To determine which business cards offer the best deals, CNBC Make It compiled a list of 20 popular business credit cards. We vetted each card based on its reward offers, introductory and eventual APR, annual fee, bonus, recommended credit score, late fee, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee, redemption rates, transfer options, customer reviews and extra perks.
The main criteria in our ranking was how much each card will end up earning you in rewards relevant to businesses. To figure this out, we compared rewards structures under the assumption that a business owner would spend the same amount in each category — that, for example, they'd spend just as much on advertising as they would on shipping.
Through this analysis, we found that the Chase Ink Business Preferred would save the average business owner the most, which is largely why it came out on top as our No. 1 choice. Put simply, it has the widest array of high-earning spending categories.
It offers 3 points per dollar spent on travel, shipping, advertising, and internet, phone and cable services. The travel category includes spending on flights, hotels, car rentals and even taxis. And when you redeem the points you earn towards travel, rather than cash, they're worth 25 percent more. Effectively, that means, if points are redeemed for their maximum value, each of those categories is rewarded with 3.75 points per dollar.
Spending categories are not really equal in value, of course: Business owners will utilize some more than others. If you spend a lot of money at office supply stores, the SimplyCash Plus might be a better choice for you than the Ink Business Preferred, since it rewards office supply spending with 5 percent back, whereas the Ink Business Preferred only rewards office supply spending with 1 point.
That's why we also weighed reward structures against other factors, such as bonuses, annual fees and perks. And we considered reward limits, since many business owners spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
For the largest return, you should find a card that rewards how you spend money for your business.
Co-branded business cards did not make our final list due to their often complex reward systems and potential to limit your travel options to a specific brand. But these cards are certainly worth considering for brand-loyal business travelers.
Don't miss: The credit cards with the best sign-up bonuses
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!