By Johnny Jet – For the past 20 years, Johnny Jet averaged 150,000 miles and 20 countries a year. He has been featured in many major publications and appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and PBS.
Do you ever feel like you're not getting as much as you can out of your credit card? As a business traveler, it can be difficult to choose a credit card, especially one with benefits that support you and your lifestyle. We’ve been there! That’s why we created this guide to the top five credit card perks for business travelers, along with the current rewards cards that offer them.
1. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Getting through airport security can be as exciting as hopping on the Friday afternoon conference call right before you start the weekend. Thankfully, some business credit cards such as the Business Platinum Card from American Express or the Capital One Venture Card reimburse your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
If approved, TSA PreCheck lets you breeze through the standard security lines at U.S. airports. However, you still have to go through the regular U.S. Customs security lines when returning from foreign trips. But the application process is easier as you don’t need a valid passport to apply. TSA PreCheck costs $85 and is good for five years.
Also subject to approval, Global Entry lets you enter expedited TSA PreCheck security lines at domestic airports and avoid the long U.S. Customs re-entry lines when returning from international flights. If approved, the $100 application fee includes access to both programs and is also good for five years. If you do a lot of international and domestic traveling, this service is definitely something to consider—especially if your business travel credit card covers the cost.
2. Airport Lounge Access
If you fly often, having access to an airport lounge can be well worth it. Whether you arrive at the airport early or have a long layover, you can visit the lounge to relax and enjoy a meal or catch up on work with free Wi-Fi. One of the easiest ways to gain access to a lounge is via credit cards. For instance, the United Explorer Business Card offers two one-time passes each year to the United Club. The Delta Reserve Card and the Delta Reserve for Business credit card will get you entry into the Delta SkyClub. The Hilton Honors Aspire, Hilton Honors Ascend, and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card all come with access to over 1,000 Priority Pass Select airport lounges. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also includes access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges.
Bear in mind that with carrier lounges, you need an active itinerary with that airline. However, if you aren’t loyal to a specific airline or hotel, you could consider the Platinum Card from American Express or the Business Platinum Card from American Express. Both give you access to seven distinct networks including the elite Centurion Network. This network offers upscale food and drinks, dedicated workspaces, and on-site spa services you won’t find at most airline lounges. For non-carrier lounges like Centurion and Priority Pass, you only have to present your credit card to gain entry. Premium credit cards such as the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard or the personal and business Gold Delta SkyMiles cards from American Express offer free access to the primary cardholder and up to two guests. Extra single day passes may be purchased at a discounted rate.
3. Free Checked Bags
One of the most common airline credit card perks is free checked bags. Unless you only carry on when flying legacy carriers or fly an airline where you always get free checked bags, those baggage fees add up quickly. Add a business travel credit card to the mix and this perk can easily make up for its annual fee.
Which cards offer this great perk? For starters, the co-brand Delta Airlines credit cards have a generous checked baggage policies. If you happen to have a travel companion tagging along, their first checked bag can be free. In fact, up to eight companions can check a free bag on Delta-operated flights. The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard also comes with this perk. In addition, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card comes with a free checked bag for you and up to six guests, as long as everyone is on the same flight reservation and flying Alaska. Alternatively, the American Express Gold Card comes with a $100 airline fee credit that you can apply to checked bags.
4. Airline Incidental Fee Credits
It’s also possible to get reimbursed for incidental airline fees like checked bags, in-flight purchases, lounge passes, and itinerary change fees with a business travel credit card. Cards reimburse these incidentals with a statement credit. Flexible rewards cards tend to be the most generous with reimbursing incidental expenses. For example, the American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cover the first $200 of incidentals for the airline of your choice each year. Similarly, the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card and Expedia Voyager Card from Citi come with $100 airline incidentals. However, they are only valid on domestic flights.
Co-brand airline credit cards like the Blue and Gold Delta SkyMiles cards have reimbursements for Delta travel purchases. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will also reimburse a portion of your in-flight purchases. Although this perk is limited to a few purchase types, you can still save.
5. Priority Boarding
Between smaller seats and increasingly restricted overhead bin access, the main cabin boarding experience continually gets more hectic, especially when you are one of the last to board. Priority boarding puts you in the first boarding group. Being the first to board in the main cabin can help you stay organized and gives you overhead bin access for your carry-on. To get priority boarding, you can usually pay extra or need to have earned a certain number of miles. However, co-brand credit cards like the United MileagePlus Club Card or the Gold, Platinum, or Reserve Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards from American Express also come with free priority boarding benefits.
Business travel comes with its own set of opportunities. Not only can travelers enjoy more benefits like earning rewards points and flying in business class, business travel rewards credit cards up the ante by offering a wide variety of perks to fit your travel style. Co-brand airline and hotel credit cards, for example, provide brand loyalty perks. Meanwhile, flexible business credit cards can offer premium rewards that enhance your entire travel experience. Small business credit cards offer air travel benefits that can save hundreds of dollars in travel costs each year. Check to see if your current credit card offers any of these valuable business travel benefits.
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