In many areas of business portraying a certain upscale image can be crucial.
American Express has certainly cultivated a reputation for status in its branding and advertising over the decades. This review (updated with the latest rewards-program changes) will help you decide if the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN is right for you — and if provides more than just status in the eyes of those you want to impress. Note: American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner.
*Note: If you’re looking for the personal (non-business) version then go here.
Is it just a status symbol?
The truth of the matter is that this card is far more than a status symbol – it can offer significant value depending on how and where it is used. If you actually make use the many cardmember benefits, the $450 annual fee can become less of a concern. But is it the right business card for you? Review these 10 pros and cons to decide for yourself.
1. It’s a charge card, not a credit card
First of all, it’s important to realize that this an American Express charge card (not a credit card). That means you have to pay your bill in full each month. So this is the wrong choice if you need long-term financing.
If you’re looking for a business credit card that lets you carry a balance, then I would recommend the Chase Ink Cash.
2. Get complimentary access to 900+ airport lounges
If you do a decent amount of traveling, then you will especially enjoy this benefit. Only the AmEx Business Platinum offers you access at all of the following:
- Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership – With this you get access to all of their lounges, both domestic and international. Access for you is complimentary. Starting 3/30/2017, you’ll be able to take two guests in with you at no additional cost. Beyond that, each additional guest will cost $27 per person for each visit. You can’t buy the “Select” Membership directly thru Priority Pass, but look how much it would cost to buy their most similar plan:
Plus on top of that, you also get complimentary access to participating lounges with the following:
- Delta Sky Club
- Airspace Lounges at JFK, CLE and SAN.
- Centurion Lounges at DFW, IAH, LAS, LGA, MIA, SEA, SFO and PHL (coming soon). These are the first of many AmEx airport lounges that will be opening at major US cities.
Just a Delta Sky Club membership alone would cost you $450 per year! So as you can see, between the Priority Pass Select and others, you’re getting quite a bit of value. While it’s true that some lounge access was lost recently due to the American-US Air merger, this is still a nice perk that more than justifies the annual fee if you use it often.
3. Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
More than 700 hotels worldwide participate in this program, and when you book a hotel through the program, you will get the following:
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Noon early check-in, upon availability
- Daily continental breakfast for two
- 4:00 pm guaranteed late check-out
- Additional hotel-specific benefits, such as a $100 dining credit or complimentary 3rd night (the benefit will vary by property)
So if you’re a business traveler who stays at more of the higher-end hotels like Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, the Ritz, etc. this benefit will improve your travels. However if you’re more of the Motel 6 type of person, the drawback is that this benefit won’t be of any use to you.
4. Up to $200 in airline fees refunded every year
Not too long ago American Express added a new benefit to their Business Platinum Card and that is the ability to get up to $200 in airline incidental fees refunded every year; checked baggage fees, in-flight meals, ticket change fees, in-flight entertainment charges, etc.
The only drawback is that you have to pick one airline for this. For example if you choose United, you will only get these fees refunded when flying with United. But don’t worry, you have the option each year to change your preferred airline.
5. Membership Rewards
This card is one of several AmEx cards that participate in the Membership Rewards Program. Here’s what you get:
- 1x point per dollar spent on purchases
- 1.5 MR points per dollar on purchases over $5k (up to 1 million additional points per year)
- There’s no limit to how many points you can earn and they never expire
- Want travel rewards? Only Membership Rewards lets you convert your points to frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards, often on a 1:1 basis, with more than 20 frequent flier and hotel programs.
- 5X points on airfares and hotel bookings purchased through AmexTravel.com.
- 35 percent Airline Bonus: When you use your points to pay for all or part of a flight (with your selected airline), you get 35 percent of those redeemed points back. If you book a first- or business-class flight through American Express Travel, you get that bonus with any airline.
6. Concierge service
I know there are a number of credit cards nowadays that come with concierge service (i.e. Visa Signature and World MasterCard) and what they offer is good considering that you can get it on a no-annual-fee card like the Sapphire from Chase.
However the 24/7 concierge we’re talking about here is of a different caliber. In my experience, American Express will really jump through hoops for you.
7. Premium Roadside Assistance
Don’t have an AAA membership? No worries, because with this card you get roadside assistance (for a list of eligible services,including lockout service, flat-tire changes, etc.) up to 4 times per year.
8. Reimbursement for $100 Global Entry fee or $85 TSA PreCheck fee
If you’re not familiar with Global Entry, it’s a program administered through the U.S. government that allows approved low-risk travelers expedited clearance when going through US customs at most major airports. TSA PreCheck, meanwhile, allows travelers into an expedited security line (assuming their airline participates in the program) that doesn’t require removal of shoes, or removal of laptops from the bag.
To apply for Global Entry and PreCheck, you have to pay upfront. However if you pay with your Platinum Business Card, you will receive a statement credit to offset the cost.
9. A large number of insurance benefits
Purchases you make with your card have the following protections:
- Purchase Protection – Covers accidental damage, theft or loss on qualifying new purchases for 90 days. Up to $10,000 per incident with a max of $50,000 per year.
- Extended Warranty – Receive up to 1 additional year in coverage on qualifying purchases that come with a US manufacturer’s warranty. For example if it comes with 1 year of coverage, you get an extra year (2 years total) through American Express. Up to $10,000 per item, not to exceed $50,000 per year.
- Baggage Insurance Plan – Offers extra coverage during qualifying Common Carrier travel purchased with your card.
- Travel Accident Insurance – During qualifying Common Carrier travel.
There are others too, check out the application to see them.
10. Companion airfare on international flights
If you travel internationally, then even if you just use this feature once, you could easily save $1,000 or more with it.
- Purchase an eligible business or first-class ticket on an international flight to get the companion ticket offer
- Available on international flights with more than 20 airline partners
- The companion airfare is complimentary but you will have to pay any applicable taxes, fees, and airline fuel surcharges on this second ticket.
Who should apply?
At $450 per year, it’s definitely not a card for everyone or every small business owner, but the benefits can be very useful for avid travelers. For a limited time you can earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points. Specifically, you can earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on all qualifying purchases within your first three months of Card Membership.
For those who won’t be using the benefits, it will probably make sense to consider a different business credit card. The same holds true if you anticipate the need to carry a balance. For good alternatives you can compare business card offers here.
This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.
This review was written or last updated Oct. 2016