September 20, 2018
Adding the word “business” in front of “credit card” can make the whole thing feel stuffy, but it doesn’t have to be that way—in fact, there are plenty of cards available with perks just as cool as the latest consumer cards. We’ve done the dirty work and not only found the seven best perks on the market, but figured out how to use them to your business’ advantage.
1. Cash back on essential business purchases
The Simply Cash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN offers 5% cash back on the first $50,000 you spend on office supplies and wireless phone services. Although cash back on pens and paper clips may not seem glamorous, it’s worth knowing that any purchase from any office supply store, such as Staples or Office Depot, counts toward that bonus. In addition to everyday necessities, Staples carries coffee makers and snacks to stock your breakroom.
If you spend enough to hit the $50,000 limit, that leaves you with $2,500 in cash back. That can be enough for an offsite outing, or to send a few employees to a fancy conference. If you’re spending on office items anyway, why not get some of it back?
2. Travel credits
When you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening, the Chase Ink Business Preferred card gives you 80,000 points back—that’s enough for $1,000 in travel credits when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Also worth noting is that these rewards can be earned by both the primary account owner and authorized users.
If you have a small team, that $1,000 bonus can be enough for a hefty discount on a team excursion. Or, reward the quarter’s best performer by paying for their plane ticket to a destination of their choice.
3. Costco voucher
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi comes packed with some serious perks if you spend on the right things: You’ll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year (then 1% thereafter), 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases, 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco, and 1% on all other purchases.
But you’re not limited to a Costco voucher as your reward for all that spending—if you’d rather, you can redeem your cash back for actual cash. So take your team out to dinner, get cash back on the gas and food, and throw a party for their hard work.
4. Cruise credits
If you’ve never considered the prospect of taking a cruise vacation, you might now—if you could get up to $500 in on-board credits with a qualifying cruise liner, that is. With the American Express Business Platinum Card, members can earn $100-$300 in on-board credit when they book select rooms and liners, and Centurion members can earn an extra $200 on select cruise lines. You’ll need to pay for the cruise itself, but that credit can save you big once you’re on board.
You may want to save this perk for yourself, but don’t feel like you’re hoarding rewards from your employees. If you do end up going with the American Express Business Platinum Card, know that there are plenty of other perks on this card to go around.
5. Easy-to-reach cash back bonus
You’ll find several business credit cards that offer $200 cash back or the equivalent points as an introductory offer, but few require as little spend as the Platinum Visa Business Credit Card from Bank of America to reach that bonus. After spending just $500 in the first 60 days of owning the card, you get a $200 statement credit back. That’s 40% off your first $500 of expenses.
Beyond the introductory offer, the card doesn’t offer any rewards, but it does offer a seven-month 0% intro APR and competitive APR rates thereafter. Take advantage of this generous intro reward offer by making a cool new purchase for the office (ping pong, perhaps?), or by using the credit to buy a prize incentive.
6. In-flight WiFi passes
If you and your employees travel often for business, take advantage of this fantastic perk from the American Express Business Platinum Card: Every cardholder, not just the primary account manager, gets 10 Gogo passes (one pass per flight segment) per calendar year. Assuming nonstop flights, that’s five round-trips’ worth of free WiFi, adding up to a lot of in-flight productivity.
To use the passes, be sure to activate them at gogoair.com/amex and to create a Gogo account. Also be aware that if you don’t use them, you lose them.
7. Free hotel night
This final perk is reserved for you—because you deserve it! (And also because only the primary account manager can access this one.)
With the Starwood Preferred Guest Business from American Express, the primary cardholder automatically has access to one free night (worth up to 35,000 points). Your certificate will be deposited in your account anywhere from eight to 12 weeks after your anniversary date with the card. You’ll have one year from the date of issuance to redeem your free night at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels, after which you’ll lose it.
Make the Most of Your Business Credit Card Perks
So there you have it—the coolest business credit card perks for 2018. Just remember that many of these perks are one-time offers; and also keep in mind that no matter how intriguing these perks are, they’re not reason enough to sign up for a particular card—that decision should be based on your spending habits, your repayment ability, your business’s needs, and what your credit score qualifies you for. But if one of these cards is a good fit for your business, why not treat yourself and your employees?
This article originally appeared on Fundera
Catherine Giese is an associate at Fundera. She specializes in partnerships and research-driven stories to help small business owners grow and thrive in their industries.