Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How your SME can earn points paying bills with Amex Premium Rewards

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This article is sponsored by American Express

If you want to earn rewards for yourself from payments made by your small business, American Express has two Charge Cards which are well worth a look:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

You can learn more about American Express® Business Platinum® and American Express® Business Gold® Cards by clicking the links above.

Earn bonus Membership Rewards points paying bills with Premium Rewards

American Express has recently launched a new service for Cardmembers called Premium Rewards.

This is available to holders of its Business cards, as well as selected personal cards.

It allows you to pay the majority of your company bills – to suppliers who do not take payment cards – via American Express and earn Membership Rewards points in the process!

As an example, Premium Rewards can be used to pay, and I quote:

  • PAYE
  • HMRC
  • Non-accepting merchant and supplier payments
  • Rental fees and business rates
American Express Premium Rewards

How does American Express Premium Rewards work?

Once you have set up your Account, making payments is a simple process:

  • You go online and tell American Express where it should send money, and how much
  • American Express takes the money directly from your bank account
  • American Express makes the payment
  • You earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 sent

What does American Express Premium Rewards charge?

The fees for Premium Rewards are on a sliding scale:

  • Payment under £10,000 – 1.25%
  • Payment of £10,001 – £100,000 – 1.15%
  • Payment of £100,000+ – 1%

Payments can be batched to reduce the fee.  If you want to pay your staff using Premium Rewards, for example, the 1.15% band would apply if the combined total sent on payday was over £10,000.

American Express Premium Rewards

How do I benefit from this?

There is clearly an administrative benefit in using one simple online platform to arrange and execute payments.

The real benefit, however, is in earning additional Membership Rewards points.

Because the fee for Premium Rewards should be a tax deductible business expense in many cases, the Membership Rewards points have the potential to offer good value.

Transferred into frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points or for one of the other redemption options, you have the potential for you or your staff to build up enough points for a valuable reward. This could include flights in premium cabins or stays at luxury hotels through Membership Rewards partners such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Hilton and Marriott.

American Express Premium Rewards 2

What American Express Cards can be used with Premium Rewards?

Premium Rewards can be used with American Express Business Gold and American Express Business Platinum Cards.

Points can also be credited to other American Express Cards, however, as long as:

  • Your Card is issued in the UK
  • Your Card is not a Cashback card
  • Your Card is not a co-branded card

Personal American Express Cards such as The Platinum Card® and American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card would qualify.

However, payments for the service need to be made by a business and Premium Rewards should only be used for business payments.

How do I sign up for Amex Premium Rewards?

American Express Premium Rewards won’t be right for everyone, but it may suit your business.

There is no online sign-up service at the moment.  You can download the two Premium Rewards brochures (PDF) here and here.  These include a form that you can send in, or alternatively you can call to register.

American Express Services Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Comments (39)

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Would HMRC impose their own fee on the payment?

  • KBuffett says:

    Can one self refer themselves for one of these SME cards if one already has a Personal Amex Charge Card and still bet the bonus points?

    • Rob says:

      If you have a Gold/ Plat you don’t qualify for a bonus on Business Gold/Plat.

      • KBuffett says:

        As I already have a MR account, if I sign up for the SME card, will my personal points balance be displayed on the SME card statement leading to coffee time gossip with my nosey account people.

  • Nigel W says:

    I posted this on today’s chat thread however…

    ‘what are readers experiences/views of the Amex Corporate Cards? I tried to apply one for my Director/the company for the business charge cards but got rejected due to the ‘company turnover’ and so Amex are suggesting we go down the corporate card route.’

    Thanks!

  • CathyH says:

    I use my BA Amex (£195 pa) to pay our office rent in central London. There are no charges so I’m raking in about 10,000 avios a month. Our landlord is Regus FYI who don’t charge to use Amex either.

  • BLT says:

    I have been using Amex premium rewards since Rob first mentioned it. It works as described, but points are manually added to your MR pot 30-60 days after spend. As the fee is a tax deductible business expense, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to rack up MR points and reduces my tax liability.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks. I am seriously thinking of signing up myself since I can’t put the VAT and staff NI through my Miles & More card.

      • Dr C says:

        Do you not have a Curve metal card?

        What do you think the actual costs per point will be assuming you can write it off against tax, I assume something like 0.8p but thats just a guess?

        • BLT says:

          I have a curve metal card to pay PAYE and CT. I now pay suppliers, subcontractors etc via amex premium, making sure I always pay in chunks > 10K. This means the fee is 1.15%. CT is 19% so this is the minimum deduction for cost per point.
          It then depends on how you extract your income. I’m lucky to have surplus money in the business so to withdraw more via dividends is 32.5% if you pay HRT. Therefore you can further discount the cost, but it is a very individual calaculation. I view it as an equivalent to paying for personal travel via business for a 1.15% fee.
          Also, I can generate a decent number of points, without the messing about of MS. If you calculate time spent on MS, my hourly rate easily makes up for the fee as well!

          • BLT says:

            PS I’m not an accountant, so do your own research.

          • Jonathan says:

            +1 BLT. I like this service from Amex.

            I’m not sure about the long term viability of spending 1.15% but as i deposited 300k miles into Emirates and then had kids. With their hard expiry date this is a quick and easy win to top up the Emirates account.

            Curve has its uses and one more new way i discovered today… The problem with curve is the daily limit – some payments can be split over multiple days but others cant. I had a £30k vat bill last quarter and time running out to pay.

            The Amex FX website isn’t pretty but i’ve just paid 8 suppliers today quicker than what i would take me to load them into Lloyds online banking.

  • George K says:

    Very interesting – Would a sole trader benefit from this?

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      I’m a sole trader. As above, it’s finely balanced depending on you tax status and much else. In the 45% band it certainly gets significantly more attractive.
      So for me as an example, as things stand, Curve Metal + COT covers points generation off my relatively small needs more cost effectively (and means I don’t need to have an Amex MR card all the time so the ability to earn repeat sign-up bonuses there becomes a significant factor). For a bigger business that Curve couldn’t cover, or if any other part of that equation changees, then the situation might be different.

  • memesweeper says:

    I’ve been using this service for a while now. Racked up my best ever MR balance this summer.

    I’m getting a sinking ‘too good to be true’ feeling though. Avios/MRs are tax free when incurred incidentally, eg through flying. They are not tax free if purchased by your company and then given to a member of staff as a benefit. I fear the MRs generated by this scheme might fall into the latter category.

    • BLT says:

      I’d disagree. How is this different from paying £575 for an Amex platinum card and then collecting MR points for the spend, and using them personally. Alll MR points are deposited in to personal MR accounts. Just my view!

      • Rob says:

        You are not buying MR points. You pay Amex for a service and just happen to get points in return. Points are non-taxable as a general principle of UK tax law.

        No different to staff getting points for using a corporate Amex.

        • memesweeper says:

          ‘No different to staff getting points for using a corporate Amex.’

          …. I guess not … the corporate ones really are business owned cards.

  • Winston Clubfoot says:

    I’ve been delighted with this since my account manager told me about it earlier in the year. My business does a fair amount of FX payments, and in addition to those we can now use this portal for HMRC payments etc.

    Mitigates the tax liability while also collecting points at an incredible rate. What’s not to like?

    • memesweeper says:

      What’s not to like?
      Scheduled payments aren’t automatically batched. Expensive if you bundle >10k or >100k of business on one day and expect the lower rate.
      And the abysmal login system … and the rest of the UI for that matter…

    • Asim says:

      Can’t set up standing orders either. So any recurring payments need to be set up each month.

      In my case it wasn’t showing our business name as the payee at the other end. The reference we entered went in as the payee. They’re trying to sort that out though.