In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that I have found for each card. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about my partners, including American Express and Citi, and thanks for your support!
Earlier this week American Express rebranded their SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express, and I have to say it’s one of the most compelling no annual fee business credit cards I’ve seen. They’re offering a $250 statement credit after spending $5,000 on qualifying purchases within the first six months of card membership.
Limited Time Offer: To be eligible for this offer, your application must be received by June 23, 2015
A few of the details:
No annual fee
The heading says it all. There aren’t many rewarding business credit cards out there without an annual fee — this is a pretty big selling point, in my opinion.
Rewards for everyday spend
The card has a cash back based rewards system, with some nice bonus categories:
- 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually at US office supply stores and wireless phone providers
- 3% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually at your category of choice (see below for that list)
- 1% cash back on everything else
For the 3% bonus category you can choose from the following:
- Airfare purchased from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased from hotels
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases for shipping
I think this is a great option, and having the choice to customize a bonus category is smart for a card geared towards small businesses. Depending on your spending habits this could be a very lucrative category, so it’s nice to have the flexibility.
AmEx OPEN Savings Program
Since this is an American Express small business credit card it’s part of the OPEN Savings Program, which gives you up to 10% discounts at select merchants.
One of my favorite partners of the program is Hyatt, as they offer a 5% discount through this program at a majority of Hyatt properties in the US. For me this is one of the biggest selling points of Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express and The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, which I previously used to save money on Hyatt stays.
This is hands down the best no annual fee American Express business credit card, so if nothing else having a no annual fee card that qualifies for the program is extremely valuable.
Keep in mind that you can choose hotels as one of the 3% cash back options on the card, meaning you’d be earning a total of 8% cash back on Hyatt stays, up to $10,000 per year.
Also keep in mind that the savings are capped at $10,000 per year per card, so if you have both an SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, for example, that raises your “cap” to $20,000.
Comparing this to Chase’s Ink Cards
In a way these cards seem to compete somewhat with Chase’s Ink Cards, which come with the following benefits:
- $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
- 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
- 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotels
- No annual fee
- 5x points on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
- 2x points on the first $25,000 spent annually at gas stations and restaurants
So ultimately the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus are more compelling for office supply and wireless phone spend, given that those points can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth more than a cent each, in my opinion.
The Ink Cash® Business Card is a cash back card, so the return is the same on office supply and wireless phone spend. The one exception is that if you have the Ink Cash® Business Card in conjunction with the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, Ink Bold® Business Charge Card, or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, those points can be converted into “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, rather than just being a straight cash back card.
However, if you’re comparing the SimplyCash Business Credit Card to the Ink Cash® Business Card on the basis of both being “true” cash back cards, the SimplyCash is certainly worth considering and in some aspects more lucrative.
This is an extremely compelling card given the lack of an annual fee, nice sign-up bonus (for a no annual fee card at least), and earning power on everyday spend.
It’s especially intriguing since it gets you access to the OPEN Savings Program. I’ll be picking up the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express in my next round of applications not because of the sign-up bonus or because I’ll put a ton of spend on it, but because it’s a no annual fee option that has good return in some categories and also qualifies for the OPEN Savings Program.