A lot has been written on the American Express Business Gold which offers 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 within 4 months. Sure it has a large number as the sign-up bonus – 75,000 points – but it has a large number for the minimum spending requirement as well ($10,000).
HigH Spending Requirement
You have to spend $10,000 within 4 months to get the 75,000 point sign-on bonus. If you’ve run out of other cards to apply for or have no problem meeting the minimum spending requirement, the 75,000 point Business Gold card may make sense to apply for. But most folks have only a limited amount of money which they can spend on credit cards and their sign-up bonuses.
So by spending $10,000 in 4 months on the American Express Business Gold, you’re diverting money AWAY from other (potentially more lucrative) credit card sign-up bonuses.
For example, you could get 2 Citi American Airlines cards for 50,000 miles each after spending $2,500 on each card within 4 months. And 50,000 points with the Chase Ink Bold after spending $5,000 within 3 months. So the SAME $10,000 earned you 150,000 miles & points - 100,00 American Airlines miles and 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
I can make the contrast more extreme by including the somewhat targeted Chase United card which could potentially get you 55,000 United miles after spending $1,000 within 3 months or the Barclays US Air card with 40,000 miles after your 1st purchase.
My point is simply that you should go BEYOND the headline sign-up bonus and see if the card makes sense for YOU. Bigger is not necessarily better.
American Express has had previous versions of the Business Gold which offer 50,000 points for $5,000 in spending, which may be a better offer for many. I’m pretty sure that we’ll see that offer again (no inside information & just a hunch).
Ah, you say, but you can use Amazon Payments and Vanilla Reloads and cross that spending hurdle. Yes, you certainly can, but it may not always work out in your favor. In my previous experience, feedback from readers, and folks on this FlyerTalk thread, you are more likely to get a Financial Review from American Express by spending on the Business Gold card than on any other card. Even legitimate business spending has triggered a financial review.
My best guess is that American Express is really sensitive to high volume of spending on the Business Gold charge card and a sudden ramp up in spending on the card leads to a financial review. But this is only a guess.
All your American Express credit cards are suspended during an American Express financial review and you usually have to fax in a form allowing American Express to review your tax information and sometimes send them your bank statements. I don’t enjoy this, but see this as the cost of doing business with American Express and partaking in their credit card offers. And I do think it is prudent for a bank to verify the income of people to whom they lend money.
But here’s how it may not work out in your favor. If you claimed to have an ebay or Amazon sole proprietor business which generated income, but didn’t file a Schedule C (which details sole proprietorship business activity) with your tax returns, American Express may decide to cancel your account.
I’ve been approved for American Express business cards with only a few hundred dollars in income and readers have been approved for start-up business which aren’t generating any income. But know that your business gold card may be cancelled during a financial review if you don’t have any Schedule C income. Of course, you can always explain that you haven’t yet filed your tax returns for 2012, but the Financial Review folks aren’t the easiest to convince.
Many folks don’t get a financial review with the Business Gold card, but I just want to point out what may happen.
75,000 Membership Rewards is a big sign-up bonus. But don’t let that distract you from the equally big $10,000 minimum spending requirement. This card could make sense for many, but be sure that you can comfortably meet the minimum spending requirement and that it won’t take away from other good sign-up bonuses!
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