My initial post last month about the amazing 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus on the American Express Platinum Business card caused quite a bit of interest. (1 Membership Rewards point can be transferred into 1 Avios point, 1 Virgin Flying Club mile or various other rewards.)
I don’t write much about small business credit cards on Head for Points, because they tend to offer poor value. I thought it was worth running through this card again, though, as well as raising some of the other options for the small business.
American Express Platinum Business and Gold Business
The current focus of attention is the great deal that American Express recently launched on its small business cards.
Amex is now offering 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply for the American Express Platinum Business card. There has been no bonus on this card at all for the last few months.
However, they have reduced the offer on the other card. You now receive 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply for the American Express Gold Business card, a drop on the previous figure of 40,000.
Please note, though, that you CANNOT get these bonuses if you have a Gold, Platinum, Green or Centurion personal Amex card. This will unfortunately disqualify most of us. This is because, whilst these are called ‘business’ cards, they are mainly aimed at sole traders and the points go into a personal Membership Rewards account.
Here are the basics:
- The Platinum card carries an annual fee of £450, the Gold card costs £125
- Clause 18.2 of the Terms & Conditions confirms that you will get a pro-rata fee refund when you cancel
- See this post for what you can do with Membership Rewards points in other loyalty schemes
- You need to spend £6,000 in three months to get the 60,000 points on the Platinum Business card
- You need to spend £3,000 in three months to get the 20,000 points on the Gold Business card
- You earn 1 point per £1 when you spend on the card
What does Amex count as a small business?
Here are the rules from the Amex website for Platinum:
To apply for the Platinum Business Card, you should be able to say yes to the following:
- I am aged 18 or over
- The company has been trading for more than one year and has a current UK Bank or Building Society account
- My personal income is over £20,000
- I have a permanent UK home address
- I/The Business have/has no County Court Judgements for non-payment of debt
- Pay annual fee of £450 (Tax deductable)
There is one other important point to note. The Platinum Business card still comes with full travel insurance, with no small print. It is the policy that the Platinum personal card used to have before it was downgraded, with no requirement to use the card to pay for anything before you qualify. You can also cover 5 other family groups, apart from your own, by handing out supplementary cards on your account.
Let me repeat, though – you cannot get these cards if you have (or have had in the last six months) a personal Gold, Green, Platinum or Centurion Amex card.
British Airways American Express Corporate Cards
Few people know that British Airways has a corporate version of the BA Amex card. In fact, there are two versions.
The downside is that there is no sign-up bonus. There are also annual fees – £50 for the basic card (1 Avios per £1) and £180 for the Plus card (1.5 Avios per £1).
The interesting thing about these cards is that you earn additional On Business points (BA’s corporate loyalty scheme, outlined in my post here) when you book BA flights. The bonus is 50%, which is pretty chunky. You also – on the £180 card – receive 2,500 On Business points if you spend over £25,000 on the card each year. If you book a lot of BA travel in premium classes, where On Business earning is most generous, this bonus could be tempting.
Nectar Business American Express Card
Head for Points does not normally cover Nectar points. However, it is worth giving a quick mention to the Nectar Business American Express card.
The loyalty scheme is not hugely generous, but it does effectively give you pseudo-cashback if you use the points for food in Sainsbury or petrol at BP. You earn 1 Nectar point (0.5p) per £1 spent on the card, with double points when spending at Nectar partners. These include office supplies group Viking.
This card is free, which is rarity amongst corporate cards.
American Express Corporate Cards (for larger businesses)
If you run a larger business, you may want to consider giving you and/or your staff the American Express Green Corporate Card, Gold Corporate Card or Platinum Corporate Card. These cards earn Membership Rewards points which can be converted to Avios, amongst other things.
Any Visa or MasterCard corporate cards with a loyalty scheme?
I have never come across a Visa or MasterCard corporate card which offers a worthwhile loyalty programme. Please let me know if there is one out there that I have missed.