Update 11/9/23: American Express has changed the rules of its Business Checking account so that folks without an Amex card are now able to open an one. This does limit the redemption possibilities for the Membership Rewards points that you earn, effectively making them worth a cash out value of 0.8 cents each (about half of what we value them at). However, for those folks who don’t have or want an Amex card, this turns into a $400 bonus for a $5000 deposit for 60 days…still a good deal.
Amex is offering an increased bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points (up from 30K) for opening a new Business Checking account, maintaining a $5,000 balance for 60 days and completing 5 qualifying transactions.
The checking account 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 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you open a new American Express Business Checking account, deposit $5,000, maintain that balance for sixty days and complete 5 qualifying transactions (see below) within sixty days.
- Expires 12/12/23
Terms and Conditions
To be eligible to earn a Welcome Offer of 50,000 Membership Rewards points, you must meet each of the following qualifying criteria:
- Open your first American Express® Business Checking account, which is subject to approval
- Deposit a total of $5,000 or more in eligible deposits that you make and are posted to your account within thirty (30) days of account opening. Eligible deposits are all deposits that you make, except deposits from any other American Express® Business Checking account, deposits from interest payments, and deposits using our Redeem Membership Rewards Points for Deposits feature. Eligible deposits that you may make within thirty (30) days of account opening but that post to your account and appear in your available balance after thirty (30) days of account opening do not qualify
- Maintain an average daily balance in your account of at least $5,000 for sixty (60) days, starting on the date that your account balance is first equal to at least $5,000 in eligible deposits. We calculate the average daily balance of your account for the sixty (60) days as the sum of your account’s end-of-day balance for sixty (60) consecutive calendar days divided by sixty
- Complete five (5) qualifying transactions within sixty (60) days of account opening. “Qualifying transactions” are defined as mobile deposits, check deposits by mail, and electronic/online transactions, including ACH, Wire, and Bill Payment transactions 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. Stop payments and transactions that do not post to your account and do not appear in your Available Balance within sixty (60) days of account opening are not qualifying transactions. 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.
Recently, the bonus for opening up a new Amex Business Checking account has been hovering at 30,000 MR points, so this is a significant improvement (we have seen the bonus hit 60K once before). We value Membership Rewards at 1.55 cents each, making this bonus worth ~$775. That’s a great deal, given that you only have to park $5k for 60 days and make five mobile deposits or electronic transactions.
Having an American Express Business Checking account also lets you redeem points for cash. There is a bit of a catch, though. In order to get the improved rate of 1 cent per point (cpp), 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 I’ve used the Charles Schwab Platinum to convert rewards into cash at 1.1 cpp, I can’t imagine a situation where I would do it at 0.8. 1 cent per point could potentially be more interesting, but it requires a Business Platinum card so, either way, in order to get a passable rate of return, it’s necessary to have a Platinum card a $695 annual fee.