6 best credit cards for consultants in 2021 | finder.com

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Best credit cards for consultants

Travel credit cards can offer top-notch rewards for consultants.

For many consultants, it’s easy to rack up big bills on travel and dining. But a credit card that offers rewards in such categories can help with savings. Many cards also offer solid flat-rate rewards on all purchases, which can benefit consultants with varied spend categories.

We looked for cards with market-leading rewards in typical consultant spend categories. We also gave weight to cards that included extra travel benefits.

What are the best credit cards for consultants?

If you’re a consultant, your typical expenses likely include travel and dining. For this reason, travel credit cards are often the best options. Consider where you spend most and see whether a card’s bonus categories are a fit. Also, consider whether you want premium travel benefits like airport lounge access or credits for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees.

Best for travel within the US
Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠ logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
This card can give you one of the highest rewards rates on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards, on Lyft rides and dining. But because it has foreign transaction fees, it's best used for travel within the US. You can also easily track your transactions and other card details online through your Chase account or with the Chase mobile app.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months when you open your account.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories on up to $1,500 every quarter, and 1% back after that. Earn 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022, and 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards. Purchases made at drugstores and restaurants, including takeout and delivery earns 3% back. All other purchases earn 1% cash back
  • Intro APR. Get 0% intro APR period on purchases for the first 15 months. After that, a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies.
  • Foreign transaction fees. If you travel abroad, be prepared to pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases you make overseas.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases

Best overall credit card for consultants
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve® logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

740
Min. credit score
$550
Annual fee
Up to 10x
Points
60,000
Points welcome offer
Travel is a fact of life for most consultants, but you can do it in style with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®'s premium benefits. These include an annual $300 travel credit, airport lounge access and special perks at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties. After you use your annual credit, you'll earn strong rewards on travel and dining. As a Chase card, it features the ability to track transactions and similar card events through your Chase account and mobile app.
  • Rewards. Earn 3x points on travel and dining after you use your $300 annual travel credit. Also, earn 1x points on all other purchases. Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Premium travel benefits. Get a $300 travel credit each card year. Enjoy a credit for your Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee as well as complimentary airport lounge access. Access special benefits such as early check-in, late checkout and complimentary room upgrades when you book at properties in The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases on your card within the first 3 months of opening your account. These are worth $900 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • High annual fee. Of the cards on this list, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®'s $550 annual fee is the highest.
Annual Fee $550
Purchase APR 16.99% to 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 16.99% to 23.99% variable
Welcome offer 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $900 through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Rewards 10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases

Best for Hyatt hotel perks
World of Hyatt Credit Card

World of Hyatt Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
Up to 9x
Points
30,000
Points welcome offer
World of Hyatt Credit Card is a reliable option if hotels are like a second home and you prefer the Hyatt brand. The earning rate and signup bonus are solid and the perks available are more generous than you'd expect from a card with a $95 annual fee. You can also keep tabs on your transaction history by logging into your account or signing into the Chase app.
  • Rewards. Earn 4x bonus points at all Hyatt hotels. Earn 2x points on fitness club and gym memberships, local transit and commuting purchases, at restaurants and on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Spend $3,000 on purchases in the 3 months of account opening and get 30,000 bonus points. You'll also earn 2x instead of 1x points on up to $15,000 (for a total of up to 30,000 additional points) in the first 6 months.
  • Reward nights. Earn a free award night on category 1 through 4 hotels each card anniversary. You can also earn a free night for every $15,000 you spend each year
  • No intro APR periods. Whether making purchases or transferring a balance, be prepared to start accumulating interest as soon as you start using your card.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus 2x instead of 1x points on up to $15,000 (up to 30,000 more points) in the first 6 months
Rewards 9x total points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases

Best for flat-rate rewards
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
5x
Miles
100,000
Miles welcome offer
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a reliable option if you don't want to deal with tiered rewards, or you spend heavily in categories other than travel or dining. You'll get unlimited 2x miles on all purchases and credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. This can save you from getting stuck in security lanes. Capital One also lets you manage a variety of card features, including transaction history and merchant tracking, through your online account.
  • Rewards. Get unlimited 2x miles on all purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $20,000 in your first 12 months of account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months. This is up to a $1,400 value if you earn the full bonus.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit. Receive up to a $100 credit every four years for your application fee.
  • No 1:1 transfer ratio. This card offers mile transfers at a 2:1.5 or 2:1 ratio, reducing the overall redemption rate you can get on your miles.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 17.24%, 21.99% or 24.49% variable
Balance transfer APR 17.24%, 21.99% or 24.49% variable
Welcome offer Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Rewards 5x miles on Uber Eats and 2x miles on all purchases

Best business credit card
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express logo
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Points

Welcome offer
If you're a freelance consultant or you own your own business, it could be wise to get a business credit card. The no-annual-fee The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is an especially good choice, offering solid flat-rate rewards on all spending on up to $50,000 annually. Watch out for its foreign transaction fee, which makes the card a poor choice if you typically travel out of the country.
  • Rewards. Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1x.
  • No annual fee. Your rewards become more valuable without an annual fee to worry about. This card also allows you to assign account management to another individual, which can help you keep track of your business expenses.
  • Intro APR. Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening, then 13.24% to 19.24% variable.
  • Foreign transaction fee. When traveling internationally, be ready for a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on any purchases you make abroad.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.24% to 19.24% variable)
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer
Rewards Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2x applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.

Best for no annual fee
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Points
20,000
Points welcome offer
If you don't need premium benefits but want strong rewards, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is an ace in the hole. You'll earn 3x points in such categories as dining, fuel, rideshares, flights, hotels and car rentals — a superb combination for most consultants Like most cards, you can also view account transaction history online and set up alerts to keep you informed of card activity.
  • Rewards. Earn 3x points on: dining out and ordering in, fuel, transit and rideshares, flights, hotels, car rentals and homestays, select streaming services, 1x points on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Intro APR. Get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening, then 14.49% to 24.99% variable.
  • Limited acceptance abroad. As an American Express card, fewer merchants abroad will accept the card compared to a Visa or MasterCard.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.49% to 24.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.49% to 24.99% variable)
Welcome offer 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 3x points on dining, gas, transit, travel and streaming and 1x points on all other purchases

What’s changed in 2021?

Capital One ended its Hotels.com rewards rates on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. However, it remains a solid travel card for unlimited flat-rate earning.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has some big changes, including an increased annual fee, bonus Lyft rewards, DoorDash credits and complimentary Lyft Pink and DashPass memberships. World of Hyatt Credit Card is added as best in Hyatt Hotel cards where you can earn up to 10 free nights at category 1 Hyatt hotels.

We also added the Chase Freedom Flex℠ as soon as it became available.

How to choose the best credit cards for consultants

The right credit card can be an excellent addition to any consultant’s wallet. To narrow down your card options, consider the following:

  • Determine how often you book hotel accommodations. Being on the road for work can take its toll, but numerous cards on our list aim to ease the burden of frequent travel with rewards for hotel spending, early check-in, late checkout and complimentary room upgrades.
  • Consider how often you fly. If air travel is a regular part of your consulting business, opt for a card with premium airline perks. Perks vary by card, but you may be able to score airport lounge access, bonus rewards on airfare spending and credits towards your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • Assess your on-the-go spending habits. Travel coupled with client consultations often translates into more frequent dining out. If that holds true for you, seek a card that rewards restaurant and takeout spending.
  • Rely on transaction reports for simplified tax filing. Since many consultants work on a freelance basis or as independent contractors, cards that offer detailed backdowns of transactions may help you come tax season by making it easier to track expenses and maximize deductions.
  • Review your international purchases. If you frequently cross international borders for your consulting, you’ll want to steer clear of the Chase Freedom Flex and Wells Fargo Propel American Express cards — both charge foreign transaction fees of 2.7% to 3%.

Do I really need a credit card for consultants?

Any card that can help you save money or earn rewards for your expenses could be worth having in your pocket. That said, should you find a card from our best list useful, consider applying for one. But if the card you currently own does its job well, you may not need another card for the time being.

Should I pick the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express?

For many consultants, both cards represent the pinnacle of the luxury travel market. Here are the biggest advantages each product offers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Bonus rewards on travel after you use your annual travel credit
  • Bonus rewards on dining
  • More versatile travel credit
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Stellar rewards on Lyft rides and a free year of Lyft Pink
  • Annual DoorDash credits through 2021 and DashPass for at least a year
  • Flagship airline transfer partner in the US is United Airlines
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Stronger rewards on flights and hotels
  • Annual Uber credit
  • Annual airline credit
  • Access to the Amex Centurion Lounges
  • Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors
  • Flagship airline transfer partner in the US is Delta Airlines

Consider this business-card alternative

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a good alternative for a business credit card. It doesn’t offer accelerated rewards on dining, which may be a significant disadvantage for a consultant. However, it offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined categories such as travel and advertising purchases each card year, then 1x points.

Bottom line

Given typical expenses for consultants, travel credit cards tend to be the best options. Consider your own expenses and look for a card that offers bonus rewards for that spending.

We’ve included a few travel credit cards on our list, but you can compare other travel credit cards before you make your decision.

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