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Credit card rewards and benefits are increasingly competitive as banks overhaul products and compete for market share. Right on the heels of announcing the new Amex Gold Card, American Express announced the American Express® Business Gold Card with an increased earning structure and additional perks over the legacy Business Gold Rewards Card.
I’ve held the legacy Business Gold Rewards Card for almost four years thanks to its 3x and 2x earning categories, but now find myself faced with the decision of whether to convert to the new Business Gold Card or hang on to my legacy version. As a reminder, if you already have the the Business Gold Rewards Card, you won’t automatically be converted to the new Business Gold Card. You can either request a conversion, or you can choose to keep your Business Gold Rewards card, even though it’s no longer open for applications.
Also, if you decide to convert your card, remember that you’re not eligible for the Business Gold welcome bonus. Even if you cancel your legacy Business Gold Rewards Card and later apply for the new Business Gold Card, you won’t be eligible for the new card’s welcome offer due to Amex’s once-in-a-lifetime bonus restriction.
Let’s take a look at both cards and compare the bonus spend categories, perks and cost of each card. For each category I’ll deliver a verdict to convert to the new card or keep the legacy card.
Bonus Spend Categories
The new Business Gold Card introduces six different potential 4x bonus spend categories. You’ll be awarded 4x points automatically on the top two select spending categories each month from the below list. With the legacy card, you select a single category to earn 3x rewards on and earn 2x rewards on the remaining four categories. Note the caps on bonus earnings for each card.
|Earning Rate||Business Gold Rewards (Old)||Business Gold Card (New)|
|4x||N/A||4x on your top two spending categories (on up to $150,000 per year) each month from this list:
|3x||3x on the first $100,000 per year in purchases in the category of your choice from this list:
|2x||2x on the first $100,000 per year in each of the 4 remaining categories.||N/A|
|1x||On all other spending||On all other spending|
There are a few ways to dissect this chart to see which bonus structure is better, but the underlying factor is how much your business could spend in any of the bonus categories. It’s fairly unlikely a lot of small businesses would max out the old $100,000 cap of the old card for each category, so the potential 1,100,000 Amex points shouldn’t be an argument to keep the legacy card — at least not across the board.
4x at US restaurants is a solid addition with the new Business Gold Card, as well as the ability to earn 4x points in a second category. I see this structure as something the majority of businesses would earn more points with compared to the legacy card. However, only earning 1 point per dollar on the additional categories is underwhelming. You’d need to analyze your typical monthly spend to see which structure would give your business more rewards.
For me personally, 4x on US gas stations and restaurant purchases puts the new card over the top. I don’t have any other card in my wallet that earns 4x transferable points on restaurant spend. I also don’t spend in the other categories, and airfare goes on The Platinum Card® from American Express to earn 5x instead of 4x.
Verdict: Convert to the new Business Gold Card.
The new Business Gold Card adds two distinct perks over the legacy card:
- 25% Pay with Points Rebate — You’ll get 25% of your points back when you use points at Amex Travel to pay for first or business-class airfare on any airline, or economy-class tickets with an airline you can select each year. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express offers the same perk with a 35% rebate. The benefit means you’ll get 1.33 cents per redeemed point and can book any flight that’s available for a regular cash price on American Express Travel.
- Automatic Enrollment in Pay Over Time — This offers an extended payment option for purchases over $100. You’ll be charged high interest rates, but it’s something to consider for a business that needs extra cash flow.
In my opinion, if you’re going to regularly use the Pay with Points Rebate, you should get a Business Platinum Card and get the 35% rebate as well as all of the other travel benefits available to both personal and business Platinum card holders. The Pay Over Time option is not something I would consider, as paying credit card balances in full each month is a must for me. I don’t see any advantage here with the new Business Gold Card.
Verdict: Keep the legacy Business Gold Rewards Card.
As a rule, all credit card benefit additions come with an increased annual fee. The new Business Gold Card is no exception, with the annual fee increasing 64% from $175 per year to $295 per year, and the first year’s fee for new card holders is no longer waived. As TPG Credit Card Editor Sarah Silbert notes, the 4x rate means it won’t take much in the way of spend to offset that higher annual fee. Since TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, a business would only have to spend $3,688 in the 4x categories to earn $295 in points. Many businesses easily have that kind of spending in a single month.
If your business can make up that spend rather quickly in two of the 4x categories, it makes sense to convert to the new card. But if your spend is spread out across all five of the legacy card categories, I think it makes sense to hold on to the legacy card and continue to earn 3x and 2x points in five different categories without handing over another $125 a year. In my personal situation, I want to earn 4x points on gas and restaurant spend, so paying the $125 extra to earn that back in points rather quickly (requiring $1,563 in spend) makes sense.
Verdict: Convert to new Business Gold Card (but this is highly personal)
In order to make a good decision, you should really look at your larger card portfolio to maximize your rewards and benefits. A business that regularly or semi-regularly travels should probably also consider the Business Platinum Card to earn 5x on airfare booked through Amex Travel, enjoy a 35% Pay With Points rebate and take advantage of all the travel benefits the card offers. This makes the 25% Pay with Points Rebate and potential 4x earnings on airfare with the new Business Gold Card unnecessary, you could stick to earning 3x and 2x points with the legacy Business Gold Rewards Card.
There’s no one-size-fits-all option for converting your legacy card. In my opinion, the new Business Gold Card is not such a leap forward that it’s a no-brainer across the board. I’m sure many businesses could still earn more rewards with a lower annual fee by keeping what they have. But given my own spending habits and my ability to maximize Amex points for huge value, it makes sense to convert to the new card and earn 4x points on gas and restaurants.
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- More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month †
- †4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
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- Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
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