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American Express has announced a new benefit for high-spending users of the American Express® Business Gold Card in the form of a quarterly spend bonus.
If your company spends enough to trigger it, it arguably makes Business Gold the most valuable reward card on the market for small companies.
Remember that the Business Gold annual fee is waived in your first year, comes with £100 of annual Dell credit and – if you have qualify – has a sign up bonus of 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards® points.
The official application website for the American Express Business Gold Card is here.
What is new on American Express Business Gold?
If you have the personal version of Gold, Preferred Rewards Gold, you will know that it comes with an annual spending bonus. You receive 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points at the end of each Card year if you spent £15,000 in the preceding 12 months.
Business Gold has taken this idea and supercharged it.
Starting immediately, you will receive 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £20,000 in a quarter.
Clearly, for most small businesses, this isn’t going to happen. Head for Points doesn’t have £20,000 per quarter of non-salary expenses, so I know that this will only benefit a small group of people.
However, if you DO have £20,000 per quarter of spending which could be directed onto an American Express Card, this deal could work out nicely. I would expect it to be of special interest to anyone with a lot of Google or Facebook advertising spend.
How does the bonus work in practice?
It is based on calendar quarters, eg January-March, April-June etc.
If you spend £20,000 on qualifying purchases on Business Gold in any quarter, you will receive a bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards.
The spend calculation cannot be carried over from quarter to quarter if you spend more than £20,000 in one period.
What rewards do I earn with this bonus?
You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card as your base earnings. There are a few minor exceptions but you will rarely come across them.
The additional 10,000 Membership Rewards points for spending £20,000 per quarter are on top of this.
This means that £20,000 of spending would earn you 30,000 Membership Rewards points. At 1.5 points per £1, it is arguably far more rewarding that competing cards – even competing American Express Cards such as Business Platinum which only earns the base 1 point per £1.
What is a Membership Rewards point worth?
Membership Rewards points can be converted into a range of benefits. The most valuable options are converting into frequent flyer programmes (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.
Amex points also convert into Hilton Honors (at 1:2), Marriott Bonvoy (at 2:3) and Radisson Rewards at a generous 1:3. There are also a lot of non-travel redemptions including retailer gift cards – American Express is a partner with Tesco, M&S, Amazon etc.
Membership Rewards points are awarded to the individual and NOT to the company so you can spend them however you wish.
Ever since Nectar partnered with Avios earlier this year, you should expect to get at least 0.8p of value per Membership Rewards point. 1 Membership Rewards point converts into 1 Avios which converts into 1.6 Nectar points which are worth 0.8p to spend in Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay.co.uk etc. £20,000 of quarterly spending on Business Gold would earn you £240 of Nectar points.
Business Gold is also adding new statement credit deals
- Business Gold Cardmembers receive £50 of Dell credit every six months (Jan-June, July-Dec)
- Business Platinum Cardmembers receive £75 of Dell credit every six months (Jan-June, July-Dec)
American Express is claiming that its statement credit programme should generate £500 of savings on Business Gold over the next year. Whilst I haven’t seen details of the forthcoming deals, it has named Google, Apple, Dropbox and PayPal as partners.
About the American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express Business Gold Card is aimed mainly at small businesses and sole traders.
There is no annual fee for the first year.
The criteria for applying is:
- You have been in business for over 1 year
- The business has a UK bank or building society account
- You and the business have no County Court Judgements against you/it
- You are over 18
- You have a permanent UK home address
There are no turnover or profitability requirements for the company itself.
Note that the American Express Gold Business Card is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card. There is no pre-set spending limit, but you MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.
What is the Amex Gold Business sign-up bonus?
You receive 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within your first 3 months. This is a very generous incentive given that Card has no annual fee for the first year.
There is one thing which is important to clarity as many HfP readers will already hold the personal Gold or Platinum Cards. You CANNOT get the sign-up bonus on Business Gold if you already have, or have had in the previous six months, a personal Gold or Platinum Card or any other Card which earns Membership Rewards points.
For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus if the only Amex Cards you have held in the previous six months were the British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar, Harrods, Vitality or Platinum Cashback American Express Cards.
Any other benefits?
Here are a few other key points on Business Gold worth noting:
You can apply for Supplementary Cards for your employees at no extra cost.
You can manage Employee Cards via your Online Account, allowing to amend spending limits or suspend Cards very easily.
You will receive one consolidated statement showing the spend on your Card and all of the Employee Cards. All of the Membership Rewards points earned on the Employee Cards will flow into your personal account. Card limits can be easily increased or decreased from your Online 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.
The Card also comes with some other niche benefits such as purchase protection (free replacement of goods bought on the card which are lost or stolen within 90 days, up to £2500 value), up to £250,000 of travel accident insurance cover when tickets are bought on the card, refund protection, Global Assist® and emergency card replacement.
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.
The smart-eyed will have noticed that this has increased from £125. It is tax deductible as a business expense, however, if the Card is used solely for business expenditure.
(If you are an existing cardholder, the new fee applies to your next renewal after 1st October 2021.)
Business Gold is now £35 per year more expensive than the personal American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card. It also does not come with the two annual Priority Pass airport lounge passes. You need to weigh up which Card is most suitable given the nature of your business, whether you will trigger the new quarterly spend bonuses and whether or not you will give cards to staff.
The new quarterly spend bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points is a valuable incentive if your company could spend £20,000 per quarter on the American Express Business Gold Card.
This is effectively worth 1.5 frequent flyer miles per £1 spent, if you spent exactly £20,000 per quarter, which can’t be beat.
It is also a strong earner for picking up hotel loyalty points – you would be getting 2.25 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1 spent, for example, if you spent exactly £20,000 per quarter.
You will also receive £50 of Dell statement credit every six months, plus whatever new statement credit offers that American Express is promising for the coming months.
If you are a sole trader or own a small business (even a service company) then the American Express Business Gold Card is worth a look. If you qualify for the sign-up bonus, the 20,000 Membership Rewards points you receive for joining are a good incentive.
If you want to benefit from a Business Card without an annual fee, learn more about the American Express® Business Basic Card here.