If you already have a business card from American Express but want to get even more out of it, you have the option to upgrade your card. Small business cardholders have the opportunity to upgrade their American Express card to one that better suits their needs. Here’s how this process works and which small business owners are eligible.
American Express is well known for its competitive suite of business credit cards offering various rewards earning schemes for many kinds of spenders.
From a cash back card that has one of the best introductory APRs on the market to co-branded cards with some of the largest hotel and airline rewards programs, Amex provides many credit card products that could fit your needs.
But what happens if you think you can get more out of your American Express business card? Maybe you signed up for a card with a lower annual fee, only to realize you have the room in your budget to unlock better perks. Or maybe you signed up for a card for its high rewards rate on travel purchases but later discovered you spend more in other categories.
No matter your situation, American Express offers a simple solution: card upgrades. Small-business cardholders have the opportunity to upgrade their American Express card to one that better suits their needs. Read on to learn more about how this process works and which small-business owners are eligible.
Why choose an Amex business card
If you’ve ever Googled “best business credit cards,” chances are good that every list that comes up in your search results has at least one (and likely more) American Express business credit cards on it. That’s because, beyond its strong brand awareness and reputation for providing great customer service, the issuer’s lineup of business cards offers something for everyone – a choice of rewards currencies (points, miles and cash back), earnings opportunities in numerous purchase categories (travel, business expenses and dining, among others), flexible payment options (Pay Over Time and Extra Days to Pay) … the list goes on. Whatever your business, chances are good that Amex has a card that fits your needs.
Of course, whether an Amex card is really right for you as a small-business owner depends on a multitude of factors, not least of which is ensuring your vendors accept American Express as a form of payment. If you’re still on the fence about the best credit card for your business, the following chart will give you an idea of what you could get by choosing Amex.
American Express business cards
|Membership Rewards card||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||$295|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||$595 ($695 if application received on or after 1/13/2022)|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||$0|
|Cash back credit card||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card||$0|
|The Plum Card® from American Express||$250|
|Co-branded cards||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||$95|
|Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card||$125|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card||$99 ($0 intro annual fee the first year)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card||$250|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card||$550|
Deciding which of these cards is best for you depends on a lot of factors, including the type of rewards you prefer, how much you spend on a business card and the purchase categories in which you spend the most money, among others. Although a cash back card like the Blue Business Cash might make the most sense for one small business owner, another might prefer to earn Delta SkyMiles with the Delta Reserve for Business. In this case, cash back provides more flexibility, but miles offer a potentially higher value.
First, compare each card’s rewards rate with your business spending to figure out whether you can earn well from the card. Then, consider if the redemption options align with your preferences, ensuring you can also get plenty of value from the rewards you earn. Finally, consider how much spend you want to put on the card and whether you want to carry a balance or pay your bill in full every month.
Since American Express offers Membership Rewards, cash back and co-branded cards, you have plenty of options to choose from.
Reasons to upgrade your business card
If you look at the business cards listed above and find that the one already in your pocket isn’t the one that catches your eye, it might be time to upgrade your card. Upgrading is a great opportunity to unlock a better rewards structure, additional travel perks and more benefits without having to fill out a new application.
When you upgrade an American Express business card, your account number transfers over, and you won’t have to undergo a new credit check. That makes it easy to find a card that’s more in line with your spending and travel habits without the hassle of adding yet another piece of plastic to your wallet. Plus, it will keep you from paying more than one annual fee or canceling an old account (the latter of which could potentially ding your credit score, albeit temporarily).
Make sure you are eligible before requesting an upgrade
There are a few eligibility requirements to keep in mind before you request an upgrade.
Your account history
First and foremost, demonstrating to American Express that you are a responsible card member can help. To do so, make all of your payments on time and avoid any negative marks on your account.
How long you’ve had your current card
Business cards do not have the same strict account history requirements of consumer credit cards (which is usually a minimum of one year). You can upgrade or downgrade your card at any time.
However, American Express reserves the right to revoke an introductory offer if it suspects you are gaming the system. Signing up for a card with a big welcome offer, only to downgrade to one with a cheaper annual fee a few months later, can be a red flag. Although business cards don’t have the one-year rule, it is still a good benchmark to shoot for if you want to avoid suspicion.
The type of card you want
The biggest restriction on product changes is that American Express requires they happen within the same card family.
What this means is that you must stay within the same rewards currency and type of card. For instance, you can switch from one Delta SkyMiles card to another, but you cannot switch between a Delta card and a Marriott card. Finally, you cannot upgrade or downgrade between business and consumer credit cards.
How to request an upgrade
Once you’ve determined which new American Express business card is best for you – and that you’re eligible to upgrade – completing the process is very straightforward.
You’ll start by calling the customer service number listed on the back of your card and requesting to upgrade. The American Express representative will then determine your eligibility based on your account history. Once approved, all of your account information will transfer over to your new product. You’ll receive a new card in the mail, but you should start earning your new rewards rate immediately.
See related: How to upgrade an American Express card
If your new business card has a higher annual fee than your previous one, the charge will be prorated based on the amount of time left in your account year. Additionally, you’ll be refunded the prorated amount of your old annual fee.
Don’t forget, you won’t qualify for an introductory offer when you upgrade your card – unless you are specifically targeted. American Express welcome offers are reserved for new applicants.
Should you upgrade your American Express business card now?
Since American Express has such a wide variety of great cards for small-business owners, it’s a good idea to regularly reevaluate whether your card is still working for you. If you discover you can afford a higher annual fee to unlock better perks, or if there’s a rewards-earning scheme that’s more in line with your spending, upgrading your card is easy.