Best business credit cards for earning points

Photo by Getty Images/Illustration by Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.

Dear Business Banter,

Can you suggest a business card for the best points? As I am looking now, I see they all have very good point systems. I do see some with extra bonuses if I get it now. Thanks for answering. – Chanel

Dear Chanel,

Nearly all credit cards developed for small businesses come with generous rewards programs. Some accumulate points while others offer cash back, and a significant number provide cardholders with a hefty welcome-to-the-account bonus.

As long as you charge a certain amount of money within a specified number of months after opening, you can come out ahead by many hundreds of dollars. Making the deal even sweeter is that sign-up bonuses are generally not considered taxable income by the IRS, nor are the points or cash you earn as you charge.

So, are rewards credit cards worth it? Absolutely!

Have a business question for Erica? Drop her a line at the Ask Bankrate Experts page.

Best rewards credit cards for business

Because there is a wide variety of card options, choosing one can be challenging. To help, I’ll narrow your choices to just a few business credit cards that have compelling sign-up bonuses. However, don’t stop with these—offers change frequently, so I strongly advise you to review all of your options up to when youre ready to apply so you are up to date with which credit cards have the the best rewards and current offers.

  • 130,000 point bonus: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. With this card, you will earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. The redemption value is 0.5 cents, so it’s worth $650. Aside from that, as you charge your card you will earn an incredibly high point rate. It offers 12X points when you charge accommodations at Hilton hotels and resorts, 6X points on select business and travel expenses and 3X points on everything else (Terms & Limitations Apply). The annual fee is $95.
  • 100,000 point bonus: Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. To score this big bonus, you’ll need to charge $15,000 in the first three months of opening the account. You may trade them in for cash, equalling $1,000, but if you book travel arrangements via Chase Ultimate Rewards®, the bonus is worth $1,250. As you use this card you will earn 3X points for each dollar you charge on travel, shipping, Internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines, up to $150,000 annually. For everything else you’ll earn 1X point per dollar charged. The annual fee is $95.
  • 75,000 point bonus: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 of eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Each point is worth 0.1 cent, making the bonus value up to $750. You’ll also earn up to $150 in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months, making the potential total value up to $900. You’ll earn 6X points for every dollar spent at participating Marriott hotels, 4X points at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services, and U.S. shipping purchases and 2X points on everything else. The annual fee is $125.
  • $500 cash bonus: Capital One Spark Cash for Business. Since this is a cash back card, you don’t earn points to trade in for travel, but rather a sum of cash that you can spend on anything you want. To receive the $500, prepare to charge $4,500 in the first three months of opening the account. Accumulating cash back rewards with this account is super straightforward. It offers 2 percent back on every charged purchase, no matter where you spend or what you buy. There is no annual fee in the first year, but it will be $95 each year afterward.

As you’re checking out all the cards, look deep into the benefit packages. Some have extra bonuses at account opening anniversaries, such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, which offers 6,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points and is worth about $90.

Cash back vs. travel rewards for business

As you can see, each card has its unique qualities. Some are designed for general cash back redemption while others are designed for travelers. If you aren’t getting on airplanes or staying at specific hotels in the foreseeable future, a business travel credit card won’t make much sense even if the points—initial and thereafter—are massive. In that case, you may gravitate toward a business card that offers cash back instead since it’s more versatile.

No matter which card you’re leaning toward, when you apply for a business card the issuer will check your personal credit reports and scores to determine qualification. To be eligible for credit cards with exceptional sign-up bonuses and perks, you will need to have a good-to-excellent credit score. That is generally perceived as a FICO or VantageScore between 670 and 850. If your company has established a separate business credit file, the issuer will review those reports and scores as well.

How to maximize rewards for your business

After deciding on and obtaining the right card for you and your business, make a plan to rack up the rewards. You can do this by charging as many expenses as possible, especially in those categories where the issuer will provide the highest reward values.

It’s very important to steer clear of debt. To offset balance shock, you may want to delete your charges as you make them or on a weekly basis, but, as long as you delete the bill within the interest free grace period (approximately 30 days), your reward value won’t be diluted by financing fees.

If you have trustworthy employees who travel for the business or can make business purchases, consider making them authorized users since their charges will apply to the reward accumulation pool.

Pay attention to the perks that are embedded in the account. For example, most business travel cards, come with free access to airport lounges and complementary checked luggage. And, if you’re traveling internationally, using a business credit card that doesn’t charge foreign translation fees can save you a bundle.

There’s nothing stopping you from getting additional business credit cards that are embedded with sign-up bonuses and other compelling benefits. Just be sure you can meet the minimum spend without descending into unmanageable debt.