Editorial Review

American Express Business Platinum Review: Worth the Fee for Heavy Travelers

You earn 5X points on eligible travel spending, and you'll enjoy a sweet suite of perks that take a lot of the pain out of travel. The catch? A $595 annual fee.

Paul Soucy, Erin El IssaSeptember 5, 2019

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Our Take

3.8

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: If you travel a lot for business, the generous rewards and perks on this card could make the big fee seem like a bargain. Don't travel much? Then this isn't your card.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$595

Regular APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$595
Annual Fee
$595
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High rewards rate on certain travel purchases

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Bonus offer for new cardholders

  • Lounge access, airline fee credit

Cons
  • High annual fee

  • Other cards offer a higher rewards rate on non-travel spending

  • Complicated rewards structure

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: Cash-back rewards

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Don't travel much? Cash is better

Earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, with no bonus categories to worry about. Redeem in any amount at any time. There's a fat sign-up bonus, and the annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$595

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

N/A

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

19.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

If you travel a lot for your business, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is well worth its steep $595 annual fee. It provide generous rewards for travel expenses and comes with a suite of perks that can make the grind of travel significantly less abrasive.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Basics

  • Card type: Small business.

  • Annual fee: $595.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Rewards: 

    • 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. That's an extra half-point per dollar on such purchases. Good for up to 1 million extra points per year.

    • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

    • Terms apply.

  • 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.

How perks make up for the $595 annual fee

No doubt about it, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express comes with a bit of sticker shock with its big annual fee. The first thing to remember is that the fee is a deductible business expense. Beyond that, the card offers extensive travel perks that provide a ton of value:

  • Airline fee credit. Up to $200 a year in credit for incidental fees on one airline, such as checked bag fees or in-flight refreshments or entertainment. Each year, you select a qualifying airline to receive this credit.

  • Airline redemption bonus. When you redeem points for eligible flights through American Express Travel, you get 35% of those points back. Eligible flights include:

    • All fare classes on your selected qualifying airline.

    • First- or business-class fares on any airline.

  • Trusted traveler program application fee credit. When you apply for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck programs, you'll receive a credit of $100 or $85, respectively, for the application fee. This credit is available once every five years.

  • Global Lounge Collection. Your card gets you into more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, including the issuer's own Centurion Lounges and International American Express Lounges, Delta Sly Clubs (when flying Delta), Priority Pass lounges, and lounges in the Plaza Premium, Airspace and Escapes networks.

  • Hotel status. You automatically qualify for Gold status in the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs.

Why you'd want The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

A big bonus for big spending

The two-tier bonus offer for new cardholders sets the tone for this card. You can collect an impressive haul of points — but to get the full bonus, you'll need to spend $25,000 pretty much right off the bat. Full details: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Think of it as a test for whether this card is a good match for your business. If you won't spend enough to earn the bonus — or if you'd really have to stretch to do so — then you're better off with a different product. (See other options below.) The Business Platinum® Card from American Express isn't designed for the entrepreneur who spends a little here and a little there.

Generous travel rewards

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 the equivalent of a 5% rewards rate. Spend $11,900 a year on travel, and you've made up for the annual fee right there, even before factoring in card perks. On top of that, you get 35% of your points back when you redeem points for eligible flights as described above, meaning you could squeeze out an effective rate of 6.75% on travel spending.

Flexible redemption

In addition to redeeming points for travel through American Express, you can also transfer them to a number of airline and loyalty programs, usually on a 1-to-1 basis. This might give you 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, Uber rides and more. But we recommend putting your points toward travel, since that's where the greatest value lies.

PURCHASE protections

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express covers purchases against loss, theft or damage within 90 days. It also has extended warranty protection, which adds up to one extra year to your manufacturer's warranty.

Why you might want a different card

you don't travel much for business

In case it isn't clear by now, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is a fantastic card if you travel a lot on business. If you don't travel a lot, well, then it's a really bad choice for you. You'd be better off with a cash-back card like the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. This card gives you an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, and it comes with a decent welcome bonus: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

You just can't stomach the 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. But if you're dead-set against paying that much to carry a credit card (and many people are), 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 Chase. There's a jumbo welcome bonus: "Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®." The annual fee is $95.

You value simplicity in travel rewards

Don't have the patience for figuring out bonus rewards and wrestling with redemption processes? Take a look at the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. This card works a lot like the popular Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: You earn an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, and you can redeem those miles for any travel expense. Book however you want, then pay for it with miles. Welcome bonus: "Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.," Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.

For other business credit card options, visit NerdWallet's best credit cards page.

Is The Business Platinum® Card from American Express right for you?

It all comes down to how much you travel for business. Hard-core road warriors will extract enough value from the card to make its hefty fee seem like a bargain. One-or-two-trips-a-year puddle-jumpers will struggle to get their money's worth. Look at the rewards and perks, and do the accounting.

To view rates and fees of the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, please visit this page.