American Express Business Gold No Longer Offering First Year Free
Well, this kind of sucks. As of this morning, the seemingly never-ending American Express Business Gold first year free promotion was terminated without any advance warning.
Furthermore, American Express has added some of that dreaded language to the referral page, indicating that more changes should be expected on August 6th, 2018.
For the Business Platinum:
- Referral lowered from 25,000 to 15,000 per eligible referral
- Welcome bonus lowered from 75,000 to 60,000
- Minimum spend increase from $5,000 to $7,000 in the first three months
This, in addition to an increase of the annual fee just weeks before, was one one of the worst devaluations I’ve seen to a credit card in Canada.
More recently, changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest Cards:
- Referral Bonus lowered from 10,000 t0 5,000 SPG points, and then replaced with a $25 statement credit
- Welcome bonus changed from 25,000 to 20,000 SPG points, and then replaced with up to $250 in statement credits.
My Prediction For The American Express Business Gold Card
I think it’s fairly safe to assume August 6th will see some more negative changes to The American Express Business Gold card, though what we’ll see is purely speculative based on previous changes to other cards.
My best guess:
- We will see the referral bonus changed, though I’m not sure how, and wouldn’t be surprised to see it increase to 15k per referral, which is more aligned with the other business/premium cards with high annual fees
- I believe the welcome bonus could change, though probably down to 30K Membership Rewards
- I believe the minimum spend requirement will increase to $7,000 in the first three months of membership
Is it still worth getting The American Express Business Gold Card?
It’s not all doom and gloom! I find a lot of bloggers and forums are so quick to point out how travel hacking is dying, how there are no good deals out there, etc etc etc, but I feel the opposite. We’re about to see a bunch of new products in Canada from Air Canada and Marriott, and wouldn’t be surprised if the devaluation to The American Express Business Gold Card is a proactive move to free up some acquisition dollars for new products.
Also, as it stands now, 40,000 Membership Rewards for $250 is not a bad deal at all if you have a specific redemption in mind. During a British Airways Avios transfer promotion, 40,000 Membership Reward points would be enough for two roundtrip tickets from the west coast to Hawaii, which could easily retail for $1,500+.
Or, 40,000 Membership Reward points could be transferred to SPG, and then to Marriott, which would be enough for a one night stay at the world famous St Regis New York City when Marriott and Starwood merge in August – a hotel that regularly sells for more than $1,000USD per night!
Changes To The American Express Business Gold Bottom Line
I was recently asked how long I expected the first year free promotion to last on the American Express Business Gold Card, and I responded somewhat arrogantly that it had never not been first year free.
Seeing this change without any notice is definitely not great, though I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. Being able to earn 40,000 Membership Reward points for nothing was simply too good, and unfortunately the offer fell victim to a trend we’re seeing from American Express in Canada.
Good news – I think we’re about to see a new product from Marriott in Canada, and I suspect the welcome bonus will be attractive. Also, spending $250 for 40,000 Membership Reward points is still actually a pretty good deal, and The Small Business Cards remain churnable, with no language indicating repeat cardmembers will not be eligible for welcome bonuses.
If you’ve been considering applying for this card, I would do so before August 6th, 2018, as I suspect we will see an increase on minimum spend requirements and potentially a decreased welcome bonus.
Click here to apply for the American Express Small Business Gold Rewards card and earn 40,000 Membership Reward points after spending $5,000 in the first three months of membership.