Edited by: Michael Y. Park
& Stella Shon
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The American Express® Business Gold Card is easily one of the best business credit cards for racking up points quickly on your largest business expenses.
That said, while the card offers a variety of different 4x bonus categories, you only earn 4x rewards on your 2 highest spend categories each billing cycle. So if you want to earn as many points as possible, you need to implement a little strategy when it comes to what expenses you charge to the card.
In this guide, we will break down what purchases do and do not qualify for each of the card’s bonus categories. We’ll also offer tips on how to build your own points-earning strategy.
Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).
The American Express® Business Gold Card is excellent at racking up rewards for your business spend.
The card earns a whopping 4x points per $1 in the 2 categories (from a list of 6) that your business spends the most money on each month. With no need to opt-in or preselect your categories, so you can focus on what matters most — running your business.
Here is a quick look at what the Amex Business Gold card offers to cardholders:
The card also offers 2 statement credits (upon enrollment):
The card also has no preset spending limit, which means your spending limit is flexible. Unlike a traditional card with a set limit, the amount you can spend adapts based on factors such as your purchase, payment, and credit historyHot Tip:
For a detailed guide on everything that the Amex Business Gold card offers, read our full guide on the best benefits of the Amex Business Gold card.
To help you better determine which of your purchases qualify for 4x rewards, we’ll give you examples of purchases that do and do not qualify. Keep in mind that this is meant to be merely a guideline, not a comprehensive list.
For a purchase to qualify in the transit category, the merchant’s primary business must be transit. Some examples of eligible transit purchases include:
Examples of purchases that would not be eligible for this bonus category include:
For most businesses, your expenses in the transit category are unlikely to fall into the 2 highest of the categories. However, it is good to have the option should you need it in the future.
To qualify for 4x rewards in this category, the purchase must be made directly from U.S. electronic goods retailers or software and cloud system providers. This includes merchants such as:
Examples of merchants you would not earn additional rewards with include :
This category presents an excellent opportunity for business owners who use these merchants’ services frequently, as these expenses tend to be larger. That means you’d earn far more points thanks to the 4x rewards.
If you find yourself with a rather large phone bill each month, earning 4x rewards on this monthly bill could take the sting out a bit. The rewards apply to most major carriers in the U.S., such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Purchases that would not be not eligible include:
Don’t forget that when you pay your phone bill using your Amex Business Gold card, you not only earn 4x rewards, but you also receive cell phone protection, which covers up to $800 in damages to your devices, up to 2 times every 12 months, after a $50 deductible.
This is often a confusing category, since many large retailers sell gas and many gas stations sell items other than gas. American Express defines a gas station as “in the primary business of selling gasoline to consumers. Gas stations may sell other convenience items, but its primary business must be selling gasoline to consumers.”
Eligible merchants include:
This means you would not earn 4x rewards from larger retailers that also happen to sell gas, like Costco, Kroger, Target, Walmart, etc.
You would, however, receive 4x rewards on purchases made at dedicated gas stations that also sell food and drinks, gift cards, and other convenience items.
This category is the most open-ended of the bunch, as you’re eligible to earn 4x rewards from most restaurants in the U.S., including on takeout and delivery orders.
Because that’s the case, it is easier to give you examples of purchases where the 4x restaurant rewards would not apply, such as:
If most of your dining expenses are personal expenses, or if you spend a lot at restaurants overseas, then you might want to consider our picks for the best credit cards for dining.
Lastly, Amex gives you bonuses for advertising on select media. Online, television, or radio advertising must be purchased in the U.S. directly from media providers in order to promote a business.
Examples include CBS Radio, Facebook, Google, NBC National Broadcasting, and Yahoo.
It would not include direct mail services, or list/lead generation services.
Depending on what type of business you run, advertising could very easily be one of your largest expenses. If so, the Amex Business Gold card would be an excellent option, as it is the best business card for advertising purchases.
With the recent refresh of the Amex Business Gold card, the 4x airfare category is set to be discontinued on January 31, 2024. However, after that date, you’ll earn 3x points on airfare booked through AmexTravel.com with the Amex Business Gold card.
Amex defines this category as airfare for a scheduled flight on a passenger carrier, purchased directly from an airline like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, etc.
However, you will not earn 4x points on flights that are purchased as a part of a vacation package, even if it is directly through an airline. You also won’t earn bonus points on flights that are purchased from third-party providers like Expedia, Priceline, etc.
This bonus category is also set to be discontinued as of January 31, 2024, leaving a few more months for cardholders to potentially get some extra 4x points.
American Express defines shipping purchases as courier, postal, and freight shippers located within the U.S. This includes merchants like FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service.
It does not include shipping costs added to retail purchases, moving services, local trucking, or trash removal.
Since your 4x rewards are limited to your 2 highest of the eligible categories each month, you need to strategize to earn as many points as possible.
One option, and arguably the easiest, is a set-and-forget strategy. Say you own a landscaping business with your 2 largest monthly expenses being advertising and gas (to keep all of your equipment fueled up). You could make your Amex Business Gold card your go-to card for these purchases, using another card (earning more than 1x points per $1) on all of your other expenses.
If you’re a business owner whose expenses tend to vary month to month, your best path forward is to plan out your expenses in advance to maximize your rewards. For instance, instead of paying your software or cloud system provider monthly, you could opt for an annual plan in which you pay in full for the year. Not only does this usually come with a discount and earn you a large chunk of points at once, but it also allows you to pivot your card spending to other expense categories in subsequent months.
Remember, the 4x rewards on your Amex Business Gold card apply to the 2 largest categories per billing cycle. You do not need to select them in advance, so your card can adapt to your spending patterns as you see fit.
Though the setup of the Amex Business Gold card can be confusing, it can quickly become one of your best cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points once you understand its ins and outs. In fact, businesses with large expenses that hit the $150,000 annual 4x threshold can earn a whopping 600,000 Amex points each year. With our value of Membership Rewards points, we estimate these points to be worth $13,200.
If you add the Amex Business Gold card to your wallet, make sure you’re planning your monthly expenses carefully to ensure that you’re always earning those coveted 4x rewards per $1 spent!
For the cell phone protection benefit of the American Express® Business Gold Card, coverage for a stolen or damaged eligible cellular wireless telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per eligible card account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per eligible card account per 12 month period. Eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
If you’re a small business owner who has large business expenses in 1 or more of the card’s bonus categories, then being able to earn 4x rewards on these purchases will likely be worth it for you. Plus, the Amex Business Gold card offers perks like an annual flexible business credit of up to $240, an annual Walmart+ credit of up to $155, access to The Hotel Collection, cell phone protection, and more.
The categories on the Amex Business Gold card that can earn you 4x rewards are:
Keep in mind that your 4x rewards are limited to the 2 categories in which you spend the most each billing cycle. Rewards are capped at $150,000 in annual spend each calendar year.
The Amex Business Gold card does not have a preset credit limit. Your credit limit will flex month-to-month based on factors like your purchase habits, payments history, credit score, and more.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.