Comparing American Express Business Cards - Running with Miles
Credit Cards The Basics

Comparing American Express Business Cards

Written by Dustin

When it comes to American Express Business Cards, you have a few options. Which one makes the most sense for you?

Advertiser Disclosure

Last year, I had asked readers what are some things they’d like to see covered this year. I am always open to topics, so feel free to ask in the comments. One reader, QueenofSkyPesos, had asked if I could compare American Express Business cards. Well, here is my comparison of them.

American Express Business Cards

There are co-branded American Express Business Cards, but I am excluding those from this comparison. Putting your points into one basket of Skymiles is never a good idea.

Platinum Gold SimplyCash Plus Plum
Sign Up Bonus Ranges from 40,000 to 100,000 Membership Reward Points Ranges from 25,000 to 75,000 Membership Reward Points Ranges from$250 to $500 Ranges from $0 to up to $600
Spending Requirement Ranges from $5,000 to $15,000 ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 $5,000 to $15,000 $0 to $30,000
Bonus Categories 2x on all purchases thru Amex Travel, 1.5x on all purchases of $5,000 or more, 1x on everything else 3x at one of 5 different categories, 2x on the four categories not chosen, 1x everywhere else 5% on US office supply stores and Wireless telephone services,3% on one of 8 categories, 1 % everywhere else 1.5% on early payments, or 60 days no interest
Annual Fee $450, not waived for first year $175, waived for first year $0 $0
Authorized User Fees $300 per person $0 for year 1, then $50 per year $0 $0
Rewards Earned Membership Rewards Membership Rewards Cash Back Cash Back
Foreign Transaction Fees None None 2.7% None

The Sign Up  Bonus and Annual Fees

The Business Platinum 

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has bonuses ranging from 40,000 (bad) to currently 100,000 points. This also comes with a  spending requirement ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. I recently had a “special offer” in my American Express account for 75,000 points after $5,000, which I favored over 100,000 for $15,000.

This card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee which isn’t waived the first year. It does come with $200 in airline credits per year, so you’ll receive it twice ($400) before paying a second annual fee.

The current offer is for 50,000 points after spending $10K and an additional 25,000 points after spending another $10K – you can find this offer here.

The Business Gold 

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN has bonuses ranging from 25,000 (Very bad) to 75,000 (targeted) points. The spending requirement for this ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. The current offer is 50,000 points after $5,000 spend. Check your American Express accounts, because you could have been targeted for 75,000 points after $5,000 spend requirement.

This card has a $175 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. This does not come with airline credits like it’s personal counterpart does (maybe they will change that!).

The SimplyCash Plus

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a cash back business card, with bonuses ranging from $250 to $500. This does come in the form of a statement credit. The spending requirements range from $5,000 (for $250 offer) to $15,000 (for $500 offer). This equates to an extra 5% back on all purchase for the $250 offer for $5,000 and 3.33% back on all purchase for the $500 offer.

There is no annual fee for the this card, which makes this quite an attractive option.

The Plum

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN is a cash back business card, with it’s bonus ranging from $0 to “up to $600.” To earn the $600 statement credits, you’d need to spend $30,000. You’d receive a $200 statement credit for every $10,000 spent, that is an extra 2% bonus on all purchases.

There is a $250 annual fee for this card, with is waived for the first year.

Verdict:

If you are looking at just the bonus, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN might be your best option, since the fee is waived the first year.  Not to mention the bonus is right on track with the Platinum.

If cash back is more your style, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers a better bonus for the spend. On a percentage level, the lower offer of $250 is a better option, but if you can cover the minimum spend an extra 3.33% isn’t too bad either. The Plum falls flat for me, and doesn’t really warrant any attention based on it’s bonus.

Bonus Categories:

The Business Platinum

While American Express recently made changes to the Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, it’s overall earning is quite poor.

It earns:

  • 2x Membership Rewards points on all travel booked through Amex Travel
  • 1.5x Membership Reward points on single purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 1x Membership Rewards everywhere else

This isn’t anything great, but if you have large expenses ($5,000 or more), this could be a good option, but the Everyday Preferred offers 1.5x on all purchases.

The Business Gold

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN has pretty solid earning and allows for some flexibility as well.

It earns:

  • 3x Membership Reward points on one of these categories:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • 2x Membership Reward points on the 4 categories not selected above
  • 1x Membership Reward points everywhere else

The bonus categories on the 2x and 3x are up to the first $100,000 spent,then it drops to 1x. These bonus categories can be lucrative if you spend a lot in any one of the categories.

Remember, some of these categories are only good in the US, so remember that if you travel internationally! I hope they change that!

The SimplyCash Plus

This card is a competitor to the Chase Ink Cash, but only offers cash back, can’t be used at Membership Reward points

It earns:

  • 5% cash back at:
    • Wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
    • U.S. office supply stores.
  • 3% cash back at one category of:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
    • Har rentals purchased from select car rental companies
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • 1% cash back on everything else

The bonus categories are for the first $50,000, then they drop to 1%. It would be nice if the categories you didn’t select earned 2%, but that isn’t the case.

This card is pretty comparable with the Ink Cash, except it has a higher spending threshold by $25,000.

If you cash back is your preferred option for business rewards, this should definitely be one card to look at.

The Plum:

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN doesn’t really have any “bonus” categories. If you pay your bill early, you will receive a 1.5% early pay discount.

If you choose, or can’t pay your bill in the first 10 days to earn 1.5% back, you can have up to 60 days of no interest. I assume if you are reading this you are looking at the cash back amount, not the interest free time.

Verdict:

If earning Membership Rewards is your priority, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN far outshines the alternatives in earnings. The only exception could be if you make a lot of $5,000 or more purchases. Other than that the Business Gold is superior

If cash back is your priority, I don’t think it is close. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a much better option here. I think the Plum Card® from American Express OPEN is really designed for people who have no interest in playing with games and just want a slight discount.

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

The Business Platinum:

This is definitely the most expensive of the group. The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN comes with a hefty $450 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. It does come with annual airline credits of $200 (you’d receive it twice), but as I talked about with Chase Sapphire Reserve, it is still a $450 card .

Thinking of adding an Authorized User? This will add on $300 to your cost. OUCH!

The Business Gold

This one is definitely easier to swallow when if comes to annual fees. It is $175 per year, but it is waived for the first year, which is great. There are no airline credits, but the earning potential is far greater than the Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Authorized Users are $50 each. Not a bad price if you have multiple employees to add

The SimplyCash Plus

If you don’t like paying annual fees, then this card should be on your radar, since it has a $0 annual fee. Not bad especially with the earning potential in cash back.

Adding any Authorized User will also be $0, another great benefit.

The Plum

I guess I just don’t understand how American Express can charge $250 a year (although waived for the first year) for this card. It definitely not even a card I’d consider opening.

If you did though, adding Authorized Users will cost you $0.

Verdict:

When looking at annual fees, if you want to keep things as low as possible, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is probably your best option. If earning Membership Rewards is your goal, the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is definitely an easier fee to handle.

Foreign Transaction Fees:

All of the cards except the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, all have no foreign transaction fees. The SimplyCash Plus comes with a 2.7% fee and should be left at home. It is not worth the fees to use internationally.

Other considerations when traveling internationally is the fact the bonus categories are only in the US. You won’t earn extra points on gas, etc if using your American Express abroad.

Other Considerations:

When looking at the Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, outside of the bonus, it isn’t a card to use for everyday purchases. It quite frankly is such a poor earner for American Express Cards. The earning rate isn’t why you get the Business Platinum Card though.

Benefits like:

  • SPG Gold status = Marriott Gold status
  • Hilton Gold status
  • Lounge Access
  • Gogo Wifi
  • Boingo Wifi
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry Credit
  • Cruise On-Board Credit

Probably the best perk is the 50% back on points when you book airfare with Amex Travel. These benefits can justify the high annual fee and depending on your travel you could be saving money with this card.

With all of these cards you get the typical American Express customer service which is fantastic and protections.

Conclusion:

There are a few options when it comes to selecting an American Express Business Card. There is nothing against having more than one of these cards, but you should evaluate if that is the right move for you.

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is great for someone who travels frequently, or can use the benefits of the card to make the high annual fee worth it. The 50% rebate on airline ticket redemptions is a great benefit as well.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is probably the best American Express Business Card when it comes to earning points. The fact there is no annual fee for the first year is a nice way to “try before you buy.”

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is definitely one of the better no fee business cards and should be considered, especially if you can maximize those bonus categories.

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN is really like a prune. I just can’t see any reason to get it when there are much better options available.

Which American Express Card(s) do you have? Which card would you pick if you had one choice?

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Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About the author

Dustin

After completing 6 years of pharmacy school, I finally had the time to travel. I started investigating ways to travel for less and when I redeemed my first award flight for my honeymoon, I knew I was hooked! Fast forward a couple of years and places I had never dreamed of visiting like Budapest, Honolulu, Bermuda and many other places where all within my reach, and for little to no money out of my pocket. Now, I have collected well over a million points and miles, and try to help people travel for less on their wallet.

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