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The best cards for each business credit card category

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 3/13/2020 Katie Genter
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One thing that makes business rewards credit cards so attractive is their flexibility when it comes to earning those rewards. Business cards offer even more bonus categories to choose from than their personal travel credit card counterparts. The trick is finding the card that matches your business spending.

Related reading: The best travel-rewards credit cards for each bonus category

Related reading: The best cash-back credit cards for each bonus category

So in part three of our three-part series, we consider the best cards for the spending categories in which businesses tend to spend the most.

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In This Post

Best cards for each business credit card category

  • American Express® Business Gold Card: Best for dining at U.S restaurants and purchases at U.S. gas stations
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Best for booking airfare and prepaid hotel stays through Amex Travel
  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card: Best for general travel expenses
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card: Best for office supplies
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for non-bonus spending

Comparison of the best cards for each business credit card category

Card Best in which category (% return based on TPG’s valuations) Annual fee
American Express Business Gold Card Dining at U.S restaurants and gas at U.S. gas stations, when these are your 4x categories (8% return) $295 (see rates and fees)
The Business Platinum Card from American Express Booking airfare and prepaid hotel stays through Amex Travel (10% return)  $595 (see rates and fees)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card General travel expenses (6% return)  $95
Ink Business Cash Credit Card Office supplies (10% return if paired with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards, 5% return otherwise) None
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express Non-bonus spending (4% return) None (see rates and fees)

Although the above table shows our top business card for each spending category, often multiple cards perform well — and may even perform better for your specific business. So for each category, we’ll present the card that provides the highest return followed by a table with additional cards you should consider.

Best cards for office supplies

Winner — Ink Business Cash Credit Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, phone and cable services on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1% thereafter. This card normally earns cash back, but if you pair the card with one that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards and transfer your points to that card, you can approximately double the value of your rewards.

Current bonus: Earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases during your first three months after account opening.

Benefits: Get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and restaurants. This card also has solid travel and purchase protections for a card with no annual fee.

Annual fee: None

Related reading:

Apply here: Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Top business cards for office supplies

Card Office supplies return  Annual fee Welcome bonus
Ink Business Cash Credit Card 5% (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account year, then 1%) None $500 after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ MasterCard® 3% None $200 after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25%* if selected as your category of choice (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 90 days of account opening

*Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings

Best cards for dining

Winner — American Express Business Gold Card

a close up of food: (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: This card has a unique earnings structure: You’ll earn 4x points on your top two select spending categories each month (from a list of six). One of the options is purchases at U.S. restaurants, so if this is a top spending area for your business, you can get an 8% return on these purchases. Other options include airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and at U.S. gas stations. Your top two select spending categories each month are determined by the amount spent in each on your billing cycle. You’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across these categories each calendar year, and then 1x points.

Current bonus: Earn 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: A 25% Pay With Points bonus when you use Amex points to pay for business or first-class airfare with any airline or any class of airfare with your Amex selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year).

Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: American Express Business Gold Card

Top business cards for dining

Card

Dining category return (% return based on TPG VALUATIONS)

Annual fee Welcome bonus Notes
American Express Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) $295 (see rates and fees) 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening 4x only at U.S. restaurants if U.S. restaurants is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1x)
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 6x points (3.6%) $95 (see rates and fees) 125,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months 6x only at U.S. restaurants
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card 4x points (3.2%) $125 (see rates and fees) 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening 4x only at U.S. restaurants
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi 3% None (with paid Costco membership) None 3% on restaurants and eligible travel (requires Costco membership)

Best cards for airfare and prepaid hotels

Winner — The Business Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com for an effective return of 10%, based on TPG’s valuation of Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.

Current bonus: Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first three months of card membership.

Benefits: You’ll also earn 1.5x points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year) and 1x point per dollar spent on everything else. Plus, you’ll get access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, and more through Amex’s Global Lounge Collection. You’ll also get up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate (up to $100). Redeem points directly for first or business class, or any seat on the airline of your choice, and get a 35% points rebate (up to 500,000 points per calendar year). Transfer points to airline and hotel transfer partners.

Annual fee: $595 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Top business cards for airfare and prepaid hotels

Card

Airfare category return (% Based on TPG VALUATIONS)

Hotel category return (% Return Based on TPG VALUATIONS) Annual fee Welcome bonus Notes
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 5x points (10%) 5x points (10%) $595 (see rates and fees) Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first three months of card membership 5x only on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com
American Express® Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) 1x points (2%) $295 (see rates and fees) 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening 4x only if airfare purchased directly from airlines is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to $150,000 each calendar year, then 1x)
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business 2x miles (2.8%) 5x miles (7%) $95 (waived the first year) 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 in the first three months of account opening
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 3x points (6%) 3x points (6%) $95 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months of account opening 3x only on the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping, internet, phone, cable and advertising purchases
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 6x points (3.6%) on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel 12x points (7.2%) at Hilton properties $95 (see rates and fees) 125,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card 2x points (1.6%) 6x points (4.8%) at Marriott properties $125 (see rates and fees) 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening

Best cards for general travel

Winner — Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary across the following categories: travel, shipping purchases, internet, phone and cable purchases and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.

Current bonus: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Benefits: Cellphone protection when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your Ink Business Preferred. Shopping and travel protections that include purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation and interruption protection and primary auto rental collision damage waiver when renting for business purposes. Transfer your points to airline and hotel partners or redeem through the Chase travel portal for 1.25 cents per point.

Annual fee: $95

Related reading:

Apply here: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Top business cards for general travel

Card

Travel category return (% Return Based on TPG VALUATIONS)

Annual fee Welcome bonus Notes
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 3x points (6% return) $95 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months 3x only on the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping, Internet, phone, cable and advertising purchases
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25%* if chosen as your category of choice (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 90 days of account opening
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card 3x points (3% to 5.25%* return) None 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 90 days of account opening. 3x only when you book travel (car, airline, hotel) through the Bank of America Travel Center
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi 3% None but requires Costco membership None 3% on eligible travel

*Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings

Best cards for gas

Winner — American Express Business Gold Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 4x Membership Rewards points on your top two select spending categories each month (from a list of six). One category is purchases at U.S. gas stations, so if this is a top spending area for your business, you can get an 8% return on these purchases. Other options include airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and purchases at restaurants in the U.S. Your top two select spending categories each month are determined by the amount spent in each on your billing cycle, and you’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across these categories each calendar year.

Current bonus: 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: A 25% Pay With Points bonus when you use Amex points to pay for business- or first-class airfare with any airline or any class of airfare with your Amex selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year).

Annual Fee: $295 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: American Express Business Gold Card

Top business cards for gas

Card Gas category return (% Return Based on TPG Valuations) Annual fee Welcome bonus
American Express Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) at U.S. gas stations if U.S. gas stations is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to $150,000 each calendar year, then 1x) $295 (see rates and fees) 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi 4% on eligible gas; up to $7,000 per year, then 1% None but requires Costco membership None
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ MasterCard® 3% None $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25%* if chosen as your category of choice (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® 2x miles (2.8%) $99 (waived the first year) 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening

*Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings

Best cards for non-bonus spending

Winner — The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

a close up of a logo: (Photo by The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by The Points Guy)

Return: If you want a business rewards credit card but you don’t want to track category spending, this no-fuss card could be your answer. Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on all purchases for the first $50,000 spent each year, and then 1x points. That equals a 4% return based on TPG’s valuations.

Current bonus: None

Benefits: Employee cards are available at no cost (see rates and fees), and you’ll earn rewards from their business spend.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Related reading:

Apply here: The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Top business cards for non-bonus spending

Card

Non-bonus category return (% Return Based on TPG VALUATIONS)

Annual fee Welcome bonus
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express 2x on the first $50,000 in purchases each year; then 1% (4%) None (see rates and fees) None
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 2x (2.8%) $95 (waived the first year) 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business 2% $95 (waived the first year) $500 after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 1x (2%) $95 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 1x (2%) but 1.5x earnings (3%) on purchases of $5,000 or more $595 (see rates and fees) Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first three months of card membership.

Related guides

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, please click here.

Featured image by The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: It’s vital to have the right travel credit card in your purse or wallet so that you’re not missing out on great travel rewards. While there are lots of terrific credit cards for travel out there, the reality is that the best one for you should suit your specific travel needs.

In this guide, The Points Guy reviews all the details, including bonus offers and perks such as Global Entry fee credits and Priority Pass lounge access, to bring you a list of the very best cards. Remember that travel rewards can add up quickly, especially when a welcome bonus is involved, so it’s important to apply and start earning as soon as you can to maximize your points and miles.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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