If you are looking for an Amex business card, American Express offers two core products in the UK. This review looks at the American Express Business Gold charge card. Our review of the other Amex business card, the American Express Business Platinum charge card, is here.
This article was updated on 1st October 2021, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.
Why Amex Business Gold?
The American Express Business Gold charge card is issued directly by American Express.
The card is aimed mainly at small businesses and sole traders. The criteria for applying are fairly lenient:
- You have a permanent UK home address
- The business has a UK bank account
- The business has no County Court Judgements against it
- You are over 18
There are no turnover or profitability requirements for the company itself. There is no longer any requirement to have been in business for one year – you can now apply as soon as you have a bank account.
Note that the American Express Business Gold card is a charge card, not a credit card. You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.
What is the Amex Business Gold sign-up bonus?
You will receive 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within three months. This is a very generous incentive.
The card is also free for the first year. The annual fee for the following years is £175.
Membership Rewards points can be converted into a range of goodies. The most valuable options are converting into frequent flyer miles (including Avios points and Virgin Flying Club) at a ratio of 1:1. This means that the sign-up bonus is worth 20,000 Avios points or 20,000 Virgin Points.
There are also a lot of non-travel redemptions including High Street, Amazon and iTunes gift cards.
Membership Rewards points are awarded to the individual and NOT to the company so you can spend them however you wish.
Is there a bonus for regular spending?
Yes, although it will only benefit high spenders.
You will receive an additional 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points whenever you spend £20,000 in a calendar quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec).
If you spent exactly £20,000 in a quarter, you would have earned 30,000 points in total. This comprises 10,000 bonus points and 20,000 base points. 1.5 points per £1 spent is the highest return available on any business credit card.
Any other benefits?
You receive £100 credit per year to spend with Dell. No minimum spend applies but the credit is split into two parts. You can earn £50 cashback between January and June and £50 cashback between July and December.
You can apply for supplementary Amex business cards for your employees at no extra cost.
You will receive one consolidated statement showing the spend on your card and all of the supplementary cards. All of the Membership Rewards points earned on the supplementary cards will flow into your personal account.
Depending on when in your monthly cycle you make a payment, you will effectively receive up to 54 days free credit on your spending.
American Express statements provide more underlying transaction detail for flights and certain other transactions than Visa or Mastercard statements, making it easier to reconcile transactions.
What is the Amex Gold Business annual fee?
There is no fee for the first year.
For future years, there is a fee of £175. This should be a tax deductible business expense.
What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?
You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.
What is a Membership Rewards point worth?
Anything from ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer! This article outlines my view on the most valuable American Express Membership Rewards transfer options.
Your fallback position is to convert the points into Avios at 1:1 and then into Nectar points at 1:1.6. With a Nectar point worth 0.5p each, this means your American Express points are worth at least 0.8p in Nectar credit to spend at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay.co.uk and other partners. This makes your 20,000 points sign-up bonus worth at least £160.
I tend to value airline miles at 0.75p – 1p each (this is conservative) so that is your valuation if you transfer to an airline programme.
Some of the hotel programmes also offer good value. Radisson Rewards (the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn scheme) transfers at 1:3 from Membership Rewards, for example. Their top hotels generally only cost 70,000 points per night so just over 23,000 Membership Rewards points. This is easily over 1p per point of value. That would make your sign-up bonus worth £200.
Other points to note
American Express states on the Gold Business website that “you will not receive the sign-up bonus if you have held a Membership Rewards enrolled card [ie Platinum, Gold or Green American Express card] in the six months before you apply.” This includes personal and business cards.
For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus if you already have a British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar or Platinum Cashback American Express card.
You’ll need a small business Visa or Mastercard as well
The only major issue with Amex business cards, including American Express Business Gold, is the lack of acceptance by some suppliers.
Realistically, you will need to have a Visa or Mastercard as well to ensure that you can always get a card accepted. For limited companies, I recommend the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. Capital On Tap offers 10,000 Avios for signing up and a very generous earning rate of 1 Avios per £1.
If you are a sole trader, you do not qualify for the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa. I recommend the generous Barclaycard Select Cashback card instead:
The Head for Points verdict:
If you are a sole trader or own a small business, even a service company, then the American Express Business Gold card is well worth a look.
The 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up are an excellent incentive, and with no fee for the first year you have nothing to lose.
If you can put £20,000 per quarter through the card to earn the 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, you will be getting an exceptionally strong return on your spending.
How to apply
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.