How to Choose the Best Credit Card: Independent Insurance Agents

JT is a freelance writer who has written about credit cards and points & miles since 2015. He published over 2,000 articles on The Points Guy and can now be found writing for NerdWallet, Forbes Advisor, AwardWallet, and CNBC Select. Since June 2017, JT and his wife have traveled full-time as digital nomads – using points, miles, and credit card benefits to drastically reduce the cost of living on the road.

Running a small business isn’t cheap. However, you can turn your business’ spending into cash back, airline miles, hotel points, or other rewards by using the right credit card.

Which credit card should you get? There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that. The best credit card is going to depend on your particular situation. So, let’s walk you through the process to figure out which card is best for your independent insurance agency.

What to consider when choosing a credit card

Choose your rewards strategy

Choosing your rewards strategy is critical to finding the right credit card for you. So, the first step is to decide what you want to get out of credit card rewards: cashback, travel rewards, or a little of both. We will walk you through each of these types of rewards in the sections below.

Factor in your largest expenses

Once you choose what type of rewards you want to earn, the next step is to figure out what your primary expenses are. Some insurance agents seem to live in their cars. For them, getting a card that rewards gas purchases will be key. For agents with high office expenses, a card that rewards office supplies and internet, cable, and phone services will be more rewarding.

Consider the annual fee

This may seem a bit obvious, but the annual fee is an important factor. If your small business doesn’t have many expenses, it may be worth accepting a lower-earning rate to avoid paying an annual fee.

For example, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus offers an unlimited 2% cashback on all purchases with a $150 annual fee. Meanwhile, the Capital One Spark Select only earns 1.5% cashback but with no annual fee. To offset the $150 annual fee with the 0.5% higher earning rate, you’ll need to spend more than $30,000 on Spark Cash Plus.

On the flip side, paying a high annual fee can make sense when a card offers valuable benefits. The best example of this is the American Express Business Platinum Card. The card currently charges a whopping $595 annual fee ($695 if you apply after January 13, 2022). However, the card comes packed benefits, including over $1,000 in potential statement credits each year:

  • $400 in Dell credits
  • $360 in Indeed credits
  • $150 in Adobe credits
  • $120 in wireless telephone service credits
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit
  • $179 CLEAR credit

Best cashback rewards cards for insurance agents

For many, cash is king. Earning cash back on your purchases can provide some critical cash flow for your small business. Card issuers generally offer two different types of cashback cards: flat-rate and bonus category cards.

Flat-rate cashback cards offer the same cash-back rate on all purchases. With these cards, you don’t have to remember bonus categories. You’ll get a fixed earning rate on all purchases. Some of the best flat-rate cash back cards include:

    • Capital One Spark Cash Plus: 2% cashback on all purchases ($150 annual fee)
    • American Express Blue Business Cash Card: 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1% ($0 annual fee)
  • Discover it Business Card: Unlimited 1.5% cashback ($0 annual fee)

Bonus category cards generally only earn 1% cashback on most purchases. But, you can earn a much higher rate for eligible purchases in bonus categories. If you spend a lot in these categories, your average earning rate could exceed the 2% you’d earn from flat-rate cards. Examples of bonus category cards include:

    • Ink Business Cash Credit Card: 5% cashback on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account year at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services; 2% on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account year at gas stations and restaurants. 1% cashback on all other purchases ($0 annual fee)
  • U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard: 3% cashback on eligible purchases at gas stations, office supply stores, cell phone service providers, and restaurants. 1% cashback on all other eligible purchases ($0 annual fee)

If you don’t mind juggling a couple of credit cards, you can maximize your earnings by combining one of each type. For example, get both the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the American Express Blue Business Cash Card.

Use the Ink Cash at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services to get 5% cashback. Then use the Blue Business Cash to get 2% everywhere else. Even better, both cards charge no annual fee.

Best travel rewards cards for insurance agents

Cashback is great, but would you rather score free flights or hotel stays through your credit card spending? Then, earning travel rewards is going to be better for your situation.

If you’re loyal to particular brands, many airlines and hotels offer a business credit card option. However, for most travelers, it’s best to earn flexible points that can then be transferred to one of the dozens of partners. There are four major transferable bank point programs to choose from:

Each program has a unique set of transfer partners. If you want to transfer your points to Delta, you’ll want to earn Amex Membership Rewards. To earn points that transfer to United or Southwest, earn Chase Ultimate Rewards instead.

If you’re looking for travel rewards, consider the following cards:

  • Blue Business Plus Credit Card: Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on up to $50,000 in purchases each year. Transfer points to 20 airline and hotel partners — including Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Hilton, and Marriott ($0 annual fee)
  • Amex Business Gold Card: Earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in select categories where you spend the most, up to $150,000 in combined purchases. Transfer to any of Amex’s 20 airline and hotel partners ($295 annual fee)
  • Chase Ink Preferred: Earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on up to $150,000 in combined purchases for shipping; advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines; internet, cable, and phone services; and travel. Transfer points to 14 airline and hotel partners — including Southwest, Hyatt, United, and JetBlue ($95 annual fee)

Best hybrid rewards cards for insurance agents

If you want to leave your options open, you can get the best of both worlds. Some credit cards are specially designed to let cardholders earn points now and then choose later whether they want to redeem points for cashback or use them for travel rewards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards cards may be the best example of this. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to 14 airline and hotel partners. Or, you have the option to cashpoints out at 1 cent per point — or at a higher rate through the Ultimate Rewards portal or Pay Yourself Back.

Similarly, Capital One is best known for its Purchase Eraser option — where you redeem points to offset travel purchases previously made. More recently, Capital One added 16 airlines and hotel, transfer partners. Now, you have the flexibility on which redemption works best for you.

Woman trying to choose what credit card is best for her.
If you’re loyal to particular brands, many airlines and hotels offer a business credit card option.

Some of the best small business credit cards for this hybrid strategy include:

    • Chase Ink Preferred:
      • Earn 3 points per dollar spent on up to $150,000 in combined purchases for shipping; advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines; internet, cable, and phone services; and travel.
      • Transfer points to 14 airline and hotel partners, redeem points at 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or via Pay Yourself Back, or cash points out at 1 cent per point.
  • Capital One Spark Miles:
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases — or 5X miles on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Transfer miles to 16 airline and hotel partners or redeem miles at 1 cent per mile for travel purchases charged to your card.
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