American Express’ Platinum Cards — both the business and personal versions — are among the most well known and popular premium credit cards out there. I recently reviewed The Platinum Card® from American Express, which is the personal version of the card. In this post, I wanted to take a close look at The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, which is the popular business version of the card.
Is this the right card for your small business?
Amex Business Platinum Card Review
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers some outstanding perks, though the card also has a steep annual fee.
In this post, I’ll take a detailed look at the welcome bonus on the card, the annual fee, the return on spending that it offers, the perks that it offers (including an incredible lounge access benefit), and then compare it to other cards.
While the card has a hefty annual fee, it’s also a card that can make sense for many small businesses, in my opinion.
Welcome Bonus Of Up To 100K Points
The Amex Business Platinum Card currently has a limited-time welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points. This is a tiered bonus, with points awarded upon reaching two spending thresholds:
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 within the first three months
- Earn a further 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $15,000 within the first three months
Obviously, this is a steep requirement, though if you have a business that spends a good amount on cards then this shouldn’t be an issue. 100,000 points is a lot.
Redeem your Amex points for travel in Lufthansa business class
Once In A Lifetime Rule
The welcome bonus on the Amex Business Platinum Card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, or those who have had the card in the past. If you’ve had the card in the past you’re still eligible to be approved, you just won’t get the bonus.
$595 Annual Fee
The Amex Business Platinum Card has a $595 annual fee (Rates & Fees). This is one of the highest annual fee cards out there, and the annual fee is also steeper than on the personal version of the card. However, the card also comes with a different set of perks, which some may find more worthwhile.
While some cards let you add authorized users at a reasonable cost, unfortunately, this card isn’t one of them. The cost per authorized user on your business account is $300 (Rates & Fees), which is steep.
The Amex Business Platinum Is A Charge Card
The Amex Business Platinum Card is a charge card. What’s the difference between a credit card and a charge card?
- The basic distinction is that a credit card allows you to finance charges over time, while a charge card requires you to pay off your balance in full each month
- While credit cards have a credit limit, charge cards don’t
A charge card can be useful if you’re making a big purchase, since it’s more likely to be possible on a charge card than a credit card where you have a defined limit.
There’s another important distinction here if you’re considering applying for this card:
- Typically you can have at most five American Express credit cards at a time
- Typically you can get approved for at most two American Express credit cards in a 90 day period
American Express charge cards are not subjected to this limit. This means that you could be approved for the Amex Business Platinum Card even if you already have five American Express credit cards, and even if you’ve already applied for two American Express credit cards in the past 90 days.
Lastly, in my experience charge cards are often easier to be approved for than credit cards, so you may be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get approved. Just because this is a premium card doesn’t mean it’s that difficult to be approved for, assuming you have excellent credit.
Earning Points With The Amex Business Platinum Card
Personally, I think the Amex Business Platinum Card is worth having for the benefits it offers, though there are fairly limited circumstances under which it actually makes sense to spend money on the card.
Some other Amex cards offer big bonuses categories, and I’ll talk more about those cards in a bit.
So, in what categories does this card offer bonus points?
5x Points On Flights & Prepaid Hotels Through Amex Travel
The card offers 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels and flights that are booked through Amex Travel. This is fairly restrictive.
It could make sense to book flights through Amex Travel to earn 5x points, though for many small businesses that might not be the best option. On the plus side, as of 2020 the card will even offer travel delay and cancelation coverage.
The downside to booking prepaid hotels through Amex Travel is that you generally won’t earn points with your preferred loyalty program for third party bookings, which includes Amex Travel bookings.
The one exception is Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, where prepaid reservations earn 5x points. That can be a good deal because of the perks you get, and also because you still earn points with your preferred hotel loyalty program. I’ll talk more about that in a bit.
The card offers up to 5x points on hotel stays
1.5x Points On Purchases Of $5,000+
The Amex Business Platinum offers 1.5x Membership Rewards points for purchases of $5,000 or more in a single transaction.
You can earn a maximum of one million bonus points per year through this benefit, meaning that it’s capped on two million dollars of big purchases.
This will be useful for some small businesses, though for others won’t add much value.
1x Points On Other Purchases
The above are the only bonus categories — otherwise, the card offers 1x points per dollar spent, which isn’t especially good. There are other Amex cards offering 1.5-2x points per dollar spent, so I would much rather put my spending on those cards, or on another card that’s best for everyday spending for small businesses.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The American Express Business Platinum Card offers no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), should you find yourself making purchases abroad.
Redeeming Points With The Amex Business Platinum Card
The American Express Business Platinum Card earns Membership Rewards points. This is one of the four major transferable points currencies. There are two best ways you can redeem these points — you can transfer them to an airline or hotel partner, or you can redeem them as cash towards the cost of an airline ticket.
Let’s look at those two options below. One awesome thing about the Amex Business Platinum is that having the card gives you special redemption rates when redeeming the points as cash towards an airline ticket.
Transfer Points To Airline & Hotel Partners
The best way to redeem your points is to transfer them to one of the Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners. Points can be transferred to the following 22 partners, including 19 airline partners and three hotel partners:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||Choice Privileges|
|Aeroméxico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|ANA Mileage Club|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|El Al Matmid|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
The reason this represents such a good option is that you can get outsized value towards premium airfare, especially for travel in first and business class. These tickets are often super expensive if paying cash, while they can be a good deal with points.
On top of that Amex often has transfer bonuses, which can get you even better value.
Redeem your points for Singapore’s incredible Suites
Redeem Points For Over 1.5 Cents Each Towards Airfare
Ordinarily, you can redeem Membership Rewards points for about a cent each towards the cost of an airfare purchase, which isn’t that great. However, if you have the Amex Business Platinum Card you can redeem points at a special rate.
If you book your flight American Express Travel using Membership Rewards Pay with Points, you get 35% of those points back:
- You need to either be booking a first or business class flight, or book any cabin on your selected qualifying airline
- You can get up to 500,000 points back per year using this redemption method
In other words, you could book a $1,000 ticket for 100,000 points, and then you’d get 35,000 points back, meaning, in the end, you’re paying 65,000 points. That’s a value of ~1.54 cents per point, which is pretty great.
Redeem points towards the cost of an airline ticket
Amex Business Platinum Card Benefits
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers so many benefits just for having the card, which is the main reason you want to have this card. So let’s take a close look at the benefits.
In this section, I’ll cover most of the benefits, and in the next section, I’ll cover all of the lounge access perks.
$200 Annual Airline Fee Credit
The card offers a $200 annual airline fee credit, which can be used towards airline incidentals and fees. One is offered every calendar year, so it follows a strict January 1 through December 31 calendar.
Every year you can designate on which airline you want to receive the credit, of the following:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
You can change your airline selection in January of each year. If you don’t change your selection then you automatically keep the same airline choice as the previous year.
Unfortunately, you can’t use your credit towards the following:
Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.
So this is useful for airline ticket change fees, baggage fees, and other costs you may incur with an airline. Personally, this is something I have no trouble maxing out.
You can designate Frontier as your airline of choice
$200 Dell Statement Credits
For having the Amex Business Platinum Card you get up to $200 in Dell credits annually. The way this is broken up you get a $100 statement credit between January and June, and an additional $100 statement credit between July and December.
There’s no minimum required to activate this (you could make exactly a $100 purchase, for example), and the statement credits should post within 2-4 weeks of an eligible purchase. If you have the card, registration is required at this link.
Note that Dell sells a surprising number of items from other companies. For example, you can buy Bose headphones through Dell, so this is more useful than you might assume.
Buy Bose’s newest headphones through Dell
For having the Business Platinum Card you get a year of complimentary Platinum Global Access from WeWork. You need to enroll by December 31, 2019, and this can get you access to over 300 WeWork locations in 75+ cities in 20+ countries.
For some small businesses, this won’t offer much value, while for other businesses this will be a huge value, given how expensive a membership would otherwise be. WeWork says that this is a $2,700 value.
Get a WeWork membership through the Amex Business Platinum
Free Gogo Inflight Wifi
For having the Amex Business Platinum you receive 10 complimentary Gogo wifi passes per calendar year. These passes will be loaded onto your Gogo account, and can then be used with each eligible segment.
These passes are valid on eligible flights on Alaska, American, Delta, and Japan Airlines, and can even be used on international flights. Wifi on a particular flight can easily cost $20+, so this is potentially a significant value.
Hilton Honors Gold Status
You receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card. This status is useful, and offers the following perks:
- Free breakfast and/or executive lounge access
- Late check-out, subject to availability
- Preferred rooms
- 80% points bonus
- Fifth night free on award stays
Receive complimentary breakfast as a Hilton Gold member
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status
You receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as you have the card, which offers the following perks, among other things:
- 25% bonus points on hotel stays
- 2PM late check-out
- A room upgrade
Receive upgraded rooms as a Marriott Gold member
TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry Credit
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. Just charge the $85-100 membership fee to your card, and it will automatically be reimbursed. It doesn’t matter who the fee is being paid for, as long as you charge it to your eligible card.
Amex International Airline Program
With the Amex International Airline Program, you can save on the cost of international first-class, business class, and premium economy airfare, on nearly two dozen airlines. This typically provides discounts even on already discounted tickets, so is a spectacular value.
If you book paid international premium cabin travel with any frequency, this could pay the card’s annual fee over and over.
I’ve saved big money on Qatar Airways business class tickets with this perk
Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
With the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you can receive extra perks for stays at over 1,000 luxury hotels around the world. These benefits include the following:
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- A unique property amenity (usually a $100 property credit, free massage, car transfer, etc.)
- Guaranteed 4PM check-out
- Noon check-in, subject to availability
- Complimentary in-room wifi (exclusions apply)
Best of all, the rate is typically in line with the best available rate. I get a lot of value out of this program. Having the Amex Business Platinum Card gets you access to this, and if you prepay your reservation you even earn 5x points.
Receive extra benefits at luxury hotels
Amex Business Platinum Card Lounge Access
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers one of the most comprehensive lounge access benefits of any card. They call this the Global Lounge Collection, and it offers access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries. This includes proprietary Amex lounges, as well as access to lounges run by other airlines and companies.
Amex Centurion Lounge Access
Amex is well known for their Centurion Lounges, which is their collection of airport lounges. These are significantly better than what you’ll find in most US airline lounges.
They lounges have hot food, cocktails, and some even have complimentary spa treatments.
Currently US locations include Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York LaGuardia, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle, with more to come. There’s also a Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong, and some other American Express branded lounges at other airports.
When accessing Amex Centurion Lounges you can bring two guests, and you can access the lounges up to three hours before departure of your flight.
Access Amex Centurion Lounges with the Amex Business Platinum
Delta SkyClub Access
When flying Delta same day you can access Delta SkyClubs. You aren’t allowed to bring in guests for free, though you can pay a discounted rate of $29 for each guest you want to take it.
Access Delta SkyClubs with the Amex Business Platinum
Priority Pass Membership
The Amex Business Platinum Card offers a Priority Pass membership, which gives you access to 1,200+ lounges around the world. Do note that those with the Amex Business Platinum don’t get access to Priority Pass restaurants.
Access 1,200+ Priority Pass lounges around the world
Air Space & Escape Lounges
Rendering of the upcoming Escape Lounge Phoenix
Select Lufthansa Lounge Access
The Amex Platinum Card also offers access to select Lufthansa Business & Senator Lounges in Frankfurt and Munich. Cardmembers will receive access to the following lounges when flying on a Lufthansa Group flight (Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian):
- Platinum cardmembers have complimentary access to Lufthansa Business Lounges (regardless of ticket class) and Lufthansa Senator Lounges (when flying business class) in the Satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport
- Centurion cardmembers have complimentary access to Lufthansa First Class, Senator and Business Lounges in the Satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport, regardless of ticket class
As of now this is only valid through October 31, 2019, though it may be extended beyond that.
Amex Business Platinum Card Worth It?
Like most cards, the answer here is that it depends on the circumstances.
In general, I would say that the Amex Business Platinum Card is a business card that you get for the benefits that it offers, rather than for the return on spending that it directly offers. It could make sense to spend money on the card if your business consistently make $5,000+ purchases, but otherwise, this isn’t a card I would be spending much on.
The card offers big benefits, but also has a steep $595 annual fee. So when it comes to accounting for the value of the card, I recommend considering the following:
- How much do you value the $200 airline fee credit and $200 Dell credit?
- How much do you value the 10 annual Gogo wifi passes?
- How much do you value the Marriott and Hilton Gold status?
- How much value will you get from Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and the International Airline Program?
- How much do you value the incredible lounge access perks offered by the card?
- Could you get value from the WeWork benefit?
For many businesses I think the card is well worth it:
- If you value the WeWork benefit, then this is an absolute no brainer, since a membership is way more than the annual fee on the card
- If you can get value out of the $400 in annual credits and the Gogo wifi credits, then that can justify the fee alone
The Best Amex Business Cards For Spending
If you want to rack up as many Amex Membership Rewards points as possible through business spending, then there are two best cards you should be considering.
The first is The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. The card has no annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year. This is the single best card out there for non-bonused spending up that limit, in my opinion.
Then if you’re looking for an Amex card with big bonus categories, the American Express® Business Gold Card is excellent. The card has a $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers up to 4x Membership Rewards points in select categories.
Specifically, the card offers 4x points on the two categories in which you spend the most in each month, on a total of up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year. The eligible categories are as follows:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
The Best Business Credit Card For Spending
If you’re looking for the single best and most well-rounded business credit card out there, I highly recommend the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. The card has a bonus of up to 80K points (and these points are much more valuable than Marriott points), has a reasonable $95 annual fee, offers 3x points in useful categories, and more.
You simply can’t go wrong with this as your business rewards card.
Amex Business Platinum Card Summary
The Amex Business Platinum Card is a perks-rich card that also has one of the highest annual fees of any business credit card. If you’ve been considering getting the card but haven’t pulled the trigger, now is the time to do so, given the bonus of up to 100K points, which is huge.
If you’re considering applying for this card, I’d do so if you think you’d get value out of the perks. This includes an incredible lounge access benefit, a $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual Dell credit, 10 Gogo wifi passes per year, hotel status, a WeWork membership, and much more.
If you’re just looking for a simple, well-rounded business card that maximizes the value you get with everyday spending, I’d instead consider something like the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, which has a more reasonable annual fee, better rewards structure, and bigger welcome bonus.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).