Amex Business Gold Rewards vs. Amex Business Platinum
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American Express has always offered an impressive line of small business credit and charge cards, especially business cards that earn travel rewards. In this post, let’s compare its two top-of-the-line travel cards that come with the most features: The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
Benefits Common to Both Cards
As premium travel rewards cards, both come with many of the same features, including:
- Membership Rewards points earning — MR points can be transferred to miles with 16 different airline programs or to points with three different hotel programs.
- Charge card — These are actually charge cards instead of credit cards, meaning that you’re expected to pay each month’s statement balance in full, but you also have no preset spending limit. However, you can opt in to Amex’s Pay Over Time feature that allows you to extend payment on certain purchases.
- Purchase protection — Your eligible purchases are covered against accidental damage or theft for 90 days (up to $1,000 per occurrence with the Business Gold Rewards card, and $10,000 with the Business Platinum card).
- Extended warranty — Your purchases will receive one additional year of warranty service on purchases with warranties of 5 years or less.
- Baggage insurance — Business Gold cardholders will receive up to $500 worth of insurance for lost or delayed checked bags ($1,250 for carry-ons), while Business Platinum cardholders will receive up to $2,000 for checked bags ($3,000 for carry-ons) when traveling on any common carrier such as aircraft, trains, ships or buses.
- The Hotel Collection — Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection.
- Premium roadside assistance — This benefit will dispatch and pay for emergency automotive services up to four times per year, including changing a flat tire, jump-starting a battery and towing your car up to 10 miles.
- Account manager — While most credit cards only allow the primary cardholder to make inquiries or changes to the account, this service lets you easily designate employees or other individuals who can manage your account with either full or limited access, making it easier to delegate tasks like reviewing statements, adding authorized users, making payments and disputing charges.
- ReceiptMatch — This tool allows you to manage expenses from either your desktop or mobile device by entering receipts, tagging transactions and adding notes to your statements. You can also sync this data with QuickBooks.
- Employee card features — To help you earn rewards from your employees’ spending while mitigating the risk of fraudulent transactions, Amex small business cards allow you to limit the purchases of authorized cardholders and set real-time alerts.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
Current welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Note that you might be able to find a targeted higher offer by using the CardMatch tool.
Benefits: Earn 3x points in one of the following five categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US gas stations (not including supermarkets or warehouse stores)
- US shipping
- US computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers.
Earn 2x points in each of the other four categories. Bonus points are limited to $100,000 in eligible purchases in each category each per year, and you earn 1 point per dollar thereafter. You also earn 2x points on eligible purchases from the American Express Travel website, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. This card now offers a $200 statement credit toward Google G Suite Basic. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.
Annual fee: $175 (waived for the first year)
Authorized user details: $50 fee for up to 99 authorized employee cardholders, which is waived the first year. Also, Green cards can be issued to employees at no additional cost. Note that all employee cards will earn points at the same rate of the primary cardholder; only the cardholder benefits will differ for Green cardholders.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express
Current welcome bonus: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points; earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership and an additional 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 within the first three months.
Benefits: Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases, and:
- 1.5x points on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.
- A 35% points rebate when you redeem your Membership Rewards points to book any first or business-class flight.
- As part of the Global Lounge Collection, you receive complimentary access to over 1,200 airport lounges in three different programs: American Express Centurion lounges (with two guests), Delta Sky Clubs (albeit without free guest privileges and only when flying Delta) and Priority Pass lounges (with two guests).
- Get unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1 million Boingo hotspots.
- 10 complimentary GoGo in-flight internet passes per year.
- Receive a $200 airline fee credit each calendar year
- $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every five years.
- Gold Elite status from Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest (soon to be part of Marriott Rewards).
- Upgraded status from Avis, National and Hertz.
- Access to Amex Concierge
- Complimentary benefits when staying at properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Annual fee: $450
Authorized user details: Additional cardholders cost $300 each, and receive lounge access, another Global Entry credit, an additional 10 GoGo passes and status with SPG, Avis, National and Hertz. There is a $45 annual fee for each employee who receives a Gold card as an authorized user, and no charge for additional Green card users. Note that all employee cards will earn points at the same rate of the primary cardholder, only the cardholder benefits will differ for Gold or Green cardholders.
Which Card Should You Get?
The Business Platinum card’s $450 annual fee can seem intimidating, compared to the Business Gold Rewards Card, which has a significantly lower fee of $175 that’s waived for the first year. But when you factor in the Business Platinum card’s $200 annual airline fee credit, the net annual cost drops down to $250, just $75 more than the Business Gold Rewards card. When you add the $100 Global Entry fee credit (which you can use toward your own membership or toward someone else’s application), you’re looking at $500 of direct savings during your first year in return for the $450 annual fee.
When you consider the Boingo and Gogo Wi-Fi access and this card’s extensive lounge access, you could have enough value to justify the Business Platinum card’s annual fee before you begin to consider the hotel and rental car elite status and the numerous other benefits it offers.
Making the Case for Business Gold Rewards
Would I recommend the Platinum card to all business users? Of course not. The Business Platinum card offers excellent perks, but if you’re not likely to make use of all those benefits, then the Business Gold Rewards card is worth a closer look — and it offers superior earning potential.
For example, if you already have a Priority Pass Select membership with another card, the Business Platinum card only adds Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club lounge access. But you may not often visit airports with Centurion lounges, and if you don’t fly Delta you can’t use the Sky Club.
As for the fee credits, there are plenty of business travelers who never check a bag or need to purchase in-flight food or entertainment, although change fees can be unavoidable. In addition, most savvy business travelers already have Global Entry, so the application fee credit isn’t good for much other than a gift for someone else.
But the best case to be made for the Business Gold Rewards card over the Business Platinum card is with the opportunities for earning bonus points. There are plenty of small business owners who can make use of the 3x and 2x bonus categories, and the $100,000 annual cap (in each category) is pretty generous. If you get anywhere close to maximizing those bonuses, the value of the points you earn will dwarf the $175 annual fee.
Depending on the size and nature of your business, you might even consider getting both cards: the Business Gold Rewards card for spending in bonus categories, and the Business Platinum card for all of its valuable perks. By examining your business needs, you can choose the best combination of cards to maximize your award travel possibilities.
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