Thursday, January 12, 2017

Citibank Business Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

If you’re considering a small business credit card, Citibank offers some great options: the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card By Citi.

We break down the best Citi business credit cards and help you decide which is right for you.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® Review

The CitiBusiness AAdvantage card is a fantastic option if you fly American Airlines frequently. First off, it earns 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on American Airlines, telecommunications, car rentals, and gas; and 1 mile per $1 elsewhere.

It also comes with a whopping 50,000 mile signup bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of cardmembership, and its $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

But the real value on this Citibank business credit card doesn’t come from the rewards—it comes from the perks. You get a free checked bag for you and up to 4 companions, Group 1 boarding, reduced mileage awards, and—most enticing for big spenders—an American Airlines companion certificate every year you spend at least $30,000. And don’t let the name fool you—with no foreign transaction fee, the card is just as valuable abroad as it is at home.

Finally, this Citibank business credit card offers some nice business perks, like free employee cards, car rental insurance, purchase and warranty protection, and account summaries.

The downside is that you’re pretty much locked in to American Airlines rewards. If you’re a loyal flyer or live in an AA hub, that might not be a deal-breaker, but if you prefer to compare ticket prices or have flexibility when choosing an airline, this card might not be ideal. Plus, while a 50,000-mile signup bonus is good, you’ve got other, higher options: the Chase Ink Business PreferredSM offers 80,000 points (worth $1,000) if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Get the Citibusiness AAdvantage if:

  • You’re a loyal American Airlines flyer.
  • You usually check bags on American flights.

Skip the Citibusiness AAdvantage if:

  • You prefer the ability to choose your own airline (The Ink Business Preferred is a great general travel card, with the ability to book travel through Chase or transfer to a number of airline or hotel loyalty programs.)
  • You’d rather have general travel perks like lounge access and airline fee credits than perks specific to American Airlines. (Don’t let the American Express Enhanced Business Platinum Charge Card®’s $450 annual fee fool you—the perks are well worth the cost.)


Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card

If you’re a frequent Costco shopper, the Costco Citibank card is a natural fit. It has no annual fee if you have a paid Costco membership, offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 7 months, and has a solid rewards program:

  • 4% cash back on gas (including gas at Costco) up to $7,000 spent annually (1% thereafter)
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and travel
  • 2% on Costco and purchases
  • 1% elsewhere

Keep in mind that with this Citibank business credit card, you get cash rewards every February as an annual certificate redeemable for cash or merchandise at Costco. This is different than other cards that might let you redeem your rewards at any time.

In terms of ancillary perks, it isn’t as robust as the other Citibank business credit cards—it offers car rental and travel accident insurance, damage and theft protection, and extended warranty, but charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. Also, employees must have a Costco membership in their own names to use the account.

So why is the Costco Citibank business credit card so exciting?

Well, 4% cash back on gas is nothing to scoff at, especially for businesses that involve lots of driving. The Chase Ink Business Cash offers 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent on gas and restaurants combined. While the Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard® credit card gives 3% cash back on gas and office supplies, the Costco card’s 4% is pretty spectacular.

Add the solid rewards for restaurants and travel, and on Costco purchases, and you’ve got a good no annual fee card for frequent Costco shoppers.

Get the Costco Citibank business credit card if:

  • You frequently shop at Costco for business—since it’s a no annual fee card, there’s very little downside.
  • You need to make a big purchase and can pay it off during the 7-month 0% APR period.
  • You spend a lot on gas, restaurants, and domestic travel.

Skip the Costco Citibank business credit card if:

  • You spend more than $10,500 on gas. (At that point, you’ll earn more cash back on gas with the Bank of America Cash Rewards’ unlimited 3% reward rate than the Citibank business credit card’s capped 4% rate.)
  • You’ll use the card when traveling abroad. (Given the 3% levy on overseas purchases, you’re better off with the no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business).

Should You Get a Citibank Business Credit Card?

So far, we’ve seen 2 Citibank business credit cards—one great for American Airlines frequent flyers and one ideal for Costco shoppers.

If you fit either of those profiles, a Citibank business credit card is right for you. Otherwise, here are some business credit cards that offer a broader appeal.

  • For small business rewards: Chase Ink Plus
  • For short-term financing: Citi Diamond Preferred

We also recommend checking out our roundup of the top small business credit cards for more standout options for small business owners.


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