AmEx Business Gold Review: Bonus Rewards Change With You

The card automatically earns 4X points in categories where you spend the most. But the annual fee is hefty.

Robin Saks FrankelOctober 15, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: 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.

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$295

Regular APR

14.24% - 22.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Premium perks

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

With an annual fee of $595, this card isn't for budget travelers. It's for those who prefer VIP treatment and are willing to pay for it. You get terrific airport lounge access, hotel benefits, valuable credits and more.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$295

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$595

Regular APR

14.24% - 22.24% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 20.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

N/A

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

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

Card type: Small business.

Annual fee: $295.

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.

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.

Airlines:

  • Aer Lingus.

  • AeroMexico.

  • Air Canada.

  • Air France/ KLM.

  • Alitalia.

  • ANA.

  • Avianca.

  • British Airways.

  • Cathay Pacific.

  • Delta Air Lines.

  • El Al Israel Airlines.

  • Emirates.

  • Etihad Airways.

  • Hawaiian Airlines.

  • Iberia Plus.

  • JetBlue Airways.

  • Qantas.

  • Singapore Airlines.

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Hotels:

  • Choice Hotels.

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

For transfer ratios, see AmEx's website.

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, just like purchases on a regular credit card. If you have this option activated, purchases of $100 or more are automatically classified as Pay Over Time. The ongoing APR is 14.24% - 22.24% 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 of less than $100 are Pay In Full, as are any purchases over your Pay Over Time balance limit. 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 1 point per $1 spent 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 credit 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 $595 and earns 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (that's an extra half-point per dollar, for up to 1 million additional points per year) and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible spending. Terms apply. The card comes with such goodies as access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, a $200 annual credit for incidental airline fees and credit for the TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee. Terms apply.

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.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

Comments

NerdWallet reviews are the result of independent research by our editorial team while cardholder reviews are contributions from independent users not affiliated with NerdWallet. Banks, issuers and credit card companies are not responsible for any content posted on the NerdWallet site, nor do they endorse or guarantee any posted comments or reviews.

Write a review

Read Our Posting Guidelines
user avatar
Overall Rating:
Select your rating
undefined reviews

Some of the reviews on the NerdWallet site were purchased through a third party provider. Users who post a review directly on the NerdWallet site will not be compensated in any way. Please see our Terms of Use and Posting Guidelines for more information.