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Is it time to upgrade your American Express business card?

You can often unlock more rewards and better perks by switching to a new card – here's how to upgrade

Summary

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.

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American Express is well known for its competitive suite of business credit and charge cards – offering variable rewards earning schemes for mamy kinds of spenders.

From a cash back card with one of the best introductory APRs on the market to co-branded cards with some of the largest hotel and airline rewards programs, Amex has 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 discover you spend more in other categories.

No matter the 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.

See related: Time to upgrade your business credit card? Here’s how to decide

American Express business cards

Membership Rewards cardRewards rateAnnual fee
American Express® Business Gold Card
  • 4 points per dollar on the two categories your business spends the most in each billing cycle (first $150,000 in purchases yearly)
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Pay Over Time option to carry a balance with interest on purchases of $100 or more
  • Terms apply
$295
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
  • 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com
  • 2 points per dollar on travel purchases made on amextravel.com
  • 1.5 points per dollar on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply
$595
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • 2 points per dollar on every purchase, up to $50,000 per year (1 point per dollar thereafter)
  • Terms apply
$0
Cash back credit cardRewards rateAnnual fee
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
  • 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in purchases per calendar year
  • 1% cash back on all purchases after that
  • Terms apply
$0
The Plum Card® from American Express$250 (waived first year)
Co-branded cardsRewards rateAnnual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
  • 12 points per dollar on Hilton hotel purchases
  • 6 points per dollar on select business and travel purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply
$95
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
  • 6 points per dollar at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 4 points per dollar on U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply
$125
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
  • 2 miles per dollar on direct Delta purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar on U.S. shipping, U.S. advertising and at restaurants.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply
$99 (waived first year)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • 3 miles per dollar on hotel stays and eligible Delta purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply
$250
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
  • 3 miles per dollar on direct Delta purchases
  • 1.5 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases after you make $150,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year
  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply
$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, which categories you spend most in and more. While 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 higher potential value.

First, take a close look at each card’s rewards rate next to your business spending and identify if you can earn well from the card. Then, consider if redemption options align with your preferences – ensuring you can also get plenty of value from rewards. Finally, consider how much spend you want to put on the card and whether you want to carry a balance or pay it in full every month.

Since American Express offers Membership Rewards, cash back and co-branded cards, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Reasons to upgrade your business card

If you look at the business cards listed above and find that it isn’t the one in your pocket that catches your eye – it might be time to upgrade your card. Upgrading is a great opportunity to unlock a better rewards structure, more travel perks and other benefits without having to fill out a new application.

When you upgrade an American Express business card, your account number transfers over and there is no new credit check. That makes it easy to find a card more in line with your spending and travel habits without the hassle of adding yet another card to your wallet. Plus, it will keep you from paying more than one annual fee or canceling an old account.

Make sure you are eligible before requesting an upgrade

There are a few eligibility requirements to keep in mind before requesting 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 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 cards (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 bonus if it suspects you are gaming the system. Signing up for a card with a high bonus only to downgrade to one with a cheaper annual fee a few months later can be a red flag. While business cards don’t have the year requirement, it is still a good bench mark to reach 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. So, you can switch from one Delta SkyMiles card to another, but you cannot switch between a Delta card and a Marriott card. Similarly, you can switch between the many Amex charge cards, but not from a charge card to a credit 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 will be 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 bonus 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 if your card is working best for you. If you discover you can afford a higher annual fee to unlock better perks or there is a rewards-earning scheme more in line with your spending, upgrading your card is easy.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 14th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.50%
Cash Back
15.85%
Reward
15.75%
Student
16.12%

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