American Express SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit CardBack in January, American Express launched the new SimplyCash Plus Business credit card, but only made it available to select small business owners. Now, it has made the card available to the general public.

What’s special about this card? There are a couple of things that stand out. First, while you are given a credit limit on the card, it also almost acts like a charge card, in that you are given the ability to spend beyond your credit limit in order to help pay for larger purchases, while still earning cash back. Second, it offers a good deal of flexibility in cash back category choices. The card earns 5% cash back at office supply stores and wireless telephone services, 3% cash back in one of a list of eight categories and 1% cash back on other purchases. The 5% and 3% categories apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per year. What’s also nice is that there is no annual fee and a signup bonus worth up to $500.

Spending beyond your credit limit

According to American Express, the amount that a small business can spend over their credit limit is based on a number of factors unique to the account holder. If the cardholder isn’t sure whether a particular purchase would be approved, they can either call the number on the back of their card or consult the “Check Spend Ability” feature in their online account. Any amount spend above the credit limit is due in full each month as part of the minimum payment due.

Cash back rewards

The SimplyCash Plus card’s cash back rewards program includes:

  • 5% cash back on purchases made in the following categories combined: U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1% on purchases made thereafter)
  • 3% cash back on a category of choice from a list of eight categories including:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel stays purchased directly from hotels (excluding timeshares, banquets and events)
    • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
    • *New: U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
    • (on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1% on purchases made thereafter)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases. There is no limit to the cash back that can be earned at 1%.

You may select your 3% cash back category from the list described above within the first two months of opening your account. In subsequent years, you can change your selection once a year during the annual selection period which runs from December 1st to January 31st. You can make your category selection by either calling the number on the back of your card or going to

Until you select a 3% bonus category yourself, the 3% category will default to purchases made at U.S. gas stations. Once you make your selection, it will be applied starting on the day on which you make your selection. If you do not change your 3% category during the annual selection period, your category will remain the same as the previous year.

All cash back will be automatically credited to your account on the second billing statement after the billing statement with the eligible purchases.

Signup bonus

In addition to the cash rebates described above, you’ll get an additional 2% cash back in statement credit on up to $25,000 in purchases made in your first 6 months of cardmembership. This means you’ll earn 7% at office supply stores and wireless telephone services, 5% in your selected bonus category and 3% cash back on everything else (on up to $25,000 in spending) during that time frame.

Amex SimplyCash Plus vs. Chase Ink Plus

The obvious competition for the SimplyCash Plus card is Chase’s Ink Plus card. The reward structure of the two cards is too similar to ignore. A side-by-side comparison:

Amex SimplyCash Plus Chase Ink Plus
Annual fee None $95
Signup bonus Extra 2% on up to $25,000 in spending in your first 6 months — worth up to $500 60,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
  • 5% rebate at office supply stores and wireless providers
  • 3% rebate in your choice of 1 of 8 categories
  • 1% rebate on other purchases

*on first $50,000 in purchases

  • 5x points at office supply stores and on cell phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2x points at gas stations and hotels
  • 1 point on other purchases

*on first $50,000 in purchases

Foreign transaction fee 2.7% None

Some people will prefer the no annual fee and added flexibility of bonus categories that the SimplyCash Plus card offers. Others may find that having no foreign transaction fees and being in the Chase Ultimate Rewards points ecosystem (especially when they have other Chase cards such as the Freedom) is more beneficial. And then there are those small business owners who will have significant enough spending that they’ll want to have both cards, as they find themselves maxing out the $50,000 in bonus category purchases.

One other note: If the prospect of spending $25,000 in 6 months seems too daunting, you can always hold out for a targeted invitation. There have been reports of targeted invitations for $300 for $3k in spending, $500 for $5k in spending and $1,000 for $10,000 in spending.

For more information on the SimplyCash Plus card, see the following link:

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