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The Plum Card® from American Express review

Published: August 28, 2018

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Published: August 28, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
2.8 rating
2.8 rating
2.8 / 5
Rewards Value 1.2
Annual Percentage Rate 0.0
Rewards Flexibility 3.5
Features 5.0

In a Nutshell:

The Plum Card from American Express is a flexible charge card that gives business owners the option to delay payment for up to 60 days, or receive a cash back bonus for paying early.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate
1.5% early pay discount

Introductory Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$250, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
$553

APR
Charge card (carry a balance up to 60 days with no interest)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • 1.5% discount applied to your statement automatically each month
  • Unlimited 1.5% discount
  • No minimum threshold to receive discount – any amount will be automatically credited to your statement (as long as you make the minimum payment before the due date)

Cons

  • No other redemption options — cash back can only be redeemed as a statement credit
  • Cannot redeem points for travel
  • Must pay bill within 10 days of statement closing to receive 1.5% discount

Other Notable Features: 60 days to pay with no interest, no preset spending limit, choose your billing cycle, no foreign transaction fees, no fee for employee cards, tools to help manage receipts, account alerts, savings on eligible business purchases, designate an account manager, set individual limits on employee cards, mobile payment app, online business forum, baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, purchase protection, premium roadside assistance, extended warranties

Imagine you’re a business owner with fluctuating expenses and a need for some flexibility in terms of when you pay your bill. However, you also want the potential to earn rewards — even if you can’t always take advantage of it. If this describes you, you may want to consider the American Express Plum Card.

This card can work as a cash back card in certain circumstances, although the rewards you earn are rather limited. If you pay your bill early each month, you’ll get a 1.5 percent discount off the amount you owe.

On the flip side, you can also take up to 60 days to pay your bill with no interest if you need a little time. If you choose this option, however, you won’t earn the discount.

No bonus for signing up

The American Express Plum Card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, which is a huge negative if you hope to be rewarded right out of the gate. The lack of a sign-up bonus also depletes this card’s annual earning potential, which is already questionable since rewards are offered as a discount off your bill.

Big annual fee the second year

While the American Express Plum Card waives its annual fee the first year, it’s worth noting that you’ll have to pay $250 the second year you have the card. The fee could be worth it you earn more than $250 in statement credits each year, or you take advantage of the Plum card’s flexible payment terms frequently.

However, many consumers may be better served with a no-annual-fee business card. The Capital One Spark Cash Select card, for example, is a no-annual-fee card that offers the same ability to earn 1.5 percent back on every purchase.

Questionable rewards

This card isn’t marketed as a rewards card, but some may consider it a 1.5-percent cash back card since you can potentially earn a 1.5 percent discount each month with the card.

Unfortunately, the 1.5 percent discount is applied automatically, meaning you don’t get to decide how to spend it. Since it’s an instant rebate, you also can’t rack up a big stash of rewards to use for a specific redemption. Furthermore, you have to pay your bill within 10 days of statement closing to receive this discount. If you forget to pay on time, you’re out of luck.

Also keep in mind that this card doesn’t offer travel rewards. You can’t transfer points to airline or hotel partners, and you can’t redeem points for specific travel purchases.

Great for business owners who need payment flexibility

While delaying your payment on the Plum card means that you have to forego the card’s 1.5-percent discount, the card’s 60-day window to pay your bill with no interest can be a huge benefit for any business. If you frequently suffer from cash flow problems and occasionally need time to build funds to pay your bill, this benefit can save you a significant amount of interest.

Note, the Plum card also comes with no preset spending limit, which means, it also gives you the flexibility to make a larger-than-usual purchase for your business without running up against a spending cap.

However, it’s important to note that the American Express Plum Card is not a credit card — it’s a charge card. This means you can’t carry a balance from month-to-month other than when you take advantage of the 60-day no-payment provision.

If you are a business owner who needs to carry a balance for several months or even years, you should get a credit card instead.

Extra perks for business owners

The American Express Plum Card does offer some interesting incentives for business owners who need help managing and tracking their expenses. This includes free employee cards, the ability to designate an account manager, expense tracking, integration with QuickBooks, account alerts, a year-end summary, online statements and a mobile app that lets you manage your account on the go.

Other cardholder perks include extra savings on eligible business purchases, no foreign transaction fees, the ability to choose your billing cycle, baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, purchase protection, premium roadside assistance and extended warranties.

Why get the American Express Plum Card?

  • You are a business owner who needs the flexibility to delay payment on your card sometimes without accruing interest.
  • You tend to pay your bill early and like the idea of a 1.5-percent discount off all your business purchases.
  • You prefer a low-maintenance rewards card that gives you an automatic discount over a travel rewards card.
  • You need a charge card and don’t want the ability to carry a balance for the long term

How to use the American Express Plum Card:

  • Charge all your business expenses and pay your bill early to get a 1.5-percent discount.
  • Get free employee cards and use your expense tracking tools to organize all your business purchases.

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