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Amex long had one of our favorite business credit cards on the market in the Business Gold Rewards Card, thanks to strong earning rates, a solid welcome bonus and a waived annual fee for the first year. But the past tense in that previous sentence is there for a reason: The Business Gold Rewards Card is no longer accepting applications. Instead, Amex is introducing a new Business Gold Card with improved earning rates, new bonus categories, a variety of value-added perks and an intriguing unique new feature that allows businesses to know they’re always earning the highest rewards in the areas they spend the most.
With the new American Express® Business Gold Card, you’ll automatically earn 4x points on your top two areas of business spending each month from six possible categories — meaning you don’t have to pick just one category for the entire year. You’ll also get new perks like a 25% Pay With Points airfare rebate, along with many of the existing perks of the old Business Gold Rewards. However, it’s not a card for credit card churners, and you’ll also pay more for it annually, so you’ll have to determine if the cost is worth the increased earning rate and benefits for your business.
The Business Gold Card keeps the customizable approach to bonus categories from the old BGR, but takes things one step further by letting you earn 4 points per dollar on your top two select spending categories on a monthly basis, so you no longer have to choose one single category for the entire year. Amex will automatically determine your top two categories of business spend every month by using all posted account transactions that fall into the six categories (listed below). That’s a terrific feature for businesses who don’t want to have to worry about chasing bonus categories or guessing what their spending pattern will look like an entire year in advance.
Even better, the top earning rate for the card is now 4x Membership Rewards points, compared to 3x on the Business Gold Rewards card. Based on TPG’s valuations, earning 4 Amex points per dollar equals a return of 7.6%, which is the highest return of any business card on the market for some of these categories. Another positive: The new Business Gold Card includes US restaurants as a bonus category. This wasn’t available on the BGR, and it’s a great opportunity for companies to rake in points on a wider array of expenses than the more stereotypical business categories of shipping and advertising.
|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|
The annual cap on bonus earnings is $150,000 per year across all categories combined, compared to $100,000 per year per category with the BGR. While it’s a higher cap and a higher top earning rate (4x vs. 3x), you’ll max out at 600,000 Membership Rewards points per year before you drop to an earning rate of 1 point per dollar for all purchases. With the old Business Gold Rewards card, you could theoretically max out at 1,100,000 points before dropping to an earning rate of 1 point per dollar for all purchases. But it’s unlikely that most businesses were able to max out all five categories on the BGR every year, so in some ways, the new Business Gold Card trades unused earning potential for a bonus rewards scheme that lets you accumulate points more quickly and flexibly.
The Amex Business Gold Card will keep a number of the perks from the old BGR card, and adds two new ones as well:
- 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. This is similar to the Business Platinum® Card from American Express, which offers the same perk with a 35% rebate. This is a perk that could come in handy for businesses who don’t want to fuss with searching for award availability, as it means you’ll get 1.33 cents per redeemed point (rather than the standard 1 cent) and can book any flight that’s available for a regular cash price. Plus, flights booked this way are treated as revenue tickets, so you’ll earn both redeemable miles and elite credit on them.
- Automatic Enrollment in Pay Over Time — As a card member, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Pay Over Time, which offers an extended payment option for purchases over $100. You’ll be charged high interest rates, which we don’t recommend, but it could be something to consider for a business that needs extra cash flow. Amex touts this as a great option for businesses who want the flexibility of a traditional credit card, rather than the issuer’s typical charge card model, which requires you to pay off your balance in full each month.
The points-minded among us definitely won’t be fans of this next bit of news, but Amex is clearly leaning away from big welcome bonuses with their new cards in favor of rewarding increased regular spend. The new Business Gold Card isn’t offering a welcome bonus in the form of Membership Rewards for signing up. Instead, new card members will get:
- Up to 1 free year of ZipRecruiter Standard
- Up to 1 free year of G Suite Basic for up to 3 users
Both of these benefits come in the form of statement credits once you make the purchase, so you’ll pay for ZipRecruiter and G Suite Basic on your card and then receive credit for them shortly afterward. Amex values these two perks at up to $3,100, but naturally, your mileage will vary based on how useful these services are to your business.
We’ll be doing deep dives into these two services to give you a better sense of the value proposition they offer, but here’s the quick scoop on each. ZipRecruiter is a tool for posting jobs and finding employees, with features like one-click posting to job boards such as Job.com and Topix, and access to a database of more than 12 million resumes. G Suite Basic includes various collaboration tools like cloud sharing, video conferencing and online document editing. Amex says it leaned heavily on its customers’ feedback and preferences when designing the value proposition of this new card, so non-travel-focused businesses could find complimentary access to these two services worthwhile as a welcome bonus.
The Amex Business Gold Card comes with a higher annual fee — $295 a year versus the old $175 per year — and it’s no longer waived the first year. That’s a hefty increase, and along with the lack of a points-based welcome bonus, it means that folks who would have gotten the old card purely for the bonus and a free first year almost certainly won’t be interested in this new version.
On the other hand, if you’re a business looking for opportunities to increase the points you earn on your ongoing purchases, 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 1.9 cents apiece, a business would only have to spend $3,881 in the 4x categories to earn $295 in points. Many businesses easily have that kind of spending in a single month. Of course, you’d also want to take into account the other cards available to you with similar bonus categories, but depending on your business’ credit card inventory, this card could make sense even with the higher annual fee.
Existing Business Gold Rewards Card Members
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.
Additionally, if you have another Amex business charge card, such as the Business Platinum Card or the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, you can request a conversion to the Business Gold Card.
As the new Business Gold Card is in the same card family as the old BGR, if you have or have had the BGR, you won’t be eligible to earn the ZipRecruiter or G Suite credits on this new card.
The new Business Gold Card introduces a great rate of 4x Membership Rewards points on your top two select spending categories per month, which is a unique feature that gives you much more flexibility than the old Business Gold Rewards card, which locked you into one category for 3x points. Plus, the card offers US restaurants as a bonus category, bringing it in line with the personal American Express® Gold Card and its recently introduced 4x earning rate at US eateries.
The $295 annual fee is a significant jump from $175 on the BGR, and the Business Gold Card isn’t offering a points-based welcome bonus, relying instead on statement credits at two popular business services. But the ability to get a 25% Pay With Points rebate on airfare booked through Amex is pretty significant — previously, Amex only offered this on the Business Platinum and Business Centurion cards, which have significantly higher annual fees.
Overall, Amex is making a firm distinction with this card between the “one and done” churner who wants to grab a quick bonus and then dump the card, and a small business who’s willing to pay to keep a credit card for the long term bonus rewards. For the former, this new card will be a pass. But for the latter, the American Express Business Gold Card is worth a good look.
- 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.*
- Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
- Exclusive Offers: Get up to 1 year free on subscriptions to both G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and ZipRecruiter Standard, a combined value up to $3,188.*
- Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
- Expense Management Tools: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManager℠, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
- Add Employee Cards with a no annual fee option. Earn rewards on employee purchases and track employee expenses with spending limits, alerts, and summary reports.*
- *Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees