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Is the American Express Business Platinum worth it?

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Last year, American Express made a number of updates to its consumer card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, leaving many to wonder if similar upgrades were on the way for the business version of the popular product.

By fall 2021, the wait was over. In an attempt to increase value for business owners who may not be traveling as much, the issuer updated The Business Platinum Card® from American Express with a fresh slate of rewards, perks and benefits.

Whether you already have the Amex Business Platinum or are considering applying for one, you should know exactly what this rewards credit card offers. With a hefty annual fee of $695, it would be wise to know if you can justify the cost of owning this card. Here’s our take on whether or not the Amex Business Platinum is worth it.

What does the Business Platinum Card from American Express offer?

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com; 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com; 1.5X points per dollar spent (on up to $2 million per calendar year) on purchases of $5,000 or more and on select category purchases (electronics goods, retailers, software and cloud service providers; construction materials and hardware supplies; shipping providers); 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 120,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership
  • Annual fee: $695
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months (on eligible Pay Over Time purchases)
  • Regular APR: 15.74 percent to 23.74 percent
    (variable)

Credits and reimbursements

In addition to revamped rewards categories for the Amex Business Platinum, the card also offers more credits that may be more valuable to different types of business owners. If you can take advantage of all the credits, you can get up to $2,609 in annual credits or reimbursements, including:

  • Up to $550 in statement credits or complimentary perks for booking with a Fine Hotels and Resorts program property, including an up to $250 complimentary night/property credit (per eligible stay)
  • Up to a $400 statement credit on Dell purchases (up to $200 semi-annually)
  • Up to a $360 statement credit on Indeed hiring and recruiting products and services (up to $90 per quarter)
  • Up to $300 in onboard credits on participating cruise lines with select room bookings through the Cruise Privileges Program (per new cruise booking)
  • Up to $250 in statement credits for eligible stays at The Hotel Collection properties, including a $150 complimentary night/property credit and a $100 experience credit for qualifying property activities (per eligible stay)
  • Up to $200 in statement credits annually for qualifying airline fees, such as baggage fees, with a selected airline
  • Up to a $189 statement credit on the annual cost of a CLEAR® airport security membership when using your card
  • Up to a $150 statement credit annually on select Adobe purchases, including the Adobe Creative Cloud and Acrobat Pro DC
  • Up to $120 in statement credits for direct purchases from any U.S. wireless telephone provider (up to $10 per month)
  • Up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees (every four years)

Although this list of credits is impressive, it’s important to read the fine print and understand exactly how you can take advantage of them. If you don’t follow the requirements for these credits, you may not be eligible to receive them.

For example, listed in the card’s terms and conditions, the credit for Adobe purchases is restricted to “annual prepaid subscriptions for Creative Cloud All Apps or Single Apps for Teams or Acrobat Pro DC with E-Sign or advanced E-Sign for Teams.” It’s also important to note that Adobe Creative Cloud InCopy App is not eligible for the credit, and purchases must be made directly with the merchant to qualify for the credit (other terms apply).

Also, the $120 in statement credits for direct purchases from any U.S. wireless telephone provider (up to $10 per month) only apply to your monthly wireless telephone service charges. Wireless company charges for things like hardware, equipment and bundled services are not eligible for the credit.

In any case, if American Express cannot verify what your transaction is for, then it’s deemed ineligible for any of the credits. So, you’ll want to be sure you make direct purchases and steer clear of intermediaries like PayPal or similar payment services when paying with your Amex.

Card perks and benefits

Of course, you can’t talk about the Amex Business Platinum without talking about additional card benefits like airport lounge access, as well as travel and purchase protection.

Amex has, arguably, the best airport lounge access on the market. The Amex Business Platinum includes a Priority Pass Select membership that provides access to over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide, not to mention access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges (when you fly Delta), Escape lounges, Airspace lounges and more.

Travel protections include:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental loss damage insurance (secondary coverage)

Purchase protections include:

  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Purchase coverage
  • Return protection
  • Cellphone protection (terms apply)

Welcome bonus offer

One stand-out card feature is the generous welcome bonus of 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening.

If you use your points for booking airfare through American Express Travel, you’ll get a 35 percent airline bonus. This can boost the value of your welcome bonus from 1 cent per point to 1.35 cents per point. So, your 120,000 points could be worth up to $1,620 through American Express Travel.

Earning rewards

Thankfully, the new rewards structure caters to more spending categories that work well for business owners. Previously, Business Platinum cardholders could only earn 1.5X points on purchases over $5,000. While this is still in place, now you can also earn 1.5X points (on up to $2 million) in the following categories: electronics goods, retailers, software and cloud service providers; construction materials and hardware supplies; and shipping providers. You’ll also earn 1X points on all other purchases.

In addition to earning rewards on spending categories, you can earn 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com and 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com.

Another way you can earn points is by referring friends and family members to open an American Express account. When this happens, you can earn a referral bonus, and the person who’s approved for an Amex account can also earn a referral welcome offer.

Redeeming rewards

As always, you’ll get the most value out of your Amex rewards when you redeem your points for travel accommodations, including flights, hotels and cruises. You can book through American Express or Amex transfer partners to get at least a 1:1 value out of your points.

Other redemption options include statement credits, paying with points at select retailers, shopping at partner merchants, gift cards and more. However, you could get less than the 1:1 redemption ratio when you redeem rewards in these categories.

Is the American Express Business Platinum worth it?

Essentially, it all comes down to this: Are the card’s rewards, perks and benefits worth the high annual fee? The answer depends on your spending habits and how many of the card perks and credits you take advantage of.

Assuming you can use all the card’s credits and reimbursements ($2,609), meet annual spending of about $46,500 per year on the card (at a rate of 1.5X points, you’ll get $697.50 in rewards) and use the welcome bonus for travel ($1,620), you’ll end with up with about $4,926.50 in value the first year. If you subtract the annual fee of $695, it’s down to $4,231.50 in value for the first year. Plus, if you decide to take advantage of the intro APR offer for purchases—0 percent for 12 months (followed by a variable APR of 15.74 percent to 23.74 percent)—you can add any interest you’ll save on purchases to this equation, too. (For the sake of simplicity, we’ll omit this from the equation.)

For the second year of card membership and each successive year, all things remain the same, except there’s no welcome bonus; so, you’ll get back $3,306.50 in rewards. Subtract the $695 annual fee and that brings your annual value to $2,611.50. Even after the first year, the number of benefits you’ll receive will outweigh the cost of owning the card.

The bottom line

Over the years, the American Express Business Platinum card has evolved as needed to make benefits more accessible to cardholders. Like most card issuers right now, American Express’s goal is to provide value for those who are still traveling as well as those who are not.

All of the Amex Business Platinum’s perks and benefits can absolutely outweigh the annual cost of owning it. If your spending and business needs align with the card’s perks, these features make this one of the best business credit cards you can have in your wallet.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
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