Getting Approved For SPG Business Amex As A Sole Proprietorship?

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As I’ve mentioned many times before, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express are two of my favorite cards for everyday spend.

Both cards are worth it for the fantastic sign-up bonus, return on everyday spend, and bonus elite qualifying stays & nights towards status annually. But between the two cards, the SPG Business Amex is the most compelling, given that it offers Sheraton club lounge access, which is a huge perk.

Club lounge at the Sheraton Skyline London Heathrow

One question I’ve received over and over is whether you can be approved for the SPG Business Amex without having a corporation? If you’ve tried applying for a Chase business credit card lately, you’re probably well aware that they ask an endless number of questions and aren’t especially open to those just starting their business. Unless you’ve been incorporated for years, you’re unlikely to get approved.

I figured I’d share a firsthand experience from today. Ford is in the process of starting his own business, though hasn’t yet incorporated. He has a business plan and has started slowly, and he eventually plans on forming an S-Corp. Since he’s racking up some expenses, I recommended the SPG Business Amex, given the excellent return on everyday spend and biggest ever sign-up bonus.

I wasn’t sure if he’d be approved, given that the company is new and has limited income, and is presently operating as a sole proprietorship. When it comes to applying for a business credit card, he doesn’t have much history to go off of.

He answered everything on the application honestly (as one always should), including:

  • Industry Type (Other)
  • Company Structure (Sole Proprietorship)
  • Years In Business (0-1)
  • Number of Employees (1)
  • Company Name (just his name for now)
  • Federal Tax ID (his Social Security Number)


After submitting the application the page said to call in to verify some information. He called up and the agent informed him there was a glitch in pulling up his credit score. Within a minute he was approved for the card, without being asked any further verification questions.

This matches many other reports I’ve received from readers, who have been approved for the card as a sole proprietorship.

The point is, anecdotally the SPG Business Amex is fairly easy to be approved for, even if you’re in the early stages of forming your business. It’s great to see Amex wanting to grow with customers, as opposed to only approving customers for business cards if they have a long history of incorporation.

Bottom line

People always ask me what it takes to get approved for the SPG Business Amex, especially those who are operating sole proprietorships. The good news is that American Express seems much more willing than Chase to approve people for business cards while in start-up mode.

Even when applying for a card with limited business income, 0-1 years in business, and a sole proprietorship, Ford got approved, which is awesome.

Hopefully that’s a useful data point for those of you considering applying.

What has been your experience with getting approved for the SPG Business Amex?

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  1. No issue getting the card as a sole proprietorship, other than a 5 day hold after applying for the personal a day earlier (then had to call, apparently for security reasons only). Gentleman on the other line was quite the character too, “may I be pleased to inform you that you can put a big smile on your face because I have some excellent news!”

  2. The bigger question I have is how “strict” must you be with charges on the Business card? Will normal everyday expenses such as bills, groceries, gas, etc. cause a review? Can you be fairly frivolous? Business expenses only? I know there’s no cut and dry answer but I want to gauge the likelihood of any issues.

  3. Wife and I have both had the business card. I currently am the only one that still has the card. I have a fledgling consulting company at best. Its a business for sales strategy, sales force, and process improvement. In a nutshell I help businesses sell better. It was a bit of a process to get approved because of the general “consulting” term and there isn’t really a drop down for “help ppl sell better”, but a quick phone call fixed all that. AMEX was pretty receptive.
    @Victor – on to your question. Over the past year, the business has taken a side step to my day job and I haven’t incurred any true “business” expenses. Instead, we put ANY unbonused spend on this one card…..I’m also curious to know what the pros in this hobby think on this matter but I can report that after 8 months of this sort of spending on the card for regular run of the mill stuff, there have been no issues to speak of.
    Now if AMEX would just let my wife get the bonus again since it’s been 12mo since opening/closing….ahhh the good old days….

  4. I got instant approval for the SPG business card (first time I’d applied for it). Chase grilled me for five minutes three years ago when I got my Ink Bold card; I was approved for the Amex card in less than 60 seconds online. I’ve had the Starwood personal card for about 3 years and love it.

  5. I just got approved for this credit card. I was thinking of Streaming video games and I thought it had a chance of being considered one. I didn’t even have to call or anything, Amex just approved online, granted I already have a couple of cards with them. Still pleasantly surprised.

  6. I signed up for the first time about 2 months ago for this card (personal, not business) and I just about a week ago got to the $3,000 in spending and received the sign up points. But that was only for 25,000. Now they are suddenly offering the same for 35,000. Do you think there’s a chance they’d give me the 35,000 instead?

  7. Now that’s some epic pimpin’ — er, I mean pumping.

    An even dozen affiliate links in a post of ~500 words. Convert convert convert convert convert!

    Tiiiiiiiitanic dude!

  8. Same question as Nick. I’m at the limit w/ the Amex personal – Hilton for recent bonus, Delta, SPG, and Everyday for an MR resort if I ever cancel my platinum.

    I’m assuming applying as a sole proprietor would put this on my personal file as well. Should I cancel a card before applying? Or see what happens… leaning toward the latter.

  9. Would you recommend getting the SPG card(s) now or should one go for Chase card(s) before the new Chase 5/24 limits come into play for more/all of their cards and pretty much shut Chase cards down altogether? If one went for some Chase cards now you have various offers like Chase United card(s) for 50,000 miles each. yes it would mean missing the 35,000 SPG bonus but at least you could get points from Chase now plus 25,000 SPG points per SPG card after March 30

  10. Caveat, you may get a biz card but I was told you won’t get the 35k bonus if you have the SPG personal card AND your “business” has the same tax ID, I.e. Your social #, as your personal card.

  11. Easy getting approved with $300 in business income. AmEx asks personal income if you’re a sole prop so they clearly know they’re covered. Not instant but no additional action required by me – I was approved by email 10 minutes after submitting the app. Even with basically no business yet, the way the app is done makes it easy to be honest throughout – clear that AmEx wants to be your business’s first CC.

  12. Great post Lucky as my wife thinking about getting this. Quick question(S)…she sells Mary Kay (has for years) so I’m guessing she would be a sole proprietorship? Also, the four card limit, does that include being an authorized user? I have the personal SPG and Costco Amex (she is auth. user on both) and she also had Costco Amex. Lastly, no problem with us combining points with my personal SPG account and her SPG account that would be linked to the business card?


  13. AMAZING Card. Was approved with very little revenue as a sole proprietor. AMEX is very accommodating to even small businesses. I’m off to Hawaii in a couple months in a confirmed Ocean View room thanks to it. If you’d like to apply, use my referral link here (first year fee waived!):

    SPG points won’t be around forever so get them while you can before the Marriott merger closes

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