Amex Business Gold Rewards (BGR) Card Review (2018.5 Update: BGR to Biz Plat 50k Upgrade Offer)

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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (BGR) Review

2018.7 Update: I just received an email offer to upgrade my AmEx Business Gold Reward to an AmEx Business Platinum card and receive 50,000 MR after spending $10,000 in 5 months. Subject line of the email is “[NAME],  take advantage of this special upgrade offer.” I am not sure if the link is specific to me or not, so try logging in here to see if you are eligible. 

Application Link

  • Amex Business Gold Rewards 50k Offer, earn 50,000 MR after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Amex Business Gold Rewards 75k Targeted Offer, earn 75,000 MR after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. No direct link, you need to call AmEx and ask and hope for the best: 1-800-971-6736.

Benefits

  1. 50k Offer: earn 50,000 MR after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. There are various targeted offers on this card frequently which may be better than public offers.
  2. We estimate that Membership Rewards (MR) are worth about 1.6 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction. So the 50k sign-up bonus is worth about $800!
  3. Earn 3x MR per $1 spent on purchases in ONE of the following categories, and 2x MR per $1 spent on the remaining four categories, up to $100,000 spent annually (1 MR per $1 spent thereafter). A list of vendors included for each bonus category can be found here: 
    • Airfare charged directly with an airline (charter flights and private jet flights excluded)
    • Advertising purchased in the U.S. including online, radio, and television (U.S. only)
    • Gas stations (U.S. only; supermarkets and warehouse clubs excluded)
    • Shipping, including courier, postal, and freight (U.S. only)
    • Computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases with select providers (U.S. only)
  4. Earn 1 MR per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  5. Access to Amex Offers, which offer very good discounts at a variety of stores. (See how I used AMEX offers to get a 33% discount on my fiance’s engagement ring!). Note that there often are AMEX offers targeted exclusively to BUSINESS cards!
  6. Purchase Protection — eligible purchases are covered against accidental damage or theft for 90 days, up to $1,000 per occurrence with the Business Gold Rewards card.
  7. Extended Warranty  one additional year of warranty service beyond the manufacturer’s warranty if the original warranty lasts for 5 years or less.
  8. Baggage Insurance — up to $500 worth of insurance for lost or delayed checked bags and $1,250 for carry-ons.
  9. Premium Roadside Assistance — pays for emergency automotive services up to four times per year, including flat tire change, jumping a battery, and towing your car up to 10 miles.
  10. No foreign transaction fee.
  11. This card is relatively easy to get approved for because it is a charge card, not a credit card. This means means that you are not issued a credit line upon approval (therefore there is no pre-set spending limit), and you are required to pay your balance in full on the due date.
  12. AMEX has a very loose definition of what constitutes a “business,” which supplements the bullet above. If you apply as a sole-proprietor, AMEX makes you select an annual income for your business between $0 – $49,999. If you sell anything (including your time or skills), you may have a business. AMEX allows the use of your social security number (SSN) instead of a tax identification number (TIN) for sole-proprietor applications.
  13. Allows for referral bonuses through the AMEX Refer-A-Friend program, worth up to 55,000 MR per calendar year.

Disadvantages

  1. $175 annual fee, waived the first year.
  2. $50 fee (waived the first year) for the first authorized user on your account, no fee for up to 98 additional user cards.

Introduction to MR Points

Recommended Application Time

  1. You can get the sign-up bonus once in a lifetime, so be sure to apply when the historical highest offer appears.
  2. AmEx doesn’t care about the number of hard pulls.
  3. You can try to apply for it when you have a credit history of 6 months.

Summary

The 50k MR sign-up bonus are worth an estimated $800 if transferred to airlines, or $625 when cashed out at 1.25 cents/point with the AMEX Platinum for Charles Schwab. Note that MR earned with AMEX business cards pool with MR earned with personal cards. If you decide to cancel and want to keep your MR, you can apply for the AMEX EveryDay (ED) (no annual fee) to keep the MR points for use in the future (with no annual fee).

Recommended Upgrade Options

Most (all?) people receive an offer to upgrade this account to the AMEX Business Platinum card within the first year while earning 50,000 MR after spending $10,000 (even if you have already received a sign-up bonus on the AMEX Business Platinum). This is a great way to acquire the benefits of the AMEX Business Platinum, along with a signup bonus, even if you’ve already had that card. If you have not had the AMEX Business Platinum card before, it is highly recommended that you apply for that product before upgrading, as upgrading and receiving a bonus will negate your ability to receive the 75,000 MR to 150,000 MR signup bonus on the AMEX Business Platinum. Note that, when you upgrade, AMEX does NOT do a hard-credit pull!

Recommended Downgrade Options

  • You can not downgrade this card to any card with no annual fee, so I suggest you close it when you don’t want to keep it any longer.

After Applying

  1. Click here to check application status.
  2. AMEX reconsideration backdoor number: 877-399-3083

Historical Offers Chart

Application Link

  • Amex Business Gold Rewards 50k Offer, earn 50,000 MR after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Amex Business Gold Rewards 75k Targeted Offer, earn 75,000 MR after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. No direct link, you need to call AmEx and ask and hope for the best: 1-800-971-6736.

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