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Update: The Starwood small business Amex 35,000 point offer expired as of 3/28/18. It is NO LONGER available.
Amex is bringing it with their small business cards. There are notable welcome offer increases on a few of them right now.
And they are definitely NOT created equal.
Here’s what to consider about each one.
In This Post
Big welcome offers on Amex small business cards
Right now, you can get:
- 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points with the Blue Business Plus Amex
- 35,000 Starwood points with the Starwood small business Amex
- 100,000 Hilton points with the Hilton small business Amex
Each have wildly different:
- Minimum spending requirements
- Earning structures
- Ancillary perks
- Annual fees
Here’s a side-by-side look at all 3:
|Blue Business Plus||Starwood||Hilton|
|Welcome offer||10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. End date unknown||35,000 Starwood points. Offer ends March 28th, 2018||Up to 100,000 Hilton points: 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
And 25,000 bonus points after spending another $1,000 in purchases in the first 6 months
|Minimum spending||$3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership||$7,000 in purchases within the first 3 months||$4,000 total (see above)|
|Annual fee||$0||$95, waived the 1st year||$95|
|Earning||- 2X on all purchases, on up to $50,000 per calendar year||- 2X at Starwood and Marriott hotels |
- 1X on other purchases
|- 12X at Hilton
- 6X at US gas stations, wireless phone service from US providers, US shipping purchases, US restaurants, flights, and select car rentals
- 3X on other purchases
|Notes||- Typically doesn't have a sign-up bonus at all. End date unknown |
- Here's my review of this offer
|- This offer only comes around once or twice a year|
- Here's my review
- Gets you access to Sheraton lounges
|- Hilton Gold elite status
- Here's how you can use Hilton points
- End date unknown
|Link||Learn more here.||Learn more here.||Learn more here.|
So which is best? That depends on your history and travel goals.
But none of them count toward your Chase 5/24 status. So if you’re trying to pick up Chase cards down the road, they’re all worth a look.
One and done
To start, if you’ve ever had any of the cards before, you can’t earn the welcome offer again. This does NOT mean if you’ve had the personal version of the Starwood card, for example, that you can’t get the small business version. Amex counts personal and small business cards as different card products.
It does mean if you earned the bonus on the Starwood small business Amex, you can’t earn that one again. But you could get the personal version and earn the welcome offer if you’ve never had it.
In my case, it’s easy. I have the Blue Business Plus and Starwood small business cards. So the only one I could possibly get is the Hilton card. If you’re in a similar position, the choice is easy.
1. Blue Business Plus Amex
- Link: Blue Business Plus Amex – learn more here
- Link: The Best 2X Card for Non-Bonus Spending Now Has a 10,000 Point Welcome Offer
This card usually doesn’t have a welcome offer at all. And actually, the card is strong without one. So I consider earning any amount of points as pure gravy.
It’s an amazing card for non-bonus spending. You can earn 2X Amex Membership Rewards points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO category restrictions. I use this card constantly for that reason and always have it in my wallet. “No bonus? Get out the Blue Business Plus.”
Plus, it has no annual fee. So it’s free to have forever. And it keeps your other Amex Membership Rewards points alive and active if you cancel other cards, like the Amex Platinum.
There are 3 reasons to get any card: welcome offer, bonus categories, or ongoing perks. For this card, it’s: 10,000 points, 2X on everything, no annual fees.
2. Starwood small business Amex – OFFER EXPIRED
- Link: Starwood small business Amex – learn more here
Make no mistake. When Marriott gets ahold of the SPG program, they are going to rip it end to end.
The program will last through 2018. But in 2019, it doesn’t stand a chance.
That’s why I’m surprised to keep seeing welcome offers on this card. Clearly, Amex wants to pump them into as many hands as they can before the big switch. I can’t blame them for it. And 35,000 Starwood points is as high as it’s ever gotten.
So if you haven’t had this card before, now is an excellent time to get it. You have until March 28th, 2018, to apply and earn the bigger welcome offer.
35,000 Starwood points plus the minimum spending is 42,00 Starwood points. Considering you get 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer to airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio, that’s easily 50,000 Alaska, American, Asiana (and many other airlines’) miles.
Or you could use them for:
Of course, you can also use them to stay at Starwood (or Marriott!) hotels, too. 😉
The annual fee is waived the first year. So the biggest consideration is that hefty $7,000 in minimum spending. If you can swing it, this is a solid deal.
Remember, you can use Plastiq to pay lots of bills with Amex cards (like your rent, taxes, utilities, or student loans).
The sleeper hit (Er, snacker hit?)
This card also gets you access to Sheraton lounges when you stay at, duh, Sheraton hotels. The ones in Europe usually have full meals, beer, and wine at set times, and bottled water you can access all day. In the US, it’s not as robust, but you get free snacks, coffee, and breakfast (even if you don’t get a room upgrade), which is still a nice perk.
Depending on how often you stay at Sheraton hotels, this benefit alone can make the card worth keeping long-term. It is only on the small business version of the card.
3. Hilton small business Amex
- Link: Hilton small business Amex – learn more here
This card has the distinct advantage of being brand spankin’ new. So chances are, you haven’t had it before. In which case, grab it up!
Hilton points, you say? I’m all about them. Peeps love to complaint about Hilton points. But I’ve gotten great value. I’m staying 3 free nights at the Hilton Tokyo in a couple of weeks, thanks to Hilton points.
Hilton points are a misunderstood currency. Yes, they’re inflated. But so is the earning rate!
You also get Hilton Gold elite status with this card, which gets you free breakfast. I LOVE FREE BREAKFAST. I’d even say it’s the elite perk I value most.
This card is in my crosshairs – I might grab it soon, if only to earn 100,000 more Hilton points for the ol’ storehouse.
Amex is doing a great job with multiple increased welcome offers right now. Their small business cards don’t count toward 5/24. Or if you’re LOL/24 like me, you might pick up one of these cards just to pad out your award balances.
Keep in mind, Amex is usually generous with the small business card approvals. You don’t need tons of revenue to qualify. So long as you’re aiming to make a profit, you can apply.
Another important note: if you have other Amex cards already, you might only get a soft pull when you apply – meaning no ding at all on your credit report. There’s no guarantee. But I didn’t get a credit pull when I opened my Blue Business Plus Amex and was instantly approved. Not a deal breaker, but nice to know.
Have you gotten into Amex small business cards recently? Which of these would you pick up?
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