The American Express Business Gold Card is one of the best business cards in the industry. This card is primarily for business owners who have heavy spend in its bonus categories. Business owners who want a charge card instead of a revolving credit card will also like this card.
I originally got this card to earn points on advertising expenses for a short-lived bookkeeping business. After getting my first client, I realized that bookkeeping was not for me. When I closed the business and started Play Your Cards Right, the categories were no longer suitable for me.
Is this business charge card suitable for you?
The Business Gold Card earns 4x Membership Rewards (MR) points on two categories of choice (for the first $150,000 in purchases). It also earns 2x points on the remaining categories and 1x points on all other purchases.
The categories to choose from are:
- Advertising (TV, radio, and online only)
- Select Computing Merchants
- US Gas Stations
- Airfare (booked directly with the airline)
- US Restaurants
This card has an annual fee of $295 (NOT waived the first year). Therefore, you will break even if you spend at least $3,688 in the 4x categories per year.
The Business Gold Card does not currently have a sign-up bonus. Amex compensated by offering a free one-year G Suite Basic membership for up to 3 users and a one-year membership for ZipRecruiter Standard. I personally find these memberships useless as I would rather have points.
Earning points is fantastic, but points earned are useless if you cannot redeem them for anything of value. Amex has multiple options for redemption:
American Express’ 21 transfer partners are this card’s most valuable redemption option. They are the reason why points and miles enthusiasts love the Membership Rewards family of credit cards so much. Amex transfers points at a 1 MR to 1 partner currency ratio unless otherwise noted.
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton (1 MR = 2 Hilton Honors Points)
- Aer Lingus
- Aero Mexico (5 MR = 8 Premier Points)
- Air Canada
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue
- Air Italia Millemiglia
- Asia Miles
- Avianca Lifemiles
- British Airways
- Delta Airlines
- El Al Israel Airlines (50 MR = 1 Matmid Point)
- Etihad Guest
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue (5 MR = 4 TrueBlue Points)
- Nippon Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Your mileage may vary for each partner. But for most partners, you should be able to easily redeem your points for at least 1.5 cents per point (CPP).
Amextravel.com is Amex’s travel website that can be used to book hotels and flights. If you use their website and use points to pay for your flight, Amex will give you back 25% of the points paid for future use.
Gift cards, merchandise, and statement credits are not recommended redemption options. You will earn less than 1 CPP using these options. If cash back or gift cards are what you want, this card is probably not for you.
While the Business Gold Card doesn’t have the benefits of the Business Platinum Card, Amex doesn’t leave card-members empty handed. As a mid-tier travel card, the Business Gold Card includes many great benefits to make life easier when away from home.
After booking a hotel room through amextravel.com and using your Gold card to pay for everything, you will receive a $75 statement credit and a room upgrade. The room upgrade could be worth hundreds of dollars (and possibly justify the card’s annual fee), depending on where you stay.
Most business owners know that programs like QuickBooks are very helpful for your business’ financial organization. As a Gold card-member, you can connect your card to your business’ QuickBooks account. I used this feature when I had my bookkeeping business.
Pay Over Time
This feature enables you to finance larger expenses over time for a high interest rate. Amex automatically enrolls you in this benefit with the Business Gold Card. This is not the case for any of their personal charge cards.
Amex gives you the opportunity to give employees cards. Additional Green Cards have no annual fee. And additional Gold Cards have an annual fee of $50 (waived the first year) for the first one and no annual fee for more.
This benefit covers up to $500 for checked bags and $1,250 for carry-on bags.
You will receive an extra year of warranty on purchases with warranties of 5 years or less.
Amex covers roadside assistance issues up to four times per year if you find yourself stuck on the side of the road. If you don’t have AAA, this benefit could be very powerful.
Secondary Car Rental Insurance
This benefit covers the entire loss, damage, or theft of your car rental after your regular insurance’s policy kicks in.
No Foreign Exchange Fees
You will save 3% on all purchases made outside the United States with the card.
Global Assist Hotline
This benefit is a phone number that you can call if you’re stuck more than 100 miles away from home. Amex will give you access to various emergency services to help you.
If you’re unhappy with a purchase, this benefit helps you get your money back. Amex is the best in the industry in helping cardholders with returns.
Rules & Regulations
This card is subject to Amex’s Once Per Lifetime Rule, which states that you can only receive a sign-up bonus on any card once ever. In this case, I would not apply until there is a decent sign-up bonus.
If the Business Gold Card is not right for you or your business, check out these alternatives:
This card is very simple and very generous. It earns 2x MR points on the first $50,000 spent on the card. That means you can earn up to 100,000 MR points per year.
The Blue Business Plus has no annual fee and it’s a traditional credit card. It also has no public sign-up bonus.
Chase’s top business card is a great alternative to the Business Gold. Ink Business Preferred earns 3x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on general travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and on online advertising purchases. All categories have a limit of $150,000 of spend per year.
This card has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). It also has a huge 80,000-point sign-up bonus. Chase’s largest overall bonus can be yours after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
If you prefer Chase’s travel partners and spend heavily within its categories, this card may be for you.
Capital One Spark Cash
This recently revamped Capital One card earns 2% cash back for all purchases. If cash back is more desirable than points, this card is great.
The Spark Cash’s sign-up bonus comes in 2 parts. You get $500 after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Then you get $1,500 after spending $50,000 total in the first 6 months.
Beware that Capital One pulls all three credit bureaus for personal and business card applications. If you’re not averse to this, the Spark Cash might be for you. Otherwise, caveat emptor.
The American Express Business Gold Card is a great choice for entrepreneurs and business owners who spend heavily within the bonus categories and can use Amex’s travel partners. If you have a medium-sized travel budget and you don’t want major benefits, this card is great.
Because I closed my bookkeeping business, I didn’t have the opportunity to really maximize this card’s benefits and earning structure. However, I got to use it for three months and try it out. In the end, I decided to upgrade to the Business Platinum Card because of its extensive benefits.