For most of the credit cards with big rewards, there is also a business version that has similar perks. The business cards also have similar signup bonuses and essentially let you double up on points for the same program which makes those big redemptions come that much faster. Aside from the signup bonuses, business cards also have some very lucrative spending categories such as office stores, internet providers, and cell phone bills. These categories typically don’t appear on personal cards, so adding one to your portfolio can help you maximize return across a larger percentage of your overall spending. I applied for my first business card back in October, but wasn’t able to actually get my first one until more recently. You could even use some of your credit for small business marketing to improve your cash flow even more. Now that I’ve gotten the first one though, I expect future ones to be much easier to get and I’ll explain why below.
The Business Application Itself
Business credit cards are a common appearance in the various places, places I read about churning and for good reason. A credit card for a particular airline might offer a large signup bonus, but restrict you to only being able to get that bonus once every two years. This makes accumulating a large number of the miles fairly difficult because signup bonuses are by far the cheapest and simplest way to obtain a large number of miles. If that airline also offers a business version of the same card, it now becomes possible to get the bonus twice as often! More miles going into the same account means you might be able to fly first class instead of coach! On top of that, the 5x earnings at office supply stores offered by some business cards is frequently talked about by deal seekers and manufactured spenders alike.
Now this only applies to people with an actual business right? Not necessarily, but your results will definitely vary. Before I applied myself, other blogs and sources made it seem like getting a business card was as simple as claiming you were a sole-proprietorship and putting $1 for your yearly revenue. If you sold a few things on ebay per year, they made it sound like you were a lock to be approved. Maybe this works for people with top-tier credit, but I think banks have wised up in recent years and are much more stringent in approving people. Everyone’s own experience will vary, but I’ll explain my own attempt at getting a business card.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
My first attempt at getting a business card was back in October of last year. This wasn’t too long after I first started in the churning game, so I had a couple recent applications and my credit profile was pretty bare. I wasn’t too optimistic, but the 70,000 UR signup bonus on Chase’s Ink Plus was all the rage at the time and I thought I’d give it a shot. Earlier in the year, I had bought a sold a few event tickets for a small profit, so I used that info on the application because why couldn’t I be a ticket broker? I think I put $3,000 or so for revenue and an age of the business at less than a year. After applying online, I got a pending status and decided to wait it out. I got the declined status a week later and decided to call recon because I honestly had nothing to lose at that point. They grilled me on the business details and while I had answers for all of their questions, I was still declined. Oh well I thought and I decided to apply for the Arrival+ the same day so I would have another minimum spend to work on. Instant approval for that one.
Business application number 2 took place more recently in March. When signing up for the Chase Total Checking account bonus back in January (I made the mistake of doing the $200 offer instead of holding out for $300, don’t make the same mistake yourself!), I met a friendly banker who admitted to “playing the game” himself and we had a nice long conversation about credit cards and travel. By March, I had gotten started in the gift card arbitrage business and had some legitimate business revenue to report. This time I applied in branch with my new banker friend and after getting the pending status we immediately called recon. Once again, they grilled me on the business details and I answered all of their questions honestly. Unfortunately, the phone rep seemed really focused on why I didn’t have anything on my business credit profile. Kind of tough to have accounts on your business credit file if you can’t even get approved for a business credit card… Anyway, they eventually returned with a declined decision and I moved on to more personal cards again.
If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that Chase seems really picky with their business cards regardless of how willingly they extend you credit on their personal products. Moving on to April, I had recently started an LLC for the gift card business and was a more legitimate business than ever. I also decided to target a much friendlier bank this time and settled on Bank of America. If they’ll give somebody 5 copies of a card in one day, I figure the least they could do was give me one measly business card, right? I can always use more Alaska miles and the Companion Fare is as good as cash to my many co-workers so the value of the card is high for me. With a tax id in hand and some business revenue to back me up, I filled out the application online and got the standard pending status. I called the business reconsideration line right away and went through pretty much the same series of questions that Chase asked.
After walking through my gift card business, explaining my revenue, and estimating my monthly spend, I was approved! The phone rep said I would have to fax in proof of the LLC formation, but my card would be mailed out right after they received it. About a week later, I finally had my first business card in hand and I couldn’t be more excited. I still don’t have the wonderful 5x earnings at office supply stores, but I think it’s only a matter of time.
Moving On To More
I’m convinced the first card is the toughest, similar to trying to get approved for a line of credit without any history to speak of. Putting a little spend on this card and paying it off like all my other ones to establish a little positive credit history on my business profile will help, and while I can’t say for sure, I would wager that future business applications will go much smoother than the first few. Whether it was officially establishing a business via the LLC, showing some consistent revenue, or simply my selection of banks, I was finally able to get approved for a business card. The Ink Plus has won two battles so far, but I plan to win the war. My new favorite banker will probably be getting a visit the next time the signup bonus goes up (if there’s not a better offer online of course). It might be a good idea to talk to a high risk merchant account specialist as well because they can support your businesses goals to process payment from customers. The business card is fantastic, time to get the business on the move!