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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
It’s always nice when credit card issuers enhance their offerings, whether it’s adding new benefits (like we saw earlier this year with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express) or increasing the sign-up bonus (like with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card). Today, American Express has announced an entirely new product, so I’d like to go through the new SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card to see if it’s worth adding to your wallet.
For starters, if the name of the new card sounds familiar, you aren’t crazy. The SimplyCash Business Card from American Express has been around for a while, and this new option builds on the successes of that card with some enhanced offerings for cardholders. The original SimplyCash card is one of the better no-annual-fee business cards out there, but here are the earning rates on the new one (bolding is mine and highlights differences between the regular and Plus cards):
- 5% cash back on purchases made in the following categories combined: US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers (on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1% on purchases made thereafter)
- 3% cash back (on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1% on purchases made thereafter) on a category of your choice from the list of eight categories below:
- US gas stations
- US restaurants
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US purchases for shipping
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- *New: US computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
- 1% cash back on other purchases. There is no limit to the cash back that can be earned at 1%.
As you can see, the new card gives you the potential to earn both 5% and 3% on up to $50,000 worth of purchases each year, double the limits on the original SimplyCash card. You’ll also get an added bonus category that covers most computing purchases. Most of the other attributes of the card are identical to the current card: no annual fee, no fee for authorized users and access to various discounts through the American Express OPEN Savings program. However, this new card also shares the hefty 2.7% foreign transaction fee charged by the original card.
However, there is one other really interesting difference on the new SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card: It combines the benefits of a credit card and charge card. I regularly hear these two terms used interchangeably, but there are notable differences between the two. For small business owners, the unlimited buying power of a charge card can be critical when it comes to making large expenditures. However, the balances on these cards must be paid in full each month.
The new SimplyCash Plus card works a bit differently. You will have a set credit limit like a regular credit card, but then you will have the flexibility to spend beyond your credit limit to help pay for larger purchases. This additional spending must be paid in full, while the amount up to your credit limit can be carried from month-to-month (though paying your bill in full each month is my number one commandment for travel-rewards cards).
Now, it’s important to note that this does not offer you unlimited spending power, as your ability to make purchases above your credit limit is based on a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) your use of the card, payment history and credit history. Still, if you’re a small business owner and want to quickly take advantage of new growth opportunities, this offers you some valuable flexibility while still allowing you to earn unlimited cash back on all purchases.
Even though today marks the official announcement of the new SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, it’s currently only available to select small business owners before a public release in spring 2016. As a result, it isn’t offering a sign-up bonus at this time (the original SimplyCash card currently awards you a $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your card within the first six months of cardmembership). However, an American Express representative indicated that one will likely be offered when the card becomes available to the general public this spring.
The new SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a significant upgrade over the original SimplyCash card. By doubling the limit on the bonus categories from $25,000 to $50,000 and expanding your ability to make purchases above your pre-set spending limit, the SimplyCash Plus Card is a great option for small businesses looking to earn simple cash-back on expenses. However, be sure to consider whether you want an alternate type of reward, as other small business cards from American Express can award you Membership Rewards points, Delta SkyMiles or Starpoints.
Are any of you planning on applying for the SimplyCash Plus card when it comes out this spring?