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 FrankelNov 26, 2018

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. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

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

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

  • Bonus categories
  • Transfer partners
  • Luxury perks
  • Bonus categories

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Complicated rewards
  • Spending caps on bonus rewards
  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: Premium perks

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

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

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
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

14.24% - 22.24% Variable APR

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  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 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.

» MORE:

To view rates and fees of the , see .

Card type: .

Annual fee: .

Welcome offer: 

Rewards: Earn 4  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:

American Express Membership Rewards points are generally worth, 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  are classified as either "Pay Over Time" or "Pay In Full":

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other perks: Travel perks and protections including baggage insurance, global assistance, and car rental loss and damage insurance. Terms apply.

» MORE:

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.

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 won't give you that kind of rebate.

» MORE:

If you like personalized rewards categories but are trying to keep costs low, consider the , 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  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.

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 . It earns an unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase. Miles can be redeemed for statement credit against any travel purchase.

The bonus offer on the isn't bad — but it's not as big as one might hope for a card that costs  a year to carry. Chase's  is a business travel card with bonus categories, a lower annual fee and one of the biggest potential bonus offers on any credit card.

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  also falls short. If you don't mind spending money for VIP treatment, look to this card's sibling, . It has an annual fee of 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 (see ). 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.

» MORE:

Seeking more information about business credit cards? Visit NerdWallet’s roundup of the .

The 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 , see . To view rates and fees of , see .

Frequently asked questions