Renewing The Amex Business Or Personal Platinum Card (Or Both)?

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I’m a big fan of both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. We’ve seen some major changes to the cards lately, so I’m finding myself having to crunch numbers all over again trying to decide whether or not the cards are worth holding onto.

I have the Amex Personal Platinum Card and Ford has the Amex Business Platinum Card. Both of our annual fees are coming up in the next couple of months, so I’m trying to decide if it makes sense for us to pay the annual fees on both cards, cancel the business card and add Ford as an authorized user on the personal card (since adding authorized users on the personal card is a better value than doing so on the business card), or what. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is in this situation.

Amex Platinum Card benefits

The personal and business versions of the card have overlapping benefits, though there are also some differences. Both the Amex Personal Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card offer:

Then there are some differences as well. The Amex Personal Platinum Card, which has a $550 annual fee, offers:

Meanwhile the Amex Business Platinum Card, which has a $450 annual fee, offers:

I’m definitely keeping my Amex Personal Platinum Card

When I crunch the numbers, I’m absolutely getting value out of my Amex Personal Platinum Card. I value the $200 annual airline credit and $200 annual Uber credit pretty close to face value. However, let’s apply some discount to that. Let’s say combined those two benefits are worth ~$350. That means the real “out of pocket” for me on the card is $200 per year.

Personally I don’t value a Priority Pass membership (I already have it through other cards) or the hotel status (since I have higher status through the stays I make).

However, I do value Centurion Lounge access, Delta SkyClub access, and most importantly, 5x points on airfare. The first two benefits are also available on the business version of the card, while the 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines is exclusively available on the personal card. As someone who spends a significant amount on airfare, that alone is a reason for me to keep the card.

If I didn’t have the Amex Platinum Card I’d be earning 3x points on airfare, so I’m earning an extra 2x points on airfare with this card, which I value at an incremental return of ~3.4%. So after spending ~$5,900 on airfare per year I’d already be covering the $200 “out of pocket” on the card, not accounting for anything else. For me that makes it worthwhile.

What about the Amex Business Platinum Card?

Ford has the Amex Business Platinum Card, which has a $450 annual fee. Let’s say we value the $200 annual airline fee credit at ~$175. That means the real “out of pocket” on the card is $275 per year. The benefit that’s unique to the business version of the card is that you get 10 free Gogo wifi passes per year. Otherwise a Gogo day pass would cost $16. We end up using all those passes, though should also apply some sort of a discount to that benefit. Let’s say the $10 passes are worth ~$100 total. That makes the out of pocket on this card $175 per year. For that he’s getting Centurion Lounge access, SkyClub access, etc., which he values.

But if he wants those perks, the alternative is that I add him as an authorized user on my personal card. I can add up to three authorized users for $175, meaning that I could get two others those perks as well, including Centurion Lounge and Delta SkyClub access.

Bottom line

Everyone’s situation will vary, and I think independently either card could make a lot of sense. If you don’t spend a ton of airfare, the $450 annual fee Amex Business Platinum Card might be more compelling, since it has a lower annual fee and offers 10 Gogo wifi passes.

Meanwhile the Amex Personal Platinum Card is worth it for the bonus on airfare and the Uber credits, so it’s a card I value immensely.

Based on crunching the numbers it seems like our best bet is to cancel the business version of the card and instead add an authorized user to the personal version of the card. He’ll still have the card for a while so we can maximize the old grandfathered 50% “Pay With Points” benefit, but I’m not sure that’s the best option anymore after that.

For those who have both the business and personal version of the Amex Platinum in their “household,” which card do you think is more worth keeping?

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Comments

  1. Ben, so do you put all your airfare spend on Amex even though their trip interruption benefits aren’t as good as Citi/Chase?

  2. I think you value the airline credit too high. To get it, you have to select, in advance, from just a handful or airlines and you can’t change your selection later that year.

    Then it only applies to additional fees like baggage fees, not the ticket purchase. I never face baggage fees as I either have status with the airline or I’m flying in a premium class. I suspect most AmEx Plat holders are in a similar situation.

  3. Renew the personal and add Ford as an authorized user.

    Gogo passes have become obsolete now with the US Mobile’s amazing wifi plan (but time will tell how long that deal will last) and the Pay With Points just simply isn’t the deal it once was. Add in the personal card’s fantastic perks, and that makes it a no-brainer for me.

  4. I have a personal Platinum AMEX card and never leave home without it. Like you said, between the $200 airline credits, $200 uber credit and all the other benefits, it pays itself.

    I have to admit that I have another credit card for instances when AMEX is not accepted due mostly to its steep swipe fees.

  5. Seems like Ritz Carlton card would be easy to get value out of too every year if state side. Amex platinum for me is no go. Chase Sapphire way better.

  6. I had the same question, and wound up downgrading the Corporate Platinum to Green. I had a lot of credit history with the corporate card, and didn’t want to lose it. Downgrading kept the number and the account the same, and I was told that if I ever wanted to upgrade again, it was just a simple call.

  7. Lucky, I currently have the Biz version and recently I got an email and an offer by mail to upgrade my Amex Everyday Preferred to the personal Platinum Amex. I have had the personal Platinum card before(in several different versions). I didn’t see anywhere in the offers saying you couldn’t get the MR points bonus if you’ve had the card before but I’m concerned that I wouldn’t. The offer is 60k MR points for 5k spend in 3 months which I can do easily. Also the $550 annual fee isn’t waived the 1st year. Is there anyway to no for sure that I can get the bonus again? I’m concerned about the recent change in the amex terms about them taking points away and shutting down accounts for people who apply for card bonuses that they’ve had before. Your thoughts?

  8. The biggest benefit of the business card is a 50% point bonus on individual charges of $5,000 or more. Granted in your case this probably doesn’t apply, but for any business making large purchases you can earn up to 500K bonus points per year if reaching the annual 1MM limit.

  9. Regarding the Amex Platinum Business card:

    1) you get 5x points on airfare when booking on Amex website; given there is generally no difference in pricing when going direct and treated the same as any other travel agency purchase, I find it essentially equivalent from consumer standpoint

    2) Gogo internet is often much more expensive than $16; when traveling cross country I think it can be $30-40 per flight on AA (unfortunately, their service often sucks)

  10. I’m becoming increasingly disappointed with the Centurion Lounges, mainly due to overcrowding. Just last Sunday I transited through MIA on AA, so naturally headed to the Centurion Lounge with my Platinum Card, even though I had access to the AAdmirals Club as an EXP on an Int. itinerary. I struggled to find somewhere to sit in the Centurion Lounge – it was busy, cramped and noisy, so after one drink I headed to the AAdmirals Club which felt like a massive oasis of calm by comparison. Centurion Lounge may have had a slight edge on food but that’s about it…the AAdmirals Club had plenty of space, drinks etc. On my return trip back through MIA four days later, I didn’t even bother with the Centurion Lounge and headed straight to the AAdmirals Club where I also took advantage of one of the excellent shower suites.

  11. What do people use the $200. airline credit on? I chose Alaska and tried buying a gift card but didn’t get a credit for it. I get preferred seating for free(and I imagine Lucky does too).The only thing I have used it for is food if I’m not upgraded, but most of the credit has gone unused. All the other premium cards make it so easy as it applies to buying tickets. Am I missing something?

  12. I’m keeping the business card for now. I value the rebate on pay with points and the wifi passes. I would continue to buy paid airfare with my CSR because having those points is worth a lot more to me than MR and I have a lot of MR. Although you still can get 5x on airfare purchased on Amex travel on your choicen airline which sometimes works for me. I don’t think it’s worth the extra $100 to get $200 of uber and lose the wifi passes. That would be a wash for me.

  13. Theresa, you can buy online gift cards, let’s say 2 x $100 on aa.com with your Amex card and you’ll see refund within couple of days…if American is your preferred airline

  14. I’ve been successful using the $200 credit for United gift registry. For me the value adds up, since I do pay for a significant amount of airfare (about $10-15,000), plus the lounge access (I use Priority Pass a lot overseas), plus the fee credit, plus at least some value out of the Uber benefit, and the hotel statuses are a small plus. I won’t be needing Global Entry again for several years, and I’m too cheap to stay at Fine Hotels and Resorts. So unless there are negative changes before then, I expect I’ll pay the fee and keep the card when it comes due in the spring.

  15. Really wish the business version came with the 5x points for flights – that would seal the deal and make me keep the card forever!

    Since my fiance and I will be traveling indefinitely starting next February, I’d only get the personal version if the Uber credits started applying internationally.

  16. Army, the business card does have the 5x points for flights and hotels but only at Amextravel.com or 800-297-2977. The personal version in addition to this has 5x points with direct purchase on the airline websites.

  17. For me, based in MIA, the free food and drink at the Centurion Lounge goes a long way towards offsetting the business card’s annual fee. Travelling about 16 times per year, I visit Centurion lounges in MIA and elsewhere maybe 10 of those times. Not having to buy food and drink each time = big savings.

  18. After long consideration decided to cancel personal Plat. When I call AMEX to cancel, they offered 15k MRs for $2K spend, which pushed to renew. If you’re on the fence, try this.

  19. I have the Amex personal platinum and the Amex gold business, since I’m IT, I selected computer purchases for the 3x on the gold, get the 5x on the platinum for air travel, get the 2x for the other categories. It’s working out well for me.

  20. Ben – I think you are missing a huge benefit of the platinum cards. That is the ability to gain Marriot/SPG/Ritz Platinum status easily. When you have the platinum card,n as you said, you get automatic gold status with SPG/Marriot/Ritz/Hilton. If you then take the Marriot Challenge, staying nine times at their properties in three months, you will get platinum status with all of these except for Hilton. This will get you guaranteed upgrades, breakfast, lounge access, etc. A good upgrade can add $200 to the value of your stay per night. It doesn’t take long to chalk up a pretty good profit margin at that rate, totally negating the AF.

  21. I have both and am keeping both, even with the 50 to 35 devaluation on the Business. This is why:

    1) The airline credit is very easy to use, so I count that at the full $200.

    2) I use Uber enough that I value the credits at $175 or so.

    3) I don’t have another card that gets me PP, so I value that on the AMEX.

    4) The 5x points combine really well with the 35% discount on PWP.

    5) The Fine Hotels and Resorts benefit can actually be quite good. Things like 85 Euro credits at the Waldorf Amsterdam and the like, all for the same price – or even less – as booking direct.

    6) I value the hotel status. I prefer Omni/GHA and Kimpton over the big chains, but the big chains are a necessary evil. As such, having mid-tier status is a solid benefit.

  22. I agree with your final assessment. You can add 3 people for the additional user fee of $150 on the personal Amex card. This could be valuable to you. Some other cards charge per additional member (e.g. the reserve card) so then you’d have to calculate the benefit for having that person for the fee.

    I value the benefits on Amex Platinum to make it worth the fee, but many of the benefits also come with other cards such as the Priority Pass and the car rental insurance and those cards I value the points more because of the redemption options and prices (in points to redeem).

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