Brex: 110K transferable points without a credit inquiry (for business owners)

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UPDATE 8/30/21: While the originally reported offer is long dead, there is now an opportunity to earn the same 110,000 total points, but this time there’s a requirement to spend $9,000 within 30 days.  That’s not a typo: you only have 30 days to complete the spend!

Earn up to 110,000 points: Applicants get 30,000 points after spending $3,500, or 80,000 points after spending $9,000 within 30 days.  Plus 10,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.  And 20,000 points when you connect your payroll to Brex (As well as connecting payroll, depositing sales revenue from ecommerce platforms or specific payment gateways may also qualify).  Click here for more.

Brex Cash is a business cash management account that comes with a linked credit card.  The credit card works a bit like a debit card: you can only spend up to the amount you have available in your cash account (actually, with the Brex card, your credit limit is usually only 80% of your available cash).  Even though the cash account is not technically a checking account, there’s no discernable difference that I can see.  If you own an LLC, LLP, C-corp, or S-corp then this may be a good opportunity for you…

The biggest difference (in my mind) between this account and a regular business checking account is that this one is completely fee free and it offers the opportunity to earn awesome rewards.  The current signup bonus (details here) offers up to 110,000 points.  The Brex card also offers very good point earning rates for spend.  You can cash out Brex points at a penny each (110K points = $1,100) or transfer 1 to 1 to a number of airline programs.  The latter makes this opportunity even better than an $1,100 bank-like bonus.  When booking flights, it’s often possible to get much more than 1 cent per point value by transferring points and booking award flights rather than paid flights.

Qualifying (and signing up) for the offer

To open a Brex Cash account, you have to own a business.  Sole proprietorships don’t count.  You must own a business that is registered in the United States as a C-corp, S-corp, LLC, or LLP.

Select “Cash”, above, in order to earn 8x on Rideshare (otherwise you’ll get 7x).  Even though this selection doesn’t say “cash and card”, you’ll still get both.  The difference is that the Cash version of the card will automatically pay credit charges immediately (within a day) of making a charge whereas if you get the Card or Cash and Card option, you’ll have 30 days to pay.

Since the Frequent Miler business is an LLC, I was able to apply for Brex during the original 110K offer.  The process was easy but quirky.  A few times the screen just churned away with nothing happening, but by refreshing, clicking the email confirmation, or logging in again, the process moved forward.  The only slightly difficult part of the application itself was uploading a picture ID to prove my identity.  That part fortunately went smoothly.  Altogether I had my account up and running in about 15 minutes and was immediately able to access my new card number.

Earning the full bonus

In order to earn the full 110K bonus, you’ll have to complete 3 steps:

1) 80K: Spend $9,000 within 30 days

This is undoubtedly the hardest part.  You have to spend $9,000 with the Brex credit card.  And, keep in mind that your credit limit will be constrained by the cash in your Brex account.  So, it will be necessary to first add a lot of cash to your Brex account and then use your Brex card to spend $9,000 or more within 30 days of opening your account.

2) 10K: Spend $3,000 within first 3 months

There’s nothing to do here.  If you completed step 1 and spent $9K in 30 days, then you’ll have more than met the requirement for this step.

3) 20K: Connect your payroll to Brex

The fine print says “*As well as connecting payroll, depositing sales revenue from ecommerce platforms or specific payment gateways may also qualify.”  In our past experience, simply adding Brex to your PayPal wallet was enough to trigger this 20K bonus.  See: Brex – How I earned 20K for depositing sales revenue.

Earning for spend

The Brex card offers the following rewards for spend:

  • 8x on Rideshare (or 7x if you select the Card or Cash and Card option above)
  • 5x on Brex travel
  • 4x on Restaurants
  • 3x on recurring software like Salesforce, Zendesk, Twilio, and more
  • 3x on eligible Apple products like Mac and iPhone, via the Brex portal
  • 1x on Everything else

Earning 8x for things like Uber (probably including Uber Eats), taxis, scooters, etc. is pretty incredible.  Similarly, earning uncapped 4X transferable points for dining with a fee-free card is terrific.

Point Value and Transfer Partners

Points can be redeemed for 1 cent each or, better yet, can be transferred 1 to 1 to a number of airline transfer partners:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

The most widely useful of the above transfer partners, in my opinion, are Avianca Lifemiles and Cathay Pacific.  Avianca is an excellent option for booking Star Alliance awards since they do not pass along fuel surcharges.  Cathay Pacific is good for booking flights on Cathay Pacific itself or OneWorld partners (like AA, JAL, Qantas, Qatar, etc.).  Air France is also useful for booking SkyTeam awards (Delta, for example) and select partners (such as Virgin Atlantic), but the best use is probably to fly Air France or KLM when they offer good Promo Awards (discounted awards).  Most of the other partners are also useful at times.  For example, Emirates is a great choice for flying Emirates itself.  JetBlue points tend to be most valuable for cheap JetBlue flights.

Q&A

  • Is the Brex card a debit card? No, but it acts a bit like one. Your credit limit is determined by the amount of cash in your Brex Cash account.
  • Is the Brex Cash account FDIC Insured?  Yes, Brex Cash offers FDIC insurance up to $250,000 through Brex Cash program banks.
  • Is my application approval contingent upon business revenue or years in business? No. Brex is designed to support startups.  Simply provide your business name, address, corporation type, and EIN during the application process.
  • Will I be taxed on the signup bonus? Will Brex issue a 1099?  No.

Bottom Line

If you own a LLC, LLP, C-corp, or S-corp, signing up for Brex can make a lot of sense.  It has no fees and Brex won’t issue a hard credit inquiry.  Additionally, the credit card that comes with the account will not appear on your credit report (and so it will not affect your ability to get Chase cards).  Unfortunately the current signup bonus requires a very large amount of spend in a very short amount of time.  But if you can swing it, it’s worth a shot.

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