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The first is a charge card, meaning the balance needs to be paid off each month, and has an annual fee. The second is a typical credit card that will let you carry a balance from one month to the next if necessary, and has no annual fee.
Both earn Membership Rewards points and come with a variety of benefits, but you’ll need to consider how much you spend per year and the categories where you spend the most to decide which card is a better fit for your business.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
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.
Plus, the signup bonus makes it even easier to offset the card’s relatively high annual fee.
Blue Business Plus
The rewards card on this program is very straightforward, giving you the opportunity to earn the same rewards on all spending, with double the points on the first $50,000 you spend each year.
Membership Rewards points can be redeemed in a variety of ways. Many of the better ways, like redeeming for flights or gift cards, result in a value of 1 cent per point, so we’ll assume that value for this comparison. It’s also possible to earn more value per point through point transfers, but we’ll stick with 1 cent per point here.
Let’s look at the Gold Card first. Since there’s a $295 annual fee on the Gold Card, you’d need to earn at least that much in rewards per year (or get that value from the benefits) to make the card worth it. If you spend heavily in any of the available 4X categories, you may be able to do this easily.
For example, if you spend at least $100,000 per year on shipping for your business and get that for the 4X category, you would earn $4,000 worth of Membership Rewards on that category alone, so you would come out at least $3,705 ahead when considering the annual fee. Even if you spend $25,000 in that category you’d still earn $1,000 in value and come out $705 ahead after the annual fee. If you were to spend that same $25,000 on the Blue Business Plus, you’d only be earning $500 in Membership Rewards points value, but there’s no annual fee to pay
Basically, as long as you’re spending at least $25,000 per year on your business and getting 4X points for that spending, you can probably easily justify the annual fee on the Business Gold and earn more rewards value with that card.
Amex provides a similar set of extra benefits for each card, which are designed specifically for small business owners. Most of the benefits are the same, but the Gold Card comes with a few more valuable perks.
To see the full set of benefits for either card, see:
- Benefits for the American Express Blue Business Plus Card
- Benefits for the American Express Business Gold Card
One Free Year of ZipRecruiter Standard (Gold Card Only)
You’ll get up to $2,988 in statement credits for ZipRecruiter in your first year, enough for one year at the Standard plan level.
One Free Year of G Suite Basic (Gold Card Only)
You’ll get up to $204 in statement credits for G Suite in your first year, enough for one year at the Basic plan level.
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.
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.
Exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and card member-only events in your city.
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 Blue 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®.
Get alerts about account information on your phone.
Ability to give other people permission to manage your account.
Help dealing with fraudulent and incorrect transactions.
For warranties of 5 years or less, get up to 1 extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty.
Items purchased with your card are protected against accidental damage and theft within 90 days of the purchase.
If a merchant won’t take back an item within 90 days, American Express may refund the purchase price.
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.
Assistance with services such as towing, changing a flat, or boosting a battery in case of emergency.
The Costs & Fees
|Card||Intro APR||Regular APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Business Gold||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||None|
|Blue Business Plus||0% on purchases for 12 months||15.49% - 21.49% Variable||15.49% - 21.49% Variable||None||2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.|
|Card||Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Business Gold||Not Applicable||$38 or 2.99% of any past due Pay in Full amount, whichever is greater.||$38|
|Blue Business Plus||29.99% Variable||Up to $38||$38|
Here the differences are quite clear, as we’re comparing a charge card to a credit card.
If you want to have the option to revolve a balance from month to month, or take advantage of the 0% introductory APR for large purchases or balance transfers, you should probably use the Blue Business Plus card.
If you know that you can pay off your balance each month and can get enough value from the card to cover the annual fee, the Business Gold charge card may be the better choice for you. The Business Gold card also offers the ability to carry a balance from month to month at an interest rate, but we don’t recommend doing this because interest charges will eat away at the value you get from the rewards and benefits.
Remember that you can avoid interest fees on purchases made with the Blue Business Plus card, and most credit cards, simply by paying your balance in full each month.
The Bottom Line
Check the card rewards to figure out which one is right for you. Does your business make a lot of purchases in the categories listed for the Business Gold? Then it’s the obvious choice for you, and it’s flexible because you’ll earn 4X points in the two categories you spend the most in each month, giving you room to grow.
Or, if you don’t spend at least about $25,000 in the Gold Card’s 4X categories, the Blue Business Plus may fit your needs better. Both cards offer the ability to carry a balance if money is tight.
Whichever card you use, you’ll have access to a nice set of extra benefits, including quite a few business-oriented features to help keep your finances in tip top shape. You’ll also get excellent customer service provided by American Express. This is an important selling point, especially for business products like these.
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