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Fewer things are more important in the points and miles world than choosing the best travel rewards credit card(s) to carry in your wallet. If you’re strategic with this decision, you can rack up a plethora of bonus points and enjoy valuable perks across many aspects of your life. This extends to those products targeted to small businesses, and even if you want the simplicity of using just one card, you can wind up with a lucrative stockpile of rewards. Today I’ll add a new entry to my series that evaluates how rewarding a single new credit card can be in the first year of cardmembership.
In earlier entries, I’ve looked primarily at personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Southwest Premier Card and the Alaska Visa Card, though I’ve also analyzed the Ink Business Preferred. Today I’ll be considering another card targeted to small business to answer this question: how rewarding can The Business Platinum® Card from American Express be in just one year?
Welcome Bonus and Benefits
The card is currently offering an elevated welcome bonus of up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points: 50,000 after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of cardmembership. While that’s a hefty spending requirement in just a few months’ time, the bonus is worth $1,425 based on TPG’s most recent valuations thanks to the array of valuable ways to redeem Membership Rewards points, especially through transfers to partners like British Airways and Etihad. You’ll also earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, and you’ll enjoy 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more and receive 35% of your points back when you redeem them for flights (capped at 500,000 points per calendar year, unless you’re a massive spender).
Though the card does carry a $595 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), it offers many other perks that can add significant value for your small business:
- $200 annual airline fee credit
- Priority Pass Select membership (now with up to 2 guests)
- Access to Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) and Centurion Lounges
- Unlimited Wi-Fi access with the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan
- 10 GoGo Wi-Fi passes each calendar year
- Complimentary Hilton Gold and SPG Gold status
- Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
For more details on these perks and others, check out Mark Spivak’s post on Maximizing the Amex Business Platinum Card.
So if you open the Amex Business Platinum, earn the full welcome bonus and use the card exclusively for the first year, where does that leave you? Obviously, the answer depends on your spending patterns, and this is complicated by the fact that this is a business credit card. As a result, I had to make some assumptions about your spending:
- You spend a total of $50,000 across the year, though you’re able to pull enough of that spending into the first three months of cardmembership to earn the full bonus.
- $3,000 of that spending is on airfare and prepaid hotels.
- You have no purchases of $5,000 or more.
As always, your spending habits may differ substantially from these assumptions, so feel free to adjust them to more accurately reflect your earning potential with the Amex Business Platinum.
Here’s a quick table that shows how these spending patterns in the first year of cardmembership translate to Membership Rewards points:
|Other purchases||$45,000||1 point/$||45,000|
As you can see, this level of spending would allow you to earn 145,000 Membership Rewards points in the first year of using The Business Platinum Card from American Express. That’s a huge haul!
What does this get you?
Of course, earning points is one thing, but knowing how to redeem them for maximum value is a completely different story. Fortunately, the Membership Rewards program has a variety of valuable redemptions, most of which involve transferring to the program’s partners.
Here’s a sample of what you can get from one year of using the Amex Business Platinum:
1. Up to Six Round-Trip Economy Tickets to Hawaii
Planning a trip using points and miles to the Aloha State isn’t always the easiest goal in this hobby. However, you have a couple of options at your disposal through the Membership Rewards program. My personal favorite is for West Coast residents. By transferring points to British Airways, you can take advantage of the carrier’s distance-based award chart to book tickets from several gateways to Hawaii for just 25,000 Avios per person, including Los Angeles (LAX) and Phoenix (PHX) on American or San Diego (SAN), Oakland (OAK), Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA) on Alaska. You’d even wind up with 20,000 Membership Rewards points left over, though if you’re fortunate enough to have a transfer bonus when you’re ready to pull the trigger, you could wind up with even more of these awards.
For those readers on the East Coast, you also have options to redeem this haul of points for five tickets to Hawaii by transferring to Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM. Since the carriers are a part of Sky Team, you can redeem Flying Blue miles on Delta flights, and a round-trip economy award ticket from anywhere in the US to Hawaii will run you just 30,000 miles (or just 24,000 miles with the current transfer bonus through June 15, 2018). Once again, a year’s worth of points from the Amex Business Platinum will get you and four friends/family members to Hawaii and back. Just be sure you find availability first before transferring the points!
2. Three One-Way Business-Class Flights From the US to Europe on Star Alliance
Another terrific redemption option using your new haul of Membership Rewards points would be to book business-class award tickets from the US to Europe (or vice versa) on Star Alliance carriers. This is accomplished by transferring your points to Aeroplan, the program affiliated with Air Canada (though not for long). A one-way business-class flight from to or from Western Europe will set you back 55,000 miles, so you could book the exact redemption I did last fall: me, my wife and my daughter flew nonstop from Zurich (ZRH) to Miami (MIA) on Swiss’ fantastic 777-300ER. Total cost? 165,000 Membership Rewards points and ~$55 in taxes and fees.
That being said, you’ll definitely want to pay close attention to fuel surcharges, as these can get out of hand on certain partners like Austrian Airlines. Nevertheless, this can be a terrific redemption if you’re looking to fly across the Atlantic in style.
3. Up to 11 Round-Trip Economy Flights on American
As noted above, the British Airways Executive Club program follows a distance-based redemption scheme, and this has many more applications than just flights to Hawaii. Short-haul, nonstop flights on American start at just 7,500 Avios each way. Here are two of my favorite “sweet spots” for maximizing this program:
- Flights less than 1,152 miles in distance: These flights, which include routes like New York (JFK) to Miami (MIA) and Phoenix (PHX) to Seattle (SEA), will cost just 15,000 Avios round-trip. You’ll have enough points for 11 of these with the spending activity above.
- Flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles in distance: The second sweet spot should probably be considered medium-haul, as 2,000 miles can be a four-hour flight (or even longer). These flights are just 20,000 Avios round-trip; I use this award somewhat frequently to fly from Miami to the Caribbean on flights that regularly top $500.
Remember too that you aren’t restricted to using Avios on American flights. In fact, when you fly out of other Oneworld hubs around the world, you’d only need 9,000 Avios for round-trip flights of less than 651 miles in distance (this redemption option was removed for flights in North America back in 2016).
4. Two Round-Trip Flights to Spain on Iberia
British Airways isn’t the only program to use a distance-based formula for award tickets; Iberia, owned by the same parent company, follows a very similar award chart. The big difference? Iberia will not charge the exorbitant fees on its own flights that British Airways will. In addition, you can take advantage of the carrier’s off-peak dates to score some incredible value (and be able to check out the carrier’s new lounge).
For example, a round-trip business-class flight from New York (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) on off-peak dates would set you back just 68,000 Avios per person. You could then add connecting economy flights to other cities for just 9,000 Avios more. Alternatively you could simply book nonstop business-class flights from either Chicago (ORD) or Miami (MIA) to Madrid (MAD). These would be 85,000 Avios apiece, which fits perfectly with the number of Membership Rewards points you’ve earned in the first year of cardmembership.
The Membership Rewards program can be quite lucrative, so it’s not surprising to see it regularly near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations. With an elevated welcome bonus and a wealth of valuable perks, The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great option for small business in spite of its high annual fee ($595). If you open the Amex Business Platinum now and use it exclusively for a year, you’ll unlock a wide variety of redemption opportunities.
Keep in mind too that the above calculation may be even a bit too conservative:
- The calculation assumes a set amount of spending. If you’d typically charge more to your card in a year (or have a larger portion of your spending in the 5x bonus category), then your earnings will be even higher.
- The calculation assumes that you don’t take advantage of any Amex Offers during the year. In just the last year, I (personally) earned 51,846 extra points on my personal Platinum Card® from American Express, so your earning potential can be even higher.
- The calculation assumes that you only open one card. There are many others that will earn you bonus Membership Rewards points in certain categories, including the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. These cards (and others like them) can be used right alongside the Amex Business Platinum to boost your balances even higher.
Regardless of where you fall on these last three items, hopefully this analysis has demonstrated just how rewarding a single travel rewards credit card can be, especially in the first year.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
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Aside from the 75,000 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 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 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