The Pros and Cons of Using Credit Cards for Travel Expenses


Business travelers have several payment methods available to them on trips. Retailers, hotels, and vendors have expanded their accepted payment forms as clients’, and guest preferences have shifted.

For example, some hotels and retailers accept cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, for payments. Others accept Apple Pay, Paypal, and Venmo.

However, credit cards remain popular among travelers and hospitality industry vendors.

What Are Credit Cards for Travel Expenses?

Credit cards for travel expenses are those explicitly issued for companies to cover business expenses. The cards have higher spending limits, more attractive reward benefits, and tax and bookkeeping considerations built into them.

We explore the pros and cons of using credit cards for travel expenses.

Pros of Using Credit Cards for Travel Expenses

The Diners Club became the first credit card to gain widespread popularity in the 1950s. Invented by Frank McNamara and Ralph Schneider, the card led to the invention of more card charging systems, such as American Express and Discover.

Previously, merchants tried other systems, such as charge plates and charge coins.

However, the charge card became the most popular and replicated option. Let’s look at the pros of using cards for corporate trip expenses.


First and foremost, credit cards offer convenience. There is no need to count exact change at counters nor wait for representatives to return the difference.

Plus, hotels love the convenience of card payments. It allows them to easily charge guest incidentals, extra nights of stay, and upgrades.

Recipients can order extra cards. Plus, credit card issuers have improved security features to detect and prevent fraud more quickly.

Easier Expense Tracking

Many companies allocate per diem and meal allowance travel expense amounts to their corporate travelers.

Credit cards make tracking expenses more manageable. If team members lose their receipts or don’t receive one from cab drivers, they can provide corporate travel managers with credit card statements or activity printouts.

Moreover, managers can establish online accounts and ensure that they maintain access to company-issued credit cards and accounts.

Loyalty Rewards

The American business travel market maintains 720k jobs and has a share of $121.1 B. Thus, the hospitality industry and related sectors have incentives to keep it healthy.

Credit card issuers contribute to the sector’s health by offering attractive loyalty rewards.

Some perks that professionals can expect include:

  • Points
  • Airline miles
  • Cashback

Corporate travel managers can maximize credit card loyalty rewards by picking the cards that reward them according to their company’s travel habits.

Thus, even infrequent travelers can benefit.

Cons of Using Credit Cards for Travel Expenses

Business credit cards offer several benefits for companies and corporate travelers. However, only top-tier companies and professionals enjoy the perks the most.

Some small businesses, professionals without long credit histories, and infrequent travelers will require time to earn elite status.

The good news is that many industries covet corporate business. Thus, some credit card issuers will work with new companies of all sizes.

Let’s explore some cons of corporate travel credit cards.

Stern Qualification Requirements

It’s more challenging to qualify for a business credit card than a personal one. Issuers want to ensure that cardholders use them per their terms of service. Namely, they use the cards for business expenses, not personal ones.

Some qualifications that business professionals must expect include the following:

  • Above average personal credit score
  • Above average business credit score
  • Annual revenue parameters

Stringent qualification requirements are part of the process since business professionals make large purchases. Therefore, the issuer guarantees riskier purchases.

Interest Rates

The average interest rate for business credit cards ranges between 14% to 17%. It’s lower than personal credit card interest rates. Nonetheless, 14% on balances of $1,000 or more add up quickly monthly.

Therefore, corporate travel managers should pick cards wisely.

Annual Fees

Credit card issuers often will not forgo the annual fees on corporate cards. Thus, managers must read the fine print before picking one card over another.

To keep offers attractive, issuers might offer upfront perks, such as bonus points, to cover the annual fees. Thus, recipients break even.


Credit cards offer the most benefits for covering travel expenses for most companies. Corporate travel managers can help their organizations find the most beneficial cards to maximize the cards’ values.


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