5 Best Business Credit Cards for Travel Agency Rewards

Advertising Disclaimer: This post contains advertising links to CreditCards.com. If you’ve found the site helpful, using the links to apply for your business credit card is a great way to say thanks and help cover the weeks of research we’ve done without costing you a thing! Learn more.


This is the 1st of 4 articles in our Best Travel Agency Credit Card Series. Read the rest here: 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing if I said I’d give you an extra $200-$400 a year for doing nothing, you’d take me up on that offer. Well, let’s give you that bonus moola by helping you find the best business credit card for your travel agency!

Travel Agents Spend A Lot! 

We looked at the data from our 2017 Agent Income Survey and discovered that our readers with 2+ years of experience had an annual spending of $17,000.

In credit card terms, that means if you find a business credit card that gives you between 1 or 2% back, you’re looking at $170-$340.

Even if you’re just starting out and only spending half that, free money is free money. Am I right? 😉

What’s the Difference Between Business Credit Cards and Personal Credit Cards?

I’m glad you asked! The two main reasons you’d likely want a business credit card? To build business credit and to earn higher credit limits.

But there are other differences and important things to note about business cards before you sign up:

1. Opening a business card can help grow your business credit score
If you’re just starting out and want to build your business credit score, you’ll want to open a business credit card for your travel agency to start showing how trustworthy you are to lenders. This can be a big help down the line if you want to apply for a business loan and could also help lower your business insurance rate. 

2. You might be able to get a higher credit limit with business cards.
Since businesses tend to spend more money than an individual, your business card could grant you a higher credit limit than you would otherwise be able to get when applying for a personal credit card. 

3. Business and personal credit scores are separate but information can be shared between the two.
Your business card activity is reported to business credit bureaus but your credit card company might also report your activity (especially if your account is delinquent) to personal credit bureaus. This can be a positive if you’re in good standing and negative if you fall behind in payments. You can ask you card company how they share. 

4. Rewards may be aimed towards larger businesses.
This might not be a great fit when you’re just starting. Your expenses aren’t as large and may be in more varied categories. You’ll often see bonus categories (the categories where you earn more points/dollar) for utilities (internet, cable, phone), office stores, shipping. While of course you will use those, it’s important to see what those bonuses translate to in real money. 

5. Business cards are NOT covered under the Credit CARD Act of 2009.
The Credit CARD Act of 2009 was put into place to protect consumers and thus only covers consumer cards. The key provisions that don’t apply to business cards are fee caps and protection against sudden or retroactive rate hikes.1 This means your business card could potentially raise your APR with no warning and charge high late payment fees. That being said, many card companies follow the consumer provisions with their business cards. Just be sure to ask and read the fine print, especially if you’re planning on carrying a balance month to month! 

6. You’ll need to sign a personal guarantee.
If you think going the route of a business card will protect your personal finances, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Whether your travel agency is new or established, business credit card companies will require you to sign a personal guarantee. This makes you, the individual, liable for your company’s debts should your company not succeed. Business classifications like a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may protect you in other areas, but once you sign a personal guarantee for your business credit card, you’re agreeing to be personally responsible for the company’s debt.

Business Credit Cards Rewards

Since this post is focused on helping you pick the best credit card for your travel agency, I’m not going to get too specific about rewards.

The truth is, after my weeks of research, I discovered business credit card rewards are incredibly complex! If you just want to learn about the best business credit cards for your travel agency and don’t want to be bogged down with ‘reward speak,’ you’re with me! 😉

But, if you want to learn a bit more about the different reward structures, check out our companion article Find the Best Credit Card Rewards for Your Travel Agency for a more in-depth look.

 

5 Best Business Credit Cards for Travel Agency Rewards!**

Finally the fun stuff — the best business credit cards for travel agencies! I’m so excited!

Before we start, please know that perks, bonus, etc. may have changed since we published the article or last updated it.

To get the latest details on the cards and to apply, we’ve linked some landing pages on CreditCards.com that lists the best Business Credit Cards. They have the cards I’ve chosen below as well as others if you want to broaden your search 🙂

1. Ink Business Preferred

Why we like it: With 3x for travel, it is a great way to rack up points! Just be aware that you have to book that travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who it’d be good for: This card could be great for any agent but agents with higher expenses in those bonus categories will get a lot more worth from this card.

Credit Required: Excellent

Annual fee: $95

Bonus: 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in first 3 months
(that’s $1,000 if redeemed for travel or $800 redeemed for cash)

Transferable/Fixed: Transferable

Categories and Earning Rates:

3x points (up to $150,000)

  • Travel
  • Shipping
  • Internet, Cable, and Phone Services
  • Advertising purchases on social media or SEO sites

1 point everything else

Perks:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Cell Phone Protection
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Complimentary Employee Cards

 


 

2. Ink Business Cash

Why we like it: With 3x for travel, it is a great way to rack up points! Just be aware that you have to book that travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who it’d be good for: This card could be great for any agent but agents with higher expenses in those bonus categories will get a lot more worth from this card.

Credit Required: Excellent

Annual fee: $0

Bonus: $300 after spending $3,000 in first 3 months

Transferable/Fixed: Fixed

Categories and Earning Rates:

5% back (up to $25,000/year)

  • Office Supply Stores
  • Internet, Cable, and Phone Services

2% back

  • Gas
  • Restaurants

1% back everything else

Perks:

  • Complimentary Employee Cards
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

 


 3. American Express Business Platinum

Why we like it: The travel perks, status and access are pretty swanky for this card and will really up your travelling game!

Who it’d be good for: This card is definitely for agencies with higher annual expenses who not only travel a lot but value their status and lounge access. The annual fee looks high but if you’ll actually use the perks, it pays for itself!

Credit Required: Excellent

Annual fee: $450*
*If you or your spouse is active duty military, AX waives their annual fee on all of their cards!

Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $10,000 in first 3 months; 25,000 points for spending another $10,000 in first 3 months

Transferable/Fixed: Transferable

Bonus Categories and Earning Rates:

5x points

  • Flights and hotels booked on AmexTravel.com

1.5x points

  • Purchases of $5,000+

1x points everything else

Perks:

  • AX Global Lounge Collection (access to 1,000+ airport lounges
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit/Year (checked luggage, in-flight meals, etc.)
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check
  • Complimentary Benefits When Booked Through Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Gold Status: Starwood Preferred Guest Program
  • Gold Status: Hilton Honors
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • Premium Roadside Assistance
  • Baggage Insurance Plan
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Expense Management Tool
  • Boingo AX Preferred Plan
  • Premium Car Rental Privileges
  • Premium Global Assist Hotline

 


4. American Express Gold Business

Why we like it: Quite a bit more accessible than the AX Platinum but still with some great perks. Plus, annual fee is waved the first year so you can give it a try to see if you like it!

Who it’d be good for: If you’re interested in a transferable points card and/or you have high spending in those 5 bonus categories.

Credit Required: Excellent

Annual fee: $175* – waived 1st year
*If you or your spouse is active duty military, AX waives their annual fee on all of their cards!

Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in first 3 months

Transferable/Fixed: Transferable

Bonus Categories and Earning Rates: 

A. 3x points on 1 (your choice) of the 5 categories below

  • Airlines directly purchased
  • Shipping
  • Advertising in Select Media
  • Gas Stations
  • Computer Hardware, Software and Cloud Computing

B. 2x points in remaining 4 categories you didn’t choose

C. 1x points everything else

Perks:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • Premium Roadside Assistance
  • Baggage Insurance Plan
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Expense Management Tool

 


5. Spark Cash for Business

Why we like it: Great rewards with no hassle of categories along with the perks (especially no foreign transaction fees). Bonus is the same as both AX cards (unless you’re playing the credit card point game) but lower spending goal to earn bonus and lower annual fee.

Who it’d be good for: Good for any agency but especially those that want to get a good rate and don’t care about travel perks.

Credit Required: Good, Excellent

Annual fee: $95 – waived 1st year

Bonus: $500 cash after spending $4,500 in first 3 months

Transferable/Fixed: Fixed

Bonus Categories and Earning Rates: No Categories — 2% cash back on every purchase

Perks:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Free Employee Cards
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Travel and Emergency Services

Notes: We left off the Spark Miles because it is basically the same card except you earn miles instead. With those miles, you get the most favorable redemption value for travel and less so for cash. So for us, that makes the Spark Cash a better card.

Resources for Choosing the Best  Business Credit Card for Your Travel Agency

Choosing a card can be pretty daunting with all those options and variations. Hopefully we helped you narrow it down with our favorite lists (list and link the other credit card article after they’ve been published) but everyone has different needs and spending habits.

All that said, we created 4 resources to help you find your perfect credit card fit 🙂

1) Free Calculator: Finding the Best Business Credit Card

We really nerded out and made some calculators to help you figure out if a fixed value is worth it for your business. Keep in mind this doesn’t calculate in any of the perks a card might have since those are often of varying personal values (is airport lounge access a bonus perk or a must have for you?).

Guide: How to Use the HAR Credit Card Calculator

1. Use HAR’s exclusive Credit Card Point Calculator to find out the value of 1 point (or mile) is worth.

Hint: If you can’t find redemption values, give a call to the credit card company to see how much 1 point is worth when redeemed for however you are most likely to redeem points (cash, travel, gift cards, etc.). 

>> To find redemption values for AX cards, check out their Membership Rewards page.

2. Enter the card’s categories and point multipliers then personalize with your estimated monthly spending in each category.

3. Repeat for your top cards to see which will give you the most bang for your buck!

Video: How to Use the HAR Credit Card Calculator

More of a visual learner? We get it. Check out our short video that will walk you through how HAR’s Credit Card Calculator works and how to use HAR’s Credit Card Tracker Spreadsheet.

 

2) Use HAR’s Credit Card Tracker


Make the most out of your rewards! HAR created a nice spreadsheet template to keep track of your credit cards and the reward categories and rates they earn. This way you’ll know which cards are best for different categories of spending. (P.S. We just so happened to fill it with the data from our top 5 Business Credit Cards and top personal credit cards which makes it a pretty nice comparison tool too!)

 

3) Questions to Ask Yourself to Find the Best Business Credit Cards:

  • Do the bonus spending categories make sense for how I spend?
  • How much do I normally/expect to put on this credit card?
  • Will I be doing a lot of international travel? If so, no foreign transaction fees and concierge services are great perks to look for.
  • Will I actually use the extra perks of the personal credit card? (free checked luggage, lounge access, insurance, etc.)
  • Is the sign up bonus lucrative enough?
  • Does the annual fee make sense with the rewards and perks of the card?
  • Do I want to have multiple cards for different uses?
  • What is my end goal? Perks when I travel, status with a brand, cash back, ease?

4) Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Your Credit Cards

We’ve put together a list of our favorite tips and tricks when it comes to choosing, using and redeeming points on your credit card. If you have any more to add, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Tips for Choosing Credit Cards:

  • Look for cards with waived annual fees: Having your annual fee waived is a great way to test the waters for a year. After you’ve had a chance to really use the card, you’ll know if that annual fee is worth it in terms of the rewards you earned and perks you used.

 

  • Don’t instantly shy away from annual fees: Paying annual fees may seem scary (I’m paying for a card to buy things?) but do the math to see if it is worth it for you!

 

  • Not all perks are created equal: As I’ve been reading a lot of credit card fine print and terms & conditions I’ve realized that just because two cards have the same perk, doesn’t mean they’re really the same. Extended warranty? How much is it extended? Trip insurance? What and how much are you covered for? Emergency Services? Do they cover anything or are they just there to offer some advice?Moral of the story: If a perk is especially important to you, make sure you get all the details before signing up for a card!

 

  • For real.  Use HAR’s Credit Card Point Calculator: I just wanted to reiterate this because you might be really focused on that 3x multiplier in a bonus category but if the card has a low redemption rate or you don’t spend enough in that category, it may not be best for you.  So plug in your same spending amounts with two different card details and let the calculator do the work to see how they compare!

 

  • What you can expect to be asked on your application for a business credit card:  Applying for a business card?  You’ll be asked for some documents proving you’re a business.
    • FEIN
    • Business Name
    • Business Structure
    • Type of Business
    • Years in Business
    • Annual Sales (if you’re new and have no sales, enter $0; you’ll be asked later in the application for your personal AGI)

Tips for Using Your Credit Cards:

  • Label Your Credit Cards: I learned this trick from my mom 🙂 She labels all the cards in her wallet with the best categories to use them (dining, groceries, travel, etc.). It really makes it easy to make sure you’re getting the most return with your rewards!

 

  • Pay off every month: Don’t be fooled into thinking these great rewards will make up for interest payments on amounts carried month-to-month. Those APRs are painful and will instantly negate any rewards you may have earned.

 

  • Stay below your credit limit: Woo hoo — You got a higher credit limit with your business card!  But that doesn’t mean you need to max it out. Only put what you need and can afford to pay off onto your card. This will also help keep your business credit healthy.

 

  • Don’t use rewards as an excuse to buy things you don’t need! Don’t be tempted to spend more just because you get a deal with your card or will earn more points.

Tips for When You Get Your New Credit Card

  • Keep old cards open: If you want to add one of the top 5 business credit cards and/or top personal credit cards to your repertoire, there is no need to close any of your existing cards. In fact, if you’ve had the card for a long time and it doesn’t have an annual fee, you should definitely keep it! Closing a long standing card will lower the average card open time which can hurt your credit score. If you aren’t going to use it, just keep it in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost or stolen.

 

  • Recurring charges: If you want to switch your spending to a new card, open your last completed statement for the card(s) you plan to use less of.  Go down your list of transactions and mark any that are recurring charges.  These are the places you’ll need to swap out to your new card!

 

  • Don’t forget to set up automatic payments: If you use auto-payment features to pay for your credit cards, set it up as soon as you get your new card so you don’t forget and miss your first payment!

HAR’s Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses List

Just because you’re a business, doesn’t mean business cards are the best fit! 
Check out all the credit cards in our 4 part series to make sure you find the perfect card for you:

What do you think?

I learned a lot about the different cards and rewards — enough to make my head spin and wonder how people play the credit card game. So now I want to hear from you!

There are so many cards out there — which ones are your favorite? How do you use your card? Do you have different cards for different purposes?

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_CARD_Act_of_2009

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