The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
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The unique choose-your-own-bonus structure of the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is extremely appealing. In short, it allows you to earn the most rewards in the category where you spend the most.
This charge card is ideal for small businesses that plan to put less than $100,000 a year on plastic. You’ll also need to spend more than $5,800 a year to begin to recoup the annual fee.
The rewards program really sets this card apart. You can earn 3X points on one of the following categories of your choosing: Airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping and U.S. computer hardware, software or cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. (Find a list of providers here.)
You’ll earn 2X points on your second favorite choice among the four categories.
All other purchases earn 1 point for each dollar spent.
Say a big part of your business is traveling around the country for meetings. If your company spends $100,000 on airfare annually, you’d recoup $3,000 annually if you made that your primary reward category.
If your company doesn’t have quite that big a budget, you may find there are better choices tailored to smaller businesses. Look elsewhere, as well, if you plan to carry a balance frequently. Business Gold Rewards is a charge card, meaning you’re supposed to pay it off every month. AmEx, however, does offer a “Pay Over Time” feature that will allow eligible cardholders to carry a balance and accrue interest.
Who should get this card
Small business owners who spend heavily in one area and want to be rewarded for it may like the flexibility of this card’s rewards system. You’d have to spend about $5,800 in the 3X rewards category or $8,750 in the 2X rewards categories per year to break even with the $175 annual card holder fee, waived the first year of card ownership.
Compared with a business credit card that offers 2X rewards without an annual fee, you’d have to spend $17,500 before you break even.
If you spend more than this annually, put this card near the top of your wish list.
Fees and APR
- You’ll pay a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175.
- There are no foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the United States.
- You can enroll in the “Pay Over Time” feature, which turns this card into a charge card with an APR of 19.24%.
- See Rates & Fees.
Extras, perks and using points
American Express’ rewards points are flexible, meaning they can be redeemed for travel through the issuer’s portal, used as a statement credit or used to pay for gift cards or select online purchases.
This card comes with American Express’ OPEN benefits, the most significant of which is the 5% discount at FedEx, Hertz, Hewlett Packard, 1-800 Flowers and Barnes & Noble.
The first year fee of $50 is waived for an additional employee card and all subsequent cards after that remain free.
How this card compares
In just about every respect — from rewards to the annual fee — the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express stands tall among the elite business cards on the market.
The only reasons to shy away from this card would be if your work requires significant overseas travel or if your biggest expenses don’t match up with the bigger cash-back savings categories.
If you’re just starting out and you aren’t sure what your spending patterns will be, the Ink Cash Business Credit Card is like a small rectangular mentor. The no-fee card will reward you for spending in the areas you’ll most likely need to get your business off the ground and gives you a full year break on interest for purchases and balance transfers. Who couldn’t use a little breathing room when launching a new venture?
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has one of the best sign-up bonuses of any small business card, worth well more than the annual fee. The on-going perks are also excellent for tech and travel-heavy businesses.
Of course, this card is only a great choice if your spending habits align with the rewards categories of this card. If most of your spending is on office supplies or gas, for example, you may be better off with a different card.
Capital One Spark Cash for Business ranks among the best business rewards credit cards on the market, edging out other business cards – including those offered by Capital One — because of its rewards flexibility.
We love that this card pays the same flat rewards rate on cards issued to employees as those issued to the business owner. Plus, employee cards come with no annual fee. Capital One waives the annual fee for the first year on the owner’s card. You’ll pay $59 a year thereafter, which is fairly low given the rewards value.
Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.