Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
This Business Platinum Card from American Express is geared toward the elite business traveler who has good credit and spends a lot (hence the $15,000 spending requirement to earn the full welcome offer.) The card carries a $595 annual fee (and $300 for each additional user), so it’s best for those who value doing their jet-setting in style—to the tune of airport lounge access, higher-tier hotel status, room upgrades, and more.
Beginning with the November 2020 billing cycle, American Express will add the issuer’s now-optional “Pay Over Time” program to its Green, Gold, and Platinum business charge cards for all cardholders. Currently the program is “opt-in.” With Pay Over Time, cardholders can choose to pay any charge over $100 over several billing cycles, with interest, like a traditional credit card.
Travel perks galore
Generous travel rewards
Hefty annual fee
Steep additional user fee
Little room to revolve
- Travel perks galore: Complimentary access to airport lounges, reimbursement of expedited airport screening service and some airline fees, and hotel upgrades are among the ways you’ll get VIP treatment as a business traveler. (More on this in the Excellent Perks section below.)
- Generous travel rewards: Besides the sizable rewards you’ll earn on flights and prepaid hotels, you’ll get 35% of your points back (up to 500,000 per calendar year) if you use them toward a first- or business-class ticket with any airline booked through American Express Travel. Or, if you book a ticket with an airline you designate as your “qualifying airline,” the bonus even applies to economy class. Choose your airline wisely, though: Amex lets you change it only once a year (in January.)
- Lucrative welcome offer: While you’ll have to spend a lot to get the welcome offer, the points you’ll earn are worth $855, based on our latest valuation of Membership Rewards points.
- Hefty annual fee: At $595, the fee is one of the highest for a business card. If you’re operating budget is too small to earn the welcome offer or you’re not sure you’ll maximize the card’s benefits, consider another business travel card.
- Steep additional user fee: Each employee card will cost you an extra $300 a year—well above what other premium cards charge. Make sure to weigh this cost against the value of the perks. While your employees’ business travel will help you rack up rewards, there’s only one welcome offer per account. Additional cardholders will get many of the same benefits, though, including airport lounge access that would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars a year.
- Little room to revolve: Yes, there’s the option to use the Pay Over Time feature (if you’re invited), but that has a limit and an APR that’s higher than average for business cards. If you anticipate it will be a challenge to pay your bill in full each month, consider a business credit card instead of this charge card.
Bonus for New Cardholders
You’ll get 75,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $15,000 in the first three months. The Balance’s latest analysis of credit card point values found Membership Reward points to be worth 1.14 cents when considering the redemption choices we think most Americans will choose. So the bonus has an estimated value of $855. It could be worth even more if you transfer points to a partner airline.
As flexible business travel cards go, this is a decent offer, though some other cards won’t require you to spend as much to get a bonus of about that same value, and don’t charge as high an annual fee.
If you don’t mind sticking with a particular airline, a co-branded business airline card might offer better value for you. Some come with sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars more, our points valuation research shows.
Earning Points & Rewards
You’ll get the highest reward rate—5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent—on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. That’s higher than many co-branded airline cards offer for purchases on their airlines, and with this card, you get to choose who you fly with. Plus, you’ll get 2 points per $1 spent on cruises booked through amextravel.com or travel agents in the American Express Travel Associate Platform.
Unlike many business travel cards, though, there are no rewards bonuses for other spending categories like gas, restaurants, office supplies, or phone service. But you will get a little extra for single purchases that are at least $5,000 each—1.5 points per $1 spent (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year). For all other purchases, you’ll get 1 point per $1.
American Express Membership Rewards points can be redeemed in a number of ways, and generally you’ll get the most value from them by using them for travel. The most flexible way to do that is to book travel via amextravel.com.
Using the American Express points value calculator makes things very transparent. If you have 10,000 Membership Rewards points, they’ll be worth $100 (the standard 1-cent-per-point value you get with many rewards credit cards) if you use them to book flights, seat upgrades, or rooms in the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection through amextravel.com.
You may, however, get the most value from your points by transferring them to the loyalty programs of more than 20 airline and hotel partners, including Delta Air Lines and Marriott Bonvoy. Points for several of these can be worth significantly more than 1 cent per point. Delta miles, for example, are worth 1.54 cents each and Marriott points are worth 1.11 cents apiece on average, according to our research.
For airline transfers, a fee of .06 cent per point, up to a maximum of $99, will be charged to your card.
Redemption values for Membership Rewards points tend to be lower for other uses. Those 10,000 points that are worth $100 when used to book flights through Amex would be worth:
- $70 if you reserve a prepaid hotel or book a cruise
- $50 to $100 if you buy a gift card, depending on the brand (there are almost 100 choices)
- $70 if you use them to pay at retail sites like Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Walmart.com
- $50 if you shop online through American Express
- $60 if you use them to cover charges on your card
How to Get The Most Out of This Card
Beyond maximizing the welcome offer by spending at least $15,000 in your first three months, use your points for qualifying airfare to maximize their value. And if your business is in growth mode, plan ahead, so purchases can be pooled into one $5,000 transaction whenever possible. (Each transaction of $5,000 or more will get you an additional 0.5 point per dollar.)
If you have computer purchases on the horizon, consider Dell. You can get up to $200 in statement credits per year (up to $100 between July and December) on purchases you make directly with Dell or Dell.com and pay for with your card.
When you redeem points, consider transferring them to a Membership Rewards airline or hotel partner for maximum value.
There are scores of perks you could get from a card issuer, but editors at The Balance have determined some benefits stand out for their exceptional value. These are among the best perks on the Business Platinum Card from American Express:
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Receive a statement credit for these expedited airport screening programs. The credit is every four years for Global Entry ($100) or every 4.5 years for TSA Precheck ($85). (Available on each employee card, too.)
- Airport lounge access: You and any additional cardholders (and, in some cases, up to two guests) have complimentary access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries. These include American Express’ own network of lounges, as well as Priority Pass Select lounges and, if you’re flying Delta, Delta SkyClubs.
- Airline fee reimbursement: Choose one qualifying airline and receive up to $200 per calendar year in statement credits when you or your employees charge incidental fees on the Business Platinum Card. These include fees for checked bags and in-flight refreshments. (Seat upgrades are not reimbursed.)
- Elite hotel status: Enroll in the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs and you’ll get complimentary gold status with both chains. This unlocks extra perks and puts you on the path to earn complimentary stays.
- Insurance coverage for lost or damaged luggage: If your belongings are lost, damaged, or stolen on a trip booked with your card, you’ll get up to $2,000 for checked baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on baggage.
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: You’ll be covered for up to $10,00 per trip and $20,000 per year if certain circumstances contribute to the delay or cancellation of a trip you purchased with your card.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged purchases
- Extended warranties
- Complimentary membership in premium car rental programs
- Room upgrades and perks on select hotels booked through American Express
- Preferred restaurant reservations
American Express is known for quality customer service, as evidenced by its top finish in JD Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction survey. Cardholders have access to customer service 24/7 via the website’s online chat feature or by calling the customer service hotline, and there’s also a mobile app. The online Year-End Summary is a great tool for analyzing your business expenses.
Because the Business Platinum Card from American Express is a premium card, you’ll also have access to a card concierge day or night. Just call or email to get help with things like arranging lunch reservations, finding event tickets to entertain clients, or booking ground transportation.
Security features are on par with other cards in the category, though it’s worth noting that you can sign up for free weekly credit score updates, access your TransUnion credit report, and get fraud alerts that will help detect potential identity theft.
Fees to Watch Out For
There’s no getting around the fact that this card is expensive, with annual fees of $595 for the primary account holder and $300 for each additional user. The Pay Over Time APR is also relatively high, should you use that option. On the plus side, there’s no foreign transaction fee, so you won’t have to pay more when using the card abroad.