American Express has been revamping each card in their charge card portfolio over the past several years. These changes have added new cardholder benefits, increased Membership Rewards point-earning opportunities and, unfortunately, higher annual fees. If you’re curious what are the differences between charge cards and credit cards, check out this article.
When it comes to the American Express Business charge cards, the Gold version of the card, previously known as the Business Gold Rewards card, was renamed to just the Business Gold Card. If you decide that you want to sign up for this card, or any of the American Express business credit cards, we’d appreciate if you use our link. We receive Membership Rewards points for each referral and that helps us keep Your Mileage May Vary HQ going strong.
Are the new benefits of the card worth the higher annual fee?
$295 per year
Sign Up Benefits
This card is subject to AMEX’s one sign up bonus per lifetime rule To read more about that, check out this article from Doctor of Credit.) AMEX also has added this stipulation to their cards:
We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.
The referral link we have for this card currently has a 50,000-point bonus once you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Spending Bonus Categories
The Business Gold card earns 4X Membership Rewards on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from the list below, plus earn 1X on other purchases:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
- U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases for shipping
4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year Then earn 1 point per dollar.
This ability to earn a bonus on different spending categories each month is a new benefit to American Express cards. Previously, you had to choose a single category to get extra points in for the entire year. I really love this perk of the card because you might spend a bunch on airfare one month and none the next.
A drawback of this card is that the bonus categories only count for charges made in the U.S.
25% Airline Bonus
You can use your Membership Rewards points to pay for airline tickets on the American Express Travel website at a value of 1 cent per point. You receive 25% of Membership Rewards points back for all or part of an economy ticket booked with American Express Travel on your chosen airline or a first or business class ticket on any airline, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year
The kicker is that you can only choose one of the following airlines per year for this benefit on economy tickets:
On a side note, AMEX really needs to proofread/update their T&Cs. I want someone to call and ask to book a flight on AirTran 🙂
If you select Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or AirTran Airways, to receive your 25% Airline Bonus you must call American Express Travel and Lifestyle Services at 1-800-428-0253.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
As you would hope a card that earns points that can be used for travel worldwide would, the Business Gold Card does not charge any foreign transaction fees.
Pay Over Time
Since this is a charge card, the balance is due in full every month. Now, if you’re using your cards to earn points and miles for travel, you’re hopefully paying your balance off in full every month on every card. If you do need to carry a balance on this card, there is an option to do so.
A charge made by you or any Additional Card Member on your account is eligible to be paid over time if it is equal to or more than $100 and is approved by us. The following types of charges are ineligible for Pay Over Time: Cash and Express Cash, American Express® Travelers Cheques and other cash equivalents, casinos and other gambling transactions, any fees owed to American Express except foreign transaction fees, and other transactions designated by us
For transactions added to a Pay Over Time balance at your request, we will begin charging interest as of the date they are added to your Pay Over Time balance. For transactions added automatically to a Pay Over Time balance, we will charge interest beginning on the date of each transaction. We will not charge interest on charges added to your Pay Over Time balances automatically if you pay the Account Total New Balance by the due date each month.
It costs $50 for the first Additional Business Gold Card and no annual membership fee for each Additional Business Gold Card thereafter. The maximum number of Additional Cards on an account is 99.
If you don’t want to pay the $50 to get your first additional cardholder, it’s possible to get them a Business Green Card linked to the same account.
The American Express Business Gold Card has a variety of bonus categories. Getting the bonus multiplier on the category with the most spending each month is so much better than having to pick one or multiple categories for the entire year.
Getting a 25% discount on pay with points can be a huge perk if you often pay for economy flights on the same airline or business/first-class tickets. It still only gives a value of 1.33 cents each for Membership Rewards points, which is not that great. However, if you have plenty of points or if you’re booking an inexpensive business or first-class fare but still don’t want to pay cash for the ticket, this is a way to accomplish that.
While most of the changes to the American Express card portfolio have seemed lackluster to me, I think the Business Gold card changes are intriguing. While I didn’t think the previous version was worth the $175 annual fee, it would take some serious crunching of numbers to see if the $295 annual fee is worth it. You’d really have to take advantage of the 4x bonus categories or the 25% airline bonus to make the numbers work to your favor.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary