How to choose the right credit card for your business expenses

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

No matter what type of business or side hustle you run, there is a great business credit card out there to help you earn rewards and make the most out of your business charges. It all comes down to which categories you spend the most on every month and which cards offer the best rewards in those categories.

Today, we’ll cover some common types of business owners and the cards that will offer the highest long-term earning potential for each.

For frequent business travelers: A cobranded card

If you’re traveling the same routes multiple times throughout the year, flying on the same airline and/or staying with the same hotel brand, a cobranded business credit card is a great option. You’ll get bonus points or miles on every dollar spent with the airline or hotel chain associated with the card, plus additional perks like free checked bags, preferred boarding and easier paths to elite status.

Cobranded business credit cards make it easier to hit elite status, which can come with benefits like lounge access, early boarding, free seat selection and more. Some cards waive mileage or revenue requirements for elite status after hitting a certain annual spend. Others, including the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (see rates and fees) and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, let you earn elite-qualifying miles or dollars at certain spending thresholds.


A hotel card is a better option if you don’t stick with the same airline when you fly but stay at the same hotel brand often. The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (see rates and fees) offers automatic Silver Elite status, and you can earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year. Alternatively, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (see rates and fees) offers automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, and you’ll receive Diamond status after spending $40,000 annually. Enrollment required for select benefits.

For side hustlers: A flat-earning-rate credit card

You don’t have to own a brick-and-mortar store to apply for a business credit card. Whether you’re a Lyft driver on the weekends or run a small Etsy store in your free time, you can rack up rewards on your business expenses. If you don’t have a large budget for monthly business purchases, there are two things to look for in a business card: a flat rewards rate and a low annual fee.

Flat rewards aren’t always as lucrative as some tiered rewards structures, but they allow you to earn points or cash back on every purchase, no matter the spending category. Plus, an annual fee isn’t usually worth it if you aren’t spending thousands of dollars each month on your business card.

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The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express (see rates and fees) and the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card from Chase offer solid flat-rate rewards, and neither charges an annual fee. These are exceptional options if you also have a personal American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards card. Both issuers allow cardholders to pool points between personal and business accounts, so you can combine rewards for maximum redemption value.

For office startups: A card with related bonus categories

Multiple business cards offer rewards in spending categories like office supplies and telecommunications services. If you run your business out of an office, you can earn a great return on your everyday business expenses with these cards.

a hand holds a credit card with a bar in the background

The American Express® Business Gold Card offers flexibility, with 4 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases from two categories where you spend the most each month each calendar year and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The list of potential bonus categories includes select US advertising purchases, US shipping purchases, select tech purchases made in the US and more.

For retail business owners: A card that offers rewards on advertising

Whether you own a brick-and-mortar boutique or an e-commerce site, chances are you’re spending money each month on advertising your business. Plus, most business cards that offer rewards on advertising also offer rewards in other valuable categories, like US shipping.


Chase’s Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined purchases (1 point per dollar thereafter) in categories like travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and digital advertising. Just as with the Ink Business Unlimited, you can pool your points with your personal Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to help maximize earning and redemption potential. The American Express Business Gold Card is also a stellar choice, with advertising and shipping as potential bonus categories.

Bottom line

Depending on business expenses, the appeal and benefits of the cards mentioned will vary. Regardless, business credit cards are important in managing your business-related finances. Getting rewarded for such expenses can offset upcoming expenses, and best of all, if you own a personal credit card with the same issuer, you can tap into additional rewards when booking your next trip. Choosing the right business credit card is just as important as a personal card, so reflect on your spending patterns and rewards goals and choose wisely.

Related: The best business credit cards of September 2023

For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.

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

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