Can I Add Employee Gold Cards to My Business Platinum?
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"Reader Questions" are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.
Today we're answering a Facebook message from William, who has a question about his Business Platinum Card® from American Express...
[pullquote source="TPG Reader William"]Can I add gold cards to my Business Platinum or do I have to get the Platinum card for all my employees?[/pullquote]
This is a timely question, since American Express announced just last week it's adding the ability to add up to 99 authorized user Gold cards to The Platinum Card from American Express for free.
But that's the personal version. William wants to know about the business card, and with good reason, because adding employee Platinum cards to a company's Business Platinum account comes with a substantial fee of $300 each. For that fee, your employees get most of the benefits of the Platinum card, including their own Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee waiver, elite status with Hilton and SPG and access to Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when they're flying on Delta. But it's still a lot of money, especially if your primary goal is just to give employees a way to charge business expenses to your company's master credit card account.
Fortunately, there are two good alternatives. First, to answer your question: Yes, you can add Amex Business Gold employee cards to your Business Platinum. The annual fee for each card is significantly lower at $50, saving you over $245 on each one. The Gold employee cards won't get the benefits of a Platinum card, but any charges will accrue points as usual on your company's master account — including the new 5x bonus for airfare and prepaid hotels purchased through Amextravel.com and the 1.5x bonus for purchases over $5,000 — and will also count toward any minimum spend you might need to meet for the bonus points when you first sign up for the card.
However, if all you're concerned about is giving employees a way to charge business expenses, there's an even cheaper option. The Business Platinum also allows you to add standard Green cards for employees, and those cards come without any fee whatsoever.
If you're wondering why you would pay $45 for a Gold employee card without any benefits when a Green employee card without any benefits is free, I actually wondered exactly the same thing. So I called American Express and a very friendly and knowledgable agent there told me "the Gold and Green employee cards are identical — the $45 annual fee is just for the prestige of having a Gold card." So it's up to you to decide if it's worth $45 to bestow extra prestige on your employees.
Remember also that American Express lets you set spending limits for each individual employee card, and you can even freeze a card at any time if you want to end an employee's ability to use the card for charges. All of these options are available at any time by signing in to your Business Platinum account online at the American Express website.
Hope that helps, William, and thanks for the question. If you're a TPG reader who'd like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.