Business Green Rewards Card from American Express vs American Express Business Gold Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

Jun 16, 2016 | Updated Aug 08, 2019

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Securing a credit card in the name of your small business can prove invaluable to your future growth potential, as many banks will require that your business has an established credit history before they’ll consider lending larger forms of financing.

Here’s a look at two popular American Express cards for business owners, the Business Green Rewards and the Business Gold Card, and how they compare in terms of costs and potential benefits.

These are both charge cards, which means that you can’t carry a balance from month to month. Instead, you’ll need to pay off the entire balance every billing period.

Should you be funding your business with one of these cards? Keep reading our review to find out!

The Rewards

Business Green Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible purchases from Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 5,000 bonus points after making your first purchase with the card in the first year

Business Gold

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar in the two categories you spend the most in each month, up to $150,000 per year (then 1X):
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible purchases from Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Up to $500 back for eligible FedEx purchases in the first 3 months

As you can see, this card is pretty versatile. You’ll earn 4X points in the two categories you spend the most in every month, which are automatically calculated at the end of the month.

The Verdict

These cards are pretty different.

The Green card is simple and designed mainly for travel spending, with just the single category to earn 2X points in. The Gold card lets you earn more points in the categories you spend the most in, even if that changes from month to month. You’ll have more opportunities to earn points, and there’s a 25% bonus for certain redemptions too.

If your primary objective in securing a business card is to build a credit history for your business, and you don’t expect to make significant business-related purchases for equipment, travel, or marketing, the Green Rewards card is probably the more cost-effective option.

However, if your business is more established, you have a consistent budget for operational expenses (and revenue to cover those costs each month), and your team travels and/or entertains clients frequently, the Gold Card may be a simple way to earn rewards for business expenses you’ll incur regardless.

The Benefits

These cards come with a shared set of benefits from American Express, which is pretty comprehensive when it comes to the business-oriented features, as well as providing strong shopping and travel protections.

The Gold card also includes a few valuable benefits that you won’t get from the Green card. To see the full set of benefits for either card, see:

Perks

  • The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group (Gold Card Only)

    Enroll to gain access to a variety of travel planning services, discounts, and amenities

  • The Hotel Collection (Gold Card Only)

    Get a credit of up to $75 for eligible hotel expenses booked through Amex, for qualifying stays of two nights or more. Does not cover the cost of the room.

  • Amex Offers

    Get a variety of valuable discounts at many different merchants. Must be added to the card manually online.

  • Tier One Program

    Businesses that spend at least $5 million per year may be eligible to receive enhanced benefits from Amex. Check your Guide to Benefits for details.

  • Entertainment Access®

    Exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and card member-only events in your city.

Business Services

  • Free Employee Cards

    You can get up to 99 employee versions of these cards, set individual spending limits, and earn rewards from their purchases. Employee cards for the Green card are free; for the Gold card, the first costs $50 and subsequent cards are free.

  • ReceiptMatch with QuickBooks®

    Track expenses with ReceiptMatch with QuickBooks®.

  • Account Alerts

    Get alerts about account information on your phone.

  • Account Manager

    Ability to give other people permission to manage your account.

Security

  • Dispute Resolution

    Help dealing with fraudulent and incorrect transactions.

Shopping

  • Extended Warranty

    For warranties of 5 years or less, get up to 1 extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Purchase Protection

    Items purchased with your card are protected against accidental damage and theft within 90 days of the purchase.

  • Return Protection

    If a merchant won’t take back an item within 90 days, American Express may refund the purchase price.

Travel

  • Global Assist® Hotline

    When you travel 100 miles or more from home, provides help with travel accidents like lost passports, the need for a lawyer, sudden illness, and more. You pay for all third-party service costs.

  • Baggage Insurance Plan

    Eligible lost, damaged, or stolen bags are covered up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage & checked bags together and up to $500 for checked baggage only.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Up to $100,000 in financial security if accident or death is caused when traveling by Common Carrier plane, train, ship, or bus.

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

    Stolen or damaged vehicles are covered if you use your card to pay and reserve the rental, and you decline the collision damage waiver.

  • Roadside Assistance

    Assistance with services such as towing, changing a flat, or boosting a battery in case of emergency.

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Business Green Rewards $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 N/A; paid in full monthly N/A N/A 2.7%
Business Gold $295 N/A; paid in full monthly N/A N/A None
Card Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Business Green Rewards $39 or 2.99% of any past due Pay in Full amount, whichever is greater. Up to $39
Business Gold $39 or 2.99% of any past due Pay in Full amount, whichever is greater. Up to $39

The Verdict

These are both charge cards, so they don’t have traditional interest rates. This means you’ll be saving money compared to someone carrying a balance from month to month, but you’ll need to pay off the entire card in full every month.

However, the Gold Card does have an option that allows you to carry a balance from month to month at a given interest rate, like a typical credit card. We don’t recommend doing this, because you’ll incur interest that will eat away at the value you get from the rewards and benefits.

As you can see above, the main difference here is the annual fee. You’ll pay almost more than twice as much for the Gold card, so be sure you’ll earn enough points each year to make the fee worthwhile.

These cards both have no pre-set spending limit, but this doesn’t mean you can spend as much as you want. You’ll be given a spending limit when you’re approved, and this limit will be adjusted over time depending on your usage and credit history (either increasing or decreasing).

You can get additional employee cards to distribute to your employees with both the Green and the Gold card.

If you’re in the military on active duty, you can submit an online request for SCRA benefits, which will likely include having the annual fee waived.

The Bottom Line

The American Express Business Green Rewards Card and the Business Gold Card are both good options, but they provide rewards in very different ways. The three aspects to compare are the rewards, benefits, and fees.

If you’re looking for a card primarily to improve your credit history, the Green Rewards is obviously the cheaper card to get the job done. If not, you’ll need to base your decision on the rewards they offer. Do you only need the card for travel spending? Or does your business spend money in the Gold Card’s categories each month?

If you need a card for a variety of different purchases, and you’ll end up spending in at least a few of the categories, the Gold Card will serve you better. The ability to earn points in the categories you spend the most in is pretty unique. Just make sure that you’ll use it enough and earn enough points to make the annual fee worth it.

If you own one of these credit cards, how do you like it? Leave your own review of the American Express Business Green Rewards Card or the Business Gold Card, we’d love to hear from you!

Or learn more about Business Credit Cards and see our picks for the top cards!
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