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Best credit cards for consultants

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

The best credit cards for consultants reward you for the spending consultants are likely to do most: travel. A personal travel card or business travel card will do the trick, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. We assessed cards across both types, focusing on market-leading rewards in typical consultant spend categories, to find the cards most likely to benefit your needs.

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 local travel within the US

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

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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.

Best for overall travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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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.

Best for hotel perks

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

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The 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.

Best for miles on all purchases

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

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.

Best for business and no annual fee

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

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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.

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. The 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.

Here’s why you should get a credit card as a consultant

Any time you have to make a business expense for your line of work, a credit card can help make your life easier. There are three main reasons to get one as a consultant.

  • Keep your personal and business spending separate. A business credit card can help you keep your business expenses separated from your personal expenses. This is a helpful practice in general, made easier with a business credit card. A personal card can still work however, provided you only use it on business expenses.
  • Earn rewards on business spending. You can do this with a standard credit card or business credit card. Generally, a business card may let you earn rewards in business-specific categories, such as office supplies or mail services, in addition to some of the categories you’d find on a standard rewards card.
  • Travel perks. If you’re always on the move in the line of duty, travel perks are a big time advantage to owning a credit card. You’ll find travel perks that offer convenience, such as airline lounges, as well as those that affect your bottom line, such as free flight upgrades or checked bags.

Any card that can help you save money or earn rewards for your expenses could be worth having in your pocket. If the card you currently own does its job well, you may not need another card for the time being. Otherwise, check out our list of best credit cards for consultants and consider applying for one that better fits your needs.

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%.

Business cards and personal cards are both viable choices for consultants

Either type of card will have plenty to offer for your spending needs. Which one you pick ultimately comes down to the categories you spend in most, the credit limit you need for your spending and whether you want to build business credit. You can learn more about the differences between business and personal card types by checking out our full guide.

Bottom line

Given typical expenses for consultants, travel credit cards tend to be your best bet for making the most of your spending. But review your own expenses and spending needs to choose a card that best suits your needs.

We’ve included a few travel credit cards on our list, but you can compare other travel credit cards before you make your decision. You can also look at more business card options to see whether those cards are a better fit.

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