If you’re looking for cards that offer generous points-earning bonuses for a wide range of categories, the Gold lineup within the American Express portfolio is worth a closer look.
The personal American Express® Gold Card and the American Express® Business Gold Card straddle the line between mid-tier and ultra-premium cards. And the Amex Business Gold recently got a significant refresh, with the addition of new benefits, the removal of some and an upcoming increase in the annual fee.
However, with annual fees of $250 (see rates and fees) for the Amex Gold and $295 for the Amex Business Gold (climbing to $375 for applications received on or after Feb. 1, 2024; see rates and fees), these cards don’t come cheap.
Let’s dive in and compare these two Gold cards to see which one may be right for you.
Amex Gold vs. Amex Business Gold comparison
|Amex Gold||Amex Business Gold|
|Welcome bonus||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in purchases in your first six months of card membership||Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership|
|Annual fee||$250 (see rates and fees)||$295 ($375 if application is received on or after Feb 1, 2024; see rates and fees)|
|Points bonuses||4 points per dollar at restaurants
4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar)
3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
|4 points per dollar in two categories (gas, dining, advertising, transit, electronics & wireless) with the most spending each billing cycle (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year; then 1 point per dollar)
3 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotel bookings made through AmexTravel.com
1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases
|Benefits||Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly increments)
Up to $120 Uber Cash ($10 monthly increments)
Select travel protections
No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
Enrollment is required for select benefits
|Up to $240 annually (up to $20 a month in statement credits) for eligible purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and office supply stores
Up to $155 back annually in statement credits for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal)
Select travel protections
No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
Enrollment is required for select benefits
|Redemption bonus||None||25% back on Pay with Points flight redemptions (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year) on first/business class with any airline and all classes with your selected airline from a list of qualifying airlines
This benefit will be removed on Feb 1, 2024
Amex Gold vs. Amex Business Gold welcome bonus
The Amex Gold has a generous welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card opening. Meanwhile, the Amex Business Gold has an even more lucrative 70,000 Membership Rewards points offer, but with $10,000 in spending required within the first three months.
You may be able to get an even higher welcome offer for the Amex Gold by using the CardMatch tool (offer subject to change at any time) or by receiving a referral offer from someone who carries either card.
Based on TPG’s valuation of 2 cents each for Membership Rewards points, the welcome offer for the Amex Gold is worth $1,200. Meanwhile, the welcome offer for the Amex Business Gold is worth $1,400 — albeit with a higher spending requirement.
Keep in mind that Amex has strict rules when it comes to earning a welcome bonus. Amex limits customers to one bonus per card per lifetime, regardless of how much time has passed since you last applied for that card. So, if you’ve held either of these cards in the past, you might be ineligible to earn its welcome offer again.
Winner: Amex Business Gold, unless you can’t hit the spending requirement
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Amex Gold vs. Amex Business Gold benefits
Both the personal Amex Gold and the Amex Business Gold have several overlapping shopping and travel protections. These are virtually identical across both cards. With the refreshed Amex Business Gold, business owners will appreciate the addition of cellphone protection,* which provides up to $800 in reimbursement for repairing or replacing damaged or stolen phones when you charge your monthly phone bill to the card. This benefit is applicable for up to two claims in a 12-month calendar year, each of which is subject to a $50 deductible.
*Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees for Amex Gold; see rates and fees for Amex Business Gold), and both cards also offer access to making bookings through Amex’s Hotel Collection, which includes perks on stays of two nights or more — including on-property credits and space-available room upgrades.
The personal Amex Gold has some exclusive statement credit benefits to help offset its annual fee:
- Up to $120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Amex Gold at participating dining partners, including Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required. This perk is a monthly statement credit similar to . You have to enroll through the Amex website to get this benefit.
- Up to $120 annually in Uber Cash. You’ll receive $10 in monthly Uber Cash when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account. This can be used on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. and can be stacked with the monthly Uber Cash offered on The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Thanks to the upcoming refresh of the Amex Business Gold, a few benefits have been added, including statement credits. These are now live for existing cardholders, even though the higher annual fee won’t take effect until your first renewal after Feb. 1, 2024. And if you apply before Feb. 1, you can enjoy these perks and pay the current annual fee until your first renewal.
These new benefits include:
- Up to $240 select business merchants: Receive up to $240 annually (up to $20 a month in statement credits) on eligible purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and office supply stores.
- Up to $155 Walmart+: Earn up to $155 annually in statement credits for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal).
- Cellphone protection: Get reimbursed for the cost to repair or replace a damaged cellphone up to $800 for 2 approved claims in a 12-month period when the monthly service bill is paid using the Amex Business Gold.
Meanwhile, the card is losing its Pay With Points rebate as of Feb. 1, 2024. Currently, Amex Business Gold cardmembers can use points to book flights through American Express Travel and receive up to 25% of those points back (up to 250,000 points per calendar year). This applies to first- and business-class flights on any airline as well as economy flights on a single airline you designate. You must have enough points to cover the entire redemption; you’d then receive the rebate back within 1-2 billing cycles.
Winner: Amex Gold
Earning points with the Amex Gold vs. Amex Business Gold
Both the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold offer up to 4 points per dollar on select categories. That rate equates to an 8% return on spending, based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.
For the personal Amex Gold, you’ll earn points for the following categories:
- 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (U.S. supermarkets capped at $25,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar)
- 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly from the airline or through amextravel.com
- 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases
The 4 points per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets are particularly strong rates compared to other cards and help the Amex Gold make our list of best cards for groceries and best cards for dining out.
Meanwhile, the Amex Business Gold card has powerful, business-friendly bonus categories. What is unique is that you’ll automatically earn 4 points per dollar in your top two spending categories each month, meaning you’re not locked into a category, and you don’t have to pick them on your own. And effective immediately, two additional categories have been added, while some others will be removed on Feb. 1, 2024. The eligible categories are:
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- Transit including trains, taxi cabs, rideshare, tolls, ferries, buses, parking and subways
- U.S. purchases made with electronic goods retailers, software and cloud service providers
- Monthly wireless telephone charges are made directly with U.S. service providers.
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines (ending on Feb. 1)
- U.S. purchases for shipping (ending on Feb. 1)
- U.S. purchases made from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions (ending on Feb. 1 — but all merchants in this category are included in the new one above)
Additionally, the refreshed Amex Business Gold will see a new earning rate of 3 points per dollar on flights, prepaid hotels, and prepaid flight + hotel packages that are booked directly with Amex Travel or AmexTravel.com.
The structure of these categories means this card will likely appeal to someone who wants to rack up travel rewards without putting in too much work. Namely, you’ll automatically earn 4 points per dollar in your top two spending categories from the list of eligible bonus categories on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1 point thereafter.
This card is meant to be a one-stop shop that you can swipe for everything, giving you more bandwidth to focus on your business.
Related: Best business credit cards
Redeeming points with the Amex Gold vs. Amex Business Gold
Both the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold earn Membership Rewards points that you can transfer to Amex’s 21 airline and hotel partners. With many options to choose from, you’ll be able to find a transfer partner in any of the three major airline alliances and several non-alliance carriers.
However, a Pay with Points redemption bonus when booking airfare through Amex Travel is unique to the Amex Business Gold. You’ll earn a 25% rebate when paying with points through your Business Gold Card (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year) for business- or first-class tickets on any airline or any fare class on your selected U.S. airline. This is similar to the perk on The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, which offers a 35% Pay with Points rebate (up to 1 million points back per calendar year).
When you use Pay with Points for flights in conjunction with your Amex Business Gold card, you’ll get a redemption value of 1.33 cents per point on eligible tickets versus just 1 cent per point with the Amex Gold.
However, as noted previously, the Pay with Points rebate on the Amex Business Gold card will end effective Feb. 1, 2024.
Winner: Amex Business Gold for now; a tie starting Feb. 1
Should I get the Amex Gold or Amex Business Gold?
The personal card is a strong pick for all food and grocery purchases, and its statement credits mostly offset the annual fee. It has a more widespread appeal and is better for cardholders who don’t have major business expenses. The Amex Business Gold is targeted at larger, more established businesses with high operating costs. With the addition of new statement credits totaling $395 a year, offsetting the new $375 annual fee, prospective applicants might be more willing to get the Amex Business Gold.
If you time it right and apply for the card before Feb 1, 2024, you can utilize the previous and new benefits along with the additional earning rates, all for an annual fee of $295.
The Amex Gold will be the right choice for most consumers who spend a lot on eating out and groceries. Conversely, the Business Gold really only makes sense if your business spends a high amount in certain categories like advertising and technology. If you already have the Amex Gold and want a business card to complement it, then the Business Platinum may be the better choice.