American Express® Business Gold Card
- 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points if you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every £1 spent, plus earn an extra 10,000 points when you spend £20,000 every quarter
- Over £600 off at essential business retailers
- No annual fee in the first year*
*Terms apply. Annual fee £175 (£0 first year)
If you do a lot of business travel, an air miles business credit card can earn you rewards on your business spending. Compare business cards with air mile rewards in the table below.
Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
What are air miles business credit cards?
Business credit cards with air miles are a type of rewards credit card. They earn you (you guessed it) air miles on all your business spending, allowing you to get free flights and travel rewards more quickly than you normally would.
They may be tied to a specific frequent flyer scheme or allow you to convert the points you earn into air miles with different schemes and airlines. You’ll get points/miles at a certain earn rate (e.g. 1 point for every £1 you spend, which is fairly common) and will be able to redeem them for a range of rewards.
How do business credit cards with air miles work?
With frequent flyer schemes, you normally earn points only when you book flights and hotels or shop at partner retailers. Frequent flyer credit cards allow you to earn points on all your business spending instead and to de facto double the points when you travel.
They can be worth it both if you spend half of your time far from home and if you only need to travel three or four times a year, depending on a range of factors.
The downside is that these cards usually come for an annual fee and also tend to charge fairly high interest rates. In a nutshell, they’re great for earning rewards, but not so great for borrowing, so you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons.
- APR. The annual percentage rate (APR) is designed to be a benchmark for consumers, providing an annual summary of the cost of your card. As well as the interest, the APR also takes into account any compulsory charges – like an account fee (if there is one). However, crucially, providers only have to award the advertised APR to 51% of those who take out the credit card – the other 49% could be offered a different (higher) rate, at the provider’s discretion. That’s why it’s often referred to as the representative APR.
- Earn rate. This is the rate at which you’ll receive air miles on your card transactions. For example, a credit card may have an earn rate of 1 air miles per £1 spent.
- Purchase rate. This is the percentage rate you’ll be charged on all purchases made using your card if you fail to pay off your balance before the end of your interest-free period. It can be either a fixed or variable rate, which means it either stays the same, or changes over time.
How to earn air miles on your business credit card
Once you get your frequent flyer business credit card, you can earn rewards on your business spending in a few ways.
- Standard card purchases. This will be your main way of earning points. You’ll get them every time you use your business credit card, be it for taking your clients to dinner or for decorating your new office. Be aware that cash advances, besides being best avoided because they cost a fortune in interest, usually don’t earn rewards either.
- Travel spending. If you’re considering a frequent flyer credit card, you’re probably already part of some airline club or loyalty scheme. If, for example, you purchase a flight and both present your loyalty/membership card and pay with your frequent flyer credit card, you’ll earn twice the points.
- Team spending. Many business credit cards allow additional cardholders. Your colleagues will have their own cards, but you’ll all be earning points collaboratively, which will speed up the process of getting your favourite rewards.
- Introductory bonus. We always say that it shouldn’t be the main factor driving your credit card choice (it’s a one-off perk after all), but at the beginning, it will boost your points balance nicely.
As a rule of thumb, once you do decide to get a credit card with air miles for your business, you should use it as much as you can. Don’t get too close to your credit limit (and avoid breaching it at all costs!), but apart from that, the more you spend on the card, the more you’ll earn, and the more the annual fee will be worth it.
How to redeem your air miles
You can do it online. Business credit cards usually don’t earn you air miles directly; they tend to earn you rewards points that you can then convert into air miles or points with one or more frequent flyer schemes instead. So you may have to periodically log in to your credit card account, check your points balance and manually transfer the points to the frequent flyer scheme.
You then log in on your chosen scheme’s website, pick your rewards, redeem your points… and then sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. It sounds complicated but it’s easier done than said, really.
The rewards you can get depend on the scheme, but typically include:
- Free flights. That’s what we’re all in it for, right?
- Flight upgrades. If you often fly for business purposes, you’ll know that a more comfortable seat, a few extra inches for your legs and unlimited free drinks make all the difference in the world.
- Discounts on flights with travel partners. Many airlines allow you to use your points to get flights with partner airlines at a cheaper price. So you can use your points even if you need a route the main airline doesn’t cover.
- Hotels and car rentals. If you have points left after booking your flight, you can also take care of the rest of your travel needs.
- Lifestyle rewards. Wine, dinners and a range of experiences that go from the exciting, to the peculiar, to the downright weird. There is something for everyone.
The value of miles and points can vary hugely depending on how you spend them, so it may be worth doing a bit of research before redeeming them to make sure you’re getting good value for your points.
How to compare business credit cards with air miles
Unlike with personal credit cards, if you’re looking for a frequent flyer business credit card you aren’t exactly spoilt for choice, so it’s important to make sure a business credit card with air miles is really what you want. When comparing options, you should consider the following:
- Earn rate. This is usually very easy to figure out and it tells you how many points you’ll get for each £1 you spend on the card. It’s a pivotal factor, but sometimes it doesn’t tell the whole story.
- Value of the points. This is the reason why the earn rate doesn’t mean much by itself. Sometimes thousands of points on your account balance are only worth a few dozens of pounds. Figuring out how much one point is worth isn’t always easy, but you can, for example, try and see how much the flight you’re considering would normally cost you and do some maths.
- Annual fee. How much do you need to spend on the card to make it worth it?
- Airlines. Some schemes have partnered with multiple airlines, others just offer one. Make sure the routes you habitually travel are covered.
- Sign-up bonus. It’s a factor to consider, although it doesn’t outweigh the value of a good card in the long term.
- Foreign transaction fees. Flying often means going overseas, and that’s where you have to be careful, because many business credit cards will charge you an expensive fee every time you use them out of the country. Ideally, you want a frequent flyer business credit card that also comes with fee-free spending abroad.
- Flexibility. What else can you do with your points if for some reason you don’t need to fly that often anymore?
- Extra perks. Some cards complement the rewards with other nice features, such as lounge access or travel insurance.
- Borrowing. We all like to think we’ll always pay off our credit card bill on time, but sometimes life has other plans, so make sure you know what happens if you need to carry a balance on the card. First of all, can you even do it? Some business cards are charge cards, in which case the answer is no. Second, how much is it going to cost?
Credit card cost comparison
Credit card limit: £10,000
- Outstanding balance: £5,000
- Interest rate: 23%
- Monthly repayment: £250
- Total interest: £1,199
Credit card limit: £10,000
- Outstanding balance: £5,000
- Interest rate: 34%
- Monthly repayment: £250
- Total interest: £1,979
Frequently asked questions
. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.