Few cards — for consumers or small-business owners — capture the “wow” factor quite of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
A welcome bonus worth more than three times the card’s annual fee? Check. Exceptional rewards on common business expenses, airfare and prepaid hotel bookings? Check. Massive travel perks, including an annual airline fee credit and exclusive airport lounge access? Check again.
It’s no wonder this is a must-have card among business travelers. Still, that doesn’t mean every small-business owner can justify carrying this card. It’s a great card, but it’s not the right one for everyone. So, let’s look at who should — and shouldn’t — hold the Amex Business Platinum.
Amex Business Platinum benefits
The Business Platinum card is offering 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $2,400.
The spending minimum may be a tall order for many small-business owners. Still, if you have high inventory turnover or are growing your business, this card may help make your normal business activity much more rewarding.
The welcome offer is far from the only reason to consider this card. Here are some perks that you can get, including some benefits not available on The Platinum Card® from American Express (the personal version of this card):
- Earn 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more and eligible U.S. purchases for electronic goods retailers, software, cloud service providers, construction materials and hardware supplies and shipping providers (on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year)
- 35% rebate when you Pay With Points for a first-class or business-class ticket on a selected qualifying airline booked through amextravel.com (up to 1 million points per calendar year, or even more with greater annual spending)
- Annual statement credits, worth over $1,000 combined, with Dell, Indeed, Adobe, Clear and wireless telephone services. Enrollment required
Just like the personal version of this card, you’ll enjoy these benefits, too:
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For all of these benefits, you’ll pay a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Who should get the Amex Business Platinum?
This is a no-brainer, especially with all this card offers to the global traveler. One perk not mentioned above is no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees), meaning you won’t get dinged for purchases made outside the U.S.
Businesses with large expenses
Most cards offer 1 point per dollar on non-bonus spending. But if your business routinely makes large purchases of $5,000 or more, the 1.5 points per dollar bonus on big purchases is better than you’ll find elsewhere. And if your business makes thousands of dollars in card purchases monthly, that spending requirement on the welcome bonus won’t seem daunting.
Owners who value flexible points
The most lucrative way to redeem Membership Rewards points is to transfer them to one of Amex’s 21 partner airline or hotel programs. If you’re willing to put in the time and research, going the transfer route can increase the value of your points even above our valuations.
For example, The Points Guy founder Brian Kelly transferred 68,000 points to British Airways to fly first class from London (LHR) to Accra (ACC) plus under $500 in taxes/fees — a flight that would have cost him over $11,000 in cash. That redemption netted a value of 16 cents a point.
Someone who already has the American Express® Business Gold Card
If you already have the American Express® Business Gold Card, this could provide a one-two punch when it comes to earning Membership Rewards. Use the Business Gold Amex to fill in the blanks left by the Business Platinum card. With the Business Gold, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar on the two categories in which you spend the most each month from the following list:
- Airfare purchased from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases made from select technology providers
- Terms and limitations apply.
While you’re capped at $150,000 in combined purchases per calendar year for this 4 points per dollar earning (you only earn 1 point per dollar after hitting that ceiling), that 8% return (based on TPG valuations) is pretty sweet. Plus, Amex will even recalculate your top spending categories each month to make sure you earn the maximum number of points possible.
Who shouldn’t get the Amex Business Platinum?
Businesses with modest operating expenses
If you can’t meet the spending requirement for the welcome bonus or justify paying the $695 annual fee, there are better options for you, including the no-annual-fee Ink Business Cash Credit Card from Chase.
Someone who already has the personal version of the card
Since there are so many similarities between the business and personal versions of this card, it can be hard to justify having both. First, you’ll need to determine if you can spend enough to earn both bonuses. Outside of the bonus, another key consideration in whether or not to get the business version is keeping your personal and business expenses separate and whether or not you can stomach paying almost $1,400 in annual fees for your cards.
Businesses that need multiple employee cards
Although you can get up to 99 Platinum employee cards, Amex says it will charge you $350 annually for each additional Business Platinum card you request (see rates and fees) and $50 annually if you request Amex Business Gold cards for your employees to use (see rates and fees). That’s a pretty hefty price to pay, given there are other business card options that offer free employee cards, like the Capital One Spark Miles for Business (see rates and fees).
TPG considers the Amex Business Platinum to be one of the best business cards with good reason: It has fantastic value for the heavy business traveler, and it’s currently offering one of the most valuable welcome offers on the market. If you’re able to meet the hefty spending requirement, you probably don’t need much more convincing to get this card.
On the other hand, it’s a much more dicey proposition (all right, probably a bad idea) for a business owner who sticks to the ground — particularly when there are so many great options out there to earn points, miles and cash back on expenses that matter most to you.
Application link: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Stella Shon.