Review of the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Feb 05, 2018 | Updated Apr 03, 2018

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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is an interesting and flexible card. It’s designed to help fund your business expenses, and is good for making a variety of different purchases.

Most reward cards come with a set of bonus categories that you have to either take or leave. But the Business Gold gives you 5 bonus category options. You can pick the one you’d like to earn the most rewards in. And then you’ll earn fewer points in the categories you don’t choose.

This is a fairly unique offer, letting you customize the card to fit your business’ most frequent expenses. You’ll also get a nice signup bonus, and quite a few extra benefits to take advantage of.

The Business Gold card is a charge card, which means that you can’t carry a balance from month to month. You’ll need to pay it off in full every billing period. Also, take note that this is a business card, so it’s a bit different than other cards.

Is this a good card to help you pay for business expenses? You may be able to earn a bit back while getting some good value out of the other benefits. Keep reading to find out!

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $175 (waived for the first year)
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Get 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • Redeem points for everyday business expenses, to help with travel costs or to reward employees and entertain clients
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • New: No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

We gave this card 5 out of 5 Stars because it’s one of the better high-level options out there for business owners.

Why we like this card

  • Being able to pick your own 3X bonus category is a rare find.
  • There are six bonus categories in total, which is a lot for any credit card. And they’re all useful for businesses.
  • The signup bonuses are quite good, including credits for G Suite, which we haven’t seen from any other issuer.
  • This card provides Membership Rewards points, which are valuable and can be redeemed in a wide variety of ways.
  • There are a few perks and benefits available while traveling if you have to make any business trips.
  • You can get free employee cards to distribute.
  • American Express provides tools like spend tracking and account management options to make life easier.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees, although Amex isn’t accepted very widely outside the U.S.
  • American Express has relatively good customer support, especially for Amex OPEN Business cardholders.

This is a pretty solid card all around, but it doesn’t have everything. Check out some other good business cards with different rewards and benefits below.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Pick the bonus category you’ll spend most in for the 3X reward. You’ll able to pick a new category once per year, from December 1st to January 31st.
  • You can use this card to build and improve your business credit. Pay your bill on time and in full each month to avoid interest and prevent your account from ever entering a negative status.
  • You’ll need to pay your balance in full every billing period with this card. So be sure never to charge more than you can pay back by the due date.
  • You can get up to 99 employee cards for free, and set individual spending limits. Use them to manage spending and earn rewards more quickly.
  • The flight and gift card redemption methods are easiest, offering up to 1 cent per point. But you can transfer your points to a partner loyalty program to potentially get a better value.
  • Your spending limit will change over time. Pay your bills on time and be a responsible credit user to increase that limit.
  • Check out the Amex Offers benefit to find discounts at a wide variety of merchants. This gives you a way to earn more rewards more quickly.

The Rewards

This card can provide the equivalent of up to 3% cash back when you use the normal redemption methods. Or if you use a point transfer, you can potentially get over 6% cash back.

Earning

  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar in the category of your choice:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on the 4 remaining categories, and at Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 points for spending $5,000 in qualifying purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Signup bonus: up to $1,500 in statement credits for G Suite by Google Cloud during your first 3 months

As you can see, this card is pretty versatile. You’ll be able to choose the category that you’ll spend the most in to get 3X points, and still get 2X points in the others.

The 3X and 2X points apply to the first $100,000 spent at each rate per year. After that, you’ll earn 1X point in that category.

You’ll be able to pick your 3X category within your first two months with the card, and it will last for a year. You’ll be able to pick a new 3X category during the annual selection period, which is from December 1st to January 31st every year. If you don’t make an initial selection, you’ll get the ‘airfare’ category. And if you don’t change your selection when possible, you’ll keep the same 3X category you chose before.

The G Suite credit is available if you:

  • are enrolled in G Suite
  • add your card to your G Suite billing profile
  • use your card for G Suite purchases within the first 3 months

Those G Suite payments will be matched dollar-for-dollar until you reach $1,500. You’ll receive a statement credit for the amount you paid, up to that limit.

Redeeming

The Membership Rewards points you earn with this card can be redeemed in a few different ways.

Your basic options are:

  • Normal redemption methods (flights, hotel reservations, gift cards, point of sale): 0.5–1.0 cents per point, up to 3% cash back equivalent
  • Statement credit: 0.6 cents per point, up to 1.8% cash back equivalent
  • Point transfer to frequent traveler loyalty program: highly variable cash back, equal to over 6% in some cases

Cashing in points for statement credits will only get you 0.6 cents per point, so we don’t recommend that. The other methods can provide up to 1 cent per point, with the exception of point transfers which can yield more.

So we recommend transferring your points to a loyalty program whenever possible. If you can’t do that, one of the normal redemption methods, like flights or gift cards, will be your next best option. The statement credit method is the simplest, but it provides the least value per point.

As an example, say you earn a total of 10,000 Membership Rewards points. You can redeem them for flights or certain gift cards at 1 cent per point, which comes to $100. Or you can redeem them for a point transfer, where you may get a value of 2 cents per point or more depending on the details of the transfer. A statement credit, at 0.6 cents per point, would only provide $60.

Below, you’ll find more information and examples of some normal redemption methods (travel, gift cards, and point-of-sale). Then you can go through a good and a poor point transfer example. Or you could jump down to some cards for earning points or miles directly with an airline or hotel.

We’ll show how your points will have different values depending on how you redeem them. For all of the following examples, we’ll assume that you’ll be trading in 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

The cash back equivalent you get on any redemption will depend on how you earned your points, so we show ranges below. If you earn at a rate of 3X points per dollar, you’ll get the higher end of the range. If you’re only getting 1X point per dollar, you’ll get the lower end of the range.

Travel

When redeeming for travel expenses you’ll have several options, but the most valuable is for airline flights. The main way is to redeem through American Express Travel, though there are a couple other travel services you can use as well. You’ll be able to redeem 10,000 points in the following ways.

Redemption Method Travel Service Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Find Flights Amex Travel $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
Reserve Prepaid Hotels Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
Plan Vacations Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
Take Cruises Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
Airbnb Bookings Airbnb $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
Flights and Hotels on Expedia Expedia $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%

Gift Cards

For 10,000 points, you can get a gift card of up to $100 for a variety of merchants. Here are just a few.

Merchant Gift Card Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
The Capital Grille® $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
Chili’s Grill & Bar $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
P.F. Chang’s® $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
Snowshoe Mountain $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
The Cheesecake Factory $85 0.85 0.85%–2.55%
Facebook $85 0.85 0.85%–2.55%
Delta Air Lines $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
Target $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
Walmart $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
American Express Gift Card $50 0.5 0.5%–1.5%

Point of Sale and Entertainment

You can use your points at checkout with the following merchants. 10,000 points will get you:

Merchant Total Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
New York City Taxis $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
Uber $100 1.0 1.0%–3.0%
Rite Aid $70 0.7 0.7%–2.1%
AXS $50 0.5 0.5%–1.5%
Telecharge $50 0.5 0.5%–1.5%
Ticketmaster $50 0.5 0.5%–1.5%

We recommend that you actually avoid using your points to pay for purchases at checkout. When you do, you won’t earn any points on that purchase. So pay for purchases as normal to earn points, and then redeem your points in other ways.

Transferring to Loyalty Programs

You can transfer Membership Rewards points to a variety of different loyalty programs. Some are based in the U.S., while others are not. There are many big airlines and hotels represented, plus the Plenti retail program.

We’ll go over the basics of point transfers, and then provide two real-world examples: one showing a good deal, and one showing a poor deal.

Most transfers are at a 1:1 rate, though some are different. And there are also limited-time offers and special deals occasionally. There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to US airlines, with no charge for any other transfers. And different programs will allow you to transfer points in different increments, like 500 points at a time or 1,000 points at a time.

Here are some example programs, along with their transfer rates and a point conversion example. Take note that offers may change.

Loyalty Program Type Transfer Rate You Give You Get
Aeroplan® Airline 1:1.6 1,000 1,600
ANA Mileage Club Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Flying Blue® Award Miles  Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Delta Air Lines Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Hawaiian Airlines® Airline  1:.8 1,000 800
Choice Privileges® Hotel 1:1 1,000 1,000
Hilton Honors™ Hotel 1:2 1,000 2,000
Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel 1:.33 1,000 333
Plenti Retail  1:1 1,000 1,000

Let’s go through some examples to illustrate the potential value of Membership Rewards points after you convert them to a frequent traveler program. Keep in mind that there are many factors that influence the price of flights and hotel rooms. They include time of year, demand, availability, and special events. Airlines and hotel chains offer special deals and packages pretty frequently, as well. All of this will affect the value you get from your points.

While the following are actual real-world examples, the point transfer values you find for your flights and rooms may differ from what we show here.

Good Value — Flying Blue Award Miles

For this example, imagine you want to take an AirFrance flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Paris, France. AirFrance uses Flying Blue, which is one of the transfer partners.

The cheapest flight from the Barcelona-El Prat Airport to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris will cost $229. And the cheapest award mile option available is 10,500 miles. In this case, your miles would be worth about 2.47 cents each. This is for a flight on Thursday, February 7th.

So how many Membership Rewards points would it take to pay for this same flight? Well, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to FlyingBlue award miles at a 1:1 rate. But you also need to transfer in increments of 1,000. That means you’ll have to transfer 11,000 points in total.

Let’s say you earn those 11,000 points at the best possible rate of 3X points per dollar. That would require spending $3,667 at that rate. Then you can transfer those points to Flying Blue award miles, and book the flight.

In this example, you spend $3,667 to earn a flight worth $229. This is a pretty good deal, because it means you’re getting a cash back equivalent of about 6.25%. That’s pretty high compared to most cards. And you’ll even have 500 miles left over to use for next time. But if you earned any miles at less than the 3X rate, it would require more spending and your cash back equivalent would fall.

This shows the value you can get from certain point transfers, but they aren’t all so great.

Poor Value — Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints

To see an example of a point transfer that results in a poor value, let’s look at Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).

Say you just flew to Paris in our previous example, and now you want to book a hotel for a night. Specifically, the night of Thursday, February 7th, at the Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel & Conference Centre.

This room will cost €190, which is about $234 USD at the time of publishing. This same room will take 20,000 Starpoints to stay in.

So, how much do you need to spend with your Business Gold Rewards card to earn enough points for this room? Membership Rewards points don’t transfer at a very good rate to Starpoints. The conversion rate is only 1:.33, meaning you’ll get 333 Starpoints for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points you transfer.

You’ll need to transfer points in intervals of 1,000. This means you’ll need to earn 61,000 Membership Rewards points. You can transfer them to get 20,313 Starpoints, which is enough for the room.

To earn 61,000 Membership Rewards points, you’ll need to spend $20,334 at the 3X rate. If you earn points at a lesser rate, you’ll need to spend more and your cash back equivalent will drop.

In this example you spent $20,334 to earn a room valued at $234. This means the cash back equivalent is 1.15%. In this case your Membership Rewards points were worth about 0.384 cents each. That’s not a very profitable deal, especially compared to the point transfer above.

Although SPG Starpoints can be quite valuable, this is not a good way to get and use them. The Starwood Preferred Guest® for Business Card from American Express (Review) provides a way to earn a ton of Starpoints, and comes with other great benefits too.

How to Offset the Annual Fee

This card has a $175 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. After that first year you’ll want to earn enough points to offset that fee, so this card doesn’t end up costing you money.

How much do you need to spend, and how many points do you need to earn? That depends on two things.

  1. the rate that you earn points: 3X per dollar, 2X, or 1X
  2. the value you get per point when you redeem them

You’ll need to earn enough points to equal $175 when you redeem them. If you want to spend as little as possible, you’ll have to earn points at the highest rate and redeem them for the best value possible. But if you earn at a low rate and use a bad redemption method, you could end up spending many times that amount.

We’ve found that if you use a normal redemption method, at 1 cent per point, you can spend a minimum of $5,834 to offset the annual fee. If you use a point transfer that grants 2 cents per point, you can spend as little as $2,917.

The exact amount you’ll need to spend depends on the rate at which you earn the points. You may not always get to choose what and where you buy, but you can control how you redeem your points. So be sure to redeem them for the best possible value you can get. The easiest way to do this is through a normal redemption method where you’ll get 1 cent per point. You can also use point transfers to get an even better deal, but this might not be good for everyone. The value you get will vary and it requires you to travel to make use of it.

The following table shows how much you’ll need to spend to offset the annual fee in a variety of ways. You can see how much you’ll need to spend at each rate to reach the equivalent of $175. Most people will have a mix of spending, of course, so it won’t be so clear cut as this. But you can use this as a guide to see how much you’ll need to spend to earn those points.

This table shows how much to spend if you get a good value for your points. Here, that means earning 1 cent per point for the normal methods. And we’re also using 2 cents per point for the point transfer, which would be a pretty good value if you can get it. But remember, the value of your points when you transfer them will vary. We’ve also included statement credits to show how bad of a redemption choice they are.

As you can see, the normal and point transfer methods require the least spending, especially at the 3X rate.

Good Redemption Value
3X points 2X points 1X point
Statement Credit: 0.6 cents per point $9,723 $14,584 $29,167
Normal Methods: 1 cent per point  $5,834 $8,750 $17,500
Point Transfer: 2 cents per point $2,917 $4,375 $8,750

This is a good redemption example, but remember that if you redeem in some ways you’ll get a lower value for your points. This could happen if you choose a normal redemption method that only offers 0.5 cents per point. Or, if you make a point transfer that only grants 1.5 cents per point, for example.

So, no matter what rate you earn points at, redeem them for the best value you can get. And if there are no options that seem particularly appealing, you can hold on to your points until you see something you like.

The Benefits

Reports to Business Credit Bureaus

All American Express business credit cards will report your card activity to the credit bureaus in the same way. They let you improve your business credit, although there are also consequences for irresponsible behavior.

As long as your account is in positive standing, the activity will be reported to Small Business Finance Exchange. This is a large and commonly-used business credit reporting bureau.

But if your account enters a negative status, such as having unpaid collections or unpaid charge-offs, the activity will be reported to other bureaus. An account with a negative status will be reported to:

  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

So your positive activity will be reported to one business credit bureau. But your negative activity will be reported to a different business credit bureau, plus the typical consumer credit reporting agencies.

This means you can use the Business Gold Rewards card to improve your business credit, but not your personal credit. However, you can still hurt your personal credit with it. For a different card that reports positive activity to more business credit bureaus, see the Capital One Spark Cash for Business.

Amex OPEN Business Benefits

Amex OPEN cardholders have access to exclusive business-oriented benefits and services. These include a forum to speak with other OPEN members, a business blog, and a dedicated customer support line.

Amex OPEN Savings

At participating retailers, either get a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards points per dollar spent when paying with the card. The particular deal will vary by offer.

The participating merchants currently are:

FedEx Hertz HP 1-800-Flowers Barnes & Noble

Visit the OPEN Savings page to learn more and see how you can utilize this benefit.

Amex OPEN Relationship Care® Service

Call the number on the back of your card to speak with a specially-trained, business-oriented customer support representative. Based on our experience, this will be a cut above the typical customer support you’ll get with an Amex consumer card.

No Preset Spending Limit

This card has no preset spending limit, which does not mean you can spend an unlimited amount.

Instead, this means that your purchasing power will adjust over time. It will change based on your card activity, payment history, credit record, and other financial resources.

Employee Cards

You can get a up to 99 employee cards for free. Individual spending limits can be set for the cards. Take note that there are certain purchases where the spending limit won’t apply, like restaurant tips and extended hotel stays.

The primary cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the account. The card activity will not affect the credit of employees using copies of the card.

Account Manager

Designate a trusted Account Manager to manage your Business Gold Rewards account. Must be at least 18 years old.

Spend Manager

A tool to help manage your spending throughout the year. Allows you to add receipts and notes to transactions, making tax time easier.

Connect to QuickBooks®

Provides an easy way to label and transfer your transaction data into a QuickBooks account.

Amex Offers

You’ll have access to discounts at a wide variety of merchants — currently there are about 80 different offers available, and the selection changes now and then.

You just need to head to the Amex Offers program and click ‘Add to Card’ for the deals you want. Then, just use your card as you normally would to make a purchase with that merchant. Your savings will appear as a statement credit later on, reducing your account balance. You may or may not earn additional rewards at the regular rate — this will depend on the particular offer.

Many of the deals can be quite valuable, saving you from $5 up through more than $100 for some of them. For most of them, you’ll need to spend a certain amount to get a certain discount. Some of the current offers include:

Merchant Need to Spend Cash Back Maximum Savings
Maggiano’s Wine $25 $20 80%
Exhale Spa $75 $25 33.33%
Harry’s Razors $15 $5 33.33%
Ticket Galaxy $300 $100 33.33%
Hello Fresh $50 $15 30%
Aveda $75 $15 20%
Hilton $50 $10 20%
Omni Hotels & Resorts $300 $60 20%
Rebecca Taylor $350 $70 20%

There are many fantastic deals waiting to be had here, though many other credit card issuers will offer a similar service. For example, Chase provides the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Bank of America has their “BankAmeriDeals” offers, and Discover has the Discover Deals service. You’ll find a range of discounts in all of them.

Save 10% on Some Utilities

Occasionally you’ll be given the opportunity to save 10% on your cable, satellite TV, and/or cell phone bills. Just find the offer and click ‘Add to Card,’ and then use your card to pay for the utility as normal.

Tier One Program

Some businesses will be eligible for the Tier One Program from American Express. This comes with benefits that are “designed to streamline and enhance the business’s experience with American Express.”

At the beginning of every year, American Express will select businesses out of the pool of eligible candidates at its own discretion. Meeting the following criteria does not mean you’ll be selected.

To be eligible for the Tier One Program, a business must:

  • Be named on one or more U.S.-issued business charge cards or corporate cards from Amex
  • Have made eligible purchases totaling $5 million or more during the previous year on those cards
  • Have its billing address in the United States
  • Not have been enrolled in any Amex hardship program or have any transitional recovery products from Amex during the previous year
  • Not have any business or corporate card that has been 30 days or more past due in the previous year

Additional guidelines and limitations apply. Check your card’s Guide to Benefits for more details.

Entertainment Access

This benefit, also called Membership Experiences, provides pre-sale tickets to a variety of sports, music, and cultural events, as well as access to certain exclusive experiences. You’ll be able to search by interest, artist, event, or venue.

One offer that was available when this review was written is preferred seating at Lorde concerts all around the country. Another is an exclusive invitation to a hotel opening, with overnight accommodations, a private 4-course dinner, and an interactive cocktail class. This one is on the expensive end, though, at $1,850 per ticket.

The Hotel Collection

Cardholders can receive a credit for up to $75 to cover eligible expenses at hotels. This can be a nice way to save a bit of money when traveling. But there are quite a few guidelines and limitations you’ll need to be aware of:

  • $1 of credit will be given for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, up to $75
  • eligible purchases do not include the cost of the room, gratuities, taxes, or fees (additional exclusions may apply at certain hotels)
  • the credit will be received at checkout, can’t be carried over to another stay, and is not redeemable for cash
  • limit one credit per room, per stay
  • must book the room either through Amex Travel, Business Platinum Travel Service, Platinum Travel Service, or Centurion Travel Service
  • payment must be made in full with the Business Gold Rewards card

Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed

If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference. You must submit your claim before the check-in date, and be sure to check your card details because some restrictions apply.

American Express Personal Loans

Cardholders have the opportunity to apply for a loan through American Express (but only if they have been pre-approved). Loans are offered from $3,500 to $25,000, with fixed interest rates from as low as 6.90% up to 19.97%.

Other Benefits and Perks

We’ve only described some of the most interesting benefits here, but this card comes with some others as well. For the most part, they are protections like:

  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Baggage Insurance Plan
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty
  • Fraud Protection

These aren’t the most valuable benefits. But they could help out if you need them sometime. Check out the full set of benefits for the Amex Business Gold Rewards card for more.

The Costs & Fees

Regular Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly N/A
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$175 (waived for the first year)  0%
Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to $38 or 2.99%, whichever is greater $38

This is a charge card, so you won’t find any interest rates here. You’ll need to pay off your entire balance in full every billing period, starting fresh each time.

The terms are very simple for this card. As long as you don’t make any late or returned payments, you’ll just have an annual fee to pay after the first year. If you feel like that fee is too high, check out some no-annual-fee business credit cards.

Charge card users may save money compared to credit card users, because many people will revolve a balance from month to month on their credit cards. This isn’t a great strategy because you’ll keep accruing interest, adding to your overall credit card debt. Whether you have a charge card or a regular credit card, we always recommend paying off your balance in full every billing period.

Customer Support

Phone Support

Business Gold Rewards Application Line 1-888-781-6736
Amex OPEN Business Customer Support 1-800-492-3344
Pay Bill by Phone 1-800-472-9297
Check Application Status 1-800-567-1085
Credit Bureau Unit 1-800-874-2717

American Express is known to have good customer support. They tend to come in either first or second in J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, which ranks every credit card issuer. Customer service is part of this survey, along with card features, terms, and billing.

But Business Gold Rewards cardholders have it even better. If you have an issue of any kind with your card or account, you can call their Relationship Care Service by dialing the number on the back of your card. You’ll reach a customer support representative that is specially trained to advise you about business credit cards, and small business strategy in general.

Web Support

The American Express website is usually pretty intuitive to navigate. You’ll generally be able to find the card you want easily.

The main features of the Business Gold Rewards card are displayed prominently. By scrolling around the page and reading through the sections, you’ll be able to get a good idea of what the card is all about. Some of the benefits seem to be categorized and ordered in a bit of an odd way. But overall this doesn’t really take away from the main points of the page.

The Bottom Line

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is definitely a contender if you’re looking to earn points on your business expenses.

Take a look at the reward categories — do you spend a lot of money in at least a few of these? If you travel often, there are some good options here. You’ll be able to pick the reward category that you spend the most in, and still get points in the others. For frequent business trips, the airfare and gas rewards are especially useful.

The extra benefits are pretty nice too. You might be able to use some of them to find discounts at the merchants you spend the most with. And you can learn and talk with other Amex OPEN cardholders.

The annual fee may seem high at first. But if you take into account the rewards you can earn and the value of the benefits, the cost should seem pretty reasonable. Just make sure that you’ll spend enough with the card each year to make the fee worth it. You can extend your reach by assigning cards to your employees, gaining rewards whenever they spend.

There are many more business credit cards out there. Check out some alternatives to the Business Gold Rewards card below.

How to Apply for the Business Gold Rewards Card

You can apply for this card by simply clicking the Apply Now button below. You’ll need to be an authorized officer for your business, responsible for managing finances.

To apply, you’ll need your personal and business information. For corporations and partnerships, you’ll also need to provide your Federal Tax ID (the same as your Employer Identification Number, or EIN).

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
Apply Now

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $175 (waived for the first year)
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Get 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • Redeem points for everyday business expenses, to help with travel costs or to reward employees and entertain clients
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • New: No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply

Alternatives to the Business Gold Rewards Card

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express (Review) is a high-end business charge card designed for travelers. It’s also a part of Amex OPEN, so it comes with the same business benefits and services. And it reports to the business credit bureaus in the same way.

The Platinum card has a $450 annual fee, so it’s much more expensive than the Business Gold Rewards.

But for that fee, you’ll get:

  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels at Amex Travel
  • 1.5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (0.5 additional points per dollar, up to 1 million additional points per year)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $10,000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • Signup bonus: 25,000 Membership Rewards points for spending an additional $10,000 in the first 3 months of card membership

So you’ll be able to earn quite a lot of Membership Rewards points with the Platinum card. You’ll be able to redeem your Membership Rewards points in all the ways described above. That means at the 5X rate you can get the equivalent of up to 5% cash back with the normal redemption methods. And as much as 10% cash back or more through point transfers.

Not only that, you’ll get a nice set of benefits that can help save you money while traveling. These include an annual $200 airline fee credit, good for one airline of your choice per year. This credit is for incidental fees only, like checked bags and in-flight refreshments. It doesn’t apply to ticket costs.

Cardholders can access a variety of airport lounges, including American Express Lounges, Priority Pass Select, and Airspace Lounges. A fee credit is available for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® to speed you through the terminal. And there are a variety of other perks to make your trips more comfortable, like complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status.

The Business Platinum card will cost much more than the Business Gold Rewards card. But that’s because it’s meant for people who travel quite often, enough to make the annual fee worth it. If you use the $200 credit every year, you can offset the annual fee by spending at least $5,000 per year through Amex Travel. That’s if you use a normal redemption method. If you get a great deal on a point transfer, you may be able to offset it by spending as little as $2,500.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred Card is a relatively new addition to the credit card market. It comes with a $95 annual fee, and four bonus reward categories:

  • 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year on:
    • travel
    • shipping purchases
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • 25% point bonus when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards

As you can see, some of these categories overlap with the Business Gold Rewards. But in this case you get 3X points in all of them, rather than choosing just one. That comes out to 3% cash back normally. But with the 25% bonus you’ll end up getting 3.75% cash back if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Like the Business Gold Rewards card, you’ll be able to transfer your points to other loyalty programs with the Ink Business card. Many of the same frequent traveler programs are included by both. And you can transfer at a 1:1 rate, so you’ll get about the same value for both cards per point.

The extra benefits for the Ink Business Preferred are a bit simple compared to the Business Gold Rewards. You’ll get some basic shopping and travel protections, but that’s about it.

The bonus categories are similar between these cards, but there may be one or two that would be especially valuable for you. The real value of the Ink Business card lies in earning rewards and redeeming them through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you can do that, it may be a good low-cost alternative to the Business Gold Rewards.

Airline and Hotel Business Credit Cards

There are many valuable business cards that are co-branded with airlines or hotels. These cards are made to be used with that specific brand, and are less useful elsewhere.

We’ll take a look at an airline card and then a hotel card. Do you always find yourself flying with one particular airline or staying at one particular hotel? If so, a branded credit card might be a great way to save some money and access extra benefits.

Airline Business Credit Card

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is made for flying with Delta, and costs $195 per year.

This card comes with:

  • 2X miles per dollar for purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1X mile per dollar for all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 35,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Signup bonus: $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase with the card in the first 3 months
  • Miles Boost®: earn 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 or more in a calendar year
  • Miles Boost: earn an additional 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending 50,000 or more in a calendar year

You can redeem your miles for Delta flights, where they’ll usually be worth about 1 cent per mile. Or you can transfer them to a number of airline partners. The Medallion Qualifying Miles you earn can be used to upgrade your status, which comes with better perks.

But besides the rewards, the value of many co-branded travel cards comes from their benefits. With the Platinum Delta SkyMiles you’ll get quite a few.

They include discounted access to the Delta Sky Club lounge for you and up to two guests. Entry will cost $29 per person. You’ll also get one free companion ticket per year, good for one economy-class round trip when you buy an eligible adult ticket. Your first checked bag is free too, for you and up to nine companions. And you can skip the wait with Priority Boarding.

There are even more airline-related benefits than that. And you’ll also have all the same Amex OPEN business benefits that you get with the Business Gold Rewards card.

Hotel Business Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card has an annual fee of $99, waived for the first year. It offers:

  • 5X points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotels
  • 2X points per dollar spent on:
    • airline tickets purchased directly from the airline
    • car rental agencies
    • restaurants
    • office supply stores
    • internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 75,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

So you’ll be able to earn points at a 5X rate at both Marriott and SPG properties with this card. You’ll be able to redeem for one-night stays starting at 7,500 points. And there are a variety of other ways to redeem your points as well. This card is a good way to earn points at SPG hotels, in a different way than the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express (Review).

The extra benefits are pretty good too, with an annual free stay at a category 1–5 hotel. You’ll get automatic Marriott Rewards Silver status, granting a level of exclusive or complimentary services at Marriott locations. And a fast track to Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status, which comes with even better perks.

There are no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good card for traveling anywhere in the world. If you’re spending a lot of time at Marriott hotels for business, you might as well take advantage of some of the benefits you can get with a card like this.

Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard from Bank of America

The Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard is a simple but rewarding option. If you don’t like the annual fee of the Business Gold Rewards, this one might suit you better.

For no annual fee, it offers:

  • 3% cash back at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 in combined purchases annually)
  • 2% cash back at restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: $200 statement credit for spending $500 in the first 60 days after account opening

So your bonus reward categories are much more limited. And there’s only one business-oriented category, the office supply stores (gas and restaurant categories are included on many consumer reward cards). The signup bonus is quite good, however, with an easy threshold to hit compared to other cards.

There’s also a 0% intro APR period of 9 months for purchases. This is a nice feature to have for businesses with startup expenses who need some time to pay them back.

The extra benefits are pretty basic for the most part. They’re mostly shopping and travel protections, along with some account management tools.

Although it’s not the flashiest business card, if you spend a lot in those reward categories it offers a free way to earn cash back. Just pay your bill on time each billing period to avoid interest and fees.

The Business Gold Rewards doesn’t include restaurants or office supply store. So if you need a card for those kinds of purchases as well, you could use both of these cards together. Since the Business Advantage Cash Rewards has no annual fee, you won’t need to pay anything extra.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Review) is another simple card. It has an annual fee of $95, waived the first year.

Unlike many rewards cards, which have bonus categories, this card offers:

  • 2% cash back on every purchase you make, with no limit
  • Signup bonus: $500 statement credit for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months from account opening

So this card will just provide 2% cash back, anywhere you spend. This makes it very flexible and easy to use. No worrying about reward categories, figuring out how to earn the most points for every purchase.

As a Visa Signature, this card comes with an upgraded set of extra benefits. The most valuable are probably the travel-related services and discounts you can get through the Luxury Hotel Collection. And Capital One also provides business-specific benefits to help you out, including trained customer support representatives.

If you make purchases of many different kinds or don’t want to deal with reward categories, this card could be a good option. You’ll need to spend $4,750 per year with it to offset the annual fee. So if you regularly spend more than that you could end up with a profit. If you spend enough per year, consider using it along with the Business Gold Rewards to cover any purchases that fall outside of that card’s bonus reward categories.

Do you use the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express? How do you like it? Leave your own review, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other business credit cards? Check out our picks for the Best Credit and Charge Cards for Small Businesses and Startups!
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