American Express OPEN Business Gold Rewards Review
Note: This card is no longer available to new applicants. Check out their latest gold card instead — the American Express Business Gold Card.
American Express OPEN Business Gold Rewards card is a card for small businesses that desire flexibility in how they earn rewards points. Cardholders can choose the category for which they earn triple points — very versatile for a travel rewards card!
Business Gold Rewards card is a charge card. Unlike with a standard credit card, your entire balance comes due on your statement date. You can’t carry any of your balance over to the following month. One plus for charge cards: there is no fixed spending limit. (We published an article on choosing between a charge card and a standard credit card for those interested.)
For most small businesses, the Business Gold Rewards card proves a more grounded and practical alternative to the American Express OPEN Business Platinum card, a card whose bonus reward points are mostly reserved for travel expenses. In contrast, the Business Gold Rewards card offers extra points for travel purchases and non-travel business expenses alike.
Is the OPEN Business Gold Rewards charge card a wise option for you and your business? Read on to learn the details.
Table of Contents
Business Gold Rewards At A Glance
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
$175 ($0 the first year)
N/A (this is a charge card)
Want to know how this card measures up to the competition? Compare popular business credit cards at Credit.com to see how the rates and fees for Business Gold Rewards stack up.
Applicants must have good to excellent credit to qualify for the Business Gold Rewards card. Charge cards tend to be a bit easier to qualify for than regular credit cards, all else being equal.
Rewards & Fees
- The annual fee is $175, so you’ll have to spend at least $17,500 per year just to cover the cost of the fee (assuming a point value of $0.01). However, the fee is waived for the first year.
- The welcome offer of 50,000 points is worth $500 if redeemed for airfare.
As I said, the Business Gold Rewards card lets you earn 3X Membership Rewards points on one category (of your choosing) of the five available, 2X points on the other four categories, and one point per dollar on other purchases. The five categories of spending are:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
You can continue to earn points on up to the first $100,000 spent in each category. You’ll make your bonus category choices once per year.
In addition to the conditional 50,000-point welcome offer, Amex also offers complimentary G Suite subscriptions for the first 3 months after you sign up. Signing up for G Suite by Google Cloud gets you Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar for business. You earn dollar-for-dollar statement credits for purchases of G Suite on your card during your first 3 months of Card Membership — up to $1,500 total.
One thing to note: Although Business Gold Rewards is a charge card, meaning you ordinarily must pay the balance in full on your statement date, you can avoid paying your entire balance under certain circumstances. According to American Express:
For months when you may need additional time to pay, we offer a feature that allows you to pay certain purchases over time with interest. If eligible, you may be given the option to enroll in the Pay Over Time feature, and if you choose to enroll, you will accrue interest on all eligible purchases when you choose to carry a balance.
The rewards points you earn on your Business Gold Rewards card are redeemable via Amex’s Membership Rewards program. As of April 2018, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to 16 different airline loyalty programs and three different hotel loyalty programs. See American Express’s website for further details.
You can redeem your Membership Rewards for gift cards from a vast selection of merchants, from AMC Theaters to Zappos.com. Points redeemed for gift cards are generally worth one cent apiece, though not always. You can also redeem your points for Uber rides to the tune of one cent per point.
You can also redeem your points on any eligible charges on your billing statement, but they’re only worth 0.6 cents per point this way, so it’s not a very strategic way to use your precious points. For a slightly better value, you can link your Amazon and Membership Rewards accounts together and redeem your points through Amazon for 0.7 cents per point.
A final note on the subject of rewards: As of April 2018, a Business Platinum card also gets you into Amex’s OPEN Savings program, which gives you the choice of receiving a 5% discount as a statement credit or two extra Membership Rewards points for every eligible dollar spent with OPEN Savings partners, including FedEx, Hertz, and HP.
Don’t get used to this perk, though. The following statement is posted to Amex’s OPEN Savings page:
Effective June 1, 2018, the OPEN Savings program will no longer be available on your Business Card. You can view savings and rewards opportunities for business purchases, including offers from FedEx, in Amex Offers, which you can access by logging into your American Express online account at americanexpress.com.
As per Amex’s Business Gold Rewards page, the card entitles you to the following benefits:
- Add Employee Cards for your employees
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Premium roadside assistance
- Baggage insurance plan
- Travel accident insurance
- Extended warranty
- Purchase protection
- Dispute resolution
- No foreign transaction fees
- Relationship Care service
- Global Assist Hotline
- Eligibility for AmEx Offers
Business Gold Rewards vs Business Platinum
The Business Gold Rewards card’s flexibility in how you earn extra points makes it a solid charge card for the business with considerable expenses in more than one of the five spending categories mentioned earlier.
That being said, if you find that your travel expenses consume a disproportionate amount of your total spending and/or you want access to exclusive airport lounges and other swank travel perks, Amex OPEN’s Business Platinum travel charge card might be a better value proposition for you. Read our American Express OPEN Business Platinum review and decide for yourself!
The American Express Business Gold Rewards card gives you greater flexibility in earning rewards than the typical small business charge card. For business owners whose spending falls into more than one of the five reward categories for which you can earn 2-3X points, the Business Gold Reward card is a particularly enticing option. Redeeming your rewards can be overly complex, but if you’re willing to take the time to learn how to work the system, you’ll be raking in the benefits.
If your business spending profile doesn’t match the bonus categories — let’s say you spend a lot on restaurants and office supplies — you’re better off going with a card whose reward structure more closely resembles your spending patterns. And if you’d rather have a card on which you can carry a balance from month to month, you’ll obviously prefer a regular credit card to a charge card like this one. But for the business with significant travel, gas, advertising, shipping, and/or computer-related expenses, Business Gold Rewards may prove very valuable.
Gold Rewards is undeniably a useful card for many small businesses, but is it the best card for you? Compare cards at Credit.com to see how this card measures up to other popular business credit cards.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Business Credit Card Rating Criteria.