Small businesses need to constantly reevaluate their expenses and spending habits to ensure they can stay in business. You check whether you can get products cheaper from another supplier and should also consider the credit card — or cards — you’re putting business expenses on to get the best return possible on your purchases.
Another key consideration is whether the small-business credit card you’re using is worth its annual fee. Are you getting perks and benefits that justify this fee? Is it worth paying the card’s annual fee for access to the bonus points it provides on your business expenses? Or would you be better served with another credit card?
The American Express® Business Gold Card has a $295 annual fee (see rates and fees), so let’s consider these questions to see whether this card is worth the annual fee.
New applicants for the Amex Business Gold card can earn 70,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases within the first three months of cardmembership.
Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece, according to our latest valuations. That makes this bonus worth $1,400, providing a solid 14% return on spending during the welcome offer period.
Related: How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value
25% airline bonus
When cardmembers use their points to pay for flights through American Express Travel, they’re eligible to get 25% of their points back. This applies to business- and first-class flights on any airline or tickets in any class with your preferred airline (which you must select in advance). Cardmembers can receive up to 250,000 points back per year using this feature.
Related: Our full review of the Amex Business Gold card
Adaptive bonus earnings
Many credit cards offer set categories where you will earn 3 points per dollar here and 2 points per dollar there each month. Instead, the Amex Business Gold card provides bonus earnings where you’re spending the most right now.
Cardmembers earn 4 points per dollar in the two categories where they spend the most each billing cycle. This applies to the first $150,000 of purchases in bonus categories each year (then 1 point per dollar thereafter). Bonus categories include:
Airfare purchased directly from airlines.
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV or 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, including takeout and delivery.
U.S. purchases for shipping.
Cardmembers earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases with no limit to how many points they can earn in a year.
Related: What credit score do you need for the Amex Business Gold Card?
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Primary cardholders for the Amex Business Gold can access several business-related benefits. These perks include year-end summaries, auto-expense categorization in Intuit QuickBooks and bill-pay services with Vendor Pay by Bill.com. This feature is free for the first user and offers six free months for the second user, then $15 per month for the second user. Enrollment is required in advance for this benefit.
The primary cardmember can also add employee cards, which come with an annual fee of $50 for Business Gold cards or no annual fee for Business Green cards (see rates and fees). These cards will help the primary account holder earn rewards on employee spending while also controlling and limiting employee spending as needed. In fact, you can also designate other people as account managers to handle many of these features.
The Amex Business Gold card is not a traditional credit card but instead comes with no preset spending limit. This means that the amount you can spend on the card will vary based on things like creditworthiness, payment history and your relationship with American Express. Additionally, you may be eligible to enroll in Pay Over Time on your card, and Amex sometimes sends out targeted offers of bonus points to enroll in this feature.
Related: 6 lesser-known perks of the Amex Business Gold Card
Travel and shopping perks
The primary cardmember has access to The Hotel Collection bookings with Amex Travel. While a two-night minimum is imposed on these bookings, you can receive perks like a $100 on-property credit for things like dining, spa or resort activities and room upgrades at check-in (when available).
As an American Express card, cardmembers have access to Amex Offers, which can provide savings or bonus points on qualifying purchases for targeted cardholders. Amex Business Gold cardmembers also enjoy multiple shopping and travel protections. These include an additional year of extended warranty* and 90 days of purchase protection* for stolen or accidentally damaged items (up to $1,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 per year). When traveling, cardmembers also enjoy secondary rental car insurance** and baggage insurance* of up to $1,250 for carry-on bags and up to $500 for checked luggage — which is in addition to what’s provided by your transportation provider.
Related: Your complete guide to shopping protections on American Express cards
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* Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
** Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
The Amex Business Gold card doesn’t provide things like elite status or free hotel night certificates like you’ll find on travel rewards credit cards. Instead, it’s focused on providing tools that small-business owners need to keep track of their financials. It also offers adaptive points-earning, helping you earn extra points where you’re currently spending the most, and a 25% points rebate on flights when you pay with points.
For most small-business owners, the value to be found with the Amex Business Gold card will be based on the protections it provides and the points you can earn on purchases. If these provide value to your business, it will be a good fit. If your spending categories don’t align with this card, then it’s best to get a different card that matches your spending categories more accurately.
Official application link: American Express Business Gold Card with a welcome bonus of 70,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on purchases within the first three months of cardmembership.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, click here.