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Good points for common expense categories: American Express Business Gold Card Review

Nov. 15, 2019
10 min read
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American Express® Business Gold Card Overview

The American Express® Business Gold Card was recently refreshed to meet the needs of modern small-business owners: With bonus categories that respond to your business’ purchasing patterns and a flexible rewards currency that boasts more airline partners than any other bank, this card has a lot to offer. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Who is this card for?

The Business Gold Card is designed for small business. It offers rewards tailored to the needs of your business through a hefty 4x Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent in your top two out of six common business expense categories: airfare, advertising, gas stations, restaurants, shipping and technology purchased from select vendors. Amex will automatically award 4x points to the two categories in which you spend the most each statement cycle, so the card adapts its rewards structure to your business’ needs. If your business spending fits neatly into a couple of these categories, this card can offer serious rewards in exchange for its $295 annual fee (see rates and fees).

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.)

You might consider the card’s premium sibling, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, but you need to first decide if you’re likely to use all of that card's advanced travel benefits which come with the much higher $595 ($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022) annual fee (see rates and fees). If the Platinum card is not for you — or if you’re just starting out and aren’t sure — get the Business Gold; you can always sign up for the Business Platinum later (and likely get a separate welcome offer).

Related reading: Amex Business Gold vs. Amex Business Platinum

Welcome offer: As much as $700 in value

With the Business Gold Card, you’ll earn 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership. This isn’t the highest bonus we’ve seen for this card, but it will give you a solid Membership Rewards balance to build on by earning points in the card’s lucrative bonus categories.

hawaii oahu haiku stairs (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/ The Points Guy)
Use the welcome bonus from your new Amex card to go to Hawaii or somewhere else on your travel wish list. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/ The Points Guy.)

Based on TPG’s most recent point valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece, which means those 35,000 bonus points can get you $700 in travel if your travel plans are flexible and you can maximize the points by transferring them to travel partners.

Main benefits and perks

Business Gold cardholders enjoy purchase protection of up to $1,000 per claim and $50,000 per account (capped at $500 per claim for natural disasters), and extended warranty protection that provides an additional year of coverage on eligible purchases with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years of less.

Although this card includes air travel as a bonus category, the travel benefits it conveys are somewhat limited. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the Business Gold Card will offer $300 per ticket in trip delay insurance if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours for a covered reason. It also features the Amex Baggage Insurance Plan, which covers lost, damaged, or stolen luggage up to $500 per person per checked bag and $1,250 per carry-on. If you use the card to rent a car, it offers secondary rental car insurance, which means you’re covered if your rental car gets damaged (though you have to first look to your personal auto policy or other primary coverages before the card’s coverage kicks in). Frankly, you’ll find better travel protections on other personal and business cards, including some with lower annual fees.

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Cardmembers also have access to the Hotel Collection, which offers a $100 on-site credit at select properties when you book a stay of two nights or longer through Amex Travel. When you’re traveling internationally, the Business Gold Card has no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees), and any time you find yourself in a tough spot, the Amex Global Assist Hotline is available to help.

How to earn points

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
Earn Amex Membership Rewards points through spending at U.S. restaurants. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy.)

Earning points with the Business Gold Card may seem confusing at first, but American Express has designed this card to tailor its rewards to your business. You’ll earn 4x points per dollar spent — an 8% return based on TPG’s valuations — on your first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year from two of the following six categories, namely the ones in which your company spent the most each billing cycle:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping

American Express will automatically calculate which categories you spend the most in each month to award your 4x points. You earn 1x on all other purchases and on purchases in these categories beyond the $150,000 cap with no limit on how many points you can earn.

How to redeem points

When you’re ready to redeem the points you’ve earned with the Business Gold Card, you have several options.

First, you can redeem your points for purchases through Amazon or other online retailers on your bill, exchange them for gift cards or for cash, but these options all significantly devalue your hard-earned points to 1 cent per point or less and we strongly recommend against these uses.

The most lucrative way to redeem points is to transfer them to one of Amex’s whopping 22 partner airlines or hotels. This usage may take some research, but a little work can help increase the value of your points even beyond the TPG valuation. Regardless of whether you want to fly on Oneworld, Star Alliance or SkyTeam airlines — or stay at Hilton, Choice or Marriott hotels— there are many sweet spots waiting to be unlocked with your Amex Membership Rewards points.

(Photo by Wallace Cotton/The Points Guy)
You can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to Asia Miles and book a business-class ticket with Cathay Pacific. (Photo by Wallace Cotton/The Points Guy.)

Want the easiest redemption option that still offers a solid value? If you redeem your points via American Express Travel Pay with Points, they’re worth about 1.33 cents per point toward first- and business-class flights on any airline as well as on economy-class flights on your selected airline because of the 25% Pay with Points rebate. In addition to offering more flexibility to book flights without capacity restrictions, you’ll also earn airline miles on tickets booked this way as if you’d paid cash for them.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for transfer bonuses, which Amex offers fairly regularly. Recently we’ve seen a 40% bonus for transfers to British Airways Avios and a 30% bonus for transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Those loyalty pograms, in turn, can help you score incredibly cheap premium cabin awards on Delta and ANA.

Related reading: Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points for maximum value

Fun facts about the Amex Business Gold Card

It plays well with other American Express cards. The Business Gold card is a solid card by itself and it works even better when combined with other American Express cards. In particular, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great partner, since it earns 2x points on all categories of purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year; then 1x — with no annual fee (see rates and fees). You can also combine the points earned from this card with other personal and business cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

Employee cards are free if you want to add one. If you want to add an employee as an authorized user, you can do so for free. Just remember you’ll be responsible for any charges made on your account.

Amex offers an app just for business cardholders. Having a Business Gold Card gets you access to Amex’s exclusive American Express Business App, which offers easy-to-use expense management features for you and your employees like receipt tracking and employee card management.

You get access to Amex Offers. Having the Business Gold Card gives you access to Amex Offers, where you can earn cash back and bonus Membership Rewards points at select merchants. Depending on which offers you’re targeted for, it’s possible to earn back a significant portion of the card’s annual fee.

It’s a metal card. The shiny gold card features the iconic Amex Centurion design, and the loud “thump” it makes when you put it on the table never gets old.

Bottom line

The Business Gold Card isn’t right for everyone, but if your business expenses fall into one or two of the card’s bonus categories, it can help you earn a ton of Membership Rewards points on purchases that might not qualify for bonus points on other cards. When paired with the Blue Business Plus, you’ve got a real powerhouse duo for your business expenses, with the ability to earn 2x-4x points on all purchases.

For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, please click here

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card, please click here

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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