Update: These offers for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
When I hear someone mention The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express, I can’t help but think of a good friend of mine. He loves using his business spend to earn tons of points that can help him travel and this card is a major part of how he does so. In fact, he earns so many points thanks to the bonus categories that come with this card, it’s hard not to be jealous.
Now, I know most people think of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express when they think of Amex’s business cards. That’s totally understandable and the perks that come with that card are fantastic. However, in most cases your small business will earn far more points with the Business Gold Rewards Card.
If you’re in the market for a new business card — and want to make your friends jealous, the Business Gold Rewards Card can certainly help you do that. From valuable flexible points to a solid welcome bonus to bonus categories, this card can provide a big boost to your ability to travel.
Let’s dive in and see what this card has to offer.
Access to the Membership Rewards program
For me, the ability to earn Membership Rewards points is the foundation of what makes this card a great option. American Express has 17 airline transfer partners and you can transfer Membership Rewards points to many of them at a 1:1 ratio. Personally, I try to avoid transfers that aren’t 1:1 if at all possible — I’m looking at you JetBlue.
You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to 3 hotel partners, but this is rarely a good use of your points. One exception to this is transferring Amex points to Choice Privileges for hotel stays in northern Europe but, other than that, stick with the airline partners.
If you’re lucky, Amex might even run a transfer bonus promotion with the airline program you need to use — possibly even a 40% bonus!
If you want some help figuring out the ways to use these points, make sure you check out my series on the best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points by region.
Jumpstart your earning with the welcome bonus
Generally, when I consider getting an Amex card, the welcome bonus is one of the first things I check. I figure if I’m going to give it a spot in my wallet, I’d like a little incentive to give it a chance.
Fortunately, the welcome bonus for the Business Gold Rewards Card generally offers 50,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $5,000 within 3 months of applying. The minimum spend isn’t as low as some personal cards, but it’s comparable to many business cards.
Currently, OMAAT values Membership Rewards points at about 1.7 cents each which means the welcome bonus is easily worth $850 in travel. Of course, if you use Amex’s transfer partners strategically, you can get much more value out of the bonus.
The card comes with a $175 annual fee but it is waived the first year which allows you to decide if the card deserves to be in your wallet without investing more than your day to day spend. As with other Amex cards, this card is restricted by the “once per lifetime” rule so you won’t be able to get the welcome bonus if you’ve received it previously.
3X and 2X bonus categories
Maybe I’m a little over the top with this, but I try to make sure I’m getting more than 1X point per dollar whenever I’m spending money. With the Business Gold Rewards Card, you’ll be able to earn 2X on four categories and 3X on one category — and you even get to choose that category!
What I like about the structure of the bonus categories is that you get to choose which of the five bonus categories will earn you 3X so you can tailor it to your small business spending. These are the five categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
Amex does cap the number of bonus points you can earn in these categories, but you’ll have $100,000 for each so you’ll still be able to earn plenty of points.
Remember my friend I mentioned up top? His 3X category is advertising. Without breaking a sweat, he maxes out the 3X category to earn 300,000 Membership Rewards each calendar year. Nothing but respect for that.
Amex Offers and Do More Business
With this card, you’ll also have access to Amex Offers which can help you save cash or earn extra Membership Rewards points with select merchants. Often, you’ll even find Amex Offers for Hilton and airlines such as Air France and KLM which can make those cash fares a little less painful. And remember, you’re getting bonus points for airfare purchased directly from airlines with the Business Gold Rewards Card!
As of June 1, 2018, Amex dropped the OPEN Savings program for the new “Do More Business” program for its business cards. With the new program, you can get savings of 5-10% at merchants such as Dell, FedEx and more.
Big purchases are no problem
For businesses that need to make large purchases, this is where the Business Gold Rewards Card can really shine. Unlike credit cards from Chase, Citi and other banks, this is a charge card which doesn’t come with a pre-set credit limit.
With no pre-set spending limit, this can allow you to take care of the big purchases necessary for your business. Just make sure you pay off these purchases by the payment due date! You can even use the online Check Spending Power tool to make sure your large purchases are approved.
A 1-2 Amex punch with the Blue Business Plus Card
As I mentioned above, I do my best to earn more than 1X points on my purchases. While the Business Gold Rewards Card has some great bonus categories, it does have some gaps. That’s where the The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express comes into play to create what I like to call the Amex 1-2 punch.
The Blue Business Plus earns 2X on all purchases up to $50,000 in spend per calendar year and, to top it off, it doesn’t have an annual fee. This card has become a staple in my wallet because of this. In fact, if you have any card that earns Membership Rewards points, this card makes a great addition.
If you want to take things to another level and enjoy perks while traveling, you can create a Membership Rewards trifecta by adding either The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Amex Business Platinum.
Both come with a number of perks such as Hilton Gold status and $200 in airline fee credits. Plus, the personal Amex Platinum earns 5X on airfare purchased directly with airlines and the Business Platinum earns 5X on airfare purchased through Amex Travel. Both earn 5X on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel.
Who should consider the Business Gold Rewards Card?
If most of your spend is put toward airfare, this might not be the best card for you as you can earn 3X with plenty of cards or even more with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum. However, if you put a lot of spend toward one of the other bonus categories, earning 3X on those make this card a no-brainer.
Generally, people with great credit haven’t had any trouble getting approved for the Business Gold Rewards Card — or other Amex business cards. Additionally, while Amex usually only allows you to have five credit cards, this is a charge card, and won’t count towards that limit.
Chase card alternatives
If any bank can compete with Amex on the business card front, it’s definitely Chase thanks to three great business card options that earn Ultimate Rewards points. First, let’s look at the obvious alternative — the Ink Business℠ Preferred Credit Card.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you get with the Ink Preferred:
- Welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $5,000 in spend within 3 months
- 3X points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone service, social media and search engine advertising up to $150,000 combined
- Primary rental car coverage
- Cell phone protection against theft or damage
- $95 annual fee (not waived the first year)
Similar to Amex, you can also create a business card 1-2 punch with Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Card or the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. The Ink Business Unlimited earns 1.5X Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases to keep things simple.
The Ink Business Cash has several 5X bonus categories including office supply stores and internet, cable and phone services up to $25,000 in spend per cardmember year. It also earns 2X at gas stations and restaurants limited to $25,000 in spend per cardmember year.
To top it off, both of these cards come with an introductory bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within 3 months.
Look, I totally get why the Business Platinum and Amex Platinum cards get a ton of attention, especially when they come with big 100,000-point welcome bonuses that can help you book some amazing trips.
However, I think the Business Gold Rewards Card deserves a little more attention. It comes with a solid welcome bonus with a manageable minimum spend requirement and some very good bonus categories for business owners.
When you consider the many travel opportunities provided by the transfer partners you have with Membership Rewards and it’s pretty clear why this card deserves your consideration.