Link: Apply now for the American Express® Business Gold Card
In the past several years, credit card issuers have become significantly more competitive when it comes to small business cards.
While many people may be familiar with the American Express® Gold Card (review), there’s a business version of the card that’s also quite rewarding, and which I’d argue is one of the best business cards out there.
In this post, I wanted to take a look at that card, which is the American Express® Business Gold Card. The card recently underwent a refresh, so I wanted to cover all the details of the card to reflect these changes.
In this post:
Amex Business Gold Card Basics For December 2023
For businesses looking to earn Membership Rewards points, the Amex Business Gold Card could prove to be the card for you, given that it earns up to 4x Membership Rewards points for spending in certain categories. While the card has a significant annual fee, the points you earn and the benefits you receive will in many cases more than offset that.
Earn 70,000 Amex Points
The Amex Business Gold Card is offering 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 within the first three months. Personally, I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me those 70,000 points are worth $1,190.
Be aware of Amex’s general restrictions on applying for cards, including the “once in a lifetime rule.” That means you’re not eligible for the bonus on the card if you’ve already had this card, though you are potentially eligible for the bonus if you’ve had other Amex cards.
The Amex Business Gold Card has an annual fee of $295 ($375 if application is received on or after 2/1/24) (Rates & Fees). You can add additional cardmembers to your account at no extra cost. This is one of the higher annual fee business cards out there, but fortunately the card offers some perks that will help offset that.
Earning Points With The Amex Business Gold Card
One of the primary reasons you may want to consider the Amex Business Gold Card (other than the great welcome offer) is because of the bonus categories that it offers on purchases. The card offers up to 4x points, though the way in which these bonus points are awarded is pretty nuanced.
4x Amex Points In Select Categories
Amex takes an interesting approach to offering bonus points with the Amex Business Gold, because the categories in which you earn 4x points adjusts along with your spending every billing cycle.
Each billing cycle you earn 4x Membership Rewards points in the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle. There are a total of six eligible categories to choose from. Note that you earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these categories each calendar year, and then 1x points thereafter. Categories eligible for 4x points include::
- Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
- U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
- Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
Based on my valuation of Membership Rewards points, that’s the equivalent of a 6.8% return on spending in those categories, which is incredible.
What Qualifies For Card Bonus Categories?
How does Amex define the bonus categories on the Amex Business Gold? Here are some general guidelines to be aware of:
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing includes Apple, CDW, Dell, HP, IBM, Intuit, Lenovo, Microsoft, Newegg, Oracle, Rackspace, Sage Software, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and Tiger Direct
- U.S. advertising in select media includes Google, Facebook, Yahoo, NBC National Broadcasting, and CBS Radio
- U.S. wireless service providers include monthly charges from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more, and it doesn’t include purchases for hardware, bundled services, VoIP services, and purchases from resellers or third party sellers
$150,000 Bonus Limit
The Amex Business Gold Card limits you to earning 4x points on a total of $150,000 of spending every calendar year. That’s across all the bonus categories, and it doesn’t matter how it’s split up. There’s no limit to the total number of points you can earn with the card, though there is a limit to the 4x points categories.
1x Points On Other Purchases
For categories in which you can’t earn 4x points, the Amex Business Gold Card offers 1x points per dollar spent. There are generally going to be better cards for everyday spending.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Amex Business Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), so you can use it for purchases globally. Just keep in mind that some of the 4x point categories are restricted to U.S. purchases.
Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards Points
These points can efficiently be transferred to airline and hotel partners, and for having the Amex Business Gold Card you also get a special rate at which you can redeem points toward the cost of airfare.
Transfer Amex Points To Airline & Hotel Partners
The best way to redeem your Amex points is to transfer them to one of the Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners. Points can be transferred to the below 20 partners, including 17 airline partners and three hotel partners.
Aeromexico Club Premier
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
The reason this represents such a good deal is that you can get outsized value toward first and business class travel. These tickets are often super expensive if paying cash, while they can be a good deal on points. On top of that Amex often has transfer bonuses, which can get you even better value.
Redeem Amex Points Toward Airfare
Ordinarily, you can redeem Membership Rewards points for about a cent each toward the cost of an airfare purchase, which isn’t that great. However, if you have the Amex Business Gold Card you can redeem points at a special rate.
If you book your flight through American Express Travel using the Membership Rewards Pay with Points feature, you get 25% of those points back:
- You need to either be booking a first or business class flight, or book any cabin on your selected qualifying airline
- You can get up to 250,000 points back per year using this redemption method
That means you’re looking at getting up to ~1.33 cents of value per point using this redemption option, which is quite good. That’s another advantage of having the Amex Business Gold Card.
Note that with the recent refresh of the card, this benefit will be eliminated as of January 31, 2024. So if you want to redeem points this way, you’ll want to do so sooner rather than later.
How Not To Redeem Amex Points
While you can redeem Membership Rewards points toward the cost of merchandise, toward gift cards, or to pay off your statement, these aren’t good uses of your points. You’ll typically get less than one cent of value per point, so that’s not how I’d redeem them.
Amex Business Gold Card Benefits
The Amex Business Gold Card offers several benefits that cardmembers may find useful, though do the benefits justify the annual fee? Let’s take a closer look.
Up To $240 Flexible Business Credit Annually
To help offset the annual fee, the Amex Business Gold Card offers up to $240 back annually for eligible purchases with FedEx, Grubhub, and office supply stores. This comes in the form of up to $20 per month in statement credits toward eligible purchases. Enrollment is required for this perk, and for many, this will be worth face value. I’d say that it’s easy enough to spend $20 per month in any of those three categories.
Up To $155 Back For Walmart+ Membership Annually
The Amex Business Gold Card offers up to $155 in annual Walmart+ credits, with enrollment being required. The way this works, receive a $12.95 monthly credit toward a Walmart+ membership, which covers the entire cost of it. Walmart+ can save you money on shipping and delivery of Walmart purchases, as well as on prescriptions and gas. You need to enroll for the Walmart+ benefit.
One of the great features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings or bonus points on purchases with all kinds of retailers. The more Amex cards you have, the more offers you’ll have access to.
Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.
For having the American Express Business Gold Card you get a ShopRunner membership, which gets you free two-day shipping on eligible items at a network of 100+ online stores. You just have to enroll in your complimentary membership and can then start taking advantage of it.
The Hotel Collection
For staying two or more nights at select luxury hotels you can receive extra benefits through The Hotel Collection. Benefits include a $100 hotel credit and a room upgrade if available. This is different than Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which requires having a Platinum Card.
Is The Amex Business Gold Card Worth It?
I tend to think that the Amex Business Gold Card is a pretty polarizing card. Either it’s absolutely a no-brainer for your business, or there are probably better cards out there.
Personally, I think it makes sense to get the Amex Business Gold Card if you have a business that spends a significant amount in the categories that are eligible for 4x points, since there are some unique categories there where not many other cards offer bonuses.
If you spend quite a bit in any of those categories, then it should be easy enough to justify the annual fee on the card, especially when taking advantage of the up to $395 in credits offered by the card annually.
There are other good cards to consider as well, though.
Tip: Complement With Amex Blue Business Plus
If I could get just one Amex business card it would be The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review), which offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year (1x after that). This is a no annual fee card (Rates & Fees) that should be a no-brainer for just about anyone.
This is a great complement to the Business Gold Card:
- You can earn 2x points on non-bonused spending with the Blue Business Plus
- You can earn 4x points in bonus categories with the Business Gold
Showdown: Amex Business Gold Vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred
One of the best business credit cards out there is the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review). The card has a bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $8,000 within three months, a reasonable $95 annual fee, offers 3x points in useful categories, has a great cell phone protection plan and rental car coverage, and more.
Personally, I think the Ink Preferred is a more well-rounded card with a more reasonable annual fee. If I could only get one card, I would get the Ink Preferred.
However, for some businesses, it could make sense to get both cards, or if you’re already in the Amex card ecosystem, then there’s value in continuing to earn Membership Rewards points.
Showdown: Amex Business Gold Vs. Venture X Business
I’d argue that the Capital One Venture X Business (review) (Rates & Fees) is another card that’s quite a competitor to the Amex Business Gold Card, given how lucrative it is. The card also offers a massive bonus of 150,000 miles after spending $30,000 within three months.
The card offers 2x miles per dollar spent with no foreign transaction fees. While the card has a $395 annual fee, that’s easy to justify thanks to the $300 annual Capital One Travel credit, 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, and much more. Capital One miles can also be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel partners.
The Amex Business Gold Card is one of American Express’ best business cards for earning Membership Rewards points. The card has a steep annual fee, so it’s best for those who can maximize the bonus categories. It’s easy enough to help offset the annual fee by using the up to $395 in annual credits offered by the card.
If you’d benefit from the 4x points categories, the welcome offer, and the ongoing credits, then I think the card is definitely worth it. Otherwise, I think the Ink Business Preferred Card or Capital One Venture X Business are the two most lucrative business cards in general.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).