Entrepreneurs look to their business credit cards for all sorts of good reasons: to build up their business credit, to have flexible access to capital for a variety of purchases, and for a cash cushion in case of emergency.

But not all credit cards are created equal--some come with annual fees or foreign transaction penalties while others focus on low-interest rates or introductory grace periods. Depending on the kind of business you run, you'll want to look for different categories of credit cards.

Lots of business credit cards come with rewards--whether that means cash back, air miles per dollar spent, a points system, or something else. If you don't care much about extra perks and just want to use your credit card to make business purchases, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to save money for your business.

Let's take a look at the 7 business credit cards with the best rewards programs out there right now.

1. American Express SimplyCash Plus Business

Amex's SimplyCash Plus business credit card comes with a limited time introductory offer and a substantial cash back program.

APR: 0% introductory APR for 9 months, then 12.49% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Up to $38 late fee

Introductory Offer: $250 statement credit for $5,000 spent in first 6 months.

Other Rewards:

3% cash back on the category of your choice, including:

  • Airfare, hotels, and car rentals purchased directly from their suppliers
  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Advertising in select media
  • Shipping for U.S. purchases
  • Computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases from select providers

2. Chase Ink Cash

Chase's Ink Cash card has a high APR but comes with a generous cash back rewards system.

APR: 0% introductory APR for 1 year, then 13.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 5% balance transfer fee

Introductory Offer: $200 cash back if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Other Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on purchases for office supplies, cell phones, landline phone service, Internet, and cable TV (up to the first $25,000 each year)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to the first $25,000 each year)
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else without a limit

You can also set spending limits for employee cards and get extras at no additional charge.

3. Chase Ink Plus

The Ink Plus card comes with an extensive points system, redeemable for travel and other perks.

APR: 0% introductory APR for 1 year, then 13.24% variable.

Fees:

  • $95 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Introductory Offer: 60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months.

Other Rewards:

  • 5 points for purchases for office supplies, cell phones, landline phone service, Internet, and cable TV (up to the first $50,000 each year)
  • 2 points for purchases at gas stations and restaurants (up to the first $50,000 each year)
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else without a limit
  • Get 20% of hotels, flights, car rentals, and cruises when redeemed through Chase's Ultimate Rewards program

Again, Chase gives you the ability to get free employee cards--and set their spending limits.

4. WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business

This Visa card is perfect for traveling business owners.

APR: 0% APR deal lasting for 9 months, then 11.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee

Introductory Offer: $100 credit statement bonus if you spend at least $500 in your first 60 days, plus 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase.

Other Rewards:

  • 3 points per dollar spent for travel booked through Bank of America's travel center
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases

5. Spark Cash for Business

A Capital One business credit card like this could save your business lots of cash--if used right.

APR: 17.24% variable.

Fees:

  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Introductory Offer: $500 cash bonus if you spend $4,500 in first 3 months.

Other Rewards:

  • 2% cash back on every purchase
  • No categories or limits to cash back reward
  • Cash rewards redeemable at any time, with no amount or increment limits

Cash back is a great way to save--even as you spend. The Spark Cash for Business card is one of the best cash back programs for business cards around.

6. Spark Miles for Business

Another Spark card, this one comes jam-packed with miles rewards instead of cash. For the small business owner who travels often, it can get you big savings.

APR: 17.24% variable.

Fees:

  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Introductory Offer: Earn 50,000 miles (equal to $500 in travel) if you spend $4,500 in your first 3 months.

Other Rewards:

  • 2x miles on every purchase
  • No categories, limits, minimums, or expirations for miles
  • No blackouts or seat restrictions

Like with Spark Cash, you can also add extra employee cards for free.

7. Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

Perfect for entrepreneurs who like to travel in style--without breaking the bank--this business credit card comes with plenty of rewards.

APR: 15.49%, 17.49%, or 19.49% depending on your creditworthiness.

Fees:

  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cash advance transaction fees of either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater

Introductory Offer: Get 25,000 Starpoints if you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months.

Other Rewards:

  • Free in-room premium internet access
  • Free and unlimited Boingo WiFi
  • Free nights at 1,200+ hotels in 100+ countries without blackout dates (although service and resort charges may apply)
  • Starpoints redeemable for flights with over 150 airlines, also without blackout dates
  • 5 Starpoints for purchases at participating hotels--2 for being a card member and 2 or 3 as a hotel chain member
  • 1 Starpoint for all other purchases
  • Free Sheraton Club lounge access

Think carefully about what sorts of rewards your business could benefit the most from, and make sure to treat your credit card spending with care! Remember, they are much like a business loan or line of credit. Pay your debts back on time and in full, and keep your credit utilization to under 25%.

 

Published on: May 13, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.