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There’s one very good reason why The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN stands out as a best-in-class pick among the top business cards: It offers unparalleled travel rewards and perks. From airport lounge access to huge points earnings on airfare and hotel spending, this is a card the frequent business traveler really could use to his or her benefit.
It also features a number of business-specific benefits not available on the personal Platinum Card® from American Express, like discounts on shipping costs and car rentals and rebates on flights booked through Amex’s travel portal. But its hefty $450 annual fee should give pause to anyone who owns a business that doesn’t accrue major travel expenses or whose primary spending categories are more in line with the bonus categories offered by other business rewards credit cards.
Who is this card for?
The Business Platinum card is best suited for entrepreneurs who charge thousands of dollars of monthly business expenses to their cards; who are heavy travelers; and who can take advantage of premium luxuries offered by the best travel reward credit cards. Amex is an old pro at offering these perks, the best of which is arguably free access to the issuer’s Centurion Lounges, exclusive waiting areas that offer exquisite amenities for both holders of the business and personal Platinum cards. (This perk also is offered to Centurion cardholders at no extra charge.) Cardholders who live near or frequently travel to the eight US airports that feature one of these lounges should factor this into account when deciding whether to apply for this card.
There are a number of travel-related distinctions between the personal and business versions of this card that should be considered, perhaps the most important of which is a 35% rebate available to Business Platinum members who book a business or first-class ticket through American Express Travel using Membership Rewards points. Rebates are capped at 500,000 points a year, which may be too low for companies looking to offset more of their travel expenses.
Intro. Bonus: Over $1,000 in Value
You’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in the first three months and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 also within the first three months from account opening. If you can meet this hefty $20,000 spend requirement, you’ll earn points worth more than three times the card’s annual fee. Based on TPG’s valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 1.9 cents apiece, meaning the value of your bonus could get you up to $1,425 in value.
The business card bonus is more rewarding than the welcome offer on the personal Amex Platinum card, which offers 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 within the first three months from account opening. That slight downgrade in bonus value comes with a significantly reduced spend requirement. You’re typical monthly business expenses may help you determine which card is the more valuable choice.
Rewards on most spending with the Business Platinum are pretty average at 1 point per dollar spent. For businesses that have significant expenses, Amex will add a slight incentive to coax you to use its card: All purchases of $5,000 or more earn 1.5 points per dollar, up to 1 million extra points per year.
Everyday office spending is not the reason to get this card, though. You’ll earn 5x points when you purchase airfare and prepaid hotel rooms from Amex Travel. That’s the same return as you’ll see on the personal Platinum card, though with the personal Amex Platinum you also get 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines.
You can redeem your points for gift cards, through Amazon or other online retailers, to pay for charges on your bill or even to pay your fare in New York City taxis, but these options all significantly devalue your earned points to 1 cent per point or less, and we wouldn’t recommend using your points this way.
The most lucrative way to redeem points is to transfer them to one of 20 partner airlines or hotels. Going this route may take a bit of sleuthing, but a little work can help increase the value of your points significantly above the TPG valuation. For example, you could transfer 80,000 of your Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program and book a one-way flight from Sydney to Singapore in the airline’s new first-class cabin. A paid ticket would cost you $4,079 based on our sample searches, netting you a great per-point value of about 5 cents.
If you redeem your points via American Express Travel, they’re worth about 1.54 cents per point because of that 35% rebate. That’s a higher return than you’ll earn booking travel on Amex with the personal Platinum card, and it’s about on par with what you’d get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve when using Chase Ultimate Rewards to book travel through the issuer’s portal (1.5 cents per point). You’ll generally get the most value when you transfer your points to one of the issuer’s airline partners, rather than booking through the Amex Travel portal.
It’s important to note the Amex Pay With Points 35% rebate is good for all fights on one airline per year, which you’ll choose via AmexTravel.com. You’ll also earn an annual $200 airline fee credit on that same carrier, good for incidentals like baggage fees, meaning it can’t be used to purchase airfare. You can still earn the 35% rebate on other carriers booked through the Amex site, but only on business or first-class tickets.
Rewards and redemption limitations aside, the Amex Business Platinum really shines when it comes to travel perks. When your travels don’t take you to an airport that offers a Centurion Lounge, you’ll have wider access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges worldwide, as well as Delta Sky Club lounges, which you can access when you’re flying Delta.
Any premium travel rewards card worth its fee also offers reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The Amex Business Platinum is no exception, giving you a reimbursement for your application fee once every 4 years. Cardmembers also receive 10 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per calendar year. (You’ll also get free Boingo Wi-Fi access inside airports and at locations throughout the country.)
As for benefits that come in handy once you reach your destination, this card gives you access to Gold status with Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest, helping you to boost rewards earnings for hotel stays. You can link your SPG and Marriott accounts to get Marriott Rewards Gold status and earn more points with this hotel brand, as well. You can find other places to stay, too, with Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program. When you book a stay at one of these hotel properties through Amex Travel, benefits include noon check-in, a room upgrade if available, daily breakfast and a $100 credit for your stay.
Finally, the Business Platinum also comes with access to the Amex OPEN program, which includes discounts on purchases made with select vendors such as FedEx and Hertz. You won’t find this perk on the personal version of the Platinum card, and it’s important to note that the Amex OPEN program will be discontinued on June 1, 2018.
What cards compete with the Amex Business Platinum?
This is a premier travel rewards credit card, offering top-of-the-line travel perks. To find similarly stacked rewards cards, you may have to look toward personal credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers a bevy of airport perks — and a much more flexible redemption program.
As for business credit cards, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers similar redemption options to the Business Platinum, but at a lower annual fee of $175 (waived the first year). If airfare is your main business expense, this card allows you to earn 3 points per dollar on one category from a list of five options, including airfare purchased directly from airlines.
Similarly, you can earn 3% cash back on up to $50,000 in annual spending (then 1%) on a category of your choice from eight options, including airfare purchased directly from airlines with the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. If airfare isn’t a major business expense, you could apply that 3% cash-back bonus to hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels, US restaurants or US purchases for shipping, among other options. This card charges no annual fee.
If travel isn’t a big part of your business, there’s no reason to own the Business Platinum card. Look instead to top business cards that offer great rewards in categories like office supplies, internet service or computer equipment. A solid choice here is the Ink Business Cash Credit Card.
The Amex Business Platinum is a niche card that’s perfect for the big traveller, but not worth the money for business owners who don’t count airfare and hotel stays among their largest business expenses. As far as business cards go, though, its travel perks are difficult, if not impossible, to beat. One other thing to keep in mind: This is a charge card, meaning you have to pay your bill off in full at the end of each billing cycle. If you tend to carry a balance on your business credit card, you may want to find another options. Amex does offer a Pay Over Time feature on this card, which allows you to carry some balances after you enroll, but you’ll pay a variable annual percentage rate of 19.49%, which is fairly high.
Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.†
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
- You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
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