A review of the American Express Business Platinum Card
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American Express U.K. offers two different types of its famed Platinum Card: a personal version and a business version. As the name suggests, the American Express Platinum Business Card is an ultra-premium card for big-spending businesses that is packed with benefits.
For the right small business, this card can be an absolute no-brainer — especially with such a nice welcome bonus. Let’s break down the card and its many benefits.
Who is this card for?
This card is marketed toward businesses that can handle a large annual fee, are looking for serious earning potential and loads of travel benefits and protections, as well as the wow factor whenever opening the wallet.
There is no minimum income requirement to be approved for this card, even though it is marketed at businesses with deep pockets and spending power.
You might be surprised at just how wide American Express defines “business.” Your business must have a current U.K. bank or building society account, you must have a permanent U.K. home address, be at least 18 years or older and have no county court judgments for non-payment of debt against you.
Welcome bonus and annual fee
American Express is offering a welcome bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending £6,000 in your first three months of cardmembership.
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 40,000 Membership Rewards points you can get as part of this welcome bonus are worth £560.
There’s an annual fee of £595, which is the highest of any publicly advertised business credit card in the UK. This fee isn’t waived in the first or any subsequent years. But, there are plenty of benefits to help offset this hefty fee, including the welcome bonus, which is worth more than double the annual fee in itself.
You cannot have held any American Express Membership Rewards-earning card in the past six months in order to receive this bonus, and business cards are not affected by the tough new restrictions on American Express U.K. welcome bonuses.
This is a charge card (rather than a credit card), which has no spending limit, but you’ll need to pay the balance in full each month. The card is made from metal, rather than plastic you may be used to with other cards.
Considering how expensive this card is, the earning rate of only 1 Membership Reward point per £1 spent is fairly disappointing. Fortunately, there is one bonus spend category — you’ll earn 2 Membership Rewards points for each £1 spent on flights, hotels, car hire or experiences with American Express Travel, which can be very lucrative if you or your staff are doing plenty of business travel.
While you will still receive 1 Membership Reward point per £1 (equivalent) spent in foreign currencies, you will also be hit with a 2.99% foreign transaction fee, which is about double the value of the Membership Rewards points you are receiving. Because of that, don’t use this card abroad for the points-earning benefit unless absolutely necessary.
It’s frustrating that a card with such a high annual fee and comparatively low earn rate for normal purchases still imposes foreign transaction fees. If Amex were to improve anything about this card, it should look at either — or both — the dismal point-earning structure or the fact that it still charges an unnecessary foreign transaction fee.
For a card that offers supreme travel benefits, it’s strange to impose a penalty for using it when abroad.
The Membership Rewards points that you’ll earn from this card, including the 100,000-point welcome bonus, are one of the most valuable points currencies available in the U.K. TPG U.K. values Membership Rewards points at 1.4p apiece.
The reason they’re so valuable is that they’re a transferable currency, meaning you’re not tied down to just one programme. In fact, the Membership Rewards programme partners with 13 different airlines (including household names like British Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic), as well as three hotel chains (Hilton, Radisson and Marriott) and two other partners (Club Eurostar and Nectar).
In other words, you’re not earning solely Avios, which can only be redeemed through British Airways. Instead, you’re earning a currency that could be transferred to Avios if you want but could also be transferred to one of 17 other partners. That flexibility is extremely important.
That all being said, there are some better redemptions for your hard-earned Membership Rewards points than others. Check out our complete guide to using Membership Rewards points to ensure you’re extracting the most value from your points.
Now, for the especially good news: the perks of the Business Platinum Card. You can issue a complimentary Platinum card to one of your employees, as well as up to 98 Complimentary Gold cards, and you will still receive all the points as well as all the expenses paid on all the (up to) 100 cards issued to your company. If you are the business owner, remember that your business will still be responsible for all purchases made.
A second supplementary Platinum Card can be issued for an additional £295 annual fee, however, they will enjoy all the perks the primary cardholder does.
Additionally, you’ll get a complimentary annual digital subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times, which is worth £312 per year.
If you like to travel, either for business or leisure, there’s a list of benefits a mile long with this card.
The Business Platinum Card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership that also lets you bring one guest into the lounge with you. With more than 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass worldwide network, including restaurants, you should have a lounge within striking distance no matter where you travel. There are dozens and dozens of Priority Pass lounges in the U.K. and across Europe.
If you’re a frequent traveller to the USA, the Business Platinum Card gives you access to the very best network of domestic lounges in the U.S.: the Centurion Lounges. Amex has spent plenty of resources building these lounges, and they’re worth every penny. With food menus from award-winning chefs, top-shelf cocktails, complimentary massages, spa treatments and more, the Centurion Lounges are a bright spot of the domestic U.S. lounge network. With Centurion Lounge access, you can also guest in two fellow travellers for free.
There are 13 Centurion Lounges open in the USA: Charlotte (CLT), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York Kennedy (JFK), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA). The Amex Lounge Collection also features the following international airport lounges, which are classified as either Centurion or American Express Lounges:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE) – Centurion Lounge
- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) – Centurion Lounge and Clubs (three lounges)
- Monterrey, Mexico (MTY) – Centurion Clubs (two lounges)
- Toluca, Mexico (TLC) – Centurion Club
- Hong Kong (HKG) – Centurion Lounge
- New Delhi, India (DEL) – American Express Lounge
- Sydney, Australia (SYD) – American Express Lounge
- Melbourne, Australia (MEL) – American Express Lounge
Amex is set to open a Centurion Lounge at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) later this year.
Amex’s Fine Hotel & Resorts is a programme that also offers additional value. Along with providing extra perks when you book a hotel room through the programme — such as complimentary breakfast for two, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, room upgrades when available and a benefit specific to each hotel, such as a US$100 on-property credit — you can also sometimes find offers for free nights when staying three or four nights at a property. If you travel a lot, the benefits to be had from the Amex FHR programme alone — especially free breakfast for two people — can offset the annual fee on its own.
The Amex Business Platinum provides comprehensive travel insurance with no excess payable.
There are also not one, not two, but four elite hotel statuses provided to the primary and up to two Platinum supplementary cardholders in the following programmes:
- Hilton Honors Elite Gold status
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Melia Rewards Gold
- Radisson Rewards Gold status
Depending on the programme, the status provides you with a range of benefits when staying at a property belonging to that programme like room upgrades, welcome gifts, bonus points, early check-in and late checkout, subject to availability.
There’s also travel and rental car insurance, including for many purchases and situations where you may not have used the card to pay. If you’re hiring cars you’ll also receive elite status in Avis Preferred and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.
For non-hotel stays, you’ll get a £150 statement credit when you stay in private homes with Onefinestay.
Remember, the first supplementary Platinum cardholder as well as the second paid supplementary Platinum cardholder will receive every single one of these perks, too.
There is an improved Amex App which you can use for both booking through the Global Dining Collection and easier connection with Business Platinum Service and Concierge.
Which cards compete with this card?
This is the most-premium business American Express card, and its long list of features are really unmatched by any other offers.
If you’re reluctant to sign up for a card with a huge annual fee but still want to earn Membership Rewards points, you may wish to consider the American Express Business Gold Card instead — it has a much lower annual fee but the welcome bonus is lower. It’s offering a welcome bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points after spending £3,000 in the first three months. There are fewer travel benefits for you and your business.
This is really the most feature-packed publicly available business charge card in the U.K. Yes, the annual fee is huge and will put off many small business owners, but that is nearly offset by the value of the welcome bonus. And if you or your employees are regular travellers, there is an enormous list of travel benefits that you could be able to reap plenty of value from.
Featured photo by Luis Alvarez/Getty Images.
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