Greg’s Top Picks: Showstopping credit card offers! (Nov 2020)

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We’re seeing a deluge of fantastic credit card offers! The pickings are so good right now that I separated my top picks into two sections: showstopping credit card offers (now with the new Amex Platinum & Gold offers, Chase Ink 75K offers, etc.), and more great credit card offers.

In a past Frequent Miler on the Air episode, Nick and I discussed an amazing Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 5 free nights offer (now expired).  By many measures, this was one of the best credit card offers we’ve ever seen. But we agreed that we wouldn’t recommend it to most people.  It was a great credit card offer for those who knew they would be traveling within the next year, but terrible for everyone else.  We also discussed the likelihood that other great offers would appear.  For example, we argued that we’d likely soon see improved offers for the Bonvoy Brilliant and World of Hyatt cards.  In both cases, time proved us right.

Our Best Credit Card Offers page always shows the best offers sorted by estimated first year value.  This is a great non-biased way to compare credit card offers, but it misses  nuances like those described above.  That’s why I introduced this monthly series where I list my favorite credit card offers, but with a dash of analysis.  With each offer, I point out who should care about it and who shouldn’t.  I also include a “Wait for better” section with the cards that I think may soon have better offers.

Greg’s Top Picks: Showstopping credit card offers

Amex Platinum: 10X AND 75K + $300, 100K, or 125K

The Platinum Card® from American Express
75K points + up to $300 in statement credits + 10x US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets
75K after $5K spend in first 6 months plus 20% back as a statement credit for restaurant purchases worldwide for the first 12 months up to $300 back plus 10x on eligible purchases at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases in the first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$550 Annual Fee

These offers are astoundingly good! There are several versions that are possible to get:

  • 125K + 10X: Very rare, but some people find this one by browsing to the Amex prequalification tool from a clean browser.
  • 100K + 10X: This one is also targeted but most people have been able to find this offer by repeatedly browsing to this Amex Platinum card page from different clean browsers.
  • 75K + 10X + $300 restaurant rebate: This is a public offer, found here.

Who should get it: Pretty much anyone who hasn’t been the primary cardholder of the  Amex Platinum card in the past 7 years should at least consider one of these offers in my opinion.  This is especially good for those who will spend a lot at US gas stations and supermarkets in the first 6 months.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Platinum card will add to your 5/24 count (but I think this one is worth it anyway).

Timing your application: To snag $80 worth of streaming and wireless credits (up to $40 in November and $40 in December), you’ll need to apply right away.

See also:

Ink Business Cash: 75K + great 5X categories

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

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.

The 75K offer does require $7,500 spend, but imagine if you spent all of that within 5X categories… you would earn 37,500 points to add to the 75K for a total of 112,500!

Who should get it: Anyone with a premium Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred) in the household should consider getting the Chase Ink Business Cash.  The Ink Cash makes it easy to earn points quickly and the premium cards (especially the Sapphire Reserve) make your points more valuable.

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.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Don’t apply if you don’t have a business or if you’re over 5/24.

Timing your application: Sign up soon as we don’t know how long this will last. The usual offer is 50K.

See also: Chase Ink Business Cash Complete Guide

Ink Business Unlimited: 75K + 1.5X everywhere

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

This isn’t as much of a “must have” card as the Ink Cash, but the welcome bonus is similarly awesome.  It is possible to get both cards even if you have only one business.

Who should get it: Anyone with a business who can qualify for this offer should consider it.

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.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Don’t apply if you don’t have a business or if you’re over 5/24.

Timing your application: Sign up soon as we don’t know how long this will last. The usual offer is 50K.

See also: Chase Ink Business Unlimited Complete Guide

Amex Gold Card: 60K + $250 + last chance $100 double-dip

American Express® Gold Card
60K Points + up to $250 in statement credits
60K after $4K spend in first 6 months plus 20% back as a statement credit on restaurant purchases worldwide for the first 12 months up to $250 back. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$250 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card offers an awesome return on US supermarket and worldwide dining spend, putting it at or near the top-of-class in both categories. The addition of Boxed.com makes it easy to get full value from the card's $10/month dining & entertainment credits.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery

Earning rate: 3X points for flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com ⚬ 4x points at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Up to $100 a year in statement credits for baggage fees and more with one qualifying airline (available through 12/31/21) ⚬ Up to $10 in statement credits monthly with participating dining partners (Boxed.com, Shake Shack, Seamless/Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse) ⚬ Up tp $10 in statement credits monthly with Uber or Uber Eats beginning in January 2021 ⚬ Complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months (must enroll by 12/31/21) ⚬ $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges on stays of 2 nights or longer, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc

The Amex Gold Card has been a favorite of ours since it debuted with its 4X dining and grocery categories (see above for details), but until recently the best offer for this card topped out at 45K points.  Obviously 60K points is much better.  And now, the ability to earn $250 back at restaurants (where you’ll also earn 4X) is better still!  Consider that you’ll likely use this card at restaurants and food delivery services anyway (for 4X rewards), so you should be able to earn the full $250 rebate through regular dining spend over the next 12 months.

Amex recently announced that they were adding new perks to the Gold card: $10 per month Uber / Uber Eats credit plus 12 months complementary Uber Eats Pass Membership (the latter is also available to Amex Platinum and Green cardholders).  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that 2021 is the last year that they’ll rebate up to $100 per year in airline incidental fees.

Who should get it: The 60K offer is a great one and the $250 restaurant rebate makes the deal really awesome.  As long as you haven’t had this card or the old Premier Rewards Gold card in the past 7 years, you should qualify for this one.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Gold card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

Timing your application:  Those who know how to take advantage of Amex’s airline fee rebates (see: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?) would do well to sign up now.  You could earn $100 back this year (2020) and another $100 next year while also taking advantage of the new monthly Uber credits.

See also: Amex Membership Rewards Points Complete Guide.

JetBlue: 100K Offers

Barclays JetBlue Plus Mastercard
100K Miles
100K: 50K after $1K spend in 90 days, plus 50K more after a total of $6K spend in 12 months

$99 Annual Fee

JetBlue Business Card
100K Miles
100K: 50K after $1K spend in 90 days, plus 50K more after a total of $6K spend in 12 months

$99 Annual Fee

We’ve never before seen offers anywhere close to this good for JetBlue cards.

Who should get it: If you’re interested in flying JetBlue, either offer is a great way to rack up a small fortune in points towards future flights.

Who shouldn’t get it:  If you’re trying to get or stay under 5/24 so that you can apply for Chase cards, then skip the JetBlue Plus offer and look only at the business card offer.

Timing your application: I don’t know how long these offers will last so if you’re interested I recommend going for it soon.

Marriott Bonvoy: Platinum + Points

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
125K points + Platinum Status
125K points + Platinum Status: 100K points after $5K spend in the first 3 months + Platinum status for 2021 membership year (2/1/21 to 1-31-22) + 25K points after first anniversary. Terms apply.
(Offer Expires 1/13/2021)

$450 Annual Fee

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
100K Points + Platinum Status + up to $150 statement credit
100K points after $5K spend in the first 3 months + Complimentary Platinum Status for 2021 membership year (2/1/21 to 1-31-22) + up to $150 in statement credits for eligible purchases on U.S. Advertising in select media in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 1/13/2021)

$125 Annual Fee

There are currently two best-ever offers for Marriott credit cards available from American Express.  The bonuses offer a combination of points plus a year of Platinum elite status.  One unique aspect to these offers is that it’s possible to get in on both of them.  Most Marriott card offers have strict rules preventing consumers from getting more than one welcome bonus in a short amount of time, but the rules allow for both of these cards as long as you haven’t received a bonus on a Chase Marriott card in the past 24 months.  See this post for details: Are you eligible for a new Marriott card?

Another cool aspect to signing up for both cards is the fact that you’ll then get 30 nights towards elite status every year automatically.  This means that once your free Platinum status runs out, you’ll be able to earn Platinum status again with only 20 additional nights in Marriott hotels (Platinum status requires 50 nights total).  Marriott Platinum status offers perks like free breakfast, lounge access, 4Pm late check out, and more.

Amex credit and charge card limits: If you apply for a new Amex credit card, you may get turned down if you already have 4 or more Amex credit cards; or 10 or more charge cards. Both personal and business cards are counted together towards these limits. Authorized user cards are not counted. See also: Which Amex Cards are Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards?

Who should get it: These are great offers for anyone interested in getting lots of Marriott points and/or interested in earning Marriott elite status.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you’re not interested in staying at Marriott hotels then you should skip these offers.  If you’re trying to get or stay under 5/24 so that you can apply for Chase cards, then skip the Bonvoy Brilliant offer and look only at the business card offer.

Timing your application: These offers are scheduled to stick around until January 13th.

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Greg’s Top Picks: More great credit card offers

Sapphire Preferred: 60K

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

The Sapphire Preferred card’s 60K offer is consistently one of the best consumer card offers available.

Who should get it: If it’s been more than 48 months since you last received a welcome bonus for the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card and if you’re under 5/24, then this is a great choice.  If you currently have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll have to first product change it to a Freedom card then wait a day or two before signing up for this one.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you’re close to going over 5/24 and have your heart set on other Chase cards (see: “Must have” Chase cards), then you may want to skip this one.  Also if you love the Sapphire Reserve card’s features and don’t want to go without that card for a year (you have to wait a year before upgrading the Sapphire Preferred), then skip the Sapphire Preferred.

Timing your application: Sign up before going over 5/24.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Wyndham Business Card: 45K points + Diamond

Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card

FM Mini Review: Excellent earning rate at gas stations and Wyndham hotels. Diamond status plus 15K annual bonus makes this card a keeper.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Other

Earning rate: 8X Wyndham & gas ⚬ 5X marketing, advertising, and utilities (telecommunications, cable, satellite, electric, gas, heating oil and water) ⚬ 1X everywhere else

Noteworthy perks: 15,000 points each anniversary year ⚬ Diamond status ⚬ 10% discount on free night awards ⚬ Cardmember discount on paid stays ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

See also: Wyndham Earner credit cards review: Surprisingly strong

It’s not just the 45K welcome bonus that excites me about this new Wyndham card, but rather a combination of cool things:

  • 15K annual point bonus: The annual point bonus alone is worth the card’s $95 annual fee.
  • Wyndham Diamond status: With this status you can get suite upgrades (including on free nights), welcome amenity, and ability to gift Gold status to others.  Even better, Wyndham Diamond status freely matches to Caesar’s Diamond which offers perks like waived resort fees, free $100 Celebration dinner (read Nick’s Celebration Dinner trip report here), and much more.
  • Strong earnings for gas station purchases (8X), Wyndham hotels (8X), and utilities (5X)
  • Won’t add to your 5/24 Count: Business cards from most issuers (including Barclays) do not show as accounts on your personal credit reports and therefore do not add to your Chase 5/24 count.

Who should get it: I think this one makes sense for pretty much anyone who is eligible to apply for 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.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone who doesn’t foresee any good use for Wyndham points should stay away.  Wyndham points expire 4 years after they’re earned.

Timing your application: The 45K offer is probably temporary. My bet is that the offer will drop down to 30K at some point in the future, but I don’t know when.  If it’s important to you to get the 45K bonus then sign up soon.

See also: New Wyndham Earner credit cards review: Surprisingly strong

Freedom Unlimited or Flex: Up to 80K + great new category bonuses

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.

Chase Freedom Unlimited
20K points + 5X grocery + 15 months 0% APR
Earn 20,000 points (worth $200 cash back) after spending $500 in the first 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.

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

Now that Chase has added valuable new bonus categories to these cards, it’s definitely worth adding at least one of the two to your arsenal.  Both cards offer 5X Ultimate Rewards for travel booked through Chase; 3X for dining; and 3X drugstores.  The Freedom Unlimited rounds this out with 1.5X everywhere else whereas the Freedom Flex offers 5X in categories that change each quarter.  If you don’t already have a great “everywhere else” card, then the Freedom Unlimited is the better choice, otherwise go for the Freedom Flex.

It’s nice too that Chase has greatly improved the Freedom welcome bonus.  The old bonus was for 20K points after $500 spend.  Now, you get the same 20K points but also earn 5X at grocery stores for 12 months on up to $12K in purchases.  If you spend $1K per month at grocery stores and nothing else on these cards, you’ll end up with 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (20K from the initial bonus + 60K from 5X spend at grocery stores).

Who should get it: Anyone with a premium Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred) in the household should consider getting one of these cards.  The Freedom cards make it easy to earn points quickly and the premium cards (especially the Sapphire Reserve) make your points more valuable.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone trying to stay under 5/24.

Timing your application: I don’t think these offers are likely to change anytime soon so it’s fine to wait until it’s convenient.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

United Business: 75K

United℠ Business Card

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
Dine
Gas
Office
Other

Earning rate: 2X at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores ⚬ 2X United ⚬ 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services

Big spend bonus: $100 annual United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases greater than $100

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Improved saver award availability ⚬ Last seat standard award availability ⚬ Free first checked bag ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ No foreign exchange fees ⚬ 2 United Club passes per year at anniversary ⚬ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ 5,000 bonus miles at anniversary when you have this card and also a personal Chase United credit card. ⚬ 25% back on United in-flight purchases

An offer like this for a United business card comes and goes over time.  Right now it’s at a high watermark, so it’s a good time to grab it.  United miles are useful not just for flying United, but also for flying any Star Alliance airline or United partner.  One nice thing about using United miles is that United doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges even when the flying carrier otherwise imposes them (yes, I’m looking at you Lufthansa and Swiss).  The downside is that United’s award prices are fairly high compared to some alternatives like ANA or Turkish.

Who should get it: Anyone with a business who is under 5/24.

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.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone who doesn’t have a business or has no use for United miles.

Timing your application: I don’t think this offer will last long.  Either grab it now or wait until it comes around again.

United Explorer: 70K

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

An offer like this for the United Explorer card comes and goes over time.  Right now it’s at a high watermark, so it’s a good time to grab it.  United miles are useful not just for flying United, but also for flying any Star Alliance airline or United partner.  One nice thing about using United miles is that United doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges even when the flying carrier otherwise imposes them (yes, I’m looking at you Lufthansa and Swiss).  The downside is that United’s award prices are fairly high compared to some alternatives like ANA or Turkish.

Another reason to go for this offer is that you can later downgrade to a fee free United card and preserve access to expanded economy saver awards and last seat standard awards.

Who should get it: Anyone under 5/24 who does not yet have a consumer United card may find this one worth getting.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone who has no use for United miles or is trying to get or stay under 5/24.

Timing your application: I don’t think this offer will last long.  Either grab it now or wait until it comes around again.

Virgin Atlantic: 65K

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Virgin Atlantic ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: Companion award ticket with $25K annual spend ⚬ 7,500 bonus points with $15K cardmember year spend + an additional 7,500 points with $25K cardmember year spend ⚬ 25 tier points towards elite status per $2,500 spend (max 50 tier points per month).

See also: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status

Bank of America advertises this as an 80K offer, but they’re counting 15K from big spend that you can get every year. To me, that shouldn’t be advertised as part of the welcome bonus.  Still, this is a solid offer that comes and goes over time.  Plus, this is a solid card to keep long term.  See: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status.

Who should get it: This is a good choice for anyone interested in accumulating Virgin Atlantic miles.  Note that Virgin Atlantic miles are especially valuable for booking Delta non-stop, Air France premium economy, and ANA first class.

Who shouldn’t get it: This card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

See also: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles and How to book Air France & KLM with Virgin Atlantic Miles.

IHG Premier: 140K

Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
140K Points
140K after $3K in the first 3 months

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $89

FM Mini Review: Good signup bonus. Keep only if you value the 40K annual free night and/or 4th night free awards.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand

Earning rate: 10X IHG ⚬ 2X gas, grocery, and restaurants.

Big spend bonus: 10K bonus points after you spend $20K in a cardmember year + make one additional purchase

Noteworthy perks: Annual free night e-certificate good at IHG properties up to 40K points per night ⚬ Fourth night free on award stays ⚬ 20% discount on points purchases ⚬ Platinum elite status.

This is a great bonus for a card with decent perks but poor earnings on spend.  Those who don’t have the (no longer available) IHG Club card may like the IHG Premier for its annual free night certificate and automatic Platinum Elite status.  The Fourth Night Free on award stays is a great feature too, but that’s also available on the fee-free IHG Traveler card.  For those who don’t want to pay this card’s annual fee, a great option is to sign up for this bonus and then downgrade to the fee free card a year later.

Southwest Performance Business: 2-Year Companion Pass w/ $25K spend

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.

This is an offer that we haven’t recommended earlier this year because the timing wasn’t right.  Now, though, the timing works.  Once you earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, Southwest offers a Companion Pass which is good for an unlimited number of flights (award flights or paid flights) for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next. And it just so happens that points earned from Southwest credit cards, including the welcome bonus, count towards the Companion Pass.  The way to maximize this deal is to earn the welcome bonus early in January 2021 so that you’ll have a Companion Pass for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022.

The trick is to sign up for this offer before January, but wait to put spend on the card until after your December statement closes.  Then, you’ll have to make sure to spend $25K before the terms of your welcome offer expire (3 months after approval).  If you can make all of that happen, then you’ll earn 100,000 points from the welcome offer plus 25K points from the $25K spend.  Then, once the 125K points are awarded, you’ll be given a Companion Pass good for nearly two full years.

Who should get it: This is ideal for anyone who can easily spend $25K quickly and who often travels in pairs on Southwest, or wants to do so.

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.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you don’t think you’ll be flying much in 2021, then you should wait a year before doing this.  If you aren’t interested in flying Southwest, in general, then don’t do this.  If you can’t easily spend $25K quickly, then definitely don’t do this.

Timing your application: Ideally you’d wait until mid to late November to pull the trigger on this offer so that you’ll have more time to complete the $25K spend after your December statement closes.  There is some risk that the offer will disappear before then, but I think that the risk is low.

See also: Southwest Airlines Companion Pass 2020 Complete Guide

Amex Green Card: 50K

American Express® Green Card
45K Points
45K points after $2K spend in 3 months. Terms apply. See

$150 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card is worth considering as your go-to travel card, but only if you value its CLEAR and Lounge Buddy credits. Also note that Amex cards continue to have limited acceptance in many international destinations.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: ⚬ 3X on travel & transit (including flights, hotels, taxis, and rideshares) ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. See

Noteworthy perks: $100 CLEAR credit annually ⚬ $100 LoungeBuddy credit annually ⚬ Complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months (must enroll by 12/31/21). Terms Apply.

This is a solid offer.  If you like Amex Membership Rewards points then this is an easy way to pick up more of them.

Who should get it: The 50K offer is very good.  It’s a good choice for anyone interested in accumulating Amex Membership Rewards points.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Green card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

See also: Amex Membership Rewards Points Complete Guide

On the fence

Venture Rewards 100K

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.

I had a hard time deciding where to put this offer.  On the one hand, it’s hard to ignore a 100,000 point offer.  There’s no doubt that it is a very strong offer.  On the other hand, I believe that this offer has a narrow target audience…

In general, I think that the Venture Rewards card is a good pick for someone who only wants a single card, but anyone willing to carry even two cards can do better.  For example, the combination of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and either Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred has the same total annual fee and is a better choice for most people in my opinion.

And for those only interested in the welcome bonus, there are a couple of problems: 1) Capital One is notoriously difficult to get approved if you have opened a lot of cards in the recent past.  And 2) To get the full 100K bonus, you have to spend a whopping $20K.  That’s a big hurdle.

Wait for better

Hilton Aspire

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
150K Points
150K after $4K spend in 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$450 Annual Fee

This is a tough one.  I almost put this card in the top list.  This card already has a great offer.  Plus, the free nights earned from this card prior to the end of 2021 will be valid at least until the end of 2022 and for any day of the week, not just weekends (see this post for details).

On the other hand, the Bonvoy Brilliant card’s welcome bonus was recently improved and so I think that Hilton is likely to respond with an increased offer for the Aspire card.

Sapphire Reserve

In the post “Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K Offer – Will it return?” I offered up probabilities of various outcomes:

  • Probability of the offer remaining 50K: High
  • Probability of a 70K offer: Very Low
  • Probability of a 80K offer: High
  • Probability of a 100K offer: Low

In sum, I think that a return of the Sapphire Reserve 100K offer is very unlikely.  But still, you never know.  Update: One person reported receiving a targeted 100K offer for the Sapphire Reserve card.  It’s possible that Chase will follow this up later with a similar public offer.  We’ll see!

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