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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:
- A $200 annual airline fee credit
- Access to Amex Centurion Lounges
- Access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta same day
- A Priority Pass membership
- Free Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
- A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry free credit, once every four years
Then there are some differences as well. The Amex Personal Platinum Card, which has a $550 annual fee, offers:
- A $200 annual Uber credit
- 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines
- The ability to add up to three authorized users for a total of $175
Meanwhile the Amex Business Platinum Card, which has a $450 annual fee, offers:
- 10 Gogo wifi passes every year
- Up to a 35% refund when using the “Pay With Points” option, which means you can redeem points for ~1.54 cents towards the cost of a ticket
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.
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?