Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Best Credit Cards for Business Owners With Excellent Credit

If you’re a small business owner who’s put in the effort to build a top-tier credit score, congratulations! Your FICO score can translate into earning great rewards, perks, and signup bonuses for your everyday business purchases, or into a flexible financing option with a zero APR period.

Looking for the best credit cards for excellent credit? We break down the best offers out there, no matter what you’re looking for.

Best Signup Bonus: Chase Ink Business PreferredSM

The Chase Ink Business PreferredSM starts off with a bang: If you spend $5,000 in the first three months of cardmembership, you’ll get 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points as a signup bonus.

That’s pretty great even at face value—80,000 points equates to $800 in gift cards or cash—but it can be worth much more. If you use your points to book travel through Chase’s Orbitz-powered online booking tool, your points are worth 1.25 cents apiece, for a $1,000 signup bonus.

However, your bonus’ ceiling can be even higher. As a premium Chase card, the Ink Business Preferred lets you transfer your points 1:1 to its airline and hotel loyalty partners including Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and KLM, Southwest, United, and Ritz-Carlton. I’ve used Ultimate Rewards Points to score an $800 United ticket for 20,000 points—a redemption rate of 4 cents per point.

And if you redeem smartly (British Airways short-haul flights are a popular option), you can wring 3-5 cents out of each point. That puts your bonus value at an impressive $2,400-$4,000.

Even without the signup bonus, you’re looking at solid travel rewards. The card gives 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent annually on:

  • Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets, and taxis
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

It also earns an unlimited 1 point per $1 elsewhere. Again, if you redeem wisely, that’s a bonus rewards rate 9%-15% bonus and 3%-5% base. It does have an annual fee of $95, but it has no foreign transaction or employee card fees. The annual fee pales in comparison, though, to the signup bonus’ upside.

Best for 0% APR: Chase Ink Business CashSM

The Chase Ink Business CashSM helps business owners with excellent credit earn rewards even as it provides flexible financing.

First, you get a $300 signup bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You also have a 0% intro APR period for 12 months on purchases or balance transfers, after which your variable APR ranges from 13.99% to 19.99%, depending on creditworthiness. (There is a 5% balance transfer fee, though, so it might not be the best option for consolidating existing debts.)  

This is an excellent card if you want to make a big purchase and pay it off over time—the upfront expense helps you hit the spending threshold, and you have a year to cover your balance.

The card’s also great for ongoing rewards. You earn:

  • 5% cash back on office supplies and landline, cell phone, Internet, and cable TV services (up to $25,000 spent combined annually)
  • 2% cash back on gas and restaurants (up to $25,000 spent combined annually)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back elsewhere

The card has no annual or additional employee card fee. If you don’t want to pay annual fees, value cash back, or simply want a great 0% APR card, you can’t do better than the Ink Cash.

Best for Flat-rate Travel Rewards: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Part of what makes the Ink Business Preferred a great card is the ability to strategically transfer your points at a high value. However, busy small business owners may not want to deal with the hassle of juggling point redemption values.

If you want straightforward travel rewards, check out the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business—it has no bonus categories, rewards caps, or redemption hurdles. You earn a flat 2 miles per $1 spent, and can redeem your miles at a value of 100 per $1 as a statement credit against any travel expense—easy as that.

To start off, you’ll earn 50,000 miles when you spend $4,500 in the first three months. Those miles can be redeemed as a statement credit against expenses like airfare, bag fees, hotel stays, taxis, cruises, and more. The $59 annual fee is waived the first year, and there are no foreign transaction or employee card fees.

For an excellent credit card, the Spark Miles doesn’t offer as many shiny perks like lounge access or sky-high signup bonuses. Still, what you lose in benefits, you make up for in simplicity.  

Best Travel Perks: Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s the Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. It comes with a high annual fee—$450—and its rewards rate is nothing to write home about. But its side benefits are unparalleled.

You’re looking at a credit toward TSA Pre-check or Global Entry, free Gogo and Boingo internet, a $200 airline fee credit every year that you can use for bag fees and such, and access to American Express’ airport lounge network, which includes Centurion, International American Express, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select.

The card’s signup bonus is pretty solid: 50,000 points when you spend $10,000 in the first three months and an extra 25,000 when you spend an additional $10,000 in the same time period, for a total of up to 75,000 points.

The rewards rate, as we mentioned, is not the card’s strong suit: 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on travel booked through American Express, 1.5 points per $1 on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million points), and 1 point per $1 elsewhere.

Like Chase, Amex also partners with airlines and hotels (in this case, Starwood, Virgin America, and Atlantic, Delta, and others) and you can transfer your Membership Rewards Points to get a value far higher than 1 cent per point. But don’t look to rewards to justify the $450 annual fee—the perks are what make the card worthwhile.


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