The 10 Best Small Business Credit Cards to Maximize Your Rewards [July 2021]

cropped view of potter shopping online with laptop and credit card in workshop
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Credit cards are a popular financing choice for small businesses and can help your business grow and prosper. You should select the best credit cards to manage your business finances, earn rewards you can utilize, and provide perks and benefits to make business travel more comfortable and productive.

No matter the size or nature of your business, selecting the right credit card is essential. But where do you start?

In this post, we’ve put together a collection of the best small business credit cards available. These 10 options all have different strengths that will benefit businesses of all sizes and types.

Take a peek at our comparison table for an easy way to quickly compare cards. Then scroll down for details about each card as well as some information about how to select and apply for a small business card.

Small Business Credit Cards at a Glance

Here’s a quick look at the best small business credit cards available today.

Business Credit CardBest ForMain Benefits
The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressPremium perks, travel rewards, lounge accessEarn 5x points in select categories, lounge access, $200 airline fee credit
American Express® Business Gold CardFlexible bonus categoriesEarn 4x points in flexible categories, Pay Over Time option
Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardOverall small business card, flexible bonus categoriesEarn 3x points in select categories, points are worth 25% more in the Chase travel portal, cell phone protection
Ink Business Cash® Credit CardCash-back bonus categories, no annual fee, 0% APR for 12 monthsEarn 2% to 5% cash-back on select categories, no annual fee
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit CardFlat-rate cash-back, no annual fee, 0% APR for 12 monthsEarn 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, no annual fee
American Express Blue Business Cash™ CardFlat-rate cash-back, no annual fee (see rates and fees)Earn 2% cash-back on all purchases (up to $50,000; 1% thereafter), no annual fee
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressFlat-rate earning, no annual fee (see rates and fees)Earn 2x points on all purchases (up to $50,000; 1x thereafter), no annual fee
The Hilton Honors American Express Business CardHilton loyalists, lounge accessEarn 12x points at Hilton properties plus 3x to 6x points on everything else, Hilton Honors Gold status, 10 free airport lounge visits per year
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express CardDelta flyers, lounge accessEarn 3x points on Delta purchases, Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access, ability to earn MQMs toward your Medallion Status
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® CardBonus categories, Marriott loyalistsEarn 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 4x points in select categories, 2x points on all other purchases, Silver Elite status, 1 free Award Night per year

The Best Small Business Credit Cards in 2021

Woman Business Owner
Having the right business credit card is a great way to help your business make the most out of every dollar spent. Image Credit: G-Stock Studio via Shutterstock

1. Amex Business Platinum Card

Our Pick for Premium Perks, Travel Rewards, and Lounge Access

The elite Amex Business Platinum card is a clear leader if your business requires a lot of travel and you’re looking to get access to travel perks and benefits.

With this card, you’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, 1.5x points on purchases over $5,000, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Although the annual fee is steep, you’ll find the Amex Business Platinum card has plenty of benefits that more than offset the fee. Here are just some of this card’s perks:

2. Amex Business Gold Card

Our Pick for Flexible Bonus Categories

The Amex Business Gold card is an excellent choice if you’re looking to maximize the number of points that you earn through your business spend. This card is a powerhouse when it comes to earning Membership Rewards points with flexible bonus categories that adjust automatically.

You’ll earn 4x points per dollar spent (up to $150,000) in any 2 of the following categories:

3. Ink Business Preferred Card

Our Pick for Best Overall Small Business Credit Card and Best for Flexible Bonus Categories

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 the most appealing for businesses that travel frequently. Plus, its broad range of bonus earning categories is likely to pair nicely with your business spending patterns.

You’ll earn 3x points per $1 spent (up to $150,000 per year) in the following bonus categories:

  • Advertising on social media and search engines
  • Travel
  • Shipping
  • Internet, cable, and phone services

For example, if you spent $50,000 per year in those bonus categories you’d earn 150,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth $1,875 when used in Chase’s travel portal to book flights, hotels, etc. Or you can get even more value from your points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners!

4. Ink Business Cash Card

Our Pick for Cash-Back Bonus Categories, No Annual Fee, and 0% APR on Purchases for 12 Months

The Ink Business Cash card is a great no-annual-fee option that also offers 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months. With this card you’ll also be able to earn lots of cash-back with these great bonus categories:

Earn 5% cash-back (up to $25,000 in combined purchases):

  • Office supply stores
  • Internet, cable, and phone services

Earn 2% cash-back (up to $25,000 in combined purchases):

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants

Plus you’ll earn 1% cash-back on all of your other purchases.

If you also have a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card (one that charges an annual fee) you can turn your cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points that can then be transferred to hotel and airline partners for maximum value.

Hot Tip: Many new businesses spend a lot on phone expenses, internet service, and office supplies, so having a business credit card such as the Ink Business Cash card that gives 5% cash-back in these categories could make it a good choice for a start-up business.

5. Ink Business Unlimited Card

Our Pick for Flat-Rate Cash-Back, No Annual Fee, and 0% APR on Purchases for 12 Months

If you’re looking for simplicity, the Ink Business Unlimited card might be just right for you. This card earns a flat 1.5% cash-back on all purchases without having to worry about bonus categories or earning limits. In addition, this no-annual-fee card offers 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months.

Ink Business Unlimited cardholders that also hold a premium Ultimate Rewards credit card can combine the points earned from their cards and transfer them to one of the Chase airline and hotel transfer partners.

Bottom Line: A business credit card with a 0% APR period for purchases can help your business with cash flow as you spread out the repayment of a large purchase over time. If you need more information, check out all of these credit cards that come with 0% APR.

6. Amex Blue Business Cash Card

Our Pick for Flat-Rate Cash-Back and No Annual Fee

The Amex Blue Business Cash card offers a simple way to earn cash-back for every purchase you make. For the first $50,000 you spend per calendar year, you’ll earn 2% cash-back. After that, you’ll earn 1% cash-back.

7. Amex Blue Business Plus Card

Our Pick for Flat Rate Earning and No Annual Fee

The Amex Blue Business Plus card is a great no-fee option that offers simple flat-rate points earning. With this card, you’ll be earning valuable Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to hotel and airline partners for maximum value.

You’ll earn 2x points per dollar spent (up to $50,000 per year). After you hit the $50,000 threshold, you’ll earn 1x point per dollar.

Plus, you’ll be able to get additional employee cards at no cost and you’ll be able to earn points on all of their purchases in addition to your own (see rates and fees).

8. Hilton Business Amex card

Our Pick for Hilton Loyalists and Lounge Access

The Hilton Business Amex card is a great option for Hilton loyalists because it offers multiple points earning categories and a fast track to Hilton Honors elite status.

With this card, you’ll earn 12x Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at hotels and resorts within the Hilton family of brands across the globe. In addition, you’ll be able to earn 6x points per dollar on these bonus categories:

  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • Wireless phone services from U.S. providers
  • U.S purchases for shipping services
  • Flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel
  • Car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies

On top of all that, you’ll earn 3x points per dollar on any purchases that don’t fall in the bonus categories.

The Hilton Business Amex card will also help fast track you to higher Hilton elite status. As a cardmember, you’ll get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status. If you spend $40,000 or more in a calendar year, you’ll be upgraded to Diamond status.

This card also comes with 10 complimentary lounge visits per year after signing up for the Priority Pass Select membership. You’ll have access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide with this perk.

9. Delta Reserve Business Card

Our Pick for Delta Flyers and Lounge Access

If you fly Delta often and value Delta elite status, the Delta Reserve Business card could be a good addition to your wallet. This card earns Delta SkyMiles and comes with Delta-centric perks.

With this card you’ll earn:

  • 3x miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • 1.5x miles per dollar on purchases after you spend $150,000 in a calendar year
  • 1x mile per dollar on all other purchases

The Delta Reserve Business card also helps you earn Delta SkyMiles elite status. You’ll get 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year. Plus you’ll enjoy benefits like a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee and a Delta Companion Certificate.

10. Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

Our Pick for Bonus Categories and Marriott Loyalists

If you’re a Marriott loyalist who wants lots of bonus categories to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and a fast track to Marriott Bonvoy status, then the Marriott Bonvoy Business card might be a good option for you.

With this card, you’ll earn:

  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program
  • 4x points at U.S restaurants
  • 4x points at U.S. gas stations
  • 4x points on wireless phone services from U.S. providers
  • 4x points on U.S purchases for shipping services
  • 2x points on all other purchases

In addition, this card comes with automatic Marriott Silver Elite status, 15 Elite Night Credits toward your next level of status, and a yearly Free Night Award to use on a room that costs up to 35,000 points per night.

How to Select a Business Credit Card

There are so many variables when it comes to credit cards, and business credit cards are no different.

Business Card Basics

  • You will be personally responsible for paying the card unless your contract states otherwise. Your personal credit may play a significant role in whether you’re approved for a business credit card.
  • The Federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 set new provisions to protect consumers from some of the negative practices of credit card companies, but the CARD Act does not apply to business cards. Your business credit card may have higher fees and be less consumer-friendly, although many banks are now including CARD protections voluntarily on business cards.
  • Credit limits are generally higher for business credit cards than for personal credit cards.
  • Unfortunately, APRs can also be higher on business credit cards — a good reason not to carry high balances.

Narrow Your Business Card Options by Answering These Questions

  • Which are my most significant business expenses? You’ll want to select a card that rewards your most significant spending categories, ideally one that rewards all of your spending in those categories, not just a portion.
  • What are my business travel requirements? Are you a road warrior who values rewards on gas purchases, an in-home business requiring no travel, or a frequent flyer who values premium travel benefits?
  • Do I want to earn cash-back to reinvest in my business, or is earning travel rewards more of a priority?
  • Do the redemption options for rewards add value to the business? With cash-back credit cards, the answer may be easy, but can your business benefit from free airline tickets if your business doesn’t require travel? Don’t forget — it’s perfectly acceptable to use the rewards earned on business expenses for a personal vacation.
  • Do I prefer a business card with no annual fee? While some high annual fee cards provide exceptional benefits, you might have a preference to stay clear of cards with high annual fees.

Bottom Line: While it’s essential to select a business credit card that aligns with your expenses and priorities, it’s not a permanent decision. Try the card for a year and determine if it meets your needs. If the card doesn’t have an annual fee, you can hold on to it to build a longer credit history, or you can cancel your card if it has an annual fee but doesn’t offer the value you want. 

Which Types of Businesses Qualify for a Business Credit Card?

The IRS gives us the bottom line on what constitutes a business in its statement: “Generally, an activity qualifies as a business if it is carried on with the reasonable expectation of earning a profit.”

Under that definition, a business can range from opening a restaurant to selling homemade jam or refereeing soccer on the weekends, as long as it has a reasonable expectation of earning a profit. Even if your side gig is small, it may still qualify for a business credit card because your personal credit will play a significant role in whether you get approved for a business credit card.

How to Apply for a Business Credit Card

Before applying for a business credit card, you’ll want to make sure you have the following information handy:

  • The legal name of your business (this can be your own name)
  • Your business entity (sole proprietor, partnership, S corporation, limited liability company)
  • Tax ID number, which can be either an Employer Identification Number or Social Security number
  • Years you’ve been in business
  • Business revenue (yes, it can be zero) and total personal income
  • Business address (can be the same as your personal address) and phone number
  • Type of business and subtype of business (for example, services, subtype cleaning services)
  • Number of employees
  • Possible additional personal information

5 Tips for Completing the Business Credit Card Application

  1. Don’t lie. Provide information that is as accurate as possible.
  2. Relationships matter. Having other credit cards (with a positive history) or a bank account with the financial institution issuing the credit card will increase your chances of approval. For example, having a business checking account from Chase can help increase the likelihood of being approved for a Chase business credit card.
  3. Keep a copy of the application. If for any reason you are not approved, or if the issuing bank needs more information, you can refer to your application during any follow-up conversations.
  4. Make notes. On the copy of your application, make notes as to why you answered a question a certain way. Did you estimate your earnings? What was the process you used for the estimate?
  5. Take a screenshot of the offer. Before you hit submit, make sure you’ve documented the credit card offer. Applying for an offer that gives you 50,000 miles after your first purchase? Be sure you have a screenshot to refer to if those 50,000 miles don’t show up.

It’s also not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the rules of each bank before applying. This will ensure you’re within the card limit for a specific issuer, eligible for the welcome bonuses, etc.

Bottom Line: You can apply for a business credit card even if your business doesn’t yet have income. A strong personal credit history increases your chances of being approved. Consider applying in person at a local bank branch where you’ve done business.

Business Credit Cards vs. Personal Credit Cards

Some business owners question whether it’s necessary to have a business credit card for your start-up or small business. It’s especially questionable if you’re not making a lot of money yet and you’ve been able to utilize your personal credit card for the expenses you’ve incurred so far.

It’s prudent to separate business expenses from personal expenses, and it can become critical when it comes time to pay taxes or produce supporting information for an audit. An easy way to separate expenses is to open a bank account for your business and apply for a business credit card to use for your business-related purchases.

Additionally, business credit cards frequently offer perks for businesses, have higher credit limits, and reward business category purchases more than personal cards.

Deciding Between a Business Charge Card or a Business Credit Card

The Small Business Owner Might Like the Amex Blue Business Cash Card
Start-up businesses might have heavy spending in certain business categories, so you’ll want to select a business credit card that rewards these expenses. Image Credit: Kinga via Shutterstock

Knowing the difference between a charge card and a credit card can help you make an informed decision on which card fits your business spending patterns best.

credit card allows you to carry a balance from 1 statement period to another. You will be charged interest on any carryover balance. A charge card requires the balance to be paid off in full each statement period.

Charge cards may have offers that allow you to carry over a balance, but it is not guaranteed. The credit card issuer has to explicitly grant you this privilege.

An advantage of a charge card is not having a specified spending limit, as the credit card issuer will determine this based on how you’re managing the card.

Hot Tip: If a charge card is what you’re looking for, consider the Brex corporate cards. Brex is a company that has turned business credit cards on its head.

Final Thoughts

Opening a business credit card is a positive step that supports the future growth of your business, and you do not need to have a large business to qualify.

While this list of the best business credit cards is exhaustive, there are many more options available.

Find the best business credit card for your business by researching the best available cards, their rewards and benefits, as well as drawbacks. A business credit card can make a big difference for your business and it’s critical to make an informed decision.

See our in-depth articles where we cover the best business credit cards for: Perks & Benefits, Low Credit Scores and Building Credit, New Businesses & Start-ups, Real Estate InvestorsDoctors, Dentists, House Flippers & Landlords, and Nonprofits.


The information regarding the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the America Express® Business Gold Card. click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.


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The Best Business Credit Cards


Frequently asked questions

Why do I need a business credit card?

One of the primary reasons for having a business credit card is to separate your business expenses from your personal expenses, making it easier at tax time or to provide documentation in the case of an audit. Some business credit cards provide record-keeping tools, syncing with Quickbooks, and other financial management tools.

Additionally, business credit cards may offer higher credit limits, free employee credit cards, and earn bonuses in business spending categories that you won’t find on personal cards.

How do business credit cards work?

You apply for a business credit card in your business name and all spending that relates to your business activity goes on the business credit card. Although you apply for a business credit card, your personal credit history can make a difference in whether you’re approved as you’ll normally be personally responsible for debt incurred on the card.

Does opening a business credit card affect my personal credit score?

Your personal credit history is normally taken into consideration and a hard pull inquiry is done on your personal credit report when you apply for a business credit card. While this might affect your personal credit by a few points initially, opening a business credit card may not affect your personal credit in the long term.

If you default on your payments to the business credit card, however, the information will be reported to your personal credit report. Most business credit card issuers do not report activity to your personal credit report unless there is negative activity.

What is the best business credit card?

There is no one best credit card for every business because benefits, rewards, and the value the business card adds to your business will vary.

Reviewing the benefits of each card you’re considering and asking yourself if a benefit adds value to your business can help you select the perfect card.

If you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum, for example, you might select a rewards-earning business card with no annual fee such as Ink Business Cash card.

The spending habits of your business should match up with the bonus spending categories on the credit card for maximum rewards earning. If you’re a road warrior, for example, you might select a card that rewards purchases at gas stations and hotels.

Selecting a card with a 0% APR period for purchases and/or balance transfers may also be an option to help with your small business cash flow.

Can I use a business credit card for personal expenses?

The short answer is yes, but it is not prudent to do so because one of the primary benefits of opening a business credit card is to keep business and personal expenses separate.

When personal expenses are put on a business credit card, you could run into problems at tax time trying to sort it all out and even have difficulty in case of an audit.

Are business credit cards personally guaranteed?

Yes, in most cases business credit cards are personally guaranteed and you will need to provide your personal information when applying for a business credit card so an inquiry can be done on your personal credit report.

Are business credit cards hard to get?

Generally, no. Even if you’re just starting out, with good or better personal credit, you can qualify for a business credit card as long as your business activity has the reasonable expectation of a profit.

With that said, every credit card issuer has its own requirements for issuing business cards.

Why would I want to use a business credit card?

The primary reason to use a business credit card is to keep personal and business expenses separate. Combined with a business checking account, a business credit card can help establish your business as a formal entity.

Can I get a business credit card even if my business doesn't make a profit?

You can be approved for a business credit card even if your business does not yet have profits. You will need a strong personal credit history to be approved, but it is possible to secure a business credit card without a profit.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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9 comments

  1. Thanks for all the info.

    Just have to mention 2 business cards we are involved with and seem to get little / no mention on the web, but we think they are great (yes everyone’s needs are different).

    Capital One Spark – $60? Annual fee. A flat 2% back as cash, with no caps I think, awarded as soon as end of the month if you want. We take it as a credit back onto the account. Forget having to deal with this sector this quarter gets more, etc. Yes, we use citi Costco for 3% back on travel and restaurants and 4% on gas. 2 cards, pretty simple and nice $$ back.

    And the cutest perk – you can send in a picture as often as every 30 days and they print new credit cards with that picture : ). For our family business, we use family pictures on the cards (funny, it’s a business card perk but we use family / personal pics).

    And a Bank of America card my wife has from another business she is involved with. 1% back on all purchases. Not the best, but….each card holder gets those points rather than the account holder. The boss lets each card holder use the points they earned and keep the rewards. My experience w business card is that rewards are usually pooled to the account holder.

    Also side note:, with these business cards, each user card is unique number. For our family business account, we have 1 card/‘employee’ whose card is used only for recurring expenses / card is locked up. That way, likelihood of that number being lost / getting into wild and need to be cancelled is slim so you don’t have to go to each of those recurring charge vendors to update to a replaced card number ; )

    Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback on the business credit cards you’re using as it sounds like you’ve found a combination of cards you’re happy with and that fit your situation. It also sounds like you’re having fun keeping those family photos updated on the cards.

      Reply

  2. This is a very informative article with great information. I am applying to the Chase Ink Business Prefered because of its 0% APR and no annual fee. Was thinking about the American Express Gold but I don’t spend enough in expenses every month to make the 3x points and 395 dollar fee worthwhile. Thank you again.

    Reply

  3. This is some solid information. I am going with the Ink Preferred because of the lack of fee and the 0% APR for the first year.

    Reply

  4. FactorLoads June 3, 2020

    I agree with what you said. I also think that opening a business credit card is a positive step that supports the future growth of your business, and you do not need to have a large business to qualify. I think that a credit card is very useful to have.

    Reply

  5. Nova Cash Flow Finance June 21, 2020

    Yes, I totally agree with what you said. I also think that we should select the best credit cards to manage your business finances, earn rewards you can utilize, and provide perks and benefits to make business travel more comfortable and productive. I think that by doing this, we can avoid financial issues. Thanks for sharing this article.

    Reply

  6. I am looking for a credit card for my small business. I was interested in The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. This is very helpful for having good business finances. Thanks for sharing this article.

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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