Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum
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Over the past several years, we have seen premium credit cards continue to evolve to try to attract and retain customers. Two of the top cards for luxury travel benefits are The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Both have revamped benefits and raised annual fees as more perks were added in recent years.
During the pandemic, each card has also received new, limited-time perks and bonuses to entice cardholders to keep their cards — or apply for a new one — during a time of restricted travel.
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Before we dive into the details, here’s a simple comparison of the two cards.
|Benefit/perk||Amex Platinum||Amex Business Platinum|
|Welcome offer||75,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.||Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.|
|Total spend requirement for the welcome offer||$5,000||$15,000|
|Earning rates||5x on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
5x on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
NEW – 10x on U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations for new cardholders (up to $15,000 within the first 6 months).
1x on everything else.
|5x on airfare and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year).
|Annual fee||$550 (see rates & fees)||$595 (see rates & fees)|
Each card comes with a generous welcome offer, but the minimum spend required to earn the bonus is where they really differ. You can earn the full 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending just $5,000 on the Amex Platinum, but the Business Platinum requires a much steeper minimum spend of $15,000 to earn its 125,000-point bonus.
Based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, the Platinum bonus is worth $1,500 while the Business Platinum bonus is worth $2,500, making them some of the most valuable offers on the market.
However, some TPG readers have been targeted for an up-to-125,000-point welcome offer on the personal Amex Platinum by using the CardMatch tool (note that offer is subject to change at any time). This targeted offer also requires $5,000 of spending and is better than the publicly available offer on either Platinum card variants.
The personal Platinum has 10x earnings on U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations for new cardholders (up to $15,000 within the first six months).
Winner: Amex Platinum.
Although you’re getting fewer points (75,000 bonus points versus 125,000 bonus points), you’re required to spend significantly more on the Business Platinum card ($15,000 versus only $5,000 on the Amex Platinum) to earn the bonus. The 10x bonus on supermarkets and gas stations is a huge earning opportunity on the Platinum, too. However, if you have significant business expenses in media and office supplies, the Business Platinum is very competitive.
Finally, considering that some cardholders will have the chance to earn up to 125,000 points with the Amex Platinum after just $5,000 in spend via CardMatch (targeted offer, subject to change at any time), that card squeaks out ahead.
Both cards earn 5x points when you purchase airfare and prepaid hotel rooms from amextravel.com, but the personal Amex Platinum also earns 5x on airfare purchased directly with airlines and airfare purchased with American Express Travel over the phone (up to $500,000 per calendar year).
Plus new cardholders can earn a generous 10x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.
On the other hand, the Business Platinum card is great for business owners who regularly make large purchases with the card, since all purchases of at least $5,000 earn 1.5x points per dollar, up to 1 million extra points per year.
Winner: Amex Platinum.
This is a close one, and you might opt for the Business Platinum if you frequently make purchases of more than $5,000. But most people and companies will get more value out of the expanded 5x earnings on airfare, specifically tickets purchased directly with the airline, along with higher points for new cardholders with U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.
Both of these cards excel when it comes to travel perks.
Benefits offered by both cards
Each card offers a credit of up to $100 for the fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. This saves you a lot of time navigating security prior to your flight and upon your return from international trips.
Another great benefit offered by both cards is the credit of up to $200 annually for airline fees, 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 most inflight internet purchases or airfare, so make sure you have a plan to use the card for an eligible expense, such as bag fees or seat selection.
As a holder of either card, you’ll also receive Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, which can help you earn more points for your hotel stays as well as offering benefits during your stays (including breakfast at some Hilton brands).
Speaking of hotels, you’ll also have access to Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program with either card.
When you book a stay at one of these hotel properties through Amex Travel, you’ll receive benefits such as guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, a room upgrade if available, daily breakfast for two and an amenity or credit worth at least $100 for your stay. Prepaid FHR stays booked online will also earn 5x points.
Both cards also offer an up-to-$100 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival when available, when you book a hotel stay of two nights or longer through the American Express Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc.
For those who want lounge access when they travel, both cards come with the American Express Global Lounge Collection. It includes Centurion Lounges, the International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying same-day Delta flights and Priority Pass Select, Airspace and Escape lounges.
Both of the cards added new trip delay and trip cancellation/interruption protection as of Jan. 1, 2020, and the coverage is identical across both cards. Existing insurance benefits such as purchase protection, extended warranty, secondary rental car coverage, roadside assistance, baggage insurance, travel accident insurance and premium global assist are also virtually identical across both cards. Plus, both cards allow you to add primary rental car coverage through American Express’ Premium Car Rental Protection.
Although both cards offer a shopping credit, they are for different retailers.
With the personal Amex Platinum, you’ll get up to $100 in statement credits at Saks Fifth Avenue ($50 to use January through June and $50 to use July through December). The Business Platinum, on the other hand, has an annual Dell statement credit for U.S. purchases of up to $200 per calendar year ($100 to use January through June and $100 to use July through December).
With the personal Amex Platinum, you’ll also receive up to $200 in U.S. Uber credits each calendar year. Each month, the card provides up to $15 in credit to use on Uber rides or Uber Eats orders, with an additional up to $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. Also note that Uber now adds the monthly credits to your Uber Cash balance and you need to select Uber Cash as your payment method to redeem your credits.
Finally, the Amex Platinum comes with up to $30 in monthly PayPal credit through June 30, 2021. That’s a total of up to $150 in statement credits with PayPal (February through June) on purchases made at eligible merchants through the middle of 2021. Essentially, any merchant that accepts PayPal online will trigger the credit.
Winner: This one will depend on where you shop the most, but the personal Amex Platinum offers an array of potentially lucrative Amex Offers and credits through June 2021. The Business Platinum’s Dell credits are nothing to sneeze at, but the winner will likely go to the personal Platinum for most. Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the most valuable loyalty currencies out there.
|Amex Platinum||Amex Business Platinum|
|Redeeming for flights via Amex Travel||1 cent per point||about 1.54 cents per point|
|TPG valuation||2 cents per point||2 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 preselected airline — or business or first class on any airline — you’ll receive a 35% rebate of the points you used (up to 500,000 points each calendar year).
This is particularly useful if you don’t have flexible travel dates and award space isn’t available. You will need to have the full amount of points in your account at the time of booking.
If you plan to transfer your Membership Rewards points to one of the program’s airline or hotel partners, you should try to get at least 2 cents per point in value when booking award flights or nights. Of course, if you book business- or first-class flights such as Etihad Apartments, you can expect to get even more value out of these points.
No matter which card you get, you know you’re getting excellent value out of your Membership Rewards points. The Business Platinum card may have a small edge, thanks to the flexibility of the Pay with Points redemption option.
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 (and temporary PayPal credit) really take the sting out of the card’s $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Throw in access to lots of airline lounges, substantial travel benefits and the Membership Rewards you can earn with the card (especially when you book airfare and get 5x), and this looks even better. And remember that you can add up to three authorized users to your Amex Platinum for just $175 per year (see rates and fees).
For small-business owners, the decision isn’t quite so simple. The Business Platinum card currently has a welcome offer of 125,000 points after spending a total of $15,000 in the first three months, making it an incredibly attractive choice. However, the exact set of perks differs slightly.
But business owners and employees who travel a lot will appreciate the 35% points rebate when you use your rewards to book flights. To make the best choice for your situation, you’ll also want to consider whether you’ll use the 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of at least $5,000 that comes with the Business Platinum. If your business frequently makes larger purchases, this will be a boost.
Also remember that the annual fees differ by $45, with the Amex Platinum carrying a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) and the Business Platinum a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees). Neither is cheap, but the benefits and the annual credits offset much of the fee on either card, making both a solid choice for the frequent traveler.
Of course, for some cardholders, it makes sense to have both in their wallet. A small-business owner who wants to maximize travel for both business and pleasure and take advantage of the full range of Platinum benefits can hold both cards. Just make sure your professional and personal spending habits make both annual fees worth it. Combined, these cards come with almost $1,200 in total fees.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong.
Featured image by The Points Guy
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