Beginner with business credit card plan: Over 500K points & 2 years Companion Pass

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Separately I published a first year credit card plan for a single person with no ability or willingness to apply for business cards: Beginner credit card plan: over 500K points in 12 to 15 months.  In this post, I’ve done the same thing, but with one huge difference: this plan assumes the ability to apply for small-business cards.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

This post was first published a year ago.  Since then some new credit cards and new credit card benefits have hit the scenes, and many welcome offers have changed.  So, I’ve rewritten this post to reflect current conditions.  Please note that this is a constantly shifting landscape — recommendations for even 3 months from now may no longer be valid at that time.  If you subscribe to our newsletter, though, you’ll be kept up to date with these changes as they happen.

Caution!  There’s a reason that credit card companies are willing to give away points & miles. They make a lot of money from interest and fees. Interest and fee payments can quickly wipe out the benefits gained from signup bonuses. The only way to come out ahead is to pay your credit card bills in full, every month. If you can’t do that, then I highly recommend against signing up for new credit cards. Further, every year when annual fees come due you should evaluate whether the card is worth the fee. If not, cancel it or call to downgrade it to a fee free card. To avoid losing points, see our checklist for cancelling credit cards.

Assumptions

For this post I’ve made the following assumptions about the reader:

  • Good credit score
  • Hasn’t applied for any new credit cards in the past few years.
  • Typically spends about $1,500 per month via credit cards
  • Additionally spends $1500 per month in rent
  • Has a business
  • Relationship status: single, but often travels with a companion
  • Travels mostly domestically, but would like to do more.  Would also like to travel internationally a couple of times per year.
  • Not interested in learning rewards programs in-depth.  Prefers a simple approach to earning and spending rewards.

Given the above, I looked at current credit card welcome offers to suggest a plan…

Plan overview

The easiest and quickest way to amass points and miles is through credit card welcome bonuses.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, this won’t hurt your credit score long term as long as you pay your credit card bills in full each month and avoid charging near your limit (e.g. it’s better to keep your credit utilization low relative to the amount of credit you have available).  In fact, many people see their credit score increase a few months after starting to apply for multiple cards.  The general process for earning points this way is described in our Start Here page.

When you get started, if all goes well you’ll earn lots of rewards and your credit score will go up a bit (or remain relatively stable).  On the other hand, once you’ve opened a bunch of cards, it will be harder to get approved for new cards from certain banks.  Chase, in particular, has the dreaded 5/24 Rule.  If you have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, from any bank, Chase won’t approve you for any more cards. For that reason, anyone considering opening a bunch of credit cards should think seriously about starting with Chase. Chase has quite a few terrific cards and it would be a shame to lose your ability to get those cards due to applying for cards first from other banks.  See: “Must have” Chase cards for more details.

Capital One is also extremely hard on approvals for those who have opened many new accounts.  I’m not aware of any hard and fast 5/24 rule, but anecdotally they seem to weigh recent card openings very heavily against the applicant.  Personally, I haven’t been approved for any Capital One cards despite having an excellent credit score.

In my opinion, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (or its small-business twin: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business) is a good choice for those starting out with credit card rewards.  For those willing to keep several cards, I wouldn’t recommend keeping your Capital One card long term (because you can do better with a combination of other cards), but it offers an excellent welcome bonus plus easy to use rewards.  This card earns 2X everywhere, and points (Capital One insists on calling them “miles”) are very easy to redeem.  Simply charge travel to your card and then you can use points “miles” to “erase” those statement charges at a value of 1 cent each.  As you get more advanced, you can alternatively transfer points to airline partners.  If you know what you’re doing, this can lead to far more value from your points.

For the above reasons, the plan I’ve put together focuses first on obtaining the Capital One Venture Rewards card and a number of “must-have” Chase cards:

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Good beginner card overall for solid rewards for all spend, plus the ability to transfer rewards to airline miles. The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is virtually identical and so would be a good alternative.  Unfortunately, Capital One business cards do not have the same advantages of other banks’ business cards.  Specifically, Capital One does report the new accounts and spend activity to the personal credit bureaus and so the Capital One business cards act just like personal cards and do count towards 5/24.
Many business cards do not add to 5/24. Chase uses your personal credit report to determine how many cards you've opened in the past 24 months. However, most business credit cards are not routinely reported on personal credit reports. Even Chase's own business cards aren't routinely reported and therefore do not count towards your 5/24 total.  That is, if you are under 5/24 you can get approved for a Chase business card.  Once approved, that card will not worsen your 5/24 status.
More:According to Doctor of Credit, the following banks do not routinely report business accounts to the personal credit bureaus:
  • American Express (except for Canadian Amex)
  • Bank of America
  • Barclaycard
  • Capital One Spark Cash
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • FNBO
  • Navy Federal CU
  • PNC
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo

The following banks do report business cards on personal credit reports (and therefore do count towards 5/24):
  • Capital One (except Spark Cash)
  • Discover
  • TD Bank
  • UBS Bank

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: Earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points for travel & dining. Points worth 1.25 cents each towards travel.  Points are transferable to a number of airline and hotel programs. If you decide later that you want the Sapphire Reserve card, it still makes sense to start with the Sapphire Preferred card (since it has a higher intro bonus) and then upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve a year later.
  • Chase Ink Business Cash: Earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points at office supplies and 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually); and 2X gas and restaurants.  This card is advertised as a cash back card but it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points.  Use this card to earn huge 5X point bonuses for spend then freely move those points to your Sapphire Preferred card to make them more valuable.  This card does charge foreign transaction fees so leave it at home when traveling internationally.
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited: Earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards points for all other spend.  This card is advertised as a cash back card but it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points.  Use this card to earn 1.5X everywhere, then freely move those points to your Sapphire Preferred card to make them more valuable.  This card does charge foreign transaction fees so leave it at home when traveling internationally.
  • Chase Freedom Flex: Earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points for travel booked through Chase, 5X in changing categories each quarter, 3X dining, and 3X drugstores.  This card is advertised as a cash back card but it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points.  Use this card to earn huge point bonuses for spend (3X to 5X) then freely move those points to your Sapphire Preferred card to make them more valuable.  This card does charge foreign transaction fees so leave it at home when traveling internationally.  See our Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide for more information.
  • Chase United Explorer: I consider this a “must have” Chase card because it can be downgraded after a year to a no-fee United card which preserves this card’s best features: Improved economy saver award availability, and last seat standard economy award availability.  The former feature, especially, makes it much easier to book international awards with United miles since it opens up space between airports domestically.  The latter feature is great for those occasions when you are stuck with no good way to get from one place to the other.  Read about how I put this feature to great use here.
  • Chase World of Hyatt:  Keep for the annual free night certificate.  Consider spending $15K per year for a second certificate, especially if you pursue Hyatt status since you’ll earn 2 elite qualifying nights with each $5K spend.

Note that Chase offers cards from three hotel chains: Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott.  Depending upon the reader’s hotel chain preference, it can make sense to go for the Marriott card or IHG card instead of the Hyatt card.  For those considering Marriott, keep in mind that Amex also offers Marriott cards and if you get the Chase one, you won’t be eligible for welcome bonuses on the Amex Marriott cards.

In addition to the above “must have” cards, the following cards are recommended for their intro bonuses before you reach the 5/24 threshold:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card and/or Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card: Both tend to have excellent intro bonuses.  Even better, Chase doesn’t prohibit applicants from getting both business cards the way they do with Southwest personal cards.  As a result, it can be easy to earn the Southwest Companion Pass so that you can add a companion to all of your Southwest flights for free while the pass is active.  To get the pass, you must earn 125,000 points in a calendar year.  Once you do, the pass will be active for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next!  Best bet is to apply for one or both of these cards in December so that points post to your account as early in the next year as possible.

How much spend?

Most credit card offers require meeting spend requirements in order to earn a welcome bonus.  And, in most cases, 3 months is the magical amount of time you have to meet those requirements.  So, let’s look at how much spend our fictional person can achieve in three months:

Since our fictional person spends $1500 per month on credit cards, he/she already spends $4500 every 3 months.  Additionally, he/she could spend another $1500 per month via credit card by using a bill payment service like Plastiq to pay rent (please see this post for details).  Plastiq would charge $42.75 in fees (2.85%) for each $1500 bill payment.  That fee can be well worth it in order to qualify for welcome bonuses.  Altogether, it’s possible for our fictional newbie to spend $9000 every 3 months.

Preparation

Before applying for any new cards, I recommend signing up for Travel Freely.  This is a free web-based tool that walks you through the process of applying for cards to earn big bonuses.  The tool keeps track of your cards including your 5/24 status, alerts you when time is running out to complete minimum spend, alerts you when annual fees are nearly due, and much more.  I consider it essential for anyone starting out.

Here’s the link to sign up (for free) with Travel Freely.  Full disclosure: Frequent Miler and Travel Freely have a business relationship, but only because I believe that this tool is truly useful for anyone into earning new cardmember bonuses.  I use it to manage my strategy and those of several family members as well.  You can read more of my thoughts about Travel Freely here: Take the stress out of credit card bonus hunting: Travel Freely.

First set of cards

The plan is to apply for both of the cards below on the same day.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

At the time of this writing, Capital One is offering a limited time 100K offer.  To get the full 100K bonus points, you would have to spend $20K in 12 months on the card.  However, if you only spend $3K in 3 months, you’ll still earn the standard 50K bonus. For the purpose of this post, I’ll assume that the reader will go for only the $3K spend.  However, if there’s a sudden need for a lot of spend in the next 12 months, or if you can handle more spend than is assumed here, it will be great to have the option to fulfill the full $20K spend to get the full 100K bonus.

Note that the Venture Rewards card offers Global Entry / TSA Pre Check credit.  That means that you can use it to pay the signup fee for Global Entry (currently $100) or TSA Pre Check ($85) and you’ll get fully reimbursed.  Global Entry includes TSA Pre Check, so you might as well get Global Entry if you have access to an interview center.

Since welcome bonuses change over time, the following display shows the current offer at the time you read this on the web:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
100K "Miles"
Earn 100K bonus miles when you spend $20K on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50K miles if you spend $3K on purchases in the first 3 months
(Offer Expires 12/14/2020)

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen in recent years.

FM Mini Review: This card earns 2 "miles" per dollar, which are worth exactly 1 cent each toward travel. This makes the return on spend similar to a 2% cash back card (though in this case you must redeem your miles to offset travel in order to get 1 cent per mile). One big advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles at a 2 to 1.5 ratio.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Other

Earning rate: 2X everywhere. Through 1/31/21: 5X Uber Eats.

Noteworthy perks: Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® ⚬ Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles at a (mostly) 2 to 1.5 ratio ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred

At the time of this writing, the Sapphire Preferred has an outstanding welcome bonus (80K points after $4K spend).  The following display shows the current Sapphire Preferred offer at the time you read this on the web:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
60K Points
60K after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: 80K after $4K Spend (Expired 11/9/20)

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus. Solid option to pair with fee-free Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Freedom cards, Ink Business Cash, and Ink Business Unlimited in order to unlock ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Other

Earning rate: 2X Travel and Dining ⚬ 5X Lyft (through March 2022)

Noteworthy perks: Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Free DashPass for at least 1 year (activate by 12/31/21)

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Second set of cards

91 days after your first set of applications, the small hit to your credit report caused by those inquiries should have largely dissipated.  In fact, it is common to find that your credit score is higher by this point than it was when you began.

I’ve listed here the Southwest business cards as a great pick for your second set of cards, but really the timing should be determined by the date when you’re ready to apply.  The ideal time to apply for both of these cards is early December or January so that you’ll earn all of the bonus points as early in the calendar year as possible.  The reason for doing this is so that you’ll have the Southwest Companion Pass for as long as possible.  Once you earn 125,000 points within a calendar year, you’ll keep the pass for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

If the timing isn’t right for these cards, move on to the third set and return to these later.

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Business Cards

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card
60K miles
60K after $3K spend in 3 months

$99 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: None. This is the highest public offer we've seen.

FM Mini Review: Great for signup bonus, but consider cancelling after first year.


Card Type: Visa

Base
Travel
Brand

Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

Noteworthy perks: 6000 bonus points each year upon card renewal.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Up to 100K points
Up to 100K points: 70K after $5K spend in first 3 months + 30K points after a total of $25K spend in first 6 months

$199 Annual Fee


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Southwest ⚬ 2x on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

Noteworthy perks: 9000 bonus points each year upon card renewal.

Third set of cards

Apply for these 91 days after the last set of cards.  If you’re using Travel Freely, you’ll get an email reminder that you’re ready to apply for new cards.

Chase Freedom Flex

At the time of this writing, the Freedom Flex has a great signup offer: 20,000 points after $500 spend plus earn 5X points at grocery stores for the first 12 months, up to $12K in spend.  If you spend $1,000 at grocery stores for each of these 12 months, you’ll max out the bonus and end up with 80,000 points!  For the purpose of this post, I’ll assume that the reader will spend $1,000 per month at grocery stores (if you don’t usually spend that much at grocery stores, you can always buy a gift cards for stores that you really do shop at more often).

The following display shows the current Freedom Flex offer at the time you read this on the web:

Chase Freedom Flex
20K points + 5X grocery + 15 months 0% APR
Earn 20,000 points (worth $200 cash back) after $500 spend in 3 months + 5x Ultimate Rewards points (worth 5% cash back) on grocery purchases for 1st year (on up to $12K in purchases, excludes Target & Walmart). 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.

No Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). Even though this card is marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for 1 cent each, or can be combined with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to get even more value. This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

FM Mini Review: Great for 5X and 3x categories and World Mastercard benefits. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred.


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Travel
Dine
Shop
Other

Earning rate: 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q4 2020: 5X Walmart & Paypal

Noteworthy perks: Free DashPass for up to 3 months upon activation ⚬ Cell phone protection ⚬ Lyft credits

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Business Cash

This fee-free card belongs in every point collector’s wallet.  It offers 5X for office supplies and 5X for phone service, cable TV, and internet (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5X categories annually).  Many families would do well to setup their phone, TV, and internet bills to autopay from the Ink Business Cash card in order to earn 5X rewards without any effort whatsoever.  Those willing to do a little bit of work will find that stores like Staples and Office Depot sell lots of gift cards in-store; and Staples.com sells them online.  In both cases, you’ll earn 5X buying gift cards so that you can ultimately buy what you really want.

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
75K points
75K after $7.5K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

See: How to sign up for Chase Ink cards

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other

Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Fourth set of cards

Apply for these 91 days after the last set of cards.  If you’re using Travel Freely, you’ll get an email reminder that you’re ready to apply for new cards.

Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt card is my pick as the best of Chase’s hotel cards, but there are strong arguments to be made for the Marriott or IHG cards as well.  If you are more likely to stay at one of the other brands, you may prefer those.  In each case, Chase offers a card that costs less than $100 and comes with a free night certificate each anniversary.  As long as you use that certificate each year for a stay that would have otherwise cost more than the annual fee, then the card is worth keeping.

Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
You choose: Up to 50K points OR One Cat 1-7 free night certificate + $200 statement credit
New cardmembers can choose between two bonus offers (each offer also comes with 10 elite night credits in 2020 and 10 elite night credits in 2021): OFFER 1: 50K points: 25,000 points after $3K spend in 3 months + 25,000 points after $6K total spend in 6 months. OFFER 2: $200 statement credit after first purchase + one Cat 1-7 free night certificate after $3K in purchases in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: 60K: 40K after $3K in 3 months + 20K after $6K total in 6 months (Expired 1/9/19)

FM Mini Review: Great card for signup bonus and annual free night. Might be worth using regularly for additional free night and as a path to status.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants / cafes / coffee shops, airlines, local transit, fitness clubs and gym memberships ⚬ 4X Hyatt

Big spend bonus: One free Cat 1-4 night certificate after $15K spend in your cardmember year. ⚬ Get 2 elite qualifying night credits every time you spend $5K in purchases

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Free category 1-4 night every year upon renewal ⚬ Additional free category 1-4 night after $15K spend in cardmember year ⚬ Discoverist elite status ⚬ 5 elite qualifying nights

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

If you signed up for the Capital One Venture Rewards card (or it’s Spark Miles twin), then that card, with its 2% everywhere rewards, has probably been your go-to card over the past year for spend that isn’t needed for a new welcome bonus and that doesn’t earn a category bonus.  Now, here’s an arguably better option.  The Ink Business Unlimited earns 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar everywhere.  If you move those points to your Sapphire Preferred account, you’ll then be able to transfer to Chase airline and hotel partners 1 to 1.  And if you ever upgrade your Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll be able to purchase travel and Pay Yourself Back at a value of 1.5 cents per point.  So, when earning 1.5X for all spend, the Ink Business Unlimited card then becomes a (sort of) 2.25% everywhere card.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited
75K points
75K after $7.5K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

See: How to sign up for Chase Ink cards

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus for a fee-free card. Good option for earning 1.5X everywhere. Good companion card to Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Other

Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Fifth set of cards

Chase United Explorer Card

If you followed the plan listed above, you should be at 4/24.  In other words, you’ll only be able to sign up for one more Chase card until it’s been more than 24 months since you’ve opened 5 or more consumer card accounts.  Here, I’m recommending the United card as your final (for now) Chase card.

At the time of this writing, this card has a lower than usual intro bonus: only 40K miles.  Hopefully, a better offer will be in place by the time you are ready to apply for this card.  I consider this a “must have” Chase card because it can be downgraded after a year to a no-fee United card which preserves this card’s best features: Improved economy saver award availability, and last seat standard economy award availability.  The former feature, especially, makes it much easier to book international awards with United miles since it opens up space between airports domestically.  The latter feature is great for those occasions when you are stuck with no good way to get from one place to the other.  Read about how I put this feature to great use here.

Before you apply for the United card, I highly recommend logging into your United account and going through the steps of buying airfare (you can stop before actually filling out your credit card info if you don’t really have a purchase you want to make).  Somewhere in that process, you may get an offer for this card that is better than the public offer.

The following display shows the current public United Explorer card offer at the time you read this on the web (again, hopefully the offer will be better by the time you get to it!):

Chase United Explorer Card
70K Miles
60K after $3K spend in 3 months plus 10K after $6K in 6 months
(Offer Expires 1/13/2021)

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $95

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: This is the best offer we've seen recently

FM Mini Review: Decent perks such as enhanced access to United saver level economy awards makes this a keeper for some.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: 2X United ⚬ 2X restaurants ⚬ 2X on hotel stays

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Improved saver award availability ⚬ Last seat standard award availability ⚬ Free first checked bag for primary cardholder and one travel companion when you pay with the card ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ No foreign exchange fees ⚬ 2 United Club passes per year ⚬ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre-check credit ⚬ 25% back on United in-flight purchases

Eager for even more?

If you have capacity for more spend than is required for the above cards, you can always sign up for additional business cards along the way without hurting your ability to get more Chase cards since most business cards do not add to your 5/24 count.

Many business cards do not add to 5/24. Chase uses your personal credit report to determine how many cards you've opened in the past 24 months. However, most business credit cards are not routinely reported on personal credit reports. Even Chase's own business cards aren't routinely reported and therefore do not count towards your 5/24 total.  That is, if you are under 5/24 you can get approved for a Chase business card.  Once approved, that card will not worsen your 5/24 status.
More:According to Doctor of Credit, the following banks do not routinely report business accounts to the personal credit bureaus:
  • American Express (except for Canadian Amex)
  • Bank of America
  • Barclaycard
  • Capital One Spark Cash
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • FNBO
  • Navy Federal CU
  • PNC
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo

The following banks do report business cards on personal credit reports (and therefore do count towards 5/24):
  • Capital One (except Spark Cash)
  • Discover
  • TD Bank
  • UBS Bank

You can find a sorted list of the best business card offers here

What about annual fees?

In most cases, a card’s first year annual fee is well worth paying in order to earn a welcome bonus for the card.  When the second year annual fee comes due, though, it’s then time to make some decisions.  Are the card’s perks worth more to you than the annual fee?  If so, keep the card.  If not, call the card issuer to ask for product change options.  Is there a fee-free card you can switch to?  In many cases it makes sense to change to a fee free card rather than to cancel outright.

Add it all up

Assuming success at getting approved for all of the above cards and in meeting the spend requirements, and assuming that the welcome offers remain the same as the time of this writing, you would have earned the following numbers of points:

Card Spend Points from Spend Points from Welcome Bonus Total Points Earned
Venture Rewards* $3K 6K 50K 56K
Sapphire Preferred $4K 4K 80K 84K
Southwest Premier Business Card $3K 3K 60K 63K
Southwest Performance Business Card** $5K 5K 70K 75K
Freedom Flex*** $12K 60K 20K 80K
Chase Ink Business Cash $3K 3K 50K 53K
World of Hyatt $6K 6K 50K 56K
Chase Ink Business Unlimited $3K 3K 50K 53K
United Explorer $2K 2K 40K 42K

* Capital One Venture Rewards: The totals shown above for the Capital One card assume one stops spend after $3,000.  If you qualify for the limited time 100K offer, then you could optionally spend $17K more to get a total of 100K points from the welcome bonus and a total of 40K points from spend.
** Southwest Performance Business Card: The offer at the time of writing includes the ability to earn an additional 30K points after a total of $25K spend in 6 months. This post assumes that you will not pursue that additional spend.
*** Freedom Flex: Assuming here that you spend $12K in groceries over 12 months in order to maximize the 5X grocery bonus.

In total, we’re looking at 548,000 points & miles in 12 to 15 months and a Southwest Companion Pass good for nearly two years.  It’s possible to do much better than this, but this plan offers a solid start and ensures that you have many of the key cards in your portfolio for ongoing success in earning points and traveling for free.

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