How to Fill Out an American Express Business Credit Card Application

[Disclosure:  Emily and I get a referral for links to the cards in this post.  You don't have to use our links, but we're very grateful when you do!]

I’ve been getting questions on how to fill out the application for American Express business cards – likely because of the increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 points on the Business Gold Rewards card. (offer expired)

As always, please read The 5 Dangers of Applying for Credit Cards before applying for a new card.

Why Business Cards?

The American Express Starwood card is among my favorite business cards by American Express.

The credit line for American Express business cards does not show in my personal credit report and impact my credit utilization or credit aging, so it doesn’t impact my personal credit score in the long term.  However, the credit inquiry does show in my  personal credit report, but the effect drops off after 3 to 6 months (though the credit inquiry, as opposed to the business credit line, does stay on my personal credit report for 2 years).

Business cards are an easy way to get extra miles and points, and as I’ve written previously, many of us may qualify for businesses even though we don’t realize it.  However, business credit cards may not have all the consumer protections which personal cards have.

Top American Express Business Card Applications

These are the top American Express business cards in my opinion:

  • American Express Business Gold Rewards – 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within 3 months (offer expired)
  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest – 

50,000 Membership Rewards points is ~$500 in gift cards, $500 towards travel when you use the “Pay with Points” feature, or potentially more when you transfer to airline or hotel partners such as British Airways, Singapore Airlines, etc.

That said, keep in mind that sudden increased spending on American Express business cards seem to trigger of Financial Reviews of all your credit cards by American Express.

American Express Business Card Application

The American Express Business Credit Card applications ask virtually the same questions whether you are applying for the Business Gold Rewards card or the Starwood hotel business card.

The screenshots below are from the 50,000 Point Business Gold Rewards card application.

Step 1 – Shortcut for American Express Customers

If you are an existing American Express customer, you can click the button which says “Are you already a Cardmember?”.  And then fill out your user ID and password to have the application enter in existing data for you.

Shortcut for AMEX Customers

Shortcut for AMEX Customers

I don’t have any rational basis to justify this, but I always fill out the information manually.

Step 2 – Enter Your Business Information.

Here’s how I fill out the form for a sole proprietor business.

  • Legal Business Name:  If you are a sole proprietor, your legal business name could be your own name, “John Smith” or the name of your business for example, “Custom Cookies.”
  • Business Name on Card:  This is the name of your business which you want printed on the credit card
  • Doing Business As: If you operate a business under a name which is different than your legal business name, enter it here.
  • Business Street Address:  This is your home address if you run the business from your home.
  • Industry Type: Select the type of business.
  • Company Structure:  Sole Proprietor (if the business is run by just one person).
  • Annual Business Revenue/Sales: Enter the total amount you receive annually for selling your products.  It can be zero, but don’t fib!
  • Years in Business: For example, if you have been thinking of selling homemade cookies for the last 18 months and have been buying ingredients to test different recipes enter “1-2 years
  • Number of Employees: You have at least 1 employee (yourself) if you are a sole proprietor, so select “1.″
  • Federal Tax ID:  This is your social security number (as a sole proprietor).  Note that the format of the text box in the application is for 9 digits, but in the format of 12-3456789.  Your Social Security number is also 9 digits, but is formatted as 123-45-6789.  As a sole proprietor,  your 9 digit social security number is your 9 digit Federal Tax ID!
SSN

Federal Tax ID = Social Security Number

  • Nature of Business:  Select the option which fits in best with your business. For example, if you sell crafts online, I’d choose “retail” or choose “other” if none of the categories describe your business.

It is very important to fill out all information in credit card applications truthfully.  It is much better to say that you have no annual sales than to enter a fictitious amount.  In her last business card application, Emily entered revenue of less than $100 and was still approved for the card.

Step 3 – Enter Your Personal Information

Role in Company:  As a sole proprietor, I select “owner.”

Estimated Monthly Spend:  You can leave this blank if you want.  Banks usually give you less credit for a business card and I don’t want to appear like I need a lot of new credit

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Your Role in the Business

Step 4 – Enter Your Personal Information

Enter your personal information, social security number etc.

Enter Your Personal Information

Enter Your Personal Information

Step 5 – Go to Verify

Click the box which says “Go to Verify” to agree to the terms and conditions.

One of the terms says:

“…and (d) are REPRESENTING THAT ALL CARD(S) ISSUED ON THE ACCOUNT WILL ONLY BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL OR BUSINESS PURPOSES.”

ddfd

Agree to the Terms

I can’t tell you what to do – you’ve got to decide that for yourself and as always do what you’re comfortable with.  Emily and I have both used our business card for personal expenses and sometimes our personal cards for business expenses.  But we try not to make it a habit.

But know that American Express would like you to use the business card only for business expenses.  I suspect this is a way to protect consumers from the lower consumer protections which business cards have (compared to personal cards).

Then click “Submit Application

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Submit Your Application

Step 6 – Wait For a Response

I usually wait for about a week before calling the American Express reconsideration department at 866-314-0237. (unlike with Chase), because I usually get approved without having to call the American Express reconsideration department.

I also check my application status online.

If you do call the reconsideration department, it helps to get a sense of whether the rep is willing to help you early in the call.  If the rep is unwilling to help or appears to be a stickler, politely hang up (dinner is ready!) and call back later.

Bottom Line

Business cards are a great way to get extra miles and points, and they have the added benefit of not decreasing the average age of your credit history because the business credit line doesn’t sit on your personal credit report.

You also don’t need an established business to get approved for a business card, and many of us have businesses without knowing it.  But it is important to be truthful on the application!

Also keep in mind that sudden increased spending on American Express business cards seem to trigger of Financial Reviews of all your credit cards by American Express.

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50 Responses to How to Fill Out an American Express Business Credit Card Application

  1. I got this card last week, half-way through a 90-day churn cycle (late May would be next churn). Should I reset my next churn date for another 90-days from this business card application? thanks

  2. @Francisco C – If it was just 1 card last week, you could keep the late May date.

  3. I didn’t know that there won’t be impact on personal credit history/score if I listed myself as sole proprietor and my SS number ???

  4. Is Amex more likely to approve you as a sole proprietor if you already have a business card with another bank (chase) ? Do I have a separate business credit report such that it seems less risky to the bank cause I now have a business credit history?

  5. D, Has the spg business bonus increased to 30K? or are you factoring in points from minimum spend, or is it a typo? Thanks

  6. @Ron – The only impact would be the initial credit check, which your score recovers after 3-4 months. The trade line doesn’t get listed in your report, so utilization from its usage doesn’t play a deciding role in your overal credit score.

  7. A word of caution – I got this card a couple of months back with the 75k offer, got an FR immediately after about 5k in spend. Spend was pretty normal but this card seems to attract a FR when used for higher amounts. I got through the FR but my accounts were suspended for about 2 weeks.

  8. @Ron – See this post for more info!

    @Scott – There are separate business credit reports, but I don’t believe AMEX reports to it. Having an existing credit card could make it easier to get approved for another one from a different bank.

    @jdh – It was a typo. Thanks!

    @texasguy77 – Thanks for helping out!

    @vram
    - Thanks for sharing. AMEX business cards do seem to attract Financial Reviews for high amounts of spending, so best to be careful with them.

  9. I applied for the AMEX Gold card and was instantly approved during the 50K bonus offer (about 2 months ago, I think?). I’ve also had the AMEX Delta card since 07/2011. Besides the AMEX Gold card, I have not applied for credit since 01/2012, and have opened 6 different credit cards in the past two years. Do you think I would get approved for the 50K bonus AMEX business card? I would apply as a sole proprietor using my SSN. My FICO usually fluctuates between 720-740. I would love any insight! Thanks!

  10. I already have this card under a biz I own for a few years (recently applied for this card though) – I have a Federal tax ID # for the biz which is what I used during my original application. If I want to now apply for a new card using my own SSN as a tax ID for a sole proprietorship to sell items in Ebay, do you know if they would approve? Or would they observe having 2 accounts in the same address/same person?
    Thanks.

  11. Daraius, I enjoy reading your blog and have earned points by getting personal credit cards. I am in USA with F1 visa. Can I apply for business credit card though I am not authorized to do any business here.
    Thanks.

  12. @Mike U – I can’t comment specifically, but if you only have 2 AMEX cards, you should be able to get a third.

    @Gabe
    – Chase will usually give you the bonus for a SSN business and a Tax ID business, but AMEX usually doesn’t not.

    @andy – I wouldn’t apply for them because it suggests that you may be violating the terms of your student visa.

  13. i just received an offer in the mail for 75,000 MR points.. since I am new to this should I go for it? But, I see in an earlier post by VRAM that they got a FR and I dont really know what this entails.. so I am not sure if I should do this although 75,000 seems pretty good. Any help or advice? Thanks

  14. Daraius,
    Is there a limit to the number of Amex cards can you have open at one time? I currently have a Amex Platinum, Amex Hilton Hhonors, SPG Amex, and Citi Advantage Amex, all personal cards. The only business card I have is a Chase Ink Bold. Do you think this would interfere with me being approved for the Amex Business Gold Rewards card?

  15. Darius,
    I applied for the Chase BOLD offer 50,000 UR points in November 2012 but was declined due to lack of credit history, and I stated my business was only 6 months old (tutor). I already had the Freedom ($3k credit line) card for 2 years and a Bank Of America VISA for 9 years ($1500 credit line). I was so bummed because I pay my bills in FULL all the time. My credit score was 760. Then I read the terms of agreement for the Chase BOLD card and it stated that all purchases had to be legitimate business charges otherwise it would violate the terms and they would take back the points. I was going to meet their $5k minimum spend by charging for a burial plot. Obviously not a business charge. Do you think I would encounter the same issue with AMEX Business GOLD? ie: approved for the card, meet the minimum spend by charging for a burial plot. Wont set up a warning flag by charging for the burial plot. thank you.

  16. Hi Darius,
    do you know if there is any offer for Blue Card from Amex (with Membership Reward Points)…
    I looked around, but couldn’t locate any…not even nominal bonus …
    Wondering if you could help.

    Thanks,
    Srini

  17. @jocljoma – 75,000 points is a good offer and is worth at least $750 towards travel. But AMEX does have Financial Reviews more often for business cards where they ask for your tax transcripts and sometimes bank statements.

    @Mike B
    – I believe the limit is 4 credit (not charge cards like the Business Gold Rewards) cards at a time, so you should be fine. The Citi AMEX is issued by Citi, and not AMEX, so it won’t count in your AMEX total.

    @Emily – I posted an excerpt of the terms above which say that it has to be used for personal expenses, so do what you feel comfortable with. There will always be other ways to earn miles and points.

    @Srini
    – I googled AMEX Blue and came up with a few offers!

  18. @Darius,
    That’s great Darius. I found only 0% APR Amex Blue card offers…I couldn’t locate any offers with any bonus. Could you kindly give me a pointer or two, please?

  19. @Darius,
    I take it back…I found an offer with 10,000 MR points :) – 1k spend in 3 months.
    https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/blue – I wasn’t searching with the correct words.

    If you found a better offer, could you kindly let me know, please?

  20. Small business cards are awesome but remember not to use them to carry debt since they are not protected by the CARD Act
    http://blogs.reuters.com/small-business/2011/05/27/small-business-credit-cards-not-protected-by-card-act/

  21. @Srini – That’s the offer which I found as well.

    @Joe – Thanks for the reminder!

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  26. @MMS,
    I was just looking at the terms of the 10,000 MR points offer for AMEX Blue Card…
    it says this: “This offer is not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer Blue from American Express® Card account within the last 90 days” – that’s why I couldn’t find it when I was searching it casually..I found it only when I searched it in incognito mode…and I’ve Blue-cash…so I am not eligible for this offer :(

  27. @Srini - Each offer has different terms and conditions, so perhaps you were eligible for the last one, but not this.

  28. @mms:

    If my personal credit is fair/poor will I have trouble getting an AMEX business card issued under my name for the company I work with? The role in my company isn’t upper management, simply other authorizing officer.

    Thanks.

  29. @James – It could be harder because most company issued cards will run a personal credit check when you apply.

  30. Hi Darius,
    Question, is it possible for a financial review from American Express when applying for the Business Gold if I don’t carry any balances on any of my three other ax cards?
    Thank you for all you’re amazing advice over the last year, for me.

  31. @Dave – I can’t say for sure, but one of the triggers is applying for too much triggers quickly. You could be fine if you don’t ramp up spending on the Business Gold card quickly.

  32. If I live in Canada but work in US and get US company paycheque, can I get a credit card from American Express to be sent to my home address in Canada.

    Thanks.

  33. @Ma – You could get it sent to your office address.

  34. They are asking for an EIN number..

    They have stated that the SSI number is not what they’re looking for. This is after I have had the card for two weeks! They’ve been calling…Ridiculous..

    Any advice?

  35. How many AMEX credit can I get at a time. I had five and applied for the AMEX Starwood Open but was denied for having too many AMEX cards. I canceled the AMEX Gold card and called back and they still said I had too many (now only 4)

    What is your experience?

  36. @Fred – If you’re a sole proprietor, you’re SSN is your EIN.

    @Brent – I believe you can have only 4 open AMEX cards at a time.

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  38. Is there a link to the new 30K SPG points AMEX offer for business card?

  39. @Kalboz – I added a link to the post!

  40. Was just approved for the personal SPG Amex, how long would you recommend before applying for a business one?

  41. If you don’t already have an ongoing business (with real expenses) but, nevertheless, you state that you are a sole-proprietor in the application, then how would you spend $5K in 3 months given that Amex explicitly requires that you make a representation you will not use the business card for personal expenses.
    And secondly, how do you file your IRS returns? Which form(s) do you use and what do you fill in ? Getting the help of a tax consultant would set you back a few hundred bucks, in which case the 50K rewards wouldn’t work out too well.
    Thanks in advance for any insightful advise.

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  45. Hi I recently applied for a amex Every day card and was denied. I called the reconsideration line and know the app is under review. I have a cap1 card 15 hundred limit. A bank of america rewards cards 2k limit. A chase freedom 1k limit along with a 4k credit union card. I worked to repair the mis haps on my credit from years and years ago. I pay before the due date and purchased a 28k car which I pay on time as well. Do u think they will approve the card? Also no bankruptcy

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