About American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express Business Gold from OPEN is a credit card with several business-friendly features including the ability to connect your account to QuickBooks and to choose certain rewards categories.
Aside from this the card has a sizeable introductory offer as well as a few other perks that make it, according to many experts, one of the leading business credit cards with an annual fee under $200.
However, experts don’t know you. They don’t know your situation.
So, while it’s nice to hear how great a card is, it’s even better to dig into the details of the card’s benefits, its rates and fees, as well as public opinion about the card. We’ll also cover how much your Membership Rewards are worth.
We’ve done that research on your behalf. In the next few minutes, we’re going to cover each of those topics using our credit-card expertise and a good, hard look at the AmEx Business Gold’s fine print.
By the end of this review, you’ll have a pretty clear picture of what the Business Gold offers and in which ways it may – or may not – be a good fit for you.
The American Express Business Gold’s Business Benefits
As we mentioned at the outset of this review, the AmEx Business Gold has several business-related benefits that allow this card to carry the name “Business”.
Pick You Rewards Category
This particular AmEx business card is what’s known as a “rewards” card, which means you get a certain amount of American Express Membership Rewards points with nearly every purchase you make.
Those points can be used to book travel through AmEx travel partners (Delta, Starwood Preferred Guest, etc.), convert into cash and shop or buy gift cards.
How do you earn those rewards points? By using your Business Gold card to buy things and, depending on what you buy, you can earn two or three times the normal point-per-dollar rewards rate.
The Bonus Categories
Most credit cards tell you which kind of purchases get 3% rewards, but the AmEx Gold allows you to choose between the following categories:
- Airfare bought from the airline
- Advertising in “select media”
- Computer hardware, software and cloud computing
These categories give you some great choices for business-related travel or purchases. For example, some companies like to use their AmEx Business Gold to pay for their shipping. Others like The Points Guy use their card to pay for Facebook advertising.
Whichever category you choose, you need to remember that, aside from airfare, the transactions have to be U.S. purchases.
Gas purchases made at supermarkets, superstores or warehouse clubs aren’t eligible for the bonus rewards.
Also, you’ll only get rewards on your cloud computing payments if they’re made to specific providers.
Here is a list of those providers, given to us via AmEx’s rewards fine print:
- Sage Software
- Tiger Direct
When you choose the category you want, all other categories will be designated as 2% rewards categories. Any purchases outside of what we listed will earn 1% rewards.
According to American Express, bonus rewards are capped at $100,000 in spending in each of the bonus categories. Once you spend $100K, your rewards rate will go down to 1%.
Connect to QuickBooks
Business Gold cardholders can connect their AmEx account to their QuickBooks software, but to do so, you’ll have to enroll in AmEx’s ReceiptMatch program.
ReceiptMatch is a tool American Express created to make life easier for business owners. Basically, it’s an app that you use to take photos of business receipts.
As long as the business name, transaction amount and date are visible, you can upload the receipt into your app and match it with the corresponding transaction in QuickBooks.
When you use your Business Gold card at certain merchants, American Express will give you a 5% discount on your purchase or two Membership Rewards per dollar spent.
Here’s a list of some of the merchants who participate in the program:
- FedEx Express, Freight, Ground and Office
- Barnes & Noble
Employee Cards and Account Manager Access
American Express gives you the ability to provide employee cards and set spending limits for those cards. As the business owner, you’re able to grant yourself access to the AmEx business account.
Also, you can ask American Express to send you alerts when employees make purchases with their cards.
The American Express Business Gold Card’s Rates and Fees
Most credit cards will charge you an interest rate (APR) if you don’t pay off your balance in full every month. Most American Express credit cards, including the Business Gold, are what’s known as “charge cards”.
You have to pay these cards off in full every month, but you can spend just about as much as you need to – there’s no credit limit.
However, if you carry a balance after a month, you have to work out a payment plan with American Express in order to pay off your debt. This option, called Pay Over Time, has interest rates starting at 18.99% and higher.
You can expect to pay one of two fees if you pay late: $38 or 2.99% of the outstanding balance. Basically, if you’re outstanding balance is more than $1,300, you’ll pay the 2.99% penalty.
The card has an annual fee of $175, but that fee is waived the first year you own this card.
Reviews of the American Express Business Gold Credit Card
The AmEx Business Gold gets above average reviews from many of the credit-card rating sites outside of HighYa.
Here’s a trio of scores we found:
- ValuePenguin: 89 out of 100
- Get.com: 4.3 stars
- Credit Donkey: 4.2 stars
- Upgraded Points: 4.5 stars
The general sentiment from these various sites is that the AmEx Business Gold presents some decent value if you can spend enough money each year to get rewards that will balance out the card’s $175 annual fee.
Many of the reviewers we read pointed out that the Chase Ink Business Preferred card offers some pretty decent benefits compared to the AmEx Business Gold. It’s a good observation – the Chase card gives 3x points on the following purchases:
- Ad purchases for social media and search engines
Credit Donkey summed up the card nicely when they wrote, "The card provides great benefits and business solutions, but won’t pay off unless your company earns enough rewards from annual spending to come out ahead of the high annual fee."
The Value of the American Express Business Gold’s 30K Membership Rewards Points
When you’re dealing with a credit card that gives you points for the issuer’s loyalty program, it’s important to know how much those points are actually worth.
For example, the points you get with the Chase Ink Business Preferred card can be transferred to several airline and hotel partners like United, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott and IHG.
Many travel rewards websites have hailed the Membership Rewards program as the best on the market, but we think the “best” travel rewards card is the one that fits your needs.
If you love to travel internationally, you have 17 different airlines that will accept your Membership Rewards points and convert them into frequent flyer miles. You also can transfer your points to three hotel loyalty programs: Choice Privileges, Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest.
However, your points conversion from Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest is pretty bad: only .33 SPG points per Membership Rewards point.
Now, you can convert your Membership Rewards points to cash by applying them to certain purchases on your statement, but the redemption rate is 0.6 cents per point, which is 40% lower than the usual 1 cent per point you get with cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
Our Final Thoughts About the American Express Business Gold Credit Card
As a business owner, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to maximize the value you get from your business credit card. It’s a philosophy that’s pretty much become the standard for entrepreneurs and consumers alike.
Pros of the AmEx Business Gold
We definitely like that AmEx gives you the ability to choose your 3x bonus category. The annual limit on spending is pretty generous -- $100,000 – which means you could potentially earn 300,000 rewards points from your bonus category and 800,000 points from the other four 2x rewards categories.
If you have the spending power, then 1.1 million Membership Rewards points per year is absolutely fantastic.
We also like how your membership with AmEx gives you 17 different airline partners to which you can transfer your points. But, remember that these points are only as valuable as the point values of the flights leaving from your airport.
Another perk to this card is that you get the extra employee cards, can set spending limits and be alerted whenever an employee card is being used.
The final thing we like about this card is that AmEx waives the $175 annual fee the first year.
Cons of the AmEx business Gold
While we think that the Business Gold’s “Pick Your 3x Category” is a nice perk, it doesn’t quite stack up to the freedom you have of getting 3x points on travel, shipping and more with the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
That being said, Chase caps the bonus at $150,000 in combined purchases across all categories, which limits your total earning to 450,000 points.
We also believe that the AmEx Business Gold’s annual fee is high, but only if your business doesn’t have a lot of spending power.
For example, if you’re a sole proprietor of a copywriting business and your monthly spending is limited to software subscriptions and a co-work fee, then you won’t earn a lot of rewards from this card – certainly not enough to balance out the $175 annual fee.
However, if you’re a thriving small business who spends sizeable amounts on shipping and advertising, then there’s a lot of value with this card.
In all, we think the AmEx Business Gold card is a solid choice for business owners who make a lot of rewards-qualifying purchases.
If you don’t make a lot of purchases and won’t earn a lot of rewards points, you may want to consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
It offers 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for spending $5,000 in the first three months and the annual fee, though not waived the first year, is $95.
Another option you have is the Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which is a traditional cash back card that gets you 2% cash back on all purchase, plus a $500 intro bonus if you can spend $4,500 in the first three months.