I’ve significantly increased my business card portfolio in the past couple of months, especially as it relates to cards that I use to maximize my spend, rather than cards that I have primarily for the perks.
I’ve gone from two to five business cards that I use to maximize spend, so in this post wanted to look at the value each of these cards has to me.
The two business cards I used for spend prior to October
Prior to October, the only two business credit cards that I put spend on were as follows:
- The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (no annual fee), which offers an incredible 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year
- The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (no annual fee), which offers 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases every cardmember year on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services, and 2x points on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants
In reality I ended up using a lot of personal credit cards for business purchases in order to maximize rewards (for example, I just put most of my travel and dining purchases on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®).
The three business cards I’ve just picked up
In the past two months I’ve picked up the following business credit cards:
- The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card ($95 annual fee), which offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases every cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines; the card also offers a great cell phone protection benefit
- The Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card (no annual fee), which offers 1.5x points on all purchases
- The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business ($95 annual fee, waived the first 12 months), which offers 2x Spark miles per dollar spent (points can be transferred to airline partners at a ratio of up to 2:1.5), and which offers a bonus of up to 200,000 Spark miles after spending $50,000
What does this mean for my business credit card spend?
Obviously I’ve greatly expanded my portfolio of business cards here, so I have a lot more to do to maximize my points. In general my strategy when it comes to credit card spend is as follows:
- First reach minimum spend on credit cards
- Then maximize the bonus categories offered by each card
However, it’s not necessarily that straightforward. Ideally you want to reach the minimum spend on credit cards in categories where you’d otherwise earn the fewest points.
In other words, ideally I’d reach minimum spend on purchases where I’d otherwise earn 1-2x points, rather than categories where I’d otherwise earn 5x points.
So, given that I now have five business credit cards that I’m using for spend, what’s my strategy?
- I’ll continue using the Ink Business Cash for purchases at office supply stores, as well as to pay cell phone and internet bills
- I’ll continue using the Ink Business Preferred for travel purchases and shipping
- I’ll then put my next $50,000 of spend on the Capital One Spark; for spending $50,000 during the welcome bonus period I’d earn a total of 300,000 Spark miles (the 200K bonus plus the 100K you usually earn, at the rate of 2x Spark miles per dollar spent), which will get me $3,000 worth of travel or up to 225,000 airline miles; that’s the equivalent of a return of 6%, or 4.5 airline miles per dollar
- I’ll then put my next $50,000 of spend on the Blue Business Plus, so that I earn 2x Membership Rewards points for that spend
- I’ll then put my remaining non-bonused spend on the Ink Business Unlimited, which offers unlimited 1.5x points
Now, perhaps I’m oversimplifying things here, because frankly I’m not sure exactly how much I’ll be spending in eligible categories. I may have to adjust my plans if I realize I can’t quite spend $50,000 on the Spark Miles during the intro period, or if I otherwise max out my spend in other categories. But that’s my general plan as of now.
What’s your strategy for business spend?