Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
If you’re looking for a card that offers generous points-earning bonuses for a wide range of categories, the Gold lineup within the American Express portfolio is worth a closer look.
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With annual fees of $250 (see rates and fees) and $295 (see rates and fees), respectively, these cards don’t come cheap — but also don’t venture into the territory of The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which carry annual fees of $695 (see rates and fees) and $595 (see rates and fees), respectively.
In fact, the Gold cards are in somewhat of a sweet spot. They have rich earning potential that can significantly offset their annual fees — without the sticker shock of more expensive cards.
Let’s dive in and compare these two Gold cards to see which one may be right for you.
Comparing the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold
Here are the details of each card at a high level.
|Amex Gold||Amex Business Gold|
|Welcome bonus||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points
after you spend $4,000 in purchases in your first six months of account opening.
|Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening.|
|Annual fee||$250 (see rates & fees)||$295 (see rates & fees)|
|Points bonuses||4x at restaurants
4x at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x)
3x on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
|4x in two categories with the most spending each billing cycle (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year; then 1x)|
|Annual statement credits||Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly increments)
Up to $120 Uber Cash ($10 monthly increments)
Enrollment required for select benefits.
|Redemption bonus||None||25% back on Pay With Points flight redemptions (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year) on first/business class with any airline and all classes with your selected airline from a list of qualifying airlines|
Cards with no set spending limits
However, with the introduction of a Pay Over Time feature, it’s now possible to carry a balance from one month to the next, with variable interest rates applied. With that said, TPG always recommends paying off your card on time and in full to avoid accruing interest if possible (it’s one of our 10 commandments to travel rewards). In this respect, the cards are quite similar.
Business card or personal card
Perhaps the biggest question is whether a business card or a personal card is a better fit for you. Business credit cards (naturally) are designed for business use, while personal credit cards can be used by anyone. But it’s not quite so rigid as that.
Even if you don’t have a formal business with a tax ID number, for instance, you still might be able to open a business credit card. Maybe you regularly sell items online, have a side hustle or take on freelance assignments. In any of these cases, you might prefer to separate your business expenses from other purchases.
As we’ll outline below, though, the Amex Business Gold may be a better fit for larger, more established businesses that have a lot of expenses.
The Amex Gold has a generous welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card opening. Meanwhile, the Amex Business Gold has a higher 70,000 Membership Rewards points offer, but with $10,000 in spending required within the first three months.
You may be able to get an even higher welcome offer for the Amex Gold by using the CardMatch tool (offer subject to change at any time) or by receiving a referral offer from someone that carries either card.
TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, making the 60,000-point bonus worth $1,200 and the 70,000-point bonus a respectable $1,400.
The personal Amex Gold also has its Rose Gold color option available again. Originally available in late 2018 (and briefly by referral only in 2019), the card color is now back by popular demand for new cardholders.
Keep in mind that Amex has strict rules when it comes to earning a welcome bonus. Since 2014, Amex has clamped down on applications and begun limiting customers to one bonus per card per lifetime, regardless of how much time had passed since you last applied for that card. So if you’ve held either of these cards in the past, you might be ineligible to earn its intro offer again.
Winner: Amex Gold. Nearly as many points for meeting much lower spending requirements.
Both the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold offer up to 4x points on select categories. The 4x Membership Rewards points earnings equate to an 8% return on spending, based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.
For the consumer Amex Gold, you’ll earn points for the following categories:
- 4x points on dining at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (U.S. supermarkets capped at $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x)
- 3x points on flights booked directly from the airline or through amextravel.com
- 1x points on all other eligible purchases
Amex Business Gold
The Amex Business Gold has powerful, business-friendly 4x bonus categories. What is unique is that you’ll automatically earn 4x points in your top two spending categories each month, meaning you don’t have to pick a category and commit to it. The eligible categories are:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases made from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
The structure of these categories, namely the fact that you’ll automatically earn 4x points in your top two spending categories from the list of eligible bonus categories on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, means this card will likely appeal to someone who wants to rack up travel rewards without putting in too much work.
This card is meant to be a one-stop shop that you can swipe for everything, leaving you more bandwidth to focus on your business.
Related: Best business credit cards
Both the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold have several overlapping card benefits. Namely, this includes purchase protection, extended warranty, baggage insurance, travel accident insurance and premium Global Assist. All of these are virtually identical across both cards. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees for Amex Gold; see rates and fees for Amex Business Gold) and both cards also offer access to making bookings through Amex’s Hotel Collection, which includes perks such as on-property credits, room upgrades and more.
The Amex Gold has some exclusive statement credit benefits to help offset its $250 annual fee.
Up to $120 annual dining credit. Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Amex Gold at participating dining partners, including Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, some Shake Shack locations and Boxed.
This perk is a monthly statement credit similar to the Uber credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express. You just have to enroll through the Amex website to get this benefit.
Up to $120 annually ($10 per month) in Uber Cash. This can be used on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. Just make sure to enroll your Gold Card with your Uber account first and use it to pay.
Unfortunately, the Amex Business Gold offers no such statement credits but does have a considerable redemption bonus.
Winner: Amex Gold
Both the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold earn Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to Amex’s airline and hotel partners. With many options to pick from, you’ll be able to find a transfer partner in any of the three major airline alliances and several non-alliance carriers as well.
However, what is unique to the Amex Business Gold is a Pay With Points redemption bonus when booking airfare through Amex Travel. You’ll earn a 25% rebate when paying with points through your Business Gold Card (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year) for business- or first-class tickets on any airline, or any fare class on your selected U.S. airline. This is similar to The Business Platinum Card from American Express‘s 35% Pay With Points rebate (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year).
That means, by using Pay With Points for flights in conjunction with your Amex Business Gold card, you’re getting a redemption value of 1.33 cents per point on eligible tickets versus just 1 cent per point with the Amex Gold.
Winner: Amex Business Gold
Despite some interesting earning bonuses and redemption values with the Amex Business Gold, the edge in this showdown goes to the consumer Amex Gold. The card is a strong pick for pretty much all food purchases and its statement credits mostly offset the annual fee. It certainly has more widespread appeal and may be better for cardholders who don’t have major business expenses.
The Amex Business Gold is clearly targeted at larger, more established businesses. There are no statement credits to offset the annual fee, and overall this card works better for a company that can write off its expenses. You’ll have to spend a lot to earn enough points to make the annual fee worth it.
Those considerations aside, the Amex Business Gold’s bonus categories and earning structure will appeal to a wide variety of businesses, as the categories encompass everything from spending at U.S. restaurants to U.S. purchases for advertising and at select technology providers.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.