Small business credit cards are an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs. They can help you manage cash flow, more effectively manage employee spending, and also earn you valuable reward points. To learn how to earn credit card points most effectively, we asked industry experts to share their best tips for business owners.
Here are the 21 tips on how to earn credit card points on your business purchases:
1. Get a Card With Rewards Points That Supports Your Business
Heather Wolfsmith, Head of Small Business Card Division, U.S. Bank
Small business owners’ biggest expenses are often operational, taxes, raw materials, and other supply chain cost. Meanwhile, many of the small business credit cards on the market are consumer cards rebranded as a business product, often offering travel and entertainment rewards rather than these more common expenses that could add up to a more substantial rewards return. Small business owners should look for a small business credit card that works for them, rewarding their top expenses, no matter what they are and provides cash back rewards that can be reinvested how they see fit.
2. Use Your Business Credit Card for Business Travel Expenses
Ron Haydt, President, Financhill
When you are on a business trip, it’s important to use your business credit card for all your expenses during the trip. Use this to pay for your plane or bus tickets, hotel accommodations, meals, and taxis. Not only it makes it easier for you and your company to reconcile the business-related expenses, but it is also a good way to earn credit card reward points for free.
3. Pay Attention to Rotating Categories
Brandon Ballweg, Founder, ComposeClick
Some credit cards, particularly cash back cards have rotating categories that change every quarter. For example, one quarter you may get 5 percent cash back on dining whereas three months later the category might be for gas. These cash back cards generally have a better percentage back, but you do have to be careful to pay attention to the categories so that you can make the best use of the card.
4. Look for a Business Credit Card With a Big Sign-up Bonus
Jacob Lunduski, Financial Industry Analyst, Credit Card Insider
Find a business credit card with a big sign-up bonus. Since businesses spend more than typical consumers, the sign-up bonus for a good business card is usually pretty high. For example, an issuer’s sign-up bonus could offer $500 to your business after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening a business credit card. If you put all your business expenses on your company’s card, that’s a free $500 that can be put toward future purchases.
5. Know Your Credit Card Perks to Improve Your Points
Russ Nauta, Founder, Credit Card Reviews
Familiarization with your card and the perks it comes with helps improve your point total. If you know that you can shop at a certain store because of a card benefit promotion and earn more at that place than another that sells the same goods, it’s worth it. Knowing how the card’s rewards program works and other earning features goes a long way. Find out if your card gives a greater return when you book directly with an airline vs. an airline comparison site. Look for opportunities where you can use your card for expenses that you’ve elected to use a different form of payment that gives you nothing — like your bank account — rather than your card and make the switch.
6. Use Business Credit Cards for Online Advertising
Allen Walton, CEO, Spy Guy
If you run an online business, the American Express Business Gold Card and the Chase Business Ink Preferred card are the best credit cards for you. You’ll get three times the points for each dollar you spend on either online advertising — you pick one category for three times the points, and the other will get two times the points. Spending money on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Amazon Ads means you can rack up a serious amount of points
7. Switch All Your Expenses to the Rewards Credit Card
Joel Ohman, Certified Financial Planner & Founder, CarInsuranceComparison.com
It’s quite common for a business to start with just a checking account and a debit card or possibly a credit card without great rewards because they might not qualify for one of the better business rewards credit cards. However, once they apply for and are approved for a great rewards credit card, then they often forget to switch over all of their expenses to the rewards credit card. This happens particularly with items that are auto-billed monthly. Take the time to review your payment methods and switch over debit card charges to credit card charges to maximize your rewards.
8. Combine Business & Personal Accounts to Earn the Most Valuable Reward Points
Allan Smith, Author, Day to Day Finance
Starting a business needs an innumerable amount of expenditures. To save some of your expenses, you can earn reward points by using your credit cards. You can combine both business account and personal account, which will help you more in earning reward points than by solely using a business account. When you amalgamate business credit card and personal credit card use, the balance goes directly into the same account. For example, hotel points earned by business credit card and points earned from American Express Membership Rewards can be combined into unified balance. This way you can earn the most valuable reward points by using your business credit card along with personal credit card.
9. Get a Card With High Rewards Before Making any Large Business Purchases
David Barbour, Co-founder, Vivio Life Sciences
Find a card that offers a significant number of points if you spend a certain amount of money in the first month or a similar offer. Find the card and apply for that card right before you know you have to make a large payment so that you qualify and get an initial boost of points. Also, credit cards are tailored to industries, tendencies, and uses, some cards have higher point returns for business expenses, travel, gas, or groceries, personal or business accounts, take all of this into account and get the card that offers the best point returns for how you will use the card the most often.
10. Use Credit Cards to Purchase Construction Materials
Jonathan Faccone, Real Estate Developer & Investor, Halo Homebuyers
If you’re a real estate investor, you can earn credit card reward points is leveraging credit cards to purchase construction materials and even pay vendors when undergoing flip projects. Using credit cards does not only help with providing the necessary cash flow to the business, but it’s also a good way to accumulate rewards points. The debt incurred via these credit cards is supported by the equity in the home itself which is normally a good amount of equity to cover the credit card debt. Make sure to use credit cards only if there is equity in the home to cover so that you can pay the balances off.
11. Leverage Your Credit Card for Both Business & Personal Spending
Cornelius Charles, Co-owner, Dream Home Property Solutions, LLC
Another way to earn extra rewards points is to put all of your spending on business cards, including personal spending. Although this is not normally recommended, this is one way to ramp up your rewards points. Just make sure to have a proper accounting that records which expenditures are business-related and which are not.
12. Get More Than One Rewards Credit Card From the Same Bank
Alex Tran, Marketing Specialist, Hollingsworth
Having more than one rewards card from the same bank is a great way to earn more credit card points. For instance, there’s a credit card that helps you get points on items that do not traditionally qualify for bonus categories on consumer purchases. You can earn double or triple the points when paying for business expenses and more. When redeeming your points, transfer points over to another type of credit card from the same issuer and the benefits are increased up to 50 percent more redemption power, depending on the issuer and the type of card.
13. Charge Recurring Business Expenses to Your Business Credit Card
Alex Ozols, Founder, Personal Injury Lawyers San Diego
Whether it’s the office rent, advertising on television, online, or outdoor billboards and telephone and internet bills, you have money coming out of your company every month. It would be more productive to have these recurring expenses charged on a business credit card.
14. Use Business Credit Cards to Buy the Things You Need to Set up the Business
Janet Gershen-Siegel, Content Manager, Credit Suite
Business owners need a ton of materials at the start of their ventures. This can be anything from a fax machine — yes, companies still use them — to coffee to buying uniforms for workers or wraps for cars. Earning points should be a function not so much of earning points for the sake of points, but because you’re getting the things you need. Hence use your business credit cards for anything you need all the time, along with anything you need to set up at the start.
15. Be on the Lookout for New Credit Card Deals
Lucas Horton, Owner, Valeria Fine Jewelry
Oftentimes credit card issuers will provide promotional offers saying they will give you a certain number of points or dollars after you spend a certain amount within a specified time frame. Payouts can go as high as $1,000, and you if you use your card a lot, this is easy to achieve. Make sure to use the credit card that offers the best deals.
16. Choose the Card That Offers the Most Useful Rewards for Your Business
Jacob Murphy, Owner, GPS Tracking Made Easy
Think about what your business would be charging the most. For instance, a GPS tracking company would charge a big portion of their credit card limit to data and sim cards. So, it would be wise to pick the credit card with the absolute highest cash back for telecommunication charges. Your business may need to charge the most on fuel or flights. Make sure to get the card that offers the most rewards those expenses.
17. Pay Suppliers & Vendors Through Company Credit Cards
David Himelfarb, Managing Partner, Himelfarb Proszanski
With the objective to maximize the number of reward points, you need to use your business credit card as often as possible. Whenever possible with your service providers or vendors, try to switch to credit card payments instead of paying by check or cash. This is a stress-free way to earn credit card points for free.
18. Use Third-party Online Payment Systems
Yuko Kawamoto, Finance Staff, Founder’s Guide
Another way to earn credit card rewards points is to use third-party online payment systems like PayPal for your business-related online expenses like online advertisements, websites, software, or other items purchased online. You can use your credit cards through these online payment systems but make sure that the rewards you can get from these transactions offsets or exceeds the transaction fees.
19. Use a Credit Card to Purchase a Variety of Goods for Your Business
Dr. Aaron Mannella, DMD, Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph
Use your business credit card to purchase a wide variety of goods and services including office equipment, uniforms, supplies, and inventory. A business credit card allows you to categorize your spending, keep records for tax purposes and track your expenses efficiently. One of the extra bonuses of using a credit card with reward points for business is that the miles can be used for your personal travel.
20. Choose Cards That Offer the Most Cash Back
Edwin Choi, Founder, Jetfuel.agency
You can also look for business credit cards that give you a large amount of cash back. Cards such as the Spark Cash from Capital One give you a 2 percent cash dividend on your credit card spend with no caps. If you are a business that spends $10,000 a month, that would give you $200 back in your pocket so you can reinvest it back in your business. You can also add free employee cards so everyone can participate.
Nav suggests adding your employees as authorized cardholders under your business credit card account. You can earn additional rewards from their transactions. Just make sure to set a particular limit and encourage your employees to use the card for authorized business-related expenses.
The Bottom Line
Most business credit cards offer many perks and rewards that are valuable to your business. Using business credit cards to pay for your business expenses allows you to earn reward points, cash back, or miles. Follow the above expert tips on how to earn credit card points and get the most benefits from your business credit cards.