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Amazon is rolling out a new pair of American Express co-branded small business cards. The company first announced its forthcoming small business cards back in June but offered little in the way of details. Now that the cards are out, let’s take a look at what Amazon has to offer:
There’s one card for folks who don’t have an Amazon Prime membership and another for those who do. If you aren’t a Prime customer, the Amazon Business American Express Card is available to you. For Prime faithfuls, you’ll have access to the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, which comes with juicier rewards and financing options.
Both cards offer Amazon-centric perks such as merchandise discounts in addition to the wide range of benefits American Express business cards are known for.
What sets these cards apart from other small business card offerings is the fact that cardmembers can choose the type of benefit that fits them best. There’s an option to either earn rewards or use interest-free financing offers on select purchases at Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.
“The card empowers small businesses to make flexible choices, streamline everyday buying decisions, and have increased visibility into their business purchases,” said Samant Nagpal, global head of Amazon Business Payment Products, in a press release.
In this review, we’ll go over who should consider opening an Amazon Business American Express Card, the numerous benefits cardholders receive, and how it stacks up to the competition.
What we like about the cards
- Amazon Business American Express Card: New cardmembers get a $100 Amazon.com gift card upon approval. Eligible Prime members get a $125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval. Earn 3% back or 60-day interest free payment terms on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.*
- Amazon Business Prime American Express Card: New cardmembers get a $125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval for the Amazon Business American Express Card. Prime members will earn a higher rewards rate and receive an extended interest-free period, compared with non-Prime cardholders. Earn 5% back on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.* Active Prime membership required.
- Both cards earn 2% Back at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, 1% on other purchases .
There’s no minimum spend to earn the sign-up bonus. That’s a great perk that can help you pay for upcoming business purchases and doesn’t require any spending on your part to receive it — unlike most new cardmember offers.
Choose your own benefit option. Beyond their rewards offerings, these cards shine with their flexible interest-free payment terms. You have the ability to use whichever benefit you want — rewards or interest-free payment terms — each time you check out. There are currently no minimum purchase requirements or limits to how often you can use the interest-free payment terms. The only catch is that you must choose to either earn rewards or use the special financing terms. You cannot choose both.
To take advantage of the terms at Amazon designated properties, you need to make your selection via your card management page. For purchases on Amazon Business (U.S.) and Amazon.com, you have an additional option — select whether you want to earn rewards or use an interest-free payment term during checkout.
Take advantage of the interest-free period at any time. Whether you qualify for the 60- or 90-day terms, this card provides interest-free payment term flexibility typically found with store cards but not business cards. With your average business card that offers an intro 0% APR period for new purchases, the intro period begins when you open your card. So, if your intro period is 12 months, your one year of no interest begins right away. If you want to make a purchase in two years and avoid interest for 12 months, you’re out of luck.
However, with the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, the interest-free payment terms are flexible — you can choose when to use them — granted you make a qualifying purchase. You can decide to use an interest-free payment term right away, or use several throughout the year. There is no need to make new purchases soon after opening your card in order to benefit from the majority of the interest-free payment term. You can simply use the terms when necessary.
No sneaky deferred interest clause. Purchases that are part of an interest-free payment term do not accrue interest during the 60- or 90-day term — so if you are unable to pay off your balance before the interest-free term ends, you won’t be hit with any retroactive interest charges — aka deferred interest. This is a great feature since most store cards charge deferred interest which can be an unwelcome surprise if balances linger after the interest-free term.
Who the cards are best for
Business owners who find themselves frequently shopping at Amazon can see the most benefit with the rewards and interest-free payment terms provided by the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card.
If your business has a fluctuating cash flow and sometimes carries a balance, this card provides both short- and long-term value with interest-free payment terms on select purchases that can allow you to pay for purchases over 60 or 90 days without accruing interest. These offers are helpful during months when you may be unable to pay your bill by your due date. And, if your cash flow is doing OK, you can opt to earn rewards instead of using an interest-free payment term.
Opting to earn rewards or use an interest-free payment option can be done two ways. If you make a purchase with Amazon Business (U.S.) and Amazon.com, you can select % back or payment terms during checkout. For all other Amazon designated properties, you will need to modify your selection via your card management page — just note % back rewards is the default. You can change this as often as you like. Beware, changes may take up to 48 hours to apply to your purchases at U.S. Whole Foods Market stores.
While this card has benefits for all different types of businesses, it’s not for every business. If your business doesn’t primarily shop at Amazon, you may want to consider other business cards that offer different rewards programs that aren’t Amazon-centric or cards that offer intro periods on non-Amazon purchases.
What to watch out for
There’s a catch to the benefits provided by the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card — you can’t choose to earn rewards and use an interest-free payment term on Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market spending. You’re limited to one benefit or the other. This is compared with some other business cards that allow you to both earn rewards and take advantage of a 0% intro APR period. Plus, other business cards may offer interest-free periods as long as 15 months, which can provide you with significantly more time to pay off balances than the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card.
Overall, while the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card are a solid offering, if your primary goal is to finance new purchases, you can find business cards with longer intro periods. Just keep in mind that the intro periods provided by other cards start ticking when you open your card and end once the period is over. With the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, your interest-free term isn’t as long, but you can use it anytime on eligible purchases — whether that’s right after account opening or a year or two later. There’s no clock that starts ticking when you open your card.
- Simplified transaction records: Business purchases are individually itemized so you can track business purchases easily.
- Business-only pricing: On over 5 million products, you can receive exclusive business-only pricing and bulk discounts to help save money on business purchases.
- Employee controls: You may be hesitant to open additional cards for your employees, but there are employee controls you can set up to give you peace of mind. Some controls include adding multi-user accounts, shared payment methods, approval workflows and spending limits.
- Connect to QuickBooks®: If you utilize QuickBooks®, you can connect your account and simply transfer transactions for easy management.
- American Express® Business App: You can track spending made on your card and any employee cards you’ve opened by adding notes and receipts to transactions via mobile or desktop.
- Account Manager: As a business owner, you may not have the time to review statements and make payments, so the ability to assign an employee or business partner to be an account manager and handle those tasks can free up your time.
- Purchase protection: If eligible items you purchased with your card are damaged, you may be covered for the cost to repair, replace or reimburse the item. Coverage is limited up to $1,000 per occurrence; and a maximum of $50,000 per card member account per calendar year.
- Return protection: When you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from purchase date and the retailer denies your return, you may be reimbursed for the cost (up to $300 per item and up to a maximum of $1,000 per card member account per calendar).
- Extended warranty: If an eligible item you purchased with your card breaks after the manufacturer’s warranty ends, you may receive an extended warranty. Reimbursement is not to exceed the original cost of the item or $10,000, whichever is less and there’s a maximum of $50,000 per card member account per calendar year.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance: When you rent an eligible vehicle and pay with your card, decline the full collision damage waiver to activate coverage for theft or damage of your rental vehicle, up to $50,000.
- Travel accident insurance: When you’re traveling, the unexpected can happen. Receive up to $100,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment for select travel fares such as plane and train.
- Global Assist® Hotline: This hotline is available to help you prepare for an upcoming trip or when you’re traveling more than 100 miles from your business location. Representatives can assist you with medical, legal and financial referrals. Note, you’re responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
- Baggage insurance plan: If your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged when you pay for your ticket with your card, you may receive reimbursement for your loss.
- Roadside assistance hotline: When your card breaks down, you can call a 24/7 hotline for towing, jump-starts, flat tires and other situations you may encounter. Note, you’re responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
- Entertainment Access®: In select cities, you can access exclusive presales for various events like Broadway shows and concerts. This can be a helpful feature for employee get togethers or client outings.
Compare it with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card are quite comparable to another business card American Express offers — The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. If you’re looking for a longer intro period and a rewards program tailored to business expenses, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great alternative.
Similar to the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has a $0 annual fee and a long list of Amex perks. However, there’s a major difference between the cards — with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express cardholders can earn rewards and utilize an interest-free intro period, but with the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, cardholders are required to choose one or the other.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers an intro 0% for 12 Months on purchases (after, 14.74% - 20.74% Variable APR). This is the longest intro period for a business card we could find. Plus, you can utilize the intro period on all new purchases — you’re not restricted to purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market like the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card. Overall, if you’re looking to maximize rewards while benefiting from paying your purchases during the intro period, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a better option.
Here’s a breakdown of the key features of each card:
|Amazon Business American Express Card||Amazon Business Prime American Express Card||The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express|
|Annual fee||$0||No annual fee||$0|
|Regular Purchase APR||15.74% - 23.74% (Variable)||15.74% - 23.74% Variable||14.74% - 20.74% Variable|
|Interest-free Payment Term/ Purchase Intro Period||60-day interest free payment terms||N/A||0% for 12 Months|
|Balance Transfer Intro Period||N/A||N/A||0% for 12 Months|
|Rewards||3% back or 60-day interest free payment terms on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, 1% back on other purchases||2% Back at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, 1% on other purchases||2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.|
|New cardmember offer||$100 Amazon.com gift card upon approval. Eligible Prime members get a $125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval.||$125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval for the Amazon Business American Express Card.||N/A|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None||2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.|
If your business often shops at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, the Amazon Business American Express Card or the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card can be a great way to manage your cash flow and earn rewards. You can choose between earning rewards on your purchases at Amazon or utilizing the interest-free payment terms to pay for eligible Amazon purchases without being hit with the interest that typically accrues when you carry a balance month to month. This card provides the flexibility to choose the option that works best for your business needs depending on your current situation.
Overall, business owners that are avid Amazon shoppers can benefit the most from the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card’s interest-free payment terms and rewards program. Beyond those benefits, you can also take advantage of the expense management tools, numerous insurances and shopping protections provided.