Reward options for business credit cards
Miles, rewards and cash back replace no-frills cards of old
By Ben Woolsey and Emily Starbuck Gerson
Business credit cards used to be plain-vanilla, no-frills cards that served only as a way to separate business spending from personal spending. Now business credit cards offer as many reward options as personal credit cards.
Business cards with miles and frequent flier programs
Business owners can now leverage their credit card spending and that of their employees to earn significant travel rewards. Miles earned through spending on business credit cards can be applied to free business travel or given to employees for personal use.
Chase executive Sherrie Caldwell says, "If you travel all the time, you could benefit from our Continental business card and earn OnePass miles. With travel reward business cards, you can use the miles to reduce business travel expenditures or to take your family on vacation. There's enough variety in reward products out there that you can choose a business credit card not just for the core functionality, which is really one of the differences between consumer and business cards."
The CitiBusiness PremierPass card offers mileage rewards that can be used on any airline while cards such as the American Airlines AAdvantage business card offer business travel rewards on specific airlines. Earn a free flight or vacation package by putting required travel expenses on the corporate credit card.
Cash back business credit cards
Numerous business credit cards offer cash back rewards for business spending. As with airline miles, these rewards can be used as a bonus back to the company or employees. "These cards provide rewards that allow you to reinvest them back into business," Caldwell says. The SimplyCash Business Card or Blue Cash for Business Card from American Express, along with the Advanta Platinum with Rewards Card offer up to 5 percent cash back on all purchases. The rewards can really accumulate much faster than a personal card if you're truly using your card for the business spending, since the spending is so much more significant in the small business space, Caldwell says.
Co-branded business credit cards
The popular co-branded business cards are sponsored by both the issuing bank and a retail organization, such as a department store. Perks include discounts or free merchandise from the merchant based on usage.
Organizations with business cards include GM, Amazon.com and Starwood hotels. "In the GM program, a personal reward card could take a few thousand off a new Cadillac," Caldwell says. "But with a business card, the earnings aren't limited or restricted and don't expire, so you could actually get a very sizable discount off a Chevy Silverado."
Reward credit cards for small businesses
"I think there are definitely differences between business credit cards," Caldwell says. "It's up to each small business owner to evaluate how to use it. If you're really focusing on it to generate rewards or long-term value, you might want to make the choice for rewards."
Business credit cards that offer points rewards typically earn at a rate of one point per dollar spent on the card, but American Express often sweetens the deal with numerous opportunities for small businesses to earn multiple points per dollar spent for various categories of purchases or through specific merchant promotions.
Choosing the right business credit card reward program is a matter of choice, but they all offer extra value.
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Published: November 29, 2007
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