When I started by business, I researched business credit cards. I was hoping to find one with juicy sign up bonuses.
Alas, credit cards weren't as generous as they are today.
Many offered cash back with slightly higher percentages on business related charges. Those included travel, office supplies, and telephony bills (cell phone, internet).
I settled for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business credit card because it gave me Rapid Reward points. Those points helped me earn the 110,000 points needed for Companion Pass.
BUT… things have changed.
As my business grew, I was spending more on advertising with Google Adwords, Facebook, Pinterest, and others.
It turns out, credit cards noticed. There's a new(ish) crop of credit cards that give you higher cashback and point bonuses for that kind of spending.
So I switched… and here's why.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Of the cards that offer higher cashback, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is my favorite for a few reasons.
You earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on typical business expenses, which includes “Advertising on search engines and social media sites.” (the cards below have lower caps)
You also earn 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone charges too… but it's the advertising on Google Adwords, Facebook, and others that makes this card sing.
That's 3X what other cards are offering. When you consider the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards, it's more than 3% back.
There is also generous sign-up bonus. Earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Finally, if that wasn't enough, it's a Visa Signature card. You get all the perks associated with Visa Signature. This includes auto rental collision damage waivers, warranty extention, roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage reimbursement, global entry statement credit, lounge access, and more.
And the annual fee is only $95. That's why it's in my wallet.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express is another card that gives you three Membership Rewards points per dollar spent from airfare, advertising in select media, gas stations, shipping, and computer technology and services (hardware, software, cloud, etc.).
The difference is that of those five categories, you pick one to earn 3X. You don't earn 3X on them all. You earn 2X on the others.
And not only are you limited to one category but you only get the higher rate on your first $100,000 in spending.
Their welcome offer is good but lags the Ink Business. Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express has a $175 annual fee. It's waived for the first year.
(If you can't get the Ink Business card, this is a great alternative)
SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
Last but not least, SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a cashback card. The reward structure is like the Business Gold Rewards Card. You can earn 3% cashback on the category of your choice from this list (up to $50,000 in spend):
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
This card is third on the list because it has the lowest limit on the higher earning category. You earn 3% on your first $50,000 in spend.
What's nice about this card is that you get cash back, rather than points you have to spend somewhere else. This card has no annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
If you're looking to spend a LOT in advertising, as in way more than the $150,000 cap, then you'll want to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited with its 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
The other cards offer 3% but they have spending caps. After the cap, you're only earning 1%. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no cap so larger spenders will earn more if they go with this card.
How much do you have to spend for it to be worth it? If you spend over $600,000 a year ($50,000 a month), the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a better card (this doesn't even take into account the Ink's annual fee).
On the first $150,000 per year, the Ink Business Preferred card earns you $4500 in points while the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns you only $2250. After the cap, Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 50% more than Ink Business Preferred so it takes another $450,000 to catch up. $600,000 total.
This card has no annual fee and will give you a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months. It's overall a great card if you're looking for a personal one.
What counts as “advertising in select media?”
For the American Express cards, you can earn higher bonuses in “advertising in select media” – but with social media and online companies appearing and disappearing all the time, what counts?
American Express offers this guidance:
U.S. Advertising in Select Media
To earn additional rewards for advertising, purchases of online, television and radio advertising must be purchased in the U.S. directly from media providers in order to promote a business.
Examples of merchants that accept the Card and where you can earn additional rewards include:
- NBC National Broadcasting
- CBS Radio
*This is not a complete list.
You will NOT earn additional rewards for direct mail services including list/lead generation.
It seems like advertising with a major corporation is safe. If you spend it on a smaller company, it may not be in their systems to count it as advertising.
I expect Chase's categories for “Advertising on search engines and social media sites” to be structured in the same way.