Amazon Business Prime American Express Card Review - Ideal for Business Spending?
The Amazon business Prime American Express is a business rewards credit card that combines an offer of 5% rewards on Amazon purchases or extended repayment periods for purchases, along with bonus rates for restaurant, gas station and wireless phone services.
The card is the first of its kind created specifically to business owners, as previous Amazon Prime credit cards were consumer-only.
When this card launched in Oct. 2018, American Express exec Courtney Kelso said in a press release that the card is a perfect fit for small business owners who purchase through Amazon Business.
“In partnership with Amazon Business, a destination offering millions of U.S. small business owners a convenient place to purchase everything for their company, from office supplies to IT products, we’re proud to have developed the Amazon Business American Express Card as a powerful business buying tool, backed by the world-class service, security and buying power of American Express,” Kelso said.
In our review of this card, we’re going to look at the rewards it gives you, the benefits you receive as a cardholder, and the card’s rates and fees.
We’ll also include a section comparing this card to the Amazon Prime consumer card and a closing section about how you can leverage this card to your advantage.
The Amazon Busines Prime from American Express’ Rewards
This card gives you several ways to earn rewards, which come in the form of points that you can redeem for Amazon purchases, cash and other things.
Sign-up Bonus: $125 or $100 Amazon Gift Card
Should AmEx approve you for this card, you’ll earn a $125 Amazon gift card if you have a Prime membership or a $100 Amazon gift card if you don’t have a Prime membership.
The gift card is a digital one and, according to Amazon FAQ, it will be sent to the Amazon account you used to sign up for the card.
If you didn’t have an Amazon Business account when you did the application, Amazon notes that, when AmEx approves you for the card, you’ll get an email with a link you can use to set up a Business account. If you do this within 30 minutes of getting the email, the gift card will be sent to your new Amazon Business account.
The 5%/90-day Repayment Choice
The Amazon Business card presents you with a choice you typically find with store credit cards. They’ll give you a great rewards rate for purchases you make in the store (in this case, Amazon.com) or they’ll do special financing for purchases.
In the case of this card, you can choose to get 5% back on your Amazon.com purchases or you can get 90-day, interest-free repayment periods for purchases.
Which choice is best for you has a lot to do with your cash flow and your purchasing. If you need the extra time to pay off purchases because you don’t have the cash on hand to cover big expenses that come up, then the 90-day repayment may work.
However, if you have a track record of paying off your credit card every month and avoiding the interest payments that come with carrying a balance, then the 5% back on Amazon.com purchases seems like the better choice.
According to Amazon, purchases made at the following sites will earn the 5%:
- Amazon Business
- Amazon Web Services
- Whole Foods Market
The Whole Foods discount is only good if you have a Prime membership.
So, let’s say you spend about $5,000 a year between those four categories of purchases. You'll earn 25,000 Amazon Rewards points you can redeem when you checkout for Amazon purchases. The rewards points have a cash value of $0.01 for every point, which means 25,000 points is worth $250.
2%/1% Rewards on Spending
The final way you can earn rewards is by using your Amazon Business card for all your purchases, business or otherwise.
You’ll earn 2% in Amazon Rewards points whenever you make gas, restaurant or wireless phone purchases. This bonus category is pretty straightforward but there are some restrictions you need to remember.
First, you’ll only get the 2% bonus for wireless phone services if you use your card to purchase them directly from a wireless carrier.
Second, you won’t get the gas bonus if you buy your gas from a warehouse club.
Finally, “restaurant” typically includes sit-down establishments as well as coffee chains like Starbucks and fast-food places.
Any purchases that don’t fall into the three categories we mentioned before will earn 1%, with the main exception being credit card interest payments and fees.
If you spend $30,000 a year on your card and $5,000 goes toward 5% purchases, $5,000 goes to 2% purchases and the remaining $20,000 goes to 1% purchases, then your yearly rewards total is 55,000 Amazon Rewards points or $550 you can use to buy things on Amazon or Amazon Business.
Pro tip: You need an Amazon Prime account in order to get the 5% bonus or the 90-day repayment.
The Amazon Busines Prime from American Express’ Benefits
Beyond rewards, the Amazon Business card gives you a series of benefits from both Amazon and American Express that may, in some situations, help you on a day-to-day basis.
Amazon recognizes that you use or will use their business services, so they provide you access to several different accounting-type tools that will help you manage your card spending, and who uses your card and when.
You can use these tools to see line-by-line dollar amounts for business purchases as well as set how much and when your employees can spend on the employee cards Amazon provides.
What Benefits Will You Receive?
AmEx gives you a suite of accounting tools you can use to track spending that will help you see in which categories you spend the most money. Their business tools also will match photos of receipts you take to transactions on your statement. And, finally, you can upload all of this information to Quickbooks to help ease expense tracking.
Other benefits you get are shopping protections on things you purchase with your card. These protections may provide compensation for things you buy that:
- Are stolen or accidentally break
- Need to be returned at a store that won't accept the return
You also get an extended warranty that doubles the manufacturer’s warranties on items you buy.
Keep in mind that this trio of purchase protections has limitations, namely those pertaining to what types of things are covered. For example, our experience shows us that second-hand goods, antiques and jewelry aren’t covered.
To learn more about the limitations on these benefits, read through the benefits guide you get with your Amazon Business card.
What Are The Rates and Fees?
Here’s a quick list of the rates and fees you can expect from this card in the event that you pay late or carry a balance:
- APR for purchases: 16.24% to 24.24%
- Cash advance APR: 26.99%
- Penalty APR: 29.99%
- Annual fee: None
- Cash advance fee: 3%
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $38
A few things to think about as you consider if you want this card is that you can’t make any balance transfers to it. Second, it has a penalty APR of 29.99% that activates if you pay late two times or more in a 12-month period, if you have a payment returned or you don’t make the minimum payment on the billing due date.
The stumbling block here is the penalty APR because, once the 29.99% rate is on your account, it will stay there for at least 12 months. At the 12-month mark, AmEx will review your account to see if you’ve made any late or returned payments. If you don’t have any, AmEx will remove the penalty APR.
How the Amazon Business Prime from American Express Compares to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
As you decide whether or not you want to get this card, you may be tempted to consider the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, which is, in most ways, a consumer version of the Amazon Business card. However, there are some slight differences in rewards and interest rates:
|Amazon Business Prime||Amazon Prime|
|APR||16.24% - 24.24%||15.99% - 23.99%|
|5% rewards||Amazon (business, AWS, Prime) and Whole Foods||Amazon Prime and Whole Foods|
|2% rewards||Gas, restaurants and wireless phone services||Gas, restaurants and drug stores|
As you can see, the differences lie in the APR, which is 0.25% lower for the consumer version of the Prime card. Also, the Amazon Business card gives you 5% off on Amazon Business and AWS purchases, whereas the consumer card does not.
Furthermore, the business Amazon card gives you a bigger sign-up bonus as well as 2% on wireless cell phone services instead of the 2% drug store purchases you get with the consumer card.
In our opinion, the business-specific rewards and the bigger sign-up bonus make the Amazon Business Prime the better choice for business owners.
The Final Word: How to Use Your Amazon Business Prime Rewards from American Express
Based on our research about this card, we believe that the best way to leverage this financial product is to sign up for it if Amazon purchases and web services play a big part in you running your business. For example, if your primary business purchases come via Amazon Business, this is the perfect card from you.
In addition to that, we believe this is a great card if your business has considerable gas, restaurant and wireless phone bills. If that’s you, you’ll be able to maximize this card’s rewards structure.
As far as how this card could hurt your ability to earn rewards, there is some potential for setbacks if you choose the 5% rewards over the 90-day repayment and you can’t repay the purchase by the 90-day deadline. If that happens, AmEx will charge you interest on the remaining balance.
And, since you chose to forego the 5% rewards for the extended repayment, you miss out on a big bonus category whose rewards could’ve balanced out what you pay in interest.