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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, The Platinum Card from American Express, The Business Platinum Card from American Express, Blue Cash Everyday, Blue Cash Preferred
Offer Expired February 24, 2014
If you’ve been considering getting a business credit card from American Express and are eligible to get one, now might be a good time to do so thanks to two decent sign-up bonuses that are out there.
The first is for the Business Gold Rewards card, which is currently offering a limited-time bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months. With the exception of a few one-day 75,000-point sign-up offers that come with $10,000 spend requirements (one in March and one in January) the most recent public offer for this card was at a mere 0 points.
Here are the details of the offer:
- Get 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first 3 months following approval of your new Card account
- Plus, get a statement credit for your initial Amazon Prime membership fee after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period
- As an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items on Amazon.com
- Built with business-sized purchasing power and fast rewards
- 3X points on airfare purchased from airlines. 2X points on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping and at gas stations
- (New!) 2X points on US purchases made directly from select computer hardware and software providers
- Up to $100,000 in each category per year, then 1 point
- Terms and limitations apply
Update: Beginning March 22, 2014, American Express Card Members will no longer have access to American Airlines Admiral Club and US Airways Club airport lounges through Airport Club Access / Airport Lounge Program. This means that Card Members will no longer be able to gain complimentary access to the American Airlines airport lounges (known as Admirals Club lounges) or the US Airways Club airport lounges as a benefit of their Platinum Card Membership. Cardmembers will continue to receive access to participating Delta Sky Club lounges, Priority Pass Select (enrollment is required), and Airspace lounges in JFK, CLE and BWI airports.
The other Amex business card you might be considering is the Business Platinum card (offer expired), which is offering a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months. Here are the details of that offer:
- Welcome Offer: Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of Card Membership
- Enroll and select a qualifying airline to receive up to $200 annually in statement credits for incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, charged by the airline
- 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
- Take advantage of 40 premium benefits to help power your business
- Complimentary access to 600+ participating airport lounges through Priority PassTM Select
- Business Platinum Concierge is like your own assistant, ready to help you with just about anything personal or professional, 24 hours a day
- Purchasing power that can adjust as your business evolves
- Terms & Restrictions Apply*
There are a lot of great reasons to consider getting a business credit card, even if you just have a small business. These include keeping your personal and work expenses separate, giving your more spending power, the accounts don’t sit on your personal credit report, taking advantage of business-card-specific perks such as Amex OPEN Savings, purchase protections and additional sign-up bonuses.
Remember, even if you don’t have a major business you can still qualify for business cards like this one though American Express OPEN cards are exclusively for business owners. Most issuers will let you get a business credit card by applying with your own social security number if your business is a sole proprietorship (a business run by one person). Plus, since Amex is going to run a credit check anyway, it should be possible for you to apply for a personal card on the same day if you were considering getting a personal Amex card anyway, so it counts as a single hard credit pull.
Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
Both these cards accrue Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to 21 airline and hotel partners including:
Star Alliance: Air Canada Aeroplan, Singapore, All Nippon Airlines
Oneworld: British Airways (Current 35% transfer bonus), Iberia, Cathay Pacific
Skyteam: Delta, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia, Aeromexico
Other: Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, El Al, Frontier, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines
Hilton 1: 1.3
Best Western 1:1
To read about great ways to maximize Membership Rewards points and why I find them so useful, check out my Top 10 post on reasons I like Membership Rewards cards, as well as this one on lesser-known transfer partners. One of the major reasons is the program’s numerous transfer partners, giving you the ultimate flexibility when redeeming your points.
With all these benefits, why choose just one? Unfortunately Amex usually puts terms along the lines of this into applications for special bonus offers on these cards: “Restrictions: Bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product or any other Business Gold, Green, or PlatinumCard account within the last 12 months.” So you do have to make a decision. For now.
To help you do so, I’ve put together a quick side-by-side comparison of these two cards taking into account a few of the biggest factors I use to determine which business credit cards to get.
Business Gold Rewards: 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of Card membership.
Business Platinum Card: 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of Card membership. Note: Amex has been sending out 100,000 point targeted sign-up bonuses, so open all of your mail to see if you’re one of the chosen few. Getting the card with that sign-up bonus is an absolute no-brainer in my opinion.
Winner: Business Gold Rewards card – twice the bonus for the same amount of spend and no annual fee the first year.
Category Spend Bonuses
Business Rewards Gold: 3x points on airfare, 2x points on purchases in the U.S. for advertising in select media, gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, and shipping and 1x points on other purchases. Update: Now you will also earn 2x on purchases made with from select computer hardware, software and cloud computing providers. Restrictions: Points are earned only on eligible purchases. Bonus points limitations apply – spending bonuses are capped at $100,000 in each of the four industry categories per year.
Business Platinum Card: None. Like the personal version of this card, there are no bonus spending categories.
Winner: Business Gold Rewards card.
Business Platinum Card: In addition to the Amex OPEN Savings, this card confers the same suite of benefits as the personal Platinum Card, including: the $200 airline rebate; airport lounge access to Delta, American, US Airways and Priority Club lounges; free Global Entry; automatic Starwood Gold status; access to Fine Hotels & Resorts booking benefits like room upgrades and resort credits, and more. For more information on maximizing the Platinum Card, check out this post from my Amex Series.
Winner: Business Platinum Card. Not only do you get the same Amex OPEN Savings benefits, but this card has one of the richest benefits packages of any consumer card on the market and if you maximize the airline fee and lounge access alone, that makes up for the $450 annual fee.
Same partners for both, though the Business Platinum card gets you access to Membership Rewards First which sometimes runs targeted transfer bonuses.
Winner: Business Platinum.
Other Redemption Options
Business Rewards Gold: Pay With Points allows travel to be purchased at 1 cent per point through Amex Travel. Gift cards range in value from .5 cents per point for Amex gift cards to 1 cent per point for popular retailers.
Business Platinum Card: Pay With Points allows travel to be purchased at 1.25 cent per point through Amex Travel. Gift cards range in value from .5 cents per point for Amex gift cards to 1 cent per point for popular retailers.
Winner: Business Platinum. You get a full 25% more value out of Pay with Points redemptions on this card – the only widely available card in the Amex portfolio to offer this benefit. Since Membership Rewards points from all cards get pooled to one account, any existing points you have will be worth 25% more if used with Pay With Points.
Business Gold Rewards: $175 waived the first year
Business Platinum Card: $450 not waived
Winner: Business Gold Rewards. Not only is the annual fee less, but it’s waived the first year, meaning you have 12 months to take advantage of this card’s earning potential and benefits before deciding whether it’s worth the fee.
Foreign Transaction Fee
Business Gold Rewards: 2.7%
Business Platinum Card: None.
Winner: Business Platinum. Especially for people who travel abroad a lot, having a card with no foreign transaction fees is essential.
Business Gold: 3 wins
Business Platinum: 4 wins
As with all points-earning credit cards, which one you get depends on your habits and how you hope to redeem the points and benefits.
The higher sign-up bonus, lower annual fee and category spending bonus structure of the Business Rewards Gold card might be better for people who want to rack up a lot of Membership Rewards points in a hurry through a single sign-up and some smart, category-conscious spending before deciding whether to keep the card when the annual fee comes due the second year.
The Business Platinum Card is better for those who can max out the value-added benefits like lounge access, the airline rebate fee and the Global Entry refund – all of which more than make up for the card’s hefty $450 annual fee – while also having the option of using this card abroad since it carries no foreign transaction fees.