American Express® Business Gold Card review: A highflying card for day-to-day business expenses

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Snapshot

4.6

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Bottom line

The American Express Business Gold Card is an affordable option for Amex travel rewards—and an even better choice if you spend mostly on everyday business expenses. Many small-business owners will find that the excellent rewards rate, boosted redemption rate on select airfare and packaged travel perks will be enough to justify the $295 annual fee.

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Best business card for points

American Express® Business Gold Card

Rewards rate

25%–4X

Annual fee

$295

Intro offer

70,000 points

Regular APR

14.99% - 22.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

American Express® Business Gold Card Overview

For the small-business owner who travels often and wants to be rewarded for their daily business spending, the American Express Business Gold Card may be one of the best business credit cards on the market. It offers a generous rewards rate on up to $150,000 in spending in two of your top eligible business categories, including not only travel, but also everyday categories like U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants. This makes the card a perfect fit for businesses with expenses that fall in line with these select categories.

Unfortunately, the Amex Business Gold will fall short for a number of business owners, especially those who spend more in areas not covered by the Amex Business Gold’s bonus categories or business travelers looking for top-of-the-line luxury perks. And with an annual fee of $295 a year, the rewards and business-related features that do come with the Business Gold may not be enough. Keep reading to see if the American Express Business Gold is right for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • A whopping 4X points on major business categories, plus 2X rental cars booked through American Express Travel
  • Travel benefits and insurance for frequent travelers, like trip and baggage delay insurance
  • Expense management tools
  • A flexible spending limit that also allows you to carry a balance with Pay Over Time

Cons

  • Cardmembers are limited to earning 4X points in only two out of six eligible business-related categories
  • The $295 annual fee is high compared to other cards with similar features
  • You’ll only earn 4X points on your first $150,000 in combined spending for all bonus categories, after which you can only earn 1X points
  • No airport lounge access and few additional luxury perks, unlike other premium business cards centered around travel rewards

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • 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: 14.99 percent to 22.99 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 $700 toward flights through the American Express travel portal or up to $1,400 with the right American Express transfer partner, according to The Points Guy’s latest valuation.

For businesses that find the spending requirement too steep, several other business cards offer comparable bonuses at a smaller spend. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is one example. It offers $750 in cash back after spending $7,500 in the same three-month time frame. That’s worth more than the Business Gold’s offer if you were to redeem points through Amex travel. Plus, the Ink Business Cash card is a no-annual-fee business card, proving you don’t need to spend $295 to get great value.

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Bankrate insight
Want to boost the 70,000-point intro bonus from a $700 value to an $875 value? The Business Gold comes with an airline bonus, which gives you 25 percent of your points back when you use them for eligible First or Business class flights on any airline (booked through the American Express Travel portal’s Pay with Points option). This equates to a 1.25-cent redemption value per point for these flights through Amex.

Rewards rate

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, giving your points a value of1.25 cents apiece. Other travel and non-travel options get you a value of 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 business 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, 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 decide whether you want to pay eligible purchases in full each month-or pay over time with interest (Terms Apply). 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 14.99 percent to 22.99 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, though it’s possible to offset that cost. Your rewards allow you to recoup that cost by spending at least $308 in your 4X categories each month (based on the 2 cent per point TPG value). This benchmark may be easy to achieve 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 card in that the Pay Over Time feature allows you to carry a balance on purchases (See Terms) at a 14.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR. 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 29.99 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 Card® from American Express, 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 if you can spend at least $308 per month in your 4X categories, you’ll recoup the annual fee. You’ll also need to 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 may not be too big of an issue since our average rewards value formula* indicates many cardholders will be able to earn about $973 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)
Yearly rewards* +$973 +$973
Welcome offers +$875 (Membership Rewards sign-up bonus points redeemed through American Express Travel with the 25% Airline Bonus)
Perks (of monetary value)
  • +$250 (combined credits for qualifying bookings with The Hotel Collection)
  • +$250 (combined credits for qualifying bookings with The Hotel Collection)
Annual fee -$295 -$295
Total value $1,803 $928

*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).

How the American Express Business Gold Card compares to other business cards

The Amex Business Gold card is a great choice if you have large business expenses that fall into the card’s select categories. But for small-business owners looking for premier perks like lounge access or a card that has a lower annual fee and still earns rewards, the following might be better options.

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American Express® Business Gold Card

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4.6
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Apply now

on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$295

Intro offer

70,000 points

Rewards rate

25%–4X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

$695

Intro offer

120,000 points

Rewards rate

1X–5X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Chase Image

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

100,000 points

Rewards rate

1X–3X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

Amex Business Gold vs. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Despite the $695 annual fee, frequent flyers and businesses with large expenses may find the American Express Business Platinum card packs a lot of value. It comes with complimentary lounge access to more than 1,200 airport lounges as well as a number of annual credits and upgraded hotel and car rental statuses to help offset the high annual fee and let you travel in style and comfort.

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 help make it a better-rounded product for business owners that don’t travel as often.

The Business Platinum’s potential value more than makes up for the intimidating annual fee. But the Business Gold card’s lower $295 fee and heavier rewards focus on local business expenses may be the more rewarding pick for business owners who can’t justify the Platinum’s high annual fee.

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.

Best cards to pair with the American Express Business Gold Card

For maximum value, the American Express Business Gold Card should only be used for your spending that falls within two of the card’s six bonus categories. To cover the other four categories and other purchases that would only earn 1X points, it’s best to find a rewards credit card that charges no annual fee and offers high rewards on all purchases or in specific categories relevant to your business.

For example, if your business spends heavily at U.S. gas stations and restaurants, you can use the Business Gold for those purchases but then take advantage of the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card to cover other important purchases. It charges no annual fee and offers 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each year.

The Ink Business Cash card also offers 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 you spend in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants. That makes it a great card to fall back on if you were to exceed the Amex Gold’s spending limit in those areas.

Another option is to go with a flat-rate credit card. If you don’t want to worry about tracking your spending and trying to remember which categories earn the most points, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to earn a flat rate on all purchases. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great example. It carries no annual fee and lets you earn a flat rate of 2X points (on up to $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1X points). This makes it a great catch-all card you can use for categories not covered by the Business Gold card.

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 can be worth it. Businesses that can spend $500 each month in their top two bonus categories will find it easy to recoup the annual fee. And with the welcome offer and a robust portfolio of travel transfer partners, the right businesses will get a lot of value out of the Business Gold card.

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
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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