Bonus rewards categories that automatically sync to expenses makes this a potentially powerful card, although you'll have to spend a lot to make up for the fee.
Pros & Cons
Has annual fee
Spending caps on bonus rewards
Requires good/excellent credit
Compare to Other Cards
14.99%-22.99% Variable APR
16.24%-21.24% Variable APR
14.99%-22.99% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
The American Express® Business Gold Card tries hard to be a helpful companion for entrepreneurs whose spending patterns can vary widely from month to month, but there are other options that offer a similar rewards structure without the hefty annual fee.
The card automatically earns elevated rewards in the two categories (from a list of six) where you spend the most money each month. There's no need to opt in or choose your categories, which is a nice break from cards that require more active management.
But the annual fee of $295 is steep when compared with alternatives. And if your spending doesn't align with the six areas that are eligible for those bonus rewards, you're better off with a different option.
Key features of the American Express® Business Gold Card
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, see this page.
Card type: Small business.
Annual fee: $295.
Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Rewards: Earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar in the two categories from the list below where your business spends the most each billing cycle. The 4X rewards apply to the first $150,000 in combined spending per year from these two categories. Other spending earns 1 point per dollar. Terms apply. The categories:
Airfare purchased directly from airlines.
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio).
U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions.
U.S. purchases at gas stations.
U.S. purchases at restaurants.
U.S. purchases for shipping.
American Express Membership Rewards points are generally worth 0.5 cent to 1 cent apiece, depending on how you redeem them. Travel and gift card redemptions are generally the most valuable. Points are also transferable and can be worth even more if redeemed strategically after being transferred to other loyalty programs.
Interest rate: Purchases made with the American Express® Business Gold Card are classified as either "Pay Over Time" or "Pay In Full":
Pay Over Time: This is an optional feature that allows you to carry a balance from one month to the next. If you have this option activated, purchases are automatically classified as Pay Over Time. The ongoing APR is 14.99%-22.99% Variable APR. Although the American Express® Business Gold Card does not have a preset spending limit, it does impose a limit on your Pay Over Time balance; any purchases above that limit become Pay In Full. Terms apply.
Pay In Full: These purchases must be paid off completely each month, so they do not incur interest. All purchases over your Pay Over Time balance limit are Pay In Full. If you choose not to use Pay Over Time, then all purchases are Pay In Full. Terms apply.
Foreign transaction fee: None.
Other perks: Travel perks and protections including baggage insurance, global assistance, and car rental loss and damage insurance. Terms apply.
Why you might want the American Express® Business Gold Card
Generous and effortless rewards
If you spend a lot in some of the six categories eligible for elevated rewards, this card can offer fantastic rewards. The operative term, however, is "a lot." Assuming you get 1 cent worth of value for each point, you'll have to earn 4X rewards on $7,375 worth of spending each year before you break even on the annual fee.
The rewards are also fairly straightforward. Unlike with some cards with changeable bonus rewards categories, you don't have to opt in to the categories, go online to switch them or keep track of where you're spending the most. It's automatic.
Potential air-travel points bonus
Use Membership Rewards Pay with Points to book a flight with American Express Travel, and you'll get 25% of those points back, up to 250,000 points per calendar year. Terms apply. Even the best airline cards won't give you that kind of rebate.
Why you might want a different card
High annual fee
If you like personalized rewards categories but are trying to keep costs low, consider the U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card, which earns 2 points per $1 spent on purchases made in the top two categories where your business spends the most, plus 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Travel Rewards Center and 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases. It has a significantly lower annual fee. Or, if you're dead-set against an annual fee, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card from Chase could be an option. It, too, offers bonus rewards in common business spending categories, although those categories don't change based on your spending.
Spending might not be a match
It doesn't matter how generous a card's bonus categories are if they aren't in areas where you spend. If you're just seeking an all-around, easy-to-use travel credit card that rewards you on every purchase for a comparatively low annual fee, consider the Capital One Spark Miles for Business. It earns an unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase. Miles can be redeemed for statement credit against any travel purchase.
Middling bonus offer for the price
The bonus offer on the American Express® Business Gold Card isn't bad — but it's not as big as one might hope for a card that costs $295 a year to carry. Chase's Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a business travel card with bonus categories, a lower annual fee and one of the biggest potential bonus offers on any credit card.
A lack of premium travel perks
When the fee on a card tops $100, you start looking for premium perks like airport lounge access, automatic travel credits or reimbursements. Here, the American Express® Business Gold Card also falls short. If you don't mind spending money for VIP treatment, look to this card's sibling, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. It has an annual fee of $695 and earns 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5 points per dollar on certain business categories (such as electronics and software) and all eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that's an extra half-point per dollar, for up to 2 million additional points per year) and 1 point for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases. Terms apply (see rates and fees). The card comes with such goodies as access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, a $200 annual credit for incidental airline fees and a fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. Terms apply.
Seeking more information about business credit cards? Visit NerdWallet’s roundup of the best credit cards to have.
Is the American Express® Business Gold Card right for you?
The American Express® Business Gold Card could be a points-earning bonanza for the right high-spending entrepreneur, with rewards categories automatically tailored to company expenses. But there are other business cards that offer bonus rewards categories or even customization for lower annual fees.
NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.