The American Express Gold and Business Gold credit cards both come with generous rewards programs and perks. Choosing the right card depends on what type of consumer you are and how you spend each month.
The American Express® Gold Card and the American Express® Business Gold Card don’t come cheap, with both charging high annual fees. However, both cards also come with generous rewards programs and plenty of perks. Depending on how you use these cards, you can generate more than enough rewards points to outweigh the size of those annual fees.
But which Amex card is right for you? Which one is the better value?
It all depends on how you spend your money, whether you’re using your card to build a business or whether you’re more interested in using your American Express to pay for hotel stays, dining out and flights to vacation destinations.
|Rewards||4X points at restaurants|
4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1X)
3X points on flights (booked directly with airline or amextravel.com)
1X point for all other purchases
|4X points in the two categories in which you spend the most (for first $150,000 in purchases yearly)|
1X point for all other purchases
|Welcome bonus||60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first six months||70,000 points if you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in first three months|
|Annual bonus||$100 activity credit on vacations over $3,000 (booked with a participating supplier through American Express Travel)|
Up to $120 dining credit (enrollment required)
$100 hotel credit for qualifying activities through The Hotel Collection
|Perks||Up to $10 dining credit each month|
Up to $120 Uber Cash annually
|Pay Over Time cash flow management|
No preset spending limits
One of the most important differences between the American Express Gold Card and Business Gold Card is how you earn your Amex Membership Rewards points.
Not surprisingly, the Business Gold Card rewards cardholders more for business-related purchases, such as airfare, advertising, computer software and cloud services. On the other hand, the traditional Gold Card focuses more on consumer-centric purchases, such as dining and groceries.
For the American Express Gold Card, you’ll earn 4 rewards points for every dollar you charge at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and this category does not have a spending cap. You’ll also earn 4 points for every dollar you charge at U.S. supermarkets. You’ll earn rewards at this 4X rate on the first $25,000 you spend on groceries each year; once you pass that threshold, you’ll earn just 1 point for every dollar you charge at U.S. supermarkets.
When traveling, use your Amex Gold to book flights directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and you will earn 3 points for every dollar you spend. Finally, you’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you charge on other purchases.
With the American Express Business Gold Card, earn 4 rewards points for every dollar you charge in the two categories you spend the most in each month. Potential categories include directly purchased airfare, U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping purchases and purchases made directly from select U.S. computer hardware, software or cloud solution providers. For all other purchases not in your top two spending categories, you’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend. The 4-point rewards level applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from your two categories each calendar year. After that, you’ll earn 1 point for every purchase you make until the next calendar year.
Both the American Express Gold and Business Gold cards offer generous welcome bonuses. The Gold Card’s bonus, though slightly lower, requires you to make fewer purchases to qualify.
For the American Express Gold Card, you’ll earn 60,000 rewards points if you spend $4,000 with your card in the first six months of opening your account. With the Business Gold Card, you’ll rack up 70,000 rewards points after spending $10,000 with the card during the first three months of opening your account.
Redeeming Amex rewards is a simple process with both the Gold and Business Gold cards.
The good news for Amex Gold cardholders? Points don’t expire, so you can hold onto them without worrying about losing them. There are also no limits on the points you can earn, except for the $25,000 limit on U.S. supermarket buys during a calendar year (earn 4X points up to the limit, then 1X after).
You can redeem your points for gift cards, travel, entertainment, merchandise, charity or shopping. You can also transfer your points to American Express’ 22 airline and hotel partners.
For the American Express Business Gold card, the points you earn also don’t expire. However, the limit on the points you can earn is high – you can earn the 4X points on your top two categories on the first $150,000 in purchases yearly, then still earn unlimited 1X points on all other purchases. You also can transfer your points to 19 partner airlines and three partner hotels, the same as with the Gold card.
If you book eligible travel with American Express Travel, such as a flight, using your Membership Rewards points, you’ll get 25% of those points back when using your Business Gold. So you can get up to 250,000 points back every calendar year in this way.
Both the Gold and Business Gold cards charge annual fees. The American Express Gold Card charges an annual fee of $250. The Business Gold Card charges an annual fee of $295. You’ll have to determine if you’ll earn enough rewards points to offset those fees, but also remember to add on the value of additional perks, some of which have easily accessible monetary value. We’ll look at those perks next.
Both the Gold and Business Gold cards offer plenty of perks. But, not surprisingly, the perks with the Business Gold card are focused more on benefits that help business owners more efficiently run their companies.
A few Gold Card perks:
- Uber Cash – If you add your Gold Card to your Uber account, you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month. You can earn up to $120 a year through this perk, and you can use this cash on Uber rides or Uber Eats orders.
- Dining credit – You can earn $10 in statement credits each month when you pay with your Gold Card for dining services such as Boxed, Seamless and Grubhub. So again, you can earn up to $120 a year with this perk. (Note that if you use both the Uber and dining credits, you’ll yield an automatic $240 value before you even start earning your rewards points, making it pretty easy to overcome that $250 annual fee.)
- Payment flexibility – You don’t have to pay your balance in full each month, though you should if you have the cash. The Gold card allows you to carry a monthly balance with interest. You can also use American Express’ Plan It feature to split up large payments into smaller monthly payments with a fixed fee.
A few Business Gold Card perks:
- Cash flow boost – With American Express’ Pay Over Time option, you can carry a balance with interest on eligible purchases. This could be an important benefit for business owners who might need to monitor their cash flow more carefully at certain points of the year.
- No preset spending limit – Business owners can often rack up big bills when running a company. The Business Gold Card doesn’t come with a preset spending limit. There is no one-size-fits-all limit. Instead, your card’s limit depends on factors such as your payment history, credit history and the amount of purchases you’ve made in the past. This gives you more control over how much you can spend.
- Financial management tools – The Business Gold card comes with several financial tools that can help you manage your finances. American Express will send you a year-end summary of your charges to help you organize your expenses. It also offers the American Express Business App to help you manage your card receipts. In addition, you can order employee cards that come with their own spending limits, alerts and summaries. These employee cards don’t charge an annual fee.
American Express Gold Card: Best for foodies and travelers
If you eat out a lot or rack up plenty of charges at grocery stores, the American Express Gold Card is a good choice thanks to the generous 4 rewards points it gives for every dollar you charge at restaurants or U.S. supermarkets. If you are a frequent grocery store or restaurant customer, you should easily overpower the $250 annual fee (especially if you’re using your Uber Eats and dining credits each month).
This is a good card for frequent travelers, too. Those 3 points for every dollar charged for airline flights (booked directly or through amextravel.com) can also add up quickly if you’re often jetting off to new destinations.
American Express Business Gold Card: Best for business owners who spend big in one or two categories
If you’re growing a business and you rack up large charges in one or two areas every month, the Business Gold Card might be a good fit. That’s due to the generous 4 rewards points you can rack up for every dollar you charge in your two top spending categories each month.
The card’s financial management tool and free employee cards – which can come with their own spending limits – are also useful tools for business owners.
The bottom line
The American Express Gold and Business Gold cards are both strong choices: Both offer generous rewards programs, strong welcome offers and solid perks. Choosing one depends largely on whether you need a card to help generate rewards while running a business or whether you just need a card that racks up rewards points when you’re dining out, shopping for food to eat at home or booking flights.
Whichever card you choose, if you spend wisely, you should generate plenty of rewards points with either version of the Gold card, offset the annual fees, and enjoy a great rewards card.