Among the many American Express’ business card offerings, two are leading contenders: the American Express® Business Gold Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
But were these cards to enter the ring, which one would take World Heavy Weight title?
There are a few important differences between the two that could make one more suited to your business than the other. How often you travel and how much your business spends annually could tip the scales toward one card over the other. So let’s take a closer look at what separates these two cards.
American Express® Business Gold Card
Our rating: 5 out of 5 stars
You need a good credit score for this card. It has an annual fee of $294 and a purchase APR of 14.24% – 22.24% variable. As part of its welcome offer, earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.* There’s an airline bonus option to get 25% points back after you use points for part or all of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year*). And you can decide whether you want to pay eligible purchases in full each month or pay over time with interest.*
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Our rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A good credit score is needed for this card too. It has no annual fee, and a purchase APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then 13.24% – 19.24% variable thereafter. Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. You’ve got the power to use your card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power. Which gives the cardholder the ability to exceed their credit limit and still earn Membership Rewards® points2 or cash back3 on purchases.
What Are the Quick Breakdown of the Differences Between the Business Gold and the Blue Business® Plus (BBP)?
- The Business Gold is better for travelers. It has a few extra travel protections, no foreign transaction fee, and earns rewards through Amex Travel (amextravel.com) as well as for airfare purchased directly from airlines.
- The Business Gold features the Hotel Collection benefit which could save you some money at hotels around the world (terms apply).
- The Blue Business® Plus (BBP) is less complicated and could be better for newer, smaller businesses.
- There’s quite the difference in each card’s annual fees:
- Business Gold: $295 rates and fees
- BBP: No annual fee
- Welcome bonus difference:
- Business Gold: 70,000 bonus points for spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership
- BBP: 15,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
- The Business Gold card offers a wide variety of bonus categories, letting you earn 4X Membership Rewards® points per dollar in the two you spend most heavily in.
- The BBP earns a flat rate on everything you purchase.
- The Business Gold card has an annual spending limit of $150,000 for its 4X categories.
- The BBP has an annual spending limit of $50,000 for its 2X category.
- The BBP has recently added a foreign transaction fee (2.7% of each transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars).
Clearly, a few features separate these two cards. They carry different fees and different benefits, plus each has its own reward program. The Business Gold has more for travelers, but either card could be good for a business with a variety of spending each month.
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American Express® Business Gold Card
The Business Gold has a uniquely flexible rewards program. It tailors the earning experience to your business’s spending habits, allowing you to earn the most rewards in the two bonus categories your business spends the most in.
While 4X Membership Rewards® points is a pretty great rate on its own, card members can increase the value of their rewards through point transfers. By transferring points to American Express’ travel partners, you could find a per-point value of 2 cents or more. That would increase your cash back equivalent from a max of 2% – 4% to 4% – 8% or more.
Normal redemption methods include:
- Flights, hotel reservations, gift cards, point of sale: 0.5 – 1 cent per point, 25% points back for airfare, up to 4% cash back equivalent or more
- Statement credits: 0.6 cents per point, up to 2.4% cash back equivalent
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
The BBP offers a more simplified rewards program. Rather than having to keep track of multiple bonus categories, the BBP earns a flat rate for every purchase. Though it isn’t as rewarding as the Business Gold, it doesn’t carry an annual fee and is much simpler to attend to.
Similar to the Business Gold, you could take advantage of point transfers to increase the value of the BBP’s rewards (a rare feature for an inexpensive Amex card like this). The card would earn a 4% cash back equivalent if you’re able to find a point transfer deal of 2 cents per point (and it could be even more).
The basic methods for redeeming points are similar to the Business Gold, without the airfare bonus:
- Flights, hotel reservations, gift cards, point of sale: 0.5 – 1 cent per point, up to 2% cash back equivalent
- Statement credits: 0.6 cents per point, up to 1.2% cash back equivalent
Hotel and Airline Partners
Check out Amex’s transfer partners.
- Aer Lingus
- Air France/KLM
- All Nippon Airways
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Delta Sky Miles
- EL AL
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- True Blue JetBlue
- Qantas Frequent Flier
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Choice Privileges
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Hilton Honors
Take note, that even if you don’t see your favorite airline as a partner, you might still be able to transfer points to it.
If the airline is in the same airline alliance as one of the companies listed above, you can use your points with that airline as well (after transferring to an Amex partner).
What Kind of Business Do You Have?
The BBP wouldn’t be a bad choice for small business owners. With its uncomplicated earning experience and relatively low spending limit, it would be a rewarding business card to start with. However, despite the Business Gold card’s annual fee and spending limit, it doesn’t take much spending to have its rewards overtake the annual fee.
Both of these cards are good choices for businesses that spend on a variety of different purchases. The Business Gold has a wide selection of bonus categories, and the BBP earns for everything you buy. So the amount you spend will likely matter the most (unless you rarely spend in the Business Gold’s categories; then it’s probably not for you).
If your business spends as little as $15,000 annually, you could earn $600 or more in rewards with the Business Gold, provided you’re spending in the 4X categories (and getting 1 cent per point). However, after you factor in the annual fee, you’re looking at $305 in actual value.
That’s still more than what you’d see with the BBP for the same amount of spending (by a hair – the BBP would earn $300). However, because the BBP has no annual fee, if your business spending is less than $15,000, it would be the more rewarding choice.
If you travel frequently, that’d make the Business Gold card more attractive. While its benefits aren’t miles above what the BBP offers, it does provide additional perks that could make traveling less expensive and potentially less stressful. These include The Hotel Collection, Trip Delay Insurance and a Baggage Insurance Plan (terms apply). The Business Gold card also has no foreign transaction fee. The BBP, unfortunately, recently gained one.
Pro tip: You could apply for an additional card if you need more spending power. Having two Business Gold cards or BBPs would give you two separate accounts, each with its own spending limit, providing much more wiggle room.
But if you aren’t approved for another business card of the same name, or you don’t think the Business Gold or the BBP is a good fit for your business, consider these alternatives:
- For premium benefits: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- For general travel: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
- For a no annual fee alternative: Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
What Makes the Business Gold Card a Good Choice?
There are a few features that make the Business Gold card stand out, and certainly a handful that would make it a boon for your business. What makes the Business Gold card a solid choice includes:
- Stronger benefits
- Better for frequent travelers
- Higher rewards (4X Membership Rewards® points per dollar compared to 2X)
- Higher spending limit ($150,000 annually)
- Point transfer opportunities
While the Business Gold card does have a few extra perks when compared to the BBP, it’s a relatively weak benefit offering for a card with its $295 annual fee. Something to think about, however, is the repeatable $100 hotel credit offered by The Hotel Collection. Depending on how often you find yourself at hotels, it could lessen the sting of its annual fee.
Can I carry a balance with the Business Gold?
No, you’ll usually need to pay off the Business Gold’s statement balance in full each billing cycle. However, it can use a Pay Over Time plan for a balance of $100 or more. Using the Pay Over Time plan lets you carry a balance and pay it down over a set amount of time as it accrues interest at a fixed rate.
Eligible charges can be included in a Pay Over Time balance, up to the Pay Over Time limit. Eligible charges include purchases, foreign transaction fees and annual membership fees.
The following are ineligible for Pay Over Time: cash advances (includes cash and other cash equivalents), certain insurance premiums and any other fees owed to American Express. Pay Over Time limit applies to the total of the Pay Over Time, cash advance and Plan balances.
All charges not added to a Pay Over Time balance, a monthly payment plan or a cash advance balance must be paid in full each month by the payment due date.
What Makes The Blue Business® Plus Card a Good Choice?
The Business Gold card might be impressive, but don’t count the BBP out just yet. Here are a few things to remember about BBP when trying to pick between these two cards:
- No annual fee
- Benefits are only slightly less than what the Business Gold features (includes Amex offers, purchase protection, extended warranty, car rental insurance, and more; enrollment required for select benefits; terms apply)
- Uncomplicated and easily paired with other business cards
- Decent rewards
- Point transfer opportunities
- 0% purchase APR for 12 months from date of account opening, then 13.24% – 19.24% variable
And as we said above, the BBP is still plenty rewarding. Because of the Business Gold’s annual fee, the BBP could earn more reward value than the Business Gold if your business spends less than $15,000.
If your business is just starting or doesn’t spend very much in a calendar year, the BBP wouldn’t be a bad choice. The $50,000 spending cap probably wouldn’t be as big of an issue, and with no annual fee, you won’t feel pressured to spend to make the card feel worth it.
But what if you could have two Blue Business® Plus cards? Well, then, you would have two separate accounts, each with its own $50,000 spending limit for double the spending power.
Or, you could pair the BBP with another business reward card. Perhaps one with multiple bonus categories and a different set of benefits? It would be easy to do considering the BBP has no annual fee and it earns a good rate for non-category expenses.
Pro tip: 0% intro APRs are great ways to avoid paying interest charges on your purchases while getting some extra time to pay. If you have a large purchase coming up, like an order of supplies or equipment for your business, you can charge it to your Blue Business® Plus and pay it down over time at no interest to save money compared to other cards.
Should I Get Both Cards?
We’ve looked at these two cards side by side, but what about looking at them together instead?
They could fit well. You could use the Business Gold for purchases in its 4X categories (two per month), and then use the BBP for everything else.
This strategy would both maximize your return and give you more breathing room from each card’s spending limit. However, since their benefits are so similar, those are really the only two reasons one might consider getting both cards.
It might be better to pair either the Business Gold or the BBP with a business card from a different issuer, like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. The Ink Business Preferred® has a reasonable annual fee ($95), a familiar annual spending limit for its 3X categories ($150,000), and a different set of travel and shopping protections.
It also gives cardholders access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, instead of earning in the same point system Amex Membership Rewards® with two American Express cards. Having access to two reward programs would give you many more redemption options.
Even with its annual fee, the Business Gold card would provide the most reward value as long as your business spends at least $15,000 annually in its categories. That could amount to $600, which covers Business Gold’s annual fee and leaves you with a $305 profit. For the same amount of spending, the BBP would earn $300 in rewards.
It would also be the better option if you find yourself traveling frequently, thanks to a handful of additional travel benefits. And it doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee while the BBP does, although this only matters if you travel internationally or tend to make purchases in foreign currency.
But that doesn’t mean the BBP would be a bad choice. If your business doesn’t spend enough to justify the Business Gold’s annual fee, you could still earn solid rewards with the BBP. And if you don’t spend much on the Business Gold’s bonus categories, it’s the obvious choice. It’s an uncomplicated card that could easily pair with another, more impressive business card to maximize your rewards and provide more helpful perks.
As we said above, you could get both cards, but it might be a better choice to pair one Amex card with a card from another credit card issuer.
Don’t like either card? Not to worry, there are plenty of other good business cards to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: This is a luxury business travel card, so it comes with a pretty steep annual fee ($695). However, there are plenty of benefits and services that help ease the pinch, like up to $200 in airline fee credits, airport lounge access, and elite status at Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton (enrollment required; terms apply).
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: An all-around solid option with some great features, like a 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners. Point transfers are a good way to increase the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you’ll earn for a variety of different business expenses.
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card: Without an annual fee to worry about, this card earns a solid amount of cash back (5% on the first $25,000 spent annually) for a handful of business-related expenses, as well as 2% on the first $25,000 spent for gas and dining.
- Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select for Business: Another rewarding option with no annual fee, this credit card offers 5X miles per dollar for hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1.5X miles for everything else. It could be pretty rewarding, provided you’re able to book some aspects of your travel through Capital One.