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The American Express Business Gold Card is a very interesting small business card. It has tremendous (and innovative) bonus earning potential but it is somewhere between a standard card and a premium card when it comes to its annual fee and benefits.
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the American Express Business Gold Card. I’ll cover the welcome bonuses, bonus categories, and also get into things like travel and purchase protections.
Business Gold Card overview
The American Express Business Gold Card is one of the best points-earning cards available and offers an innovative and flexible bonus category system that makes up for its at times lackluster welcome bonus.
Other perks like a special bonus on points redeemed on air travel help to make this card more attractive but given its high annual fee you want to at least consider other options.
It’s worth pointing out right from the beginning that this is a charge card and not a credit card.
A charge card is a card that is designed to be paid off in full each month while a credit card is designed for you to carry a balance over to the next month if you desire to do so.
Credit cards have clear credit limits but charge cards offer no pre-set spending limits. That doesn’t mean you have an unlimited credit limit, it really just means that your spending limits will be determined based on your spending habits.
If you start spending a lot each month, your preset spending limit will increase rapidly and accordingly. While you are building a higher spending limit, you can check your spending power so that you will know if you are currently capable of making a large purchase.
This type of structure allows for more flexible spending when you need to put substantial expenses on your card, which is great for businesses and high spenders.
You just need to make sure that you don’t spend more than you can pay off.
With that said, it is possible to take advantage of something called Pay Over Time which is an American Express program that allows you to carry a balance on a charge card for purchases that are usually over $100. Sometimes when you enroll in this program you can also receive a special bonus as well but if you would like to learn more about Pay Over Time just click here.
Eligibility (once per lifetime)
Since the Business Gold Card is a charge card, it comes with the standard once per lifetime American Express rule and not any of the credit card rules.
If you don’t already know, the once per lifetime rule states that if you have opened this card before you are not eligible for its welcome bonus again — subject to certain exceptions.
This is one of the Amex cards that comes with targeted offers without the once per lifetime language meaning that sometimes it is possible to get the bonus for this card multiple times.
One great thing about the Business Gold Card is that it will not report to your personal credit report, which means that it will not count towards Chase 5/24!
By the way, if you find credit card application rules time-consuming or confusing be sure to check out the new app WalletFlo which will automate all of your credit card eligibility rules and perform some other very helpful money saving features.
The welcome bonus for the American Express Business Gold Card can come in many forms.
At one point, the Business Gold Card was offering G Suite Basic, a ZipRecruiter membership, and it also at one time offered $500 back for qualifying services with FedEx.
Now, you can actually earn Membership Rewards when you sign up, which makes it much more attractive to the public.
The Membership Rewards offers that you will find can vary but the standard offer you might find is for 35,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $5,000 in the first three months after account opening.
That offer is okay but It’s also possible to find offers of 50,000 Membership Rewards or potentially targeted offers up to 75,000 Membership Rewards.
The 75,000 point offer is one of the best offers you will ever find for a business card so I would definitely jump on that if I were targeted but that is the key: you must be targeted.
Also, those high offers may also come with higher minimum spend requirements, such as spending $10,000. So that’s just something to note.
If you are really trying to earn a lot of Membership Rewards then you might want to look into the American Express Business Platinum Card. That card comes with a much higher bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards although the spend requirement is higher (50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 in three months).
The American Express Business Platinum Card is more of a benefits card that is great for frequent fliers who value having airport lounge access.
Another great business card option for tons of upfront value is the Chase Ink Business Preferred. The Ink Preferred comes with a super valuable 80,000 point bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Utilizing your points for flights
The American Express Business Gold Card has an interesting option when it comes to using your points for flights and I will talk more about that special option below. But generally for maximum value, you will want to transfer your points as discussed below.
The way to get the most value out of your Membership Rewards is to transfer your points out to some of the different transfer partners.
American Express has some of the best airline transfer partners out of any bank program.
I’ve use my Membership Rewards in the past for some truly unforgettable airline experiences and have circled the globe numerous times largely funded by my American Express points.
You can find all of the transfer partners below.
|Airline Program||Ratio (MR to airline)||Airline mile value (est.)||Transfer wait time|
|Cathay Pacific||1:1||1.2||48 Hours|
|Iberia||1:1||1.3||24 to 72 hours|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||1.3||24 to 72 hours|
|Hotel Program||Ratio (MR to partner)||Hotel point value (est.)||Transfer wait time|
It is possible to redeem your points for other uses like a statement credit or for gift cards. But the value that you will get for those redemptions will pale in comparison to the options above.
The bonus categories is where the American Express Business Gold Card becomes a unique card.
The American Express Business Gold Card earns 4X Membership Rewards on the 2 categories where you spent the most each billing cycle.
So you will always be able to optimize your earnings based on your spending patterns. That is a cool feature that I don’t think this card gets enough credit for.
Here are the categories that you are eligible to earn bonus points on:
- 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
You do need to take note that the 4X points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After you max out that limit, you will only be earning one point per dollar spent.
But that is still some crazy valuable earning potential.
You could earn a total of 600,000 points if you maxed out your spending caps. And if you value Membership Rewards at 1.75 cents per point that comes out to $10,500 worth of points. Imagine putting that put back into your wallet/business!
Below I will provide a little bit more detail about the bonus categories so you can have a clear idea as to what types of purchases will trigger the bonus earnings.
Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Charter flights and private jet flights are excluded
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
Advertising is such a huge expense for many businesses and this is a great way to capitalize on those expenses with the following types of advertising:
- NBC National Broadcasting
- CBS Radio
U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
Here is a list of eligible technology providers:
- Sage Software
- Tiger Direct
U.S. purchases at gas stations
- Superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations
U.S. purchases at restaurants
- Unlike the personal Gold Card, the business gold card only earns 4X at restaurants located in the US.
U.S. purchases for shipping
Here are some examples of qualifying vendors:
- United States Postal Service
These categories are pretty similar to the Chase Ink Preferred, which earns 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
25% Airline Bonus
Another unique perk of this card is the 25% airline bonus — Business Gold Card Members will receive 2.5 extra points for every 10 points they redeem.
What does this mean practically?
Basically, when you use your Membership Rewards to book certain flights you will receive a 25% rebate on your points.
This allows you to effectively redeem your points at a rate of 1.33 cents per point which is actually pretty competitive and makes this card attractive for those who want to use their points for air travel. (The Business Platinum Card has a 35% bonus which comes out to 1.54 cents per point.)
As another point of comparison, the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to redeem points at 1.5 cents per point but on all sorts of different travel.
Redeeming your points this way is nice because you don’t have to worry about transferring your points out and finding award availability. It just offers a much more simplified approach to award travel.
The catch is that you can’t get this 25% bonus on all of your flights.
You can only get the 25% rebate for either a First or Business class flight on any airline, or for flights with your selected qualifying airline.
Here some of the airlines you might be able to choose:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
Note: there is a limitation on your rebate as you will only be able to receive up to 250,000 bonus points per calendar year.
The Business Gold Card comes with average purchase protections, all things considered.
The Business Gold Card will add one year on to warranties of five years or less for eligible purchases. This is the standard extended warranty offered across most American Express cards and is one of the most competitive extended warranties offered by any credit card.
The Business Gold Card can provide you with purchase protection up to 90 days after you made your purchase and you will be covered up to $1,000 per item. This is not great purchase protection considering that many premium cards like the Platinum Card offer purchase protection up to $10,000 per item. Therefore I would not rely on this benefit.
You try to return a purchase within 90 days of the purchase, and the store does not except your return, you can get reimbursed for up to $300 per item.
The Business Gold Card does not come with impressive travel protections.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
You can get up to $50,000 per claim with the Business Gold Card. But keep in mind that this protection will be secondary which is a departure from other cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred which will offer you primary rental car insurance which is much more viable.
The difference is that if you have primary rental car coverage you can turn down the rental car company’s offer for coverage and save money and and often avoid submitting a claim with your insurance which also saves you time and money.
Baggage Insurance Plan
If your package is lost or damaged you can get reimbursed up to $500 for checked baggage and $1,250 for carry-ons.
Trip Delay insurance
You can get reimbursed for meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items if your trip is delayed 12 or more hours. Your reimbursement will be limited to $300 per trip.
Once again, you can find premium cards offering trip delay insurance that kicks in after six hours so this coverage is not that great. Also, you can find reimbursement limits that are higher than $300, usually around $500.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
This card does not offer trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance.
American Express Business App
With the American Express Business App you can keep close tabs on all of your business expenses. It allows you to do things like add photos of your receipts and and put special notes regarding your purchases.
The Year-End Summary provides you with an overview of all of your spending for the year which is great for record keeping.
The annual fee is $295 for this card.
That sort of puts this card in a bit of a no man’s land as it isn’t quite as expensive as a premium card but still definitely much more expensive than a standard card.
As shown above though, if you are able to capitalize on the bonus earnings, you could be earning thousands and thousands of dollars worth of points so it could be extremely easy to cancel out this annual fee with your bonus earnings alone.
I actually am a huge fan of this card if you can utilize the bonus earning potential. If you are not able to catch this card with a high welcome bonus of 50,000 points or more, then you really need to make sure you are going to be putting a lot of spend on it to justify the annual fee.
I would still give the Chase Ink Business Preferred a very close look if I were interested in this card since it has a much lower annual fee but still earns fantastic rewards and comes with a great welcome bonus.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.