Big price, big perks: A review of the Business Platinum Card from American Express
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|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is one of the most expensive credit cards on the market. Thankfully a lengthy list of luxury travel and lifestyle perks can help you recoup that cost, but it takes a bit of work to truly maximize your usage of this card.||Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐|
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
With premium credit cards becoming the norm these days, many people are getting more comfortable with the idea of paying $400+ in annual fees to hold the right credit card. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express stands out above that pack thanks to its record setting $595 annual fee (see rates and fees), but I still jumped at the chance to apply for this card because of the massive welcome bonus it offers. The deal has now gotten even sweeter, with the Business Platinum offering a limited-time elevated welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $25,000 in the first 3 months.
Just be warned that between a high minimum spending requirement and a number of business-focused perks, this card certainly won’t be right for every business — especially ones that don’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. So, let’s consider whether the Business Platinum card is a good fit for you.
Who is this card for?
The Business Platinum Card is best suited for small business owners who charge thousands of dollars of monthly business expenses to their cards; who are heavy travelers; and who can take advantage of the card’s premium benefits. For these types of card holders, the card’s benefits and earnings can justify the card’s $595 annual fee.
For many card holders, the best perk is access to the issuer’s Centurion Lounges. Centurion Lounges are some of the nicest lounges in the U.S., and card holders of the American Express Centurion Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Business Platinum Card get access for themselves and up to two guests regardless of their airline or class of service.
However, the lounges have recently tightened up access policies — so you won’t get access more than three hours before departure nor upon arrival without a connecting boarding pass. But, the dining and drink options will still provide value if you live near or frequently travel to the airports that currently feature these lounges.
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 these distinctions is a 35% rebate available to Business Platinum members who book a business or first-class ticket — or any class flight with their selected qualifying airline — 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.
Likewise, only personal Platinum members have access to $200 of annual Uber credits, $100 of annual Saks credits and 5x earning on flights booked directly with airlines and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
One other thing to keep in mind: This is a charge card, meaning you have to pay your bill in full at the end of each billing cycle. If you tend to carry a balance on your business credit card, you’ll want to find another option. 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 20.24%, which is fairly high (see rates & fees).
A welcome offer worth $2,000
New applicants will earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first three months and an extra 50,000 points after spending an additional $15,000 also within the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece. So, if you can manage the hefty $25,000 spend requirement to earn the full 100,000-point bonus, you’ll earn points worth about $2,000. You’ll also get a year of Platinum global access to WeWork when you sign up for the Business Platinum Card and enroll for that benefit by Dec. 31.
The Business Platinum Card welcome offer 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. But, that slight downgrade in bonus value comes with a significantly reduced spend requirement. Your typical monthly business expenses and whether you’ll utilize the WeWork benefit may help you determine which card is the more valuable choice.
If you have a smaller business but are still interested in opening the Business Platinum card, you might want to consider prepaying as many expenses as possible during your first three months to help earn your welcome bonus.
Further Reading: How to Sign Up for the Amex Business Platinum’s WeWork Benefit
Benefits and perks
After you get over the initial shock of the $595 annual fee, 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. You’ll also have access to Airspace lounges, Escape lounges and American Express International Lounge locations.
While Centurion lounges are generally well regarded for the improved experience they offer over the average Priority Pass lounge, there have been two long-standing complaints about the program: There aren’t enough lounges, and the existing ones often get incredibly crowded.
Amex is actively addressing both of these concerns, and is set to open six new Centurion lounge locations by the end of 2020 (including its second-ever international location at London Heathrow). In terms of the overcrowding issue, Amex has recently imposed limits so you can only access the lounges three hours before your flight, and only on arrival if you have a connecting boarding pass.
Any premium travel rewards card worth its fee also offers reimbursement for a Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fee every four to five years. The Business Platinum Card is no exception, giving you a reimbursement for your application fee once every four years for Global Entry and once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck.
Card members also receive 10 free Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes per calendar year. (You’ll also get free Boingo Wi-Fi access inside airports and at locations throughout the country, even though this benefit was recently removed from the personal Platinum Card.)
You’ll also earn an annual $200 airline fee credit that can be used for incidentals such as baggage fees or seat selection fees on that same carrier as you chose for the 35% Pay with Points rebate. The airline fee credit can’t be used to purchase airfare though, so you’ll want to select an airline where you’ll incur some fees each year.
You’ll also have access to up to $200 in statement credits each year for any Dell technology purchases. This credit works like the $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit on the personal Amex Platinum Card in that it’s split into two different statement credits. So, you’ll get a statement credit for up to $100 of Dell purchases between Jan. and June and another statement credit for up to $100 of Dell purchases between July and December.
As for benefits that come in handy once you reach your destination, this card gives you Gold status with Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status with Marriott, which provides better earnings and benefits during stays with these two brands. You can find other places to stay, too, with Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
When you book a stay at a Fine Hotels & Resorts property through Amex Travel, benefits include noon check-in if available, guaranteed 4:00 p.m. checkout, a room upgrade if available, daily breakfast for two and a unique amenity valued at $100 or more. And if you book a prepaid stay online, you’ll earn 5x points and (sometimes) get elite benefits during your stay. Cardmembers also have access to the Hotel Collection, which offers a $100 on-site credit at select properties when you book a stay of two nights or longer through Amex Travel.
The Amex Business Platinum Card also features extended warranty protection that matches eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of two years or less and extended eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of two to five years by two years. Additionally, purchases on your card are protected from accidental damage or theft for up to 120 days from the moment you purchase them.
Besides these benefits, there are also many other benefits including the International Airline Program, Cruise Privileges Program, Premium Roadside Assistance, Upgrade with Points and access to the Auto Purchasing Program.
Rewards on most spending with the Business Platinum Card are pretty average, at 1 point per dollar spent, which is a 2% return based on TPG’s valuations. 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 (a 3% return), up to one 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 on AmexTravel.com (including Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts). That’s the same 10% return as you’ll see on the personal Platinum Card, although with the personal Amex Platinum Card you also get 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines.
Simply put, the Business Platinum card is not going to be the one you want to use for a majority of your purchases. This card excels when it comes to travel spending and perks, but don’t feel like you have to keep it at the front of your wallet just because you’re paying more for it than for an overweight checked bag.
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 taxi fare in New York City, but these options all significantly devalue your earned points to 1 cent per point or less, and we strongly recommend against using your points this way.
The most lucrative way to redeem points is to transfer them to one of 22 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. Regardless of whether you want to fly on Oneworld, Star Alliance or Sky Team airlines — or stay at Choice, Hilton or Marriott properties — there are many sweet spots that can be unlocked with Amex Membership Rewards points.
Want the easiest redemption option that still offers decent value? If you redeem your points via American Express Travel Pay with Points, they’re worth about 1.54 cents per point toward first and business-class flights on any airline as well as economy-class flights on your selected airline because of the 35% Pay with Points rebate. That’s a higher return than you’ll earn booking travel on Amex with the personal Platinum card (1 cent per point), 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). But, note that the 35% rebate is capped at 500,000 points per calendar year.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for transfer bonuses, which Amex runs with some regularity. In the last few months we’ve seen a 40% bonus for transfers to British Airways Avios and a 30% bonus for transfers to Virgin Atlantic, which can help you score dirt cheap premium cabin awards on Delta and ANA.
Further Reading: Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards for Maximum Value
Is the Amex Business Platinum a good fit for your business?
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers one of the most valuable welcome bonuses on the market right now, and as such, any business that can hit the $25,000 spending requirement should seriously consider this card. But if we dig a little deeper, we can see that when Amex redesigned this card in February 2019, they had a specific type of customer in mind.
Everything about this card screams “loud, established businesses.” For starters, a smaller and newer company might struggle to meet the $25,000 minimum spending requirement, and the last thing you would ever want to do is jeopardize your companies’ finances in the name of travel rewards. Even the WeWork membership will be more useful to a bigger company that has employees frequently traveling and holding meetings across the globe.
I use my free WeWork membership to break up the routine of working from home, but since I don’t technically need it, I really don’t count it as any value against the hefty annual fee this card charges. Add in the limited bonus categories (and the fact that one of the biggest options to earn extra points comes from making large purchases of $5,000 or more), and many businesses out there will have trouble maximizing this card.
If you feel that your business might be too small to get the full value out of the Business Platinum card, you might want to consider other options. For instance, the American Express® Business Gold Card offers similar redemption options to the Business Platinum, but at a lower annual fee of $295 (see rates & fees). This card offers six bonus categories — one of which is airfare purchased directly from airlines — and allows you to earn 4 points per dollar on the two categories where you spend the most each month (up to $150,000 in combined purchases for these two categories per calendar year; then 1x point thereafter).
Alternatively, if you like the American Express Membership Rewards ecosystem and want to keep your cost as low as possible, take a look at the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express instead. This no annual fee credit card earns 2x Membership Rewards points (a 4% return) on your first $50,000 of annual purchases (then 1x), with no bonus categories to worry about. You’ll earn 2x points whether you’re spending $1 or $1,000, whether you’re booking travel or buying furniture for your office. While you won’t find many perks on a free credit card, the simplicity it affords will give you more time to focus on growing your business.
Finally, if travel isn’t a big part of your business, 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 Card is a niche card that’s perfect for the big traveler. While it might not be worth the money for business owners who don’t count airfare and hotel stays among their largest business expenses, its travel perks are difficult, if not impossible, to beat.
Here’s the link to apply for the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express with up to a 100,0000-point bonus.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
Aside from the up to 100,000 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 100,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 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.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees