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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
The premium credit card category has become crowded in recent years, resulting in a boon for the consumer. As competition heats up, banks feel pressured to offer more and more benefits to entice customers. American Express, which once had the field to itself, has been challenged by Chase and Citibank, and the issuer has responded by enhancing the value of its Platinum family of charge cards.
The annual fee for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is $595 (See Rates & Fees), which may cause some small business owners and sole proprietors to think twice. So let’s examine the key benefits of the card and amortize each one’s value over a five-year period to see if the Business Platinum offers a significant value proposition to the regular traveler that justifies its annual fee. For the purposes of this analysis, we’ll assume that you — or someone in your company — travels a minimum of ten times each year, or slightly less than once per month.
The current welcome bonus for the Business Platinum, is 50,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $10,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of card membership, with another 25,000 points for an additional $10,000 in spending also during the first three months. Membership Rewards points are worth 1.9 cents each according to TPG’s most recent valuations, giving those 75,000 points a total value of $1,425.
Yearly Value: $1,425
If you’re on the road frequently, this is one of the strongest benefits of the Business Platinum card. For starters, you have access to American Express’ highly popular network of Centurion lounges, currently located in nine US cities and and Hong Kong (HKG), with additional lounges coming in Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX) and at New York’s JFK. We’ll value each visit at $50, which is the amount that Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders can pay to bring in additional guests beyond the two that are included for free. Ten visits per year equates to a value of $500.
You also have the benefit of a Priority Pass Select membership, which grants admission to over 1,000 global lounges for you and two guests. This type of membership would cost $399 annually if you purchased a Prestige membership directly from Priority Pass, but the American Express version comes with two free guests included (Priority Pass Prestige members pay $27 per guest). In addition, the card provides entry into Delta Sky Clubs when flying on a Delta ticket (all guests cost an extra $29 each), which equates to a Delta individual Membership at $495. Cardholders also have access to the Airspace and Escape lounges.
Yearly Value: $1,394
$200 Annual Airline Credit
At the beginning of each year, holders of the Business Platinum select a preferred airline, on which you can then receive $200 in statement credits toward incidental expenses such as baggage fees, seat selection fees and inflight food and beverages. While the credit technically doesn’t apply to airline tickets, it’s well documented that in some cases you can purchase gift cards and use those toward airfare. Make sure to buy them in the proper increments, depending on which airline you choose.
Another important thing to remember is that the airline credit is applied each calendar year, not membership year. Thus, you can usually collect a total of $400 in credits during your first year of card membership.
Yearly Value: $240
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Once every four years, you receive a $100 credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck ($100 and $85, respectively). The former is a valuable tool for easing your re-entry into the US after a foreign trip, while the latter covers expedited security checks during domestic travel.
Since a Global Entry membership includes access to TSA PreCheck, we generally recommend that you apply for Global Entry if possible.
Yearly Value: $20
Car Rental Elite Status
If you travel frequently on business, you’ll be renting vehicles more often than not. You’ll receive Avis Preferred Status with the Business Platinum card, as well as complimentary enrollment in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status.
While it’s difficult to assign a specific dollar value to these perks, they come with valuable benefits such as category upgrades, discounts, guaranteed availability and return grace periods. We’ll estimate the value to be $200 per year.
Yearly Value: $200
Bonus Points For Airfare
When booking airfare and prepaid hotels through American Express Travel, cardholders earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar. Using our assumption that either you or an employee takes at least ten business trips each year, this is a potentially valuable benefit. If we take the most conservative estimate and value each of those plane tickets at $300, and add three hotel nights per trip at $150 per night, your business could earn an extra 37,500 points if everything was booked at AmexTravel.com. At 1.9 cents each, those points are worth an additional $712.
If you have a healthy volume of business travel, your results would likely be higher. Remember that you’ll still earn frequent flyer miles when booking through Amex Travel, although that won’t apply to hotel loyalty points.
Yearly Value: $712
Boingo Hotspots & Gogo Wi-Fi
Holders of the Amex Business Platinum receive free enrollment in the Boingo Preferred plan, which gives you access to over one million global hotspots on up to four different devices. This is most similar to Boingo’s Global plan, which costs $39 per month. In addition, you receive 10 annual complimentary Gogo Wi-Fi passes for use on flights, valued at $16 each. Registration is required on the American Express website.
Yearly Value: $628
Fine Hotels And Resorts
Business Platinum cardmembers have access to the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program. When you book a room at one of more than 1,000 premier properties around the world, you receive the following benefits:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade, when available
- Guaranteed 4pm checkout
- Noon check-in, when available
- Complimentary wi-fi (some restrictions apply)
- An amenity such as a $100 dining or spa credit
Best of all, you can take advantage of special FHR deals for free nights on three and four-night stays. American Express estimates the value of these benefits at $550 per stay, which seems reasonable when you consider everything that’s included, and we’ll assume that you book an average of two FHR stays per year.
Yearly Value: $1,100
International Airline Program
In 2017, American Express overhauled and improved its International Airline Program. Previously, it was a two-for-one deal on full-fare international business and first class tickets, which usually worked out to be higher than many discounted premium fares. Now, the program offers discounts for Platinum and Centurion cardholders on up to eight tickets in premium economy, business or first. There’s a $39 service charge per ticket (waived for Centurion members), and the cardholder must be traveling on the itinerary.
A sampling of fares in the program by TPG found the average savings to be 12% per ticket. If we assume two international round-trips each year at an average cost of $1,500, that gives us a total of $6,000 in premium airfare. You’d receive a savings of $720 minus the $39 service fee for each booking, for a net cost of $5,358.
Yearly Value: $642
Let’s sum up the potential yearly benefits of the Amex Business Platinum:
|Amex Business Platinum Perk||Calculated Value|
|Global Entry and TSA PreCheck||$20|
|Car Rental Status||$200|
|Bonus Points for Airfare||$712|
|Boingo Hotspots and Gogo Wi-Fi||$678|
|Fine Hotels and Resorts||$1,100|
|International Airline Program||$642|
You may not use all these benefits each year, but even if you only used half of them, you’d still end up with over $2,600 in potential yearly value. That’s over four times the cost of the $595 annual fee. So if you’re a regular business traveler, or have employees who are, you might consider if the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is a good fit for your business.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
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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