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American Express issues a wide range of cards that earn everything from cash back to hotel points and airline miles. My favorite American Express card rewards to earn are transferable AMEX Membership Rewards points, because I can transfer them to 21 airline and hotel partner loyalty programs.
Because Amex limits you to earning the intro bonus on a card to once per lifetime, qualifying for the best Amex business cards can open up new opportunities to earn more bonuses and take advantage of valuable card perks. Here are our top picks:
Best Amex business cards
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Best Amex business card for travel and intro bonus
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best Amex business card for everyday purchases
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Best Amex business card for hotel stays
- American Express® Business Gold Card: Best Amex business card for spending bonus categories
Summary of the Best Amex business cards:
|Intro bonus||Best perk||Annualfee|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||75,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. Terms apply.||Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, up to $200 in annual Dell credits and 35% rebate when using Pay With Points. Terms apply.||$595 (see rates & fees)|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||Earn up to $300 when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 per merchant, in the form of statement credits). This offer will run through November 4, 2020||2x Amex points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1x. Terms apply.||$0 (see rates & fees)|
|The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||125,000 Hilton points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.||Hilton Gold status for as long as you have the card and 10 Priority Pass lounge visits each year. Terms apply.||$95 (see rates & fees)|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.||Earn 4x Amex points on the two categories you spend most on each month on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each year. Terms apply.||$295 (see rates & fees)|
Best Amex business card for travel and intro bonus
Between the intro bonus and points you earn from minimum spending, you can earn at least 90,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.
Many of the Amex Business Platinum card benefits mimic what you’d get with The Platinum Card® from American Express, like exceptional airport lounge access, Gold Hilton status, Gold Marriott Bonvoy elite status and up to $200 in annual airline fee credits. You’ll also get perks useful for business owners, including up to $200 in annual Dell statement credits (for U.S. purchases) and 1.5x Amex points on all single purchases of $5,000 or more (up to one million bonus points per calendar year).
One of the unique features of the Business Platinum card is the 35% rebate you’re eligible for when you use Pay With Points. With this perk, you’ll get 35% of your points back (up to 500,000 points per calendar year) when you use your Amex points to pay for any first- or business-class flight through the Amex travel site. You’ll also get the 35% rebate on coach flight Pay With Points purchases made through the Amex travel site with your selected airline, which is the same airline you chose for your up to $200 in yearly airline credits.
The card has a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees).
The Amex Business Platinum card has a big annual fee and hefty minimum spending requirements, so the card doesn’t make sense for everyone. But if you can earn the intro bonus, it’s the best way to earn a stack of Membership Rewards points in a hurry.
This is also the best Amex business card for travel because you’ll get access to more airport lounges than any other card, including:
- Delta SkyClub Lounges (when flying with Delta)
- Priority Pass lounges (but not Priority Pass restaurants)
- Escape Lounges
- Plaza Premium Lounges
- Airspace lounges
- Amex Centurion Lounges
To see what lounges you have access to, read our guide on how to find Amex Platinum airport lounges.
Best Amex business card for everyday purchases
Earn up to $300 when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 per merchant). This offer will run through November 4, 2020
The Blue Business Plus card is the best Amex business card for everyday purchases because it earns 2x Amex Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent in purchases per year, then 1x. This is a great option for business expenses that don’t fall into bonus spending categories that other cards have.
This card has no annual fee (see rates and fees).
I have this card and plan on keeping it forever because it has no annual fee, so with this card I can keep my Amex Membership Rewards points from expiring, even if I close other cards. It’s also free to add authorized users on a Blue Business Plus account, which is a handy feature because it then allows you to transfer Amex points directly into the airline and hotel loyalty accounts of those authorized users. (Note that before you can make any transfers, the authorized users need to have been part of your account for at least 90 days.)
Here’s our review of the Amex Blue Business Plus card.
Best Amex business card for hotel stays
The Hilton Business card comes with automatic Hilton Gold status (the best mid-tier hotel status), which has perks like free breakfast, bonus points and the potential for upgrades at Hilton hotels. You’ll even get an upgrade to Hilton Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year. Also, you’ll earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 with your card in a calendar year and an additional free weekend night after making another $45,000 in purchases in the same calendar year ($60,000 in total). The free weekend night certificates are valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights at all Hilton locations except for those listed here.
This card also comes with 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge visits per year.
The Hilton Business card has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees)
Amex issues two cobranded hotel business credit cards: the Hilton Business card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Both offer similar perks, so the deciding factor for most people is going to be which hotel chain you prefer. I give a slight edge to the Hilton Business for these three reasons:
- Better elite status – Hilton Gold status is more valuable than the Marriott Bonvoy Gold status you get with the Marriott Bonvoy Business card (see free breakfast)
- More useful free night certificates – The Marriott Business card comes with a free night certificate every year you keep the card (and pay its $125 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it’s only valid at hotels costing up to 35,000 points per night, and with the introduction of a peak and off-peak Marriott award chart, your options are even more limited. I understand that the Hilton free weekend night(s) require a lot of spending to earn, but they are much more valuable since you can use them at all but a few dozen Hilton properties.
- The Marriott Bonvoy Business card can be harder to qualify for (if you’ve opened other Marriott cards), and by opening it you’ll restrict yourself from being able to open other Marriott Bonvoy cards. For example, if you open a Marriott Bonvoy Business card you’ll have to wait 24 months from when you earn the card’s bonus before you can qualify for theMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. On the other hand, the Hilton Business card won’t limit you from opening any of the personal Hilton credit cards.
On top of that, the Hilton Business card comes with 10 Priority Pass lounge visits per year, which is more than enough for the occasional flyer. Here’s our review.
Best Amex business card for spending bonus categories
Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Amex Business Gold card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
The Amex Business Gold card earns 4x Amex points on two of the following categories you spend the most on each month:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions
- U.S. gas station purchases
- U.S. restaurant purchases
- U.S. shipping purchases
The 4x bonus applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from the two rotating categories each calendar year, then 1x points. Also, the Amex Business Gold card earns a 25% points rebate (up to 250,000 points per calendar year) when you use the Pay With Points feature (similar to the Amex Business Platinum perk) for any first- or business-class flight, or any coach flight (with your selected airline), booked through the Amex travel site.
This card’s annual fee is $295 (See Rates & Fees).
This is an excellent card if you spend heavily in any of the card’s bonus categories. For example, I have a friend who runs a digital marketing company and is able to put his clients’ ad spend on his Amex Business Gold card and then get reimbursed for the expenses. He earns an extra 40,000-60,000 Amex points a month this way. Here’s the full review of the Amex Business Gold card.
How to choose the best Amex business card
You’re only eligible to earn the welcome bonus once per person, per lifetime on each American Express card. So it’s worth waiting to apply for these cards when their bonuses are at their highest and when you know you can meet the minimum spending requirements. That makes the Amex Business Platinum card a good offer to consider right now, but for other cards (like the Delta Platinum Business and Amex Business Gold cards) you’ll want to wait for a more valuable intro offer to come along.
Remember, it’s possible to qualify for a business card even though you’re not operating a full-time business. Freelance jobs or part-time side hustles can make you eligible for a small business card as a sole proprietor. If you’re a sole proprietor your application process can be a bit easier because you’ll most likely be able to use your Social Security number as your business tax ID and your name can be your legal business name.
For more help on applying for a business card, check out our step-by-step guide to filling out an Amex business card application.
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For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of Amex Hilton Honors Business card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, click here.