American Express Business Platinum Card Review 2014

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Let’s be honest… in the business world, portraying the right image means everything.

And American Express has a reputation for status. This review will help you decide if the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN is right for you — and if it gives you 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 deliver great value depending on how it is used. If you actually use the benefits, the $450 annual fee can become less of a concern. But is it right for you? Review these 10 benefits (and drawbacks) and 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 600+ 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. If you wish to bring guests, they are $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:
    cost of Priority Pass

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 BWI.
  • Centurion Lounges at LAS and DFW. These are the first of several AmEx airport lounges that will be opening at major US cities.

Just a Delta Sky Club membership alone would cost you $695 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
  • 2x points per dollar spent with AmEx Travel
  • 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. And you will get a 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points

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. Up to $200 annually in roadside assistance

Don’t have an AAA membership? No worries, because with this card you get roadside assistance; reimbursement of up to $50 per call and you can use it up to 4 times per year (so up to a $200 value).

8. Reimbursement for $100 Global Entry fee

man using Global EntryIf 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.

If approved, you have the ability to skip the lines and use an automated kiosk to check yourself in when you’re returning to the U.S.

To apply for this, you have to cough up $100. 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 for everyone, but the benefits can be very useful for avid travelers. Right now you can get 40,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening, which is something they don’t always offer.
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 May 6, 2014

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

3 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Alistair June 12, 2012 at 7:57AM

    Excellent review. I’ve been looking for some good, clear information about getting an American Express platinum card and your guide tells me everything I need to know and a little more. I can also confidently cancel my airport lounge membership now that I know American Express platinum gives me free access to over 600 airport lounges as well.

    All the best

  2. Bill N May 18, 2012 at 4:46AM

    Corporate Platinum cards do not have the $200 airline incidental benefit. Only Consumer and I believe OPEN accounts qualify for that benefit.

    • CreditCardGuru May 20, 2012 at 9:00PM

      Hi Bill, the business version (above) is different from the corporate card.

      A corporate AmEx requires a stellar corporate credit history (you can’t use a personal guarantee to qualify) and your corporation/LLC has to have high annual revenues for your company (a minimum of $2-5 mil per year if I recall correctly).

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