Whether potential credit card applicants are business owners or the financial decision-makers of corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships, American Express offers a credit card option to help earn points for various day-to-day business spending. The American Express Business Gold card can help them save big, depending on the type of business expenses card applicants have.
The AMEX Business Gold card’s most distinguishable feature is the significant number of points card carriers can earn. Cardmembers can earn 4x membership rewards points per dollar in their top two spending categories each month, up to $150,000 each calendar year. In addition, cardholders receive one point for every dollar spent in the remaining select categories.
Cardholders’ top categories are calculated by taking their monthly spending with their AMEX Business Gold card and subtracting any credits or returns they may have obtained during that month. Their top two spending categories are the ones that qualify for 4x points, and the other categories will receive one point for every dollar spent.
There is no limit on how many total points a cardholder can earn, but cardholders are limited to acquiring 4x the points up to the first $150,000 in combined top category spending. Any amount spent after $150,000 will earn cardholders one point for every dollar spent.
To apply for an AMEX Business Gold card, applicants must disclose relevant information about their business, including legal business name, business structure, industry, annual revenue, and monthly spending. They will also have to provide personal information, including their organizational role and annual taxable and non-taxable income.
While the types of businesses eligible for this credit card are varied, the credit needed to obtain the card is not. Card applicants will need good to excellent credit to be approved for this AMEX Business Gold card.
AMEX Business Gold card’s APR can fall anywhere between 15.74% - 23.74%, depending on the card applicant’s credit score at the time of application. The penalty APR is 29.99%, which applies when the cardholder makes two or more late payments in a 12-month billing cycle.
There is no preset spending limit on the AMEX Business Gold card. Spending limits are determined based on an individual’s credit history, previous purchases, and payments.
Currently, American Express is offering a special incentive for individuals to apply for its Business Gold card. During the first three months of card membership, a cardholder can obtain 70,000 American Express membership rewards points after spending $10,000 in eligible purchases within the AMEX Business Gold card categories.
Amex Business Gold Card Categories
For points to apply to purchases, American Express requires users’ spending to be in the following categories.
Passenger flights purchased directly from an airline with the AMEX Business Gold card—chartered and private flights are not included—can qualify for 4x the points on spending. Airfare purchased from a third party or as part of a vacation package does not qualify for the additional points either.
Computer Hardware, Software, and Cloud Solutions
Business Gold cardholders can receive points from eligible purchases with computer programming providers, but only if the cardholder completes these purchases at a U.S. location—not an online marketplace or with a third party—with the following providers: Apple, CDW, Dell, HP, IBM, Intuit, Lenovo, Microsoft, Newegg, Oracle, Rackspace, Sage Software, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and TigerDirect.
As long as they are U.S. purchases, AMEX Business Gold cardholders can earn points for online, television, and radio advertising purchases from media companies like Google, Facebook, and NBC National Broadcasting.
Business Gold cardholders can charge any business meals, including take-out, delivery, and groceries, to obtain points. They may earn these points at restaurants worldwide and on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. grocery stores.
There are some important caveats about point-eligible dining. Dining in a restaurant located within another venue is not eligible for the 4x point bonus, meaning that any spending with the Business Gold Card at restaurants inside casinos, hotels, or airports cannot earn additional points. Grocery purchases are not eligible for 4x points either.
Cardholders can redeem AMEX Business Gold Card points at any gas station within the U.S. to earn 4x the number of points. While this is a straightforward way to obtain points, cardholders should be aware this only applies to gas purchases within the U.S.
Cardholders can pay for business-related shipping costs using their AMEX Business Gold card. FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service accept the Business Gold Card to pay shipping costs.
Pros of the AMEX Gold Card Categories
Personalization: American Express helps Business Gold cardholders get the most points possible by allowing them to earn 4x the points in two categories with the most spending. The top two categories are evaluated each month, so users can still maximize their points if expenditures in a specific category change.
Variety of categories: There are a variety of Business Gold categories in which earners can acquire additional points, enabling business owners across several industries and with different spending needs to reap this card's rewards rate.
No limits on points: There are no limits on how many overall points cardholders can acquire with this credit card, allowing them to see returns continuously.
Cons of the AMEX Gold Card Categories
High annual fee: The $295 sign-up fee can be a hefty cost, especially if cardholders are working in a small or new business without a lot of cash to leverage. Card applicants may need a more financially established business to justify the spending necessary to recoup the annual fee.
Rate cap at $150k: While cardholders can technically earn an unlimited amount of points, any spending after $150,000 each calendar year only makes cardholders one point per dollar instead of 4x points, even if it's within cardholders’ two highest spending categories. The rate cap applies to a combination of a cardholder’s spending in their top two categories, not $150,000 per category.
Dining restrictions: Cardholders can use their AMEX Business Gold Card to acquire points worldwide. Still, the card cannot be used in dining establishments within other venues, like hotels and casinos. Cardholders who find themselves eating with clients and colleagues in these settings won’t be able to reap the benefits of the Business Gold card.
Alternatives to the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card
There are several alternatives to the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card. Here are a few additional business credit cards worth considering.
American Express Blue Business Cash Card
The American Express Blue Business Card is a business credit card with no annual fee and offers a cash back rewards program. Unlike AMEX’s Business Gold card, Business Blue cardholders don’t earn points. However, during their first $50,000 in business spending, cardholders will earn 2% cash back as a statement credit on all eligible purchases within AMEX’s business categories. After spending $50,000, cardholders will earn 1% cash back on all subsequent purchases.
Additionally, cardholders can take advantage of the card’s welcome offer—$250 cash back after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This credit card also has 0% APR during the first year of use and a variable of 14.74% to 22.74% APR after the first year. Overall, the Blue Cash Card is an excellent option if cardholders don’t think they will do the spending required to justify the $295 sign-up fee from the Gold card.
American Express Business Platinum Card
The American Express Business Platinum credit card is AMEX’s preeminent business rewards card. It has a hefty annual fee of $695 a year but offers the highest point return out of all of AMEX’s cards.
The Business Platinum card offers users 5x the points on flights and hotels when booking with the American Express travel portal, including a 35% airline bonus. Other generous travel perks are included, like airport lounge access, fee credits for TSA PreCheck and select airlines, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, trip delay insurance, and more.
In addition, cardholders can earn 1.5x the points at construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic, software, and cloud retailers, and shipping providers. Also, cardholders can earn 1.5x the points on their first $2 million in spending if they spend $5,000 or more in any of the other eligible business categories.
Furthermore, Platinum cardholders can earn several additional credits for their business programs, including a $400 yearly maximum with Dell purchases, a $150 maximum annual credit for pre-paid plans to Adobe, a $360 yearly maximum credit with Indeed purchases, and a $120 yearly maximum for mobile phone services.
AMEX is currently offering a welcome bonus for the first three months of having the card—cardholders can earn 120,000 membership rewards points if they spend $15,000. There is also a 0% intro APR during the first year of owning the AMEX Platinum card.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
The Chase Ink Business Preferred card is similar in categories and rewards to AMEX’s Business Gold card, offering three points per dollar. Its sign-up fee is also much lower than the AMEX Business Gold card, at only $95.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred card can be used for shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, advertising (with social media sites and search engines), and travel up to $150,000 per year, and 1x points for all other eligible purchases. Like the AMEX Business Gold card, there are no caps on how many points a user can earn.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred card also offers a 25% return on travel points. In addition, the card also boasts a one-point to one-mile exchange with qualifying airlines. Cardholders who spend most of their business expenses on travel may benefit the most from this card.
Capital One Savor Card
Capital One’s Savor Card has a sign-up fee of $95, 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and streaming purchases, 3% cash back on grocery store purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. Cardholders can also use the Capital One Travel portal to book their hotels and car rentals, earning 5% cash back.
Capital One currently offers cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of applying for the card a $300 cashback bonus. While the Capital One Savor Card is not a business card per se, it’s still a great option for cardholders that plan on frequent spending for client dinners and entertainment outings.
Capital One Spark Classic for Business
The Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a good choice for new business owners or start-up creators that need to establish credit. There’s no annual fee, and the card is tailored for those with only fair credit.
The Spark Classic provides cardholders a 1% cash back offer on all purchases made with the card, no matter the category. Spark Classic Card carriers can also receive the 5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
The Bottom Line
The American Express Business Gold card has several perks that could make it an excellent option for business owners, such as the variety of point-earning spending categories and personalization of benefits. However, card applicants should be aware of the caveats associated with some of those point-earning opportunities to determine if the Business Gold card is truly a good fit for their business spending.