Disclosure: TRUiC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. TRUiC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are TRUiC’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

6 BEST SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS FOR EARNING AIRLINE MILES AND BENEFITS

If you travel for your business—or simply want to leverage your business expenses to earn miles for personal travel—consider a credit card that rewards you with air miles for a variety of purchases. There are two main options: airline-branded cards and general business cards that include air miles among their benefits.

Airline-branded cards can be a great choice for business owners who travel often, live in one of that airline’s hub cities, and would welcome perks aimed at frequent fliers.

On the other hand, if travel isn’t a regular part of your business, there are several general rewards business credit cards that will allow you to earn air miles as one of their overall rewards package. Below are the six best small business credit cards for earning air miles based on our findings.


1. CAPITAL ONE SPARK MILES FOR BUSINESS

Ideal for: Business owners who don’t travel regularly and have a steady cash flow to pay their full balance each month.

Capital One offers an attractive package of rewards and benefits that help you earn miles quickly and protect your business purchases. It also provides extremely flexible rules for redeeming miles across multiple travel categories, and your miles won’t expire while your account remains active. However, with high cash advance and penalty rates, you’ll need to be able to pay down your balance every month or risk incurring steep additional charges.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • One-time bonus of 50,000 miles—equal to $500 in travel—once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
  • Unlimited 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases with no blackouts, seat restrictions, or minimum to redeem.
  • Zero fraud liability and automated fraud alerts via text, email, or phone.
  • Free employee cards.
  • Redeem miles on flights, hotels, and vacation packages—or transfer miles to one of Capital One’s 10+ travel partners.
  • Purchase protection for eligible items in the event of theft or damage within 90 days of purchase.
  • Free additional warranty protection on eligible purchases, up to one year past the manufacturer's warranty.
  • Visa SavingsEdge: Allows you to save up to 15% on eligible purchases at participating merchants (e.g., 12 percent off HyperOffice, a cloud collaboration service; 10% off Standard Legal, a do-it-yourself legal document service; and 5% off hotel rooms at La Quinta Inns & Suites).
  • Downloadable purchase records.

  • Auto rental damage waiver.

  • Travel and emergency assistance services.

FEES

  • Waived annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • 3% or $10 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction).

2. AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD DELTA SKYMILES BUSINESS

Ideal for: Delta Airlines frequent fliers who can promptly pay their monthly bill and don’t plan to take many cash advances.

Similar to the Spark Miles Business card, this card offers a wide selection of attractive rewards and benefits along with a relatively high APR on purchases. The main difference is that many of this card’s perks target the needs of frequent fliers. For example, it gives cardholders access to priority boarding privileges, a free checked bag, and in-flight purchase discounts on Delta flights. Miles earned with this card don’t expire and you may redeem them for flights, seat upgrades, car rentals, gift cards, and other merchandise.

While this card also offers slightly longer periods of purchase protection and additional warranty protection than others on this list, it’s high APR for purchases and cash advances requires prompt monthly payments to avoid compounding interest and transaction fees. Moreover, this may not be your best option if you don’t live in a Delta Airlines hub city.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • One-time bonus of 30,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
  • One-time $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within the first three months of opening an account.
  • Unlimited 2x miles per eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Unlimited 1x mile per eligible dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Priority boarding with the “Main Cabin 1” group.
  • 20% off in-flight purchases.
  • Free first checked bag on Delta flights.
  • Free additional warranty protection on eligible purchases, up to two years past the manufacturer's warranty.
  • Purchase protection for eligible items in the event of theft or damage within 120 days of purchase.
  • Insurance for travel accidents, baggage, and car rental loss and damage.
  • Roadside assistance hotline.

FEES

  • Waived annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • No overlimit penalty fee.
  • 3% or $5 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction).

3. CITIBUSINESS / AADVANTAGE PLATINUM SELECT WORLD

Ideal for: American Airlines frequent fliers who would appreciate the ability to earn companion travel certificates in addition to other travel perks.

This card also caters to the needs of business travelers—specifically American Airlines frequent fliers. Beyond its solid set of rewards, it offers one benefit unique among the cards in this list: the ability to earn discounted companion travel certificates.

While this card carries a $99 annual fee, that’s on par with the other cards on this list and waived for the first year. However, this card doesn’t give you the ability to earn unlimited reward miles as do its peers. And if you aren’t based in an American Airlines hub city, another option may work better for your business.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after opening an account.
  • One-time bonus of 10,000 miles once you spend $10,000 in purchases in the first year after opening an account.
  • 2x miles for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • 2x miles for every dollar spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental companies, and gas stations.
  • 1x mile for every dollar spent on other purchases.
  • Free first checked bag on American domestic flights.
  • Preferred boarding on American flights.
  • One $99 American Airlines companion certificate for domestic economy travel once you spend $30,000 or more in purchases each year as long as your account remains open.

FEES

  • Waived annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 3% or $5 cash advance fee (whichever is greater).

4. CAPITAL ONE SPARK MILES SELECT FOR BUSINESS

Ideal for: Business owners who travel less often and would appreciate a 0% APR for the first 9 months.

This general business credit card is the only one on this list with no annual fee. It also a 0% intro APR for 9 months. Similar to Capital One’s Spark Miles for Business card, the Spark Miles Select card comes with a full benefits package to help you earn miles and protect your business purchases. It also provides extremely flexible rules for redeeming miles across multiple travel categories, and your miles won’t expire while your account remains active.

This card is a great option for business owners who don’t travel regularly, but who still want to earn and redeem air miles easily.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • 0% intro APR for the first 9 months.
  • One-time bonus of 20,000 miles—equal to $200 in travel—once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
  • Unlimited ability to earn 1.5x for every dollar spent on all purchases with no blackouts, seat restrictions, or minimum to redeem.
  • Redeem miles on flights, hotels, and vacation packages—or transfer miles to one of Capital One’s 10+ travel partners.
  • Zero fraud liability and automated fraud alerts via text, email, or phone.
  • Free employee cards.
  • Purchase protection for eligible items in the event of theft or damage within 90 days of purchase.
  • Free additional warranty protection on eligible purchases, up to one year past the manufacturer's warranty.
  • Visa SavingsEdge: Allows you to save up to 15 percent on eligible purchases at participating merchants (e.g., 12% off HyperOffice, a cloud collaboration service; 10% off Standard Legal, a do-it-yourself legal document service; and 5% off hotel rooms at La Quinta Inns & Suites).
  • Downloadable purchase records.
  • Auto rental damage waiver.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services.

FEES

  • No annual fee.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 3% or $10 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction).

5. UNITED EXPLORER BUSINESS

Ideal for: United Airlines frequent fliers who often travel with an employee or family member on the same reservation and would appreciate a wide array of travel perks.

This card caters to business owners who fly United. You can earn unlimited miles on all of your purchases—and your miles won’t expire as long as your account remains open. It offers some of the same travel perks as other airline-branded cards on this list but is the only one to give you two United Club passes each year, priority boarding for your travel companions, and the option to redeem miles on special events. In addition, this card’s tap-to-pay functionality enables you to speed through checkout at merchants with a “Contactless” payment option.

With a broad set of benefits plus a few unusual travel perks, this card is a solid option for business owners based in one of United Airlines’ hub cities.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
  • Unlimited 2x miles for every dollar spent on purchases from United including tickets, Economy Plus seat upgrades, and in-flight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi charges.
  • Unlimited 2x miles for every dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores.
  • Unlimited 1x miles for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Free first checked bag on United flights.
  • Priority boarding for you and any travel companions on the same reservation on United flights.
  • Two United Club one-time passes, awarded after you open an account and again each year on your cardmember anniversary.
  • Redeem miles on United flights with no blackout dates as well as on United flight upgrades, in-flight Wi-Fi, hotel stays, car rentals, gift cards, merchandise, and special events like celebrity meet-and-greets or private culinary and sporting events.
  • Free employee cards.
  • Tap-to-pay secure checkout where you find the “Contactless” symbol.
  • Auto rental damage waiver.

  • Baggage delay and trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
  • Lost luggage and trip delay reimbursement.
  • Purchase protection for eligible items—up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account—in the event of theft or damage within 120 days of purchase.
  • Free additional warranty protection on purchases, up to one year, on eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of three years or less.

FEES

  • Waived annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 5% or $5 balance transfer fee (whichever is greater per transaction).
  • 5% or $15 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction).

6. SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS PREMIER BUSINESS

Ideal for: Southwest Airlines frequent fliers who want to cut costs on airline baggage and change fees while earning points for future travel.  

Like the United Explorer Business card, this card offers several unique travel perks within its broad set of rewards and benefits. For example, it’s the only card on this list to offer two free checked bags and no change fee if you need to adjust your travel plans. It also offers the largest amount of one-time bonus miles (66,000) among this group. Moreover, you may redeem points for unlimited reward seats on Southwest flights with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.

While this card does have a $99 annual fee as well as transaction fees for both cash advances and balance transfers, your points won’t expire as long as your account remains open.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • A one-time bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening an account.
  • A one-time bonus of 6,000 points after your first cardmember anniversary.
  • Unlimited 2x points for every dollar you spend on Southwest Airlines purchases and 1x points for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for unlimited reward seats on Southwest flights with no blackout dates or seat restrictions, as well as on hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
  • Two free checked bags on Southwest flights.
  • No charge to change your flight reservation (fare differences may apply).
  • Free employee cards.
  • Baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement.
  • Purchase protection for eligible items—up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account—in the event of theft or damage within 120 days of purchase.
  • Free additional warranty protection on purchases, up to one year, on eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of three years or less.

FEES

  • $99 annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 5% or $5 balance transfer fee (whichever is greater per transaction).
  • 5% or $15 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction).

WHICH CARD IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

While all six of these business credit cards give you multiple ways to earn and redeem air miles, the airline-branded cards are a smart choice if you already travel a lot on a specific airline. If you’re not a frequent flier—or just want a card that enables you to earn miles alongside other rewards—consider one of the general business credit cards. Either way, the one-time bonuses offered by these cards could make you eligible for a free flight in just a few months. So, start earning and get ready to fly.

 

Editorial disclaimer: The content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All opinions expressed here are the author's alone.

ADVERTISING DISCLOSURE

TRUiC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. TRUiC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.