Like many of the American Express cards, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (a Money Crashers partner) provides prestigious amenities and benefits designed to focus on comfort, in addition to providing monetary value. The Business Platinum card carries one of the highest annual fees of any credit card or charge card, but if you value the perks of carrying an American Express card, you may find it to be worth the annual fee.
It is important to understand that the Business Platinum card is a charge card, rather than a credit card. Charge cards typically require payment in full each month with no option to carry a balance and no preset spending limit.
- Sign-up Bonus. If you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months after opening an account, the Business Platinum card awards you 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points. These points can be redeemed for $400 in gift cards.
- Fees. The annual fee for the Business Platinum card is $450. There is no foreign transaction fee, and there is no balance transfer option. There is a late payment fee of $35 or 2.99%, whichever is greater, and a returned payment fee of $35. Additional cards cost $300.
- APR. There is no APR for the Business Platinum card because it is a charge card, which requires payment in full each month.
- Rewards Program. The American Express Business Platinum card awards Membership Rewards points. You earn 2 points per dollar spent when you book on the American Express Travel website, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You are able to earn an unlimited number of points, which do not expire.
- Redeeming Rewards. Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, and travel booked via the American Express Travel website, and can be transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs – often at a rate of one-to-one. Points are worth the most at one cent per point when redeemed for gift cards or transferred to a hotel or airline loyalty program. If you choose to redeem points for the other options, the value may decrease as much as one-half cent per point.
- Travel Bonus. If you redeem your Membership Rewards points to book your trip (flights, hotels, and vacation packages) through the Membership Pay with Points program, you receive 20% of the points back to your account. At least 5,000 points need to be redeemed in order to qualify for the bonus.
- Airline Fee Credit. Each year, you can apply $200 in statement credits toward incidental air travel fees such as those for in-flight purchases and checked bags. In order to qualify for the statement credit, you must enroll in and choose a qualifying airline (at any time). Examples of eligible airlines include (but are not limited to) Delta, Southwest, United, American, Frontier, and US Airways. You can change the qualifying airline once per year in January.
- Global Entry Fee Credit. The Global Entry program allows you faster clearance and the ability to bypass arrival lines at major U.S. airports when you return from international travel. There is a $100 application fee that will be credited if you charge the application fee to your card. The Global Entry membership is valid for five years and you are able to receive the credit for the application fee every five years.
- International Companion Ticket. Each time you purchase a Business or First Class ticket for international air travel, you can receive a companion ticket – but you are responsible for fuel and security surcharges, taxes, and fees on international air transportation that may range from $52 to $365 in taxes and fees round trip, and up to $2,090 in airline-imposed fuel and security surcharges round trip. The card member and the companion must also travel on the same itinerary.
- Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefits. The Business Platinum card includes access to benefits such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, and late check out at Fine Hotels and Resorts, which include more than 750 properties such as The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico and The Peninsula New York.
- SPG Gold Preferred Membership. The Starwood Preferred Guest program awards elite statuses based on your number of stays with each level providing additional benefits. As a cardholder of the Business Platinum card, you receive Gold Preferred Membership which normally requires 10 stays or 25 nights in a year and includes free hotel room upgrades, late checkouts, and the opportunity to earn complimentary nights and flights with SPG Flights.
- Airport Lounge Access. As a cardmember, you receive complimentary access to more than 700 domestic and international airport lounges including Delta Sky Club and Centurion through Priority Pass Select and the Airport Club Access Program. These lounges provide amenities such as beverages, snacks, and Wi-Fi.
- Free Boingo Wi-Fi Access. You receive complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi access at more than a million hotspots worldwide.
- Car Rental Privileges. If you enroll with Hertz, Avis, or National Car Rental, you receive privileges such as upgrades and savings on car rentals.
- 24/7 Concierge. One of the features that American Express is known for is its 24/7 concierge service, which provides assistance in booking flights, making reservations, and even shopping for and purchasing gifts. This service is included with your Business Platinum card membership.
- OPEN Savings. The Business Platinum card also includes the OPEN Savings benefit, which allows you to take advantage of up to a 10% discount or up to 4 additional Membership Rewards points per dollar spent with OPEN partners. Merchants that are part of the OPEN Savings program include Hertz, FedEx, Hyatt, and HP.
- No Preset Spending Limit. One of the biggest advantages of a charge card is that there is no preset spending limit, and for some, this means more freedom and fewer limitations when making purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. There is often a foreign transaction fee of up to 3% on purchases made outside of the U.S., with many American Express cards charging 2.7%. If you travel abroad frequently, this fee can become a significant expense, and could possibly decrease the value of rewards earned or benefits provided by the card.
- Travel Benefits. Benefits included with the Business Platinum card cover every aspect of travel available, from car rental privileges, to hotel benefits with Fine Hotels and Resorts, as well as anything related to airline travel, from airport lounge access, to the international flight companion ticket.
- Annual Fee. Although there are many opportunities for valuable benefits (such as airport lounge access and the Global Entry fee credit), the annual fee of $450 is difficult to cover unless you travel enough to take advantage of the benefits. If you are able to meet the spend threshold, receive the sign-up bonus, and redeem them for gift cards, it still isn’t enough to pay for one year. Additional cards are also $300, which is something to consider if you’re looking for a business card to add your staff members or employees to.
- Minimal Sign-up Bonus. The sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for $400 in gift cards. While substantial, it isn’t above and beyond sign-up bonuses offered by cards that carry much smaller annual fees. For example, the Chase Ink Bold Business charge card awards a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points, which are worth either $500 in cash or $625 if redeemed for travel. Plus, it carries a much lower annual fee of $95.
- Low Rewards Opportunities. Most of the value of the Business Platinum card is in the benefits that provide extra comfort when traveling, and not in the rewards program. You only have the opportunity to earn bonus points when you book through the American Express Travel website, and even that is only 2 points per dollar. The best redemption of your points are also in gift cards or transfer to a loyalty program, which isn’t convenient if you aren’t part of loyalty programs or have no use for gift cards. There are business cards that provide better rewards programs. Again, the Chase Ink Bold Business Card allows you to earn up to 5 points per dollar on business-related expenses such as office supply purchases, and you can redeem your points for cash at approximately one cent per point.
- Payment in Full Each Month. While charge cards provide the freedom of not having a preset spending limit, there is less flexibility in your payment options. Charge cards do not charge interest because you are required to pay your balance in full each month. You do not have the option to make minimum monthly payments if, for instance, your business has a difficult month and needs the flexibility.
If your business requires very frequent traveling, you should have no problem fully maximizing the earning potential of the American Express Business Platinum charge card through its amenities and perks. There are travel benefits available for every part of your trip, and you are able to earn points on purchases made with the card. However, if you do not travel frequently or do not fully appreciate the provided perks, there are a number of other business charge cards and credit cards that carry lower annual fees and provide better opportunities to earn and redeem rewards.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN is a great card for business owners who travel very frequently and would otherwise pay for perks offered with card membership.
4.0 stars out of 5: While not ideal for all business owners, if you travel frequently and value the prestige and perks of carrying it, the American Express Business Platinum card can provide a wealth of benefits.