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Traveling has slowly returned to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic is mainly under control. The pandemic’s lingering effects might last a bit longer, but it’s safe to say that the worst is over.
Tourists are now planning their fantasy vacations and dream destinations after staying home for a few years. Businesspeople are back to traveling for in-person meetings, conferences, and events. Travel is back, and credit card companies are eager to help you spend more money.
- Which credit cards are the best for travel?
- What is a business credit card?
- Use your credit card while traveling and stockpile the rewards
Which credit cards are the best for travel?
Three credit card reward programs are cash back, points, and miles. Cashback is a set percentage of the total cost of a qualifying purchase gifted to your account. Points are a currency used only by the credit card issuer and can usually be redeemed for cash, merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, and discounts. Miles are essentially the same as points, except they tend to revolve around travel-related purchases and travel-based rewards.
Most credit card holders prefer to use cashback reward programs, but there is nothing wrong with points or miles. The most important thing to remember is to look for a card that rewards the purchases you make most often. For example, a soccer mom should use a program that rewards groceries, a young couple should use a program that rewards dining out, and a long commuter should use a program that rewards gas purchases. You get the idea.
If you’re a business owner who travels a lot for work, then here are the three rewards programs that you should look into first:
1. Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card is quite a tongue-twister, but it’s easily the best option on this list. The long list of benefits for accounts open is hard to match and impossible to beat. The interest rate is a touch high as it is 25.99% variable APR. However, the benefits can make it easy to overlook the slightly above-average APY of this card.
Here are a few examples of the benefits that come with the Spark card:
- $0 annual fee for the first year ($95 for each year after)
- You can receive 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first three months after account opening
- Booking hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel earns 5X the miles and unlimited 2X on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees when using the card outside the U.S
- Miles can easily be transferred to Capital One participating partners
- Employee cards are issued for free that can earn unlimited 2X miles with purchases
- No blackout dates or seat restrictions
- Two complimentary visits each year to Plaza Premium or Capital One airport lounges
The main downside of the Spark card is the annual fee increases after the first year. A $95 fee isn’t a deal breaker, but the fee on your account anniversary may be enough to reconsider your options. The other joint complaints are high APR and limited number of airlines that partner with Capital One. You should look into this card’s details before applying for it to ensure it will fit your needs.
2. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The American Express Business Platinum Card is perfect for serious traveler cardholders. It’s not a card you want to apply for if you only travel occasionally. The benefits of the Business Platinum card are highly unique and a step above the others on this list. However, the drawbacks are noticeable and might dissuade you from even considering it, despite its elite status.
These are the incredible benefits that come with the Business Platinum card:
- 120,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $15,000 within the first 3 months.
- 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through the American Express website
- 1.5X points on eligible purchases made at participating construction materials, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, software/cloud system providers, and shipping companies for up to $2 million each calendar year
- 1.5X points on purchases over $5,000
- Up to $200 in airline fee credits each calendar year
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection located in more than 1,400 airports across 140 countries worldwide
- No foreign transaction fee on international purchases
- Rental car upgrades and gold status at Hilton Hotels and Marriott Bonvoy locations
- Redeem points for part of all or a flight booked through Amex Travel and receive 35% of the points back (up to 1,000,000 points per calendar year)
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee
- Premium travel protections and extended warranty protection. Terms apply.
You probably think that a long list of benefits like that will come with some kind of catch. Your intuitions are correct because the Business Platinum card comes with a staggeringly high annual fee of $695. The interest is also pretty high as it ranges from 19.24% to 27.24% variable. See Rates and Fees. While these benefits are pretty generous, they are somewhat confusing, difficult to navigate, and hard to capitalize on without intensely studying the agreement. You should only consider this card if you travel frequently and are prepared to read a lot of fine print.
3. Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
The Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard is another card on this list with a name that’s not made for the faint of heart. It might take you a few breaths to say the word, but it’s still a special card in your wallet. The rewards aren’t as lucrative as the other options on this list. However, the drawbacks aren’t as significant either. It’s the perfect card for a casual to moderate traveler.
These are a few of the benefits that come with this credit card:
- An annual fee of $0
- 0% APR on purchases for nine billing cycles then 16.74% – 26.74% variable APR.
- Earn 30,000 bonus points by making $3,000 purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account
- Unlimited 1.5X points for all purchases with no expiration date
- Earn 3X points for every dollar spent on rental cars, hotel rooms, and airlines when booked through the Bank of America Travel Center
- No foreign transaction fee on international travel purchases
- Redeem points for travel with no blackout dates
- Contactless card options
The only real drawback of this travel credit card is that the perks aren’t great. The 0% introductory APR lasts only nine cycles and doesn’t apply to balance transfers. But the interest rate is only 16.74% to 26.74% variable APR, which is the lowest on this list. The 1.5X points for all purchases are a little low, but the points never expire, and they accrue for every purchase you make.
This credit card won’t turn many heads with its benefits — no special lounge access, priority boarding, not the best travel rewards, or card member bonus categories — but it will not disappoint users. It’s worth looking into if you need to apply now for a simple business travel rewards card.
What is a business credit card?
A business credit card functions similarly to a regular credit card. You use it to complete a purchase, the credit card issuer picks up the tab, and you pay off the balance in the future. The main difference is that a business credit card is specifically designed for business expenses. So instead of receiving bonus rewards for buying groceries, you might receive a bonus for purchasing office supplies.
The rewards programs are just one beneficial feature of using a business credit card. Businesses typically spend much more money than regular individuals, so the credit limit is likely to be much higher. It’s also common for the issuer to provide you with accounting tools and ways to track your spending.
Business credit card accounts often can dish out cards for your employees. That means the report will be accredited with the rewards if anyone uses their card to purchase a business.
Use your credit card while traveling and stockpile the rewards
Traveling for any reason can be quite a headache. It can take years of experience before you finally start to feel comfortable with the long lines, layovers, delayed flights, crying babies, stuffed aisles, questionable food, local transit, and overbooked hotel chains. Once you learn some tricks, you’ll see that traveling doesn’t have to be so bad. Before long, all these inconveniences won’t even phase you anymore.
You and your team will probably travel often as business owners. Making a few changes can help you to travel more efficiently, but the real benefits come with using the right credit card. There are many potential rewards you’re leaving behind by not using one of the cards listed above. Since you probably can’t eliminate traveling from your life, why not make the most of it and rake in all the rewards you can? You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
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