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American Express OPEN: Savings, Events and More

Business Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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American Express OPEN, the small-business branch of AmEx, offers its cardholders discounts, bonus rewards and other membership benefits that extend beyond the perks offered by their cards.

If you carry one of these small-business credit cards or charge cards in your wallet, or you’re thinking about applying for one, here’s how you can get the most out of these extras.

OPEN Savings

The OPEN Savings program lets AmEx OPEN cardholders — including those with co-branded cards, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express — earn bonus points automatically by shopping with certain retailers, without signing up or taking any extra steps. Among all the business credit card issuers on our site, this is the only one that offers a program like this.

You can choose to earn either a 5% discount (in the form of a statement credit) or an extra 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent when you shop at these outlets:

You don’t need to do anything to get the discount. It’s automatically applied to your account as a statement credit within 12 weeks, regardless of whether your account is enrolled in the Membership Rewards program. If you want to change your earning preferences — getting the extra points rather than the discount — you can log onto your credit card portal and update your OPEN benefit selection.

Keep in mind that the 5% discount is also the more valuable choice, since Membership Points are only worth 1 cent each. Take a $100 FedEx purchase, for instance. You’d save $5 with the discount, but only earn $2 worth of rewards by taking the bonus.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s Best Business Credit Cards

OPEN events and other benefits

AmEx OPEN is one of the only small-business credit card issuers that regularly hosts or sponsors events for small-business owners on its website, including some that aren’t exclusive to cardholders. Some are free, while others charge admission.

At expos such as the annual “Retail’s Big Show,” hosted by the National Retail Federation and sponsored by AmEx, small-business owners can attend talks given by leading CEOs and analysts, and network with lenders and other small-business owners.

AmEx also sponsors multiple government contracting conferences throughout the year. These help small-business owners learn how to scale their business by closing deals with government agencies.

Keep in mind that you can also find these types of events listed on Small Business Trends or the U.S. Small Business Administration website. But if you’re interested in learning about government contracts or finding other AmEx-hosted events in particular, the OPEN events page is a good place to start.

Other benefits

Aside from savings and events, OPEN cardholders also can use AmEx’s ReceiptMatch app to upload images of receipts to their account with an iOS or Android device. AmEx also lets you set different limits for your employee cards through the online portal and advertises 24/7 customer service.

These smaller benefits aren’t unique to AmEx. Chase Ink also offers an app that allows cardholders to upload images of receipts, and both Chase Ink and Capital One Spark cards let you adjust limits on employee cards. These issuers and others all offer 24/7 customer support in some form. But if you already have an OPEN card, taking advantage of these perks could streamline your accounting process and save you some time.

The bottom line

Is it worth applying for an AmEx OPEN card just for the benefits? Unless you’re spending a lot with the OPEN Savings partners such as FedEx, the program probably isn’t a game-changer. But if you already have an OPEN card, or if you think an AmEx card would be right for your business, these benefits could add even more value to your plastic.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.


Image via iStock.