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There are few credit cards — for either consumers or small business owners — that capture the “wow” factor quite like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.
A welcome bonus potentially worth more than three times the card’s annual fee? Check. Exceptional rewards on airfare and prepaid hotel bookings? Check. Massive travel perks, including an annual airline fee credit and exclusive airport lounge access? Check again.
It’s no wonder this is a must-have card among business travelers, with perks that are all but unmatched by other top business rewards cards. Still, that doesn’t mean every small business owner can justify owning this credit card. It’s a great card, but it’s not the right card for everyone. So let’s take a look at who should — and who shouldn’t — own the Amex Business Platinum.
This spring, Amex boosted the welcome bonus on the Amex Business Platinum for a limited time (until August 8, 2018) from 75,000 to 100,000 Membership Rewards points. Based on TPG’s most recent monthly valuations, 100,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $1,900 in travel. But you’ll have to spend big — really big — to qualify for the full welcome bonus.
- 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first three months of cardmembership.
- Another 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of cardmembership.
All together, you’ll have to spend $25,000 in the first three months to earn the entire 100,000-point bonus. That may be a tall order for many small business owners.
But the bonus is far from the only reason to consider this card. In fact, it’s the perks that set this card apart, including three not available on the personal Platinum Card® from American Express:
- 10 free Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes
- 1.5x points on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year)
- 35% rebate when you Pay With Points for a first or business class ticket on any airline, or an economy ticket on one airline of your choice (up to 500,000 points per year, or even more with greater annual spend)
Just like the personal version of this card, you’ll also receive an annual $200 airline fee credit, access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) and Priority Pass lounges (free for you and two guests). You’ll also get up to a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application credit once every four years, Gold elite status in Hilton Honors, Gold elite status at Starwood hotels (which can be matched to Marriott Gold now and will be converted to Gold status in the new Marriott program starting in August) and unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi hotspot access.
With the Business Platinum, you’ll earn 5x points when you purchase airfare or prepaid hotel rooms through Amex Travel, and a pretty pedestrian 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The one exception is purchases of $5,000 or more, which earn 1.5 points per dollar, up to 1 million extra points per year.
For all of this, you’ll pay a $450 annual fee, which is $100 less than the consumer version of this card.
Who Should Get the Amex Business Platinum?
Business travelers (especially overseas): This is a no-brainer, especially with all this card has to offer the global traveler. One perk not mentioned above is this card’s lack of foreign transaction fees, meaning you won’t get dinged for purchases made outside the US. The business card also offers a few more travel-related perks than the personal version, although you’ll be missing out on $200 in annual Uber credits and the 5x points on airfare purchased directly from an airline if you opt for the business version. Still, the 5x points on airfare and hotels booked via Amex Travel can prove extremely rewarding, as Membership Rewards points are worth 1.9 cents apiece, according to TPG valuations.
Businesses with big general expenses: Although you can find business credit cards that offer better rewards on bonus categories like office supplies and internet expenses, most cards offer 1 point per dollar on non-bonus spending. But if your business routinely makes large purchases of $5,000 or more, the 1.5 points per dollar bonus on big purchases with the Business Platinum is better than you might find elsewhere. And if your business makes thousands of dollars in credit card purchases monthly, that huge ask on the welcome bonus won’t seem daunting. In fact, in that case there shouldn’t be much debate about whether to apply for this card with the current bonus offer.
Owners who value transfer partners: The most lucrative way to redeem Membership Rewards points is to transfer them to one of Amex’s 20 partner airlines or hotels. If you’re willing to put in the time and research, going the transfer route can increase the value of your points even above our valuations. For example, TPG himself recently transferred 68,000 points to British Airways to fly first class from London (LHR) to Accra (ACC) plus $462 in taxes/fees — a flight that would have cost more than $11,669 to buy. That redemption netted 16 cents a point.
Someone who has Amex Business Gold: This could provide a one-two punch when it comes to earning Membership Rewards. Use the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPENto fill in the blanks left by the Business Platinum card. With the Business Gold, you’ll earn 3x Membership Rewards points on one of five categories you select: airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases at gas stations, US purchases for shipping, US computer hardware, software, and cloud computing made directly from select providers. You’ll then earn 2x on the remaining four categories, with a limit of $100,000 in purchases each year in each of the five categories. Our advice: choose anything but airfare as your bonus category, then pair this card with the Business Platinum.
Who Shouldn’t Get the Amex Business Platinum?
Businesses with spending needs that don’t revolve around travel: This card has little value if you’re not regularly catching planes or spending the night in a hotel. You’re also wasting earning opportunities if you spend a good deal of money on office supplies, internet service or advertising. There are other, better options for you, including the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express.
Owners with more modest business expenses: If you don’t average roughly $8,300 a month in business spending, this card may not be worth it to you, or at least not with its current limited-time elevated bonus. That’s about the amount of spending it will take to qualify for the full welcome bonus.
Someone who already owns the personal version of the card: Since there are so many similarities between the business and personal versions of this card, it might be hard to justify having both. First, you’ll need to figure out if you can spend enough to earn both bonuses. Then you’ll want to consider whether you’ll utilize the 1.5x points per dollar on purchases of at least $5,000. Outside of the bonus, the other main factor to consider in whether to get the business version is keeping your personal and business expenses separate.
Businesses that need many employee cards: Although you can get up to 99 Platinum employee cards, Amex says it will charge you $300 annually for each additional card you request. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay, particularly when there are other business card options that offer free employee cards, like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. But do keep in mind that you can get free Amex Gold authorized user cards off your Business Platinum master account, so this is only a downside if you want your employees to have lounge access and other Platinum perks.
TPG considers The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN to be one of the best business credit cards of 2018 with good reason — it has fantastic value for the heavy business traveler. If this is you, you probably shouldn’t need much more convincing about whether to get this card. On the other hand, it’s a much more dicey proposition (alright, probably a bad idea) for a business owner who sticks to the ground — particularly when there are so many great options out there to earn points, miles and cash back on the business expenses that matter most to you.
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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