Amex Business Gold Card Changes
American Express is always keeping us on our toes, maybe more so than any other issuer. They have been rolling out family card rules right and left (for Delta, Platinum, Gold and Blue Cash cards) and they are always good for a card “enhancement” or two each year. This year is no different, and their latest “enhancement” comes with the Amex Business Gold card changes. Usually when we hear issuers are refreshing, or enhancing a card, it is a bad thing. There are exceptions to the rule, like the World of Hyatt and IHG Premier cards, but it is almost always bad news. What about this time around? We've all had about a week to digest everything and the answer is … it depends. A cop out, I know it! Let's dive into it though.
Details Of The Card Changes
Let's go over what changes American Express made to their Business Gold card before deciding if they were good or not.
First up is the annual fee. Every time there is a refreshment you know the annual fee is going up. This time around is no different. The fee will be increasing from $295 to $375 for applications after 2/1/24. If you currently hold an Amex Business Gold then your fee will adjust on your next renewal after that date as well.
The Business Gold Card Changes: 4x Earning
Next up on the changes list is the 4x earning categories. Some were dropped and some new ones were added to the list. You earn 4x on your ToP two categories each month, on up to $150,000 in spend each year (cumulatively). They give you six different options and they will automatically choose the two each month based on your spending. Here are the categories now, I have bolded the new ones (all are US purchases only):
- Electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
- Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
- Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
- Online, TV, and radio advertising
- Gas stations
- Restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
They also added that you can earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com.
Here are the categories that were dropped from the 4x earning categories:
- U.S. Shipping
New Monthly Credits
There were new credits added to the card where you can get up to $20 in statement credits each month. This credit will work on the following purchases:
- Office supply stores
We already have data points that it works on gift cards purchased at Staples or Office Depot. Gift cards are ruled out in the terms and Amex can be a scorned credit lover. They have been known to send a bill for up to thousands of dollars for gift card purchases in the past. Will they this time around? Who knows. Only you can decide if the juice is worth the squeeze there. Remember to enroll for this perk before making a purchase.
You can also get up to $12.95 in credits for Walmart+. Snooze fest!
Amex Gold Business Card Changes: Airfare 25% Bonus
The 25% rebate on flights booked with points will be going away February 1, 2024. This probably isn't a big deal since it was a below average value redemption at 1.33 cents per point. Especially if you have a Business Platinum with the 35% offered on that card.
Cell Phone Insurance
Here are the terms of the new cell phone insurance offered on the Business Gold:
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. We will determine replacement cost/value at our sole discretion, and shall be liable only for the lesser of the following amounts:
- 1) The actual cost to repair or
- 2) Replacement value, up to $800 per claim (after a $50 deductible has first been applied to the cost to repair or replace).
View the full coverage terms here.
Are The Amex Business Gold Card Changes Good Or Bad?
Sorry to split the middle here, but the obvious answer on if these changes are good or bad is that it will depend on your situation. The easy thing to say is you are getting $240 worth of credits for $80 more a year (starting next year). I think most will get more than $80 in value from those credits but they are still a major PIA to use. That it may mean it is not worth it to you. Let me list off some things on both sides of this discussion and you can see which set of boxes you check off more.
Who These Changes Are Good For
Let's start off with who these Amex Business Gold card changes are good for:
- Any current cardholder that didn't plan on keeping the card long term. You get instant credits for no extra cost.
- Anyone that signs up for the card before the fee increases. Same reason as above, you get more for less.
- If you buy or resell things from Best Buy / electronic stores you have a great earning opportunity now.
- If you get a lot of food delivery, or buy a lot of office supplies, then carrying this card just became cheaper to you with the credits.
- Someone that has a lot of ancillary travel charges that are not flights and hotels with their business now have a great 4x earner.
- If you don't have an Ink Preferred (or OG Ink Plus) with cell phone protection you can have it now. You also get increased earning in that area too, assuming you didn't already have a card for that.
Who These Changes Are Bad For
Here are the people that these Amex Business Gold card changes are bad for:
- If you had a lot of shipping charges for your business, this one hurts a lot.
- If you booked a lot of flights directly for work and don't have another 4x or 5x earning option. The new portal requirement is not worth booking for 3x earning.
- Anyone who hates coupon books or can not use the $20 monthly credit easily.
- People that thought the $295 annual fee was already a stretch for this card.
Amex Business Gold Card Changes: ToP Thoughts
To be honest, it looks like there are more pluses than minuses. I didn't really expect that coming into this. A lot of how you view these changes will depend on which 4x earning categories you prefer. If you liked shipping and airfare then this is a huge blow. If you were more focused on gas and restaurants then this probably got better with the credits. I think many buyers club people will like the new electronics category too.
I also think people that are just grabbing no lifetime language offers come out ahead. Before, you had to swallow the entire $295 annual fee to earn the welcome offer. Even though the fee is going up to $375 early next year, you get up to $240 in monthly credits to offset it. Or, more than that if you like Walmart+. That is a net positive in my book.
I plan on getting Grubhub pick up orders most months and maybe some staples for the house like toilet paper and soap from … Staples. Okay, that pun was intended. Grubhub also has alcohol and party store ordering in many areas if you don't like takeout food. I value this at around $15 per month because of the higher prices, even with pick up. That is still $180 in value for $80 more in annual fee, or a net positive. If you can grab a card or two before the change then you are really cooking with gas.
I don't think any of these changes will make this card a no brainer keeper or closure. So much of that still depends on which 4x earning categories work for you. That is really what you should focus on when deciding whether or not to keep or cancel this card going forward. Until that annual fee increase kicks in I say grab what you can though. Worry about the rest later!