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If you’re a small-business owner, chances are you spend a decent amount on promoting your business online through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. After all, social media advertising is one of the most effective ways to segment your target audience.
Online advertising doesn’t come cheap, so as with other recurring expenses, you’re going to want to use the card that earns the most points on your spending. Just as you can maximize spending on dining out, travel, office supply purchases and more by choosing the right credit card, you can also get the most out of your spending on internet advertising if you know where to look. In fact, online advertising has been the biggest boon of TPG’s points-earning career.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the top business credit cards that offer especially generous bonus points on online advertising purchases.
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Best cards for Facebook ad spending
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
- American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
In This Post
American Express® Business Gold Card
Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees)
Current welcome offer: Earn 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG valuations, this bonus is worth $700.
Earning rates: 4x points on the two select categories where you spend the most each month (up to $150,000 spent annually; then 1x)
Analysis: The American Express Business Gold Card automatically gives you 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in the two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle. The six possible bonus categories are:
- Airfare purchased from airlines
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers
TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, so you’ll earn an 8% return on spending in the two bonus categories where you spend the most each billing cycle. However, you’ll only earn 4x on the first $150,000 of bonus category spending each year. All subsequent spending will earn 1x point per dollar, which is the earning rate for all non-bonus category spending. But, if you spend the full $150,000 in 4x categories, you’ll earn 600,000 Membership Rewards points each year, which TPG values at $12,000. Stack that with the 25% Pay With Points bonus you get for using Amex points to pay for business or first-class airfare with your selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year) and your business will save some serious cash on employee travel.
For more details on the card’s other benefits, check out our full card review.
Related reading: Use these 5 cards when furnishing your home office
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Annual fee: $95
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG valuations, this bonus is worth $2,000.
Earning rates: 3x on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
Analysis: The Ink Business Preferred offers 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year for the following categories:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
All other purchases, and purchases in these categories over $150,000 in an account anniversary year, earn 1x point per dollar spent.
This card provides especially good value because it’s part of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. You can use your points to book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents each — or 1.5 cents each if you transfer your points to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. But TPG valuations peg Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents due to the program’s valuable hotel and airline transfer partners including United and Hyatt. So you’ll effectively get a 6% return on the first $150,000 you spend each account anniversary year in the 3x bonus categories. In fact, if you spend the full $150,000 in 3x categories, you’ll earn 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points each year which TPG values at $9,000.
The Ink Business Preferred also comes with the largest points bonus among the three cards featured in this story. You’ll earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months. That bonus is worth $2,000 according to TPG’s valuations, which looks even more impressive when you consider this card’s annual fee — a modest $95.
For details on the card’s other benefits, including cell phone protection when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with this card, check out our full card review.
Related reading: Maximizing the Chase Trifecta
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)
Current sign-up bonus: Now through Nov. 4, 2020, earn up to $300 in statement credits after making eligible purchases at Dell, DocuSign and FedEx (up to $100 each) in the first three months of card membership.
Earning rates: 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases you make each calendar year, and 1% after that.
Analysis: If cash back is more your speed, Amex’s Blue Business Cash Card is another good pick — especially if you’ve maxed out the bonus categories on the other two business cards above.
The card’s earning structure is very straightforward and is good for more than just paying for Facebook ads. The card earns a flat 2% back on all purchases (on up to $50,000 each year), whether that’s for advertising or any other business expense.
While a $300 sign-up bonus may not sound like the most lucrative, it’s a big step up from the standard (non-existent) welcome offer on the card and there’s no annual fee. Interestingly, the card also offers the ability to spend beyond your credit limit to make large purchases (determined by factors like your payment and credit history), though you’ll have to pay off this additional spending every month.
For details on the card’s other benefits, check out our full card review.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Annual fee: $199
Current sign-up bonus: Up to 100,000 bonus points — earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus, an additional 30,000 points after spending $25,000 on purchases in the first six months. Based on TPG valuations, the full bonus is worth $1,500.
Earning rates: 3x on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 2x on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Analysis: If Southwest is your company’s preferred airline and you’re considering a cobranded card, this is the one to get. Two Rapid Rewards points per dollar on social media and search engine advertising equates to a solid 3% return.
The card also comes with a number of perks that will make business trips on the airline more comfortable. You’ll get four upgraded boarding positions per year, up to 365 $8 inflight Wi-Fi credits per year (covers all-day pass) and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit every four years, among other benefits. Plus, the 100,000 points you get from the sign-up bonus gets you much closer to earning the coveted Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.
For more details, read our Southwest Performance Business credit card review.
Related reading: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass
What counts as advertising on these cards?
The Business Gold Card specifies the relevant bonus category as spending on “advertising in select media.” Based on information available on Amex’s website, “purchases of online, television and radio advertising must be purchased in the U.S. directly from media providers in order to promote a business” and example of eligible merchants include but aren’t limited to Google, Facebook, Yahoo, NBC National Broadcasting and CBS Radio. The website clearly notes that you won’t “earn additional rewards for direct mail services including list/lead generation.”
So not only will you earn extra rewards — up to 4x on the Business Gold Card — for online advertising with platforms such as Facebook and Google, but also with ad spending across other media formats. Since online ad spending is so popular among businesses large and small these days, that’s likely where most cardholders will be able to maximize this category.
The Ink Business Preferred and Performance Business are issued by Chase and the terms and conditions for Chase are more explicit. Chase’s website states that merchants in the “social media and search engine advertising” category “include social media websites (such as Facebook and Twitter) and online search engines (such as Google AdWords and Microsoft Bing Ads) that advertise a business, brand, products or services.” However, “advertising purchases that are not made directly from a social media website or online search engine merchant may not qualify” and “purchases from social media websites or online search engines that are not for advertising will not qualify.” So, it’s pretty clear you’ll earn up to 3x on the Ink Business Preferred when you purchase Facebook and Google ad spending directly with the merchant.
If you’re wondering how a particular advertising purchase will code and the credit card issuer’s category definition is unclear, consider trying a small advertising purchase to see how it codes.
Online advertising with companies such as Facebook and Google has become an integral part of many business strategies, and luckily there are credit cards that reward spending within this category. If you have a large ad budget, you can spread out the cost over multiple credit cards and continue to bring in significant rewards.
The American Express Business Gold Card is a great choice due to its ability to earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on ad spending, which is an 8% return based on TPG’s valuations. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is also a solid choice due to its ability to earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on ad spending (a 6% return), its low annual fee and its current sign-up bonus. Meanwhile, the American Express Blue Business Cash Card, which offers a lower 2% return due to its straight cash-back offering, is a solid option as well if you don’t want to pay an annual fee. Or, if you’ve already maxed out your bonus categories on the other cards you can get a 3% return with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card.
Watch the video below to see which card TPG himself uses for his business ad spending!
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Cash, click here.
Featured image by LukaTDB/Getty Images.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.