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Last month, American Express began offering a bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards Points for opening one of their new Business Checking accounts and completing a few easy tasks. Since free points/money with bank accounts is a wonderful thing, I decided to jump on this one and think it’s a great idea for just about everyone to do the same. Here’s why.
Spoiler alert: Since I started writing this article, AMEX has reduced the welcome bonus from 60,000 Membership Rewards Points down to 30,000. Though a big cut, I still think this bonus is worth going for given the value of MR points (upwards of 2 cents per point if used effectively).
American Express has been making a big push into the business banking sector and recently started offering a large welcome bonus to those who apply for a free business checking account and complete the required steps. Here’s a summary of what needs to be done in order to earn the 30,000 point bonus:
- Open a new business checking account (link to offer)
- Deposit $5,000 or more within 30 days of opening the account (multiple deposits accumulate)
- Maintain an average balance of $5,000 for 60 days
- Make 5 or more qualifying transactions within 60 days (mobile deposits, check deposits by mail, and electronic/online transactions including ACH, Wire, and Bill Payments).
Why This Deal is Good
Even though the 60,000 point offer has expired and the current bonus is “only” 30,000 points, it’s still a great deal. If valued at even 1 cent per point (which they can be cashed out at if you have the Business Platinum card or 0.8 cents if not), the bonus is worth $300 – and it is often possible to transfer points and book flights on partner airlines and realize 2+ cents per point in value. Points earned can be combined with those earned from AMEX credit card spend and can even be a free way to keep points active if you’ve closed all your fee-charging Membership Rewards-earning cards.
Though it requires tieing up $5,000 for 60 days, you will earn an annualized ROI of 43.9% – pretty darn good. Not only that, the account earns 1.3% APY which is higher than most checking accounts available on the market.
Also, the transaction requirement is easy to meet. I was able to complete them by linking an external checking account and making multiple ACH deposits of $1-$3 over the span of a few days.
Do I Qualify?
As noted above, this account is a business checking account and requires business ownership in order to be approved. However, as we’ve discussed before, you very likely have a business and should not avoid applying because you don’t own a “traditional” corporation.
I have read reports from others who had success claiming a sole proprietorship and using their social security number as the business EIN as is often done with business credit card applications. It appears that in some cases AMEX asks for documentation for the business, in which case uploading a driver’s license should suffice. This is what I did and had no issues getting the account approved and opened.
Though disappointing that this offer has been lowered from 60,000 to 30,000 Membership Rewards points, it is still a great deal for a very minimal amount of work. AMEX credit cards only allow one welcome bonus per person, per card, per lifetime so this is another avenue to pad the account if you can spare $5,000 for 60 days and a few minutes of work to make five ACH transactions. Personally, I’m rather impressed with the account and its offerings and will likely keep it around after I earn the bonus – although there’s no penalty for closing it as soon as the points hit the account.
Let us know if you end up going for this offer and what your experience was like!
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