Considering that Amex launched versions of the Gold and Platinum cards decades ago, this is hardly a surprise. If nothing else, these charge cards have long-served as a bit of status symbol for cardholders.
However, status alone shouldn’t be enough to make you apply for a card, especially when the Business Platinum carries a $450 annual fee and the Amex Business Gold Card has a lower $295 annual fee.
Let’s take a look at what each card has to offer and see which card might be right for you.
You’ll find that several aspects of the Amex Business Platinum and the Business Gold Card overlap. Before we dive into the distinct benefits of each, let’s take a look at what they have in common.
Membership Rewards program
Both of these cards are part of the Membership Rewards program which means you can earn valuable points that can be transferred to airline (and hotel) partners. In fact, there are 16 airline partners and 3 hotel partners from which to choose — though, I’d avoid the hotel partners except for Choice Privileges in very specific circumstances.
Here’s the complete list of partners:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||Choice Privileges|
|AeroMexico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Air Canada Aeroplan|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|ANA Mileage Club|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|El Al Matmid|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
If you hold other cards that earn Membership Rewards points, the points you earn will be combined under one account making it easier to earn the necessary points for your next adventure.
Access to The Hotel Collection
If you book a hotel stay through Amex Travel at hotel participating in The Hotel Collection, you’ll receive a $75 credit that can be used at the hotel during your stay. If space is available, you’re even eligible for an upgraded room once you arrive.
Since this is a third-party booking, your elite status with hotel chains won’t be recognized nor will you earn points with the hotel program. However, you will earn points for the spend on your Amex card and upgrade eligibility can be a nice perk for those who do not have status — or if you’re staying at a boutique property.
I know, it’s not exciting like the points stuff every small business owner knows that making the admin stuff easier is key. With either of these cards, you’ll be able to add account managers.
These managers will have the ability to do things such as add authorized users when onboarding new employees or even initiate a payment to the account. Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with disputing charges too often but your account managers can take care of that for you as well.
Depending on your preferences, you can provide these account managers with full access to the account or provide more limited access.
Both cards also allow you to add up to 99 employees as additional users. For the Amex Business Gold, you’ll pay $50 per year for the first additional card, with no fee for the subsequent users. With the Business Platinum, Amex charges $300 for each additional Business Platinum Card, $200 for each additional Executive Business Card, and $45 for each additional Business Gold Rewards Card.
Unlike many Chase and Citi credit cards, American Express continues to lag behind when it comes to travel protections. Unfortunately, neither the Amex Business Platinum or Business Gold Card will help cover expenses if your flight is delayed or canceled.
However, you are covered if your bag is delayed or lost by a common carrier — airline, train, bus, cruise. Unsurprisingly, the Business Platinum’s bag insurance is a bit better as it covers up to $2,000 for checked bags and $3,000 for carry-on bags while the Business Gold will cover $500 and $1,250, respectively.
Amex Offers and Do More Business
Both of these cards will provide access to Amex Offers which can help you earn bonus Amex points or save some cash on purchases at select merchants. I particularly like Amex Offers for hotels and airlines which can really help you save on travel costs.
In June 2018, American Express launched Do More Business as a replacement for OPEN Savings. This program allows you to save 5-10% at select merchants that are useful to small businesses such as FedEx and Dell.
Charge card = no set limit
Unlike credit cards, Amex’s charge cards don’t come with a pre-set limit. This can be particularly useful if your business needs to make a large purchase that would exceed the credit limit of other cards. If you want to make sure the purchase will be approved, you can use the Check Spending Power tool in your account.
Unlike credit cards, charge cards do require you to pay your balance in full by the due date so don’t forget!
Benefits of the Amex Business Platinum
If there’s one area the Business Platinum excels — really, any version of the Amex Platinum, it’s perks. The card comes loaded with benefits beyond earning Membership Rewards points.
5X and 1.5X bonus categories
Speaking of earning points, the Business Platinum actually has pretty limited bonus categories that will only be useful in specific circumstances.
- 5X on prepaid hotels booked via Amex Travel
- 5X on flights booked via Amex Travel
- 1.5X on purchases of at least $5,000 up to a max of one million additional points per calendar year per account
If you make large purchases, the 1.5X could be a huge benefit for you. Just make sure the charges aren’t broken up into smaller chunks by the merchant or vendor as you’ll only earn 1X if charges show as less than $5,000 on your statement.
I’ve written about this before but the Platinum cards are really king when it comes to lounge access. With the Business Platinum, you’ll also have access to:
- American Express Centurion lounges — 2 guests free of charge
- Delta SkyClubs — no guests and only when flying Delta
- Priority Pass lounges — 2 guests free of charge
- Lufthansa Business Class and Senator lounges — no guests and only when flying Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian Airlines out of specific Munich (MUC) and Frankfurt (FRA)
- Airspace lounges
- Escape lounges
While you can get a Priority Pass Select membership from a number of other cards, Amex takes lounge access to another level.
35% rebate for Amex Travel bookings
At one point, the Business Platinum provided a 50% rebate on flights booked with points via Amex Travel. This was short-lived, but you can now get a 35% rebate which is still quite useful in some situations — particularly cheap business class airfare or when there’s no award space.
You can get this rebate on any premium cabin ticket available to Amex Travel or on economy tickets booked with your preferred airline that you preselected.
$200 airline fee credit
Speaking of your preferred airline, you’ll also have a $200 airline fee credit to use each calendar year. This can be used to upgrade your seat, cover fees for checked bags and more. The hitch is that you’re only eligible to receive the statement credit for purchases on your preferred carrier.
Hotel elite status
For those who don’t earn elite status from work travel, you might appreciate a bump to Hilton Gold and Marriott Gold. While Marriott Gold doesn’t provide a ton of benefits these days, Hilton Gold does offer free breakfast at many Hilton brands.
Breakfast at the Hilton Tallinn
If nothing else, if something goes wrong with your reservation, it doesn’t hurt to have some kind of status.
Fine Hotels & Resorts
Fine Hotels & Resorts is basically an amped up version of The Hotel Collection only available to Platinum cardholders — well, Centurion cardholders too — that provides a bunch of perks at participating hotels.
These perks include:
- Room upgrades — if available when you arrive
- daily breakfast for two
- Guaranteed 4pm check-out
- Noon check-in — if available
- Free Wi-Fi
- Unique amenity such as a food/beverage or spa credit — valued at $100
Wi-Fi benefits (Gogo and Boingo)
If you need to, or just like to, stay connected while traveling, the Business Platinum provides access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. However, the benefit I really like is the 10 Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes.
Each Gogo Wi-Fi pass can be used on one segment of an itinerary. A day pass would be better but you can use these free passes on international flights so it’s still possible to get some great value out of them.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
Like many other premium cards, the Business Platinum will reimburse you for either the Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) application fee.
Honestly, you should get Global Entry if at all possible since it also gives you access to TSA PreCheck.
Benefits of the Business Gold Card
After all that, you probably think I forgot about the Business Gold Card. Don’t worry, I did not, though this list is much shorter as many of the perks from this card overlap with the Business Platinum.
However, there’s one area where the Business Gold Card excels and that’s bonus categories.
4X bonus categories
With the Business Gold Card, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of 4X bonus categories including:
- 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 previous version of this card, the Business Gold Rewards Card, allowed you to earn 3X on one bonus category and 2X on the rest up to $100,000 on each per calendar year. With the introduction of 4X, things have been changed a bit.
Now, you will earn 4X on the two bonus categories you use the most during a given statement period while your remaining spend will earn 1X. Rather than a cap by category, Amex has taken a page from Chase and implemented a $150,000 cap per calendar year on all bonus earning.
If you’re upset about earning 600,000 Membership Rewards points, please give your points to someone who will appreciate them — me, I’m talking about me.
Those who use the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, this new structure will be quite familiar as it earns 3X on bonus categories up to $150,000 per cardmember year. While the Business Gold limits you to taking advantage of 2 categories per statement, you will be earning 4X rather than 3X.
Figuring out which card is right for you
You’re probably thinking I’m going to say the Amex Business Platinum is the clear winner because of all the benefits. Well, it’s just not that simple.
If you’re booking lots of flights and hotels via Amex Travel and have plenty of purchases that cost $5,000+, the Business Platinum is right in your wheelhouse. Even more so when you consider the benefits.
However, if you won’t be earning bonus points with the Business Platinum, the decision isn’t quite as straightforward.
Let’s start by assuming you’ll be able to take advantage of the Business Platinum’s $200 airline fee credit on purchases you would have made anyway. For simplicity’s sake, we’re not going to haggle over the actual cash value of this fee so we’ll say the effective annual fee is $250.
That’s actually $45 less than the $295 you’d pay for the Business Gold Card and you get tons of benefits. You could factor in the Gogo Wi-Fi passes and the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit (and so much more) with the Business Platinum.
And there are few things to consider.
If you don’t fly Delta or through airports with Centurion lounges, that negates a huge part of the lounge benefit. In fact, if most of your travel is booked as awards with points and miles, the 35% rebate and the Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits won’t do much for you either.
Additionally, the 4X categories with the Business Gold Card provide a bunch of opportunities to earn lots of points.
When you consider the fact that many other cards provide lounge access through Priority Pass, you might decide that the Business Gold paired with another card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige is better for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I know people who find value in having both cards but, if you’re deciding on one of them, make sure you take into account your personal situation.
Amex Business Platinum changes coming in February 2019
With the annual fee increase, you will receive:
- Complimentary access to WeWork for a year
- Up to $200 in statement credits each year for Dell purchases
- The credit for stays at Hotel Collection properties will increase from $75 to $100
Dell purchases. Really?
Since I work remotely and while traveling, I imagine I could get some decent value out of the WeWork access but I’ll wait for the details before getting too excited.
I imagine this annual fee increase will change the calculation for quite a few people deciding between the Business Platinum and Business Gold cards.
If you don’t need the perks, use Amex Travel or make big purchases, the Business Gold Card might be more in line with what you need. If the 4X categories of the Business Gold Card won’t do much for you, then the Business Platinum could be just right for you.
On the other hand, you might just find tons of value in the perks offered by the Business Platinum regardless of its points-earning ability. I certainly know plenty of people who do. Heck, I have the personal version for that reason — and the occasional 5X earning.
In a vacuum, both cards provide some great benefits. You just have to figure out which one provides the benefits that match your needs.
Which of these charge cards seem more appealing for your small business?