Update: Not all offers below are still available. See our Best Business Credit Cards page for the latest info.
Back in December, I re-evaluated my 5/24 status. (What is 5/24? Read about it here). Basically, I will drop below 5/24 in November, even after applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred through a pre-approval inside a Chase branch earlier this month.
My plan is to lay off new credit card applications this year and let my husband apply for the latest and greatest cards. However, while I’m in a holding pattern to get under 5/24, I can still apply for certain business credit cards.
Why business cards?
Most business cards do not show up on your personal credit report, and therefore won’t count against you in the 5/24 math equation. Read this post from Doctor of Credit, which is a great resource of how business cards affect your personal credit report.
The three exceptions we need to worry about regarding 5/24 are Capital One, Barclaycard and Chase. Capital One reports business cards to personal credit reports, so I won’t be applying for any Capital One business cards. I found mixed data points as to whether Barclaycard business cards show up on personal credit reports, so I wouldn’t risk it.
Chase does not report business cards to personal credit reports, but most of its business cards (except for the Marriott Rewards Premier Business card, at least for the moment) fall under the 5/24 rule for applications. It’s such a bummer, because Chase and Capital One have some business cards with great rewards! (I will cover those cards in a subsequent post for newbies not affected by 5/24).
You might qualify for a business credit card if you sell goods or services on your own, or if you’re an independent contractor. Many people I know personally would likely qualify for a business credit card by selling things like Plexus, Essential Oils, LuLaRoe, etc. Just like with personal credit cards, you really need to pay off your balance in full every month to make the rewards worthwhile.
For me, the most attractive business credit cards come with lucrative sign-up bonuses and an annual fee that is waived the first year. Here are some good prospects.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
This card comes with 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $5000 in the first three months. The annual fee of $175 is waived the first year. Note: You cannot get the bonus if you have already received the bonus from this card in the past.
You can choose one category out of five options to earn 3X points, and one to earn 2X points. For example, you could choose 3X for gasoline and 2X for airfare.
The most appealing thing about this card to me is that it has flexible reward points. You can transfer points to partners of United and American Airlines for flights. See this post for more examples of how you can use Membership Rewards points. It’s nice to have options!
This card does pay us commission if you apply through our site.
CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Select World MasterCard
Get 50,000 AA miles after spending $3000 in the first three months. That’s enough for two round-trip domestic tickets or four one-way domestic tickets. Update: the 50k-mile bonus offer on this card is set to expire on March 1. At that time, the bonus will most likely return to 30k.
Your first checked bag is free for you and up to four of your traveling companions. You also get to board with boarding group 1.
The card earns 2X miles on AA purchases, telecommunications, car rentals and gas. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.
Since I live in an AA hub city, I can always use more AA miles. Also, I like that the spending requirement to trigger the bonus is lower than other business cards.
Keep in mind that Citi credit cards fall under Citi’s 24-month rule. This card is considered a different product from the personal card version. Since I’ve had this card in the past but it’s been over two years since I closed it, I could re-apply.
This card does pay us commission if you apply through our site.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Business by American Express
I’m seriously considering applying for this card because it comes with Sheraton lounge access, and I have a stay coming up at the Sheraton Sand Key.
The bonus is 25,000 SPG points after spending $5000 in the first three months. Edited to add: The current bonus potential is now 35,000 points through 4/5/17. See this post for more details. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year. Note: You cannot get the bonus if you have already received the bonus from this card in the past.
Before I got the personal version of this card, I thought that 25k SPG points was a weak bonus. However, once I drank the kool-aid and got my personal SPG card, I realized how valuable these SPG points are.
Once you complete the minimum spending, you would have 30,000 points. You could convert those points at a 3:1 ratio to Marriott and have 90,000 Marriott points. Not too shabby. In fact, this card is a better deal than the Marriott Rewards Premier Business card, which would only give you 83,000 points after meeting the minimum spending and has a $99 annual fee, not waived.
You could also use the points at some sweet spots in the SPG brand. For example, this Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview costs only 3000 points on weekends and 4000 points during the week. Another hotel in the same points category is the Four Points by Sheraton Puntacana Village.
In addition, you can transfer SPG points to airlines. For every 20k points you transfer, you get 5k bonus airline points. SPG has over 30 airline transfer partners!
I’m not sure how long the SPG Amex cards will stick around. Since SPG merged with Marriott, and Marriott already has a credit card with Chase, no one knows if Chase will eventually offer the SPG card.
This card does pay us commission if you apply through our site. The bonus is usually higher once per year, but that is also not guaranteed.
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business Card
I just got 10,000 free Alaska miles from the Virgin America-Alaska Airlines merger, so adding more Alaska miles to my stash is appealing to me. The bonus is 30,000 miles after spending $1000 in the first 90 days. I like that the spending threshold is much lower than other business cards. The $75 annual fee is not waived.
The card comes with perks, like free checked bag for you plus six travel companions. It also comes with a companion fare of $121, which is a great deal if you plan to pay cash for a ticket to Hawaii. Read this for more information on how to use the companion fare benefit.
This card does not pay us commission. Here is a direct link to the application.
Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa by US Bank
This card can be a good deal for some, but be aware that Club Carlson’s footprint in the US is limited. Sign-up bonus is 85,000 points after spending $2500 in the first three months. It has an annual fee of $60, not waived. Redemptions start at 9000 points per night. See Leana’s post about Club Carlson for redemption ideas. Direct application link here. This card does not pay us commission.
If you are in a holding pattern due to 5/24, you can still apply for some business credit cards. Also, don’t forget that if you live near a Chase branch you can stop by to see if you are pre-approved for a Chase business card. I plan on checking every few months to see if I’m pre-approved for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
Are you focusing on business credit cards while you wait to get under 5/24? Which cards are most attractive to you?
P.S. Don’t forget that new IHG PointBreaks list is now live.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.