American Express® Business Gold Card review: A highflying card for day-to-day business expenses
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American Express® Business Gold Card Overview
The American Express Business Gold Card is one of the best business credit cards on the market, especially for cardholders that want to earn travel rewards on popular day-to-day domestic expenses. It offers a high-yield points system for its members, and points can be redeemed for travel and other rewards. It’s more accessible than the Business Platinum Card® from American Express due to a lower annual fee, and it’s more suited to business owners than the regular American Express® Gold Card. Especially for small business owners who travel often, the American Express Business Gold Card has its perks.
There is a $295 annual fee to account for, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to offset thanks to the card’s lucrative bonus category rewards. While this is a great card for business owners who want to redeem rewards for travel, be sure to stick to travel redemption options—airline bonus-qualifying airfare and top transfer partners, specifically—or you won’t get nearly as much value out of your hard-earned rewards.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- No intro APR periods
- $295 annual fee
- If you spend more annually than the $150,000 across the designated spending categories, you’ll only earn 1X points
- No airport lounge access and few additional perks, unlike other premium business cards with travel reward
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Earn 4X points on up to $150,000 per year in two select categories your business spends the most in each billing cycle and 2X points on rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com
- Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first three months of card membership*
- Annual Fee: $295
- Purchase Intro APR: N/A
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 14.24 percent to 22.24 percent (variable Pay Over Time APR)
Current welcome offer
The American Express Business Gold Card offers a promising 70,000-point welcome offer after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership (terms apply). That could be worth a solid $700 toward flights through the American Express, or up to $1,400 with the right American Express transfer partner, according to The Points Guy’s latest valuation.
That’s a very steep spending requirement that smaller businesses might not be able to meet. Comparatively, several other business cards offer similar or lower intro bonuses at a smaller spend for a better value. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, a no annual fee business card, offers $750 in cash back—worth more than the Business Gold’s offer through Amex travel—in exchange for spending $7,500 in the same three-month time frame.
The maximum value of the American Express Business Gold Card lies in the Membership Rewards point program that you can either pool with other Amex cards in the program or transfer to other loyalty programs at a higher value.
How you earn
The rewards process works automatically, tracking your transactions after each billing cycle to determine which two of the six bonus categories below you spent the most in.
- Airfare purchased directly from an airline.
- Advertising (purchased in the U.S. to promote your business online, on TV or radio).
- U.S. gas stations.
- U.S. restaurants.
- U.S. shipping costs.
- U.S. computer software, hardware and cloud data purchases made directly from select providers.
You’ll retroactively earn 4X points on those two spending categories up until you pass $150,000 in combined bonus category purchases for that calendar year. Afterward, you’ll earn only 1X points on those purchases. Fortunately, all other purchases that don’t qualify for 4X rewards will still earn 1X points.
How you redeem
To redeem rewards, you have to enroll in the Amex Membership Rewards program. Points can be redeemed directly through the American Express travel portal for flights, hotels, travel upgrades and more, or they can be transferred to partner airlines and hotels.
You can also redeem your points for statement credits, gift cards or at select merchant checkouts (like Amazon.com and rental cars booked through Amex Travel) though often for a lower value.
How much are the rewards worth?
The value of American Express Membership Rewards points depends on how you redeem them. Amex’s handy rewards calculator shows you the exact exchange rate toward specific options, but you’ll get the most value from American Express points when redeeming for travel, particularly if you transfer your points to one of American Express’ hotel or airline partners. Booking flights through the Amex portal provides the best value since you get a 1:1 value plus 25 percent points back (up to 250,000 points per year) on eligible flights, for a total 1.25 cent value per point.
Other travel and non-travel options equate to 0.5 to 0.7 cents per point, but your best bet is to find the right transfer partner to net around 2 cents per point, according to TPG.
Other cardholder perks
Overall, the American Express Business Gold Card offers solid travel and rewards, but the Amex Business Gold’s benefits aren’t nearly as substantial. The Pay Over Time feature is certainly helpful for unexpected expenses—and the hotel perks, travel insurance and purchase protections can come in handy regularly—but there aren’t as many perks as you’d expect to find on a travel card that costs $295 each year, which means relying on rewards spending to offset the fee.
The Hotel Collection perks
By booking an eligible property within The Hotel Collection through American Express travel for at least two consecutive nights can net you a few benefits, like a $100 hotel credit toward qualifying activities (like eligible dining, spa and other resort activities that vary by property) and a room upgrade as soon as you arrive (if available).
Once you factor in the up to $150 complimentary night/property credit, up to $250 in hotel perks is nothing to sneeze at and can nearly recoup your annual fee, but it’s worth noting that these perks are the only recurring credits that the Amex Business Gold carries.
Travel and purchase protections
While it’s not the best credit card for travel insurance, paying with your card provides a few solid insurances for your baggage (up to $1,250 for carry-on and up to $500 for checked baggage) and your trip in the event of a 12-hour delay or more.
Any eligible purchases bought with your card are also protected by accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the purchase date (up to $1,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 per account per calendar year), and any original manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less can also be extended by a year.
These are solid protections, especially the trip delay and baggage delay insurance, but the Amex Business Gold is missing a few key valuable travel insurances you can find on less expensive premium travel cards, such as travel interruption and cancellation insurance.
Pay Over Time
Another perk of the American Express Business Gold Card is the “Pay Over Time” option, allowing you to carry a balance and accrue interest on eligible purchases over $100. That way, your card with a flexible spending limit also carries the main benefit of a revolving credit card in case any unexpected expenses pop up. Just keep in mind that your revolving Pay Over Time balance is subject to interest—currently a 14.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable Pay Over Time APR.
Rates and Fees
One drawback to the American Express Business Gold Card is that it carries an annual fee of $295. Although the fee seems large, your rewards allow you to easily recoup that cost by spending at least $308 in your 4X categories each month (based on the 2 cent per point TPG value). This is an even easier benchmark when you consider your employee cards will also earn rewards and there are no foreign transaction fees to eat into the points you earn on business travel abroad.
Although your card comes with a flexible limit, it’s different from a traditional charge card in that the Pay Over Time feature allows you to carry a balance on purchases over $100 at a 14.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable APR. Purchases under $100 must be paid in full by the following payment period. In case you overextend yourself, beware that there’s a late payment of $39 or 2.99 percent of any past due amounts that you were supposed to pay in full, plus a 29.24 percent penalty APR.
First-year value vs. ongoing value
Since the Business Gold doesn’t carry as many recurring benefits or credits as the Business Platinum, your potential value is heavily based on your rewards spending rather than offsetting the annual fee with benefits.
The $295 annual fee may seem overwhelming at first for some small businesses, but it only takes spending at least $308 per month in your 4X categories to recoup the annual fee if you get the maximum 2-cent TPG value via transfer partners. Redeeming through Amex could mean spending a bit more—about $492 per month at the 1.25 cent Airline Bonus value. The 70,000-point first-year bonus would more than cover the annual fee—nearly five times over—but beyond that and The Hotel Collection credits, rewards spending essentially makes up all your card’s value. The annual fee shouldn’t be too big of an issue since our average rewards value formula* indicates many cardholders will be able to earn about $670 in rewards value per year, but big spenders that maximize the bonus categories’ $150,000 spending limit will rake in about $3,000 in rewards value each year (based on a 2-cent point value with transfer partners).
There aren’t as many additional perks to pad out the ongoing and first-year value, but the rewards rate should provide enough long-term potential for savvy business spenders.
|Benefits and Costs||First-year value||Ongoing value (no welcome offers)|
|Welcome offers||+$875 (Membership Rewards sign-up bonus points redeemed through American Express Travel with the 25% Airline Bonus)||—|
|Perks (of monetary value)||
|Compared ongoing variable APR value**||
*Based on our formula used to calculate each card’s average rewards rates and average ongoing rewards value, using Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data and an assumed $48,000 yearly spend over three years ($1,325 per month).
**Based on average credit card interest rate at the time of writing.
How the American Express Business Gold Card compares to other business cards
Amex Business Gold vs. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Compared to other American Express business cards, the Amex Business Gold is better for select business expenses and falls below the issuer’s top-tier business card geared toward travel. Thanks to the American Express Business Platinum card’s latest upgrade, it provides a better day-to-day value with 1.5X points on up to $2 million in select bonus category purchases (including electronic goods, hardware supplies and shipping providers) and up to $830 in new annual credits for popular non-travel expenses, like Adobe products and U.S. wireless telephone provider purchases. These valuable perks make it a better-rounded product for business owners that don’t travel as often, but its $595 annual fee will increase to $695 starting Jan. 13, 2022, to account for these changes.
Although the Business Platinum’s potential value more than makes up for the intimidating annual fee, the Business Gold will likely still be the better option for prospective cardholders that already had a hard time justifying the Business Platinum’s annual fee. The Business Gold card’s lower $295 fee and heavier rewards focus on local business expenses may be the more rewarding pick in that case.
Amex Business Gold vs. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
If you’re not dedicated to Amex, Chase business credit cards are some of the best on the market and the biggest competitors to American Express’ business card suite. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card rewards business expenses similar to the Amex Business Gold’s bonus categories, such as select advertising and shipping, but its travel category isn’t relegated to airline purchases and it also rewards internet, cable and phone services. Granted, it doesn’t offer the Amex Business Gold’s other high-value U.S. gas station, restaurant and computer software categories, but its broad travel category and much lower $95 annual fee may make up the difference for some business owners.
|Feature||American Express® Business Gold Card||The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card|
|Annual Fee||$295||$595 ($695 starting Jan. 13, 2022)||$95|
|Welcome Offer||70,000 points
(after spending $10,000 within the first three months)
(after spending $15,000 within the first three months) 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening on eligible Pay Over Time purchases
(then 14.24% to 22.24% variable Pay Over Time APR)
(after spending $15,000 within the first three months)
Best cards to pair with the American Express Business Gold Card
For maximum value, the American Express Business Gold Card can be paired with a rewards credit card with different spending categories. Because the spending categories that earn the most points with American Express Business Gold Card are starkly defined, a card with different bonus categories or a flat-rate card can help cover the other purchases that fall between the gaps in your existing categories.
However, other Amex business cards provide great combination opportunities. The most versatile option is the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express since its flat-rate 2X points (on up to $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1X points) can cover other major business expenses that wouldn’t typically be covered by bonus categories and their spending limits.
Bankrate’s take: Is the American Express Business Gold Card worth it?
Business owners with a large budget and a lot of travel planned will find that the American Express Business Gold Card is definitely worth it. You can easily recoup the annual fee in the first $500 you spend in your bonus category purchases each month (down to nearly the first $300 with the right transfer partner), as well as from your welcome offer bonus points, since the Amex Business Gold hosts a wide variety of bonus categories to earn rewards and a robust portfolio of travel transfer partners to redeem them.
However, if you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to offset the annual fee, this may not be the best choice for a business credit card. Additionally, those with lower business budgets or fewer travel needs will not reap the full rewards of this credit card.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here