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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN – Review

By Jason Steele

american express business gold cardBanks offer a range of credit cards targeted towards businesses. Sole proprietors, who wish to keep their company expenses separate from their personal charges, can also benefit from these cards. Businesspeople want to earn rewards for using their credit cards, and receive travel perks.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (a Money Crashers partner) is ideal for companies and individuals willing to pay an annual fee in order to receive benefits and rewards.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. Get 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases with the card in the first three months.
  • Membership Rewards Points. The American Express Membership Rewards program is regarded for its flexible awards redemption opportunities. Cardholders earn three points per dollar spent on airfare, two points for advertising, gas, shipping, and direct purchases made with select computer hardware and software providers, and one point per dollar for everything else (up to $100,000 in each category per year, then 1 point). Points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, and cash back. Additionally, points can be redeemed for frequent flyer miles with most major airlines. Membership Rewards points do not expire.
  • Charge Card. This is not a credit card. A credit card is a revolving account that charges customers interest and allows cardholders to carry a balance. Unlike a credit card, any purchases made on a charge card must be paid in full every month, or the cardholder will be in default. There is no standard APR for a charge card, but there are late payment fees and penalty interest rates. Cardholders must pay their entire balance on time every month in order to avoid these fees.
  • Additional Employee Cards. Businesses can order additional cards for authorized employees, for an additional annual fee of $50. Businesses may combine rewards points earned by all employees into one account.
  • Special Event Offers. American Express claims to offer cardholders the best seats for thousands of events around the world. They also reimburse cardholders for up to $1,000 in ticket costs if they are unable to attend an eligible event. This benefit is limited to two events per year and is not available to residents of New York.
  • Purchase Protection. This card includes a range of valuable purchase protection services. American Express adds an additional year to eligible product warranties, and reimburses customers up to $300 per item if a retailer will not accept a return. Purchases are also covered for theft or accidental damage for 90 days after purchase.
  • Travel Insurance. Cardholders receive coverage for carry-on luggage and airline checked baggage fees when the card is used to purchase travel. Cardholders also receive roadside assistance services valued at $50 per occurrence, up to $200 per year.
  • Annual Fee. This card has a $175 annual fee that is waived the first year.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees. The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card adds a 2.7% foreign transaction fee to all purchases made outside of the United States.

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Advantages

  1. Membership Rewards Flexibility. The Membership Rewards program allows cardholders to transfer points to frequent flyer programs, receive cash back, and use the rewards points to purchase merchandise. Most redemption options are worth one cent per point, but airline miles can be worth several times that amount when used for premium class international award seats.
  2. Insurance and Protection. The majority of American Express cards include car rental insurance and travel assistance. However, American Express Business Gold Rewards goes beyond those coverages, offering 24/7 emergency, financial, legal, and medical assistance when cardholders are traveling more than 100 miles from home. The protection services can really pay off for those who utilize them.
  3. Pooled Employee Spending. Many employers ask their staff to charge purchases to their own cards and then to submit receipts. This is time-consuming, and companies forfeit rewards and cash back to individual employees. With business cards, companies can easily track spending online and retain credit card rewards.
  4. Bonus Rewards Opportunities. Cardholders earn bonus Membership Rewards and statement credits for shopping online at InSite, the American Express online shopping portal. Merchants include Barnes and Noble, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, and Zappos.com.
  5. Exclusive Discounts. Cardholders automatically save when they charge purchases with the OPEN Savings program partners, including FedEx delivery services, Hertz car rentals, and Hyatt hotels and resorts.
  6. Networking Has Its Privileges. Cardholders can network with OPEN Advantages, using discussion boards and forums to network with other businesspeople. OPEN Advantage also providers cardholders with a free library of business-related articles and videos.

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Disadvantages

  1. Marginal Cash Back Rewards. Membership Rewards points each have a cash value of one cent. Many cards return higher cash back rewards on some or all spending.
  2. High Annual Fee. Companies should not consider a card like this unless the value they receive from their purchases justifies the $175 annual fee. Fortunately, American Express waives the annual fee for the first year.
  3. No Carrying a Balance. Businesses must have cash reserves to cover all employee spending. When a business becomes delinquent, they cannot earn new Membership Rewards points. American Express freezes existing points until the account is in good standing.
  4. Foreign Transaction Fees. American Express imposes a 2.7% foreign transaction fee while some competitors have eliminated the international transaction fee altogether. Even American Express waives this fee on their Platinum Business card, but American Express Business Gold Rewards cardholders still pay the hefty foreign transaction fee.

Final Word

There has always been something prestigious about carrying a gold card. Today, so many banks offer gold cards that their value has been diminished. Nevertheless, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN continues to offer businesses an array of rewards and benefits.

Does your company provide American Express charge cards to employees? What has your experience been like with the American Express Business Gold Rewards card?

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Jason Steele
Jason has been writing about personal finance, travel, and other topics on blogs across the Internet. When he is not writing, he has a career in information technology and is also a commercially rated pilot. Jason lives in Colorado with his wife and young daughter where he enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

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