The absolute best credit cards for consultants are the ones that offer the highest rewards (or cash back) for the largest spending categories. This might mean a travel rewards card partnered with a specific airline or hotel, or a high-limit luxury card that gives you status perks to enhance your lifestyle.
We’ve sifted through all the available cards and programs to compile the list below. Here are the overall best credit cards for consultants, both if you’re applying under a business or in a personal name:
Best Credit Cards for Consultants – Personal
- Chase Sapphire Reserve 🏆
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Capital One Venture X
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Freedom Flex
Best Credit Cards for Consultants – Business
- Chase INK Business Preferred 🏆
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- Capital One SPARK Cash Plus
- Amazon Business Prime
- US Bank Business Triple Cash
Chase Sapphire Reserve
If your life involves a fair amount of travel like it does for most consultants, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve is for you. It’s the big brother to Chase’s Sapphire Preferred credit card that we love so much.
There’s a HUGE welcome offer for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card right now. You’ll get 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months – which is equal to $900 in travel if you book through the Chase portal!
This Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers a ton of benefits and rewards opportunities:
- A $300 travel credit, annually
- 5x points on flights booked via Chase
- 10x points on hotels and car rentals booked via Chase
- 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including some delivery and take out!
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
- VIP Lounge access via Priority Pass
- InstaCart and DoorDash membership for 1 year
Each Chase Ultimate Rewards point is worth a minimum of 1 cent (when exchanged for cash back). But you can stretch them even further by redeeming travel and other offers in the Chase portal.
There is a $550 annual fee for this card. But given the reward flexibility and annual credits, it’s proven to be one of the best credit cards for consultants available today.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The AMEX Platinum Card is such a baller credit card! Most people are intimidated by the hefty annual fee – $695! – but American Express has stuffed so many perks into the package that the fee usually covers itself with all the rewards, discounts, and upgrades you have access to.
Also right now AmEx is offering a 80,000 points welcome offer when you spend $6k in the first 6 months. That’s like $800 worth of travel credit.
Here are some of The Platinum Card’s best features:
- $200 airline incidentals credit every year
- $200 hotel credit each year for Fine Hotels or Hotel Collection
- $240 digital entertainment credit annually
- $200 in Uber cash ($15/month and bonus in December)
- $300 Equinox credit annually
- $189 CLEAR credit for skipping airport TSA lines
- Free Walmart+ subscription
- Centurion lounge access at airports
- AND MORE!!!
You’ll also earn 5x points on all flights and hotels, either directly with airlines or through the AMEX travel portal. These points rack up fairly quickly with hefty travel spending.
All in all if your consulting business has you traveling a lot and you like to roll in style, the Platinum Card is a fun luxury to have!
Pro tip: AmEx has awesome promotions sometimes for converting points to partner hotels or airlines. For example, they recently had a +40% bonus for exchanging Amex points to Marriott points. So, 100k points would become 140k! This might not make sense every time, but it’s worth keeping an eye on those timely offerings.
Capital One Venture X
The Venture X card was built mostly for travel rewards, but it’s actually proven to be quite valuable for other types of spending due to a high rewards rate. Each purchase earns you Capital One “miles”, which easily convert to statement credits via the mobile app. They have one of the most user-friendly interfaces out of all the credit card companies IMO!
The Venture X card also comes with:
- $300 annual travel credit
- 10,000 miles anniversary credit, each year (worth $100)
- $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
- Earn 10x miles on hotels/rental cars
- 5x miles earned on flights
- 2x miles on all other purchases
There’s a $395 annual fee for this card. But as you can see, the annual travel credit and anniversary bonus cover the cost right away. Also, Capital One has a 75,000 early spend bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months after signing up!
Overall, not only is this one of the best credit cards for consultants, it’s actually a perfect fit for most personal users who like to save money on travel too.
Chase Freedom Unlimited & Chase Freedom FLEX
Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom FLEX are cash back credit cards with $0 annual fee. They’re perfect for consultants that have unpredictable spending patterns and don’t want to commit to a certain spending threshold.
The main difference between the Freedom and Flex cards is the Freedom offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all categories, whereas the FLEX has rotating bonus categories throughout the year that could equal a higher return.
Here are the differences at a glance:
|Chase Freedom Unlimited – VISA||Chase Freedom FLEX – MasterCard|
|1.5% on all purchases||5% cash back on rotating bonus categories|
|5% cash back on travel||5% cash back on travel|
|3% cash back on dining||3% cash back on dining|
|3% cash back on drug stores||1% on all other purchases|
The Freedom Flex categories include grocery stores, gas stations, Amazon purchases, and Walmart buys during certain times of the year. These change every quarter, and here is the official Freedom FLEX Calendar.
If you can make the bonus categories work for you, then the FLEX is the way to go. If not, the Freedom unlimited might be better. The good news is, there’s no harm in grabbing one of these cards in addition to another card, because there’s a $0 annual fee so no harm in keeping it open even if you aren’t using it a ton.
Chase INK Business Preferred 🏆
Business credit cards are super easy to open – as long as you have legitimate expenses associated with your consulting work. You don’t need a registered business name or employer number. Instead, you can just use your SSN in place of your business number on the application.
The Chase INK Business Preferred is typically for high spenders, and it offers the biggest rewards for business expenses, including travel. There is a $95 annual fee for this card, which easily pays for itself with a killer welcome offer and ongoing earning of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Benefits of Chase INK Business Preferred:
- 3 points for every $1 spent on internet, phone, advertising (including social media/search engines, and travel)
- 1 point for every $1 on everything else, with no limit
- Additional employee cards at no cost
- Purchase protection, travel assistance, extended warranties, etc.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are very flexible. You can redeem them for cash back, exchange 1 for 1 to different partner airlines or hotels, OR book travel directly through Chase. The points are worth anywhere between 0.7 and 1.25 cents each.
Pro Tip: If you open this business card inside a Chase branch, sometimes they offer 20,000 welcome points *in addition* to the regular 100,000 points sign up bonus. That’s like $1,500 worth of travel!!!
American Express® Business Gold Card
The AMEX Business Gold card is one of the most popular business credit cards for consultants, because you get to customize the rewards categories to suit your spending.
Basically, you choose 2 categories that will get you 4x rewards points, and then you’ll get 1x points on all other purchases. You can change these categories annually, so can make the highest rewards possible as your business spending changes.
So let’s say you drive a lot to meet your clients… you can select GAS as one of your rewards categories, and you’ll earn 4x points on all gas purchases. These points can be redeemed for cash back, or purchasing travel via the AMEX portal.
There’s also a generous welcome offer right now. You can receive 70,000 welcome points when you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months after being approved. This card also has a $295 annual fee, so be sure to only apply if your spending will earn enough points to cover the annual fee.
Capital One SPARK Cash Plus
There are about 6 SPARK Business cards that Capital One offers. Each has unique benefits, however the most common is the Cash Plus card.
This card offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. There are no minimums or expiration dates. Hotels and rental car purchases earn a little higher – 5% cash back – so if you have travel in the mix, that’s an additional perk.
There’s a $150 annual fee for this SPARK Cash Plus card. But, as far as welcome offers, you can earn up to $1,000 in cash back within the first 6 months of spending.
One last thing to note here: This is a “pay-in-full” credit card. Which means the balance is due in full, each month. You must have excellent credit to be approved for the Cash Plus card from Capital One.
Amazon Business Prime from AMEX
This one’s perfect for all you Amazon lovers… My friend’s consulting business has him purchasing tens of thousands of dollars at Amazon each month for equipment he gets reimbursed for later. This Amazon business Prime card garners him a huge amount of cash back!
Here are the benefits of the Amazon Business Prime Card:
- 3% cash back on Amazon purchases (up to $120,000 each year)
- 2% cash back on restaurants, gas stations, wireless providers
- 1% cash back on everything else.
Since Amazon owns Whole Foods, the 3% also works for grocery shopping there. Depending on your business, this could be a huge return each month.
The Amazon Business Prime card has a $0 annual fee. And, a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Definitely a no brainer if you shop at Amazon a lot!
US Bank Business Triple Cash
While this card sports a $0 annual fee and has an awesome cash back percentage, there’s another huge benefit: a 0% Intro APR for balance transfers *and* new purchases for 15 months. This is perfect for consultants that plan to wrack up a bunch of charges but expect reimbursement to happen many months later.
Even if you don’t need the 0% APR benefit, the Business Triple Cash card has a handful of awesome cashback opportunities.
Here are the categories you’ll earn 3% cash back in:
- Gas and EV charging stations
- Office supply stores
- Cell phone and wireless service providers
You’ll also get a whopping 5% cash back on prepaid travel booked through the US Bank Travel Rewards Center. And for all other spending, you’ll earn 1% cash back.
Should you get a business or personal credit card?
There are a few of differences between business and personal cards you might want to consider before applying:
- Credit Score Impact: Personal cards obviously impact your personal credit score, whereas small business credit cards have little impact on you as an individual. If you are trying to grow your credit, it might be a better move to get a personal card in order to accrue good history for your consumer credit report.
- Welcome bonuses & rewards: Business credit cards typically offer larger welcome bonuses and heftier cash back rewards, making them look even more enticing. That being said, many require users to meet higher spend amounts in order to snag those superior welcome offer requirements.
- Bookkeeping and accounting records: Some business credit cards come with additional software and transaction records from the credit card provider. Depending on how complex your consulting business is, this could be handy come end of year tax time.
- Credit limits: Personal cards have spending limits based on your personal income. Business card limits are given based on the business income – which for brand new businesses might be very little – or even nothing at all! A business card with only a $500 credit limit doesn’t do you much good. In that case, a personal card might prove to be a better option.
All things considered, business owners can easily apply for both personal and business credit cards. And since there’s no harm in carrying multiple credit cards, you might even benefit the most from spreading rewards across different categories!
What’s the best credit card for MBB Consultants?
Typically, when you join a Big 3 or Big 4 firm as a consultant, they will issue you a corporate credit card. It will likely be one from American Express.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “do I have to use their corporate card or can I use my own credit card and expense things?”. This all depends on the company you work for and their specific policies. Based on my experience and friends I know, you are likely to be forced to use your corporate card for business expenses, not personal. The AMEX corporate cards also hook up with Concur and other expense reporting software quite nicely, so it is preferable from an accounting standpoint.
But there’s good news!… Although you’ll likely be using a corporate AMEX for MBB consulting, your firm might allow YOU to keep all the points that are accrued from the expenses and travel. Check with your manager or whoever approves your expenses. Sometimes they have programs to pay, say, $100 annually and keep all the points you accrue. That might be a small price to pay for all of the rewards you rack up throughout the year.
Why having a separate work card is important:
It’s important to separate your business and personal expenses. Tax deductions, for one, become a lot easier to track when all of your business expenses are tied to one credit card. With a single set of statements you’ll be thanking yourself come tax filing time!
Many consultants get reimbursed for purchases like travel and meals, so it’s also handy to have a separate account to reconcile each month. Things get messy if you charge everything to the same card and can’t remember which expenses are business and which ones are personal.
Lastly, if you run a legitimate business and LLC, it’s incredibly important not to “commingle” your funds. Your business needs its own bank account and credit card for purchases.
The Bottom Line:
Picking the best credit cards for consultants is quite easy… You just need to forecast the biggest spending categories, then pick a card (or two!) that give you the highest rewards or perks you prefer.
If you’re still confused about what’s best for you, we have a custom credit card tool that you’ll like. By toggling a few preference buttons, this search tool will let you browse the top matched cards based on your criteria. Give it a whirl!
**Feature pic by Briana Tozour on Unsplash
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