If You’re Not Getting Small Business Credit Cards You’re Missing A Huge Opportunity

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.


Many readers can get a business card and probably should. Getting a small business card is one of the things you should do as you start your business. It’s often the first resource many business owners look to as they start to grow. A small business card allow you to separate business from personal expenses and builds the credit history and identity of your business.

It also opens up a whole world of additional rewards possibilities. Here are my favorites right now.

  1. UnitedSM Business Card has an offer to earn up to 150,000 bonus miles. Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open. No other airline credit card has offered a 150,000 mile initial bonus before.

    The card offers a $100 United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more each anniversary year. They even encourage you to have both a business and personal United card because you’ll receive a 5,000-mile “better together” bonus each anniversary when you have both the United Business Card and a personal Chase United credit card.

  2. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a 100,000 point signup bonus after $15,000 spend within 3 months. That can even be enough for a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe.

    It earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel — that’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, even Uber — and shipping and advertising on social media and search engines, so great for anyone who advertises on Facebook or Twitter, or who spends money advertising with Google. It also comes with $600 protection against theft or damage when you use it to pay your cell phone.

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  3. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card have increased their initial bonus offers by 50% and are now offering biggest-ever bonuses.

    • The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card has an initial bonus offer to earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

      Your ongoing spend will earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business.

    • The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card has an offer to earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

      Ongoing earn is rich especially 5x categories: Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year; earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

    Think of both of these offers as 75,000 points, which – if you have an Ultimate Rewards card whose points transfer to airline miles and hotel points – can be combined into one of Chase’s annual fee Ultimate Rewards products, and then transferred to a variety of loyalty program partners.

  4. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is offering 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. This card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $99).

    The card offers first checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries. There’s preferred boarding on American Airlines flights as well. And each eligible mile earned from purchases also earns a Loyalty Point towards elite status.

  5. American Express® Business Gold Card has an offer to earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    The card earns More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. 1X is earned for other purchases. 4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. Terms apply. Eligible categories are: airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media; U.S. purchases at gas stations; U.S. purchases for shipping; U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers.

    Points transfer to:

    • Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, Avianca
    • oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia, Qantas
    • SkyTeam: Aeromexico,Air France KLM, Delta
    • Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
    • Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Marriott

    This is a $295 annual fee card. Terms apply. See rates and fees.

In my experience Chase, Citibank, American Express, Barclays and Bank of America do not report non-delinquent small business card accounts to personal credit. (Capital One usually does, but says that they won’t for their new Spark Travel Elite card.)

This accomplishes two things for you.

  1. It’s better for your credit score when you put a lot of spend on a card. Your score is heavily influenced by credit utilization, so putting a lot of spending on a card in a month can drop your credit score, but not if that account isn’t even reported to your personal credit.

  2. It won’t count as one of your cards for Chase’s 5/24, so you can get small business accounts and not have it trade off with getting approved for Chase cards.

When I am eyeing a Chase card I will naturally restrict myself to only considering new small business rewards credit cards.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. What all the bloggers don’t state is that getting a business CC is very difficult to do. Even if you have a small business that is incorporated and has income, there are so many hurdles to overcome. I have a small business and Chase wanted so much documentation. Even with the documentation they denied me. Don’t paint this as an easy 1,2,3 thing because it isn’t!

  2. Bloggers are in the business to sell credit cards and they don’t care about you or your business.

  3. @JohnB: I have numerous business cards and have never been asked for any documentation whatsoever. Now, I am genuinely a small businessperson, with all my income filed on a schedule C, and perhaps the banks are able to figure that out with my input, but no bank has ever asked to see a tax filing or anything else. Not incorporated, not even DBA, just me, personally. I understand your experience is different, but your experience is not universal.

  4. @JohnB – I agree with LarryInNYC. I too have several business cards from AMEX, Chase, and Barclays and have never been asked to provide any documentation, even from Barclays, which historically has been very difficult to get business CC from (per FlyerTalk posts). FWIW, I opened my first business CC with AMEX (which presumably created a business credit file for my business since I used my SSN to apply for the business), and then after a few months, I started applying for Barclays and Chase Business Cards. So far, I have applied for and have been approved for 5 business cards, all with almost instant approvals (Barclays would call me within a day of application to verify that I indeed applied for the cards). So, yes, your experience isn’t universal, but neither is my or LarryInNYC’s. Like they say in this game – YMMV

  5. @JohnB, wrong. I have a “business” in the absolute loosest sense of the word and have cycled thru 12 business cards in the last few years, some of those more than once. I put my SSN and income down. Approved.

  6. @JohnB: Well I for one have to agree with you. I have a corporation that goes back to 1989. A full C as far as the state goes, but file taxes sub S. Use to do multi-million dollar federal contracts on military bases. Have a great DUNS rating. Now retired and do small remodel jobs. About two months ago it took forever to get a Barclay Aviator Business Mastercard. I mean I sent them more stuff than one could imagine. Almost blew it off except for a hard pull on my credit going to waste. Then just two days ago, denied by Chase for an Ink card. Too many cards (business) opened in the past 12 months – true I guess if 5 is too many. I’m 4/24 personally and going to 3/24 in two months. So this about worry only about your personal 5/24 is nonsense. They (Chase) look at everything. Oh, I have business and personal checking accounts with Chase. I’m waiting a few months and thinking about going into the bank for a card application. If that does not work, I’ll pull everything from Chase including the two personal cards I have.

    I have so many Amex cards, I have run out personal and business unless I start doubling when the offer arises which is quite often. FICO 800+. It is definitely YMMV,

  7. I’ve never had too much trouble getting business cards but if someone is making up information that isn’t true to open a business card, that is illegal in many states. So just a word of caution. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to set up a business.

  8. I do some flight bookings for friends – not the general public – but set up an LLC to handle the money, both for liability reasons and to make me eligible to apply for business credit cards. I have never had any documentation needed. Chase phoned me to ask about the business, and they were fine with issuing me a card. I have had several cards now for the business, but have always kept that Ink card for the 5x office supplies.

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