Best Amex business cards of 2019: Earn everything from a 100,000-point bonus to hotel and airline elite status perks

INSIDER SECRET: American Express business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report, so they won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count and limit your opportunities to apply for other top travel credit cards.

American Express issues a wide range of cards that earn everything from cash back to hotel points and airline miles. My favorite American Express card rewards to earn are transferable AMEX Membership Rewards points, because I can transfer them to 21 airline and hotel partner loyalty programs.

Because Amex limits you to earning the intro bonus on a card to once per lifetime, qualifying for the best Amex business cards can open up new opportunities to earn more bonuses and take advantage of valuable card perks. Here are our top picks:

Best Amex business cards of 2019

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Best Amex business card for travel and intro bonus

Apply here: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Read our AMEX Business Platinum review

Bonus

Through Dec. 4, 2019, the Amex Business Platinum has an increased welcome bonus of:

  • 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the same time frame

Between the intro bonus and points you earn from minimum spending, you can earn at least 125,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. In addition to the bonus points, you’ll get Platinum Global Access at WeWork co-working spaces if you enroll by Dec. 31, 2019.

Benefits

Many of the Amex Business Platinum card benefits mimic what you’d get with The Platinum Card® from American Express, like exceptional airport lounge access, Gold Hilton status, Gold Marriott Bonvoy elite status and up to $200 in annual airline fee credits. You’ll also get perks useful for business owners, including up to $200 in annual Dell statement credits and 1.5x Amex points on all single purchases of $5,000 or more (up to one million bonus points per calendar year).

One of the unique features of the Business Platinum card is the 35% rebate you’re eligible for when you use Pay With Points. With this perk you’ll get 35% of your points back when you use your Amex points to pay for any first- or business-class flight through the Amex travel site. You’ll also get the 35% rebate on coach flight Pay With Points purchases made through the Amex travel site with your selected airline, which is the same airline you chose for your $200 in yearly airline credits.

The Amex Business Platinum card also earns 5x Amex points on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through the Amex travel site.

Annual fee

The card has a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Our Take

The Amex Business Platinum card has a big annual fee, and to earn the full 100,000-point bonus requires a massive $25,000 in spending in the first three months, so the card doesn’t make sense for everyone. But if you can earn the intro bonus, it’s the best way to earn a stack of Membership Rewards points in a hurry.

This is also the best Amex business card for travel because you’ll get access to more airport lounges than any other card, including:

  • Delta SkyClub Lounges (when flying with Delta)
  • Priority Pass lounges (but not Priority Pass restaurants)
  • Escape Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges
  • Airspace lounges
  • Amex Centurion Lounges

To see what lounges you have access to, read our guide on how to find Amex Platinum airport lounges.

Further reading

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best Amex business card for everyday purchases

Apply here: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Read our AMEX Blue Business Plus review

Bonus

There is currently no public bonus offer for the Blue Business Plus card, but you might be able to earn a small intro bonus if you can get a friend to refer you (offer subject to change at any time).

Benefits

The Blue Business Plus card is the best Amex business card for everyday purchases because it earns 2x Amex Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent per year, then 1x. This is a great option for business expenses that don’t fall into bonus spending categories that other cards have.

Annual fee

This card has no annual fee (see rates and fees).

Our Take

I have this card and plan on keeping it forever because it has no annual fee, so with this card I can keep my Amex Membership Rewards points from expiring, even if I close other cards. It’s also free to add authorized users on a Blue Business Plus account, which is a handy feature because it then allows you to transfer Amex points directly into the airline and hotel loyalty accounts of those authorized users. (Note that before you can make any transfers, the authorized users need to have been part of your account for at least 90 days.)

Further reading

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Best Amex business card for hotel stays

Apply here: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Read our Hilton Business credit card review

Bonus

With the Amex Hilton Business card you can earn 125,000 Hilton points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits

The Hilton Business card comes with automatic Hilton Gold status (the best mid-tier hotel status), which has perks like free breakfast, bonus points and the potential for upgrades at Hilton hotels. You’ll even get an upgrade to Hilton Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year. Also, you’ll earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 with your card in a calendar year and an additional free weekend night after making another $45,000 in purchases in the same calendar year ($60,000 in total). The free weekend night certificates are valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights at all Hilton locations except for those listed here.

This card also comes with 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge visits per year.

Annual fee

The Hilton Business card has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees)

Our Take

Amex issues two cobranded hotel business credit cards: the Hilton Business card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Both offer similar perks, so the deciding factor for most people is going to be which hotel chain you prefer. I give a slight edge to the Hilton Business for these three reasons:

  • Better elite status – Hilton Gold status is more valuable than the Marriott Bonvoy Gold status you get with the Marriott Bonvoy Business card (see free breakfast)
  • More useful free night certificates – The Marriott Business card comes with a free night certificate every year you keep the card (and pay its $125 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it’s only valid at hotels costing up to 35,000 points per night, and with the introduction of a peak and off-peak Marriott award chart, your options are even more limited. I understand that the Hilton free weekend night(s) require a lot of spending to earn, but they are much more valuable since you can use them at all but a few dozen Hilton properties.
  • The Marriott Bonvoy Business card can be harder to qualify for (if you’ve opened other Marriott cards), and by opening it you’ll restrict yourself from being able to open other Marriott Bonvoy cards. For example, if you open a Marriott Bonvoy Business card you’ll have to wait 24 months from when you earn the card’s bonus before you can qualify for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. On the other hand, the Hilton Business card won’t limit you from opening any of the personal Hilton credit cards.

On top of that, the Hilton Business card comes with 10 Priority Pass lounge visits per year, which is more than enough for the occasional flyer.

Further reading

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express: Best Amex business card for Delta flyers

Apply here: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Read our Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business credit card review

Bonus

The intro offer for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles for Business Credit Card is 35,000 Delta SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn a $100 statement credit after making a single Delta purchase in the same time frame.

Benefits

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business card comes with some similar perks to the other Delta SkyMiles business cards, like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card. With the card you’ll get priority boarding, 20% back for inflight purchases and a free checked bag for you and up to eight traveling companions.

The card also comes with a Delta companion certificate every year you renew the card and it can help you earn Delta status. Every year you spend $25,000 on this card, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs (Medallion® Qualification Miles). Spend $50,000 total and you’ll earn an additional 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs. That’s in addition to the MQD (Medallion® Qualification Dollar) waiver you’ll earn for spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Annual fee

The Amex Delta Platinum Business card has a $195 annual fee (see rates and fees)

Our Take

The reasons I recommend the Delta Platinum business card over the Delta Gold business card are because you’ll get a companion pass every year, it can help you fast-track your way to Delta status and it’s has a much smaller annual fee than the Delta Reserve business card — $195 vs. $450 — (see rates and fees).

However, if you’re not interested in Delta status, then you should stick with the Delta Gold Business card, which has a smaller annual fee of $95 (see rates and fees), which is waived for the first year.

Further reading

American Express® Business Gold Card: Best Amex business card for spending bonus categories

Apply here: American Express® Business Gold Card

Read our American Express Business Gold review

Bonus

Through Nov. 6, 2019, you can earn up to $500 in statement credits at FedEx when you making qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening with your Amex Business Gold card.

In the past, we’ve seen bonus offers on this card for 35,000-50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points, which are more useful for just about any business owner. So you’ll want to skip this offer, unless you spend a lot with FedEx. If you sign up for our email newsletter, we’ll let you know when a better offer is introduced.

Benefits

The Amex Business Gold card earns 4x Amex points on two of the following categories you spend the most on each month:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions
  • U.S. gas station purchases
  • U.S. restaurant purchases
  • U.S. shipping purchases

The 4x bonus applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from the two rotating categories each calendar year, then 1x points. Also, the Amex Business Gold card earns a 25% points rebate (up to 250,000 points per calendar year) when you use the Pay With Points feature (similar to the Amex Business Platinum perk) for any first- or business-class flight, or any coach flight (with your selected airline), booked through the Amex travel site.

Annual fee

This card’s annual fee is $295 (see rates and fees).

Our Take

Even though the current Amex Business Gold card’s intro offer is weak right now, this is an excellent card if you spend heavily in any of the card’s bonus categories. For example, I have a friend who runs a digital marketing company and is able to put his clients’ ad spend on his Amex Business Gold card and then get reimbursed for the expenses. He earns an extra 40,000-60,000 Amex points a month this way.

Further reading

Summary of the Best Amex business cards of 2019:

  Intro Bonus Offer Best PerkAnnual Fee
The Business Platinum® Card from American ExpressEnds December 4, 2019: Limited-time offer - Up to 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points

50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account, plus earn an extra 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms apply.
Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, up to $200 in annual Dell credits and 35% rebate when using Pay With Points. Terms apply.$595 (see rates & fees)
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressNo welcome bonus 2x Amex points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1x. Terms apply.$0 (see rates & fees)
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card125,000 Hilton points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.Hilton Gold status for as long as you have the card and 10 Priority Pass lounge visits each year. Terms apply.$95 (see rates & fees)
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express35,000 Delta SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn a $100 statement credit after making a single Delta purchase in the same time frame. Terms apply.Every year you spend $25,000, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs. Spend $50,000 total and you’ll earn an additional 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs. Terms apply.$195 (see rates & fees)
American Express® Business Gold CardEnds November 06 2019: Limited-time offer - Earn up to $500 in statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx within the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply.Earn 4x Amex points on the two categories you spend most on each month on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each year. Terms apply.$295 (see rates & fees)

How to choose the best Amex business card

You’re only eligible to earn the welcome bonus once per person, per lifetime on each American Express card. So it’s worth waiting to apply for these cards when their bonuses are at their highest and when you know you can meet the minimum spending requirements. That makes the Amex Business Platinum card a good offer to consider right now, but for other cards (like the Delta Platinum Business and Amex Business Gold cards) you’ll want to wait for a more valuable intro offer to come along.

Remember, it’s possible to qualify for a business card even though you’re not operating a full-time business. Freelance jobs or part-time side hustles can make you eligible for a small business card as a sole proprietor. If you’re a sole proprietor your application process can be a bit easier because you’ll most likely be able to use your Social Security number as your business tax ID and your name can be your legal business name.

For more help on applying for a business card, check out our step-by-step guide to filling out an Amex business card application.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.

For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, please click here.

For the rates and fees of Amex Delta Platinum Business card, please click here.

For the rates and fees of Amex Hilton Honors Business card, please click here.

For the rates and fees of The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

For the rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card, please click here.

For the rates and fees of the Amex Delta Reserve Business card, please click here.