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Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN – Review

By Jason Steele

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The top of the line Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN has no equal among its competitors. Individuals may shy away from paying the $450 annual fee, but many businesspeople think the card’s exceptional range of amenities justify the high cost of the annual fee.

American Express offers its Business Platinum Card for firms that want every available perk, and don’t mind paying for the privilege of this platinum card.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. Get 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months of owning the card.
  • Earn Membership Rewards Points. Cardholders earn one point per dollar charged to the card, and two points for travel purchases made through American Express’s travel agent. You can redeem points for one cent each towards gift cards, merchandise, and travel rewards. You receive a 20% Membership Rewards points bonus when you redeem points for travel benefits. Alternatively, you can transfer points to miles using frequent flyer programs affiliated with many major airlines.
  • Charge Card. This product is a charge card, not a credit card. This means that businesses must pay their balance in full every month, or they risk defaulting on the card. Accounts not in good standing do not receive Membership Rewards points and cannot redeem accumulated points.
  • Fee Credits. Cardholders receive a $200 credit each year towards any airline ancillary fees including checked baggage fees, change fees, and in-flight meals (after you enroll and select a qualifying airline). In addition, every cardholder receives a $100 fee credit for the Global Entry program application. This U.S. Customs and Border Patrol program allows expedited clearance of customs for travelers when arriving in the United States.
  • Business Lounge Memberships. American Express enrolls cardholders in the Priority Pass program, which grants free or discounted access to other airport lounges around the world.
  • Premium Rental Car Memberships. Cardholders receive complimentary membership in the Avis, Hertz, and National car rental preferred customer programs.
  • Fine Hotel and Resort Benefits. When you book a room at an American Express-approved hotel, you receive a room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, and a guaranteed late check-out.
  • Complimentary Full Fare International Business or First-Class Companion Ticket. If you work for a company that pays for your travel in business or first-class, you can have a companion join you at no additional cost.
  • Roadside Assistance. American Express covers the costs of a roadside repair or a tow to the nearest garage.
  • Baggage Insurance. When you purchase a ticket with your Platinum card, your baggage is covered for up to $3,000 against loss, theft, or damage.
  • Purchase Protection. This card comes with a wide range of purchase protection policies that cover loss, theft, accidental damage, return protection, and an extended warranty.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. American Express’s Platinum cards do not charge a fee on purchases made in other countries.
  • High Annual Fee. This card has a $450 annual fee.

Advantages

  1. Flexible Reward Points. American Express’s Membership rewards program offers versatility and flexibility. Each point equals one cent for most redemption options, 1.2 cents for travel rewards, and more when transferred to frequent flyer miles used for premium international awards.
  2. Double Points on Travel Booked with American Express. This bonus turns a fairly average reward return rate into a very competitive one, so long as your company allows you to book travel through the American Express travel service. One dollar spent on travel booked though their service yields two points, and each point redeemed for travel booked through their agency equals 1.2 cents. Utilizing their service for purchases and rewards returns an impressive 2.4 cents in rewards per dollar charged to the card.
  3. Valuable Benefits. American Express offers valuable travel insurance and purchase protection polices for frequent international travelers – including a $200 airline fee credit.
  4. Travel Privileges. Between the lounge benefits, the hotel amenities, and even the rental car program, cardholders receive celebrity treatment wherever they go.
  5. Waived Foreign Transaction Fees. The American Express Business Platinum Card does not add foreign transaction fees to international purchases.

Disadvantages

  1. No Option to Carry a Balance. As a charge card, this product does not offer the flexibility of a credit card. If you need to carry a balance, even occasionally, choose a low-interest credit card instead.
  2. High Annual Fee. If you only use this card to make non-travel purchases, you can find another American Express card with a lower annual fee.
  3. Restrictions on Benefits. These cards have a number of benefits, but review the restrictions for using the benefits before applying for an American Express Business Platinum Card. For example, a complimentary international business class companion ticket sounds like a great savings, until you realize that this free ticket only applies to full fare tickets, which cost twice as much as other fares. The $200 fee waiver only applies towards a single airline, and the airline must be chosen in advance. Cardholders only receive double points for travel when booking through American Express. The American Express travel agent may cost more and be less convenient than arranging travel directly through a provider’s website.
  4. Additional Fees for Additional Cards. Other American Express business cards allow you to add additional cardholders at no cost, while the Business Platinum card requires an additional fee for each authorized card holder.

Final Word

If you travel internationally in business class and stay at the finest hotels, consider the American Express Business Platinum Card. While some people save money to travel internationally, or utilize frequent flyer miles and loyalty programs, others have jobs that pay for all of these luxuries.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN provides a number of benefits and perks to business travelers. The rest of us can benefit more from using other, more modest rewards credit cards.

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, or airline. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Jason Steele
Jason has been writing about personal finance, travel, and other topics on blogs across the Internet. When he is not writing, he has a career in information technology and is also a commercially rated pilot. Jason lives in Colorado with his wife and young daughter where he enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

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