Credit Card: American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
Issued By: American Express
Type of Card: American Express
Annual Fee: $175, waived for first year
Foreign Exchange Fee: 2.7%
Current Bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards Points
Previous Best Publicly Available Bonus: 75,000 points
Churnable? Possibly, as long as you have not held any Business Gold, Green or Platinum Cards within the last 12 months
Reconsideration Phone Line: 1-866-314-0237
- 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 in purchases in the first three months
Ongoing Earnings and Benefits:
- 3 points per dollar spent on airfare
- 2 points per dollar spent on gas, advertising, and shipping
- 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
Apply Online: American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
Becky’s Take: Frequent flyer miles and hotel points are good, but flexible rewards are better, and that’s the absolute draw to this card since you have the option of transferring your Membership Rewards points to a number of different programs. That allows you to accrue points from everyday spending and then use them in the program that’s most beneficial to you later on. You can take advantage of different program’s award charts (maybe it’s cheaper by going through a different airline), different sets of availability to get the dates you want, and the ability to switch back and forth between airfare or hotel redemptions. You won’t be locked into one program and its sets of rules.
The signing bonus is huge. There’s a lot you can do with that many points, and it can mean a free vacation even for someone who otherwise started at zero. If you don’t hit a level of spend of $5,000/4 months normally, consider pre-paying expenses like auto insurance, stocking up on gift cards that you’ll use later in the year (like to your favorite grocery store), or even buying Christmas presents in October. Still need help meeting the spend requirements? Buy vanilla reload cards and use Bluebird for bill pay on things like mortgage, utilities, and car payments on top of regular purchases).
Earning triple points on airfare will help you accrue points more quickly, and with gas prices soaring, double points can help take the sting out of your total bill. You might also get a bonus on your points when AmEx features promotions on certain transfer partners. You might receive up to a 50% bonus when you transfer to JetBlue or British Airways during a certain time period, for example. All of a sudden, those 50,000 Membership Rewards points could be worth over 75K miles.
While the annual fee is $175 (first year fee is waived), I was offered 10,000 Membership Rewards points as a retention offer simply by calling when my annual fee was due. I value those points at about 1.5 cents each when I consider the value I get from redeeming them toward airline awards, so the annual fee might not be as expensive as you think.
Airline partners include Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Frontier, KLM, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Virgin America, and Virgin Atlantic.
Hotel partners include Hilton, Starwood, Best Western, Choice, and Jumeirah.
Additionally, you’ll find ways to transfer your points at a 1 point = 1 cent ratio for a number of gift certificates, such as those for rental cars, restaurants, or even Amazon.com.
Five Ways to Use Your Membership Reward Points:
- Redeem 30,000 MR points by transfering in to Frontier Airlines for a round-trip coach-class ticket from the USA to Costa Rica for your companion when you pay for your own ticket with cash (otherwise 35,000 miles).
- Redeem 50,000 MR points by transfering to KLM or AirFrance for a round-trip business-class flight between the USA and Europe on select promotional routes.
- Redeem 114,750 MR points by transfering to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles for a round-trip first-class flight from Houston to Moscow.
- Redeem 135,000 MR points by transfering to Hilton for a 6-night stay in a Category 4 hotel using VIP awards.
- Redeem 162,150 MR points by transfering to Jumeirah Hotels Sirius points for a one-night stay at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Yes, it’s a horrible value, but it’ll save you up to $2500 out of pocket!
Apply Now: American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
Note: I do not receive a commission for recommending this card, but as a travel blogger I love sharing opportunities for you to travel the world cheaply. All of my credit card links are the best publicly available offers that I’m aware of; if you find a better deal, please let me know so I can update my review accordingly. All reviews are my opinion only, and should not be taken as financial advice without careful consideration of your individual circumstances.
page up-to-date as of October 28, 2013