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If you run a small business and you travel with any kind of frequency (outside of pandemics!), the Business Platinum Card® from American Express is probably a card that you’ve heard about and considered so, as I haven’t really discussed this card in any detail before, I thought I’d take a look at what it has to offer.
The Business Platinum Card From American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is Amex’s top-level small business card and, like Amex’s consumer Platinum Card, it’s aimed firmly at people who travel frequently, people whose airfare spending is significant, and people who enjoy traveling in comfort. No other small business card offers a more rewarding return on flight bookings and no other small business card offers the variety of travel benefits that the Business Platinum Card does, but all of this comes at a cost that shouldn’t be ignored.
Here’s what you need to know about the Business Platinum Card® from American Express:
- $595 (Rates & Fees)
Cost of Additional/Employee Cards
Current Welcome Bonus
- Earn 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your new account (find out more).
- 5 points/dollar on prepaid travel booked via amextravel.com
- 1.5 points/dollar on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to a limit of 1 million additional points per year)
- 1 point/dollar on all other purchases
- A 35% points rebate when a Business Platinum cardholder uses the Pay with Points feature for all or part of an eligible flight (up to a limit of 500,000 points back per calendar year).
- $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 in Dell statement credits
- Up to $100 credit every 4 years towards Global Entry membership or up to $85 credit towards membership of the TSA PreCheck program.
- An annual credit of up to $179 to cover the cost of CLEAR® membership
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold status
- Hilton Honors Gold status
- Access to Amex Centurion lounges worldwide
- Access to Delta Sky Club lounges when flying with Delta
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Trip delay cover
- No foreign transaction fees.
Thoughts On The Business Platinum Card
The Welcome Offer
The current welcome offer on the Business Platinum Card may require a serious amount of spending (a negative aspect of the offer), but the 100,000 bonus points that are up for grabs represent one of the best bonuses that we see this card offer.
I value American Express Membership Rewards at 1.5 cents each (based on the value that I know I can get out of them with ease) and that values the current welcome bonus at a very impressive $1,500.
The Annual Fee
The Business Platinum Card comes with a big annual fee ($595 – rates & fees) and this is currently the highest annual fee out of any of the cards that we routinely use and discuss in the miles & points world – that’s something to keep in mind.
Having said that (and as you’ll see further on in this post), some of the benefits that the Business Platinum Card offers may make this a fee worth paying, and the credits that the card offers can, in the right hands, help reduce the annual fee significantly.
The Earning Rates
The Business Platinum Card offers cardholders 5 points/dollar on prepaid hotels and flight bookings made through Amex Travel. That earning rate is pretty good, but the fact that the rate is only available for spending made through Amex Travel is a significant downside.
Booking flights through Amex Travel isn’t necessarily an issue as outside of the fact that you’re not booking your flights directly with an airline (I don’t like putting a 3rd party between me and an airline if I can possibly help it), there’s no major downside to booking flights through Amex.
Booking prepaid hotels through Amex Travel is another story as, generally speaking, you won’t earn points or elite credits with a hotel’s loyalty program if you make a booking through a 3rd party, and Amex travel is considered a 3rd party.
Note: Bookings made through Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program (FHR) are an exception and are not viewed as 3rd party bookings.
An unusual aspect of the Business Platinum Card is that it offers enhanced earnings on large purchases – cardholders earn 1.5 points/dollar on all purchases of $5,000 or more (capped at a million bonus points per year) – but this shouldn’t be considered a selling point for the card.
The Blue Business® Plus Card from American Express (review) from American Express doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers cardholders 2 points/dollar on the first $50,000 of spending every year so that’s probably going to be a better card for most people to use when spending in categories in which the Business Platinum Card doesn’t offer 4 or 5 points/dollar.
The 35% Points Rebate
Anyone with a Membership Rewards Card can use their points to book airfare through Amex Travel at a rate of 1 cent/point. Holders of the Business Platinum Card can do better.
Business Platinum Card holders who use Membership Rewards Points to pay for all or part of an eligible fare, will get 35% of those points back (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year). A cardholder who, for example, purchases a $1,000 fare with 100,000 membership rewards points will get 35,000 points back for a net cost of 65,000.
This would see a cardholder getting in excess of 1.5 cents per point out of their Membership Rewards balance and that’s pretty good going.
Note: Eligible fares include First and Business Class tickets with all airlines available through American Express Travel, as well as any fare class with a cardholder’s selected qualifying airline.
The Statement Credits
The Business Platinum Card may come with a $595 annual fee (rates & fees), but it also offers cardholders a number of statement credits that can help reduce that fee significantly.
$200 Annual Airline Fee Credit
The Business Platinum Card offers cardholders an airline fee credit that’s worth $200 per calendar year and which can be used on a cardholder’s nominated airline (US airlines only). The airline fee credit does not cover airfare spending, but it can be used to have costs such as baggage fees, seat selection fees, change fees, and pet fees rebated and in-flight purchases of drinks, food, and amenities, in-flight entertainment fees (excluding wifi) and airline lounge day passes and annual memberships will also trigger the credit.
$200 In Dell Credits
Holders of the Business Platinum Card are given two $100 Dell credits every year – one valid for spending between January and June and the other valid for spending between July and December.
Cardholders are expected to register for this benefit but there’s no minimum spend threshold that needs to be breached to activate the credits so it’s possible to make a $100 Dell purchase and then have that cost negated by a credit that will appear within a couple of weeks of the purchase.
Up To $179 To Cover CLEAR Membership [New From 1 July 2021]
CLEAR is a program that uses a person’s biometrics (their fingerprints, eyes, and face) to confirm their identity and gives members access to fast-track lanes at select airports and sporting stadia around the United States (click here to see the locations that CLEAR currently serves).
The Platinum Business Card now gives cardholders up to $179/year in statement credits when they use their card to pay for their annual CLEAR membership and if you have a CLEAR fast-track option at one or more locations near you (most major airports now have CLEAR lanes), this can be a great benefit to have.
It should be noted, however, that this benefit isn’t actually worth the full $179 as it’s very easy to get discounted CLEAR membership that costs considerably less. Some people can even get CLEAR membership for free without the need for a Platinum Card.
Entry-level Delta SkyMiles & United MileagePlus members, for example, get CLEAR membership for just $119/year, Delta and United Platinum/Gold/Silver elites get it for just $109/year (as do holders of Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards and holders of United’s co-branded credit cards) while Delta’s Diamond elites and United’s Global Services & 1K elites get it for free.
If you have top-tier Delta or United status this Platinum card benefit is worth nothing to you. For everyone else, it’s worth, at most, $119.
Up To $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck Credits
The Business Platinum Card gives cardholders a statement credit available every 4 years after they apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit available every 4.5 years after they apply for a five-year membership of the TSA Precheck program (up to $85).
As someone who travels internationally, I love having Global Entry membership (it makes returning to the US easy and mostly line-free) and as Global Entry membership also includes membership of the TSA Precheck program, the Amex credit is a benefit that I value highly and that I never fail to use.
Overall, Any cardholders who can make the most of the Dell, CLEAR, and airline fee credits every year will effectively be reducing the Business Platinum Card’s net annual fee to $76 (valuing the CLEAR membership at $119). In years where the Global Entry credit is also used, the card effectively pays for itself.
The Lounge Access Benefits
The Business Platinum Card gives cardholders complimentary access to Amex’s Centurion Lounges at airports like LAX, Dallas Fort Worth, Las Vegas, and San Francisco and it also allows cardholders to bring two guests into the lounges with them at no charge.
For travelers flying with Delta, the Business Platinum Card gives cardholders access to Delta SkyClubs as long as their Delta flight is departing on the day of entry to the lounge. Sadly, guests are not permitted.
If an airport doesn’t have a Centurion Lounge or if you’re not flying with Delta, the Platinum Card doesn’t leave cardholders waiting at their gate as it also offers Priority Pass Select Membership (does not include access to Priority Pass restaurants) as well as access to Amex’s Global Lounge Collection.
If your elite status doesn’t grant you access to airport lounges, if you travel through airports where your preferred airline doesn’t offer a lounge or if your elite status doesn’t allow you to bring guests into your preferred airline’s lounge, the lounge access benefits of the Business Platinum Card can be invaluable.
The Hotel Elite Statuses
Holders of the Business Platinum Card are given Hilton Honors Gold status as well as Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for as long as their card is active.
Hilton Honors Gold status is widely considered to be the most valuable mid-tier hotel status available (it offers guests complimentary breakfast, 80% bonus points on all Hilton stays, late checkouts subject to availability, and access to Hilton’s excellent 5th night free on award stays benefit) so this is a great benefit for the Business Platinum Card to offer.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status is less impressive (its key benefits are limited to late check-outs where available, 25% bonus points on all Marriott stays, and occasional room upgrades), but as it’s always better to have some kind of elite status when visiting a hotel than no status at all, this benefit can still be useful for cardholders who don’t earn Marriott status organically.
The Access To Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
The Business Platinum Card gives cardholders access to Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program which is a program that can significantly improve a hotel stay.
Hotel rates available through FHR often give guests access to benefits that they wouldn’t have access to when booking through other channels and, importantly, these additional benefits are usually offered at a price comparable to the one offered directly by the hotel.
These benefits can include:
- Daily breakfast for up to two guests
- Room upgrade (where available)
- A property amenity (often a $100 property credit, a free spa treatment, etc…)
- A guaranteed 4 pm check-out
- Noon check-in (where available)
- Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi (exclusions apply)
On top of this, bookings made through FHR are treated as direct bookings by the various hotel loyalty programs, so guests booking through FHR don’t have to give up any elite benefits they may be entitled to (as they would when booking through most other 3rd party sites) and, where applicable, their bookings will earn points in the hotel’s loyalty program too.
The Trip Delay Cover
At the beginning of 2020, American Express improved the travel benefits on a number of its cards and one of those improvements was the addition of Trip Delay coverage to the Business Platinum Card.
If a roundtrip is paid for entirely with the Business Platinum Card and a covered reason delays a cardholder’s trip more than 6 hours, Trip Delay Insurance can help reimburse certain additional expenses purchased with the same card. Coverage is for up to $500 per trip with a maximum of 2 claims per Platinum Card per 12 consecutive month period.
Paying award ticket taxes and fees with a Business Platinum Card and using the Amex Pay With Points feature to pay for fare will see a cardholder covered by this benefit just as if they were buying a regular fare so as this cover is also extended to all passengers traveling on an eligible booking (not just the cardholder), this is a valuable benefit to have.
On the whole, the Business Platinum Card is a card that is held for the travel benefits that it offers (the 35% points rebate, access to airport lounges, access to Amex FHR properties, trip delay cover, etc…) as well as the statement credits that help keep down the card’s annual fee. This is not a card that’s particularly useful for most day-to-day spending.
The key to making sure that you or your business will benefit from the Business Platinum Card is to consider just how easily you’ll be able to use the statement credits (that will give you an idea of your net cost) and how much use you’ll get out of the various key benefits that the card offers.
If your business spends a lot of airfares, you’re happy booking through Amex Travel and you’ll get good use of the travel benefits and the statement credits, this can be a very useful card to hold. If, however, you’re not sure just how much travel you’ll be doing or how much value you’ll get out of the statement credits, this probably isn’t the card for you.