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Making the Most of the AmEx SimplyCash Plus

Updated April 26, 2018
Business Credit Cards, Credit Cards
Making the Most of the AmEx SimplyCash Plus
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The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is the perfect credit card for a buttoned-down entrepreneur who’s all business. It offers rich cash-back rewards for many common office expenses, comes jam-packed with useful perks and charges an annual fee of $0.

But despite what its name suggests, getting the most out of this card isn’t exactly simple. It helps to know how to maximize its best benefits and navigate its complicated tiered rewards system.

Pay the phone bill and shop at office supply stores

The key to maximizing value with a tiered rewards card is to match purchases to the bonus categories as much as possible. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express gives you 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on U.S.-based wireless telephone services, up to $50,000 in combined purchases each year, and 1% back after that.

But to benefit from that high rate, you may have to tweak your shopping habits:

  • Update your payment preferences on your phone provider’s website and list the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express as your primary payment method.
  • Visit office supply stores — such as Office Max and Staples — to stock up on ink cartridges, copy paper and other essentials. The 5% back won’t apply at places like Walmart or Costco, which are coded differently.

Choose your 3% bonus category wisely

In addition to the 5% bonus categories discussed above, this card offers a “choose your own adventure” rewards component. You get 3% cash back in a category you select from this list:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • Hotel rooms booked directly with hotels
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for advertising on select media
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

You can choose one 3% category per calendar year, so focus on what your business will spend the most on. For example, if you’re about to launch a major advertising campaign, you might want to choose that as your 3% category.

Also, consider the effects of multiple smaller expenses versus fewer big ones. For example, if you spend $2,000 a year on airline flights, you might choose airfare as your 3% category because these big-ticket purchases stick in your mind. But if you also host clients once a week for dinners that cost around $65, making restaurants your 3% category would earn greater rewards.

As with the 5% categories, you get 3% back on your first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year and 1% back after that.

Use the 0% APR period for working capital

Unlike most small-business cards, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express comes with a decent 0% APR period: 0% on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 20.74% Variable APR.

This can be an especially useful feature when your business is gearing up for its busy season. Say you need to fill a large inventory order before the holidays. If you’re confident you can move your stock quickly and cover your debt, that 0% APR period could help you finance that purchase and pay it down interest-free. As long as you pay down your balances on time, this will cost far less than taking out a small-business loan.

Pair it with a flat-rate rewards card

For office supply stores, wireless telephone services and whatever you choose as your 3% category, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express should be your go-to business credit card. But you can do better than getting “1% on everything else.”

For everyday purchases that don’t fall into bonus categories, pair the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express with a card that earns more than 1% on everything. The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business, for example, also has an annual fee of $0 and offers 1.5% cash back rewards.

Connect to QuickBooks and ReceiptMatch

Keeping all your business expenses and receipts in one place can make tax season much easier, and the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express makes it simple.

You can set up your account to connect with QuickBooks, so your business card expenses automatically appear in your accounting program. And you can download the free ReceiptMatch app, which lets you take photos of your receipts and automatically pairs them with the rest of your transaction information in your AmEx account as well as your QuickBooks account.

Opt in for OPEN Savings

As with any AmEx OPEN card, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express comes with the OPEN Savings benefit. That is, you can choose to get either a 5% discount or 2 Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent at certain merchants, such as FedEx or Hertz car rentals. Of these two options, the 5% discount on the AmEx OPEN website is more valuable.

Opting in is still a good call, even if you don’t shop with these merchants frequently. It’s free to enroll, and benefits are applied automatically to your account.

How to redeem rewards on the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express makes it easy to maximize your rewards in at least one way: It automatically applies your cash back to your statement each month. That means you don’t have to worry about logging into your account and redeeming your rewards every month. If you want to see how much you’ve saved each month with your cash back, read your monthly statements or log in to your account online.

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