The American Express Business Gold Card is a charge card with plenty of perks. Entrepreneur Darryl Drake values this card for its substantial welcome bonus, high charging ability limit and excellent point accumulation rate for specific spending categories, including travel.
Here at CreditCards.com, I interview entrepreneurs about their businesses and how they use credit products. Most of their credit and charge cards have valuable rewards programs, so I ask which benefits they like best, what their rewards earning strategy is and what they’re doing with the accumulated cash, points or miles.
Some cards become fan favorites, and for Darryl Drake, a direct sales entrepreneur who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, it’s his American Express® Business Gold Card. Although Drake has a pocket full of plastic, this card gets a major workout. Here’s why.
American Express Business Gold Card: At a glance
Designed primarily for the business owner who wants to rack up rewards in heavily used categories, the American Express Business Gold Card begins with a sign-up bonus of 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you charge $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening the account.
As one of the best Amex cards, cardholders earn 4X the points on the two categories where they spent the most money that month, for up to $150,000 per year. It also offers a 25% bonus on points when the rewards are redeemed for all or part of an eligible flight booked through American Express Travel (up to 250,000 points annually).
Because it’s a charge card, it does not have a preset credit limit. There is an interest-free 25-day grace period for complete payment. For cardholders who do want to revolve balances, it offers a flexible payment option on purchases of more than $100 with a variable APR of between 14.24% and 22.24%. The annual fee is $295.
Using the American Express Business Gold Card
As a man on the move, Drake values his American Express Business Gold Card for its travel benefits – from the rewards points to the embedded perks. He’s had this card since 2014 and says it’s his go-to account for going places, both domestically and internationally.
When Drake says he flies a lot, it’s not an exaggeration. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the U.S. in 2020, he was sometimes in the air every week, racking up about 100,000 airline miles annually. Most of his excursions are for his company rather than for pleasure, so trading the rewards in for business travel is the best use of Amex points.
“Because these flights are often 10- to 15-hour long, I value comfort,” Drake said.
“Being able to get business- or first-class seats with my American Express Business Gold Card is great. I’ve used this card to go pretty much everywhere in the world: South Korea, Qatar, Dubai, the Dominican Republic, Tulum. You name it, I’ve been there, and I almost always book with my Amex. I use my points wisely.”
When the pandemic kept most people close to home, Drake continued to use his American Express Business Gold Card to pay for business expenses. During that time, the rewards built up, and he now has about 2 million points sitting on the account. That’s all about to change, though.
“I will be using some of the points soon to take a couple of long trips out of the country, flying business-class at least. I’ll be booking the flight through the American Express portal. That’s the best way to do it, because of the way the rewards are set up. You get higher value from the points. The first trip I have planned will be to Bora Bora, and then another to Greece.”
Since Drake uses the issuer’s portal to book accommodations with his Business Gold card, he’s also eligible for other benefits. As long as he stays two consecutive nights, he can score a $100 hotel credit and a room upgrade at check-in when it’s available.
The Business Gold card automatically tallies the most used categories that the cardholder charges for the month, and then applies the points to the account. While travel is nearly always in Drake’s top two categories, dining out is the other segment where he’s able to earn quadruple the points.
Together, Drake and his employees pick up the check for business meals at restaurants, spending roughly $10,000 each month. That comes out to 40,000 points. Each American Express point is worth anywhere from a half-cent to 1 cent (depending on how they’re redeemed), so the cash value for the rewards he collects for dining, alone can be $200 to $400 every month.
Due to Drake’s high business expenses, he needs a card that comes with a credit line that can handle the charges. Since the Amex Business Gold card is a charge card and not a credit card, there is no preset spending limit. As long as he pays the bill in full by the due date (which comes every 25 days), he can charge what he wants.
He doesn’t use the Pay Over Time option, instead choosing to delete the balance every 14 days. This way, he avoids financing fees.
“Being able to charge everything I have to get for my business gives me the flexibility I need,” Drake said. “I don’t have to think about whether or not I’m going to hit the limit. That’s important to me.”
Currently, Drake has eight employees listed on the American Express Business Gold Card as authorized users, and combined, they spend at least $40,000 to $50,000 every month. There is no fee for the extra cards for this card, so adding more users to the account works to his advantage.
“We use this card instead of a debit card,” Drake said. “It just makes sense. Why would I use cash, which pays me nothing, instead of using my Amex that pays me a lot? I have my employees put everything they can on my Gold card. It’s a convenience for me. I don’t have to worry about anything. It’s also good for them. I once had an employee who didn’t understand credit cards and didn’t want one, but I said, ‘You work for us, you have to.’ She ended up liking them so much, she ended up applying for her own!”
See related: Managing employee cards on your credit card account
The 70,000-point welcome offer on the American Express Business Gold was a major draw for Drake, but he had to work up to eligibility.
“I started off with bad credit,” he said. “I knew I wanted an American Express card, but I couldn’t get this one at first. I had to begin with a different American Express card and treat it perfectly. I did it by charging and then paying the balance down every 14 days, just like I do now. Then, when my credit was getting better, I searched for cards and I saw that the Amex Business Gold would give me the best rewards for what I wanted to do. The big bonus was extremely attractive, too.”
“So, when I applied and got the card, my next step was to figure out how to earn it,” Drake said. “I approached the bonus with intention, and I moved fast to spend enough in those first months. I don’t remember what I spent all those points on when I did use them, though. It was probably business travel because that’s what I do!”
Ongoing potential for the card
Drake mentioned that he appreciates several other factors that come with this card. For example, American Express recently made some improvements to the mobile platform, making checking his employees’ charges far simpler, which will help him now and into the future.
“Before, I never knew who was spending what,” he said. “I had to figure it all out on my own. Although I have assistants, I manage my credit accounts myself, so I always know what’s happening. Now, all I have to do is log in and I can see what each person has spent each month. It’s easy. Since I’ll be traveling a lot more soon, being able to do all this on my phone is important.”
“American Express customer service is great,” Drake said. “They take care of you. Every once in a while, I run into issues, but they handle it. For example, last year I did business with a convention company, where we had to put down a deposit for an event. But because COVID shut everything down, the convention was canceled. We should have been refunded the money, but they weren’t working with us. Thankfully, I paid with my Business Gold card. I called American Express and they immediately resolved the issue in our favor.”
Is the Amex Business Gold worth it?
“My American Express Business Gold Card is definitely worth having,” Drake said. “It’s like a Lamborghini; one of the best business credit cards out there. I even forgot about the annual fee because of the way we spend, it pays for itself in a month. This card gives me peace of mind. It offers so many benefits and flexibility.”
So, is the Amex Business Gold card right for you and your venture? It may be, but first you have to know if you meet the qualification standards.
This card requires credit scores that are considered good to excellent (670 to 850). Find out what your scores are before applying and then use our CardMatch tool to determine whether the card is an appropriate fit based on your profile.
You’ll also want to be sure that you can meet the card’s $10,000 minimum spend within a few months to get the welcome offer. Think about how you’ll do that in advance, without it turning into unmanageable and expensive debt. Then consider the $295 annual fee. And last, make sure you’ll charge enough on a regular basis to get at least as much from the amassed points and perks as the cost to keep the card active.