The best credit cards for freelancers

No matter the size of your company, a business credit card can be a valuable tool to help you earn rewards and manage expenses. But not all business credit cards are created equal.

Different business cards are best suited for different types of business owners and entrepreneurs. What is most valuable to a freelancer will likely be different than what’s most valuable to a retail store owner.

Freelancers looking for a credit card should consider their business spending habits and overall goals. For example, when I used to do freelance graphic design work, I didn’t have a ton of expenses in just one category. I wasn’t spending an overwhelming amount on business expenses in general.

In my case, a flat-rate card with no annual fee would have been the best choice. Of course, freelancers who spend more consistently in concentrated categories such as office supplies, internet and phone services could potentially find more value in cards that earn high rewards in those spending categories.

So, keeping all that in mind, here are a few of our top picks for freelancers looking to maximize their expenses.

Related: Best business credit cards

Overview of the best credit cards for freelancers

The information for the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuers.

Comparing the best credit cards for freelancers

Card Welcome offer  Rewards  Annual fee
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express Earn 15,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent in purchases per calendar year.

1 point per dollar on everything else.

$0 (see rates and fees).
Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. 3% in the category of your choice (six category options; $50,000 annual cap on combined rewards spending for all bonus categories).

2% on dining ($50,000 annual cap on combined rewards spending for all bonus categories).

1% on everything else.

$0.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 50,000 Capital One miles after spending $4,500 in the first three months of account opening. 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.

5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

$95, waived the first year.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card $750 cash back after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. 5% on office supply stores and internet, cable and phone services ($25,000 annual cap on combined rewards spending for all bonus categories).

2% on gas stations and restaurants ($25,000 annual cap on combined rewards spending for all bonus categories).

1% on everything else.

$0.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months. 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising made with social media sites and search engines.

1 point per dollar on everything else.

$95.
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every business purchase. $0.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months of membership. Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year (then 1%). $0 (see rates and fees).
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first three months of card membership. 5 points per dollar on airfare and prepaid hotel rooms booked through AmexTravel.com.

1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases in select business categories and eligible purchases of $5,000 or more; on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

1 point per dollar on everything else.

Terms apply

$695 (see rates and fees).

Best cards for freelancers

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

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Rewards: Get 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent annually, then 1 point per dollar.

Why we like it for freelancers: If you have a smaller annual budget and you’re looking for a way to earn Membership Rewards points on business expenses, the Blue Business Plus is a great option. It’s simple and powerful and has no annual fee — a perfect trio for the budding freelancer. With the Blue Business Plus, you’ll have full access to Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners, which is rare for no-annual-fee credit cards. And there’s no fee for additional employee cards either.

Apply now: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express


Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards credit card

THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.

Rewards: Get 3% back in the category of your choice and 2% on dining ($50,000 cap on annual rewards spending).

Why we like it for freelancers: Oftentimes, freelancer expenses can vary from person to person and month to month. The ability to choose the category you’ll earn 3% cash back on is a great feature you won’t find on many credit cards — business or personal. Each month, you’ll be able to choose between the following categories:

  • Gas stations.
  • Office supply stores.
  • Travel.
  • TV/telecom and wireless services.
  • Computer services.
  • Business consulting services.

So, let’s say in a normal year you travel frequently — but you aren’t going anywhere right now, thanks to the ongoing lack of business travel. You can easily switch your category of choice over to TV/telecom and wireless services — and when travel is back on the table, you can switch it back.

In addition, you’ll always get 2% on dining in addition to your 3% category of choice. It’s not the best cash-back option for larger businesses since there’s a $50,000 annual cap on bonus spending. However, it may be perfect for lower-budget freelancers looking to maximize purchases.

Apply now: Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards credit card


Capital One Spark Miles for Business

THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year.

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 in the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.

Why we like it for freelancers: The Capital One Spark Miles combines the best of a travel rewards card with the best of a flat-rate cash-back card — all for a low annual fee that’s even waived the first year.

For starters, you’ll earn an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. While you have access to Capital One’s transfer partners, you can also redeem your miles at a fixed value for travel purchases on your credit card statement.

But don’t let this deter you from getting the card if you’re an avid traveler, as you can still use the card to rack up miles now to use later. This card has the potential to be quite lucrative for those who know how to maximize Capital One miles in the long term.

Apply now: Capital One Spark Miles for Business


Ink Business Cash Credit Card

a hand holds a credit card - the Ink Business Cash from Chase
THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

Rewards: Earn 5% back on office supply store purchases and internet, cable and phone services; get 2% on gas stations and restaurants ($25,000 cap on combined bonus category spending each year).

Why we like it for freelancers: The real advantage of this card is that all the cash back — including the sign-up bonus — can comes in the form of points. You can redeem those points for cash back at a fixed value of 1 cent each, but you can get even more value for them if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards card that comes with an annual fee (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred).

By pairing your card with one of these other cards, you can combine your earnings in a single account. This will allow you to get a bonus when redeeming your points through the travel portal, and you can even transfer your points to partner airlines and hotels.

Apply now: Ink Business Cash Credit Card


Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent annually on shipping, social media or online advertising, travel, internet, cable and phone services.

Why we like it for freelancers: A wide range of freelancers can take advantage of this card’s excellent bonus categories. Do you promote your businesses through social media ads? Does your freelance work require shipping products? Are you constantly on the go to meet clients around the country or abroad? All of these categories will earn 3 points per dollar with this card.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 2 cents each based on TPG’s most recent valuations, which means 3 points per dollar spent is equivalent to a 6% return on those bonus categories. The Ink Preferred has a $95 annual fee, though small businesses with multiple employees can request unlimited employee cards at no extra cost.

The only significant downside to the card is that you have to spend $15,000 in the first three months to earn the welcome bonus. While that may not be impossible for some freelancers, others may not have the budget to spend an average of $5,000 monthly on expenses.

Apply now: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Related: The 10 easiest credit card sign-up bonuses to earn


Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every business purchase.

Why we like it for freelancers: It’s all about flexibility with this card — with no annual fee. You can redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

For a no-annual-fee card, it comes with robust travel and purchase protections, including auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance, roadside dispatch, purchase protection and extended warranty.

And just like the Ink Business Cash card, you can effectively convert your cash-back rewards into full Ultimate Rewards points by pairing it with a higher-end card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Apply now: Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card


American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

Sign-up bonus: $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months of membership.

Rewards: Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year (then 1%).

Why we like it for freelancers: Business owners can easily track expenses and earn 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases every calendar year, which is doable for most freelancers. Once you pass that threshold, you’ll still earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, and the cash back you earn is automatically credited to your statement.

In addition, the expanded buying power feature on the card allows you to exceed your spending limit with no over-limit fees or penalties. The simple rewards system, with no rotating categories to track and no annual fee, makes this a great card for everyday business use.

Apply now: American Express Blue Business Cash Card


The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees).

Welcome bonus: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first three months of card membership.

Rewards: Get 5 points per dollar on airfare and prepaid hotel rooms on Amextravel.com and 1.5 points per dollar points on eligible purchases in select business categories and eligible purchases of $5,000 or more; on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

Why we like it for freelancers: If your freelance business normally requires a lot of business-related travel or frequent large purchases, this could be a great card for you. The 120,000 points earned from the welcome offer are worth $2,400, based on TPG’s latest valuations, not to mention all of the bonus points you can earn if you maximize your spend on specific business-related purchases.

On top of the bonus points, this card comes with an incredible lineup of benefits. You’ll get up to $400 in Dell statement credits each year (for U.S. purchases) and a number of excellent travel perks such as unprecedented lounge access, complimentary elite status with two hotel brands, a 35% rebate on award flights booked through Amex (up to 1 million points per calendar year) and more. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Like the Ink Business Preferred, though, this card may not be best suited for freelancers with smaller budgets. You’ll have to spend $15,000 in the first three months to get the welcome bonus, and the card’s large annual fee is only worth it when you travel frequently enough to utilize the benefits and bonus categories.

Apply now: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express


How and why to apply for a business card

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a brick-and-mortar business in order to qualify for a business credit card. You sometimes don’t even need a business tax ID to apply for a small-business credit card.

First, make sure to check your personal credit score before applying. Business credit card applications are also slightly different from personal credit card applications. You’ll be asked for your personal information and business details such as the legal business name, address, phone number, tax identification number, annual business revenue, years in business and more.

Don’t have a tax identification number? You can easily apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS, or you can often use your social security number if you are a sole proprietor.

Why use a business credit card

Aside from business-specific bonus categories and other benefits to help you maximize your small-business purchases, a business credit card makes it easier to keep personal and business expenses separate. For freelancers especially, it’s imperative that you track your business expenses for tax season.

Many purchases made for business reasons are tax deductible, but you’ll need to have documentation about those expenses — including receipts. Where a larger business may employ an accountant who can handle that aspect of the business, you’ll probably do it yourself if you’re a one-person freelancer.

Using a dedicated business credit card for all your freelance expenses makes it much easier to track and separate those purchases come tax season.

Related: What happens if you put personal expenses on a business credit card?

Bottom line

Whether you’re a long-time freelancer or just starting out, having a business credit card for your expenses is extremely helpful when it comes to keeping your books in order. You can also earn valuable points, miles or cash back on your spending.

And with many lucrative offers available to new applicants, now could be a great time to add one of the above cards to your wallet.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Cash Card click here.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox.

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