A guide to business credit card rewards

Learn about the different types of business credit card rewards programs and how to choose the right one for you.

Business credit cards offer many benefits, from streamlining your vendor payments to simplifying your expense management to providing cash flow management and float for your business. On top of that, you can often earn rewards on all of your business expenses.

How do credit card rewards work for businesses?

Business credit card rewards, which can come in the form of points, miles or cash back, are earned each time you make a purchase with your card. Rewards can be a reliable and convenient way to save money by lowering your account balance, covering travel expenses or earning discounts with specific vendors. They can be earned or spent on everyday business essentials, like travel, inventory and software purchases. Rewards can also be used to recognize employees, for example, by redeeming for gift cards or bonuses.

Types of business card rewards: points vs. cash vs. travel

While the terms of business rewards credit cards can differ among credit card issuers—such as when they can be earned or redeemed—the types of rewards generally remain the same.

  • Points are credits you earn with each qualifying dollar spent on your business credit card. They can be redeemed for discounts on eligible expenses, such as meals, fuel or office supplies.
  • Travel rewards (or miles) are also earned on each dollar spent on purchases. They can be applied to eligible travel expenses, such as airfare, hotels or rental cars. In some cases, you may be eligible to transfer miles to certain airlines or hotel chains that use their own rewards systems.
  • Cash back business credit cards enable you to earn back a percentage of each purchase. The amount may be used to lower your balance, or in some cases, it may be cashed out via check or bank deposit.

How to pick the right credit card rewards type for your business

The right business credit card rewards program for your business usually depends on how much and where you spend money. If you're unsure which reward type is right for you, consider the following:

Travel often for work? Travel cards can offer bonus miles on qualifying expenses, allowing you to accumulate more of them for future travel purchases. With enough miles, you may be able to book a business trip with little to no out-of-pocket costs. Capital One offers business travel cards with access to exclusive booking sites, airport lounges and more.

Want to keep your balance low or offset expenses? Explore a cash back rewards card that allows you to earn back a percentage of every purchase. Use your rewards to reduce your credit card balance or reinvest in your business. Read how Antonelli’s Cheese Shop used their cash back rewards to pay for employee health insurance.

Have regular miscellaneous business expenses? Consider a points program that allows you to redeem points for discounts or gift cards with major vendors. Before applying for a card, it's a good idea to verify that your everyday purchases will earn points that can be redeemed with vendors you frequent.

How to maximize credit card rewards for your business

Regardless of the reward type, there are other aspects to consider when creating a rewards and spending strategy. To maximize your business credit card rewards, consider the following:

Introductory offers. Sometimes business credit cards will offer introductory rewards to entice new customers. For example, the Capital One Spark Miles Select card offers a 20,000 miles bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Tiered versus flat-rate rewards. With Capital One Spark Cash Plus, you'll earn a flat rate of 2% cash back on every purchase. Alternatively, some store-specific cards offer tiered rewards that change based on categories.

If you want to keep things simple or if you spend across many categories, the flat-rate reward may be best for you. If you spend heavily in one category, like fuel, it may be worthwhile to find a card that offers higher rewards for those purchases. If you're unsure of your business spending habits, reviewing your bank statements may help you categorize expenses.

Redemption options. How you redeem your rewards may affect their value. If you want to redeem points, for example, you may be able to choose whether to receive a $15 gift card or cover a $25 charge on your account. It's important to understand any limitations on redemption, such as caps on the dollar amount you can redeem at once or when you can redeem them.

Other potential perks. Points, miles and cash back aren't the only benefits offered by a business credit card. Some provide perks like access to exclusive events or premium travel lounges. The Capital One Spark Miles card offers a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®. 

Managing employee card rewards

Employees can usually be added to your business credit card account as authorized users or account managers for free. They'll receive their own cards but aren't responsible for making payments. Employee cards can help your business earn rewards faster, simplify expense reporting and eliminate reimbursement paperwork. Learn more about how Capital One allows you to manage employee credit cards and rewards.

Compare business rewards credit cards from Capital One

Choosing the right business rewards credit card should help you earn valuable rewards that can reduce your overall costs. Whether you travel frequently or have miscellaneous expenses, how you spend and redeem rewards may influence the program you choose.

If you're searching for the right business credit card rewards for your company, check out Capital One Spark Business Cards.

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Earn up to 300,000 bonus miles with the Capital One Venture X Business card.

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