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The credit card world was shaken up last year with the launch of the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Thanks to that card’s very competitive benefits — like a $300 annual travel credit and 1.5 cents per point on direct travel redemptions — other issuers responded by increasing the value proposition of their own premium offerings. This year, we’ve seen changes to both the Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN that make both cards more appealing in an increasingly competitive premium card market.
You’ll notice that a number of the benefits offered by each of these cards overlap, but there are important differences to consider when deciding which one is right for you. To make this decision easier, let’s take a look at how each card makes travel more rewarding and fun.
Before we dive into the details, here’s a simple comparison of the two cards:
|Amex Platinum||Amex Business Platinum|
|Welcome Bonus||60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months||50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and another 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000, all in the first three months|
|Travel Category Bonus||5x on airfare purchased directly with airlines
5x at Amex Travel on airfare and prepaid hotels
|5x at Amex Travel on airfare and prepaid hotels
1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year)
Each card comes with a solid welcome bonus, but the minimum spend required to earn the bonus is where they really differ. While you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on the Amex Platinum, the Business Platinum requires a much steeper minimum spend to earn its bonus.
In fact, the Business Platinum welcome bonus has two tiers: after spending $10,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn 50,000 points, but you’ll need to spend an additional $15,000 (also in the first three months) to earn the remaining 50,000 points. That’s $25,000 for the full 100,000 points.
Both cards earn 5x when you purchase airfare and prepaid hotel rooms from Amex Travel, but the personal Amex Platinum also earns 5x on airfare purchased directly with airlines. On the other hand, the Business Platinum card is great for business owners with significant expenses, since all purchases of at least $5,000 earn 1.5x points per dollar, up to 1 million extra points per year.
Both of these cards really excel when it comes to travel perks. Whether you choose the personal or business version of the card, you can be confident that traveling will be easier.
Benefits Offered By Both Cards
Each card offers up to a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. This makes navigating security prior to your flight and during your return from international trips much less painful and time-consuming.
Another great benefit offered by both cards is the $200 airline fee credit, which covers baggage fees as well as other incidental charges. There are two important points to remember about this benefit. First, you must select an airline prior to using the credit. Second, it will not cover in-flight internet purchases (or airfare).
As a holder of either card, you’ll also receive Gold status with Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest, which can help you earn more points for your hotel stays. You can match the SPG Gold status to Marriott Rewards Gold as well.
Speaking of hotels, you’ll also have access to Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program. When you book a stay at one of these hotel properties through Amex Travel, you’ll receive benefits such as 12pm check-in, a room upgrade if available, daily breakfast and a $100 credit for your stay.
To top things off, you’ll have access to Boingo hotspots around the world to help you connect to the internet when you’re on the go. And insurance benefits such as purchase protection, extended warranty, rental car coverage, roadside assistance, baggage insurance and travel accident coverage are virtually identical across both cards.
With the personal Amex Platinum, you’ll also receive $200 in Uber credit each year. Each month, the card provides $15 in credit to use on Uber rides, with an additional $20 for the month of December. Keep in mind that if you don’t use the full credit in one month, it won’t roll over to the next month.
If you’re looking for a credit card with lounge access privileges, both of these cards give you tons of options.
American Express has become famous for its Centurion Lounges across the US, and just recently, Amex opened its first Centurion Lounge abroad in Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Only those who have a Platinum or Centurion card are allowed into these lounges. With either the personal or business version of the Platinum card, you can also bring two guests with you.
For those who regularly fly with Delta, you’ll be excited to know that with either card, you’ll have access to Delta Sky Clubs. However, unlike the Centurion Lounges — which you can visit anytime you’re flying on any airline — you must be flying on Delta to access a Sky Club with a Platinum card.
Thanks to the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with both of these cards, you’ll also have access to lounges that partner with Priority Pass, With over 1,000 lounges around the world, Priority Pass is a great way to ensure you have a place to relax between flights.
Lounges are a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. Some lounges even have showers, which can be amazingly refreshing after a long flight. Top it off with something to drink and a bite to eat, and you’ll quickly see why we love airport lounges.
American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the more valuable loyalty currencies out there. According to TPG‘s valuations, they’re worth 1.9 cents apiece. With 17 airline transfer partners, the points you earn can help you travel to just about anywhere in the world.
|Amex Platinum||Amex Business Platinum|
|Redeeming for Flights via Amex Travel||1 cent per point||about 1.54 cents per point|
|TPG Valuation||1.9 cents per point||1.9 cents per point|
One benefit that’s exclusive to the Business Platinum card is that when you book any flight directly with points through Amex Travel on your pre-selected airline — or business or first class on any airline — you’ll receive a 35% rebate of the points you used. This is particularly useful if you don’t have flexible travel dates and award space isn’t available.
But if you plan to transfer your Membership Rewards points to an airline partner, you should shoot to get at least 1.9 cents per point in value when booking award flights. If you book business or first-class flights such as Singapore Suites, you can expect to get even more value out of these points.
Which Card Is Right For You?
If you’re looking for a premium credit card loaded with travel perks and you don’t have a business or the substantial expenses that come with one, the personal Amex Platinum should be just what you need. The annual $200 airline fee credit and $200 Uber credit really take the sting out of the $550 annual fee. Throw in access to a ton of airline lounges and the Membership Rewards you can earn with the card (especially when you book airfare and get 5x), and this really starts to look like an excellent choice.
For business owners, the decision isn’t quite so simple. Both the personal and business versions of the Platinum come with the airline fee credit, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, Boingo hotspot access, Hilton and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status and more. But business owners and employees who require a good bit of travel will appreciate the 10 Gogo passes for free in-flight Wi-Fi and the 35% points rebate.
To make the best choice for your situation, you’ll also want to consider whether you’ll utilize the 1.5x points per dollar on purchases of at least $5,000. If your business makes larger purchases, this will be a huge boost. 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. But if you’d prefer instead to have the Uber credit and the ability to earn 5x on airfare purchased directly from airlines, the personal Amex Platinum could be the way to go.
Finally, remember that the annual fees differ by $100, with the Amex Platinum carrying a $550 annual fee and the Business Platinum a $450 annual fee. Neither is cheap, but fortunately the benefits and the annual credits offset much of the fees on both cards, making either one a solid choice for the frequent traveler.
Which card would you pick: the personal or business Amex Platinum?
LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), 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.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
- 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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