Is the Amex Business Platinum worth the annual fee?
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
"This card has an annual fee of nearly $700" tends to cause many people to drop their jaws. The general reaction — from most people — is that there's simply no way paying the annual fee is worth it.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has an annual fee of $695 (see rates and fees), yet the card claims to offer more than double that in annual credits and perks. Does that automatically make the Amex Business Platinum Card's annual fee worth it? It depends.
Here's a look at what you get from the Amex Business Platinum Card each year so you can decide whether the annual fee is worth it for you.
New applicants can earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership. According to TPG's latest valuations, American Express Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece, making this bonus worth $2,400.
Those who hold the Amex Business Platinum (as well as The Platinum Card® from American Express) have access to a wide range of lounges. They include:
- American Express Centurion lounges.
- Delta Sky Club lounges (when flying on a same-day Delta flight).
- Priority Pass Select lounges (but not Priority Pass restaurants).
- Escape Lounges -- The Centurion Studio Partner.
- Airspace lounges.
- Plaza Premium lounges.
- Lufthansa lounges (varying access depending on what airline and cabin you're flying).
- Other Global Lounge Collection partner lounges.
You can consult the Global Lounge Collection website's search function to find lounges accessible on your next trip.
When visiting these lounges, you can enjoy benefits like complimentary snacks, food, drinks (sometimes including free alcohol) and free Wi-Fi. Other lounges will have better benefits, such as full meals, showers, children's play areas and more.
Hotel elite status
Cardmembers can register for automatic elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. This benefit provides Gold status in both programs.
TPG values Hilton Gold status at over $1,200 per year. This status tier provides benefits like bonus points on paid stays, complimentary bottled water, a fifth night free on award stays, room upgrades (though not to suites) and free continental breakfast or food and beverage credits. You should also receive a welcome gift at check-in, typically a snack or bonus points.
TPG values Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status at $800 per year. This tier provides benefits like late checkout, room upgrades (though not to suites), bonus points on paid stays, enhanced internet and a welcome gift of bonus points at check-in.
Car rental elite status
Cardmembers can enroll for complimentary elite status with Avis Preferred Plus, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle and National Emerald Club Executive Elite. Enrollment in advance is required for these benefits.
Rental car elite status provides benefits like car upgrades, a free second driver and my favorite benefit: skipping the line and going straight to your car at the start of your rental. One of the best benefits of car rental elite status in any program is the ability to status match with other rental car programs, helping you gain status in numerous programs simultaneously.
Pay With Points rebate
When paying with points for a flight through Amex Travel, Business Platinum cardmembers can get 35% of their points back. This applies to two types of bookings: flights in any cabin with your preselected preferred airline or flights with any airline if the reservation is for business class or first class.
Cardmembers can enjoy up to one million points refunded through this benefit every year. Achieving this maximum rebate would require spending 2,857,143 points within a calendar year using the Pay with Points feature to book qualifying flights.
Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection
FHR stays include benefits like daily breakfast for two, late checkout, complimentary Wi-Fi and room upgrades (if available at check-in). Each stay will also include a unique property amenity worth $100, typically coming in the form of dining credits or spa credits. THC stays include room upgrades (if available at check-in) and a $100 property credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities.
Bonus points for airfare and hotels
Business Platinum cardmembers can earn 5 points per dollar on airfare and prepaid hotel bookings made through Amex Travel. While you won't earn bonus points on flights booked directly with airlines or directly with hotels, the ability to earn a 10% return on flights and hotels (according to TPG's latest valuations) without any limits on spending or earnings per year is definitely worth your attention.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
Cardmembers can receive statement credits to reimburse their application fees for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85). This benefit is available every four years for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck.
These programs allow approved travelers to move through airport security checkpoints faster, using PreCheck lanes at designated airports and not needing to take off their shoes, for example. Global Entry users have an additional benefit, being able to use designated lanes when entering the U.S. to move through passport control faster.
Annual Clear membership rebate
Clear is not a government security program but also helps approved users speed through security checkpoints at airports and select stadiums using biometrics. Business Platinum cardmembers can receive reimbursement of up to $189 per year for Clear membership fees. No advance enrollment is required for this benefit; pay with your Business Platinum card to automatically receive a statement credit.
Up to $200 in annual airline credits
Traveling can have ugly fees sometimes. These come in the form of paying for checked bags, choosing your seat or upgrading to a better seat on your flight.
Business Platinum cardmembers can choose one of the following airlines as their preferred airline: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines or United Airlines. Choosing a preferred airline in advance is required before using this benefit, which can cover change and cancellation fees, seat selection fees, upgrade fees, checked bag fees and more.
Annual spending credits
Business Platinum cardmembers can take advantage of lots of credits: up to $150 per year with Adobe, up to $120 per year on cellphone plans, up to $360 per year with Indeed and up to $400 per year with Dell.
The Adobe credits apply to prepaid business plans for Creative Cloud for teams or Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign for teams. The wireless services benefit is available as up to $10 per month in statement credits for wireless phone service plans paid for with your Business Platinum card. You can receive up to $90 of statement credits per quarter with Indeed. The Dell benefit provides up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually.
Enrollment is required in advance for some of these benefits. Maximizing these benefits provides $1,030 in statement credits each year.
Other cardmember perks
Cardmembers can take advantage of several other benefits.
The first is that the Amex Business Platinum has no preset spending limit. Whereas traditional credit cards come with a predetermined limit of how much you can spend on your card, cards like the Business Platinum and Platinum Card from Amex don't have these preset limits. Instead, how much you can spend on the card changes; your payment history, banking relationship, creditworthiness and other factors determine this. This can be a great feature for businesses that spend a lot on their cards and can then pay it off quickly.
Speaking of paying bills quickly, the Business Platinum card is designed for cardmembers to pay the entire bill in full each month. If you aren't able to pay the full amount, you may be able to carry a balance on some purchases by enrolling in the Pay Over Time feature. Not all purchases will be eligible for Pay Over Time, and not paying your entire balance in full each month will likely result in paying interest. You also may be able to earn bonus points through offers to enroll in Pay Over Time — and you can earn those bonus points for enrolling even if you never carry a balance.
Paying your monthly cellphone bill with your Business Platinum card will also provide cellphone protection to cover your phone against loss or damage. There is a maximum of $800 liability per claim, and each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. There's also a limit of two claims per eligible account in a 12-month period. Covered phones are restricted to cellphone lines listed on a mobile phone plan paid with the eligible card during the most recent billing period.* Combining this benefit with the monthly wireless credits covered above is a great way to invoke insurance benefits plus a discount on your monthly cellphone bill.
* Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
Another benefit available to cardmembers is preferred access, which can mean tickets to exclusive events, going to the front of the line for ticket sales on other events and even getting access to hard-to-find dining reservations with Resy.
When making purchases, cardmembers will earn American Express Membership Rewards points, which TPG values at 2 cents per point. Cardmembers will earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid flights and hotels booked through Amex Travel. Additionally, cardmembers earn 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more or purchases in the following categories within the U.S.: construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, software & cloud system providers and at shipping providers. Earning 1.5 points per dollar is limited to $2 million of purchases, then 1 point per dollar. All other purchases also earn 1 point per dollar.
There are numerous benefits included with the Amex Business Platinum card. Some are annual credits and others offer statement credits monthly or quarterly. Other benefits don't have a tangible price tag, and how you value those benefits will vary from one person to another.
Suppose you can use benefits like lounge access, statement credits and other travel perks. In that case, you'll easily be able to offset or overcome the Business Platinum card's annual fee each year — making it "worth it" in your situation. However, for those who struggle to use the card's credits or have many of its benefits through other credits in their wallets, it may be difficult to justify paying $695 in years two and beyond.
Official application link: The Business Platinum Card from American Express
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
Additional reporting by Benet Wilson, Mark Spivak, Jennifer Yellin and Eric Rosen.