Is the Amex Business Platinum worth the annual fee?
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The premium credit card category has become crowded in recent years, putting competitive pressure on banks to offer more and more perks to entice customers.
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
In an attempt to hold the torch, Amex has enhanced the value of its business and personal Platinum cards over time.
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Today we are taking a look at The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and see if its $595 annual fee (see rates and fees) can be justified by its benefits.
We’ll look at its value to small-business owners and sole proprietors over five years and we’ll assume that you — or someone in your company — travels a minimum of 10 times each year, or slightly less than once per month.
Application link: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — earn up to 125,000 welcome bonus points in a limited-time TPG exclusive bonus
The current welcome offer for the Business Platinum (exclusive to TPG) is increased to 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening. This is a big increase over the previous welcome bonus offer of 85,000 bonus points.
Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each according to TPG’s most recent valuations, giving those 100,000 points a total value of $2,000.
Welcome bonus value: Up to $2,500
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 12 U.S. cities and Hong Kong (HKG), with an additional lounge coming to London Heathrow (LHR).
Centurion Lounges serve gourmet food designed by renowned local chefs, along with signature cocktails, premium spirits and curated wines — all complimentary. Some have spa services, wine-tasting areas, family rooms and shower suites (although these have been paused for the pandemic for now) — also all complimentary.
We’ll value each visit at $50, which is the amount that The Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardholders can pay to bring in additional guests beyond the two that are included for free. (And beginning in Feb. 2023, all Platinum guests will cost $50 unless you charge at least $75,000 on the card each year.)
Ten visits a year by the cardholder equals a value of $500.
You also have the benefit of a Priority Pass Select membership, which grants admission to more than 1,300 global lounges for you and two guests. This type of membership would cost $429 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 $32 per guest). Enrollment required for select benefits.
In addition, the card provides the cardholder entry into Delta Sky Clubs when flying on a same-day Delta ticket which equates to a Delta individual membership at $545.
Cardholders also have access to the Airspace (between $20 and $35 per visit) and Escape lounges ($40 per visit when booked in advance and $45 at the door). For our purposes, we’ll make this two visits per year, per lounge at the top price, totaling $70 and $90, respectively.
Yearly value: $1,634
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Once every four years (or 4.5 years if you apply for TSA PreCheck), you receive up to 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 reentry into the U.S. 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. It’s difficult to assign a specific dollar value to these perks, but 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
If you don’t stay in chain hotels often enough to earn status, this card will fast-track you to mid-tier status at both Hilton and Marriott.
You’ll receive automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (enrollment required), which will provide you with many perks, such as space-available upgrades and bonus points on paid rates. At Hilton properties, you’ll even receive complimentary breakfast and the possibility of being given club lounge access.
Since most business travelers earn hotel status on their own anyway, we are putting a low value on this benefit. But for some, the benefit could be quite high — especially if business travel is on pause right now and you need status from somewhere.
Yearly value: $200
$200 airline-fee credit
Every year the Amex Business Platinum comes with a $200 airline-fee credit that can be used for items including:
- Checked baggage fees
- Overweight/oversize baggage fees
- Change fees
- Phone reservation fees
- Pet flight fees
- Airport lounge day passes and annual memberships
- Seat assignment fees
- Inflight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, etc.)
- Inflight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet)
Enrollment required for select benefits.
Each January you can click here to select or change your airline choice — you’ll need to log in to access your Amex account. You can also access the airline selection screen by scrolling to the “Benefits” section of your online account.
Yearly value: $200
Bonus points for airfare
Using our assumption that either you or an employee takes at least 10 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 2 cents each, those points are worth an additional $750.
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: $750
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, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas, you receive the following benefits:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade, when available
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. 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.
Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
Yearly value: $1,100
Purchase bonuses and discounts
One of the benefits unique to the Business Platinum card is the ability to generate a 50% point bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more, up to an additional 1 million points earned.
For every eligible $5,000 your business spends in one purchase, you’ll accrue 7,500 Membership Rewards points, worth $150 based on our valuation. If you have large single purchases, that can add up quite a bit. Let’s say you ultimately spend $25,000 on purchases that receive the bonus points. That adds up to $750 worth of extra points.
When redeeming points for travel, you’ll also receive a 35% rebate on any airfare purchased with points on your selected qualifying airline through amextravel.com.
Yearly value: At least $750
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 nearly 10% 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
You can receive up to $200 in statement credits annually for U.S. purchases on the Dell website. The credit is broken down where you’ll get up to $100 between January and June and then another up to $100 between July and December. Even if you aren’t in the market for a new Dell computer, there are many other products you can purchase from the site, such as headphones, speakers, soundbars and computer bags.
Yearly value: $200
Additional travel benefits
Business Platinum Concierge. If your personal assistant can’t make the trip with you, rely on the Business Platinum Card Concierge for help with hard-to-get restaurant reservations and concert tickets, as well as arranging meetings and booking transportation. Call the number on the back of your card and say “concierge” when prompted, or send a request from the email linked to your account to PlatinumRequests@.
Baggage insurance. You may be compensated for lost, stolen or damaged baggage when traveling on a common carrier, provided the entire trip has been charged to your card. Coverage is limited to $3,000 per traveler, per trip, which includes a limit of $2,000 for checked baggage, $3,000 for carry-on baggage and $1,000 for items such as jewelry or electronics (New York residents are limited to $2,000 per covered traveler, per trip, with a maximum of $10,000).
Travel accident insurance. You’re covered up to $500,000 for accidental death or dismemberment while traveling on a common carrier.
Global Assist Hotline. When traveling more than 100 miles from home, you have 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other emergency services such as passport replacement and cash wires (charges may apply).
In addition, the card has no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) and offers extended warranty (up to one year) and purchase protection (up to 90 days in case of theft, loss or damage to an item).
Let’s sum up the potential yearly benefits of the Amex Business Platinum:
|Amex Business Platinum Perk||Calculated Value|
|Welcome offer||Up to $2,000|
|Global Entry and TSA PreCheck||$20|
|Car rental elite status||$200|
|Hotel elite status||$200|
|Bonus points for airfare||$750|
|Fine Hotels and Resorts||$1,100|
Purchase bonuses and discounts
|International Airline Program||$642|
|Dell statement credit||$200|
The Amex Business Platinum card provides invaluable services for the road warrior: a global airport lounge collection, hotel and car rental status, reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and much more. Taken together, these perks can make life much easier, and enjoyable when traveling.
You may not use all these benefits each year, but even if you only used your welcome bonus, your airline credit and your Global Entry/Precheck credit, you’d still end up with close to $3,000 in potential value the first year. That’s well over the cost of the card’s $595 annual fee (see rates and fees). So if you’re a regular business traveler, or have employees who are, you might consider Amex Business Platinum card a good fit for your business.
Here’s the link to apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express with up to a 100,000-point bonus.
Additional reporting by Mark Spivak and Jennifer Yellin.
Featured photo by The Points Guy
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
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