A debt-free advocate's look at the American Express Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card, a review
I discovered quite a few bloggers are paid to review credit cards and promote them on their websites. They believe themselves to be offering a needed service by educating consumers on the thousands of credit cards launched each year.
Being an anti-debt guy, I have to speak publicly about the dangers of credit cards. In fact, I am purposefully writing this article as a credit card review of the Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card by American Express Open in hopes of reaching those who have not heard the message of debt freedom and could become the next victims of the debt slaughter.
What were they thinking?
I launched another website and American Express immediately sent me a pre-approved offer for their Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card. Why a business card? They didn’t review my business plan because there wasn’t one. They didn’t look to see that I teach people to cut up their credit cards. I haven’t had a credit card since 2007 and am registered on the National OptOut registry. There was no reason for Amex to offer me this card over anybody else – they were just fishing.
Since they are going to put their trash into my mailbox then it's only fair that I trash their 10 reasons for why I should get their flavor of plastic.
The American Express Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card, a review of their 10 Reasons
Here are the 10 sales points in plain english with all the dangers exposed:
1) Power To Purchase
They say I’ll get business-sized spending power to help grow the business. They also have the audacity to suggest you “put every possible expense on the Card”. HOLY TOLEDO! Capital is hard to come by when starting a small business so someone taking Amex’s advice is about to get a harsh wake-up call from an affliction called “suffocating credit card debt”.
I’ll avoid the debt trap while maintaining complete control over the power of purchase by paying for the things I buy, not financing them through American Express’s OPEN card.
2) Membership Rewards Program
“Upon Card Membership, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the Membership Rewards program.” The idea is to lure me into purchasing things on their card, which charges the vendor for service and swipe fees, in order to earn rewards “that you can reinvest back into your business.”
Rewards programs sap millions of dollars out of our economy and into a PO Box in Utah. I would rather the vendor save the money from swipe charges by paying cash or at the very least support my local community by using a bank that is in my own County.
3) Rewards That Mean Business
They listed the same reason, the rewards program, only this time they detailed how many points you can earn from certain debt purchases (more commonly known as credit card purchases). Triple rewards for this type of purchase, double for that. Oh, and there are some limitations to how many rewards in the fine print.
I’m not impressed for the same reasons mentioned above
4) A New Way To Earn Rewards
Um, this is the same thing as Reason 2 and 3. Instead of listing this as one of the Rewards That Mean Business items they created a separate reason for making U.S. purchases from “select computer hardware, software, and cloud computing providers.”
I won’t comment on this because it’s a duplicate of the two prior reasons.
5) Simplify The Way You Manage Receipts
This is an offer to store a digital image of your receipts.
That is kinda cool, but I can promise you that there is an app for that and it doesn’t require me to go into debt with an American Express Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card.
6) Open Savings Benefit
“The OPEN Savings benefit is a built-in feature of your American Express Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card designed to get you even more Membership Rewards points. Automatically get up to an extra 4 Membership Rewards points for every eligible dollar spent with OPEN Savings partners.”
Again with the points, but this time it sounds as if I am supposed to saving money this way.
It should be noted that the OPEN Savings partners consists of only 8 companies: Hyatt hotels, Carey and Hertz rentals, FedEx, HP, OfficeMax, 1-800-Flowers, and Barnes & Noble.
I’m beginning to think this is a snow job; “Hey, look over here at the rewards. Ignore the small print, we have a Membership Rewards program!”
7) Access To Benefits
“Operate your business confidently with Purchase Protection.” Amex is boasting their damage insurance and extended warranty services.
I can get many of the same protections and benefits from companies I already deal with like my car insurance company and the actual manufacturer of the thing I would want an extended warranty service for. No need to duplicate benefits, especially for a credit card.
8) Global Assist Hotline
“Whenever you travel more than 100 miles from home, you have security and added peace of mind 24/7 with medical, legal, financial, or other emergency assistance including lost luggage blah blah blah.”
When my luggage is lost I will be talking with the airline that has misplaced it, not an Amex rep that has little authority over a gate agent. That same school of thought can be applied to the other benefits mentioned in their flyer.
9) 24/7 Customer Service
So does everyone else, don’t they? If a local bank doesn’t offer a 24 hour answering service then it likely can be handled during normal business hours.
10) Additional Cards For Employees
“Introductory annual fee for additional cards in the first year is $0, then $50 for the first additional card and no fee for other additional cards.”
In other words, the benefit is they will give you a free card for an employee and only charge you for the 2nd. This might be the only benefit that stands out from other cards, but only for business owners with employees.
Why you should (not) get this card
The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is trying to sell me on reward points.
For spending more than $6,000 via their piece of plastic you can get:
- A polo shirt or backpack for 6,620 – 8,830 points
- A set of ice cream spoons, cake server, or spaghetti measure for 7,000 – 7,810 points
- A single golf club for 19,190 – 27,500 points
- Pots, pans, pearl earrings, headphones, and a plethora of other trinkets that you can buy at Amazon cheaper
Weigh the benefits with the $175 annual fee after the first year and the so-called “benefits” start to get washed away. Add a 70% risk of interest charges when there isn’t enough money to pay the balance in full and we quickly find ourselves in the debt slaughter.
Credit cards are dangerous to those who lose control and it happens to good people every day. Why play their games when cash and debit cards will do everything we need without the risk of debt?