As a business owner, you probably spend a lot of time on the road. From attending conferences to meeting with clients, travel is often an essential part of growing and managing a successful business.
While traveling for work can be exciting, it can also be expensive. Flights, hotels, meals, and transportation costs can quickly add up. But fortunately, there is a way to earn rewards and save money while you travel: using a business credit card.
Business credit cards offer a variety of benefits that can help you manage expenses while earning valuable rewards points. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to know which card is the best fit for your needs.
In this guide, we’ll break down what to look for when choosing the best travel business credit cards and provide recommendations based on our research and analysis.
Benefits of Using a Travel Business Credit Card
Before we dive into specific card recommendations, let’s take a look at some of the benefits that make travel business credit cards so appealing:
1. Rewards Points
One of the primary advantages of using a travel business credit card is that you can earn rewards points every time you make a purchase. These points can then be redeemed for flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel-related expenses.
The amount of rewards you earn will vary depending on the card issuer and how much you spend. Some cards offer bonus points for certain categories like dining or gas purchases. Others may offer higher rates of return if you book through their travel portal.
2. Sign-Up Bonuses
Many travel business credit cards come with sign-up bonuses that are designed to incentivize new customers to apply for the card. These bonuses typically require spending a certain amount within the first few months after opening an account.
Sign-up bonuses can range from several thousand points to tens of thousands or more. Depending on how you redeem your rewards, these bonuses can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars in travel savings.
3. Travel Perks
Travel business credit cards often come with a variety of perks that can make your trips more comfortable and cost-effective. These may include:
- Complimentary airport lounge access
- Free checked bags on certain airlines
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits
- Travel insurance coverage for things like trip cancellation, lost luggage, or rental car accidents
These perks can add up to significant savings over time and help make your travel experiences more enjoyable.
4. Expense Management Tools
Modern business credit cards often come with advanced expense management tools, allowing you to track expenses and reconcile statements quickly. This is especially helpful when traveling for work, where keeping track of receipts and other documentation can become overwhelming.
Some cards may also offer online account access, mobile apps, or integration with popular accounting software programs like QuickBooks or Xero.
What to Look For in a Travel Business Credit Card
When selecting the best travel business credit card for your needs, there are several factors you should consider:
1. Rewards Program
The first thing to look at is the rewards program offered by the card issuer. How many points do you earn per dollar spent? Are there any bonus categories that allow you to earn even more rewards?
It’s also important to understand how you can redeem those rewards. Do they have blackout dates or restrictions on what airlines/hotels you can book? Is it easy to transfer points to other loyalty programs?
2. Annual Fee
Many travel business credit cards come with an annual fee that can range from $0 up to several hundred dollars per year. While some cards offer enough rewards and benefits to offset this cost easily, others may not be worth it unless you spend a significant amount on travel each year.
Consider how much you typically spend on travel expenses and whether the rewards you would earn justify the card’s annual fee.
3. Foreign Transaction Fees
If you travel internationally frequently, it’s essential to look for a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. These fees can range from 1-3% of each transaction, which can quickly add up to significant costs over time.
4. Travel Perks
As we mentioned earlier, many travel business credit cards offer a variety of benefits designed to make your trips more comfortable and cost-effective. Make sure to read up on what perks are available with each card and determine which ones are most important to you.
5. Credit Score Requirements
Finally, keep in mind that many travel business credit cards require an excellent credit score (typically above 700) for approval. If your credit score isn’t quite there yet, you may need to focus on building your credit history before applying for one of these cards.
Our Top Recommendations for Best Travel Business Credit Cards
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a travel business credit card let’s take a closer look at some of our top recommendations:
1. Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is an excellent option for those who value flexibility when redeeming rewards points. The card earns three points per dollar spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites or search engines (up to $150k per year). All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent.
New cardholders can receive 100k bonus points after spending $15k within the first three months of account opening – worth up to $1,250 if redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The annual fee is $95.
Additional perks include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Cell phone protection
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Primary rental car insurance when renting for business purposes
2. American Express® Business Gold Card
The American Express® Business Gold Card offers a unique rewards system that allows cardholders to choose which categories they want to earn bonus points on. The card earns four points per dollar spent on two categories of your choice (up to $150k per year), and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
New cardholders can receive up to 70k bonus points – 35k after spending $5k within the first three months and an additional 35k points if you spend an extra $5k within the same timeframe. The annual fee is $295.
Additional perks include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Complimentary employee cards with customizable spending limits
- Travel accident insurance
- Baggage insurance plan
3. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is an excellent option for those who travel internationally frequently. The card earns two miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and there are no restrictions or blackout dates when redeeming your rewards.
New cardholders can receive 50k bonus miles after spending $4,500 within the first three months of account opening – worth $500 in travel. The annual fee is $95 but waived for the first year.
Additional perks include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
- Purchase security & extended warranty protection
- Free employee cards with custom spending limits
Choosing the best travel business credit card requires careful consideration of several factors, including rewards programs, annual fees, foreign transaction fees, travel perks, and credit score requirements.
By taking the time to research different options and weigh their pros and cons carefully, you can find a card that works for your unique needs as a business traveler. Whether you’re looking for flexibility in redeeming rewards, a variety of travel perks, or the ability to earn unlimited miles with no blackout dates – there’s a card out there that’s perfect for you.
What should I consider when choosing the best travel business credit card?
When choosing the best travel business credit card, consider the rewards program, annual fees, foreign transaction fees, and perks such as airport lounge access and travel insurance.
How can I maximize my rewards with a travel business credit card?
To maximize rewards with a travel business credit card, use it for all your business expenses and take advantage of bonus categories offered by the card. Also, look for opportunities to earn extra points through partnerships or sign-up bonuses.
Are there any travel business credit cards that offer flexible redemption options?
Yes, some travel business credit cards offer flexible redemption options such as transferring points to airline or hotel loyalty programs or using them to book travel through the issuer’s portal.
Do travel business credit cards typically have higher annual fees than other types of credit cards?
Yes, many travel business credit cards have higher annual fees due to their premium perks and rewards programs. However, some cards may waive or lower the fee for the first year.
Can I use a personal travel credit card for my business expenses?
While you can technically use a personal travel credit card for your business expenses, it’s generally not recommended as it can lead to confusion during tax season and potentially impact your personal credit score. It’s best to choose a separate card specifically designed for business expenses.
What kind of travel insurance coverage should I look for in a travel business credit card?
Look for a travel business credit card that offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay/loss insurance, and emergency medical/dental coverage while traveling. Some cards may also offer rental car insurance and trip delay/cancellation due to weather conditions.
Are there any downsides to using a travel business credit card?
One potential downside of using a travel business credit card is the temptation to overspend in order to earn more rewards. Additionally, some cards may have high interest rates and fees for late payments or balance transfers.
How can I choose the best travel business credit card for my specific needs?
Consider your travel habits, business expenses, and preferred loyalty programs when choosing the best travel business credit card. Look for a card that aligns with your goals and offers perks that will be most valuable to you.
Can I apply for a travel business credit card if I’m a sole proprietor or freelancer?
Yes, even if you’re a sole proprietor or freelancer, you can still apply for a travel business credit card as long as you have a separate tax ID number or EIN (Employer Identification Number). This will help keep your personal and business finances separate.
Is it worth paying an annual fee for a travel business credit card?
It depends on your spending habits and how much value you place on the perks offered by the card. If you frequently travel for business and can take advantage of airport lounge access, free checked bags, and other benefits, then the annual fee may be worth it. However, if you don’t use these perks often, then it may not make sense to pay an annual fee.