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Choosing An American Express Corporate Card

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Unlike their small business counterparts, corporate credit cards are highly customizable. When it comes to Visa and Mastercard, your corporate card benefits will largely be based on the arrangements you make with your bank. American Express, however, directly issues corporate cards, so you can do more comparing upfront than you otherwise could with a Visa or Mastercard.

While corporate cards are usually aimed large businesses, small businesses with solid revenue and good credit might also want to look into getting a corporate card. Is one of Amex’s options a good fit for you? Read on through to find out!

How Do Amex Corporate Charge Cards Work?

For the most part, corporate cards are scaled-up versions of Amex’s personal and business charge cards, tailored to meet the needs of a larger business. To get a corporate card, your company will need to be formally incorporated as an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp. It will also need to have good credit and do over $4 million in revenue annually.

Be aware that Amex’s rewards system works a little differently for corporate cards. In most cases, you won’t be automatically enrolled in their Corporate Membership Rewards program. However, note that enrollment into the program is required for all of Amex’s corporate cards.

To sign up, you’ll have to call Amex to designate a primary account as the Master Program Administrator (MPA). The MPA can then appoint up to five corporate cardholders (including themselves) as the account’s Corporate Membership Rewards Program Administrators (CMR PA). These cardholders will have permission to redeem rewards through both online and telephone requests. Three more cardholders can be designated as offline redeemers; these people can redeem points for certificates, gift cards, statement credit, and pay-with-points through telephone request only.

Up to 98 cards in total can be enrolled in a single Corporate Membership Rewards program. Unlike business and personal cards, there are no reward tiers. You simply earn one point when you spend $1. The redemption value of a point varies depending on how you spend your rewards. For example, 20,000 points translate to a $100 statement credit ($0.005 per point).

Now that we know how American Express corporate cards work on a basic level, let’s compare some specific corporate cards.

American Express Corporate Platinum

The Amex brand’s prestige charge card has long been Platinum. Like its personal and business counterparts, the Corporate Platinum card is centered around international travel and resort stays.

American Express Corporate Platinum
Annual Fee$395/card
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card$0

If you like the Amex Platinum perks and have the annual revenue to qualify, the Corporate Platinum card is actually your cheapest option, at least on a per card basis. The personal and business cards come with annual fees of $550 and $450, respectively. Of course, $395 per card can add up pretty quickly, so you probably won’t be handing one of these to every employee in your organization.

Each employee with a Corporate Platinum card will enjoy the following perks:

  • Lounge Access: Cardholders gain access to all locations of The Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select, and Airspace Lounges.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: Amex will reimburse the cardholder up to $100 per year for incidental flight charges with a qualifying, selected airline.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Members who pay in full with their Platinum Card receive complimentary upgrades and services at participating locations, subject to availability. This includes bonuses like in-room Wi-Fi, breakfast amenities, room upgrades, and noon check-ins.
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status: Platinum cardholders will be given complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status, granting them discounts, guaranteed check-ins, late check-outs, Internet access, complimentary fitness room access, and more at eligible Hilton-branded hotels.
  • Boingo And Gogo Internet Plans: Your employees will receive complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access at Boingo hotspots. They’ll also get five Gogo inflight internet passes each year.
  • Fee Credit For Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck: Cardholders get one statement credit per four years for an application fee charged to the card.

American Express Corporate Gold

If the Corporate Platinum card is meant to keep the globetrotting executive in style, the Corporate Gold card is more oriented toward helping workers stay productive on the road.

American Express Corporate Gold
Annual Fee$125/card
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card$90

You can get three Corporate Gold cards for the price of a single Corporate Platinum card, so it’s a good choice for frugal corporations that want to reap Amex travel benefits for a large number of employees without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a surcharge on each card you enroll in the Corporate Membership Reward program. If you also factor in the $100 airline credit you get with the Platinum Card, the savings you’d get from going with the Gold Card evaporate pretty quickly. On the other hand, you may prefer the a la carte approach to your benefits.

Each employee with a Corporate Gold Card will enjoy the following perks:

  • Boingo And Gogo Internet Plans: Your employees will receive complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access at Boingo hotspots. They’ll also get five Gogo inflight internet passes each year.
  • Fee Credit For Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck: Cardholders get one statement credit per four years for an application fee charged to the card.
  • Preferred Seating: Employees will get preferred seating at no extra cost when they order tickets through any primary ticketing channel, including online, mobile, or phone.

American Express Corporate Green Card

The Corporate Green Card is marketed at occasional travelers and core employees. You won’t find a ton of frills here, but the Green Card may align with certain spending strategies.

American Express Corporate Green
Annual Fee$55/card
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card$90

The Corporate Green Card’s benefits are pretty sparse and enrolling in the reward’s program ends up being more expensive than your annual fee, so you’ll probably only be passing these out to streamline your employees’ travel expenses.

Each employee with a Corporate Gold Card will enjoy the following perks:

  • Business Travel Accident Insurance: Covers flights, cruises, train, or bus travel charged on the card.
  • Baggage Insurance: Covers lost, stolen, or damaged baggage on flights, cruises, trains, or bus trip charged on the card.

American Express Business Extra Corporate Card

The Business Extra Card is specifically focused on corporations that use American Airlines and its partner carriers.

American Express Business Extra Corporate Card
Annual FeeUp to $55/card
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per CardN/A

Unlike the other three cards we’ve covered, the Business Extra Corporate Card comes with its own rewards program and is ineligible for the Corporate Membership Reward Program. If you don’t mind sacrificing the flexibility, it offers some nice perks at a low cost.

The perks that come with an Extra Corporate Card include:

  • American Express Business Extra Rebate: Up to 6% rebates on the first $1.5 million spent on qualifying American Airlines flights.
  • Business Extra Reward Program: Your cards will be enrolled in this reward program. You’ll get four points for every $20 spent on eligible American Airlines flights and one point per $20 spent on other eligible purchases.
  • American Airlines Flight Discounts: $50 discount for every $5,000 of eligible purchases, up to a maximum of $1,000 in discounts each calendar year.

Final Thoughts

American Express’s corporate card offerings provide several different ways for large corporations to optimize their travel spending. Because they’re mostly just scaled-up versions of existing cards, smaller businesses that grow into larger corporations may find it easy to transition from business to corporate class cards.

Not big enough for a corporate card? Check out our comparison guides to business credit cards, charge cards, and personal cards that are good for business expenses.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Finance Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris Motola is a writer, programmer, game designer, and product of NY. These days he's mostly writing about financial products, but in a past life he wrote about health care and business. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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