Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
American Express® Business Gold Card overview
The American Express® Business Gold Card is an excellent choice for business owners looking to maximize their earnings from a single card, with 4-point-per-dollar bonus categories that automatically reflect your highest spending areas each month. However, the biggest downside is a relatively high annual fee — with no statement credits to offset it. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Over the past few years, American Express has heavily revamped its card portfolio by adding perks across its premium cards. While the exact changes vary by card, the theme is pretty clear: higher annual fees but also more perks.
The American Express® Business Gold Card certainly meets those criteria, with a $295 annual fee (see rates and fees) and powerful business-friendly bonus categories. There’s great value in the Amex Business Gold Card, but Amex is also clearly targeting a narrower segment of the market with this product.
Let’s have a look at the card’s benefits and drawbacks in this Amex Business Gold review.
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Who is this card for?
While many individuals with side hustles are eligible to apply for business cards, the Amex Business Gold is targeted at larger businesses with significant expenses. There are no statement credits to offset the annual fee, unlike with the personal American Express® Gold Card.
Those considerations aside, the Amex Business Gold’s bonus categories and earning structure will appeal to a wide variety of businesses, as the categories encompass everything from spending at U.S. restaurants to U.S. purchases for advertising and select technology providers. This card is intended to be a one-stop shop that you can swipe for everything, leaving you more mental bandwidth to focus on your business.
New applicants for the Amex Business Gold can earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, making this bonus worth a solid $1,400.
It’s also worth noting that if you’ve ever received a welcome offer for this card or the old Amex Business Gold Rewards Card (what this product used to be called), you won’t be eligible for this offer. However, you will be able to downgrade to this card from any of Amex’s business cards, such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Amex Business Gold also offers several great tools to help you manage your business expenses. You can add up to 99 employee cards at no additional cost (see rates and fees) and earn points on their purchases. You can also easily designate an employee as an account manager, allowing someone other than the primary account holder to be responsible for reviewing statements, adding new employees, and making payments.
Amex also offers a receipt-match feature, which lets you upload receipts from your desktop or mobile, tag and annotate transactions and even sync this data with QuickBooks.
Out of the entire middle-to-upper tier of Amex card offerings, the Amex Business Gold is the only one with a high annual fee and no statement credits. You’ll have to make sure that you’re able to get more than $295 in value from the bonus categories and benefits alone.
One of the unique features of the Amex Business Gold Card is that your bonus categories can shift every month to match your spending patterns. You’ll automatically earn 4 points per dollar in your top two spending categories each month, meaning you don’t have to pick a category and commit to it. If your spending habits fluctuate month to month, Amex will make sure you’re getting the most bonus points possible. The eligible categories are:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines.
- U.S. purchases for online, TV, and radio advertising.
- U.S. purchases for shipping.
- U.S. purchases at gas stations.
- U.S. purchases at restaurants.
- U.S. purchases of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions from select technology providers.
Your 4-point-per-dollar rate, which equates to an 8% return based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, is capped at $150,000 a calendar year across all bonus categories. The card earns 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases — i.e., everything that is not in your top two monthly select spending categories.
If you max out the $150,000 in spending a year, you’ll walk away with 600,000 Membership Rewards points, worth $12,000. This massive earning potential might be enough to encourage businesses to opt for this card, even without the statement credits that customers are coming to expect these days.
This card earns full-fledged Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to any of Amex’s 20-plus airline and hotel partners. With all these options to pick from, you’ll be able to find a transfer partner in any of the three major airline alliances and for many non-alliance airlines as well.
The Amex Business Gold Card offers a Pay with Points redemption bonus when you book your travel through Amex Travel. You’ll earn a 25% rebate when paying with points through your Business Gold Card (up to 250,000 points per calendar year).
You do need to have the full amount of points in your account at the time of booking, but this option will let you lock in a minimum redemption value of 1.33 cents per point. As an added bonus, you’ll earn miles and elite credit on flights booked this way, as Amex books them as revenue tickets. This bonus is valid on business- and first-class tickets with any airline or all cabin classes (including economy) with the airline of your choice.
Which cards compete with the Amex Business Gold Card?
The most obvious competitor to the Amex Business Gold Card is the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. If you’re picking your next business card to top up your points balances, look no further than the sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Ink Preferred (after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening). TPG values that bonus at $2,000, and it shouldn’t be hard for any business to get good value out of those points.
While the Ink “only” offers 3 points per dollar on its business bonus categories (travel; shipping; internet, phone and cable services; and select social media advertising), it offers it on all of them on up to $150,000 a year, instead of only two bonus categories a month. It also has a much lower annual fee of $95.
The other competitor comes from within the Amex family. Despite a higher annual fee of $695 (See rates and fees), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express could be cheaper in the long term, thanks to its up-to-$200 annual airline incidental statement credit and its annual Dell statement credit of up to $400 for eligible U.S. purchases. Enrollment required for select benefits.
While it only has one bonus category (5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel and 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or greater, up to 2 million of these purchases per calendar year), it comes with premium travel perks such as Gold Elite status with Hilton and Marriott and access to Centurion Lounges and other lounges around the world.
If you’re in the market for a card that will enhance your travel experience, the Business Platinum might give you more bang for your buck. Enrollment required for select benefits.
The Amex Business Gold review shows that this card is certainly not for everyone, but this could be a great option for larger companies looking for a no-hassle, one-card strategy that still earns travel rewards.
Much of the mental calculus around this card boils down to how much you’re able to spend on the 4-point-per-dollar bonus categories, and specifically whether you can spend enough to recoup your $295 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Official application link: Amex Business Gold with a 70,000-point welcome offer.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
Additional reporting by Rya Wilcox, Stella Shon and Benji Stawski.