Update 1/23/23 – With the all of the newly-minted Business Platinum cards out there (and the fresh round of targeted offers that just went out), it’s worth remembering that the Charles Schwab Amex Platinum and Morgan Stanley Platinum aren’t the only way to cash out Membership Rewards. Also, the sign-up bonus is back up to 30,000 MR.
Last year, American Express launched a checking account product for small businesses. At the time, Amex promised that it would be possible for account holders to cash out Membership Rewards points(MR) through their checking accounts at some point in the future. While the ability to cash out MR via a free checking account sounded great, most of us assumed that the conversion rate would be terrible.
Well, we were half right. American Express has announced that Amex Business Checking account holders can now cash out Membership Rewards at a rate of 0.8 cents per point…fairly paltry. However, account holders that also have a Business Platinum card will be able to redeem up to 1,000,000 points per year at 1 cent each, just .1 cents below the rate offered to cardholders of the Schwab Platinum card.
At the same time, Amex revealed a 30,000 MR welcome offer (changed from $300) for opening a new Business Checking account, maintaining a $5,000 balance for 60 days and completing 10 transactions on the account. The checking account also earns 1.30% APY (on up to $500K in balance), 0.5 MR on debit transactions and has fee-free ATM access at any MoneyPass location in the US.
- Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you open a new American Express Business Checking account, deposit $5,000, maintain that balance for sixty days and complete 10 qualifying transactions (see below) within sixty days.
- Business Checking account holders are now eligible to cash out Membership Rewards at a rate of 0.8 cent per point (unlimited points per year). Account holders that also have a Business Platinum card can cash out Membership Rewards at a rate of 1 cent per point (maximum of 1,000,000 points annually).
Terms and Conditions
To be eligible to earn a Welcome Offer of 30,000 Membership Rewards points, you must meet each of the following qualifying criteria:
- Open a new American Express Business Checking account
- Deposit a total of $5,000 or more in “new money” into your account within twenty (20) days of account opening (the new money must also post to your account and appear in your Available Balance within twenty (20) days of account opening). “New money” is defined as deposits that are not deposited from any other American Express® Business Checking account and are not deposited using our Redeem Membership Rewards points for Deposits feature;
- Maintain an average balance in your account of at least $5,000 for sixty (60) days, starting on the date that your deposits of new money are equal to $5,000 or greater;
- Complete 10 qualifying transactions within sixty (60) days of account opening. “Qualifying transactions” are defined as mobile deposits, and electronic/online transactions, including ACH, Wire, and Bill Payments made to or from your account. Business Debit Card transactions and deposits using our Redeem Membership Rewards points for Deposits feature are not qualifying transactions. Transfers between American Express® Business Checking accounts held by the same business are not qualifying transactions.
- After you have completed all the above qualifying criteria, American Express will credit the Membership Rewards points to the Membership Rewards Program Account linked to your American Express® Business Checking account within 8-12 weeks.
Before now, the only way to cash out Membership Rewards was by holding an Amex Charles Schwab Platinum card or the Morgan Stanley Platinum card. The Schwab Platinum allows you to cash out MR at a rate of 1.1 cents per point into a Schwab investment account and the funds can then be transferred into your normal checking account. This option to cash out is part of the reason why Nick chose the Schwab Platinum as his third pick in last week’s “3 Cards, 3 Continents” draft. The Morgan Stanley card only offers 1 cent per point, which has made the Schwab Platinum the most common option for those wishing to convert points to cash.
Now, the free American Express Business Checking account lets you redeem points for cash as well. There is a bit of a catch, though. In order to get the improved rate of 1 cent per point, you must also hold a Business Platinum card (and the $695 annual fee that comes with it). Also, that improved rate is limited to a maximum of 1,000,000 points per year while the standard rate of 0.8 cents per point is unlimited.
While both Nick and I have both used the Schwab Platinum to convert the rewards from the Amex Points Parade into cash at 1.1 cpp, I can’t imagine a situation where I would do it at 0.8 cpp (the standard rate for business checking account holders). 1 cent per point could potentially be more interesting, but it requires a Platinum card as well, this time the Business Platinum.
So, either way, in order to get a passable rate of return, it’s necessary to have a Platinum card with at least one year of a $695 annual fee.
That said, this could be a useful option to keep in mind for folks who already have the Business Platinum (especially for those who got in on the 170K or 250K targeted offers) as it gives the same ability to cash out points without adding another card or affecting your 5/24 status. It also offers a useful fallback in case those of us with the Schwab card eventually decide that the coupon book of credits and extra 10% sweetener aren’t worth the annual fee any longer.
How soon after receiving the 60k bonus can I transfer my money back out of the Amex Biz checking account to the account I used to fund it with? I don’t like keeping track of money in different banks, and don’t want to forget about the $5k sitting in this account.
If I transfer all $5k back, will AMEX claw back my 60k MR points? What will happen to the account if the balance is $0?
I’m looking for a DP for this as well. Have you heard any news?
I did just after completing the requirements. No issue so far and I’ve received the bonus.
Does the checking have to be linked to the Business Platinum account? It shows only .8 when I go to page to cash out points to checking account.
Yes, the 1cpp rate is only good for folks that also hold a Business Platinum
Thanks. I must have to reach out and connect them. Since it doesn’t show the Plat rate.
There is a risk for doing this. I just got hit with a FR and asked to submit a 4506-C form after submitting.
If I wouldve known, I would not have risked it.
Was this a new business? How was it structured? And what rev #s did you put down?
Sole prop. Used social.
Good datapoint to have that FR is possible. I applied with sole prop, EIN, and social. I also have existing business cards with Amex.
can i open one as a sole prop and a 2nd one under EIN?
I just got approved for the checking account. I only have Amex Marriott Bonvoy CC. Is that true that in order to transfer points to airlines partners I need an Amex CC that can transfer? Thanks
I second this question ??
I applied for my feline rescue business and was denied (though I have an Amex Business Cash Credit Card for the same business). The rejection stated this as the reason, “We are not currently offering accounts to companies within your industry.”
The industry I selected was Agriculture and Veterinary.
I’ve made 12 card purchases as of over a week ago and my progress tracker still hasn’t registered. Do they wait until tbe end of the statement cycle?
Can anybody comment on the 10 transactions?
Can I just transfer myself (from another bank) 10 dollars 10 times to qualify?
Yes. Since there’s a requirement to deposit $5K, you can also do 10 $500 deposits to fulfil both requirements.
Can you make the 10 deposits all in a day, all from one external account? Or, do you need to spread them out?
Yes I’m sure you can. I made 2 to 3 every day until reaching 10 but I’m sure that 10 in one day would work too
Greg, did you receive the bonus through this method?
Just following up on Rachel’s comment, I was curious too 🙂
A chat agent confirmed a separate business entity with unique tax ID (EIN, TIN, SSC) would be eligible for the bonus even with my existing open Business Checking account which received a previous bonus.
I opened up their Kabbage account about 8 months ago for the bonus. Is this the same thing and thus I’d probably be denied for this?
Got it. 60k!!! Ten minutes. Easy
How soon can you close the account without getting the points clawed back?
There’s no fee to use the account, so you can just leave it alone and let it close naturally.
Piece of cake. I started the app a month or so ago. Baled out. So started the app again and Amex addressed me and stated do I wanted to finish? Sure. American Express is so far ahead of the rest including Chase. Love’em! No docs, no nothing just approved.
That be want not wanted
Not straw – Thanks
On the application under industry I was surprised to find brothel.I was temped.
I pcked another business but was denied. I opened a few checking accounts recently and suspect that was the reason for denial.
What do you put for a business if you just do ms?
My business is called ms 🙂
It is requiring me to download “business filing documents” even though I’m applying as a sole proprietor. Anyone else figured out what to do?
I’m a sole proprietor and uploaded pdf of my driver’s license and was approved
I took Johnny’s advice and uploaded my driver’s license as well. I then got a weird “need more info” and a number to call. I decided to wait a few days, but they called me. They had me verify my identity by taking pics of my license and a selfie. Then BOOM! Approved.
any downside in doing this just for the MR points? don’t want to apply for another CC right now but this seems like an easy 60k MR points with no fees or credit pull. I know many people are doing this for the 1c pp cashout option but any downside in doing it just for the points?
Not that I’m aware of. Some people who are into heavy MS don’t like to have a checking account linked to their cards, simply because they’re worried it will put additional eyes on it. For the vast majority of folks, that wouldn’t be a concern.
I did it just for the points.
This makes the Amex biz plat + biz checking offer a lot less interesting right?
I imagine that offer will increase as well, but in the meantime, you could just do the elevated BizPlat welcome offer and do the checking account separately.
Just opened banking account last week for 30k bonus..do you think I will still qualify for 60k?
I opened the checking account last week too with the 30k offer. I chatted with them this morning and was told that they would not match me to the 60k offer.
Never hurts to ask them, but most likely, no. Amex hardly ever matches welcome offers.
A lot of us opened at the 30K offer in the last few weeks, I have chat’d and talk CS all said no. I went to Twitter to “Ask Amex” and ask them to review, the more people that do the same we may get results. Ask and ask again.
Thanks all! Yeah I tried chatting and calling them and they said no 🙁
opened the biz checking with 30k two days ago, did a chat and was told amex don’t match.
Opened on 11/21, tried today on 12/2 to match to 60k via Amex chat and was surprisingly offered a one time exception of 10k additional points instead of a flat denial as many other comments have reported. I only chatted once and did not call so it really is YMMV with Amex matches/courtesy points.
I have found that the simplest way to cash out MR at 1cpp is to purchase a ticket through Amex travel and pay with points and than cancel within24 hours and cash value of ticket is credited to account. No need for high end card. Did this with my gold. If you want the points back rather than the cash then gotta call
Hmmm I think I will have to try that out. Is there a reason for the 24 hours, as in do you have to do it within the 24hour time period?
24 free cancellation otherwise stuck with the ticket
It seems like you could also buy a refundable ticket, with an airline that you normally fly.
Can these 60k AMEX points be added to your AMEX credit card MR account so they can be used to transfer to airlines? I’m only seeing mentions of cashing out the points to your new checking account
I read on the AMEX Business Checking offer, these 60k AMEX MR points would be combined with our AMEX MR credit card so all good there. I did notice though their banking App is only for iPhone. WTF?
Since AMEX does not have an app for Android phones, you can not deposit a check since this is only an online bank. Does AMEX think it makes good business sense to not cater to 70% of the market? Is there another way to deposit a paper check? I assume their website works with other PC’s besides Macs… I’d like to actually use this as a business checking account but I’ll take their 60k points in any case 😉
Your suggesting that iPhones only take up 30% of the market? Lol
True enough. 70% was the Andriod market share in 2010. It’s now only 43% but to throw away almost half of their potential market share because they won’t create an android app is just bad business. Oh well, I’ll take their 60k points in any case 🙂
What’s the easiest way to get in the minimum transactions?
ACH transfers to or from another account would be pretty easy.
buy something small x 10, load Amazon x 10.
how do you load amazon or buy something small with this? It says “Business Debit Card transactions and deposits using our Redeem Membership Rewards points for Deposits feature are not qualifying transactions. “
This is not like other accounts -read the fine print, debit card transactions do not count as transactions. Push from another account a few dollars x 10, or make $1-5 payments towards an amex CC.
Hmm, I misunderstood. However, I do have AMEX on Chat saying that these transactions did qualify. But I am guessing they will not honor it. My 60 days is up anyway. Oh well, thanks for the reply. I won’t be upset and cancel all of my cards 🙂
It has been a bumper year. But it does seem like this hobby is becoming a full-time job.
can you just write 10 checks for small amounts from another account to yourself and do electronic depoist through the app?
Are the qualifying terms changing? Parking 5k is bad enough in the current environment.
Nope, same qualifying terms.
is bonus 1 per person or per business?
I imagine per SSN.
Can you open more than one business checking and receive bonus points?
Terms say it’s for the first, I haven’t seen any DP’s on trying with a different business or using a sole prop and then an ein. I’m sure someone will give it shot soon. 🙂
can you use these MR points like regular points (travel redemption, airline transfers) in amex? or just cash?
Yes. They simply add to MR balance.
lol, i just open like a couple of weeks ago. has anyone ever tried to ask Amex to match the new offer?
Yes, but without much success. Always worth asking though.
Same here!! Guess I’ll inquire and report back.
i tried to chat and got a flat NO 🙁
Told no, but could apply with a different business.
Should we assume the 60k bonus will be reported to the IRS as $600 income?
As far as I know, the only thing that Amex reports is referral bonuses, so I don’t think this would be.
I’m not sure that’s right. I imagine they have to send a 1099 for this as it can hardly be considered a rebate? And whether they send a 1099 or not, why would this NOT be taxable?
The terms specifically state “The Welcome Bonus may be taxable income to you and may be reported on IRS Form 1099.”
So yes, it is taxable income and you may receive a 1099.
sometimes procrastinating pays off
No way…I just opened my account on 11/21 for the 30k bonus. Are there any DPs of Amex matching higher sign-up bonuses for this account? I am so angry 🙁
+1，just opened one last night and was instantly approved
I would at least try and ask for a match. Don’t get your hopes up, but it’s worth trying.
The fine print says you need to provide Amex with the organization’s Articles of Incorporation. I have a business tax ID but don’t have articles. Do they really check, or will they accept hastily developed articles that perhaps haven’t been notarized?
I’ve applied as a sole prop in the past for bus checking
so no documents to upload?
not for sole prop in my state (wi)
Not sure, but maybe easier to just apply as a sole proprietor? Then there’s no AOI to worry about.
I’m applying as sole proprietor from CA but it won’t let me submit the application without submitting documents.
Just applied and was instantly approved as Sole Proprietor from Virginia with no documents required.
Can I ask which documents they’re asking for? ID and address proof?
Sole Proprietor in VA, got confused by the “upload documents” so I just uploaded my VA driver license and was immediately approved
I have multiple businesses with Amex cards. Would the bonus apply to each LLC that opens a checking account or be limited to just one bonus?
Also interested , did the $300 cash bonus ~last year
I would think one per SSN like most other applications. I’m the same with FIDs across several entities, but just my social as owner.
1.3% as of this morning. Not a great difference, soon there will be more options at that level. Points redemption is fast and easy. If only AMEX could credit my Platinum points, it would be a perfect combo. I ranked MR the worst of the three major currencies because of the poor redemption prior to this option.
Quick update, the interest rate went up to 1.3% this morning. Not great, but better than it was at 1.1%
What’s up with the article they make you upload? What if you’re going with sole prop?
Is there hard/soft credit inquiry when applying? Thanks.
It’s a checking account. There’s no credit inquiry.
I have been denied in opening a checking account because I hadn’t thought to unfreeze my credit.
Since it’s points not ca$h do you get a 1099 for the 30k sub?
any idea when this expires?
I just applied for this 7 days ago with the 20k offer. Does anyone know if AMEX will switch me to the better offer if requested?
My recollection is you don’t get MR for paying taxes with the debit card. Is this correct?
Did you bury the lead “0.5 MR on debit transactions”? Seem like there would be a pretty good angle here. Yes, not for money orders etc. but for cases where an actual debit card might be useful – ie. maybe Plastiq, taxes etc.
Except no one processes Amex as debit so it doesn’t work unfortunately. Tried many angles on this.
Yeah, it’s a nice idea, but brutal to try and get it to work
I know they send a 1099 for the cash bonus. Wonder If they do for the points offer as well
Let’s make sure we are including ALL of the Amex Membership Rewards cashout options here. Off-the-beaten-path blogger Windbag Miles posted about a year ago about how the no-fee Morgan Stanley credit card also allows a penny-per-point redemption with its “Invest with Rewards” program as well. For those unfamiliar or who have forgotten, the Morgan Stanley no-fee co-branded card earns “full” Membership Rewards points and also can be used to move points to a Morgan Stanley investment account. It also includes a 10k welcome bonus (aka $100).
Now, the easiest way to get the no-fee Morgan Stanley credit card is to invest a minimum of $5,000 in their “Access Investing” robo investing platform and pay 0.30% in annual “advisory” fees.
So, while the Schwab Personal Platinum allows 1.1 cent redemptions, you still have to justify the $695 annual fee. Alternatively you can get this Amex Business checking account and pair it with the Business Platinum, but you still have to justify a $695 annual fee for penny-per-point redemptions. Maximizing the “coupon book” of Platinum benefits is getting more mentally taxing with every revision, so why not park $5k in a robo investing plan and get penny-per-point redemptions plus a 10k/$100 welcome offer to boot?
Most interestingly, that Access Investing has done much better than SPY or QQQ this year and in past years has done better than expected, though nothing amazing. At least it has not lost me any money.
I thought you also have to have a CashPlus account with $25K earning no interest (well, very little).
Amex Personal Checking info – and rewards 1 point for every 2$ debit card spend
Is it worth it for taxes??
Could be if you rewards in mind. Not hard to find 1-2% debit cards though.
Might want to add in “Open your first American Express® Business Checking account, which is subject to approval”
For those who already jumped on the cash bonus. But as it doesn’t define first, don’t know if it’s a discover bank first or amex first
This is a big step for Amex but . . . both its consumer and business checking products remain “entry level” products. Neither provides for relationship tiers.
At Chase, if a consumer maintains a certain balance, ATM fees are waived including non-network fees and foreign transaction fees. Also, one would incur NO fees for inbound or outbound wire transfers, including international wire transfers.
At Chase, if a business maintains a certain balance, the same applies . . . and it extends to the business owner’s personal checking. Amex’s domestic outgoing wire fees make it a nonstarter for me.
I am by no means a Chase cheerleader but it provides an easy example.
If someone looks at these Amex checking accounts from a “hobby” perspective, fine. But, if someone is truly looking at moving a business banking relationship, Amex isn’t there yet.
Not by a long shot. Kabbage was ridiculous, and this one looks pretty simple, but I am happy to take 30,000 MR points and also have an easy out if I need to cash out my MR stash.
Are these accounts the same as Kabbage?
I would hope not.
Amex acquired Green Dot Bank a while back. Green Dot is the entity behind the reloadable debit cards you see in grocery stores as well as the Amex Serve Card. Green Dot provides the barest of bare-bones pseudo-banking. It would seem that Amex has started with this bare-bones capability for its MR checking and Kabbage. Honestly, the platforms are an embarrassment to Amex