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For a long time the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card was the credit card I spent the most on. The ability to select which bonus category I wanted to earn 3x on was great, and the categories were all rewarding for a growing business. Amex has kept most of these great benefits intact with the launch of the new American Express Business Gold Card. It’s clear that Amex had a very specific customer in mind when they designed this card, favoring high-spending multi-employee organizations over sole proprietors and people with less established businesses.
The annual fee for the new Business Gold Card has been raised to $295 a year, and it’s no longer waived for the first year. This offer is not available to people who’ve previously had a Business Gold Rewards card, but existing customers can keep their cards if they’d rather not convert to the new product.
The most immediate sign of change is that Amex abandoned the traditional points welcome offer and replaced it with a free year subscription to ZipRecruiter Standard and G Suite Basic for up to 3 users. These programs help companies advertise open job listings to a wide market and handle operational logistics. They would normally cost $249 a month and $5 a month respectively, so Amex values this welcome offer at around $3,100 for the year. Obviously, your value may vary depending on the needs of your business.
While Amex only mildly tweaked the categories themselves, they did seriously improve the way your rewards are calculated. Instead of selecting one category from the list to earn 3x on (and earning 2x on the others), you will automatically earn 4x in your top two select categories which Amex will re-calculate each month. You can earn 4x on up to $150,000 of spending a year, meaning you can get 600,000 Membership Rewards points if you max out this card. I value Membership Rewards points at 1.9 cents each, making the 4x worth 7.6% back and those 600,000 potential points being worth a cool $11,400. The possible bonus categories are:
- Airfare purchased from airlines
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions
- US purchases at gas stations
- US purchases at restaurants
- US purchases for shipping
All other purchases will earn 1x.
While the Business Gold Card doesn’t offer any statement credits to offset the higher $295 annual fee, it’s definitely possible for companies using this card on a large scale to get outsized value from it.
- 25% Pay With Points Rebate. When you book first or business class tickets on any airline, or economy tickets on your selected airline, you’ll earn a 25% rebate when paying with points. You have to have the full number of points in your account in order to book, but this rebate raises your direct redemption value from 1 cent per point to 1.33 cents.
- Automatic Enrollment In Pay Over Time: While it was possible for Business Gold Rewards cardholders to enroll in Amex’s extended payment plan for charges over $100, all applicants to the new Business Gold Card will be auto enrolled in it. While Amex charges fairly high interest rates, this might be a useful option for some companies looking to manage spending. In that vein, Amex also offers up to 99 employee cards for a flat fee of $50 a year, and tools like receipt match to help you (or your designated account manager) keep things organized.
Other perks, such as the double points and property credit available on select bookings through The Hotel Collection, Amex Offers, and travel insurance and purchase protection, will roll over to the new card.
Between the higher annual fee and lack of a points based welcome bonus this card obviously isn’t for everyone. But this is a great option for large businesses to earn travel rewards without having to spend too much time on it. Automatically earning a 7.6% return on your two biggest spending categories each month lets you focus on growing your business, and tools like ZipRecruiter and G Suite Basic can help you get there faster.
Forbes has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. Forbes and The Points Guy receive a commission from card issuers.