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One of the additional benefits of American Express business cards (besides the sign-up bonus!) is the AMEX OPEN discount program.
You get discounts of up to 10% or earn up to 4 extra Membership Rewards points per dollar at 7 popular merchants including Hyatt, Hertz, and FedEx.
Of course, you should compare the price at these merchants after the AMEX OPEN discount to the best price you would pay elsewhere for a comparable hotel or service. There’s no point paying more just to earn a few extra points!
If you don’t think you qualify for a business credit card, read my post about ways you may be able to get one. You may already have a business, or might even be thinking of starting a business.
What Is American Express OPEN?
If you have a business credit card from American Express, you can
get either extra Membership Rewards points OR a discount in the form of a statement credit.
American Express OPEN has business tools and the OPEN Forum, where you can share ideas etc. with other business owners. I like the idea of networking and sharing ideas with other business owners, but I LOVE getting statement credits and bonus points even more!
How the OPEN Savings Program Works
The OPEN Savings Program is built-in to all business credit cards from American Express OPEN. Depending on the card, you can choose either up to a 10% discount (paid in statement credits) or 4 additional Membership Rewards bonus points per $1 spent.
You can transfer Membership Rewards points to 17 different airlines and 4 hotel chains.
You have to use your American Express OPEN card at 1 of the participating merchants to get the discount or bonus points.
But, if your card doesn’t earn Membership Rewards points (such as say the Delta card which earns Delta miles), you’ll only get a discount, and not extra Membership Rewards points.
Which Business Cards Qualify?
Any American Express OPEN business credit card qualifies for the OPEN Savings program, but not all of them earn Membership Rewards points. Some are linked to frequent flyer programs or hotel guest programs, or earn cash back only.
For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns Starwood hotel points. So you’ll only earn the discount, and can’t choose the extra Membership Rewards points. That said, I consider the discounts to be the better deal!
Link: Business Credit Cards
1. AMEX Membership Rewards Points Business Cards
American Express has 4 business cards that earn Membership Rewards points. With these cards, you can choose either the discount or extra points through the OPEN Savings program.
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
- The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
- The Business Green Rewards Card
earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months on The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and on The Business Platinum Card. Note that The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz has a higher sign-up bonus, so don’t rush to get The Business Platinum card just for the discounts!
American Express sometimes increases the bonus point offers, so it could be worth waiting for a higher offer before applying for these cards.
2. AMEX Cash Back Business Cards
You can earn cash back with these American Express cards, but they don’t earn Membership Rewards points. You’ll only be able to get the OPEN Savings discounts, NOT the extra points. That said, I prefer the discount than the additional Membership Rewards points.
- SimplyCash Business Card
- TrueEarnings Business Card From Costco and American Express
- The Plum Card
The American Express Simply Cash Business Card has a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in 3 months. But only if you apply before April 28, 2014. If you like cash back (up to 5%) and don’t like paying an annual fee, this card could be a good deal. I applied for the card recently.
3. AMEX Airline or Hotel Business Cards
These American Express cards earn airline, hotel or Lowe’s home improvement points. You’ll get the discounts through OPEN Savings, but NOT extra Membership Rewards points. But I consider the discount to be better than the extra Membership Rewards points.
- The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card
- The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card
- The Delta Reserve Card
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card
- The Lowe’s Business Rewards Card
I like the Starwood hotel business card because Starwood points can be used at either Starwood hotels or to transfer to airlines and hotels.
The Gold Delta Skymiles, Delta Reserve & the Platinum Delta SkyMiles could be good for folks who travel on Delta or like earning Delta miles. But check to see if you get a better offer via the CardMatch tool or your personalized Delta offer. Read my series on Starwood Preferred Guest on how to use Starwood points.
American Express sometimes increases the sign-up offer on these cards, so you could wait for an increased bonus before applying.
Where Can I Earn Discounts or Bonus Points?
You can save money or earn extra Membership Rewards points at 7 companies that participate in the OPEN Savings Program. This includes hotels, car rental, shipping, office supplies, computers, books, and flowers.
I almost always prefer earning the discount than additional Membership Rewards points. That’s because you have to value Membership Rewards Points at more than ~2.50 cents per point to prefer earning Membership Rewards points to getting the discount.
1. Hyatt Hotels
- You get a discount or extra points at Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Andaz and Grand Hyatt hotels
- Get a discount of 5% or earn 2 extra Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, up to a maximum of $10,000 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
- Hyatt Place, Hyatt House and Hyatt Residence Club are NOT included
Unfortunately, you can’t use the discounts and points at cheaper Hyatt House or Hyatt Place hotels. However, you can combine the AMEX OPEN discounts by booking your Hyatt stay though a cash back portal like TopCashBack or Ebates to earn even more cash back for your hotel stay.
- Earn a 3% discount or 1 extra Membership Reward point per $1 spent up to $500 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
- Earn a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points $1 spent between $500 and $2,000 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
- Earn a 10% discount or 4 extra Membership Rewards points $1 spent above $2,000 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
I personally wouldn’t use this as my primary way to save money on rental cars. There are better ways to get cheap car rentals.
If you find a cheap Hertz rentalon Car Rental Savers or somewhere else, you could book with an American Express card. But American Express business cards do not offer primary car rental insurance, so this wouldn’t be a good deal if you have to pay for extra insurance!
3. Carey Limousine Service
- Get a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points per $1 spent
Carey is a limousine service that offers tours, sightseeing, charters, and airport pick-up and drop-off. While they operate in ~65 countries and ~550 cities worldwide, they aren’t everywhere. However, many major cities in the US are included in their network.
But Carey can be quite expensive – definitely not Big Travel with Small Money!
- Includes FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office
- You get a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, up to $20,000 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
5. HP Home and Home Office Store
- 3% discount or 1 extra Membership Rewards point per dollar spent up to $500 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
- 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points per dollar spent between $500 and $1,500 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
- 10% discount or 4 extra Membership Rewards points per dollar spent between $1,500 and up to $30,000 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31)
- Discounts and bonuses apply only to the Home and Home Office Store on shopping.hp.com
Depending on what you’re shopping for, this could be a good deal (especially if you go through a shopping portal). However, there are plenty of online merchants that might have better prices than HP Home and Home Office store, so shop around for the best price!
- Earn a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at 1-800-Flowers.com
You could get a good deal at 1-800-Flowers.com if you go through a shopping portal first, then use your American Express OPEN card for the discount or points. If you check evreward.com, you’ll often see cash back deals for ~10% off or more. Or you can buy flowers to earn miles through an airline shopping portal and pay with an American Express OPEN card to get the extra discount.
I could buy Emily a lot of flowers!
7. Barnes and Noble
- Get a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points per $1 spent
- Only applies to online purchases at bn.com
Barnes and Noble is good for books, movies, toys, and gifts. You can try a cashback portal as well, but the discounts are only ~1%.
Scroll down to the bottom of the Amex OPEN Savings page to read all the terms and conditions of the program. Every participating store has slightly different policies, so you should have a look before you use the program.
If you have an AMEX OPEN business card, you could earn discounts of up to 10% or up to 4 extra bonus points per $1 spent at merchants who participate in the American Express OPEN Savings program.
If you don’t think you can get a business card, read my post about 3 Ways You May Qualify for a Business Card.
You must use an
American Express Business OPEN card to use the program, like the The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN or the Business Platinum Card. Only these cards allow you to choose between discounts or extra Membership rewards points.
You’ll earn only the discount only on all the other American Express business cards, such as the SimplyCash Business Card or the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card. The SimplyCash business card doesn’t have an annual fee so is a great card to keep to get access to the AMEX OPEN discounts. I prefer earning the discount to earning extra Membership Rewards points.
However, the list of participating merchants is fairly small:
- Carey Limousines
- HP Home and Office Store
That said, if you spend a lot of money at any of these merchants, you could save a bit or earn extra Membership Rewards points towards more Big Travel with Small Money!