The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express Open now comes with 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 on your card in the first three months the account is open.
The normal offer for the Business Gold Rewards Card is 25,000 points after spending $5,000. This improved offer is twice is good as it was before, and the best we’ve seen in years. Since you can only earn the sign up bonus from a publicly available American Express card offer once per lifetime, that is significant when we say it’s the best sign up bonus we’ve seen in years.
It also has customizable category bonuses with unique options to choose from and the annual fee is waived the first year.
Below is a breakdown of the sign up offer.
- Sign Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 on your card in the first 3 months the account is open
- Category Bonuses: You’ll get 3x Membership Rewards on one category of your choice (out of five choices), 2X Membership Rewards on the four remaining categories, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 3X and 2X category bonuses apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the five categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
- Value of Membership Rewards: Membership Rewards can be transferred to 17 airline miles and 3 hotel points or used like cash toward the purchase of any flight at a rate of 1 cent per point. I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, and I would not use them like cash toward the purchase of a flight.
- Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
- Annual fee: waived for the first year, then $175
- Eligibility: American Express once in a lifetime bonus rule
- This is a charge card, not a credit card. There is no credit limit, but you are expected to pay your balance in full each month.
Sign Up Bonus
The Business Gold Rewards Card is offering 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Since I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, the sign up bonus is worth $1,000 to me.
This is the highest publicly available sign up bonus for the Business Gold Rewards Card that we’ve seen in years.
You get to choose one out of the following five categories that you’ll earn 3 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on:
- 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
Once you select your 3x category, you will automatically earn 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on the other four categories. 3X and 2X category bonuses apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the five categories per year (after that, you’d get 1x for every dollar spent on all purchases).
Every other purchase outside of those categories earns 1 Membership Reward per dollar.
The ability to customize your category bonuses is a major strength of this card as you can optimize your reward earning potential considering category bonuses on your other rewards cards.
Value of Membership Rewards
There are various ways to redeem Membership Rewards. The primary way to redeem Membership Rewards is to transfer them to miles or points with 17 travel partners. This is the best way to use them. I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each when you redeem them this way.
Most have a transfer rate of 1:1. The following regarding non 1:1 transfer rates is from Membership Rewards terms & conditions (click to enlarge):
You’ll get more value using these transfer partners’ miles when Membership Rewards offers a transfer bonus, like this 50% transfer bonus to Virgin America that happened last February for example.
My favorite AMEX transfer partners are:
- Aeroplan for a cheap award chart, two stopovers per roundtrip, and no fuel surcharges on many partners
- Flying Blue for Promo Awards starting at 12,500 miles one way to Europe
- Etihad for awards flying American Airlines at prices identical to the old pre-devaluation American Airlines award chart, and for cheap Business Class awards flying Brussels airlines to Europe
- British Airways for short, direct economy awards starting at 4,500 miles one way with no fuel surcharges
- Delta for some fairly priced awards with no fuel surcharges (though these are in the minority of awards offered)
- Iberia for any of the dates not highlighted in red on these calendars, you can fly Business Class between New York or Boston to Madrid on Iberia for only 34,000 Iberia Avios; also for a program very similar to British Airways but occasionally with lower miles prices or fuel surcharges
- Singapore to be able to book Singapore Suites or for cheap award prices to Hawaii
- Virgin Atlantic for these Sweet Spots
You can also use them like cash to purchase any flight on any airline at a rate of 1 cent each. Please don’t use your points like this. You can’t get much move value transferring to one of the partners listed above.
The first year you hold the card the annual fee is waived. The $175 annual fee kicks in the second year.
Eligibility to Be Approved
If you’ve gotten the bonus from Business Gold Rewards Card before, you are not eligible to get it again. This is American Express’ once in a lifetime bonus rule that applies to all of their cards.
To be clear, you’re still eligible for the sign up bonus on the Business Rewards Gold card if you’ve gotten the bonus from the Premier Rewards Gold card or the Business Platinum card. Both are different products than the Business Rewards Gold card.
Another factor to consider is that American Express allows one person to hold only four credit cards (cards with credit limits) and four charge cards (no credit limit, must pay balance each month) at one time. Any more than that and you would get denied for your next American Express application. The Business Rewards Gold card is a charge card.
Can You Get a Business Card?
Here is some information about getting business cards. Scott noticed that he’s been approved more easily for business cards when his business had revenue, and he estimated he’d spend at least $1,000 per month on the new card. I’ve noticed similar patterns with my business card applications.
Will this card count towards Chase 5/24?
Actually, it shouldn’t.
For those of you not aware, Chase will deny your applications for their cards if you have opened five credit cards from any bank, across the board, in the last 24 months. Chase determines whether or not you’ve opened five cards in the last two years by looking at your credit report. Since many business cards don’t show up on your credit report (unless you fail to pay it off, of course), the ones that don’t will not apply towards your 5/24 count. Doctor of Credit has a thorough article listing which banks’ business cards show up on your credit report and which don’t. Apparently American Express business cards don’t.
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.