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On the surface, business credit cards and personal credit cards seem pretty similar. They both offer a line of credit, build interest on leftover balances, and typically come with rewards and benefits. 

While there are many similarities between these two types of credit cards, business cards have certain features and perks that make them more attractive to those with businesses, freelancing gigs, or side hustles. They also cater to business owners’ larger budgets with generous sign-up bonuses — which often require higher minimum spending thresholds than general credit cards. 

But you should never get a credit card for the sole purpose of earning a lucrative sign-up bonus. Whether it’s for business or personal use, the best credit card for your wallet will offer long-term value that aligns with your spending habits and financial goals.

Sign-up bonuses are great, but there are plenty of factors to consider before you decide whether a personal credit card and a business credit card will best fit your needs. Here’s what you need to know.

Key Differences Between Business and Personal Credit Cards

Rewards and Perks

Business credit cards are tailored to business owners, while anyone can use personal credit cards for more general purchases. For example, cash back cards geared toward business owners may offer rewards on business-related expenses like office supplies and phone bills, while a personal cash back credit card may have bonus rewards on dining or streaming services.

Another big benefit of business cards is allowing business owners or freelancers to keep business expenses separate from personal spending. Many of these cards offer additional benefits to ease that process, like expense management tools and insights. 

Personal vs. Business Credit Scores

Your credit score is another important distinction between personal and business credit cards. With a personal credit card, your credit score is tied to you and not your business and is always reported to the three big consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. In comparison, activity on a business card is reported to commercial credit bureaus that track business credit behavior and can be used to generate a business credit score. 

That’s not to say that a business credit card won’t ever impact your credit score. When you apply for a new business credit card, it typically shows up on your credit reports as a hard inquiry, which could temporarily lower your credit score. And if you don’t pay your card balance and the account goes delinquent, that can also reflect poorly on your personal credit.

Credit Limits and Protections

In addition to perks designed for business needs, business credit cards tend to have higher credit limits and sign-up bonuses than consumer credit cards. According to an Experian study, the average credit limit for business owners is around $56,100, whereas the average credit limit for consumers is $26,900.

Cardholder protections are also stronger for personal credit cards because of the Credit Card Act of 2009. Business cards are exempt from the law, which requires issuers to give advance notice about APR increases, limits penalties, and more.  Many personal cards offer potentially lower rates and fees than business credit cards, too (depending on your creditworthiness).

Pro Tip

If you’re using a credit card for business, you can deduct its fees and interest from your taxes every year.

Once you’ve decided which type of card is right for you, here are a few great sign-up bonuses that can help maximize your new card:

Three Best Business Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

If you’re a business owner who wants returns on regular business expenses, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a solid choice. You’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar you spend on:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to $150,000 combined, per year.
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

But this card’s most valuable feature is its welcome offer: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points if you spend $15,000 within the first three months. If you redeem those points for travel, you’ll also get an additional 25% boost — meaning your 100,000 points are potentially worth $1,250 when you redeem for travel through Chase. That’s a lot to spend upfront. But if that falls in line with your regular business expenses or you have large purchases to make, 100,000 bonus points is hard to beat. 

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express offers premium rewards for business travelers: 

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com
  • 1.5 points on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year)
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

You’ll also earn a 100,000-point welcome bonus after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. If you often travel for your business, the Amex Business Platinum card can help maximize the value of your travel spending and make traveling more convenient and comfortable with benefits like travel credits, elite hotel status, and airport lounge access. 

Before getting this card, make sure your business travel is demanding enough — and you’ll get enough use out of those premium travel benefits — to maximize its value and make up for the hefty $595 annual fee without taking on more spending than you can afford.

American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express Business Gold Card is one of the best cards for business travelers, thanks to its flexibility and value potential. With this card, you’ll earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the two categories your business spends the most each month, among: 

  • U.S. gas stations
  • Select U.S. advertising
  • Airfare purchased directly with airlines
  • U.S. restaurant purchases
  • Select U.S. technology providers
  • U.S. shipping. 
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

There is a $150,000 spending cap per calendar year on the 4-point bonus categories (then you’ll earn 1 point). If you max out the $150,000 spending cap, you can get up to $6,000 toward flights booked with Amex Travel. 

You can earn even more points— 70,000 Membership Rewards points, to be exact — if you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening the account. You’ll get the best value for your points through flight redemptions or transferring to travel partners. 

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $95

  • Regular APR:

    15.99% to 20.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

Three Best Personal Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred stands out among cards with a relatively low annual fee. It currently offers a bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you spend $4,000 in your first three months of account opening. You can use those 100,000 points to redeem for free travel, including airfare and hotel stays (you’ll still pay taxes and fees). It’s one of the reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is our pick for the best credit card with an annual fee under $100. The card earns 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar you spend on:

  • Dining
  • Travel
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

The Platinum Card® from American Express

From airport lounge access worldwide to credits that can offset the cost of your next vacation, the Platinum Card from American Express is geared towards frequent flyers who prefer elevated travel experiences. In terms of rewards, this card earns:

  • 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small® in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first six months of opening the account
  • 5 points on flights booked through American Express Travel or directly with airlines (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
  • 5 points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases

The Amex Platinum card is also currently offering a 100,000-point welcome bonus if you spend $6,000 in the first six months of opening the account. The biggest downfall of the card is that you have to pay a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), so it’s critical to determine whether your spending habits line up with the card’s travel-focused perks before applying. 

Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card is a relatively low-cost travel rewards credit card that can add value to your everyday purchases and help maximize future travel. You’ll earn 3 Citi ThankYou points per dollar on:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels
  • Dining
  • Supermarkets
  • Gas stations 
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases 

It also offers a solid welcome bonus for new cardholders: 80,000 Citi ThankYou points once you spend $4,000 in the first three months. But depending on how you redeem points and added perks, the card may not provide as much value as similarly-priced travel rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. That’s because Citi offers fewer redemption options and its transfer partner list doesn’t include hotels or any major U.S. airlines except JetBlue and American Airlines for a limited time (July 18 to Nov. 13, 2021). To figure out whether Citi Premier is right for you, think about how you’ll use your rewards and whether Citi ThankYou Rewards offers the redemption options you want at the best value. 

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $95

  • Regular APR:

    15.99% – 22.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $95

  • Regular APR:

    15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

The Bottom Line: Which Should You Get?

Whether you’re a small business owner or just do occasional freelance work, dedicating a credit card to your business expenses can have a major benefit on your budget. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business credit card. When choosing the right card, find one that offers rewards and a bonus that will suit your needs. If you have employees, plan to grow your business, or want added expense management tools, a business credit card could be a better option. That said, you can also use a personal card to run your businesses, freelance, and side hustle, too. If you don’t have a business or a side hustle right now, it’s best to stick with personal credit cards. 

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express, click here

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card from American Express, click here