Brex Business Charge Cards and Brex Rewards: The Ultimate Guide

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Brex entered the business card scene in 2017, branding itself as an alternative to traditional business credit cards. The card has long had a focus on startups by offering high limits, no personal credit guarantees, and a sleek dashboard for both business owners and their employees

However, there’s 1 place that Brex has historically lacked: travel rewards. In fact, up until recently, the card’s rewards currency—Brex Rewards—could only be used for statement credits. But thankfully, that’s all changed.

Over the past year or so, Brex has added a slew of new travel benefits, like airline transfer partners for Brex Rewards and access to Brex Travel, an in-house corporate travel agency. This has renewed interest in the card for startups with employees that travel frequently, and finally makes the card an attractive alternative to business offerings from American Express and Chase.

But while that sounds great on paper, is Brex right for your company? And further, does it make sense to use this card over another business card? Here’s what you need to know about the Brex platform, application, card options, and rewards.

Applying for a Brex Card

Black Brex Charge Card on Black Background
Brex takes a startup-first approach to business charge cards. Image Credit: Brex

Like discussed, Brex has a different take on the business credit card.

For starters, it isn’t actually a credit card, like some American Express cards, Brex cards are actually charge cards. This means that all charges must be paid back every 30 days, so your company can never carry a balance from month-to-month.

This is both good and bad for businesses. The good is that you’ll never pay an interest fee, but the bad is that you’re limited in terms of payment flexibility if your business ever runs into cashflow problems. So before applying for a Brex card, make sure that you carefully examine your business’ credit needs and see if a charge card fits your budgeting style.

General Brex Application Requirements

There are pretty rigorous application requirements that must be met in order to be approved for a Brex card. In fact, when applying, you’re required to link your business’ bank account to the Brex website. Each type of Brex card has a different cashflow requirement, but all require at least $100,000 in a bank account, or in monthly sales, to open. Application specifics relative to each card will be provided in the applicable card section.

Further, consumers, sole proprietors, and unincorporated partnerships aren’t eligible for Brex cards. Instead, all business applying for a Brex card must be registered as a C-corp, S-corp, LLC, or LLP in order to be approved.

There’s no doubt that these requirements make Brex cards significantly more difficult to be approved for than other business cards. But there’s a good reason for this: unlike the competition, with Brex cards, there’s no personal guarantee required. This means that founders are not required to link their personal credit to a Brex card.

This results in Brex cards having zero effect on the founder’s personal credit; even if you default on your card, it won’t damage your personal credit or assets. Further, you may be assigned higher-than-average limits, and founders with thin personal credit profiles are more likely to be approved for a Brex card than the competition.

Brex’s Dashboard and Mobile App

A Screenshot of The Brex Mobile App And Quickbooks Integration
Brex’s powerful mobile app and dashboard make expense reports easier than ever. Image Credit: Brex

Beyond the lack of a personal guarantee requirement, another huge benefit to using Brex is its advanced mobile app and online dashboard.

Using these tools, business owners can quickly and easily manage employee cards. You can request new physical and virtual cards on the fly, impose spending limits, manage rewards, and analyze current spend from a centralized hub. You can also set spending limits per employee, letting you cater your budget for each employee’s specific needs.

This impressive technology is good for employees too as the Brex app makes expense reporting easy. Employees can submit receipts through the app, and they’ll be automatically matched to purchases on their Brex statement. Plus, you can link Brex’s in-house expense reporting to Quickbooks, Expensify, Xero, and other existing expense reporting tools that your business may already use.

Brex’s 3 Plans: Startups, Ecommerce, and Life Sciences

Brex Offers 3 Types of Charge Cards
Brex has 3 different business charge card offerings. Image Credit: Brex

Brex offers 3 different types of Brex cards for different types of companies. These 3 cards are:

  • Startups — for a majority of technology companies and other brands
  • Ecommerce — for e-commerce companies that need low-fees and net 60 payment terms
  • Life Sciences — for research teams that have significant lab supply expenses

Each of these cards has different benefits and bonus Brex Rewards point-earning opportunities. To help you find which Brex card is best for your company, we’ve outlined each of the card’s benefits and included each of the card’s specific application requirements.

Hot Tip: All of Brex’s cards are World Elite Mastercards. This gives you special benefits like rental car status and discounts with Lyft, amongst other various benefits. Brex also notes that Visa-issued cards may be available upon special request.

Brex for Startups

Brex Corporate Card for Startups
  • [FOR 11/01/19 THROUGH 12/31/19]​ 75,000 in Brex Rewards points upon signup and waived card fees for life (equal to $750+ value)
  • No personal guarantee needed - we do not ask for a personal credit check or security deposit during the application.
  • Credit limits 10-20x higher than traditional small business corporate cards.

Brex’s Startup card is the most common of the 3 Brex cards. With a strong focus on technology startups, it offers special earning rates for things like software and rideshare. Here’s a look at the card’s various bonus earning categories:

Bonus CategoryBrex Rewards Earning RateNotes
Rideshare7xIncludes purchases from Uber, Lyft, taxi companies, and urban scooter operators like Lime and Bird.
Brex Travel4xYou can book hotels, flights, and more with Brex Travel.
Restaurants3xA broad category that can be used at fine dining, fast food, coffee shops, and more.
Recurring Software Subscriptions2xThis includes things like Slack, Trello, Github, and other recurring software subscriptions.
Everything Else1xAll other purchases.

These bonus earning categories make the Brex Startup card very attractive for companies with lots of travel spend—especially on rideshare. This card also earns an attractive 4x points on travel booked through Brex Travel—the company’s in-house travel agency—meaning that flights, hotels, and even Airbnbs are eligible for 4x points.

Further, 2x points on recurring software subscriptions is a bonus category unique to the Brex Startup card. Depending on how much your company spends on software each month, you can earn some serious bonus points.

Hot Tip: You must enroll in Brex Exclusive to earn the bonus point earning. Otherwise, you’ll earn 1x points on all purchases. You can enroll in Brex Exclusive by using Brex for all business purchases. All companies are automatically enrolled in Brex Exclusive for their first 2-months of membership, so you’ll have time to transition employees from other corporate cards.

Application Requirements

Brex requires that you have at least $100,000 in your business’ bank account in order to be approved for the Startup card. This is verified by giving Brex access to your business’ bank account through a secure form on the Brex dashboard. Further, you must be able to commit to paying your balance in full each month as all Brex cards are charge cards.

Other Special Perks

List of Brex Perks For Startups and Ecommerce Companies
Brex includes a number of valuable perks for startups and ecommerce companies. Image Credit: Brex

The card includes a variety of welcome perks that are useful for technology companies. These include credits to commonly used software and marketing tools like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Twillo, and Zoom. Some of these perks are one-time discounts while others are distributed on an ongoing monthly basis. According to Brex, the combined value of these perks is a huge $50,000!

There are currently freebies from 32 different companies offered to Brex for Startups users. Some of the most lucrative perks include:

  • AWS — $5,000 in credit distributed over the course of a year
  • Freshworks — $1,000 in credit
  • Hubspot — 30% off of your first year’s subscription, then 15% off ongoing
  • Zendesk — $436 per month in credit for 1 year

Take a look at the view the full list of partner perks on Brex’s website. If your business is already using these tools, you may be able to save some serious cash by switching to Brex just from these partner benefits.

Brex for Ecommerce

Man Holding A Brown Shipping Box
The Brex for Ecommerce card gives e-commerce companies 60 days to pay off inventory and advertising purchases. Image Credit: Bench Accounting via Unsplash

Brex’s second credit card offering is Brex for Ecommerce. This card is focused on businesses that sell products on the web and may need a bit of extra time to pay off inventory and advertising purchases.

Brex Corporate Card for Ecommerce Startup Card
  • [FOR 11/01/19 THROUGH 12/31/19]​ 75,000 in Brex Rewards points upon signup and waived card fees for life (equal to $750+ value)
  • 60-day interest-free non-revolving credit for e-commerce businesses. Pay for your inventory today and you'll have 60 days to pay Brex back.
  • Credit card limit is up to 75% of your business's monthly sales (with maximum credit limit of $5 million).
  • $100,000 in monthly sales required to qualify for Brex.
  • No personal guarantee needed - we do not ask for a personal credit check or security deposit during the application.

The card offers net 60 payment terms, meaning that e-commerce companies have 60 days to pay off all of their purchases without any interest. However, like the Startup card, all purchases must be paid by the end of this payment period as the card is still a charge card.

Note that this payment flexibility does come at a cost though. The card doesn’t earn any points on purchases, but the money saved over holding a balance with a traditional small business credit card will likely outweigh any rewards you’d potentially earn, so it may still make sense for your e-commerce company.

Application Requirements

The application requirements for the Brex Ecommerce card vary from the Startup card. To be approved for this card, you must prove that you have at least $100,000 in monthly sales and have been in business for at least 1 year.

Like with all other Brex cards, sole proprietors are not eligible to apply for the Brex Ecommerce card.

Other Special Perks

The Brex Ecommerce card includes all of the software perks that are included with the Brex Startup card. Some of the most lucrative perks for Brex Ecommerce cardholding companies include:

  • Google Ads — up to a $150 Google Ads credit
  • Payoneer — an additional 2% back on international payments made through Payoneer
  • Stitch Labs — free 2-month subscription to Stitch Labs’ inventory management tool

Brex for Life Sciences

Brex for Life Sciences is the newest addition to the Brex family. This card is focused on lab research teams that spend money on lab supplies, travel, and conference tickets, and has bonus earning categories to match. Here’s a look at the card’s bonus-earning categories and how many Brex Rewards points each one earns:

Bonus CategoryBrex Rewards Earning RateNotes
Conference tickets7xAll conference ticket purchases are eligible for this bonus.
Brex Travel4xYou can book hotels, flights, and more with Brex Travel.
Lab supplies3xPurchases from major lab supply vendors earn this spend bonus.
Everything else1xAll other purchases.

Application Requirements

The Brex for Life Sciences card has different and less rigid application requirements than the Startup and Ecommerce cards. Like the rest of the Brex cards, you must have a registered company to apply for the Life Sciences variant of the card, and sole proprietors are not eligible.

According to the Brex website though, there is no strict bank account or revenue requirement. Instead, your credit limit will be determined based on the cash you’ve raised, grants you’ve received, current equity in your company, and your company’s spending patterns.

Other Special Perks

List of Brex Perks For Life Sciences Companies
Brex offers a wide range of special perks for research companies. Image Credit: Brex

The Brex for Life Sciences card includes a number of awesome perks catered to research companies. You can see the full list on the Brex website, but some of the most valuable perks for research companies include:

  • DocuSend — free 3-month subscription to DocSend Finance
  • Quartzy — 10% off your first 90 days of purchases from Quartzy
  • Science Exchange — 15% off of an Enterprise License

Brex Pricing and Fees

Brex has one of the most attractive pricing structures for business credit cards on the market. The card charges a low monthly fee for employee cards, but has no annual fee for the company. And since it’s a charge card that automatically deducts payments from your business checking account, you’ll never pay interest on purchases or have to deal with late fees.

Here’s a look at Brex’s pricing structure. This is the same for all 3 variants of the Brex card.

Number of CardsPrice Per Month Per Card
1-5$0
5+$5

Additionally, Brex doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so you can make purchases abroad without worrying about incurring a 1-3% fee. This is especially helpful when paying foreign vendors as you can now pay them in their local currency without penalty.

Brex Travel

Brex for Startups and Brex for Life Sciences both earn 4x points per dollar spent on Brex Travel purchases. Brex Travel is the company’s in-house travel agency that’s powered by TravelBank.

You can book flights, hotel rooms, and Airbnbs through the Brex Travel portal or by calling the Brex Travel offices. After booking, you’ll receive 24/7/365 support from Brex Travel’s agents that can help rebook you in case of delays and other assistance.

One of the special perks of Brex Travel is access to corporate rates at thousands of hotels around the world. Brex notes that its clients save an average of 30% on hotel bookings, but notes that clients have saved as much as 60% on some bookings.

Plus, all employee frequent flyer numbers and seat preferences are saved in the Brex Travel portal, making it seamless for employees or travel managers to book flights.

Brex Rewards Program

View From A Plane Window
You can use your Brex Rewards points to fly around the world. Image Credit: Eva Darron via Unsplash

Brex Rewards points have become a proper flexible points currency over the past year or so. In the beginning, they could only be used for statement credit, but over the past year, Brex has added transfer partners and the ability to redeem Brex Rewards for paid travel through the Brex Travel portal.

Here are the different ways that you can use your Brex rewards points:

Book Hotels, Flights, and Airbnbs Through Brex Travel

When you book travel through Brex Travel, you’ll have the option to pay for your plane tickets and hotel rooms with points. Brex Rewards points are worth 1.0 cents per point when redeemed towards paid travel, meaning that a $500 flight would cost 50,000 points.

Since these are still paid flights, you or your employee will still earn frequent flyer miles on all flights booked through Brex Travel even when covered with points.

Transfer Points to Brex’s Airline Partners

In 2019, Brex added 7 different airline transfer partners. These transfer partners span all 3 of the major airline alliances—Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance—so you have plenty of options for redeeming Brex Rewards points for free travel.

Further, Brex Rewards added JetBlue TrueBlue as a transfer partner on September 24, 2019. Brex is one of the few JetBlue credit card partners that offer a 1:1 transfer to JetBlue, meaning that if you transfer 10,000 Brex Rewards to JetBlue, you’ll end up with 10,000 TrueBlue points.

Points transfers will often yield better value than redeeming points through Brex Travel as you can use airline partners’ sweet-spots to book luxurious business and first-class travel for fewer points than if you covered a paid ticket through Brex Travel.

For example, a Lufthansa first-class ticket from New York (JFK) to Prague (PRG) costs 87,000 points one-way using Brex’s Star Alliance transfer partner, Avianca LifeMiles. Alternatively, this ticket usually costs around $7,900 when booked cash, so you’d pay 790,000 points if redeeming points through the Brex Travel portal at 1.0 cents per point.

Brex’s full list of transfer partners includes:

Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioAlliance Member
AeroMexico Club Premier1:1SkyTeam
Air France/KLM FlyingBlue1:1SkyTeam
Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)1:1Oneworld
Avianca LifeMiles1:1Star Alliance
JetBlue TrueBlue1:1None
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:1Oneworld
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer1:1Star Alliance

While this list of transfer partners isn’t as extensive as those offered by American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, Brex’s partners give business owners more value and flexibility in how they can redeem points.

Bottom Line: If you have a Brex card for your business, use your points to book travel through transfer partners whenever possible.

Cash Out Points to Cover Individual Purchases

Finally, you can use Brex Rewards to cover individual transactions made with your Brex card at a rate of 1 cent per point. This isn’t a particularly good deal when compared to utilizing Brex’s travel partners, but gives you added flexibility to cover large purchases that might otherwise hurt your business’ bottom line.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Brex’s credit card offerings and rewards program is solid. If your company qualifies for the card and can maximize its bonus categories, it may be worth migrating your business spend to a Brex charge card.

Unfortunately though, a majority of small businesses are ineligible for Brex due to the $100,000 cash requirement on the Startup card. So if you fall into this category—or want a credit card instead of a charge card—check out our list of the best business credit cards for a potentially better fit.


FAQ

Can freelancers sign up for a Brex card?

No, unfortunately, freelancers are ineligible for Brex cards.

How are Brex spend limits determined?

Brex determines spend limits based on the cash you’ve raised, current equity in your company, and your company’s current spending patterns.

Does Brex offer a personal credit card?

Brex does not currently offer personal credit cards.

Does Brex offer a credit card?

No, at this time, Brex only issues business charge cards.

Are Visa-issued Brex cards available?

Brex can issue Visa cards upon special request. You must email support@brex.com to request a Visa card.

Will a Brex charge card improve my company's credit?

Brex reports payment history to Experian and Dun & Bradstreet, so you’ll build business credit history with these 2 agencies.

Andrew Kunesh

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City. He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

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