The bottom line: If you travel often for business, the generous rewards and perks on this card could make the big fee seem like a bargain. Don't travel much? This isn't your card.
Quick FactsView rates and fees
Pros & Cons
High rewards rate on certain travel purchases
No foreign transaction fee
Bonus offer for new cardholders
Lounge access, airline fee credit
High annual fee
Other cards offer a higher rewards rate on non-travel spending
Complicated rewards structure
Requires good/excellent credit
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If you travel often for your business, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a stellar choice for making trips easier and more rewarding.
Used right, the card can make up for its steep $595 annual fee while providing generous rewards for travel spending and a suite of perks that road warriors will appreciate. It’s a leader among premium business credit cards and could be ideal for those who spend a lot and expect a lot.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Basics
Card type: Small business.
Annual fee: $595.
Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.
1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, good for up to 1 million extra points per year.
1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Membership Rewards points are worth about 0.5 cents to 1 cent each depending on how you redeem them. Travel and gift card redemptions are generally the most valuable. Points are also transferable and can be worth even more if redeemed strategically after being transferred to other loyalty programs.
Interest rate: None. This is a charge card, and the balance is generally due in full with each statement. (AmEx does offer a "Pay Over Time" feature that allows you to carry a balance, but the interest rate is high, and we don't recommend using it.)
Foreign transaction fees: None.
Why you'd want The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The value of some rewards credit cards lies in the points earned for using it, but the value of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is tightly tied to its benefits — almost like it’s a membership card that unlocks a wide range of perks to make your traveling life easier.
Some benefits mitigate direct costs, like $200 a year in statement credit for incidental fees on an airline you choose, as well as statement credit for the application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. And many business owners can find something they need from Dell. The card provides $200 in statement credit — $100 in the first half of the year and another $100 in the second half — for purchases directly from Dell.
Other perks are harder to put a dollar figure on, but are clearly valuable — from automatic hotel elite status to travel protections to concierge service.
A welcome perk for road warriors, airport lounges can be a refuge from the loud, teeming gate areas and come with free refreshments. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers access to several types, including the highly respected American Express Centurion Lounges and the more ubiquitous Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta. In addition, you get access to International American Express Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and lounges in the Plaza Premium, Airspace and Escapes networks, when enrolled in each.
All told, that’s access to well over 1,000 lounges worldwide. AmEx claims the lounge collection that comes with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is the largest to be offered by a credit card.
Besides redeeming points for travel through American Express, you can also transfer them to some airline and loyalty programs, many on a 1-to-1 basis. This might provide more value per point. Airline and hotel partners include Delta, JetBlue, British Airways, Air France/KLM, Hilton, Choice and Marriott.
Other redemption options include merchandise, gift cards, Amazon.com purchases and more. But we recommend redeeming points toward travel to get the best value.
Potential for big bonus
A new-cardholder bonus offers an impressive haul of points — but earning the full bonus requires spending big bucks soon after receiving the card. Full details: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
If you won't spend enough to earn the bonus, try a different card. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express isn't designed for the low-spending entrepreneur.
Why you might want a different card
Narrow bonus spending rewards
Rewards are rich for travel spending via AmEx and poor for everything else.
The good. Membership Rewards points are worth an average of 1 cent apiece, so the 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotel stays booked through amextravel.com is equivalent to a 5% rewards rate, which is exceptional. Spend $11,900 a year on travel to break even on the annual fee, before factoring in card perks. What’s more, get 35% of your points back when redeeming them for flights with your selected airline through amextravel.com, meaning you could squeeze out an effective rate of 6.75% on travel spending.
The bad. If you won’t book a lot of travel through AmEx, this card loses its allure quickly. It’s simply a poor choice for racking up rewards for other types of spending, which earns just 1 point per dollar spent or 1.5 points if the purchase is more than $5,000.
For non-AmEx travel, you'd be better off with a cash-back card like the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. This card offers an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, and it comes with a decent welcome bonus.
Dining rewards, in particular, are a weak spot for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Restaurant spending, which typically accompanies travel, earns just 1 point per dollar.
High annual fee
If you make full use of the perks offered by The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the $595 annual fee is worth it.
Notably, fully using the annual $200 airline fee credit mitigates the fee substantially. And it helps that the annual fee is a deductible business expense.
Use the calculator below to get an idea of whether the card's rewards and most popular credits and benefits make up for your annual fee.
But if like many people you're dead-set against paying that much to carry a credit card, consider the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. It earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each year, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. It has a jumbo welcome bonus and a much lower annual fee.
If you still want some luxury in a business travel card, consider the less pricey American Express® Business Gold Card. With an annual fee of $295, it has better spending rewards bonus categories, one of which includes U.S. restaurants. However, it lacks lounge access and some of the statement credits offered by The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
To extract the most value from a high-end travel card, you need patience to learn the card’s perks, figure out bonus rewards and wrestle with redemption processes. If that sounds like too much hassle, consider the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. This card works like the popular Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Earn an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, and redeem miles for any travel expense. Book however you want, then pay for it with miles. There's a solid bonus offer, too.
For other business credit card options, visit NerdWallet's best credit cards page.
Is The Business Platinum Card® from American Express right for you?
Light-traveling small-business folks who fly coach and pinch pennies will struggle to get their money's worth from this high-end card. After all, it is a luxury travel credit card. But that’s exactly why hard-core road warriors are likely to extract enough value from the card to make its hefty fee seem like a bargain.
To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.
on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673
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