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American Express just refreshed the sign-up bonus offer for the Amex SimplyCash Business Card. The current bonus, which is available until April 27, 2016, offers a statement credit of $250 after you spend $5,000 on the card in your first six months of card membership. While that overall 5% return is somewhat meager compared to other sign-up bonuses, SimplyCash offers a solid earning structure for a business card with no annual fee.
Amex SimplyCash earns cash back that is distributed automatically each month in the form of statement credits. Rewards are earned as follows:
- Limited Time Offer: Earn a one-time $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership
- To be eligible for this offer, your application must be received by April 27, 2016
- No annual fee
- 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
- 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories and 1% cash back on other purchases
- 5% and 3% apply to purchases up to $25,000 per rebate year then 1% thereafter. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement
- Terms and limitations apply
The 5% back at office supply stores and on wireless services is similar to what’s offered by the Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards, except those cards earn Ultimate Rewards points instead of cash back. Depending on how you use them, you could get a lot more value out of the points; in my latest monthly valuations, for example, I list Ultimate Rewards at 2.1 cents apiece, so the return in these 5% categories is clearly better with the Ink cards, especially considering that they each offer a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. However, Ink Bold and Ink Plus carry a $95 annual fee after the first year, so if you’re averse to annual fees, SimplyCash is a good alternative.
SimplyCash also offers your choice from among a number of 3% cash back categories. You must designate your category of preference after receiving your card, and Amex will only allow you to change your category once annually (between December 1 and January 31), so you can’t earn the bonus at a gas station one day and then change your 3% category to dining the next day. Still, these categories are very respectable despite the restrictions, and in some cases (like car rentals, shipping, and advertising) are fairly unique. If your business spends a lot in any of those categories, this card could be worth getting for the 3% back alone.
The 3% categories can be particularly lucrative when you combine them with the discounts from Amex OPEN Savings, which currently offers 5% back at FedEx and Hyatt, and 3-10% back at Hertz. If you were to max out the 3% bonus category at FedEx, you could save a total of $2,000 annually on shipping when combined with the OPEN Savings discount. Alternately, you could save over $3,000 at Hertz by maxing out the 3% bonus there. If you spend a lot at any of the participating merchants, then SimplyCash is a no-brainer.
The current $250 sign-up bonus offer is good for a few months, so you have time to consider it. Run some numbers and see whether SimplyCash comes out ahead based on your spending needs.
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