This blog has been updated July, 2019
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 turn that travel into free flights and hotel stays. 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 free flights and other rewards.
Below, we’ve provided a rundown of the best cards for your business travel spend in 2019.
The first 2 options (the Business Platinum Card from American Express 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 4 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.
The Business Platinum Card From American Express
One of the best benefits of signing up for a new credit card is the “bonus” that comes with it. And, right now, you enjoy a bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you sign up for the Business Platinum Card from American Express and spend $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months. If you spend an additional $10,000 on top of that, you get an additional 25,000 points.
How can you spend those points? Transfer them to 20 different airlines and hotel partners. When you use your Platinum Card to book business travel, you’ll continue to add Membership Rewards points to your ledger.
You also enjoy airport lounge access, free wi-fi opportunities, no foreign transaction fees, roadside assistance and other perks when you secure this card. Working remotely or in various cities? This card also comes with one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork, which offers more than 300 workspaces in more than 75 cities.
There is an annual fee of $550, but that fee is mitigated by the value of the benefits the Platinum Card provides.
The biggest drawback to the Platinum Card is that you tally 5 times the points when booking airfare or prepaying hotel stays through Amex Travel. But many companies require business travelers to use corporate booking tools, which means you may not be able to use your business travel spend to accelerate your point accrual through Amex Travel.
|75,000 membership rewards points bonus||Annual fee of $595|
|20 different hotels/airline partners||Amex Travel booking required for 5X points|
|Platinum Global Access to WeWork locations|
|Airport lounge access|
The Sapphire Preferred Card From Chase
The Sapphire Preferred Card from Chase also comes with a hefty sign-up bonus of 50,000 points — but you must be sure to put $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months to get that bonus. Add an authorized user to the card, and you get an additional 5,000 points when that user makes a single purchase in the first 3 months.
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 13 different travel partners.
The Sapphire Preferred Card from Chase comes with a much more palatable $95 annual fee — and that fee is waived your first year.
|50,000 membership rewards points bonus||Annual fee of $95|
|Annual fee is waived your first year||Must spend $4,000 in first 3 months|
|5,000 additional points when you add authorized user||Additional user must make one purchase in first 3 months|
|13 different hotels/airline partners|
|Doubled points for every $1 spent on travel purchases and at restaurants|
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express
If you’re looking for a powerful credit card and no annual fee, this is your best option. The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express provides access to the American Express Membership Rewards program, and it allows you to earn double Membership Reward points for every dollar spent up to $50,000 — and then single points for every dollar spent beyond that.
Carrying the Blue Business Plus Credit Card also lets you into AmexTravel.com, where you can book travel directly and use accrued points to book flights on popular airlines, book stays at popular hotels, or use points for gift cards or merchandise.
For smaller businesses where overhead needs to remain low, the lack of an annual fee makes this card an attractive option. That it delivers so many perks and so much power to collect Membership Rewards makes it that much more compelling. The biggest drawback to the Blue Business Plus Credit Card is that there’s no welcome bonus for new members. But that drawback will quickly fade as you enjoy the other perks of this program.
|No annual fee||No welcome bonus|
|Accrue double points up to $50,000||Other cards allow faster point accrual|
Access AmexTravel.com for booking and points redemption
The Ink Business Preferred Card From Chase
If you’re looking for a business credit card that delivers travel benefits, it’s hard to beat this option from Chase. The Ink Business Preferred Card offers an 80,000-point bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. For reference, this bonus is worth about $1,000 in cash to spend on travel. This bonus alone makes the Ink Business Preferred Card a strong option when you need the right credit card for spend management.
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.
Again, this card does come with an annual fee — $95. But that fee is paltry compared to the initial sign-up bonus you receive, as well as the ongoing opportunity to accrue more points and use them for direct booking or with Chase’s travel partners.
|80,000 membership rewards points bonus||Annual fee of $95|
|Points are worth $1.25 for online travel booking||Must spend $5,000 in first 3 months|
|Can transfer points to Chase’s travel partners|
The Spark Miles for Business Card From Capital One
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|
|Get 2 miles for each dollar you spend, anywhere|
The Business Gold Card From American Express
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 35,000-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.
|35,000 membership rewards points bonus||Annual fee of $295|
|4 points for every dollar spent in certain catagories||Accelerated points available only in certain categories|
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.