American Express Plum Card Review
The Plum Card from American Express is a business charge card with a very particular target audience: the small- to medium-sized business that needs help managing its cash flow. You won’t earn points for your purchases, and you won’t get access to exclusive airport lounges or anything like that. Rather, use of the Plum Card can help smooth your cash flow. I’ll explain how.
First, you get a 1.5% early payment discount on the portion of your balance you pay within 10 days of the statement closing date, and there’s no cap on what you can earn back. Think of it as being somewhat akin to a cash-back rewards card, only the 1.5% discount is entirely contingent on you paying your balance early. (The Plum Card is a charge card, which means that your entire balance comes due on your statement date. You can’t carry your balance over to the following billing period without incurring penalties, except in the scenario below. Also, there is no pre-set spending limit. We published an article on choosing between a charge card and a standard credit card for those interested)
Second, the Plum Card lets you take up to 60 days to pay your balance without interest, so long as you pay at least 10% of the balance (plus the entirety of any previously deferred balance) off by your payment due date. The policy is in keeping with Plum Card’s stated purpose of helping even out your business cash flow: get rewarded when you pay early, and avoid onerous penalties when you have to pay late.
Is the Plum Card’s flexibility enough to compensate for the hefty $250 annual fee that kicks in after the first year? Read our Amex Plum Card review and see if it makes sense for you.
Table of Contents
Plum Card At A Glance
The Plum Card from American Express
$250 ($0 the first year)
N/A (This is a charge card)
Applicants must generally have good to excellent credit to qualify for the Plum Card, though charge cards tend to be a bit easier to qualify for than regular credit cards, all else being equal.
Rewards & Fees
- The annual fee is $250. However, the fee is waived for the first year
- The 1.5% Early Pay Discount has no cap on the amount you can save by paying early
- Take up to 60 days to pay your bill without interest if you pay at least 10% of your balance from your current billing cycle as well as any amount deferred from the prior billing cycle
- You can choose to receive your bill at the beginning, middle, or end of the month
- If you’re 30 days past due with your balance, you’ll be charged a late fee of 1.5% of the past-due amount or $38 (whichever is greater)
- There are no foreign transaction fees
It’s a very straightforward card. There are no rewards to redeem; no points to earn. The deal is this: with the Plum Card, you get a discount for paying early, and you’re not penalized for paying late (under the conditions specified above). It’s a card designed to help businesses with an irregular cash flow. There is one significant benefit to the business traveler, however: the card carries no foreign transaction fees.
One other factor to keep in mind: since the Plum Card is a charge card, there is no pre-set spending limit. That doesn’t mean you’ll have no spending limit — at least not initially. In the words of Amex, “Purchasing power adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record and financial resources known to us, and other factors.”
As I said, you don’t earn points (or cash back) with the Plum Card, so there are no rewards to be redeemed in the traditional sense.
Though you won’t be earning cash back or rewards points, the Plum Card does come with some nice travel protections and other perks.
Per Amex’s Plum Card page, the card entitles you to the following benefits:
- Add Employee Cards for your employees and each additional card will carry no annual fee
- Account Manager — designate someone to manage your card account
- Spend Manager — add receipts and notes to your transactions either via desktop or your mobile device
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Roadside assistance
- Baggage insurance plan
- Travel accident insurance
- Mobile and tablet apps
- Global Assist Hotline
- Extended warranty
- Purchase protection
- Dispute resolution
- Connect to Quickbooks
- Eligibility for Amex Offers
Is the American Express Plum Card worth the $250 annual fee that you get hit with after the first year? Consider that you’ll need to make early payments of $16,667 annually just to accrue enough savings to compensate for the $250 fee. And while you’ll be saving money if you make lots of early payments, you can save even more money with a card like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card (see our review). The Spark Cash for Business card lets you earn 2% cash back on all purchases, so not only will you be saving more (according to math, 2% > 1.5%), but you’ll be earning these savings regardless of when you pay your bill, and you’ll be dealing with a smaller $95 annual fee.
Spark Cash From Capital One
$95 ($0 the first year)
If your business has an irregular cash flow and you stand to benefit from the flexible payment options of the Plum Card, the card may be worth your consideration. However, if this isn’t the case and you’re more focused on extracting benefits from your business spending, there are better business credit cards out there for you.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Business Credit Card Rating Criteria.