Is the AmEx Business Gold Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

This business card makes travel more affordable by both helping you earn points and get point rebates for flights.

Dustin WallerNovember 19, 2020
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Is the American Express® Business Gold Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

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The American Express® Business Gold Card offers rewards that adjust to your spending, plus other benefits that make the card more valuable for some users. So is the American Express® Business Gold Card the right card for you? Here’s a look at some top features of the card, followed by a little analysis weighing your potential rewards against the $295 annual fee. Terms apply.

Bonus categories that adapt to your business

The American Express® Business Gold Card awards you American Express Membership Rewards points for every qualifying purchase. Like many cards, it has bonus categories that pay even more points. But unlike a lot of competitors, the American Express® Business Gold Card’s bonus categories conform to your business’s spending habits. Every billing cycle, you’ll earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on two of the categories you spend the most in. Terms apply. The categories are:

  • Plane tickets purchased directly from airlines.

  • U.S. online, TV, radio and other advertising.

  • U.S. computers, software and other tech from specified providers including Apple and IBM.

  • U.S. gas stations.

  • U.S. restaurants.

  • U.S. purchases for shipping.

All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. Terms apply.

The 4x categories are limited to $150,000 in combined spend in a calendar year. After that, you'll earn 1 point per dollar. Terms apply.

25% back on airline redemptions

When you use Pay With Points to book a qualifying flight through the American Express travel portal, you’ll get 25% of those points rebated to you. Qualifying flights include any flight on the one airline you preselect at the beginning of each year. For all other airlines, you get the 25% rebate on first class and business class seats only. It will take about six to 10 weeks for the rebated points to appear in your account and there’s a cap of 250,000 rebated points each year. Terms apply.

This perk gets you a value of 1.33 cents per point. For example, if you purchased a ticket worth $500, which would cost 50,000 Membership Reward points, your cost would be 37,500 points after the 25% rebate. That comes out to 1.33 cents per point in value.

That’s higher than cards like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offer a 1.25 cent per point value.

Valuable welcome offer

New cardmembers can take advantage of a valuable welcome offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.* Terms Apply. Because Membership Reward points are valued at 1 cent each, this welcome offer is worth $350. But if you redeemed those points for flights that qualify for your 25% rebate, the welcome bonus is worth about $465. Terms apply.

Justifying the annual fee

You’ll easily offset the $295 annual fee by spending at least $7,400 every year in the categories that pay you 4x points. If you take advantage of the 25% points rebate on flights (and the increased 1.33 cents per point value), that break-even point drops to about $5,500 a year spent in 4x categories. Spending $5,500 in 4x bonus spending would get you 22,000 points and those would be worth about $293.

For most businesses, those are easy spending thresholds — especially since the bonus categories conform to your company’s natural spending habits. But if your spending isn’t concentrated in areas that earn you 4x points, you might do better with a card like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which pays 2x points on purchases in every category, up to $50,000, while charging a $0 annual fee. Terms apply.

The bottom line

The American Express® Business Gold Card offers a unique and flexible earning structure that can be very rewarding. With the 25% rebate on airline redemptions and bonus categories based on your natural spending habit, many users will get far more value from this card than they pay in annual fees. Terms apply.

The information related to Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

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