Incentives for business credit cards have evolved and expanded over the years. Just two or three decades ago, cardholders would be lucky if they got a nominal discount at a restaurant, or a few bonus miles on an airline. But today the competition among cards is fierce, so the best offer myriad rewards, bonuses and special offers. This can be a goldmine for cardholders who travel often for business.
What to consider when selecting your business/travel credit card
How much time you, as a businessperson, spend on the road per year will inform the type of card you’ll want. For example, if you’re a domestic traveler who books flights a couple times a month, then airlines miles are likely most important to you. Ditto if you spend a lot of time in hotels, as lodging discounts will then be an attractive incentive.
Those who travel internationally for business are not only going to want a card that offers a good miles program, but one that eschews foreign transaction charges altogether. Frequent international travelers are only too aware of how quickly these little charges can add up. So signing up for an EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip card with no international fees is the best way for business travelers to save cash while abroad.
There are also sign-up bonuses to consider. Most business credit cards offer some kind of sing-up bonus these days, usually in the form of extra points. Depending on the points system of the card in question, folks can redeem these for travel rewards, airline miles, hotel stays and more. The cards we’ve listed below all offer sign-up bonuses.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
For a great all-around rewards card that is geared towards business travelers, you can’t go wrong with Chase Ink Business Preferred. Like its sister Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire reserve credit cards, the Ink Business preferred uses Ultimate Rewards points. These are versatile and can be redeemed for any number of rewards with their travel partners. For miles, partners include United, British Airways, American, Alaskan Airlines, Southwest Airlines and more. As for hotels, travel partners include Hyatt and Marriot.
Regarding the aforementioned sign-up bonus, the Chase Ink Business Preferred card has the other options beat. It offers an 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points sing-up bonus, which when transferred has a value of at least $1,000. To receive the bonus, cardholders must spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months. Other highlights include no foreign transaction fees, and earning 3X points on every dollar spent on travel up to the first $150,000 you spend on the card.
Starwood Preferred Guest Card
It wouldn’t be a summary of the best travel/business credit cards without a hotel card making the list. There are plenty of major hotel chains offering such credit cards, but Starwood’s option is by far the best. Whereas the points most other cards are offering are worth about one cent, Starwoods “Starpoints” can come out to 1.5 to 2 cents. They also offer 25,000 bonus points as a sign-up incentive for those who spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months. So if a cardholder wants to stay in one of Starwood’s 6,000 worldwide properties, and the points cost is 7,000 per night, he or she can book three nights free just on the bonus alone.
The best part is that the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card isn’t just great for hotel stays; you can redeem the points for airline miles too. SPG has partnered with over 30 airlines, meaning cardholders can transfer their points to any one of them at a rate of one SPG point to one airline mile. And if you transfer in bulk Starwood will reward you even more. Those who transfer 20,000 SPG points will receive an additional 5,000 airline miles free.
This segues nicely into Starwood’s Nights and Flights program. Cardholders who book a five-night stay at a three or four-star property will get 50,000 airline miles transferred to one of the 30 aforementioned airline partners.