Bonuses & Fees
Introduced in October 2019, the American Express Business Edge Card offers 55,000 Membership Rewards Select points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, when you sign up via a referral link. The annual fee is $99.
The public offer only grants 45,000 MR Select points; however, you could also apply via Great Canadian Rebates to earn $150 in cash back (until December 31, 2021). This $150 offer would effectively offset your first-year annual fee and then some.
The choice between the referral link and Great Canadian Rebates therefore comes down to an extra 10,000 MR Select points vs. $150 in savings, and at our current valuation, they come out equivalent.
55,000 MR Select points is equivalent to $550 worth of travel, up to $800 if redeemed through Amex Fixed Points Travel, or 66,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, so you’re coming out way ahead even with the $99 annual fee.
Finally, the additional monthly signup bonus adds another layer of intrigue to the card, although in my opinion the extra 1,000 MR Select points is rather uninspiring for a $3,000 spend, and I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to meet it. Instead, if you do normally spend $3,000 or more per month as part of your business activities, then it’s a nice little bonus to have.
The card also allows you to earn 5,000 MR Select points for every referral you make to a friend or family member, up to a maximum of 75,000 MR Select points a year.
The Business Edge Card’s specialty lies in its increased earning rate on select categories. You’ll earn:
3 MR Select points per dollar spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies and electronics, rides & gas, and eats & drinks
1 MR Select point per dollar spent on all other categories
To clarify, the “eats & drinks” category does not include purchases made at grocery stores, only restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and food delivery services. Moreover, the 3x spending category is capped at $25,000 in purchases per card membership year; after you’ve spent $25,000 in purchases on these categories, the earning rate will drop to 1x until the calculation resets next year.
This points earning structure, along with the Business Edge Card’s usage of MR Select points rather than regular MR points, essentially makes it a version of the Cobalt Card that’s geared towards business owners instead.
With the 3x earnings on “rides & gas” and “eats & drinks”, the card seems ideally suited to the modern entrepreneur who’s constantly meeting clients on the go, while the office supplies and electronics category also caters to more established enterprises as well.
It would make a lot of sense to pay with your Business Edge Card when you’re buying office equipment or electronics, since no other cards in the Canadian market offer accelerated earnings on these categories.
Similarly, paying for rideshares and gas fill-ups using your Business Edge can also be a good idea, since the 3x earning rate represents a strong return.
On the dining category, however, I’d prefer to use either the Cobalt Card for its higher 5x earnings, or the Platinum Card because it earns 3x regular MR points, which are more powerful than the Business Edge’s MR Select points in that they can be transferred to airline programs as well.
The Business Edge Card is somewhat lacking when it comes to the insurance package. It doesn’t come with provisions for Emergency Medical Insurance, Flight or Baggage Delay, or Trip Interruption & Cancellation, which are key protections that are found on many cards out there that have a stronger focus on travel.
The Business Edge Card does offer Car Rental Theft & Damage Insurance, as well as 90-day Purchase Protection in the case of loss or damage, as well as Buyer’s Assurance, which automatically extends the manufacturer’s warranty by up to one year. Both of these protections can be very useful, since you’re likely to buy many of your electronics using the Business Edge given the 3x points you earn.