a 0% introductory APR, which means no interest on purchases for your first nine billing cycles.
|No fees, including no annual or international transaction fees.
|Limited signup bonus compared to cards with fees.
|Easy to earn points when making travel purchases
|This card includes few additional perks (like airline lounge access, for example)
The Sapphire Preferred Card from Chase also comes with a hefty sign-up bonus of 60,000 points — but you must be sure to put $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months to get that bonus. Those 60,000 points are worth $750 when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Continue adding points to your balance when you use the card, and get double points for every dollar spent on travel purchases and at restaurants. Chase allows you to redeem your points through a range of different travel partners. Cardholders also enjoy $0 delivery through DoorDash and 5 times the points on Lyft rides through March 2022.
The Sapphire Preferred Card from Chase comes with a much more palatable $95 annual fee.
|60,000 membership rewards points bonus
|Annual fee of $95
|Unique partnerships with DoorDash and Lyft
|Must spend $4,000 in first 3 months
This card makes accruing points fast and easy. Get 3 points for every dollar spent on travel, shipping purchases, advertising purchasing and cable, phone and Internet services up to $150,000. This includes purchases across combined accounts. After you reach $150,000, you get a point for each dollar spent.
Those points are highly valuable, too. They are worth 1.25 cents when you use the Chase portal for online travel booking, and you may also transfer your points to one of Chase’s many travel partners.
You also enjoy an interesting referral opportunity with this card. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus points each year when you refer other business owners. You get 20,000 bonus points for each business owner you refer, up to 5 referrals.
|Easy to accrue points across multiple accounts
|No signup bonus
|Small businesses might not accrue points quickly
You’ll notice that you get additional benefits with some cards as a trade-off for losing benefits you enjoy with others. The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card, for example, offers only a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus — but there’s no annual fee the first year.
You get your 50,000 miles only after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months, which shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish considering your likely business travel spend.
This is also a card with few bells and whistles. You get 2 miles for each dollar you spend, no matter what you spend it on. And those miles are redeemable for straightforward travel rewards.
|50,000 membership rewards points bonus
|Must book with $4,500 in first 3 months
|Annual fee is waived your first year
|$95 annual fee after first year
|Get 2 miles for each dollar you spend, anywhere
The Business Gold Rewards Charge Card from American Express is a little bit unique in that you get more miles for specific purchases. For example, this card provides 4 points for each dollar spent in two categories from among the following: airfare, media advertising, hardware and software purchases, gas station purchases, restaurant purchases, shipping purchases.
There is a $295 annual fee, but you get a 50,000-point bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Browse through the list of spending categories above. If you spend a lot of money in one or more of those categories, this could be a card that yields particularly lucrative rewards for you to use.
|50,000 membership rewards points bonus
|Annual fee of $295
|4 points for every dollar spent in certain catagories
|Accelerated points available only in certain categories
Looking for Vendor Specific Cards?
Some Travelers want credit cards specific to a given airline or hotel. If you’re one of those Travelers, consider these top card options for earning free flights on specific airlines and free nights at certain hotels:
Best Airlines Reward Cards:
- CitiBusiness/AAdvantgage Platinum Select Mastercard (65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first 4 months)
- United Explorer Card (40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card (9,000 anniversary points after first year)
Best Hotels Reward Cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months)
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months)
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card (25,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months)
A Common Sense Approach to Business Travel
If a credit card can help you access benefits and enjoy your travel, you should take advantage it — that’s just common sense. And, at JTB Business Travel, we use a common sense approach to help companies make the most of their corporate travel.
Contact us to learn more about our services.