[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — American Express Platinum Card and Citi/AAdvantage Executive World EliteTM MasterCard Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Business travel can be an exhausting way of life, as you can spend hours each week waiting in line at airports, hotels and rental car counters. The more time you spend waiting around, the more important it becomes to find some way to streamline the experience and save valuable time.
Thankfully, the right credit card can offer business travelers priority service at every step of their journey, along with valuable rewards for their spending. And while these premium reward cards come with significant annual fees, this expense can be easily justified by all the value offered.
Frequent fliers should be careful, though, to read the terms and conditions carefully to be sure a card is a good fit. It’s also a good idea to check your credit since you generally need a good score to qualify for premium plastic. (You can view two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.) Finally, it’s best to avoid carrying a balance on these cards; otherwise, lots of those perks will be lost to your annual percentage rate. And you’ll want to be sure you travel enough to recoup any annual fee associated with the card — they tend to be on the higher side.
With those caveats in minds, here are some credit cards business travelers may want to consider.
1. American Express Platinum
This card is offered in a version for small business owners and for consumers. Each offers impressive travel benefits including membership in the Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select, and American Express Centurion airport lounge programs. You also receive a $200 annual air travel credit that can be used for incidental fees such as baggage fees, seat selection fees, and in-flight food and beverages.
To speed things along at the airport, you will be reimbursed for the $100 application fee for the Global Entry program, which includes expedited entry to the United States when arriving on a flight from another country, or the TSA PreCheck program for faster security screening. After you arrive, you can quickly rent a car with elite status with Avis, Hertz and National car rentals. Finally, you will receive priority service and other perks that come with Gold status with the Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest programs.
This card offers Membership Rewards points that can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards or travel reservations, or transferred to airline miles with 17 different frequent flyer programs. You earn one point per dollar spent, and double points on all reservations booked through American Express travel. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
2. United MileagePlus Club Business Card from Chase
This card offers business travelers numerous ways to speed up their experiences, as well as solid rewards. To begin with, cardholders receive a United Club airport lounge membership. And when flying on United, cardholders receive priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling privileges, along with a waiver of United’s $75 close-in award booking fee for flights reserved within 21 days of departure. You also receive two free checked bags for yourself and a companion. You also receive Platinum status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program.
Instead of earning just one point per dollar spent, like most airline cards, this card offers 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, and double points for United purchases. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
This card offers numerous perks including an Admiral’s Club airport lounge membership as well as a free checked bag, priority check-in, expedited airport screening (where available) and early boarding when flying American Airlines. In fact, even authorized users receive lounge access, and there is no cost to order additional cards. You also receive a 25% savings on in-flight purchases and up to a $100 credit towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees. (Full Disclosure: Citibank and Chase advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
4. Chase Sapphire Reserve
This new card offers three points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, which add up very quickly for road warriors. Points are earned in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program and are worth 1.5 cents each towards travel reservations, or can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points. Other benefits include a $300 annual travel credit and a $100 credit toward the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
It also includes complimentary airport lounge access with the Priority Pass select program as well as special car rental privileges from National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar when you book with your card. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
At publishing time, the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World EliteTM MasterCard and the American Express Platinum are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.