When it comes to designing cards for business owners, American Express leads the pack. Its cards can help businesses prosper by improving cash flow, simplifying tracking of expenses, making it easier to pay suppliers in Australia and overseas, and earning reward points on purchases.

Card members can also enjoy a range of other benefits, including various travel and lifestyle perks – although these aren’t applicable so long as the current social distancing rules and travel restrictions are in place.

In my earlier article in this series on the American Express business card range, I gave readers a broad overview of the card benefits. In this article, I’ll dive deeper into the six cards themselves to help you consider the options. With a variety of features to suit different types of businesses, it’s not hard to find the right card for you.

Charge cards v credit cards

The first distinction to be aware of is that four cards in the range are charge cards while two are credit cards.

Charge cards have a dynamic spending limit rather than one that’s pre-set. This doesn’t mean you have access to unlimited spending, rather your purchases are approved based on a variety of factors, including current spending patterns, your payment history, credit records, and financial resources. This gives you the power to increase your spending capacity over time.

Credit cards, on the other hand, have a fixed credit limit. To increase it, you’d need to apply to Amex.

Charge cards must be paid off by the statement due date, unlike credit cards which require a minimum monthly repayment. However, Amex’s charge cards do have a feature called Flexible Payment Option (FPO), which allows you to free-up cash flow with an instant line of credit. Instead of paying your balance in full each statement period, you can choose to pay off a portion of it over time up to your FPO limit (interest charges apply).

Rewards program

As someone who loves earning reward points, I really value the ability to earn points on business spend. I pay nearly all business expenses with my American Express card, earning piles of points in the process.

Depending on which American Express card you choose, you’ll earn Qantas Points or Amex’s own Membership Rewards points.

Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 8-10 airlines, depending on the card. This includes popular carriers like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Virgin Australia. However, Membership Rewards points can only be transferred to Qantas if you hold the high-end Platinum Business Card (which is my favourite card in the range).

If you’re a Qantas loyalist, you may prefer one of the partner cards that automatically earns Qantas Points and comes with airline-specific benefits and privileges.

One last factor to note is that Membership Rewards points (but not Qantas Points) can be used to pay for purchases on your card. For example, right now 20,000 points can be redeemed for $100 on the account – a potentially useful option for businesses looking to save money.

Membership Rewards cards at a glance

There are four Membership Rewards cards, as summarised in the table below.

 
Annual Fee
(may be tax deductible)
$1,750$395$169, plus $80 Membership Rewards fee (enrolment optional)$109, plus $80 Membership Rewards fee (enrolment optional)
Additional Employee CardsUp to 99, at no extra costUp to 99, at no extra costUp to 99, at $119 per cardUp to 99, at $79 per card
Welcome Bonus150,000 bonus Membership Rewards points ($5k min spend, ends 7 October 2020, new Card Members only)100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points ($3k min spend, ends 7 October 2020, new Card Members only)100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points ($1k min spend, ends 7 October 2020, new Card Members only)
-
Flexible Cash Flow ArrangementCharge Card: dynamic spending limit with the option to pay over timeCredit Card: set credit limit, with the option to pay over time Charge Card: dynamic spending limit with the option to pay over timeCharge Card: dynamic spending limit with the option to pay over time
Earning RewardsEarn 2.25 points per $1 spent (1 point per $1 on government spend)Earn 2 points per $1 spent (1 point per $1 on government spend)

Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $100,000 annually
Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent (1 point per $1 on government spend)Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent (1 point per $1 on government spend)
Using RewardsManually transfer points to the following airlines:
• Qantas (only available on the Platinum Business Card )
• Virgin Australia
• Emirates
• Etihad
• Singapore Airlines
• Cathay Pacific
• Malaysia Airlines
• Thai Airways
• Air New Zealand
• Virgin Atlantic (not available on the Business Explorer Credit Card)

For all airline partners except Air New Zealand, the transfer rate is 2:1, e.g. 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer mile.

You can also use points to pay down the balance on your card or redeem them for gift cards, online shopping and more.
Travel benefits

(n/a during COVID-19 travel restrictions)
Access 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide, incl. domestic Virgin Australia lounges

Save up to 20% on first and business class fares

Complimentary Accor Plus membership

Elite status with major hotel chains

Access to Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program

Comprehensive domestic and overseas travel insurance

Platinum Concierge

American Express Travel services and deals
Two annual American Express Lounge passes

Comprehensive domestic and overseas travel insurance

American Express Travel services and deals
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

Insurance cover for medical emergency expenses, baggage, trip completion, and travel cancellations and delays.

American Express Travel services and deals
Travel Accident Insurance

Business Trip Completion Cover

American Express Travel services and deals
Secure payments with AccessLine
FX services
Unsecured credit facility
Integration with bookkeeping software (e.g. MYOB)
Application LinkClick here to apply Click here to apply Click here to apply Click here to apply

Qantas cards at a glance

There are two Qantas partner cards in the range. My pick is definitely the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card , as it comes with some great perks.

 
Annual Fee
(may be tax deductible)
$450$160
Additional Employee CardsUp to 99, at no extra costUp to 99, at no extra cost
Welcome Bonus150,000 bonus Qantas Points ($3k min spend, ends 7 October 2020, new Card Members only)
-
Flexible Cash Flow ArrangementCharge Card: dynamic spending limit with the option to pay over timeCredit Card: Set credit limit with the option to pay over time
Earning RewardsEarn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services

Earn 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases

Earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government, utilities, insurance

Earn TRIPLE Qantas Points on eligible Qantas flights
Earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas

Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases

Earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government, utilities, insurance
Using RewardsAutomatic transfer of points to Qantas Business Rewards accountAutomatic transfer of points to Qantas Frequent Flyer account
Travel benefits

(n/a during COVID-19 travel restrictions)
Two complimentary Qantas Club lounge passes each year

Save up to 8% on the base fare of eligible Qantas Flights

Comprehensive domestic and overseas travel insurance

American Express Travel services and deals
Travel Accident Insurance

Travel Inconvenience Cover

American Express Travel services and deals
Secure payments with AccessLine
FX services
Unsecured credit facility
Integration with bookkeeping software (e.g. MYOB)
Application LinkClick here to apply Click here to apply

Eligibility

All cards have the same eligibility requirements. You must be over 18 years of age and an Australian citizen or permanent resident. You also need to have a good credit history and no payment defaults, and your business must have annual revenue of $75,000 or more and a valid ABN that is registered for GST.

Summing Up

Selecting the right card for your business ultimately comes down to the benefits and features you want. While many are universal across the card range, there are some key differences between the cards to consider.

For example, if you want flexibility to make larger purchases over time, you may prefer a charge card over a credit card. If you’d like additional cards for employees, it may be cost-effective to choose a card where these are complimentary. Or if you’re focused on earning Qantas Points, you may prefer a card that allows you to earn those.

No matter what your needs are, there’ll be a card in the range that meets them.

This article has been prepared in partnership with American Express. To view other articles in this series, click here.

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