Reviews

Review: American Express Velocity Business Card

By Chris Chamberlin, October 17 2017
American Express Velocity Business Card
Notes
The Good
  • Uncapped points earning
  • Virgin Australia airport lounge access
  • Insurance for travelling employees who book flights using the card
The Bad
  • Reduced points earn on utility, insurance and government charges
Added Value
  • No pre-set spending limit

Introduction

The American Express Velocity Business charge card pairs uncapped frequent flyer points with other niceties like airport lounge visits for the primary cardholder, travel insurance for all cardholders who meet the eligibility criteria, and no pre-set spending limit: a key difference to a credit card.

However, the number of points earned on most purchases isn’t as high as other American Express business cards, so you’ll want to weigh this card on its overall package of points and perks to determine whether you’ll get at least the value back as you’ll pay in annual fees.

American Express Velocity Business Card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: American Express charge card
  • Loyalty program: Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Points capping: Uncapped

Total Velocity Points earned per A$1 spent:

  • Virgin Australia flight bookings in Australian dollars: 2.0
  • Government bodies, utilities and insurance companies: 0.5
  • Everywhere else: 1.0

Fees, charges and interest:

  • Annual fee: $249
  • Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $99/year per card
  • Interest rate on purchases: N/A (balance must be paid in full)
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 51
  • Interest rate on cash advances: N/A
  • International transaction fee: 3.0%
  • Minimum personal income requirement of business owner: $24,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: No pre-set spending limit

Earning points for free flights:

With no limit on the number of points you can earn every month or year, paying for your business expenses using the Velocity Business card delivers points on every dollar you spend: so whether your business spends $3,000 or $300,000 per month, you’ll keep reeling in the rewards.

There’s a good earning rate of two Velocity points per dollar spent directly with Virgin Australia – such as on flight bookings in Australian dollars or Virgin Australia lounge membership – which comes in addition to the frequent flyer points normally earned by actually flying.

However, the Velocity Business earning rate on general purchases is lower than other business cards. For instance, the American Express Business Explorer card delivers the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent on everyday purchases, being 50% more points than awarded via Velocity Business.

The Business Explorer AMEX also awards three times as many points on utility and insurance charges than Velocity Business – being 1.5 Velocity points per dollar via the Membership Rewards Gateway scheme as opposed to 0.5 Velocity points – but gives fewer points on government charges: 0.375 Velocity points per dollar spent rather than 0.5/$1 using the Velocity business card.

As such, you’ll want to consider where you spend the most money when deciding which card will prove the most rewarding overall, with Velocity Business a good fit for companies that spend heavily on Virgin Australia flights and with government bodies, while other cards may be better-suited for businesses with different needs.

Airport lounge access:

Every year, the primary cardholder (normally the business owner) receives two complimentary entries to Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges when flying with Virgin Australia the same day.

These passes are electronically linked to the cardholder’s Velocity membership profile – the same attached to the AMEX account where points are automatically credited each month – and can be used by presenting a boarding pass together with the Velocity Frequent Flyer membership card or account number.

Lounge passes can’t be transferred to colleagues, friends or family – but if the cardholder is already a Virgin Lounge member or a Gold or Platinum frequent flyer, the passes can be used to bring additional guests into the lounge, over and above the complimentary guest allowance.

Unlike the personal version of this card, access to the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport is not included.

Travel insurance and other protections:

Velocity Business cardholders, including both primary and supplementary users, may be covered by complimentary domestic and international travel insurance when using the Velocity Business AMEX to purchase their return flights, or when using Velocity points to book the same.

As part of its travel protections, travel inconvenience cover and transport accident cover are also included, providing benefits in cases of flight or baggage delays and missed flight connections, and a contribution of up to $20,000 towards the business’ outstanding card balance if the cardholder is involved in a serious accident when travelling on business.

However, most travel protections doesn’t apply where flights were booked by means other than using the Velocity Business AMEX or Velocity points – such as when purchased by clients – which may still require the business to buy a separate insurance policy suited to its circumstances.

American Express Velocity Business Card: verdict

Without being overly strong on points, low on fees or robust on insurance, the AMEX Velocity Business Card could instead prove useful by having no pre-set spending limit rather than a fixed credit limit seen on most other cards, which means things like hotel pre-authorisations won’t get in the way of your business’ other purchases.

It’s not that the card offers completely ‘unlimited spending’, as such – if you want to buy a private jet using American Express, for instance, you should probably call AMEX first – but over time, AMEX learns your spending patterns, payment history, credit records and financial resources, and approves your purchases based on your ability to repay the closing balance in full every month.

That makes the Velocity Business card a better fit for SMEs that aren’t under financial pressure to meet their obligations (while still enjoying up to 51 days interest-free on purchases), rather than businesses looking to fund their operations or purchases on credit, and pay that debt off over a longer period of time.

As one last advantage, business owners can integrate their Velocity Business card with MYOB to automatically sync purchases made on the card with their accounting software, to make transaction reconciliation quick and easy.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


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