Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

American Express Business Gold Review

overall rating
2.7

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The American Express Gold Business offers excellent rewards for business owners who spend steadily on select expenses. There's a hefty $295 annual fee, but if you spend at least $500 or so a month in its bonus categories, you can justify that cost over the course of a year. The card also boasts a solid welcome offer and convenient benefits.

American Express® Business Gold Card

Overall Rating
2.7
American Express® Business Gold Card
On American Express' Secured Site.
Current Offer

Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.24% - 22.24% variable
Annual Fee $295
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4 Membership Rewards points per $1 on the 2 eligible categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle, plus earn 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
Cash Advance Fee This card does not offer cash advances
how this card stacks up
When compared among all business cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Currently rated one of our

Full Review of American Express Gold Business

Pros
  • Excellent and flexible rewards in categories in which you spend the most

  • Flexible limits and payment options

Cons
  • Few or no premium travel perks

  • High annual fee

Pros Explained

  • Excellent and Flexible Rewards in Categories in Which You Spend the Most: This card designates six categories as eligible for its best rewards: tickets bought directly from eligible airlines, U.S.advertising expenses (online, TV, and radio), computer hardware and software purchases from eligible U.S. technology providers, U.S gas stations, U.S. shipping services, and dining at U.S. restaurants. Each month, the two categories among these in which your business spends the most within the U.S. earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. With those points averaging a worth of 1.54 cents each, according to Investopedia's valuation, rewards in those categories approach an outstanding 5 cents per dollar spent. What’s more, the categories eligible for those earnings adjust monthly to your spending. For example, if you spend heavily on restaurants and shipping in January and on gas and airfare in February, the 4-points-per-dollar rewards rate would automatically shift from January’s biggest-spending categories to the corresponding ones for February.
  • Flexible Limits and Payment Options: This card offers some welcome features to accommodate the cash-flow challenges of a business. First, unlike some Amex "charge cards," it has a Pay Over Time option that allows eligible cardholders to carry a balance (with interest). Balances under $100, however, are due in full each month. There's also no pre-set spending limit; instead, the amount adjusts with your use of the card. And finally, cardholders get access to the Amex Working Capital Terms program, which provides access to funds (between $500 and $150,000) to pay vendors for up to 90 days at a flat fee of 0.6% of the loan per 30 days.

Cons Explained

  • Few or No Premium Travel Benefits: If you frequently travel for business and crave certain perks while on the road, this might not be the card for you. It lacks travel niceties you can find with other business cards, like airport lounge access, credits for Global Entry membership, and free checked bags.
  • High Annual Fee: At $295, the annual fee for this is high indeed. Similar cards offer comparable rates on diverse rewards for less. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card, for example, charges $95 per year and offers 3-points-per-dollar on the first $150,000 combined spent on travel, shipping, Internet, cable and phone services, and advertising each year. It, too, has a sizable bonus offer.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist
  • Avatar for Business Owner Persona
    Earning a primary or side income from a small business
    Business Owner

The American Express Business Gold card is best-suited to small businesses whose highest monthly expenditures fall into at least two of this card's six bonus categories. And those optimal candidates should indeed be small enterprises; you can earn 4-points-per-dollar rewards only on the first $150,000 spent annually in those categories.

This is also a card for business owners who are comfortable receiving rewards as Amex membership points, rather than as cash. Receiving points is more complex, since it requires some mastery of Amex's rewards system. And the closest option to receiving rewards as cash is to use them to buy gift cards, a cumbersome option that also results in lower values per point than for other options, such as redeeming points to cover travel purchases.

Finally, this card is a decent choice for use abroad, since it doesn’t have the foreign-transaction fee, typically of 3%, that many cards impose on purchases made outside the country.   

American Express Business Gold Card Bonus Offer

New cardholders who spend $5,000 or more within the first three months of card membership receive 35,000 Membership Rewards points. You'll receive the reward in the form of a statement credit eight to 12 weeks after meeting the spending requirement.

Based on our valuation for Membership Rewards points, this offer is worth up to $790 when points are used to book flights through the American Express Travel portal. While that’s a solid return among business cards, it isn't the highest available. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card, for instance, offers 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $15,000 or more within the first three months of card membership—a bonus worth more than twice as much as the one for the American Express Business Gold, according to our points valuations. 

Rewards Earning Details

This card offers 4-points-per-dollar-spent on two categories out of a designated six in each billing cycle; Amex automatically selects the two on which your business has spent the most in that billing cycle. So those earnings are automatic—there's no need to opt in or track categories. The 4-points rewards are limited to $150,000 in spending per calendar year. 

These are the six categories that qualify for bonus rewards. Except for the first item, all require that the spending be made within the U.S.

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines  
  • Advertising in select U.S media (online, TV, radio)
  • Direct purchases of computer hardware, and software from U.S. technology providers like Apple, CDW, Dell, HP, IBM, Intuit, Lenovo, Microsoft, Newegg, Oracle, Rackspace, Sage Software, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and Tiger Direct
  • U.S. gas stations, except from superstores and warehouse clubs
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S.shipping expenses

Spending outside of those categories earns 1-point-per-dollar-spent, as does any spending over the $150,000 threshold for the higher rewards rate.

Rewards Redemption Details

You can redeem points through your American Express account in a variety of ways. Those redemption options include:

  • Booking or upgrading travel through the American Express Travel portal
  • Paying with points at checkout at various retailers
  • Buying gift cards 
  • Applying against charges on your card 
  • Shopping through the Amex shopping portal

The value of each point varies based on the redemption option you choose. You’ll generally get the best value per point by redeeming points for travel through the American Express Travel portal or by transferring them to a travel partner. Cardholders who book their flight with American Express Travel using Membership Rewards Points will get 25% of those points back. 

Transferring Points

Membership Rewards points can be transferred to the frequent-flyer programs of Amex’s partner airlines, with values that vary by the airline. Unusual among card issuers, though, Amex charges 0.0006 cents per point for some partner transfers, to a maximum fee of $99. You might be allowed to redeem additional points to cover the fee, though, and despite the charge, there's still a good chance you'll get the most value out of your points by transferring them to another rewards program. 

How to Maximize Your Rewards

To get the most out of this card, use it to pay for expenses that fit into its six bonus categories—you’ll earn 4 points per dollar spent on the two categories where you spend the most each month. For all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar, which still adds up but may fall short of what you could make with another card on those transactions. 

Next, make sure to spend at least $5,000 on this card within the first three months of membership in order to take full advantage of the welcome offer, which we calculate is worth about $770. 

It’s best to book your flights through American Express Travel using points, which allows you to get 25% of the points spent back. Doing this after spending the annual maximum of $150,000 in the 4-points-per-dollar-spent categories would allow you to recoup 150,000 points that would be worth as much as $2,310, by our calculations. 

Finally, obtain additional cards for employees who make purchases on behalf of the company in order to further increase the miles earned on the account. Of course, depending on your company policy, those employees may be entitled to retain rewards earned on their travel for their personal use. If so—or in order to allow them to do so—you can enroll your business in Delta's corporate SkyBonus program, provided you have at least five employees with cards who together spend at least $5,000 annually on Delta flights. The program, which is free, allows both the employee and their employer to earn miles rewards on Delta flights. 

Here are average and above-average spending scenarios to illustrate how to make the most of this card for reaping rewards. In all cases, our calculations don't include the value of the 35,000-point welcome offer, or factor in the additional 1 point per dollar you'd earn for making purchases outside of the premium rewards categories.

Average Case

Let's say you mainly use this card for two business expenses—flights and restaurants. Each year, you take four round-trip economy flights at an average of $357 per round-trip flight (the average round-trip flight, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.) You spend an additional $500 per month on purchases at restaurants. 

Assuming travel and dining are perennially your two highest monthly spending categories, and so earn 4-points-per dollar spent, you'd earn nearly 30,000 points, worth $462, when redeemed for travel through American Express. And when redeeming points in that way, 25% of the points used would be returned to your account—boosting your net earnings by an extra $115, for a total of $577.

Aspirational Case

Adding employees as additional card members could boost your rewards exponentially, especially since there's no charge for each additional card.

Let's say that in addition to your spending on flights and restaurants in the scenario above, you have two employees who each fly for business twice per year and spend a combined $250 per month on restaurant purchases. Assuming you either retain employees’ rewards for business trips, or have enrolled in the corporate SkyPlus program, the business would earn another 30,000 points with this card. That would put your company’s total for the year at around 60,000 points, which would be worth about $924 when redeemed through Amex travel. Since 25% of points would be returned to your account for booking through Amex, worth a further $231, the total bounty for this spending would reach $1,155. 

American Express Gold Business Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Get 25% points back after using points to pay for all or part of flights booked through Amex Travel
  • No pre-set spending limit
  • Access to Working Capital Terms from Amex
  • Expense-management tools
  • Access to travel discounts and amenities through The Travel Collection
  • Benefits with The Hotel Collection 

Standard Benefits

  • Global assistance hotline
  • Rental car loss and damage insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Access to exclusive events
  • Baggage insurance
  • Dispute resolution for fraudulent or incorrect charges 
  • Pay Over Time option, making this Amex product a true credit card

Cardholder Experience

In J.D. Power's 2019 customer satisfaction survey, American Express placed second and received a score of 838, which is just below that for Discover.

Cardholders have several options to get in touch with customer service. They can call by phone 24/7 at 800-528-4800. Customers can also log into their account to live chat with a representative, and tweet questions and comments to @AskAmex. 

Security Features

Credit cards from American Express come with industry-standard security precautions, including fraud and online account protection. If your card is lost or stolen, the company will replace it for free through the American Express Go portal.

Our Verdict

Even with its steep annual fee of $295, the American Express Gold Business card can be lucrative for small business owners who spend heavily in its bonus categories. And the six possible categories are broad enough—ranging from airfare to shipping to computer hardware—as to suit almost any enterprise. In addition, the card offers what is essentially a short-term cash-flow relief by allowing businesses to tap loans of up to 90 days at relatively modest cost.

Beyond its bonus categories, however, the card offers an unremarkable 1 point per dollar spent, which yields a return of barely more than 1%. It may make sense, then, to pair this card with a high-earning flat-rate points card for use on all spending outside of the bonus categories. The Amex Blue Business Plus card, for example, offers 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, and has no category restrictions.

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For American Express® Business Gold Card
on American Express' Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
American Express® Business Gold Card
overall rating
2.7
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.24% - 22.24% variable
Annual Fee $295
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4 Membership Rewards points per $1 on the 2 eligible categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle, plus earn 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.