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If you are running an online business such as a blog or just a general commercial website there are several ways that you can maximize rewards with some great credit cards. In this article, I will show you some of the top business credit cards that you might want to consider to maximize your rewards.
First, I’ll go through some of the common expenses that online businesses have and talk about some of the best credit card options for covering those expenses. Then I’ll go into more detail for each of these cards and give you all the highlights you need to know about.
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General website expenses
If you run an online business, you will probably have some of the following expenses:
- Domain registration
- Office software
- Video and photo editing software
- SEO/marketing tools
- Email tools
For these type of expenses you probably just want to have a good everyday spending card. Cards like the Chase Ink Unlimited, which earn 1.5% back on every purchase are perfect for these type of general expenses. Also, the Amex Blue Business Plus earns 2X on all purchases up to $50,000 dollars per year so that is another great option for everyday (non-bonus) purchases.
The American Express Business Gold Card is another solid option because you can actually earn bonus points for certain software purchases.
For some online businesses, advertising is by far the highest expense. Whether you are advertising on Facebook or Google, if you know what you are doing in the advertising world it can be an extremely lucrative way of generating business.
Luckily, there are a few options that will allow you to capitalize on your bonus earnings with advertising expenses. The Chase Ink Business Preferred earns 3X on advertising and the American Express Business Gold Card can earn up to 4X as well.
If you have a large online business then you might actually have office space or even warehouse space. In that case, you would be paying rent, insurance, electricity, and other utilities. But even if you have a home office, you will still need to pay for internet and probably other things like phone bills.
Once again, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Is a solid option because it offers three 3X on Internet cable and phone services. The Chase Ink Cash might even be a better option since it earns 5% back on internet, cable and phone services.
If you run a website, there is a good chance that you will need to pay for outsourcing for several different purposes. These include the following expenses:
- Writers and editors
- Digital assistants
- Public relations
- Graphic designers
- Video editors
- Web experts
- Legal/CPA fees
You might be able to pay these people through different types of portals but other times you might just make your payments via PayPal or Venmo. In those cases, you will incur transaction fees for every time that you pay these contractors.
The transaction fees are usually at 2.9% or 3%. These don’t sound like a lot but they can definitely add up so you want to make sure that you go with the card that maximizes your return on your spend so that you can justify the transaction fee. Otherwise, you may as well just pay them directly from your bank account.
If you value Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, then it can often make sense to use their cards for these payments.
I will show you what I mean.
Let’s say you used a card like the Chase Ink Unlimited to make your payment via PayPal. In that case, if you would be paying a 2.9% transaction fee. The Chase Ink Unlimited earns 1.5% back on every single purchase regardless of the category. If you have another premium Chase card, like the Chase Ink Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Preferred, then you can transfer these points out to travel partners and get much more value for your points.
So let’s say that you value your Chase Ultimate Rewards at two cents per point. If you are earning 1.5X, that is like getting 3% back on your purchase. In that case, you are only coming out slightly on top but it would still be worth it to earn those points.
Also, in the past, the Chase Ink Business Preferred earned 3X for Venmo payments. At a valuation of two cents per point, that would be like earning 6% back on those payments which means that you will be coming out way on top.
So if you utilize these third-party services to make payments to independent contractors, you should seriously consider utilizing cards like these.
If you regularly need to travel for your online business then a lot of the cards below will be perfect for you. That’s because they allow you to get the most bang for your buck when you use your points for travel. I would just go for cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred and the American Express Business Gold that earn bonus points on travel and earn flexible points that can be transferred out to various travel partners.
You might not be that interested in utilizing your points for travel. If that is the case, then you might just want to go with a card that earns straight cash back. I really like the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. It’s a great cash back card for businesses, since it offers a whole lot of flexibility with choosing the category that you want to earn 3% back.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is one of the best business credit cards for travel and advertising and thus it’s absolutely perfect for online businesses.
The Ink Preferred comes with one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses at 80,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months! At a valuation of 2 cents per point, that’s $1,600 worth of rewards. Even if you only redeemed these for a statement credit, that’s still an $800 rebate!
The Ink Preferred earns 3X on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
These categories are important to many website owners and bloggers, especially travel and advertising purchases. If you’ve been pouring funds into social media advertising campaigns with no bonus rewards, then you should seriously consider this card. 3X on all of those categories will have you earning rewards in a hurry.
The Chase Ink Business Cash is the little brother of the Ink Preferred. This card comes with no annual fee but still packs a heavy punch with a sign-up bonus worth $500 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
It also comes with benefits like primary rental car coverage and fantastic bonus categories which include:
5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on:
- Office supply stores
- Internet, cable and phone services
2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on:
- At gas stations
- At restaurants
Which version of the Ink is better for you depends on the spending habits of your business. If you’re heavy into online marketing, it’s really hard to turn down the 3X of the Ink Preferred. However, the 5% back from office supply stores can come in handy, especially if you utilize gift cards. And if you’re going to be paying for internet, cable, and phone services you might as well get 5% back on those bills.
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited is the newest Chase card that just came out. It’s a hot credit card given all of the perks it comes with, which include the following:
- $500 sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
- No annual fee!
- Primary rental car coverage
It’s rare to see a card with no annual fee and a high $500 sign-up bonus. And it’s really rare to see a card with no annual fee and primary rental car coverage (when traveling on business). If those two features weren’t enough, the card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase and comes with a 0% APR period of 12 months.
If you are just starting out an online business and you need to make some large purchases, this can be a great card to use, since you will have one year to pay off all of those expenses before you are charged interest.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Card is probably one of the most-prized credit cards right now. That’s because Chase recently prevented applicants from picking up two personal Southwest credit cards which made obtaining the Southwest Companion Pass more difficult. But with this business card’s all-time high 60,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months you can earn the Companion Pass quick.
What is the Companion Pass?
It allows a companion to fly for free with you for up to two years. So if you are a duo with an online business this can be an extremely cost-efficient way to get about the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean (and soon Hawaii).
Since Southwest has such an expansive point-to-point network, I’d check the Southwest route map to see if they fly to cities where you would be flying in and out of. If that’s the case then the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Card could make a lot of sense for your business.
5. American Express Business Gold
The American Express Business Gold is the newly revamped gold card from American Express. It stands out with its bonus earning potential, which covers a lot of categories that online businesses will need to make purchases in.
Earn 4X Membership Rewards points on the 2 categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle from the list below:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases for shipping
So this can be another great card for those to spend a lot on advertising. But if you also need to spend a lot on software or cloud storage this can be a great card for those categories. And for those who run online businesses where they need to ship a lot of products this is another solid option.
4X points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year Then earn 1 point per dollar.
Here are a couple of the additional features of the card:
- Get 25% points back, after you book a flight using Pay with Points (there is a limitation on your rebate as you will only be able to receive up to 250,000 bonus points per calendar year)
- $295 Annual Fee
6. Amex Blue Business Plus
The Amex Blue Business Plus is a great card many websites. The card earns 2X Membership Rewards back on all purchases up to $50,000 per year and comes with no annual fee.
What I think makes it the best for online businesses is that it also comes with a 0% intro APR period of 12 months. Some new websites need to make large purchases or at least a lot of purchases to get their business off the ground. With this card you can make one of those large purchases and just pay off that balance in 12 months and you won’t get burned on interest.
Since the Amex Blue Business Plus is a credit card and the Amex Business Gold Card is a charge card you can actually apply for both of these at the same time. Together, the two would make a lucrative duo that would provide you with all-around great bonus earning potential since you would pick up 2X on all purchases and up to 4X on select bonus categories. You can read more about the Amex application rules here.
There have been welcome offers for this card at 25,000 in the past (that have expired) before but those offers have been pretty rare and usually disappear really quickly. Because of the 2X Membership Rewards on every single purchase, the Business Blue Plus is worth it even when it doesn’t have a welcome offer.
7. Amex Blue Business Cash
While the Business Gold Card earns Membership Rewards, many business owners simply want to put cash back into their pocket. For those people, the Amex Blue Business Cash might be a better choice. That card earns 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%.
Also this is a credit card and not a charge card so you don’t get as much flexibility with credit limits although it’s worth pointing out that you can spend above your credit limit when needed. Just how much you’ll be able to spend over your credit limit will be adjusted based on your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to Amex.
This card comes with no annual fee. But note that this card does come with foreign transaction fees, so you probably don’t want to use this card on international trips since you’ll have to pay foreign transaction fees.
8. The Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum Card from American Express comes with an offer for 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
But in addition to the welcome bonus, this card comes with some solid perks.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and eligible hotels on amextravel.com
- 1.5 points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar). Up to 1 million additional points per year
- $200 airline credit
- Centurion Lounge access
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- Book any First or Business Class flight and get 35% of those Membership Rewards® points back later, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- You can receive one Global Entry ($100) statement credit or one TSA Pre✓® ($85) statement credit every 4 years
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is another one of the great high limit business credit cards. It’s a charge card like the Business Gold card but it comes with additional bonus spending categories. It earns a very strong 5X on airfare so if you’re going to be doing a fair amount of flying, this can be very lucrative.
The card also comes with a $200 airline credit that you receive each calendar year. By using those credits twice, you can knock down the effective annual fee to only $150. The 35% rebate on points is great since it allows you to book certain flights at 1.54 cents per point which is very good.
The Business Platinum Card will give you hotel elite status including: Marriott Gold Status and Hilton Honors Gold status. Marriott Gold isn’t going to be quite so lucrative in the future since before it would get you Marriott Gold which would get you free breakfasts and lounge access.
However, Hilton Gold is still a very solid mid-tier hotel elite status, which will get you free breakfasts, upgrades, late check-out and sometimes even executive lounge access.
And finally, this card provides you and two guests with Amex Centurion Lounge access, which are some very nice lounges popping up around the country. (This card also gets you Priority Pass which will get you give you access to lounges all around the world.)
9. The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Credit Card
The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Credit Card is a very simple cash back credit card that earns 2% back on all purchases. This is ideal for a website owner who just needs a simplified rewards system. With this card you don’t have to worry about special bonus categories and all of those complicated award systems.
10. Amex Plum Card
The Amex Plum card is an interesting card but it’s actually one that could be really handy when dealing with online inventory. It comes with an annual fee of $250 that’s waived the first year and doesn’t currently come with a welcome offer. So why is it so compelling?
It has two unique payment features.
The most useful would be that you can take up to 60 days to pay your entire balance off without interest when you pay the minimum Due by the Payment Due Date. When dealing with inventory there are a lot of unknowns sometimes. And so you might need a little bit of extra time to come up with the funds to pay off your balance and getting two months to come up with those funds could be a nice perk for some people.
The card will also give you a 1.5% discount when you pay early so it’s like getting 1.5% back so long as you pay everything off.
I’d personally prefer the Amex options listed above over the Plum Card though if you’re dealing with somewhat unpredictable inventory and sales, it could make sense to go with a card like this.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.