Credit Card Review: The Business Platinum Card From American Express UK
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American Express UK 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.
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’. Read this guide to determine if you might qualify for a business card.
Welcome Bonus and Annual Fee
First, the bad news. The annual fee of £595 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. For starters, there’s a welcome bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points (the points currency of American Express-issued cards) when you spend £6,000 in the first three months of card membership. For an average small- to medium-sized business, this should not be difficult to reach. Based on TPG UK’s current valuation of Membership Rewards points, that welcome bonus is worth around £560, which almost offsets the annual fee completely.
You cannot have held any American Express-issued 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 UK welcome bonuses. You must have been in business for more than a year and have a UK bank account.
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 a 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.
Now, for the especially good news: the perks. 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 great feature of this card is that until 1 June 2020, you will earn 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for each complimentary Platinum and/or Gold card you issue, up to 25,000 bonus points in total.
American Express has advised TPG UK that 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.
If you like to travel, either for business or leisure, there’s a list of benefits a mile long with this card.
The Platinum Business Card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership that now also lets you bring one guest. With more than 1,000 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 UK and across Europe.
If you’re a frequent traveller to the USA, the Platinum Business Card gives you access to the very best network of domestic lounges in the US — 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 US lounge network. With Centurion Lounge access, you can also guest in two fellow travellers for free.
There are only eight Centurion Lounges open in the USA: Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA). Amex has also announced plans to open Centurion Lounges at New York Kennedy (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Charlotte (CLT) and Denver (DEN). 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.
Although not publicly listed, American Express has advised TPG UK that there are also not one, not two, but five elite hotel statuses provided to the primary and up to two Platinum supplementary cardholders in the following programs:
- Hilton Honors Elite Gold status
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Melia Rewards Gold
- Radisson Rewards Gold status
- Shangri-La Golden Circle – Jade Membership
Depending on the program, the status provides you with a range of benefits when staying at a property belonging to that program 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.
Remember, the first complimentary 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 Gold Business Charge Card from American Express UK instead — it has a much lower annual fee but the welcome bonus is similarly lower. There are also far fewer travel benefits for you and your business.
This is really the most feature-packed publicly available business charge card in the UK.
Yes, the annual fee is huge and will put off many small business owners, but that is 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.
You can apply for this card here.