The 9 Best Credit Cards for Teachers [2021]

Science teacher and students

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Being a teacher is one of the noblest jobs — it’s not easy to be entrusted with educating the next generation of youth, so there’s a lot of respect given to this profession.

And while teachers are often underpaid, they are also expected to foot the bill for common school supplies like pencils, markers, and other expenses. Over time, these add up!

So how can teachers deflect as much of the bill as possible? By using the right credit cards, of course!

Let’s get right into it!

What To Look for in a Credit Card for Teachers

If you’re a teacher, chances are you aren’t getting reimbursed for these supplies you have to buy.

But what you can do is concentrate on your shopping habits and credit card portfolio to get as much back as possible.

Teachers generally make the largest expenses at office supply stores, so finding a card that has office supply stores as a bonus category will be instrumental to your rewards optimization.

Beyond that, the next best thing to do is get the best credit cards for general, non-bonused spending.

The 4 Best Personal Cards for Teachers

woman selecting markers
Image Credit: Korta via Adobe Stock

1. Citi® Double Cash Card

Our best credit card for teachers is the Double Cash card! This tremendous credit card is surprisingly rewarding when used properly.

What we mean by that is if you use the Double Cash card to earn flat cash-back, you’ll be missing out on the most value.

Normally, your Double Cash card earns 2% cash-back — 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay off your bill — with no caps.

But interestingly, if you have a ThankYou Rewards credit card like the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer open to new applicants), you can convert your rewards at a ratio of 1% to 1x ThankYou Points.

That means you can effectively earn 2x transferable points on all purchases with absolutely no caps! That’s unheard of!

You’ll get an introductory flexible pay date, fraud protection, zero liability for unauthorized purchases, a late fee pass, and Citi Private Pass event ticket access.

Why We Like Earning Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

We consider Citi ThankYou Rewards Points to be one of the most valuable in the world. Offering the ability to transfer points to airline miles, this flexible rewards program is one that we frequently recommend and watch.

As a reminder, though, you need to have a ThankYou Rewards credit card like the Citi Premier card or the Citi Prestige card to open up your redemption options. Otherwise, your rewards are worth a flat 1 cent per point.

We value each ThankYou Point around 1.6 cents, and you can achieve the best value by redeeming them via transfer partners. In some cases, if you book flights like ANA business class or Lufthansa first class, you can achieve unimaginable value.

Other ways to redeem your points include cash-back as a statement credit, direct deposit, check, gift cards, charity, and mortgage and student loan payments, as well as travel booked through the ThankYou Rewards travel portal.

Hot Tip: Take advantage of cash-back rebate sites like Rakuten to earn even more on your online purchases!

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

The Freedom Unlimited card offers hefty cash-back rewards with an easy path to transferable rewards.

To start off this card earns up to 5% cash-back:

The most useful aspect of this card, at least for teachers, is the 1.5% cash-back.

When you pair the Freedom Unlimited card with an Ultimate Rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can convert your 1.5% cash-back to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points, worth a 3% return on spend! 

This card also comes with a 0% introductory APR perk (regular APR, as indicated in the table above, applies after the introductory period), purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, secondary auto rental collision damage insurance, fraud protection, and other benefits.

Why We Like Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

With the Freedom Unlimited card alone, your rewards are worth a flat 1 cent per point, redeemable as a statement credit, for travel, at Amazon via Shop with Points, and more.

But if you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, your cash-back can easily be converted to Ultimate Rewards points, doubling your return on spend.

Once you have an Ultimate Rewards card, you can transfer your points to airline and hotel partners for some incredible redemption value.

3. Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The CapOne Venture card is a simple credit card that boasts transferable rewards as its bread-and-butter selling point.

This card comes with the ability to earn 2x Capital One miles on all purchases with no caps. And while Capital One’s transfer partnerships aren’t always 1:1, most of them are 2:1.5, which is still solid.

This product comes with a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, secondary car rental insurance, lost luggage coverage, travel accident insurance, roadside dispatch, and no foreign transaction fees.

There’s also purchase security, zero fraud liability, and extended warranty coverage.

Why We Like Earning Capital One Miles

The CapOne Venture card earns miles with Capital One Miles, which is one of the major flexible rewards currencies.

And while Capital One Miles maintains transfer partnerships that are potentially less lucrative than the usual 1:1 ratio, being able to transfer points at a 2:1.5 or 2:1 ratio is still valuable.

Indeed, we value Capital One miles at around 1.4 cents each, but it’s easy to get better value through transfer partners, especially when booking premium cabin airfare.

It’s also possible to get lower value when redeeming for statement credits, for travel booked via Capital One Travel, for gift cards, for experiences, and more.

4. The Platinum Card® from American Express

The last personal card we will talk about is the Amex Platinum card. This card is the best product in the world for luxury travel and lifestyle perks.

The Amex Platinum card also earns 5x points per $1 spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or on Amex Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year), as well as 5x points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked via Amex Travel.

The card is also packed with statement credit opportunities, including a $200 airline fee credit, $200 prepaid hotel credit, $100 Saks credit (distributed as 2 $50 statement credits), $200 in Uber Cash, $179 CLEAR credit, $300 Equinox credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, and $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Note that terms apply and some benefits require enrollment through your American Express account.

But what’s most impressive is the laundry list of travel perks and lifestyle benefits:

The card also includes purchase protection, extended warranty, zero liability fraud protection, and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Why We Like Earning American Express Membership Rewards Points

American Express is the most impressive transferable rewards program in the entire world, thanks to the best lineup of airline and hotel transfer partners overall.

Start booking luxury experiences like Emirates first class and Etihad business class with Amex Membership Rewards, all while enjoying top-shelf luxury travel and lifestyle benefits!

You can also redeem Amex points for statement credits, gift cards, travel bookings made through Amex Travel, charitable donations, and Amazon purchases, but just keep in mind you won’t get great value out of these.

Hot Tip: While we’ve recommended personal cards that offer great cash-back or points on everyday purchases, regardless of the retailer, several store-specific cards offer options with up to 5% cash-back. If you frequently shop at Target, you could consider the Target RedCard™ with its 5% discount on most Target purchases. Frequent shoppers at Walmart could consider the Capital One Walmart Rewards™ card for 5% cash-back at and in the Walmart app. Amazon also offers 5% cash-back on Amazon purchases with its Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

The 5 Best Business Cards for Teachers

preteen boy uses laptop make video call with his teacher
Teachers who offer tutoring services or online lessons, for example, could benefit from a small business credit card. Image Credit: ArthurHidden via freepik

If you’re a teacher and can qualify for a small business credit card, you’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities!

Let’s take a look at our best business credit cards for teachers.

1. Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

The Ink Business Cash card is our favorite business credit card for teachers, thanks to excellent ongoing bonus categories.

First of all, this card’s rewards can be converted entirely to Ultimate Rewards points if you have an Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The ratio is 1% to 1x points.

Also, the credit card boasts a generous 0% introductory APR benefit for purchases. Regular APR, as shown above, will apply after the introductory period.

Then, maximize your rewards by earning as follows:

  • 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent every account anniversary year in combined purchases on these categories
  • 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent every account anniversary year in combined purchases on these categories
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

So if you frequently make office supply runs as a teacher, then you can potentially earn 5% cash-back, which is convertible to 5x Ultimate Rewards points and worth a 10% return on spending!

Also, enjoy primary rental car insurance when renting on business, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and employee cards at no additional cost.

2. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Our favorite Amex business card for teachers is the Amex Blue Business Plus card that earns 2x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on everyday business purchases with no bonus categories, up to $50,000 per calendar year.

The Amex Blue Business card offers also extends a 0% introductory APR benefit to new cardholders (regular APR, as shown in the table above, will apply after the introductory period), as well as employee cards at no additional cost, extended warranty, purchase protection, and access to Amex Offers. Also, this is one of the only no-annual-fee cards that offers direct access to a transferable rewards program without needing a different credit card (see rates and fees).

3. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited card allows you to earn elevated rewards without bonus categories.

You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash-back on all your purchases with no caps or bonus categories needed.

Also, there’s a 0% introductory APR promotion to help you deflect interest fees on any carried balances for a while. After the introductory period, the regular APR indicated in the table above will apply.

After that, enjoy purchase protection, extended warranty, primary car rental insurance when renting on business, employee cards at no additional cost, and more.

Your 1.5% cash-back can be transformed into 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points with the right credit card, such as the Ink Business Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

4. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

The CapOne Spark Miles card is the business version of the CapOne Venture card.

It offers unlimited 2x Capital One miles on all purchases, and more.

Uniquely, you’ll get 5x miles on hotel and rental car booked made via Capital One Travel, too.

You’ll get a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, roadside assistance, zero liability fraud protection, extended warranty, purchase protection, employee cards at no additional cost, and no foreign transaction fees.

5. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • $2,000
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95

Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.

The Ink Business Preferred card is one of our favorite business credit cards. Known as the king of business credit cards, this card earns according to this structure:

  • 5x Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year across these categories (1x after that)
  • 1x Ultimate Rewards points everywhere else

You’ll enjoy the ability to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25 cents per point (25% more value) on travel booked through the Chase travel portal, as well as cell phone protection insurance, fantastic travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, and employee cards for no annual fee.

Final Thoughts

Teachers’ best personal credit cards will generally be limited to cards that offer the best rewards on everyday purchases.

However, if you can apply for a business credit card, holding the Ink Business Cash card is your absolute best bet, thanks to the potential to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points on office supply stores!

Happy teaching!

The information regarding the Citi Prestige® Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Card, Target RedCard™, Capital One Walmart Rewards™ card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best credit card for teachers?

The best personal credit cards for teachers are the Double Cash card, Freedom Unlimited card, CapOne Venture card, and Amex Platinum card.

These cards offer the best non-bonused spending rewards with a low or no annual fee or offer great luxury travel benefits with an annual fee.

Is there a credit card for teachers?

There are plenty of credit cards offered by credit unions and other institutions. However, the best credit cards for teachers are those that offer the same rewards and are generally industry-agnostic.

What are the best business credit cards for teachers?

The best business credit cards for teachers are the Ink Business Cash card, Amex Blue Business Plus card, Ink Business Unlimited card, CapOne Spark Miles card, and Ink Business Preferred card.

Would a teacher qualify for a business credit card?

Teachers who offer tutoring services, private lessons, coaching, or online lessons, for example, could possibly qualify for a small business credit card.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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