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Monday, December 23, 2019

A closer look at the new American Express Business Edge™ Card

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.



Back on October 16 American Express shook up the small business credit card market with the launch of their new American Express Business Edge Card. This small business card integrates what has worked well with Amex's personal cards to offer it to the small business market. The primary factor that is makes this card stand out is the points earning potential. It has accelerated earn rates, a generous welcome bonus and an ongoing monthly bonus for meeting a minimum spend.

American Express was smart to bring over some of their personal card features, namely the American Express Cobalt Card to the small business side. You may ask why and the answer to that question comes on the rewards. Too often businesses have relied on personal credit cards - I can't count how many times back in the day when I worked in procurement in the Oil & Gas Industry where salespeople bought lunch, coffee, etc. with their personal cards while pitching their products. There were several reasons for this, some small businesses consider letting their sales people use their own personal cards as an unwritten bonus - they get their salary, their commission and they get to keep the points earned on those personal cards all the while submitting the expense to the company thereby getting those points for free. And the other reason - most small business credit cards in Canada aren't very rewarding when compared to all the personal card options in the market.

Thankfully, that has changed now with the introduction of the American Express Business Edge Card. It is the first business card that is under the Select Tier within the Membership Rewards program, and the second card overall from American Express that is within the Select Tier (after the Cobalt Card). The card has rich value with a generous welcome bonus and strong points earning potential all the while providing the benefits and redemption options we have become accustomed to from American Express. Add in an extremely reasonable annual fee, that is only charged on the primary card (all supplementary cards are offered at no charge) and you have a winning combination for a small business card.

For the welcome bonus, not only do you get bonus points for getting the card and completing a minimum spend within three months - you will also get additional bonus points if you can spend a set amount on the card each month. All told the card can give you 42,000 bonus Membership Rewards points (within the Select Tier) in the first year of cardmembership.

Welcome Bonus
In your first year as a new Business Edge Cardmember, you can earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $5,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership, and an additional 1,000 points each month that you spend $3,000. This could add up to 42,000 bonus points in a year.

Ongoing Monthly Bonus
The 1,000 bonus points earned each month is a continuous bonus and is awarded to you for the life of the card as long as you hit that $3,000 in monthly spending.

Annual Fee
$99

Supplementary Cards: No annual fee

Earning
Earn 3 times the points for Card purchases on eligible business essentials including:

•    3X the points on Eats & Drinks
•    3X the points on Rides & Gas
•    3X the points on Office Supplies & Electronics

Up to a maximum of 75,000 points, and then earn 1X the points on all other purchases.

Want to know which restaurants and other bars or eateries will earn you those 3x points? Check out our American Express Confirmed Multiplier Locations feature that the Rewards Canada community has been so great in contributing to!


As mentioned above, you will rewarded with 1,000 bonus points each month you have $3,000 in spending on the card.

Redeeming
•    Get choice and flexibility by using points for purchases or redeeming them for a wide range of travel, dining, entertainment and retail rewards options.
•    Use points to book travel within Canada or anywhere in the world with American Express Travel.
•    Redeem points for statement credits to offset any eligible purchase charged to your Card.
•    Shop with Points at Amazon.ca.
•    Use points for a wide range of gift cards and merchandise.

Travel, of course, is one of the most sought after rewards from credit cards and American Express does travel rewards well. They have multiple options in Membership Rewards that are as follows:

Use Points for Purchases

Redeem points for statement credits to offset any eligible purchase charged to the card.  The  redemption rate values at 1 cent per point which means the Business Edge card has a 1 to 3% rate of return when you redeem points for purchases (purchases that earn 3 points = 3% return, purchases that earn 1 point = 1%)
  • Use Points for Purchases (Travel): 1,000 points = $10 credit
  • Use Points for Purchases (Non-Travel): 1,000 points = $10 credit
Using your points to offset eligible travel purchases for statement credits is great for those looking for the utmost flexibility in using points for travel. You get to book the flights that are best for you, from the carrier you want, right from the airline’s website, a travel agent or any online travel portal. It even covers non-air travel, such as car rentals, hotels or even all inclusive vacation packages.

Book your hotel via the hotel's website, a cruise via a travel agent or even an all-inclusive vacation, and you can redeem your Membership Rewards points for it all.  All you have to do is charge the travel to any Membership Rewards earning American Express Card and when the charge shows up, redeem your points against it at a rate of 1,000 points for a $10 statement credit. The great thing with Membership Rewards is that you can continue to fund your trip with points even after it's over, since American Express allows you to redeem for a charge up to 12 months after it gets posted to your account.

Fixed Points Travel Program

The Fixed Points Travel Program is a take on traditional reward flights from frequent flyer programs. That is, you use a set amount of points to travel within, or to, certain regions without typically worrying about the price.

Booking flights using fixed points can come handy, especially during peak seasons when market fares are quite high. American Express' Fixed Points Travel Program doesn’t limit specific airlines you need to book with. You can literally fly any airline, any time to any destination!

This provides a lot more flexibility than your traditional reward program, where typically the biggest complaint is a lack of flight availability!

Here are the points grids from Amex’s Fixed Point Travel Program:



Depending on how you earn your points with the American Express Business Edge Card it could mean you can fly for as little as $5,000 in spending. Take the 3 points per dollar for $5,000 and you have 15,000 points which are enough to redeem for short haul popular routes.


Related: A closer look at the Membership Rewards Fixed Points Travel program

Converting points to hotel loyalty programs
The Membership Rewards Select Tier allows you to convert your points to other loyalty programs, namely hotel programs. Those are Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy™. The conversion ratio from MR Select to Marriott is 1,000 points = 1,200 points which means the 3 points per dollar this card earns equates to 3.6 Marriott Bonvoy™ points for every dollar spent. Max out at the 75,000 points annually and you are looking at 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per year. That's a pretty decent Marriott Bonvoy points earn and considering we value Marriott Bonvoy points at no less than 1 cent a piece that's $900 in value right there!

Related:  Step by step guide to converting points from your American Express Card to Marriott Bonvoy 

Between the welcome bonus and the accelerated earn rates the American Express Business Edge Card has stormed onto the market as one of the most rewarding small business cards in Canada. Many of the other cards in this space don't even come close to earning valuable points like this card does. Throw in those 42,000 bonus points in the first year as well and you can see this card is a winner!

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