Full Review of the Business Platinum Card from American Express
Excellent rewards value with certain travel partners
Impressive luxury travel benefits
Generous, if hard-to-earn, one-time offer
$595 annual fee
It’s a charge card; the ability to carry a balance is not assured
For best rewards, you must book travel with Amex
- Excellent Rewards Value with Certain Travel Partners: At 5 points per dollar spent, this card presents a very compelling value on the points earning side. But, with the points worth 1 cent each when used for booking travel purchases through Amex, according to Investopedia's valuation, this rate doesn’t offer the highest redemption value. Certain Membership Rewards transfer partners offer better redemption value options, such as Hilton Hotels (2 cents per point) and British Airways (2.1 cents per point). In addition, that valuation doesn’t reflect a valuable plus to this card: the awarding of 35% of your points back when you use your points to book qualifying fares through the Amex travel portal, up to 500,000 Membership Rewards per year.
- Impressive Luxury Travel Benefits: This card has a long, even unprecedented, list of luxury benefits and statement credits. Cardholders get an annual credit of up to $200 against incidental airline fees such as baggage charges on one eligible airline you must select each year, up to two $100 Dell statement credits, and a fee credit for the Global Entry or TSAPrecheck programs. For traveling in style, you'll get access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection; Gold Elite and Honors Gold status, respectively, with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs; and complimentary benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts. There's also a travel service that provides custom itineraries and tailored recommendations.
- Generous, if Hard-to-Earn, One-Time Offer: The one-time offer—a total of 75,000 points—is one of the highest available among small business cards. We value those points at $750, or more than enough to justify the annual fee for the first year when rewards are used to book flights through American Express Travel. But the spending required to earn the bonus could be daunting. To earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points, you'll need to spend $15,000 within the first three months. Spending that much in so little time—let alone paying it back—would be challenging indeed for many businesses.
- $595 Annual Fee: As one of the highest annual fees of any business card, this card’s $595 tab represents a major drawback for many small businesses. Unless your company spends heavily on travel, its most rewarding category, justifying the fee could require massive spending on other purchases, which earn only 1 point per dollar spent.
- It's a Charge Card; Carrying a Balance is Not Assured: As with the original Amex cards, the Business Platinum from American Express is ostensibly a charge card, with its balance due in full at the end of each billing cycle. There is a Pay Over Time option, but that comes with caveats. Only expenditures of $100 or more are eligible to be carried over to the next cycle or beyond. You must apply to add Pay Over Time after you get the card, at which point a limit for the balance you can carry is determined—and it might be less than the card’s spending limit, Amex warns.
- For Best Rewards, You Must Book Travel With Amex: Earning 5 points per dollar rewards on flights and prepaid hotel stays comes with the caveat that in order to earn those rewards, you’ll have to use amextravel.com for booking. You can't book, for instance, on a third-party site or directly with the airline or hotel and still earn 5 points per dollar rewards.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Business Platinum card from American Express is a good fit for regular business travelers with big budgets that match its big annual fee. Certainly, if you can afford to spend the required $15,000 within three months to earn its hefty one-time offer—and to pay the balance off immediately, as might be necessary—the $595 annual fee probably isn’t much of a deterrent to getting this card.
Since this is in fact a charge card, it's also a good fit for business owners who prefer to avoid interest charges by paying their bill in full each month. There is an option to enroll in the Pay Over Time feature, and to carry over certain purchases but the program may not be available to you immediately, and may not cover your full spending limit.
In addition, it helps to be comfortable navigating the Amex Membership Rewards program and its redemption options. The closest thing you can get to earning cash back is by redeeming for gift cards, which results in a lower value per point than other options.
The Business Platinum card from American Express is also best used by a single company employee. That’s because cards for additional employees cost $300 each, a sum the business might be hard-pressed to justify based on the rewards from additional spending by those cardholders.
Business Platinum Card from American Express Bonus Offer
New cardholders who spend $15,000 within the first three months of card membership receive 75,000 Membership Rewards points.
We value this offer at $750, according to our most recent valuation of Membership Rewards points when redeemed for travel through Amex. That's one of the highest one-time offers available, but earning it all comes with a very high spending requirement. Charging $15,000—or $5,000 per month—to the card within three months may be out of reach for many cardholders.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar spent by booking flights and hotel stays through American Express Travel.
Eligible purchases outside flights and hotels of $5,000 or more earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent up to $1 million per year, while all other purchases each 1 point per dollar.
Rewards Redemption Details
In order to redeem points, you must be enrolled in the Amex Membership Rewards program. After enrolling, American Express offers several ways to collect on your rewards. You can book travel through American Express, get gift cards, shop through the Ames portal, pay with points at select merchants, and transfer points to a partner loyalty program.
You'll generally get the best value by booking travel by transferring points to the loyalty program of certain Membership Rewards transfer partners, like Hilton or British Airways. However, according to our valuations, each Membership Reward point is only worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel through amextravel.com.
That valuation doesn't take into consideration that with this card you can get 35% of your points back (up to 500,000 points per year) when used to book an eligible flight through American Express Travel.
All other options can yield less value. You can use points, typically at value of 0.7 cents apiece, at the checkouts of Amazon, BestBuy, and others or you can use them, at 0.6 cents each, to erase charges from your account statement.
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to the loyalty programs of any of Amex's airline and hotel partners. The list includes popular programs like Delta SkyMiles, Virgin Atlantic Flyingclub, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and more.
Transfers may come with a fee of $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99. That's an unusual levy among card issuers. However, American Express may offer you the option to redeem points to cover that cost. And even despite this expense, transferring points can be a worthwhile option that earns you greater value.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Getting the most from this card begins with using it for all your spending on flights and hotel stays; it’s unlikely you’ll get a better rewards return than the 5 points per dollar you will earn on these purchases. And in the event you ever have to charge $5,000 or more to a business card, consider doing so to this card, where they will earn 1.5 points per dollar. While that isn’t the best rewards rate out there for general spending, it's better by half than the card’s default rate of 1 point per dollar.
Even if you can't sustain high spending on the card, try to charge at least $15,000 to it in the first three months of membership, if your business' finances permit it. That way, you'll earn the card's introductory bonuses of 75,000 points, which we estimate will easily justify the card’s annual fee for the first year if the points are used to buy travel from Amex.
Take full advantage of this card's many travel benefits. Apply for either the Global Entry or TSAPrecheck program with the provided credit. Check bags without worrying about the cost, at least up to the $200 annual statement credit for incidental airline fees. If you’re shopping for a PC, consider buying a Dell and using one of the $100 statement credits for that brand.
Since the Business Platinum from American Express is primarily a card for business high rollers who travel a lot, our typical owner is a road warrior. Each month, in our scenario, he or she takes two round-trip domestic flights, which together cost about $8,400 per year, based on the average cost of such flights.
Let's further assume those trips require staying four nights per month in a hotel, with bills that total about $7,200 per year. By our calculations you'd earn 78,000 points in a calendar year. Those points, we estimate, are worth $780, provided they’re used to redeem for more flights, hotels, and other travel expenses from Amex. That's also more than enough to justify the steep annual fee.
In addition to your spending in the scenario above, let's say our road warrior also uses this card to pay for marketing, vehicle expenses, office supplies, professional fees, and other miscellaneous expenses that total $2,000 per month. Then let's add one major $20,000 purchase per year.
Collectively, that further use would earn an additional 54,000 points to your annual total, worth $542. In total, along with the points worth $780 in the first scenario, you'd have 132,000 points worth $1,320 for travel booked through Amex.
Adding employee member cards to your account, in some cases, can also help you boost your rewards. But this card charges $300 for each additional card. Before you add employee cards, make sure their users would spend enough to break even on the additional annual cost.
Platinum Business American Express Card's Outstanding Benefits
- $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 in two annual $100 Dell statement credits
- $100 credit to Global Entry or $85 to TSAPrecheck
- Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
- Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status
- Business Platinum card concierge
- 35% of points returned to you when using Membership Rewards Pay with Points
- Global assistance hotline
- Car-rental collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Baggage insurance plan
American Express ranked second of nine issuers scored in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study, ranking just below Discover.
The Amex customer service department can be reached 24/7 by phone at 800-528-4800. Customers also have the option to log into their account and live chat with a representative. Amex is also active on social media. Questions and comments can be sent to @AskAmex on Twitter.
American Express offers a host of security features that are standard in the industry. Those include a monitoring system that detects fraudulent activity and alerts you in the case that unusual activity is detected.
Amex also provides security services like pre-purchase verification and personal security keys to safeguard your information and protect your account. For both card members and non-card members, American Express provides MyCredit Guide, a service that offers a free credit score and report.
Fees to Watch Out For
This card charges a $300 annual fee for each additional card member, and there’s a penalty APR for its Pay Over Time feature. of 29.99%. All other fees are in line with industry standards.
The Business Platinum card from American Express is built for big-spending business owners who travel nearly constantly. At $595, the card’s annual fee is steep, but it can still pay off for businesses who spend enough in its bonus categories. If your goal is to earn points while enjoying lush travel benefits, this card could be a good fit.
Outside of its bonus categories, this card pays a low rate of 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. It could be smart, then, to pair this card with a flat-rate rewards card to use for all other spending. The American Express Blue Business Plus card might be a good choice. It earns 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent up to $50,000 per year and has no annual fee.
If your annual travel budget isn't quite where it needs to be in order to justify the Business Platinum card’s annual fee, consider a card like the Business Green Rewards card. It charges a $95 annual fee that's waived for the first year and offers 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on travel booked through Amex.