Dear Your Business Credit,
I have to make a bunch of business purchases in the next couple of months and am shopping around for a small business card. What cards will help me get extra rewards at this time of year? -- John
December can be a good time to rack up rewards points if you're making year-end purchases to maximize your business tax deductions. Putting a computer, smartphone or other pricey items on your card is a good way to rake in a bunch of points in one swoop.
There are a few interesting choices listed in the business credit cards directory at CreditCards.com that will let you get extra rewards during the first three months you use the card. Most are free the first year, and then charge you an annual fee, but there are a few no-fee cards, too. The best deal for you depends on what you plan to buy and what kind of rewards will be most useful to you.
One card where you can really rack up air miles is the CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard. If you make $1,000 worth of purchases in the first three months, you will get 30,000 bonus miles for American Airlines. You can earn two AAdvantage miles for each $1 you spend on American Airlines purchases and on items you buy at selected office supply, telecommunications and car rental merchants. The card has an annual fee of $95, waived the first year.
Another deal that may interest you if you're a frequent traveler is the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card, which offers 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. This one might come in handy if you need a card for your employees. If you sign up for one or more employee card within the first two months, you're entitled to 5,000 extra bonus miles. You can use the miles for any airline or travel expense, as well as cash back, gift cards and other rewards. The bonus is smaller than the Citi AAdvantage card's but the annual fee is also lower -- $59, waived the first year.
You can also score 50,000 bonus points with the Chase Ink Plus Business Card when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. The points can be transferred on a 1:1 basis to programs including United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or Southwest Rapid Rewards. Or you can redeem for travel with other partners - at a 20 percent discount -- by using the Chase Ultimate rewards portal.
If you're outfitting a new office, the Ink Plus could help you offset your startup expenses. You earn 5 points per $1 on the first $50,000 you spend annually at office supply stores, and on cellphone, landline, Internet and cable TV services. Earn 2 points per dollar on gas and travel expenses, 1 point per dollar on everything else. This one also has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
Looking for a no-fee card? Chase has another offering, the Ink Cash Business Card. It includes a $200 cash bonus if you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening the account. Then you'll earn 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 in annual purchases at office supply stores, and on cellphone, landline, Internet and cable TV services; plus, 2 percent back on the first $25,000 spent per year at gas stations and restaurants and 1 percent on all other purchases.
The Blue for Business credit card from American Express also comes without an annual fee. After making your first purchase, you're entitled to 10,000 Membership Rewards Points. You earn 1 point per dollar for everything except purchases made on the AmEx travel website, which earn 2 points per dollar. Points are redeemable for travel purchases, gift cards, merchandise or entertainment. It's not the most rewarding card but the costs of entry are very low.
As with all credit cards, it's important to pay attention to the interest rates available to you. And use them only for purchases you already planned to make. If you fall behind on paying off your purchases in the coming year, that will cancel out any benefits you received from earning the points.