American Express Business Gold Rewards Card Review
The recently revamped and enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN has one of the strongest rewards points programs in the business. By selecting the rewards categories where you earn bonus rewards, this card allows you to customize your rewards to maximize your AmEx Membership Rewards points. There is an annual fee of $175 with this card; however, it is waved for the first year.
Rewards Program Explained
In addition to a potential signup bonus, the Business Gold rewards program allows you to earns points on each purchase. You will choose one of five rewards categories for purchases to earn 3 points. From the remaining four bonus categories, you choose a second rewards category on which to earn 2 points. All other spending, and all combined bonus rewards spending in excess of $100,000, will earn one point. The points never expire and there is no limit on the total number of points you may earn. This card also offers plenty of other features, which will be explained below. You will be able to redeem your Membership Rewards points from over 500 options from gift cards, to travel, to dining and entertainment. Generally, we found that each 10,000 membership rewards points will be worth up to $100 (or each rewards point is worth up to $0.01). For example, if you redeem 10,000 points for a a gift card, in most cases you will contain a $100 gift card. A notable exception is the AmEx gift card. In that case, 10,000 points will only get you a $50 gift card. And many other items will also yield less than a penny per point when you go to redeem. Use this tool from American Express to see where you can spend, and the value of, your Membership Rewards points. And you should note that any portion of a charge that you elect to pay through redemption of Membership Rewards points is not eligible to earn points.
American Express OPEN and Other Benefits
You can further boost your savings by taking advantage of relationships that American Express has built with several hotel, transportation, shipping, technology and other partners. The OPEN Savings benefit works by providing you 2 additional Membership Rewards® points for each dollar you spend at OPEN Savings merchants. So, if you spend $1,000 with an eligible merchant, you will get anywhere from 3,000 points to 5,000 points for that purchase. These points include your normal rewards points plus the 2,000 OPEN bonus points! Other card benefits include*:
Interest and Fees
You should remember that the Business Gold Rewards Card is a charge card. This means that you will be required to pay your balance in full each month. If you are looking for a business card with 0% APR financing on new purchases, this will not be the card for you. The fees for this card are:
Annual fee of $175 (waived for your first year)
Late payment fee is the greater of $38 or 2.99% of your past due balance
Returned payment fee is $38
Comparison to Other American Express Business Cards
Business Gold Rewards Card vs Plum Card
The American Express Plum Card and the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card are somewhat similar in what they offer. The Plum Card has most of the same benefits that the Gold Rewards Card has. A key feature that the Plum Card offers is that payment in full is not required at the end of each billing cycle. Instead, the Plum Card offers a 1.5 percent discount on eligible purchases if the bill is paid within 10 days of the statement closing date. This comes as a credit on the following bill. Despite offering discounts, the Plum Card is not the best of the two. It does not offer the potential for a 25,000 point bonus after the first $5,000 in spending. Additionally, although this is not a major deal, it has a slightly higher fee of $185 (also waived in the first year). Overall, the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card is better for most customers, particularly those who intend to spend at least $10,000 within the first 150 days.
Business Gold Rewards Card vs Business Platinum Card
The American Express Business Platinum Card and the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card are significantly different. The Platinum Card is a clear winner if you are willing to pay a good deal more for it, as it has a $450 annual fee that is not waived in the first year. However, it does not have foreign transaction fees, which could really be useful if you expect to make a significant amount of purchases abroad.
The Bottom Line
The AmEx Business Gold Rewards Card offers a generous rewards points program. And we love the benefits of the OPEN Savings program. But our opinion is that most small businesses will fare better with a cash back or miles reward card for three reasons. First, AmEx Business gold rewards is a charge card. You will be required to pay the balance in full each month. There will be introductory financing offers or even ability to delay payment in a slow month. As many business owners, the ability to get “terms” and delay payment on orders is essential to manage cash flows as you wait to make sales on those orders. Second, though you can select your own rewards categories and take advantage of the OPEN program to maximize your rewards, redemption rates for those rewards can be very limited. Where cash back rewards cards give you $0.01 for each point, when redeeming your Membership Rewards, you will often find that each point is worth less than a penny. Third, though the $175 annual fee is waived in your first year, it is an expensive fee. You will need to generate a lot of Membership Rewards to overcome the drag on that fee versus other programs.
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