Who Should (and Who Shouldn’t) Get the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card?

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

Sometimes the understudy is a star, too. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express gets all the attention when it comes to premium Amex business cards, but the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express is a fine little performer in and of itself.

In fact, the two cards complement one another, with the Business Platinum card offering all of the high-end benefits you might expect from a card that costs $450 annually, and the Gold card offering premium-tier rewards on a variety of spending categories business owners might find both useful and lucrative. While there’s a very specific kind of business owner who would appreciate the benefits the Business Platinum card has to offer, the Business Gold Rewards card is built to satisfy just about any kind of business owner.

It’s also cheaper to own than the Business Platinum, while still offering a number of perks rarely found on business cards issued by companies other than Amex. With these characteristics in mind, let’s take a look at who should — and who shouldn’t — own the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card.

Key Benefits

The current welcome bonus for the Business Gold Rewards Card is 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. TPG currently values those points at $950, and they transfer to three hotel programs and 17 airlines. While the annual fee is $175, the card is free for the first year.

While the Business Platinum card is highly regarded for its large roster of perks, like an annual $200 airline fee credit, access to Priority Pass and Centurion Lounges and a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application credit once every four years, the Business Gold Rewards Card really shines when it comes to earning rewards. Its flexible program construction allows cardholders to pick their top rewards category based on their own spending.

You’ll 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.

After you choose your top category, you’ll have an opportunity to choose a different category just once a year between December 1 and January 31.

Although Business Gold doesn’t have nearly the number of benefits that the Business Platinum card offers, it does offer a few key perks that may help your business:

Amex Offers — Amex Offers is a program that offers targeted discounts and/or higher earning rates across select merchants.

Damaged Luggage at the Airport
Amex Business Gold offers a generous baggage insurance policy if your luggage is damaged or stolen.

Baggage Insurance — If your luggage is lost, damaged or stolen and you’re a Business Gold Rewards cardholder, you’re eligible for coverage of up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked bags.

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.

Extended warranty — Receive one additional year of warranty service on purchases with warranties of 5 years or less.

The Hotel Collection — Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection.

No preset spending limit — This is a charge card not a credit card, 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.

Premium Roadside Assistance — You’re covered for emergency roadside assistance if your car is suddenly inoperable. American Express actually covers these services up to four times per year (after which you’re on your own). If you aren’t already a AAA member or if you don’t have another way to access support when your car breaks down, carrying this card can be worth its weight in gold.

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.

Who Should Get the Amex Business Gold?

1. Someone Who Has the Business Platinum

If you already have this card, then you’re covered for Priority Pass, Global Entry and 10 free Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes annually. You also are getting 5x points when you purchase airfare or prepaid hotel rooms through Amex Travel, and 1.5x points on purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million extra points per year. Use the Business Gold Rewards Card to fill in the blanks. You’ve now narrowed your choice for the 3x category down to four because you shouldn’t choose airfare as your bonus category. Use the Business Platinum instead.

Photo by Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
If you’re set on getting an Amex card for your employees, the Business Gold card is a cheaper option than the Business Platinum. Photo by Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

2. Businesses That Need Many Employee Cards

While employee cards aren’t free, they’re considerably cheeper with the Business Gold card than the Platinum version. Amex charges a $175 annual fee for the Gold card (waived the first year), and just $50 a year for the first employee card (waived the first year), while every other authorized user added after that is free. The Business Platinum card charges $300 each year for every additional Business Platinum card you ask for. That’s on top of the account holder’s $450 annual fee.

3. Businesses With Modest Travel Budgets

There’s no point in springing for a bunch of fabulous travel perks if you’re not going to use them. It also doesn’t make sense to grab a credit card that primarily offers travel rewards. The Business Gold Rewards Card is built for business owners who have modest or no travel budget or who want to take advantage of spending categories that don’t involve travel. If you have a big budget for ad buys, gas, shipping or computers, this may be your card.

Who Shouldn’t Get the Amex Business Gold?

1. Businesses That Have a Rewards Card With Similar Bonus Categories

If you already have a card that offers good returns on advertising — the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, for example — you may want to take a pass on the Business Gold card. In fact, the Ink Business Preferred offers a slightly better return on advertising spending than the Business Gold, according to TPG’s latest valuations. You’ll see a return of 6% versus 5.7%.

2. Businesses That Primarily Use Chase Business Cards

If you already own one or several cards in the Ink lineup and you’re taking advantage of Ultimate Rewards points — and Chase’s generous travel partners — it may not be worth it to you to add a card that earns rewards in a completely different program. Yes, Membership Rewards are hugely lucrative, but if if you’re a Chase loyalist, you can find a card that approximates what the Business Gold card offers.

3. Businesses That Want a Fixed-Rate Return

You may not have time for tracking category spending or you may not be interested in transferrable points. If that’s the case, know you’re giving up some of your return for the ease of use offered by fixed-return cash-back cards. Still, you’ll be able to earn a modest return of 2% on all spending if you choose a card like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business or the Capital One Spark Miles for Business.

Bottom Line

The Business Gold Rewards Card has a lot going for it from both the rewards and perks perspective. It’s a moderately priced card that may well suit business owners intimidated by the annual fee the premium travel rewards business cards charge. But it also offers the potential for solid rewards on air travel, which may be ideal for the business owner who has travel in his or her budget but wouldn’t be considered a road warrior. It’s also a fairly flexible card that allows you to pick a spending category that matters most to you. You’ll just have to decide if, on balance, the spending categories here are more personally lucrative than you’d find with another card.

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

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