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The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is the perfect card if you travel for business – and you stay at hotels that are part of the card's Starpoints® system (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser).
First, some basics. Card members earn:
You can collect points quickly if you're a regular at The Ritz-Carlton, Marriott properties, Autograph Collections Hotels, St. Regis, Westin, W Hotels or any of the other participating hotels. If you're consistent about where you stay, you can easily offset the $95 annual fee that kicks in after the first year.
You can redeem those Starpoints® for free nights at more than 1,300 hotels and resorts, free flights with more than 150 airlines, or transfer them to one of more than 30 participating frequent flier programs. You get another 5,000 Starpoints® if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints® to a frequent flier program.
It's not only the Starpoints® program that makes this card a winner. There are other ways the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express can benefit your business too, including:
This card also offers peace-of-mind benefits, including car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance and roadside assistance. These can help you while you're out traveling and and helping your business grow.
Speaking of being on the road, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, which will save you the typical 3 percent per transaction charge of many credit cards. And you'll enjoy free Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide, which means you won't have to scramble to find public Wi-Fi.
All in all, the Starpoints® program is generous if you stay at participating hotels. Beyond the rewards opportunities, the business-related perks, like adding and freezing employee cards easily, make this an excellent card choice for the small business on the go.
The $95 annual fee could be tough to swallow at first (it is waived for the first year). You can take advantage of a free year to see if the card is right for your business.You're limited to certain hotels and airlines. If you stay at unaffiliated hotels, you may not get as many points as other cards with higher points and cash back rates for all purchases.
Another issue is you're limited to certain hotels and airlines. If you stay at unaffiliated hotels, you may not get as many points as other cards with higher points and cash back rates for all purchases.
You get three points for every $1 spent on travel and select business categories with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, and you're not limited to specific hotels like you are with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
If you regularly stay at participating hotels, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is a great deal, but if you don't, then you may find the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is better for you.
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers 80,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Those Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 25 percent more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Both cards charge a $95 annual fee, though with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card you'll pay the fee from day one.
Ultimately, you'll have to decide whether your business requires enough travel and hotel stays to really rack up points with a hotel-branded card or if you're better off with a more general small business credit card.
There are many differences between these two cards. First off, the American Express card offers points that you redeem at eligible hotels and airlines. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business Mastercard® credit card offers cash back – not points.
The next huge difference concerns the eligible purchases for cash back with the Bank of America® card. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business Mastercard® credit card gives you 3 percent cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores (on up to $250,000 spent annually, then 1 percent) as well as 2 percent cash back on restaurant purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
If you spend more at gas stations, office supply stores and restaurants than you do on staying at Starwood-eligible hotels, you may want to go with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business Mastercard® credit card. Basically, if you do a lot of driving for your business, but don't necessarily spend a lot of time traveling overnight, the Bank of America® card if likely better for you.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a huge advantage over the Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business Mastercard® credit card when it comes to international travelers. The Bank of America® card has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, which can add up when you're traveling internationally.
Lastly, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business Mastercard® credit card doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card offers two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases, making this a solid choice for businesses that can put miles to good use, but also do a lot of spending in categories other than travel. In particular, you may prefer the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card if you want to enjoy benefits and rewards without needing to stay at certain hotels to reap the highest return.
With the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes time to redeem your rewards – there are no blackout dates or restrictions on airlines or seats. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is among the most flexible of hotel-specific business cards out there given it has dozens of transfer partners, but it does still come with more restrictions than the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business.
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, so they are ideal for international travelers. The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has a slightly lower annual fee at $59 (waived for the first year).
If you regularly stay at an eligible hotel, you can quickly pick up Starpoints® with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. You can't beat up to five Starpoints® for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at those hotels, and the extra perks like free Boingo Wi-Fi access and no foreign transaction fees make this ideal for the small business that frequently embarks on overnight travel.