Full Review of Amazon Business Prime American Express Card
Strong returns on your choice of Amazon rewards
Decent rewards on dining, gas, and cell-phone service
Must have an active Amazon Prime membership
- Strong Returns on Your Choice of Amazon Rewards: Uniquely, the type of reward you receive with this card is up to you. Both options are comparatively generous. Cardmembers can choose, for every purchase if they wish, to earn cash back or get 90 days with no interest. This flexibility allows the leeway to switch back and forth between receiving rewards and paying no interest, depending on what works best for specific transactions or at particular times. Despite the name of the card, the best rewards are earned not only on purchases at Amazon.com but at other Amazon properties, including Whole Foods Market; Amazon Web Services, the company’s huge cloud-services provider; and Amazon Business, the company’s retail portal for business purchases.
- Decent Rewards on Dining, Gas, and Cell-Phone Service: In addition to offering the potential for 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, the Amazon Business Prime American Express offers 2% in cash back on purchases made at U.S. restaurants and U.S gas stations, as well as those made on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. You could likely make more in those categories by cherry-picking cards that offered the best return on each. But the Amazon Business Prime American Express offers a simple way to earn respectable rewards on them all with a single card. Note, however, that this rewards tier offers no option to be rewarded with an interest-free period; the same applies to the 1% cash back you earn on all other purchases.
The cash back percentage is actually the percentage of points earned under the Amazon rewards program. Percent back rewards are tracked as points and each 100 points earned in percent back rewards is equal to $1. The points can be redeemed for eligible purchases at Amazon.com and Amazon.com/Business or towards a charge on your statement.
- An Active Amazon Prime Membership Is Required: Strictly speaking, the Amazon Business Prime American Express has no annual fee. However, the card is available only to those who have an active Amazon Prime membership.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
As a result, the card essentially requires paying an annual fee of $119 ($59 for students) for a regular (consumer) Prime membership. The membership does, however, come with other benefits that may justify its cost. Those perks include free two-day shipping from Amazon.com and exclusive (and often deep) discounts on select grocery items at Whole Foods Market. Also, its free programming through Amazon Prime Video might allow you to forego paying for competing services such as Netflix or Apple TV.
Alternatively, your business can be a member of Business Prime, the cost of which varies by the size of your business and the number of card users.
The Amazon Business Prime American Express best suits business owners who make a lot of Amazon-related purchases for which they want to receive generous and flexible rewards.
The 5% cash back you can earn with the Amazon Business Prime American Express represents a strong return. But the card’s alternative option, to get up to three months free of interest on eligible purchases, is its true distinction.
The feature makes the card especially appealing to companies that sometimes juggle cash flow to pay off Amazon transactions along with others every month. Those purchases might be of miscellaneous business items from Amazon.com or Amazon Business—anything from office supplies to computers and their accessories.
But they could also be from Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud-computing division. While monthly bills from AWS can be less than $100, they can also run into the thousands of dollars for small businesses who require a lot of data storage and associated services.
The card is also helpful for those who buy a lot for their business from Amazon, and aren't Amazon Business members. That’s because the Amazon Business Prime American Express includes access to the Amazon Business Enhanced Data Views tools that allow you to better organize Amazon purchases. Like many other business cards, this one also comes with various expense management features, including the ability to designate an account manager for the card and integrate your business spending with Quickbooks.
Finally, because it doesn’t impose the foreign-exchange fees of some other cards, the Amazon Business Prime American Express is a helpful card to take along on a trip abroad or to use for purchases from foreign suppliers that are made in their local currency.
Amazon Business Prime American Express Card One-Time Bonus
Upon approval of the Amazon Business Prime American Express card, cardholders receive a one-time bonus of $125 Amazon gift card--a nice one-time offer that requires no spending to earn.
Rewards Earning Details
Earning is fairly straightforward with the Amazon Business Prime American Express card. Purchases made on Amazon (you must have an eligible Amazon Prime account) offer 5% cash back on the first $120,000 in purchases each year. This includes purchases made at Amazon.com, AWS, Amazon Business, and Whole Foods Market.
However, those who make Amazon purchases don’t have to earn cash back, though. It's possible to instead decide to take 90 days to repay those purchases without interest.
There are other ways to earn rewards as well. Spending on wireless phone services paid directly to U.S. providers earn 2% cash back, as does spending at U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
Rewards Redemption Details
The cash back from this card is actually translated into points, and each percentage point from cash back is a card point. The Amazon Business Prime American Express card offers two main ways to redeem rewards:
- Shop with Points: This card is part of Amazon’s Shop with Points. A connected card allows you to see how many points you have available to apply to payment at checkout.
- Statement credit: Use the points for a statement credit to offset a purchase.
There aren’t point-transfer options with this card. While cardholders earn cash back in the form of points, they don’t earn those in the form of Membership Rewards points, as with some other American Express cards. As a result, the ability to redeem is less flexible and there aren’t transfer partners.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Since this card is heavily geared to Amazon Prime customers, and offers the best rewards on Amazon purchases, you should naturally use it for all purchases from Amazon and its other divisions. You should also compare the 2% cash back you’ll earn on dining, cell-phone service, and gas purchases to what you make on those purchases on other cards you might carry.
Finally, if you’re more than a solo enterprise, consider requesting extra cards for employees who make purchases for the business. Widening the number of cardholders will help ensure that as many expenses as possible earn rewards for the business.
Amazon Business Prime American Express Outstanding Benefits
- Enhanced data view for business purchases analysis and reconciliation
- Return purchase protection of up to $300 per item and $1,000 per account
- Vendor Pay by Bill.com
- Secondary rental car loss-and-damage waiver
- Baggage insurance
- 24/7 customer service
- Online statements
American Express ranked second in J.D. Power's 2019 Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Its score of 838 out of a possible 1,000 was just below that of Discover, and well above the industry average of 849.
Customers can get in touch with American Express 24/7 by calling 800-528-4800. You can also log into your account and live chat with a representative, or send questions and comments to @AskAmex on Twitter.
It’s possible to manage the Amazon Business Prime American Express card and its features using the Amex Business app, which is available for Android and iOS. The app receives a rating of 3.7 on Google Play and 3.6 stars in the Apple App Store.
Most features offered by Amex are fairly standard. Chip technology is designed to increase security, and there is a dispute resolution process to help with fraudulent purchases.
The Amazon Business Prime American Express is a potentially solid choice for business owners who make a lot of Amazon-related purchases and who are already enrolled in Amazon Prime or Business Prime. Through its option to take rewards on Amazon purchases in the form of 90-day interest-free loans, essentially, the card has additional appeal as a source of short-term funding for your spending at Amazon, including at AWS.
While ostensibly free of an annual fee the card requires an Amazon Prime membership. If you don’t already have one, it’s questionable whether the card alone justifies the investment. Let’s assume you use the card for 50-50 mix of Amazon spending, which earns 5%, and that on gas, dining, and cell-phone service, all of which earn 2% in cash back. You’d need to spend $300 ($150 on each rewards tier) a month to earn the equivalent of a Prime membership, assuming you weren’t considering any value from its other features.
In the first year, though, the $119 be justified by at least the $125 Amazon credit you receive when you’re approved for the card. Still, businesses who expect most months to spend no more than $300 or so on the card, and don’t expect to use its interest-free rewards option, are probably better off looking elsewhere.
Businesses without Prime who still want to earn on Amazon spending can opt for the plain Amazon Business American Express, a similar card that requires no prime membership. Yes, its rewards are lower on Amazon purchases—3% cash back rather than the 5% of the Amazon Business American Express Prime—and there is no option with this card to opt for a no-interest period. But the plain Amazon Business American Express offers the same 2% rewards on gas, dining, and cell-phone service. The same $300-a-month spending example we set out for Amazon Business American Express Prime above would allow you to earn $90 in the first year without the need to justify an annual fee.
For those interested in earning Amex Membership Rewards points (2 points per dollar spent on all purchases up to $50,000 per year) without paying an annual fee, the Business Blue Plus credit card from American Express might be a good alternative.