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If you’re a business owner who travels a lot, the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express may be a good card for you. However, we think you can probably get more value from some other travel cards, even if they have higher fees.
It offers up to 2X points per dollar at Amex Travel, which is less than 2% cash back as a statement credit.
Point transfers present a way to earn a better return on your spending. So it’s not the most rewarding card, but it won’t weigh down your wallet much either.
The Business Green card is a charge card, rather than a typical credit card. That means you can’t carry a balance from month to month. You have to pay your balance off in full every billing period.
Ready to learn more? Keep reading to see if this card might be right for you.
We gave this card 2 out of 5 Stars because it doesn’t provide much value for the fee, in our opinion.
The Business Green Rewards card is pretty basic. Check out some alternatives below for some other business card options, including a more rewarding Amex business card.
This card can provide the equivalent of up to 2% cash back when you use the normal redemption methods. Or if you use a point transfer, you can potentially get over 3% cash back.
The Business Green Rewards card is meant for general travel spending through Amex Travel. If you’re interested in cards designed for one particular airline or hotel, see some alternatives like that below.
You’ll get Membership Rewards points with this card, which can be redeemed in many different ways.
Your basic options are:
The value you get for your points will vary. The normal methods mentioned above are generally a good way to redeem your points because you can get the equivalent of up to 2% cash back. But point transfers can potentially provide more than that when you transfer to a valuable partner loyalty program. Statement credits will be a poor option so we recommend avoiding them with this card.
If you can transfer your points to a frequent traveler program, that will be best. But some cardholders may not be able to do this very easily. If that’s the case, the normal redemption methods provide quite a few options that will give you a pretty good value for your points.
We’ll go over some examples of the normal redemption methods, showing what you can get for your points. And then we’ll go over a couple of point transfer examples to an airline and a hotel. In these examples we’ll assume that you’re trading in 10,000 Membership Rewards points, unless otherwise noted.
The cash back equivalent you get on any redemption will depend on how you earned your points, so we show ranges below. If you earn at a rate of 2X points per dollar, you’ll get the higher end of the range. If you’re only getting 1X point per dollar, you’ll get the lower end of the range.
When redeeming for travel expenses you’ll have several options, but the most valuable is for airline flights. The main way is to redeem through American Express Travel, though there are a couple other travel services you can use as well. You’ll be able to redeem 10,000 points in the following ways.
|Redemption Method||Travel Service||Redemption Value||Point Value (in cents)||Cash Back Equivalent|
|Find Flights||Amex Travel||$100||1.0||1.0%–2.0%|
|Reserve Prepaid Hotels||Amex Travel||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
|Plan Vacations||Amex Travel||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
|Take Cruises||Amex Travel||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
|Flights and Hotels on Expedia||Expedia||$70||0.7||0.7%–1.4%|
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to different airline and hotel loyalty programs. The Plenti retail program is included too.
We’ll go over the basics of point transfers, and then provide two real-world examples: one showing a good deal, and one showing a poor deal.
Most transfers are at a 1:1 rate, though some are different. And there are also limited-time offers and special deals occasionally. There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to U.S. airlines, with no charge for any other transfers. And different programs will allow you to transfer points in different increments, like 500 points at a time or 1,000 points at a time.
Here are some example programs, along with their transfer rates and a point conversion example. Take note that offers may change.
|Loyalty Program||Type||Transfer Rate||You Give||You Get|
|ANA Mileage Club||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
|Flying Blue® Award Miles||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
|Delta Air Lines||Airline||1:1||1,000||1,000|
|Starwood Preferred Guest||Hotel||1:.33||1,000||333|
Let’s go through some examples to illustrate the potential value of Membership Rewards points after you convert them to a frequent traveler program. Keep in mind that there are many factors that influence the price of flights and hotel rooms. They include time of year, demand, availability, and special events. Airlines and hotel chains offer special deals and packages pretty frequently, as well. All of this will affect the value you get from your points.
While the following are actual real-world examples, the point transfer values you find for your flights and rooms may differ from what we show here. If you’re interested in cards that are co-branded with one particular airline or hotel, see some options like that below.
To see how point transfers work, imagine you want to take a JetBlue flight. We’ll fly from Sacramento, California, to Seattle, Washington, on Thursday, February 22.
The cheapest seat for this flight (a “Blue” level seat) would cost $328. You could also get that seat for 22,700 TrueBlue points, along with $5.60 in taxes and fees.
So how much would you need to spend with the Business Green card to earn this seat?
You’ll need to earn 22,800 points for this transfer, because TrueBlue requires you to transfer in increments of 250. That will require $11,400 in spending at the 2X rate. If you earn at the 1X rate, it will require more spending. Once you have the Membership Rewards points, you can transfer them to TrueBlue points.
In addition, this transfer will have a fee of $17.10. This is because transfers to U.S. airlines cost $0.0006 per point.
So in this example, you spend $11,400 to earn the points. When you add in the airline and transfer fees, that comes to a total of $11,422.70 spent. That gets you a seat valued at $328.
That means you’ll have an effective cash back rate of 2.87%. That’s pretty good, better than what you could get with the normal redemption methods above. And you’ll have 100 miles left over for next time.
For an example of a bad point transfer, let’s consider what happens after you get to Seattle in the previous example. Say you want to book one night at a hotel through the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.
You’ll be staying in a traditional room at the Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center. This room would typically cost $142. Or, you could get it by trading 10,000 Starpoints.
How much do you need to spend to get 10,000 Starpoints? Well, you’ll have to transfer at a rate of 1:.33 with Starpoints. That means you’ll need to earn a total of 31,000 Membership Reward points, which you can transfer for 10,323 Starpoints.
To earn those Membership Reward points, you’ll need to spend $15,500 when earning at the 2X rate. Then you can convert them into the Starpoints you need, and book the room.
In this example you spend $15,500 to get a room valued at $142. That means you’ll only be getting an equivalent cash back of 0.92%. That’s not very good compared to your other options. In this case you would’ve been better off with a normal redemption method where you could get 2% back.
There are other deals from SPG that could be much more valuable. But for this particular room, you don’t end up getting much back for what you have to spend.
You’ll have a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 with this card, so you should be sure to use it enough to offset that fee .
You can do that by earning enough points to equal the cost. We’ve found that this will require a minimum of $3,167 in purchases from Amex Travel per year.
The amount you’ll need to spend will depend on two things:
Earning at the 2X rate and redeeming for a good value will get you there fastest. If you earn at the 1X rate and use a poor redemption method it will take much longer to get there.
The following table shows how much you’ll need to spend to offset the annual fee in a variety of ways. You can see how much you’ll need to spend at each rate to reach the equivalent of $95. Most people will have a mix of spending, of course, so it won’t be so clear cut as this. But you can use this as a guide to see how much you’ll need to spend to earn those points.
|Good Redemption Value|
|2X points||1X point|
|Normal Methods: 1 cent per point||$4,750||$9,500|
|Point Transfer: 1.5 cents per point||$3,167||$6,334|
|Statement Credit: 0.6 cents per point||$7,917||$15,834|
As you can see, redeeming for good point transfers will require the least amount of spending. It’s just $3,167 per year, as long as you earn at the 2X rate. The normal redemption methods will cost more. And if you redeem for statement credits it will take even more spending to offset the annual fee.
This is a good redemption example, but remember that if you redeem in some ways you’ll get a lower value for your points. This could happen if you choose a normal redemption method that only offers 0.5 cents per point. Or if you make a point transfer that only grants 1 cent per point or less, for example.
So, no matter what rate you earn points at, redeem them for the best value you can get. And if there are no options that seem particularly appealing, you can hold on to your points until you see something you like.
All American Express business credit cards will report your card activity to the credit bureaus in the same way. They let you improve your business credit, although there are also consequences for irresponsible behavior.
As long as your account is in positive standing, the activity will be reported to Small Business Finance Exchange. This is a large and commonly-used business credit reporting bureau.
But if your account enters a negative status, such as having unpaid collections or unpaid charge-offs, the activity will be reported to other bureaus. An account with a negative status will be reported to:
So your positive activity will be reported to one business credit bureau. But your negative activity will be reported to a different business credit bureau, plus the typical consumer credit reporting agencies.
This means you can use the Business Green Rewards card to improve your business credit, but not your personal credit. However, you can still hurt your personal credit with it. For a different card that reports positive activity to more business credit bureaus, see the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (Review).
This card has no preset spending limit, which does not mean you can spend an unlimited amount.
Instead, this means that your purchasing power will adjust over time. It will change based on your card activity, payment history, credit record, and other financial resources.
You can get up to 99 employee cards, and they will all be free. Individual spending limits can be set for the cards. Take note that there are certain purchases where the spending limit won’t apply, like restaurant tips and extended hotel stays.
The primary cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the account. The card activity will not affect the credit of employees using copies of the card.
Designate a trusted Account Manager to manage your Business Green Rewards account. Must be at least 18 years old.
A tool to help manage your spending throughout the year. Allows you to add receipts and notes to transactions, making tax time easier.
Provides an easy way to label and transfer your transaction data into a QuickBooks account.
You’ll have access to discounts at a wide variety of merchants — currently there are about 80 different offers available, and the selection changes now and then.
You just need to head to the Amex Offers program and click ‘Add to Card’ for the deals you want. Then, just use your card as you normally would to make a purchase with that merchant. Your savings will appear as a statement credit later on, reducing your account balance. You may or may not earn additional rewards at the regular rate — this will depend on the particular offer.
Many of the deals can be quite valuable, saving you from $5 up through more than $100 for some of them. For most of them, you’ll need to spend a certain amount to get a certain discount. Some of the current offers include:
|Merchant||Need to Spend||Cash Back||Maximum Savings|
|Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants||$30||$10||33.33%|
|SimplySafe Home Security||$400||$100||25%|
|Studio Movie Grill||$50||$10||25%|
|Zeel Massage On Demand||$100||$20||20%|
There are many fantastic deals waiting to be had here, though many other credit card issuers will offer a similar service. For example, Chase provides the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Bank of America has its BankAmeriDeals offers, and Citi has the EasyDeals service. You’ll find a range of discounts in all of them.
Occasionally you’ll be given the opportunity to save 10% on your cable, satellite TV, and/or cell phone bills. Just find the offer and click ‘Add to Card,’ and then use your card to pay for the utility as normal.
Some businesses will be eligible for the Tier One Program from American Express. This comes with benefits that are “designed to streamline and enhance the business’s experience with American Express.”
At the beginning of every year, American Express will select businesses out of the pool of eligible candidates at its own discretion. Meeting the following criteria does not mean you’ll be selected.
To be eligible for the Tier One Program, a business must:
Additional guidelines and limitations apply. Check your card’s Guide to Benefits for more details.
This benefit, also called Membership Experiences, provides pre-sale tickets to a variety of sports, music, and cultural events, as well as access to certain exclusive experiences. You’ll be able to search by interest, artist, event, or venue.
When this review was written, one available offer was preferred seating at Moulin Rouge! The Musical in Boston, MA. Many theater and live performance offers like this are included.
Another, more expensive offer is an experience with the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. For $320, cardholders can attend a pre-game dinner reception with two famous, former players: Denis Savard and Éric Dazé. Then you’ll get a 100-level seat to watch the team play St. Louis, along with an autographed puck from a current player.
If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference. You must submit your claim before the check-in date, and be sure to check your card details because some restrictions apply.
Cardholders have the opportunity to apply for a loan through American Express (but only if they have been pre-approved). Loans are offered from $3,500 to $25,000, with fixed interest rates from as low as 6.90% up to 19.97%.
We’ve only described some of the most interesting benefits here, but this card comes with some others as well. For the most part, they are protections like:
These aren’t the most valuable benefits. But they could help out if you need them sometime. Check out the full set of benefits for the Amex Business Green Rewards card for more.
|Regular Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95||2.7%|
|Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|$39 or 2.99% of any past due Pay in Full amount, whichever is greater.||Up to $39|
With charge cards like this, you have to pay your entire balance in full each billing period. That’s why there are no interest rates shown. You can’t use this card for balance transfers or cash advances.
As long as you use this card responsibly, all you’ll need to pay is the annual fee . And you can offset that with a reasonable amount of spending each year.
|Business Green Rewards Application Line||1-888-781-6736|
|Amex Business Customer Support||1-800-492-3344|
|Pay Bill by Phone||1-800-472-9297|
|Check Application Status||1-800-567-1085|
|Credit Bureau Unit||1-800-874-2717|
Customer support at American Express is always there if you need help or have questions about your card.
We’ve called them on several occasions seeking information about their cards. In most cases we’ve found answers pretty quickly, and their reps seemed friendly and knowledgeable.
Sometimes our call would take a little while, however. Or we came away not very confident in the information we got. But in general we haven’t had an issue, and were satisfied. Compared to some other credit card issuers they don’t waste too much of your time, if any.
Every year, J.D. Power conducts their U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. Amex has always come in either first or second, since the survey began in 2007. In 2017 it came in first, topping its chief rival in this survey, Discover.
The American Express website is usually pretty intuitive to navigate. You’ll generally be able to find the card you want easily.
The main features of the Business Green Rewards card are displayed prominently. By scrolling around the page and reading through the sections, you’ll be able to get a good idea of what the card is all about. Some of the benefits seem to be categorized and ordered in a bit of an odd way. But overall this doesn’t really take away from the main points of the page.
The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express is a fairly simple card, compared to some others.
For a low annual fee, it gives small business owners a way to earn rewards for booking through Amex Travel. If you make a lot of trips for your business and tend to use a variety of airlines and hotels when you do, this rewards program would suit you. It also reports to a business credit bureau, giving you a way to build your business’s credit.
It’s not the most rewarding card, only offering 2X points per dollar at most. But those are Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed in a wide variety of ways.
The extra benefits are decent, a cut above the basic shopping and travel protections that most cards come with. The Amex Offers can sometimes be quite valuable, if you have an opportunity to use them.
Although you won’t be racking up tons of points and enjoying luxurious benefits, this card may be a good option for some people, if you don’t want to pay a large fee. But there are other card offers that provide better rewards and benefits, even for the same fee. For some similar business cards, with different reward programs and benefits, see our alternative choices below.
You can apply for this card securely on the American Express website. You’ll need to be an authorized officer for your business, responsible for managing finances.
To apply, you’ll need your personal and business information. For corporations and partnerships, you’ll also need to provide your Federal Tax ID (the same as your Employer Identification Number, or EIN).
American Express will check your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus when you apply.
It won’t be hard to find a better card than the Business Green Rewards; take a gander at some of our favorites below.
By paying more you’ll get a better reward program:
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
So you’ll have more opportunities to earn Membership Rewards points with this card. You’ll earn 4X points in the two categories that your business spends the most in each month, making this a very flexible card. As the needs of your business change throughout the year, spending more or less on certain types of purchases, this card adapts alongside it.
Both of these cards have all the same redemption options. That means with the Business Gold card you can earn up to the equivalent of 4% cash back with the normal redemption methods. And point transfers could provide the equivalent of as much as 8% back or more, depending on the transfer.
There’s yet another step up in this line of Amex business cards: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Review). It’s more expensive at $595 per year (Rates & Fees). It doesn’t have business-specific bonus categories, but it does offer a way to earn more points on travel:
If you’re willing to pay the fee you’ll be able to earn quite a lot of points with this card. Eligible flight redemptions get a 35% point bonus, which means you can earn the equivalent of up to 6.75% cash back with this card through that method. Point transfers could yield a cash back equivalent of 10% or perhaps more. And there are quite a few nice benefits to take advantage of as well, mostly related to travel.
So you can earn points on travel expenses, just like with the Amex card. But the Chase card’s bonus category is more broad, covering all travel expenses rather than just those on Amex Travel. And you’ll also get several other business-related categories to earn points in.
The 25% point bonus is a great feature. That means when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can get the equivalent of 3.75% cash back when you’re earning at the 3X rate. And you’ll get the equivalent of 1.25% cash back when earning at the 1X rate.
The intro bonus for the Chase card is much better than the Amex, which would only provide 5,000 points. The Amex bonus is much easier to get, however, only requiring a single purchase of any amount. But since you’re probably going to be spending with the card anyway, the bonus from Chase is generally more useful. Those 80,000 points can be worth $1,000 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Both cards allow you to transfer your points to frequent traveler programs. And many of the same programs are included for both cards. But you may end up getting a different value when transferring because the exchange rates may not always be the same for these cards.
The Business Green card has the better perks and benefits. The Ink Business Preferred has some basic protections for shopping and traveling, like most cards. But there isn’t much in the way of business-specific benefits.
The Chase card has more flexible bonus categories that will let you earn points on a variety of business expenses. But if you want Amex’s Membership Reward points and other benefits, the Green Rewards card would be for you.
Instead of bonus reward categories, cardholders get:
If you hate thinking about which card to use for which purchases to earn the most points, the Spark Cash provides an easy way to earn cash back on every purchase.
The 2% cash back is pretty competitive among cards like these. And it’s equal to what you can get with the Amex card through the normal redemption methods. But you won’t be able to transfer your rewards to any loyalty programs with the Capital One card. You’ll just get your 2% back as a statement credit. So if you travel often you could benefit more from the Amex card, by transferring your points to whichever frequent traveler program you like best.
The Spark Cash has an annual fee of $95, waived the first year. It’s is available at the Visa Signature level, which provides better-than-average card perks. These are mostly centered around traveling (especially staying at hotels) and shopping.
Capital One reports business card activity to more business credit bureaus than most other credit card issuers. They’ll report business card activity to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Small Business Financial Exchange. This is more than Amex, which will only report positive activity to Small Business Financial Exchange.
For small business owners who make a variety of purchases, this card makes it easy to earn 2% back on all of them. If you don’t like being restricted to the Amex Travel site to earn 2X points, the Spark Cash would be one to consider.
The Business Green Card offers 2X points at Amex Travel, so you can use it with any airline, hotel, or travel service they include. But if you prefer one airline or hotel brand over everything else, a co-branded card might be right for you.
There are many valuable business cards that are co-branded with airlines or hotels. Cards like these are made to be used with that specific brand, and are less useful elsewhere.
Take a look at the following airline and hotel business cards as examples. There are many others like them.
The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® (Review) has a $99 annual fee that’s waived the first year.
This card is co-branded with American Airlines, and offers:
American Airlines purchases get 2X, but you’ll also get that rate on several business-related expenses as well. That’s a pretty good rewards program, relatively speaking.
You’ll usually be able to redeem your points for at least 1 cent each with this card. So you’ll be getting the equivalent of at least 2% cash back when you earn at the 2X rate. And 1% cash back when spending at the 1X rate. Many deals can be even better than that thanks to the Reduced Mileage Award, which reduces the mile requirement by up to 7,500 miles on eligible flights.
Besides the points you can earn, the other reason to have a card like this is for the benefits it provides at American Airlines. The CitiBusiness card provides Group 5 preferred boarding, which is directly after priority boarding and before economy. You’ll also get your first checked bag free. And an annual companion certificate for every year in which you spend at least $30,000 in purchases.
This card provides a ton of points at Hilton properties. But those points are worth a bit less than points from other reward programs. So it tends to even out, making this a good card but not as incredible as it might seem at first glance.
So you’ll wind up with a whole lot of Hilton Honors points with this card. But it will also cost quite a few of them when you go to redeem, so it balances out. The welcome bonus for this card is pretty generous, so be sure to make use of it.
Cardholders get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status with this card, which will make stays more comfortable. This provides room upgrades when available, an 80% point bonus on eligible Hilton purchases, and a variety of complimentary services.
There are also Weekend Night Rewards available for spending a certain amount each year. You’ll get one for spending $15,000 in a calendar year, and another for spending a total of $60,000 in a year. If you spend $40,000 per year you’ll get Hilton Honors Diamond status for the next year, an upgrade from Gold with even better perks. And 10 passes for Priority Pass Select airport lounges are available every year.
This card can make traveling and staying at Hilton hotels a bit cheaper and more comfortable. But if you don’t tend to stay with Hilton and end up at a variety of properties, a general-use card like the Business Green Rewards might be better for you.
Do you use the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express to spend for your business? How do you like it? Leave your own review, we’d love to hear from you!
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