I’m running out of adjectives to describe the endless sky-high welcome bonuses we’re seeing on both sides of the border.
In case Canada’s respective 100,000 and 60,000 MR points on the Business Platinum and Business Gold weren’t eye-popping enough, the US versions of these cards are 50% better, albeit with accordingly higher minimum spending requirements:
- The Amex US Business Platinum Card is offering 150,000 US MR points upon spending US$15,000 in the first three months
- The Amex US Business Gold Card is offering 90,000 US MR points upon spending US$10,000 in the first three months
These offers have been floating around through incognito channels for a few months, but they’ve recently gotten dedicated public landing pages of their own, so I wanted to update you on all the details.
Amex US Business Platinum Card: 150,000 US MR Points
In the past, the Amex US Business Platinum Card has historically carried a welcome bonus that hovered around 75,000 US MR points. Some American Express US small business representatives were able to offer 100,000 US MR points via private channels, and indeed, that’s how I had signed up for this card back in late 2018.
Until December 31, 2021, the US Business Platinum is raising its welcome bonus to a new all-time-high.
The card will offer a staggering 150,000 US MR points, but only upon spending an onerous US$15,000 in the first three months. The offer is therefore only suitable for business owners with large expenses or individual with high spending capacities.
(If the US$15,000 spending threshold is too high for your liking, but you’re still interested in a big bonus from a US credit card, consider the personal Amex US Platinum Card instead: you’ll still earn 100,000 US MR points via incognito mode, while only having to deal with US$5,000 in minimum spend.)
Remember, because Amex US enforces a strict once-in-a-lifetime rule on welcome bonuses, the dominant strategy for all Amex US cards is to only apply when there are historically high offers on the table. 150,000 US MR points on the US Business Platinum Card most certainly fits that bill, so if you’ve never held this card before and are prepared to dive right in, now’s the time to do so.
150,000 US MR points would be more than enough for the following redemptions:
- Transferring to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book ANA First Class for 60,000 miles one-way or 120,000 miles round-trip
- Transferring to Emirates Skywards to book Emirates First Class to Europe for 85,000 miles one-way (potentially for two passengers, if you time it around a transfer bonus)
- Transferring to ANA Mileage Club to book an ANA round-the-world award with eight stopovers and four open-jaws
- Transferring to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book elusive Singapore Airlines business class, First Class, and Suites Class awards
- Transferring to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to book Cathay Pacific flights with much greater award space
The US Business Platinum Card commands an annual fee of US$595, which is the highest annual fee among the major Amex US products. That certainly appears very intimidating at first glance, but the card also boasts a series of credits that can lower the annual fee.
Each calendar year, you’ll get US$200 in airline incidental fee credits and US$200 in Dell US credits (US$100 from January through June, and US$100 from July through December). If you can maximize these credits, your net annual fee can be reduced to US$195.
(Loading funds into a United Travel Bank is a popular way to use the airline incidental fee credits, allowing you to spend these funds on United-operated flights within five years’ time. Meanwhile, I’ve liquidated my Dell US credits in the past by buying Xbox gift cards and reselling them, or you can simply buy some electronics that you need from Dell.)
If you’d prefer to treat the US Business Platinum as a one-year love affair, you could even come out ahead against the US$595 annual fee in the first year. By applying now, in June 2021, you could earn:
- US$200 in airline incidental fee credit for 2021
- US$200 in airline incidental fee credit for 2022
- US$100 in Dell US credit in June 2021
- US$100 in Dell US credit in July 2021
- US$100 in Dell US credit in January 2022
- US$100 in Dell US credit in July 2022
By July 2022, you’d still be within one month of your second year’s annual fee posting to the account, so you’d be able to cancel the card without paying another US$595 annual fee if you wanted.
That would also mean that you’ve come out ahead by US$205 in value during your one year of holding the card – on top of the incredible 150,000 US MR points that you earn as a welcome bonus.
Amex US Business Gold Card: 90,000 US MR Points
In addition, the US Business Platinum’s lower-end counterpart, the Amex US Business Gold Card, is also putting on the best welcome bonus we’ve ever seen: 90,000 US MR points, upon spending US$10,000 in the first three months.
Unlike the US Business Platinum’s special offer, whose landing page explicitly notes an end date of December 31, the US Business Gold offer doesn’t make any mention of a specific end date. Instead, the terms and conditions say the following:
If your application is not received by 6/30/21, we will not process your application even if we later receive your application. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke offer at any time.
To be safe, I’d recommend applying by the end of the month if you’re interested in the offer for 90,000 US MR points.
The US$10,000 spending requirement feels disproportionately high, especially when compared to the aforementioned personal Platinum Card offer. But if you have the spending capacity between your small business, grocery, and department store expenses, then it absolutely makes sense to grab the US Business Gold’s historically-high 90,000 US MR points.
90,000 US MR points would be enough for a one-way flight in ANA First Class (via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club) or Emirates First Class (via Emirates Skywards) as outlined above, in addition to many powerful premium redemptions via ANA Mileage Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
The US Business Gold Card has an annual fee of US$295, without much in the way of credits to offset the fee.
Instead, the card’s value proposition lies in its unique 4x earn rate in the categories of US technology purchases, shipping, advertising, dining, gas, and airfare. The 4x earning rate applies to the two categories with the highest spend on each billing statement, up to a combined total of US$150,000 per calendar year.
In particular, the US Business Gold is a very popular card for businesses who spend lots of money on online advertising. I’ve spoken to quite a few Canadian-based Amazon vendors, for example, who all have their sights set on the US Business Gold; once they get the card and can generate 4x US MR points on their ad spend, they’re playing the game on easy mode.
If you can’t maximize these spending categories, however, I’d say that the US Business Gold is also best suited to a one-year holding period, with the main prize being the signup bonus of 90,000 US MR points.
Applying for Amex US Business Cards for Canadians
While Amex US personal cards are straightforward for Canadians to apply for even if they’re completely new to US credit cards, the situation is less clear-cut with Amex US business cards.
In the United States, business credit cards do not report to your personal credit file, meaning that they won’t be useful for building your US credit history over time. If you’re contemplating getting your first US credit card, you’d ideally want to choose a personal card to get started with, so that it’ll continue to support your credit history and build your Average Age of Accounts (AAoA) over time.
Even if you wanted to start with a business credit card, it may not be feasible to do so. Amex US allows Canadian applicants to use Nova Credit to apply for their first US card on the basis of their Canadian TransUnion credit profile, but this only works for personal cards, not business cards.
If you’ve already gotten started on your US credit card journey, then you can apply for the Amex US Business Platinum or Business Gold cards either by inputting your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or by applying over the phone using a foreign passport as your documentation.
On the other hand, if you’re just getting started with US credit cards, then I’d recommend choosing a personal card and applying via Nova Credit as the first step, and then applying for the US Business Platinum once you’ve held your Amex US personal card for six months. The offer for 150,000 US MR points will last until December 31, so you have plenty of time to take advantage of it.
The Amex US business cards have put on some astonishing welcome bonuses via incognito mode for a few months now, which are now available via public landing pages.
The Amex US Business Platinum Card is offering new applicants 150,000 US MR points, which must be the single-highest welcome bonus I’ve ever seen on any credit card in the US or Canada.
Meanwhile, the Amex US Business Gold Card is offering new applicants 90,000 US MR points, which is also the highest bonus we’ve seen on this product.
Both offers do come with onerous spending thresholds of US$15,000 and US$10,000, respectively, so you’ll either need to channel your true business expenses, plan around your biggest purchases of the year, or leverage some creative spending strategies to capture these mouthwatering bonuses for yourself.