American Express announces more Business Platinum changes (if you fly a lot, you’ll probably like them)

Days after announcing sweeping changes to its personal Platinum card, American Express has added some enhancements to the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN. And, this time, the improvements won’t accompany an increase in the annual fee. The changes to the personal Platinum card, remember, include an increased annual fee ($550). The Business version will continue to carry an annual fee of $450.

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What’s changing

The newest changes, which go into effect March 30, 2017 include:

  • 5X points per dollar on airfare and (prepaid) hotels booked via Amextravel.com
  • Cardmembers can bring up to two complimentary guests into Priority Pass lounges

Remember, these are just the most recent changes the Business Platinum has rolled out. In late-2016, it also added these enhancements:

  • 1.5 points per dollar (up from base earnings of 1 point per dollar) on purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 50 percent point rebate when you use your Membership Rewards points to book a flight with your selected airline via AmEx travel — and with any airline when you buy a first-or business-class ticket. Note the that, unless you’re booking business or first, you’ll get this rebate only when booking with your “selected” airline — that’s the same one you selected for the annual $200 travel credit. You can change this airline each year.

No announcement has been made about whether these latest enhancements will trigger an annual-fee increase. For now, the Business Platinum card is still available for $450 a year ($100 less than the personal Platinum card will be when its annual fee jumps to $500 on March 30).

How exciting are the changes?

If you can book airfares and hotels via American Express’s travel portal (Amextravel.com), 5x rewards on those purchases gives you a great new way to earn MR points. Historically, the Business Platinum card hasn’t been a great rewards-earner. In fact, until late-2016, you could earn just 1 MR point on everything. The addition of these new “bonus” categories (as well as the recent addition of 1.5X rewards on purchases above $5k) help make the Business Platinum a good rewards-earner in addition to a luxury-benefit-giver. However, if you prefer to buy travel via aggregation/discount sites or even directly from airlines and hotels, you will not earn the 5X bonus points.

If you frequently travel with a group, the improved complimentary guest access to Priority Pass lounges could help you get extra value out of the card.

Have the card already? You’re getting possibly increased value for no extra cost.

Thinking about getting the card? You have some new benefits to consider. However, it’s important to comparison shop. Compare business-card offers and make sure the benefits of the American Express Business Platinum card justify the annual fee. There are lower-cost options within American Express’s portfolio. And the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a worthy contender, based on the strength of its rewards program.

 
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