Skip to main content

The Small-Business Owner's Guide to Credit Card Rewards

minute read

    Earning rewards may be an appealing aspect of using a business credit card, regardless of your spending habits and lifestyle. Points can be earned and redeemed in a variety of ways. The particulars really depend on the card.

    For small-business owners, business credit card rewards can typically have a ton of upside. Read on to learn about business credit card rewards, how they work and how they might work for you.

    Why should small-business owners use credit card rewards?

    Sometimes the rewards are the key selling point for a credit card, and rewards programs have carefully designed earning structures and redemption options. For business cards, there are a couple reasons why small-business owners might want to pay attention to both of those aspects of a card's rewards program.

    The earning potential for business credit card rewards is notable

    Business credit cards may earn rewards on your purchases at different rates. This is similar to most other rewards credit cards. Usually, how many points per dollar you can earn may vary based on the category of purchase. With the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, for instance, a cardmember may earn three points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent annually on certain categories, such as shipping and travel.

    Earning rewards at accelerated rates isn't the only notable way to earn rewards with business credit cards. These cards often have sign-up bonuses, which are earned on new accounts for spending a certain dollar amount within a certain period of opening the account.

    Business credit card rewards programs can be diverse

    Rewards programs can be very diverse. How you can redeem your business card rewards is an important but variable aspect of most rewards programs.

    Common redemption options

    Some business credit card rewards can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, flights, hotel stays and more. This kind of variety and versatility is a benefit of certain rewards programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Although it's common for a credit card to offer different ways of redeeming rewards, programs still tend to have distinct nuances.

    Discounts on travel

    Another versatile aspect of business credit card rewards is not available with every program. That is the ability to book discounted travel through the program. For example, Ink Business Preferred card points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

    Transferrable rewards

    Some business credit card rewards may also be transferable to airline and hotel loyalty programs. This may be very valuable if you're looking to enhance your status in a specific hotel or airline loyalty program. And there's good news: Select business credit cards earn points that are transferrable to partner programs for no additional charge.

    Is it possible to redeem business credit cards rewards for personal use?

    You may be able to redeem business credit card rewards for personal use, but each business and situation is different. Rewards programs can have various ways to redeem your points, including a cash back option. If cash back is used to pay for business expenses, there may be tax implications. You may want to consult a tax advisor for more information on how business credit card rewards factor into certain situations.

    Picking a credit card with the best rewards for your business

    Choosing the right credit card depends mostly on your business needs, goals and spending habits. Here are some aspects of a business card's rewards program to consider when trying to decide if it's good for your business:

    Does the type of rewards matter to you?

    The type of rewards that a card earns, while relatively consistent amongst credit cards these days, may be worth considering when comparing business cards. Some cards still offer rewards as miles, as opposed to points. Depending on the credit card, the options for redeeming miles may be limited to airline flights.

    Nowadays, there isn't much of a difference in the two rewards currencies, but points are generally more versatile. Chase Ultimate Rewards, for example, are points that may be redeemed for gift cards, cash back, travel and more.

    Could you earn a sign-up bonus?

    Sometimes called a new cardmember bonus, a sign-up bonus may be a valuable offering for your next business credit card. Normally, new cardmembers must spend a certain dollar amount within a period of time to qualify for a sign-up bonus. When this spending requirement is met, a substantial number of rewards points may be awarded. If you're looking to qualify for a sign-up bonus, you may want to determine how easily your spending patterns could meet the spending requirement.

    Do you want to transfer your points to other programs?

    Earning transferrable rewards points can be very useful for a business credit card, regardless of your industry. Transferable points often have some extra flexibility, as they may be used in airline and hotel loyalty programs, not just the business card's rewards program.

    If this sort of versatility for your business card rewards could be handy for your business, you may not have to look far. Chase offers several business credit cards with Chase Ultimate Rewards, a program with many earning and redemption possibilities. That flexibility includes transfers to travel partners at a 1:1 value with select cards.

    What are the card's additional benefits?

    It's easy to focus on rewards when comparing credit cards sometimes. However, you may find cards that are otherwise comparable actually have distinct additional benefits, such as travel credits or service memberships. Enhanced travel, purchase and fraud protection are often common benefits of business credit cards.

    Some business credit cards are also affiliated with airlines and hotels. These companies may partner with your credit card issuer to provide specific perks and benefits. If you tend to fly for business, a business credit card that partners with a particular airline could provide a variety of extras, such as discounts, airport lounge access and travel protections.

    Managing card rewards earned by employees

    With a business credit card account, it's common to have employee cards. Rewards are usually earned for spending on all the cards connected to the account.

    The rewards program is typically based on the product, not each individual card, and should work the same for everyone. That means the earning potential and redemption options are the same. Each card would earn the rewards at the same rate on travel purchases, for example.

    Normally, the rewards earned on employee cards also connect to the overarching account, and the primary cardmember has full control of employee rewards. That could mean you choose whether to allow employees to redeem any rewards.

    Managing business credit card rewards can be a straightforward process, particularly if the primary cardmember is the only one redeeming rewards. Business cards may also have more nuanced ways to manage the account's rewards, such as setting limits on the number of points an employee can redeem.

    Making the most out of your business credit card rewards

    There are several ways you might maximize the business credit card rewards you and employees earn:

    Find out your highest spending category

    Determining your highest spending category can help you select the best rewards credit card for your business. This is because the rates at which you can earn rewards on business card spending often depends on purchase categories. The higher the rates and bonuses on purchase categories that fit your spending, the more rewards you can yield over time.

    As an example, the Ink Business Premier℠ credit card offers 2.5% cash back on large purchases ($5,000 or more). Maybe you tend to order tableware for a restaurant in bulk once or twice a year. This credit card's bonus points for large purchases might help you maximize the rewards you can earn.

    Confirm redemption options

    As much as you might review the earning potential of business card rewards, you might also want to review redemption options carefully. You could make the most of your business card rewards through a program with redemption options that fit your needs and goals. Do you want to redeem points toward travel for your business? Would you like to transfer points to loyalty programs you're already enrolled in? There may be many valuable ways to redeem your rewards, depending on the program.

    In summary

    Business owners can have very different goals, spending habits and needs for a business credit card, and its rewards program may be one of the most valuable aspects. A card's earning potential and redemption options are important to review and manage when it comes to business credit card rewards.

    There's much to consider when picking a business credit card for your business. Chase offers several options, some of which are affiliated with airlines and hotels. Now that you have this guide to business credit card rewards, feel free to compare cards and find one that's right for you.

    What to read next