The Best Business Credit Cards For Travel
It can be really hard to be a road warrior. Frequent business travelers have to constantly endure the hassles of modern travel, including security lines, flight delays, and cramped airline seats, but they do it because it’s necessary to build and maintain client relationships or to further other company goals.
If there’s one tool that can make business travel a lot easier for you and your employees, it’s a business credit card. The right small business credit card can offer travelers incredibly valuable benefits. For example, some cards will offer credits towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications, allowing you to skip the lines at security and immigration. A small business credit card can also grant you priority boarding, a free checked bag, and other airline perks. Finally, small business credit cards provide valuable points or miles that can be redeemed for travel rewards by you, your family, or even your employees.
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Choosing The Right Small Business Card For Travel
The credit card industry is competitive, and there are many cards targeted at business travelers. To select the right card for your needs, you have to decide which features and benefits will be most valuable to you.
Travelers who are loyal to a particular airline will certainly appreciate the brand specific perks offered by hotel and airline credit cards. However, the reward miles you earn can only be redeemed for flights on that airline and its partners. And unfortunately, airlines have a habit of regularly adjusting their award charts to make their miles less valuable. Likewise, a hotel rewards credit card can offer benefits such as room upgrades, late checkouts, and even free breakfast. But once again, the rewards you earn can only be used within that hotel chain.
Those who consider themselves “free agents” will often prefer the non-affiliate credit cards. Many of these travel reward cards offer points that can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points with several different programs or can be used to book travel reservations directly with the card issuer’s designated travel agency.
Co-Branded Business Cards
Credit cards that are co-branded with airlines and hotels can offer the best travel benefits. For example, airline credit cards offer benefits — like priority boarding, free checked bags, and credit towards elite status — when you travel on a certain carrier.
JetBlue Business Card from Barclays
JetBlue has attracted a loyal following among business travelers who appreciate its low prices, great service, and strong rewards program. This card offers new applicants 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on new purchases within 90 days of account opening. You also earn 6x points on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and office supply stores and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Rewards don’t expire, and there are no blackout dates with this program.
Benefits include 10% of your points back every time you redeem, and the first bag checked free for yourself and up to three companions. You’ll be given 5,000 bonus miles each year on your account anniversary. You also receive TrueBlue Mosaic elite status when you use your card to spend $50,000 or more in a calendar year and a 50% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
Delta Reserve Card for Business from American Express
This card offers several exclusive benefits when flying on Delta. You start with the chance to earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you make $5,000 in purchases on your new card within three months of account opening. (Offer expired). This card also offers you 2x miles on all Delta purchases and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. The Miles Boost gives you the chance to earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $30,000 within a calendar year, and another 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles once you reach a total of $60,000 in spending during the same year.
Other benefits include complimentary Delta SkyClub access, priority boarding, and a 20% savings on in-flight saving purchases. You also receive a companion certificate each year (upon renewal) that’s good for a free companion ticket (not including taxes) on a round-trip flight in economy or business class within the contiguous 48 states. Finally, this card offers you upgrade priority over other travelers with the same Medallion status who aren’t cardholders. There’s a $450 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
This small business card offers strong benefits when traveling on American Airlines. You start with the chance to earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases (Offer expired.) within three months of account opening. You also earn 2x miles on all American Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere.
Benefits include preferred boarding, a free checked bag, and a companion certificate each year when you use your card to spend $30,000 or more. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
Want an American Airlines credit card, but not sure if this is the right one for you? Check out a full list of our favorite credit cards offered by American Airlines.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express
This small business card has a loyal following among award travel enthusiasts, primarily due to the strength of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. New cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening (this offer expires 10/31/2018). This card offers up to six points per dollar spent at participating Starwood and Marriott hotels, 4x points at participating Marriott Rewards hotels, and two points per dollar spent elsewhere.
Points can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood and Marriott Rewards properties or can be converted to miles with over 40 different frequent flyer programs. You’ll receive one Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, and if you transfer 60,000 points to a participating frequent flyer program, you get a 15,000 point bonus. Other benefits include free access to in-room Internet and the ability to earn Gold Elite status by spending $30,000 on your card in a calendar year. There’s a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
This card offers new accounts the ability to earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening. You also earn 12x points for purchases from Hilton hotels and resorts, and 6x points for purchases at US gas stations, on wireless telephone services from US service providers, and on US purchases for shipping. You’ll earn 6x points at US restaurants, on flights booked through American Express’s travel website, and on rental cars booked directly from select rental car companies.
Benefits include complimentary Gold elite status (room upgrades, points bonuses, and even free breakfast at some properties). You can upgrade to Diamond status after using your card to spend $40,000 in a calendar year. You also get a free weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on your card during a calendar year, and a second weekend night reward when you reach $60,000 in purchases within the same calendar year. You’ll receive 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge visits valid at over 1,000 locations around the world. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
Unaffiliated Business Cards
Credit cards that aren’t affiliated with specific travel providers offer much more flexible travel rewards and benefits while lacking perks with specific airlines and hotels.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
Chase Ink Business Preferred
18.24% - 23.24%, Variable
This card offers you valuable Ultimate Rewards points and numerous cardholder benefits. New accounts can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn 3x points on your first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. You also earn one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
Points are earned in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program and can be redeemed for 1.25 cents towards travel reservations booked through Chase. Or, you can convert your points to miles with nine different airline programs or points with four different hotel programs. Other benefits include trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, cell phone protection, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
Interested in learning more? Take a look at our Ink Business Preferred Review.
American Express Business Platinum
The business version of American Express’s premium rewards card offers many valuable cardholder benefits. New applicants receive up to 75,000 bonus points, including 50,000 points after spending $10,000 within three months of account opening and another 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 during the same three month period. You also earn one point per dollar spent on all purchases, with a 50% bonus on purchases greater than $5,000. Points can be redeemed for travel reservations with a 35% bonus on airline reservations. You can also convert your points to miles with 16 different frequent flyer programs.
Benefits include a $200 annual airline fee credit and a $100 credit towards the application fee for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications. You also receive access to the Delta SkyClubs lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges, and American Express Centurion lounges. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
For more information on Business Platinum, check out our full review.
American Express Blue Business Plus
This is a simple card that substitutes superior rewards for other cardholder benefits. You earn 2x rewards on all purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year. Points are earned in the same Membership Rewards program that the Platinum card offers, but this card has no annual fee. It still comes with cardholder benefits such as extended warranty coverage and a purchase protection plan. However, it does have a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
Take a look at our Blue Business Plus Review for more information.
Capital One Spark Miles Card
This is a straightforward travel rewards card, offering miles you can redeem for any travel reservation. New accounts receive 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel, once you spend $4,500 on new purchases within three months of account opening. You earn 2x miles on every purchase, with no limits. To redeem your miles, simply purchase travel the way you normally would, and then use your miles for one cent each as statement credits.
Benefits include purchase protection and extended warranty coverage as well as numerous travel and shopping discounts offered by the Visa Signature program. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees.
Head over to our Spark Miles Review for more information on this card.