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Update: This offer for The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express is expired. Learn more about the best available offer here.
Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.
Update: This offer for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is expired, but there’s currently an opportunity to earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Learn more about the special offer here.
Reader Carl emailed me the following question:
I’m looking for a business credit card, and was pondering the Amex Business Platinum Card for the perks? Is the card worth it, or is there another card I should get instead?
Now, that’s not much information to work with, but I figured I’d answer the question in general — who should consider the Amex Business Platinum Card?
As the name suggests, this is the business version of The Platinum Card® from American Express, so it has a $450 annual fee.
What are the benefits of the card? In very broad terms:
- A sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on the card within the first three months
- $200 annual airline fee credit ($400 the first year, since your annual fee is based on cardmember year, while your airline fee credit is based on calendar year)
- Access to Boingo hotspots
- 10 Gogo inflight internet passes per year
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Access to Delta SkyClubs
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Access to the American Express Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, etc.
- A Global Entry fee credit
Let’s take a closer look at some of the “big” things to consider when applying for the card — sign-up bonus, perks, and return on everyday spend:
Amex Business Platinum sign-up bonus
The sign-up bonus on this card is 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months. That might not sound huge, but in general American Express hasn’t been offering huge publicly available sign-up bonuses lately.
Per the terms, the sign-up bonus isn’t available to those who have or have had this product within the last 12 months. Conversely, if you’ve had this card before but not in the past year, you should be eligible for the bonus.
We’ve definitely seen bigger targeted sign-up bonuses on the card, though I don’t recall seeing a better publicly available one for a while now.
How does that compare to the sign-up bonuses on other American Express small business cards?
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN — earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express — earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
- The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express — earn up to 20,000 Membership Rewards points: 10,000 Membership Rewards points after making your first purchase within the first three months, plus an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 within the first six months
So as you can see, the Amex Business Platinum Card does offer one of the bigger Amex small business card sign-up bonuses, even if 40,000 points might not sound huge.
Amex Business Platinum perks
It’s the perks where this card really shines, and where I think it’s well worth the annual fee. Just to address a few specific perks:
$200 annual airline fee credit
The card offers a $200 annual airline fee credit. It’s based on calendar years. In other words, if you applied for the card now you could use your $200 airline fee credit shortly after receiving the card, and then you’d have another new credit coming January 1. In other words, you’d get $400 in airline fee credits within a few months of applying for the card, which helps quite nicely to offset the card’s annual fee.
This card offers access to Delta SkyClubs as well as a Priority Pass membership. Now, you don’t have guesting privileges with either, meaning only the cardmember can enter.
But what makes this card super awesome is that it gives you access to Centurion Lounges, which are in my opinion among the best airline lounges in the US. And you have guesting privileges at Centurion Lounges, as you can bring either your immediate family or two guests.
Admittedly the network of lounges is fairly limited as of now — they’re just in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco, and then there’s a Centurion Studio in Seattle — but if you transit any of those airports frequently, access to these lounges can more than justify the annual fee in no time. I transit Dallas, Miami, and New York all the time, which is part of why I value access to these lounges so much.
Heck, the Centurion Lounge LGA is possibly the only redeeming quality of the airport.
Wifi on the ground and in the air
The Boingo hotspot benefit was announced a while back, and at first I assumed it was a gimmick. Not the case. I can’t even begin to say how often I’ve used the benefit over the past couple of years.
Furthermore, the 10 Gogo wifi passes are pretty awesome as well, especially given how expensive onboard wifi has become. These are even valid on international Delta flights, which a Gogo all-access membership doesn’t even get you wifi on.
Fine Hotels & Resorts
This is an awesome perk that I use all the time, and it’s available exclusively to those with the Business or Personal Platinum Card. It gets you complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, guaranteed late check-out, and a property specific amenity at many luxury hotels. Typically Amex has access to the “best available” rates offered by the hotels directly.
Amex Business Platinum return on spend
As far as I’m concerned, this is the weak point of the card, as it offers one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent in most categories. So while I hold onto this card for the perks, it’s not one I personally put much spend on.
If you’re looking for a card which maximizes return on everyday spend, I’d be focused instead on The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. It has the following rewards structure:
- 3x points on one category of your choice from the following:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US purchases at gas stations
- US purchases for shipping
- US computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
- 2x points on the 4 remaining categories
- 1x points on other purchases
As you can see, that’s quite a rewards structure, and might be worth looking into if you spend a lot on your business credit card. It’s worth noting that the card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, and then $175 after that.
Amex Business Platinum bottom line
As far as I’m concerned, the Amex Business Platinum Card is one of the most compelling business credit cards out there when it comes to the perks it offers. While the return on everyday spend isn’t noteworthy, the card offers a nice sign-up bonus and fantastic perks, which more than offset the annual fee, in my opinion.
And now is a great time to apply, given you can take advantage of the airline fee credits for both 2015 and 2016 within the next few months.