Today (9/12/12) only, American Express is doing one of its once-every-few-months, one-day-only 75k Membership Rewards sign up bonuses for the American Express Gold Business card.

I won’t give a full rundown of the rules and benefits of the card–you can get that from thepointsguy–but I will answer the following question: should you get the 75k sign up bonus on this card or the 50k sign up bonus?

If the answer seems obvious, it is not. In my post, “The Two Ways to Value Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses,” I described both the absolute-value method and rebate-percentage method.

The absolute-value method is what most people are probably more familiar with. Add up the benefits of the sign up bonus and subtract the first-year annual fee if any. Right now I value 75k MR at $1,785 (75k * 2.38 cents per MR).

There is no annual fee the first year on the AMEX Gold business card and no other value to signing up meaning the absolute value of the 75k MR card, $1,785, dwarfs the absolute value of the 50k MR sign up card, $1,190.

Stop reading here and get the AMEX Gold business card today if you spend tons of money per year on credit cards ($100k+) or you are only getting 1-2 cards this year because of an upcoming mortgage application. The absolute value of the sign up is mouthwatering.

But if you, like me, spend very little on cards each year ($30k), then this is not the best AMEX Gold business offer.

Instead the best offer is the 50k MR sign up bonus. The reason is that the 75k MR sign up bonus has a $10k minimum spend to unlock the bonus. The 50k MR card has only a $5k minimum spend requirement.

People who don’t spend enough to clear all the minimum-spending requirements for all the cards they want should use the rebate-percentage method to order cards on their wish list.

The rebate-percentage method takes the absolute value and divides by the spending requirement to get the percentage of the minimum spend that is rebated in the form of points or other benefits.

The 50k MR card’s rebate percentage is an impressive 23.8%. The 75k MR card’s rebate percentage is only 17.9%.

That means, if you are looking at the most bang for your small buck like me, you should get the 50k MR card.

Recap

75k MR American Express Gold Business, Application Link

Issuing bank: American Express

Rebate percentage of sign up bonus: 17.9%

Absolute value of sign up bonus: $1,785

50k MR American Express Gold Business, Application Link

Issuing bank: American Express

Rebate percentage of sign up bonus: 23.8%

Absolute value of sign up bonus: $1,190

I can’t say exactly where the annual-card-spending cutoff is where you can move from the rebate-percentage method to the absolute-value method. But I do know that the 50k MR sign up bonus is right for me.

 

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