Using a credit card to pay for everyday business expenses is one of the easiest ways business owners can earn frequent flyer points – and unlike personal credit cards, most business cards can also be synchronised with accounting programs like MYOB and Quicken for easy bookkeeping and reconciliation.
Business owners might simply use their card to pay supplier invoices or to purchase stock, but could also issue ‘additional cards’ on the same account for employees to use when traveling, entertaining or purchasing goods on behalf of the business.
American Express cards are popular with business travellers as they’re accepted by most major airlines, hotels, taxis, Uber, car hire companies, petrol stations, inflight internet systems, for various airport lounge memberships and can be used at many restaurants when entertaining clients.
What’s more, businesses can even pay employee superannuation and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) with AMEX, and through RewardPay, can use their American Express card to pay any supplier that accepts payments by EFT – even where that supplier doesn’t accept AMEX (or any credit cards) themselves.
Whether you’re just starting out in business or are well-established in your field, here are five business credit cards you could consider using to streamline your record-keeping and maximise your frequent flyer points.
1. The American Express Platinum Business Card
With no pre-set spending limit, the AMEX Platinum Business Card is perfect for larger businesses that can afford to re-pay their expenditure in full every month, and avoids any lingering hotel credit card pre-authorisations from tying up your available credit.
There’s a $1,500 annual fee to pay, but you can add up to 99 supplementary cards on the same account for your employees at no extra cost (100 cards in total, including the primary card): maximise that and you’re paying only $15 per card per year.
Apply by July 4 2017 and spend at least $5,000 on the account within two months of approval and you’ll also fetch 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points – equal to 100,000 frequent flyer points with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and more.
You can also earn two Ascent Premium points per dollar spent at eligible restaurants, airlines and hotels plus on advertising, courier fees and computer equipment (up to 375,000 points per year, halved thereafter), and one Ascent Premium point per dollar spent everywhere else (uncapped), except on insurance, utility and government payments which always earn 0.5 points per dollar spent.
2. The American Express Business Accelerator Card
With a personal pre-tax income of $24,000, you could get your hands on the AMEX Business Accelerator Card for just $160 per year – earning two Membership Rewards Ascent points per dollar spent, up to 100,000 points per year.
After that, you’ll continue earning one Ascent point per dollar spent without limits (equal to one frequent flyer point with Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and more), except on government, utility and insurance charges which always earn 0.5 points per dollar: a great option for newer or smaller businesses that want to earn points but don’t spend heavily.
Again, supplementary cards can be issued to employees at no extra cost, and you may feel more comfortable in providing these to your staff as this is a credit card with a set credit limit of your choosing, rather than having no pre-set spending limit as with the Platinum Business Card.
3. The Qantas American Express Business Card
Earn one Qantas Point per dollar spent on most charges via the Qantas American Express Business Card without tiering or capping, double points when purchasing Qantas flights or Qantas Club membership and 0.5 points per dollar on government, utility and insurance charges.
A $299 annual fee applies plus a $119 fee per additional cardholder per year, although there's no pre-set spending limit to get in your way: useful when making large purchases or booking expensive international flights, as your business card won't be 'out of action' when it comes to making your usual, everyday purchases.
As with all 'no pre-set spending limit' cards, this doesn't mean 'unlimited spending' or that you could buy a multi-million dollar private jet without so much as a call from AMEX – instead, it means you shouldn't run into barriers when using the card for reasonable purchases that you can afford to repay, once AMEX reviews your business finances as part of your application.
4. The American Express Velocity Business Card
Businesses large and small that often travel for work with Virgin Australia may appreciate the AMEX Velocity Business Card – churning out two Velocity points per dollar on spends with Virgin Australia and one Velocity point per dollar spent everywhere else, except on government, utility and insurance charges where 0.5 points are earned per dollar spent.
That means you’ll earn the most points when booking Virgin Australia flights using this card, but as always, your employees can continue earning Velocity points and status credits as usual when they travel.
The AMEX Velocity Business Card carries a $249 annual fee plus a $99 charge for each additional card issued on the account, and comes with no pre-set spending limit – suiting it to smaller businesses with fewer and highly trustworthy staff or partners.
5. Westpac BusinessChoice Rewards Platinum credit card
AMEX cards are great for major travel expenses, entertainment and paying supplier invoices via RewardPay, but there are times when Visa or Mastercard are more useful: and in those situations, the Westpac BusinessChoice Rewards Platinum Visa could be a better fit.
Attached to the Qantas Business Rewards program, businesses can earn 0.66 Qantas Points per dollar spent on most charges and 0.33 Qantas Points per dollar spent on government payments, which can be converted into personal Qantas Frequent Flyer points on a 1:1 basis.
A $150 annual fee applies per card (up to 10 cards per business), and Westpac allows business owners to set maximum credit limits for each individual cardholder, which can be as low as $1,000 – and offers Unauthorised Transaction Insurance on top should employees make purchases without your permission.