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With premium credit cards becoming the norm these days, many people are getting more comfortable with the idea of paying $400+ in annual fees to hold the right credit card. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express stands out above that pack thanks to its record-setting $595 annual fee (see rates and fees), but I still jumped at the chance to apply for this card because of its sweet welcome offers. The deal has now gotten even sweeter, with the Business Platinum offering a welcome offer of 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Amex also added some new limited-time cardholder benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Just be warned — between a high minimum spending requirement and several business-focused perks, this card certainly won't be right for every business, especially ones that don't accrue major travel expenses or whose primary spending categories are more in line with the bonus categories offered by other business credit cards. So, let's consider whether the Business Platinum card is a good fit for you.
Who is this card for?
The Business Platinum Card is best suited for small business owners who charge thousands of dollars in monthly business expenses to their cards, are heavy travelers and can take advantage of the card's premium benefits. For these types of cardholders, the benefits and earnings can justify the $595 annual fee (see rates and fees).
For many cardholders, the best perk is access to the issuer's growing collection of Centurion Lounges. Centurion Lounges are some of the nicest lounges in the U.S. and cardholders of the American Express Centurion Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Business Platinum Card get access for themselves and up to two guests, regardless of their airline or class of service. While they've been closed the past few months, some will begin reopening in early October.
That being said, the lounges have tightened up access policies — so you won't get access more than three hours before departure nor upon arrival without a connecting boarding pass. But the dining and drink options will still provide value if you live near or frequently travel to the airports that currently feature these lounges. You also have access to Priority Pass and Delta Sky Clubs (on same-day travel on Delta flights), along with Airspace and Escape lounges.
There are several travel-related distinctions between the personal and business versions of this card that should be considered. Perhaps the most important of these distinctions is a 35% rebate available to Business Platinum members who book a business or first-class ticket — or any class flight with their selected qualifying airline — through American Express Travel using Membership Rewards points. Rebates are capped at 500,000 points a year, which may be low for companies looking to offset more of their travel expenses.
Likewise, only personal Platinum members have access to up to $200 in annual Uber credits, up to $100 in annual Saks credits and 5x earning on flights booked directly with airlines and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
A welcome offer worth $1,500
Based on TPG's valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece. So, if you can manage the hefty $15,000 spend requirement to earn the 75,000-point offer, you'll earn points worth about $1,500.
The Business Platinum Card welcome offer is more rewarding than the welcome offer on the personal Amex Platinum card, which offers 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 within the first three months from account opening. You can also check the CardMatch Tool to see if you're targeted for a 100,000-point Platinum Card offer (offer is subject to change at any time).
But, that slight downgrade in bonus value comes with a significantly reduced spend requirement. Your typical monthly business expenses may help you determine which card is the more valuable choice. If you have a smaller business but are still interested in opening the Business Platinum card, you might want to consider prepaying as many expenses as you can afford to during your first three months to help earn your welcome offer.
Benefits and perks
After you get over the initial shock of the $595 annual fee (see rates and fees&c_issuer=American+Express&c_location=unknown&c_positionId=3&c_exitPageId=https%3A%2F%2Fthepointsguy.com%2Fguide%2Famex-business-platinum-card-review%2F)), the Amex Business Platinum really shines when it comes to travel perks. When your travels don't take you to an airport that offers a Centurion Lounge, you'll have wider access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection. It includes more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges worldwide, as well as Delta Sky Club lounges you can access when you're doing same-day flying Delta. You'll also have access to Airspace lounges, Escape lounges and American Express International Lounge locations.
While Centurion lounges are generally well-regarded for the improved experience they offer over the average Priority Pass lounge, there have been two long-standing complaints about the program: There aren't enough lounges, and the existing ones often get incredibly crowded.
Amex is actively addressing both of these concerns and is set to open three new Centurion lounge locations by the end of 2020 (including its second-ever international location at London Heathrow). In terms of the overcrowding issue, Amex has imposed limits so you can only access the lounges three hours before your flight and only on arrival if you have a connecting boarding pass.
Any premium travel rewards card worth its fee also offers reimbursement for a Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fee every four to five years. The Business Platinum Card is no exception, giving you a reimbursement for your application fee once every four years for Global Entry and once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck.
You'll earn an annual $200 airline fee credit that can be used for incidentals such as baggage fees or seat selection fees. You'll have to designate a single airline, which will be the same one you will get a 35% Pay with Points rebate for. The airline fee credit can't be used to purchase airfare, so keep that in mind.
You'll also have access to up to $200 in statement credits each year for any U.S. Dell technology purchases. This credit works like the $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit on the personal The Platinum Card® from American Express (see rates and fees) in that it's split into two different statement credits. So, you'll get a statement credit for up to $100 on U.S. Dell purchases between January and June and another credit for up to $100 off U.S. Dell purchases between July and December.
However, due to the pandemic, Amex bumped the value of this benefit and is now offering up to $100 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell through Dec. 31, 2020. Amex is also offering up to $20 in statement credits per month on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers through December, as well as up to $20 in statement credits per month on U.S. purchases for shipping.
As for benefits that come in handy once you reach your destination, this card gives you Gold status with Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, which provides better earnings and benefits during stays with these two brands. You can get elite-type perks at other hotels through Amex's Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
When you book a stay at a Fine Hotels & Resorts property through Amex Travel, benefits include noon check-in if available, guaranteed 4:00 p.m. checkout, a room upgrade if available, daily breakfast for two and a unique amenity valued at $100 or more.
If you book a prepaid stay online, you'll earn 5x points and (sometimes) get elite benefits during your stay. Cardmembers also have access to the Hotel Collection, which offers an up to $100 on-site credit at select properties when you book a stay of two nights or longer through Amex Travel.
The Amex Business Platinum Card also features extended warranty protection that matches eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of two years or less and extended eligible U.S. manufacturer warranties of two to five years by two years. Additionally, purchases on your card are protected from accidental damage or theft for up to 120 days from the moment you purchase them.
Besides these benefits, there are also many other benefits, including the International Airline Program, Cruise Privileges Program, Premium Roadside Assistance, Upgrade with Points and access to the Auto Purchasing Program.
Rewards on most spending with the Business Platinum Card are pretty subpar at 1 point per dollar spent, a 2% return based on TPG's valuations. For businesses with significant expenses, Amex will add a slight incentive to coax you to use its card: All purchases of $5,000 or more earn 1.5x points per dollar (a 3% return), up to one million extra points per year.
Everyday office spending is not the reason to get this card, though. You'll earn 5x points when you purchase airfare and prepaid hotel rooms on AmexTravel.com (including Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts). That's the same 10% return as you'll see on the personal Platinum Card, although with the personal Amex Platinum Card you also get 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines.
Simply put, the Business Platinum card is not going to be the one you want to use for a majority of your purchases. This card excels when it comes to travel spending and perks, but don't feel like you have to keep it at the front of your wallet just because you're paying more for it.
You can redeem your points for gift cards, through Amazon or other online retailers, to pay for charges on your bill or even to pay your taxi fare in New York City. However, these options all significantly devalue your rewards to 1 cent per point or less and we strongly recommend against using your points this way.
The most lucrative way to redeem points is to transfer them to one of 22 Amex partner airlines or hotels. Going this route may take a bit of sleuthing, but a little work can help increase the value of your points significantly above the TPG valuation. Regardless of whether you want to fly on Oneworld, Star Alliance or Sky Team airlines — or stay at Choice, Hilton or Marriott properties — many sweet spots can be unlocked with Amex Membership Rewards points.
Want the easiest redemption option that still offers decent value? If you redeem your points via American Express Travel Pay with Points, they're worth about 1.54 cents per point toward first and business class flights on any airline as well as economy class flights on your selected airline because of the 35% Pay with Points rebate. That's a higher return than you'll earn booking travel on Amex with the personal Platinum card (1 cent per point) and it's about on par with what you'd get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve when using Chase Ultimate Rewards to book travel through the issuer's portal (1.5 cents per point). But, note that the 35% rebate is capped at 500,000 points per calendar year.
You'll also want to keep an eye out for transfer bonuses, which Amex runs with some regularity. In the last year, we've seen a 40% bonus for transfers to British Airways Avios and a 30% bonus for transfers to Virgin Atlantic, which can help you score dirt cheap premium cabin awards on Delta and ANA.
Is the Amex Business Platinum a good fit for your business?
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers one of the most valuable welcome offers on the market right now. As such, any business that can hit the $20,000 spending requirement should seriously consider this card. But if we dig a little deeper, we can see that when Amex redesigned this card in February 2019, they had a specific type of customer in mind.
Everything about this card screams, "loud, established businesses." For starters, a smaller and newer company might struggle to meet the $20,000 minimum spending requirement and the last thing you would ever want to do is jeopardize your company's finances in the name of travel rewards. Add in the limited bonus categories (and the fact that one of the biggest bonus-earning options comes from making large purchases of $5,000 or more) and many small businesses out there will have trouble maximizing this card.
If you feel that your business might be too small to get the full value out of the Business Platinum card, you might want to consider other options. For instance, the American Express® Business Gold Card offers similar redemption options to the Business Platinum, but at a lower annual fee of $295 (see rates and fees).
This card offers six bonus categories, one of which is airfare purchased directly from airlines. It allows you to earn 4x points per dollar on the two categories where you spend the most each month (up to $150,000 in combined purchases for these two categories per calendar year; then 1x point thereafter).
Alternatively, if you like the American Express Membership Rewards ecosystem and want to keep your cost as low as possible, take a look at The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express instead. This no-annual-fee credit card (see rates & fees) earns 2x Membership Rewards points (a 4% return) on your first $50,000 of annual purchases (then 1x), with no bonus categories to worry about. You'll earn 2x points whether you're spending $1 or $1,000, whether you're booking travel or buying furniture for your office. While you won't find many perks on a free credit card, the simplicity it affords will give you more time to focus on growing your business.
Finally, if travel isn't a big part of your business, look instead to top business cards that offer great rewards in categories like office supplies, internet service or computer equipment. A solid choice here is the Ink Business Cash Credit Card.
The Amex Business Platinum Card is a niche card that's perfect for the big traveler. While it might not be worth the money for business owners who don't count airfare and hotel stays among their largest business expenses, its travel perks are difficult, if not impossible, to beat. Even assuming the Amex Business Platinum's travel perks won't be useful for the time being, Amex is offering a variety of limited-time perks to retain cardholder value.
Benji Stawski contributed to this post.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, click here.
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