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American Express has brought back the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card – but it ends on 31st March.
These are, genuinely, on a scale unlike anything else we see. If you or someone you know qualifies, you should seriously think about applying. It simply won’t get any better – no-one else is going to be offering 50,000 points for a free card or 100,000 points on a fee paying card.
This article looks at American Express Business Gold. The bonus has also increased on its sister card, American Express Business Platinum. Platinum comes with a huge bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points, although you must spend £10,000 within three months to trigger it. You can apply here and our latest Amex Business Platinum review is here.
The key facts about American Express Business Gold
In this article, I want to look more closely at American Express Business Gold. Here are the key things you need to know:
- American Express Business Gold is free for the first year (£175 thereafter, which should be tax deductible business expense)
- You receive a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points
- You need to spend £5,000 in three months to qualify for the bonus
- This special offer ends on 31st March 2022
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.
If you are a sole trader, you do not need to have a business 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?
Until 31st March, you will receive 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend £5,000 within three months. This is an exceptionally generous incentive.
The card is also free for the first year. The annual fee for the following years is £175.
To put it in context, before this offer first ran last year, I had never – in the 20 years I have been interested in miles and points – seen a bonus as high as 50,000 points on a card which has no annual fee for the first year.
The standard bonus on this card is just 20,000 Membership Rewards points.
What can I do with 50,000 Membership Rewards points?
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 50,000 Avios or 50,000 Virgin Points.
There are also a lot of non-travel redemptions including retailer gift cards, but the best value will come from travel redemptions.
Do you qualify for the 50,000 points?
American Express states on the Business Gold 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 13 months before you apply.” This includes personal and business cards.
Note that the rule here only looks back 13 months. This is more generous than personal American Express cards, where they look back 24 months.
For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus if you already have, or recently had, a British Airways Amex, Marriott Bonvoy Amex, Nectar Amex, Harrods Amex or Platinum Cashback Amex.
You will also qualify if you have the British Airways Accelerating Business SME card.
Is there a bonus for on-going spend?
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. This a very generous benefit especially as you are not paying a card fee in the first year.
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 Business Gold 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 ‘quite a bit’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer. This article outlines my view on the most valuable American Express Membership Rewards transfer options.
In the very worse case, you can transfer your 50,000 Membership Rewards points into 50,000 Avios and onwards into 80,000 Nectar points. 80,000 Nectar points will get you £400 to spend at Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay.
£400 is the worse case scenario for your 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, remember. You should be able to get more value than that if you use your points for a premium cabin air miles redemption.
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 cost 75,000 points per night so 25,000 Membership Rewards points. This is easily over 1p per point of value. That would make your sign-up bonus worth £500.
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. I recommend the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card which I review here. Capital On Tap offers 10,000 Avios for signing up – plus an extra 500 points for HfP readers – and a very generous earning rate of 1 Avios per £1.
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 has always been worth a look.
50,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up is an outstanding incentive, and with no fee for the first year you have nothing to lose. Be sure that you can spend £5,000 within three months of applying, however.
How to apply
The offer of 50,000 Membership Rewards points runs until 31st March, so you have just a few days left.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.