Business frequent flyer credit cards offer a wide range of points and other benefits for employees. Learn more about them, compare cards and find out how your work spending could boost your airline rewards.
With many personal frequent flyer credit cards now earning less than one frequent flyer point per $1 spent, business frequent flyer credit cards could be an affordable alternative. These credit cards are designed specifically for businesses, providing cards to both employers and nominated employees. You can use them to earn frequent flyer points and get other perks when you pay for business expenses – often at a higher rate than personal credit cards.
This guide explains the differences between personal and business frequent flyer credit cards, including point earn rates and other features, to help you figure out if requesting a card for your work will be worth it for you.
How are business frequent flyer credit cards different?
Unlike personal frequent flyer credit cards, most business options still earn at least one point per $1 spent. They are also more likely to offer uncapped rewards. Other features, terms and conditions that differ from personal credit cards include:
- Government payments. While most personal frequent flyer credit cards won’t earn points for payments to government bodies such as the Australian Taxation Office, many business credit cards do.
- Multiple cards. Business credit card accounts provide cards for both the employer and employees, with most options offering up to 99 additional cardholders.
- Account management. With a business credit card, your employer usually manages the amount of credit available and approves payments towards the balance of the card. Individual employees, on the other hand, have access to their credit card account as an additional cardholder so that they can use it for transactions on a day-to-day basis.
- Credit card fees. Your employer is also responsible for any fees charged to the card, including interest and annual fees.
- Account spending reports. Business credit cards often provide detailed financial reports for each cardholder that can then be exported to accounting software such as MYOB, Microsoft Excel and Quicken.
- Complimentary extras. The complimentary extras on business credit cards often include overseas travel insurance, business concierge services and business liability coverage.
- Rewards. Business credit card rewards programs often offer bonus points for business related purchases and may come with a higher earn rate than your standard rewards card.
Another key difference is the types of transactions you will make using a business credit card. Generally, employees are required to use the card exclusively for business-related expenses and payments. Depending on your employer, you may also have to organise or request repayments towards the balance of the account.
How to earn points on a business frequent flyer credit card
As an employee, you will need to link your frequent flyer account to your business credit card account to start earning rewards. There are two main ways to do this:
- By providing your frequent flyer account details to your employer when they apply for the business credit card and add you as a supplementary cardholder. If your employer gets you to fill out the “additional cardholder” section of the application, you can add these details yourself.
- By contacting the credit card company and requesting your frequent flyer details be added to your business credit card account.
This process can vary depending on the credit card company, so it’s a good idea to check the details for individual cards and follow those instructions. Once you’ve done that and linked your frequent flyer account to the card, you will start earning points for all the eligible work transactions you make.
How many points could you earn?
The following table gives you an idea of the points you can earn with different frequent flyer business credit cards, as well as whether they are capped or uncapped.
|Credit card||Points||Capped or uncapped|
|American Express Velocity Business||
|Bank of Melbourne Amplify Business
with Amplify Qantas*
|BankSA Amplify Business
with Amplify Qantas*
|CommBank Business Platinum Awards||
||Capped at 120,000 Qantas Points per year
Capped at 150,000 Velocity Points per year
|CommBank Business Awards Card||
||Capped at 24,000 points per year|
|NAB Qantas Business Signature||
||Capped up to $33,000 per statement period (cap will change to up to $50,000 per statement period from 1 July 2017)|
|St.George Amplify Business
with Amplify Qantas*
* Requires opt-in to Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Additional fees may apply.
What about airline business loyalty programs?
Some employers may want to consider an airline loyalty program that is designed specifically for businesses, such as Qantas Aquire and Virgin Australia accelerate. These programs offer benefits for everyday business spending, as well as corporate travel perks that could include year-round flight savings, discounted airport lounge memberships and annual travel credits.
The Qantas Aquire program also rewards ABN-based businesses with Aquire points for many everyday spending options. While these points can be converted to Qantas Frequent Flyer rewards at an equal rate, currently only the account manager or an administrator with conversion privileges can get these points. This means that any business credit cards earning Aquire points, such as the Westpac Business Choice, would only earn the employer points unless they chose to transfer them to an employee. There are currently no credit cards that earn Virgin Australia accelerate points, but if they did it would be worth checking the terms and conditions to find out if employees could also get rewards.
Charging expenses to a business credit card
Shauna is an Executive Assistant for an engineering firm and regularly books flights and accommodation for three executives, as well as making business payments. In an average month, she calculates that she spends the following amounts:
- Flights (Qantas): $5,000
- Accommodation: $3,000
- Booking changes: $1,000
- Office supplies: $500
- Government payments: $2,000
Her company decides to issue her with a Qantas American Express Business credit card. As of May 2016, this card earns 2 points per $1 on Qantas services within Australia, 0.5 points per $1 on government charges and 1 point per $1 for most other transactions, with no points cap. At her current spending she would earn:
- Flights (Qantas): 10,000 points
- Accommodation: 3,000 points
- Booking changes: 1,000 points
- Office supplies: 500 points
- Government payments: 1,000 points
- Total: 15,500 points
If Shauna’s current spending patterns continue, over the course of a year she could earn 186,000 points. That’s enough for her to book an economy return flight from Sydney to any of the following places:
- Bangkok (90,000 points)
- Hong Kong (90,000 points)
- Singapore (90,000 points)
- Johannesburg (126,000 points)
- Los Angeles (144,000)
- San Francisco (144,000)
- Buenos Aires (144,000)
She could also request seat upgrades starting from 5,000 points for any international Qantas flight, book seats with partner airlines or choose a range of rewards on the Qantas Store.
What kinds of employees can get a business credit card?
A business credit card could be ideal if you are in a role that requires you to make a lot of purchases, or if you already use a credit card for work. Some of the most common roles that can benefit from a business credit card include:
- Executive assistants
- Personal assistants
- Personal shoppers
- Sales representatives
- Mid-level executives
- Senior executives
Remember that it will be your employer applying for a frequent flyer business credit card for you, so you may have to approach them directly to request a business credit card. If you can show that you and the company would benefit from this option, then there’s a good chance you will be able to start earning points for spending you do at work.
Other factors to keep in mind
If you do get a business frequent flyer credit card, keep the following factors in mind to make sure you maximise your points and do the right thing by your employer.
- Frequent flyer membership. You will have to be a member of the particular frequent flyer program associated with the business credit card before you can earn rewards.
- Business transactions. These cards are designed specifically for business-related spending and there could be consequences if you use it for personal transactions. If you are unsure, ask your employer for details of what you can and can’t use the card for.
- Fees. While employers typically pay the fees associated with business credit cards, in some cases they may pass them onto you. You may also have to pay a fee to become a member of specific frequent flyer programs. So, make sure you check with your employer about the costs of having a business credit card before agreeing to get one.
- Card security. While business credit cards come with security features such as fraud monitoring and liability policies, you are still responsible for the security of your individual business credit card. So, if your card is lost or stolen, you will need to report it. There could also be legal implications if you share the card or card details with anyone, so always keep this information safe.
- Expense reporting. Different companies have different ways of reporting expenses, so even if you have a business credit card you will still have to follow the appropriate processes to file your expenses at work.
With higher point rates and a wide range of complimentary extras, business frequent flyer credit cards offer benefits for employees and employers alike. So, now that you know more about them, you can suggest a business credit card option to your boss and explain all the ways it will help you manage your spending at work.
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