American Express® Business Gold Card Review
American Express® Business Gold Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- This card has high spending caps in each of the bonus categories, so businesses with higher spending needs can enjoy more rewards from the outset.
- Membership Rewards® points are highly valued in the rewards credit card world and can be redeemed for everything from travel to gift cards to dinners out and more.
- Earn 70,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points after spending $10,000 in the first three months.
- While not sky-high, the annual fee only makes sense if your business spends enough annually to more than offset it with the rewards you earn.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The American Express® Business Gold Card is specifically designed to fit the needs of a small business owner. It features a rewards program that is lucrative, flexible and, perhaps most importantly, low-maintenance.
New cardholders can earn a bonus of 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after making $10,000 in eligible purchases within three months from account opening.
From Day 1, you earn four Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent (up to $150,000 spent in these categories each calendar year) in the two categories (among six) your business spent the most in each month. You don't have to choose your bonus categories; American Express automatically recognizes which two categories you spend the most in each month.
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases of online, TV and radio advertising
- U.S. purchases from select providers of computer software, hardware or cloud solutions
- Purchases at U.S. gas stations
- Purchases at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
- U.S. shipping purchases
Remember, the 4X points applies to the first $150,000 spent in the bonus categories each calendar year after which you earn one point per $1 spent on those purchases. You earn one point per $1 on all your other purchases.
You have myriad options when it comes to redeeming your Membership Rewards® points, which are some of the most sought-after rewards currency out there. While you can redeem for dining out, entertainment, travel and gift cards from more than 500 brands, perhaps the most obivious and popular use of these rewards is for travel. You can redeem points directly for travel through the American Express travel portal or transfer them to one of multiple airline and hotel loyalty partners. If you want a fuller picture of Membership Rewards®, check out the CardRatings Guide to Membership Rewards® Points.
One specific reward redemption option to keep in mind: if you book your flight through amextravel.com and pay with points, you can get 25% of those points back to use on a future redemption (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year). To take advantage of this offer, book any first or business class flight or any class ticket with your pre-selected airline.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
The American Express® Business Gold Card has no preset spending limit like a traditional card. Instead, the amount you can spend depends on factors such as your spending history, credit history, payment history and more. Even so, this feature could be very help with your business' cash flow, potentially giving you spending power even in months when revenue may be delayed.
When it comes to paying your balance, the Business Gold Card offers you payment options. While purchases of less than $100 must be paid in full each month, you may choose the "Pay Over Time" option on eligible purchases of $100 or more. The interest rate on those purchases comes in at 14.24% - 22.24% Variable, depending on credit worthiness (See Rates and Fees).
First, the good news: the American Express® Business Gold Card charges no foreign transaction fees, which can save real money if you travel overseas frequently for business or if your business requires purchases of products or services in foreign currency (See Rates and Fees).
Now for the bad news: there is a $295 annual fee to consider (See Rates and Fees). You want to be sure the perks and rewards of the card will more than offset that fee before your decide to take it on. There are certainly business cards out there with lower annual fees (we'll discuss a few in the compare section below), so make sure this is definitely the card for you before deciding to apply.
Ready for more good news? Employee cards are available without an additional annual fee and all rewards earned on those employee cards accumulate in the primary cardholder's account.
Cash advances are not available through the American Express® Business Gold Card. That's not necessarily a bad thing as cash advances are expensive in terms of their interest rates and are almost never a good idea.
Business Gold Card vs. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
While these cards have different strengths, both are excellent options for small business owners interested in racking up some rewards on those everyday business purchases.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a significantly lower annual fee ($95 vs. $295 for the AmEx card). Neither card charges foreign transaction fees and both offer healthy welcome bonus opportunities, though Ink probably wins out on that front if you have the spending opportunity to earn it.
Earn 100,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards® points when you spend $15,000 in the first three months. Those points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel the the Ultimate Rewards® portal, so that bonus could be worth $1,250 in travel (or even more if you transfer points strategically to one of multiple travel partners). Obviously, the points earn is higher with the Chase card, but so is that spending requirement.
On an ongoing basis, Ink Business Preferred offers three points per $1 spent (up to $150,000 spent annually) on travel; shipping; internet, cable, and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. Earn one point per $1 on other eligible purchases.
This decision may come down to whether you prefer the Ultimate Rewards® or Membership Rewards® program as well as whether you can justify the higher annual fee of the AmEx card.
Business Gold Card vs. Capital One Spark Cash for Business
The Capital One Spark Cash for Business card's cash-back program isn't as generous as that of the American Express card, but it also doesn't have spending caps and it's simpler to wrap your mind around. Cardholders earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, so you get the same amount no matter what you buy or how much of it. It isn't the 4x points you can earn on some purchases with the Business Gold Card, but it also doesn't limit your categories or cap when you'll earn that top cash back.
The Capital One Spark Cash for Business' $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee is obviously more affordable than that of the American Express card, but the fee becomes irrelevant, of course, if you more than offset it with your rewards.
The Spark® card offers a one-time bonus of $500 cash back after you spend $4,500 on the card within the first three months.
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees.
Business Gold Card vs. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
If you like the idea of earning Membership Rewards® points, but can't justify the hefty annual fee of the Business Gold Card, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express could be just right.
That's because this card no annual fee at all, but does offer two points per $1 spent on all your eligible purchases (up to $50,000 spent in a calendar year, then one point per $1). If you do the math, maxing out that spending cap means you'll rake in 100,000 Membership Rewards® just on that spending and that doesn't take into account the one point per $1 you'll keep earning after hitting the annual cap.
Blue Business® Plus also offers 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership, and you can also take advantage of an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable). This card does charge foreign transaction fees, though, as compared to the Business Gold Card, which does not.
At the end of the day, as with most cards, a small business owner will need to decide how much they will use the American Express® Business Gold Card if they are approved for membership. If it is your go-to card for business expenses, the annual fee could be easily worth it when you consider the perks, features and rewards-earning opportunities.
On the other hand, if you only plan to use your card for certain expenses, there are less expensive alternatives with strong rewards programs, like those listed above.
For rates and fees of the American Express cards mentioned in this article, please see the following links: American Express® Business Gold Card (See Rates and Fees); The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees)