One way to grow your business is to use Google Ads. However, you don’t want to mindlessly put your ad spend on whatever card you have handy. That’s not how you get the most benefit from your money. By implementing a simply strategy of what credit cards to use for your Google Ads spend you can earn lucrative rewards that translate into free — or nearly free — travel or serious cash back.
If you’re really looking to maximize your rewards on Google ad spend, here’s the strategy I recommend and personally use, as well as my thoughts on the best credit card for Google Ads.
1. Use the Chase Ink Preferred for the first $150,000 spent on Google Ads
With the Chase Ink Preferred Credit Card you 3x points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1x points per $1 on everything else. Google Ads would fall under “advertising purchases made with social media and search engines” so by using the Chase Ink Preferred you instantly unlock three times the points.
If your advertising spend reaches the $150,000 annual cap, this would result in you earning 450,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you redeem those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel, then your points will be worth $5,625. If you prefer to use your points for cash back instead, each point will be worth one cent. Therefore, your 450,000 points will have a value of $4,500.
You can tack on another 80,000 bonus points for a total of 530,000 points in the first year by spending $5,000 in the first three months of account opening. That 530,000 is worth $6,625 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. With $6,625 in travel you can take a well deserved vacation. Or you can use the 530,000 points for cash back and reinvest it in your business. Those 530,000 points equate to $5300, which is like adding 3.5% to your gross margin!
|Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee: $95
2. Use the American Express Business Gold Card for the next $150,000 spend on Google Ads
Once you’ve reached the ceiling on the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you can switch your ad spend to the American Express Business Gold Card — a charge card — where you’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points for the first $150,000 spent in two select categories each year, and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases each calendar year.
You can pick your own categories, and I recommend you choose one that includes online advertising. For example, with the Amex Business Gold, you can use “U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)” as one of your categories and then use this card for your Google Ads spend to get those extra rewards.
Reaching that $150,000 cap means you’ll earn 600,000 Membership Rewards points in the process. If you use your points to book a flight with American Express Travel, you’ll get 25% of your points back, so your 600,000 Membership Rewards points will be worth $7,500. If you use your points for a statement credit, they’ll be worth $3,600.
|American Express Business Gold Card
Welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee: $295
3. Max out your limit on the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Once you’ve spent enough to supercharge your rewards earnings with the other two cards, you can begin using the Capital One Spark Cash for Business. With this card, you earn unlimited 2% cash back, so each Google Ads expenditure comes with cash back.
Unlike other cashback cards, with Capital One you can request an actual check, which you can use any way you wish. One great way to maximize the cash would be to deposit into a Simple Employment Pension (SEP-IRA) and build up a nice retirement fund.
|Capital One Spark Cash for Business
Early spend bonus: Earn a $500 cash bonus after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months and another $1,500 bonus when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
4. Change your billing threshold for Google Ads to $5,000 increments
You can incorporate strategies from the Google Ads side, too — like changing your billing threshold to $5,000. Basically, this means you'll be billed by Google every time you reach $5,000 in spending, rather than paying in a series of smaller amounts. To raise your billing threshold just submit a ticket to Google Ads support.
This becomes a valuable rewards optimization strategy when you use the Business Platinum Card from American Express. The Business Platinum Card — a premium charge card — offers extra rewards on purchases of $5,000 or more. So, with the new ad spend threshold, you’ll earn 50% more points on purchases that are $5,000 or more (earning 1.5 points per dollar spent instead of one point).
On top of that, with this card you get access to Delta Lounges when flying Delta and Centurion Lounges when flying elsewhere. So, if you do a lot of business travel, this card can be especially valuable.
|Business Platinum Card from American Express
Welcome bonus: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, then another 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
Annual fee: $595
5. Put additional ad spends on another rewards card
If you get to the point where you’ve maxed out your rewards on these cards and you still have other Google Ads purchases to make, it makes sense to look to different business credit cards that offer perks you’re likely to use. Here are some of the business credit card programs that offer you the ability to enjoy other perks:
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
If you spend $140,000 on the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll earn Globalist Status. This is Hyatt’s highest status level, and you can get awesome travel perks, like suite upgrades. Because this is a consumer card, though, it’s important you don’t mix this card up with your business cards. While you can use a consumer card for business purchases, you don’t want to put personal expenses on a business card.
Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
If you frequently travel Delta, the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express — also a consumer card — can provide you with additional perks, including lounge access and priority upgrades to First Class or Delta One, making travel more comfortable. Plus, you can earn another 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles each year if you spend $30,000 on the card annually.
Bonus hack: If you have multiple LLCs
Looking for a way to double up your premium spend categories? If you have multiple LLCs (limited liability companies), you can apply for separate business cards for each registered LLC. Just make sure you keep your finances separate for every LLC to ensure that you’re following best practices — and to make things easier at tax time.
Important things to know before you get started
There are plenty of strategies designed to help you use the best credit card for Google Ads and reap the rewards. What’s outlined above is the strategy I personally use for our company ad spends and have refined over the years, and it’s worked really well for me.
As you employ this strategy, though, it can start to feel overwhelming because you have to manage multiple cards. But there’s one thing I do to make things simpler — pre-charge my cards with Google Ads. If I know my limit every month is $100,000 on each card I have, I can log in and pre-charge that limit. This saves me from having to juggle cards on a daily basis.
Finally, read up on the Chase 5/24 rule before you dive in. If you get too many cards in the space of two years, you might not qualify for another Chase card — and what if a Chase card would be the best credit card for Google Ads in your situation? A simple rule of thumb is to consider opening Chase cards first, and then move on to other cards.
In the end, making the most out of your credit cards and getting the best value for your business expenses requires strategy. With a good plan, you’re likely to get more for your business buck.