What are the benefits of the American Express Platinum Business card?
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If you are looking for an American Express Card for your small business, American Express offers two products in the UK – Gold Business and Platinum Business. My recent article on American Express Gold Business Card is here. Today I am looking at the American Express Platinum Business Charge Card®.
The official application website for the American Express Platinum Business Charge Card is here.
Whilst I know that a lot of small business owners read Head for Points, because it helps them maximise their travel spend, we haven’t spent much time in the past discussing the two small business cards. They are very similar to their Gold and Platinum personal Card siblings but each has a few key differences worth highlighting.
With Gold, the key difference is that the Card remains a Charge Card whilst the personal version is now a Credit Card. The annual fee is lower but you do not receive the Lounge Club passes. With Platinum, there are some key tweaks to the benefits package, including better travel insurance benefits. You also receive a far bigger sign-up bonus. We will cover these as we go.
About the American Express Platinum Business Charge Card
The American Express Platinum Business Charge Card is issued directly by American Express. It is aimed mainly at small businesses and sole traders. The criteria for applying are fairly lenient – whilst this is a more premium Platinum Card, the requirements are identical to the Gold Business card:
- You have been in business for over 1 year
- The business has a UK bank account
- The business has no County Court Judgements against it
- You are over 18.
There are no turnover or profitability requirements for the company itself.
Note that the American Express Platinum Business Card is a Charge Card, not a Credit Card. You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month. The upside is that there is no pre-set spending limit.
What is the sign-up bonus and points earning rate?
You will receive 40,000 American Express Membership Rewards® points when you spend £6,000 within 3 months. This is a very generous incentive as long as you are confident of meeting the spending target. It offsets the majority of the £450 annual fee for the first year.
It is worth noting that the sign-up bonus on Platinum Business (40,000 points) is bigger than the bonus on the personal Platinum Card (30,000 points).
There is one thing which is important to clarify as many HFP readers will already hold the personal Gold or Platinum Cards. You CANNOT get the sign-up bonus on Gold Business if you already have, or have had in the previous six months, a personal Gold or Platinum Card or any other card which earns Membership Rewards points.
For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus if you already have a British Airways Amex, SPG Amex, Platinum Cashback Amex or any Amex issued by Lloyds Bank.
For your on-going spending, you receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the Card with a few minor exceptions.
What is the best way to use your points?
Membership Rewards points can be converted into a range of benefits. In our opinion the most valuable options are converting into frequent flyer programmes (including Avios points and Virgin Flying Club) at a ratio of 1:1. This means that the sign-up bonus is worth 40,000 Avios points or 40,000 Virgin miles.
American Express Membership Rewards points also convert into Hilton Honors (at 1:2), Marriott Bonvoy (at 2:3) and Radisson Rewards at a generous 1:3. There are also a lot of non-travel redemptions including retailer gift cards – American Express is a partner with M&S, House of Fraser, Amazon etc.
Membership Rewards points are awarded to the individual and NOT to the company so you can spend them however you wish.
You can take a look at the full list of Membership Rewards options here.
Any other Platinum Business benefits?
Yes. Whilst the annual fee for the Platinum Business Card may initially seem steep, there is a lot of value to be had from the benefits package. I have had a personal American Express Platinum Card for almost 20 years and so clearly see value in what I get back.
Let’s look at some of the key features (see the American Express website for full terms and conditions):
You will receive airport lounge access via a complimentary Priority Pass Card. Priority Pass is a network of 1,200 airport lounges across the world, including eight in London Heathrow and five in London Gatwick. This includes the Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5. Your Priority Pass allows an unlimited number of free visits to their lounges over the year together with a guest. Additional guest are charged at £20 although some lounges admit children for free.
You can give a Priority Pass Card to a second person by issuing a free supplementary Platinum Business Card to them. This person can also bring a guest. If this is your partner or spouse, you would both be able to get into the lounge for free, with two children, when travelling for leisure.
You will receive access to the new Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5, reviewed here. This is not a Priority Pass lounge but American Express Platinum Business cardholders can get access, with a guest, by showing their Platinum Business card at the front desk.
You will receive comprehensive travel insurance for both business and leisure travel. This is a very valuable benefit because of the high level of coverage available – you can take a look at the policy document here (PDF). Unlike the personal Platinum American Express Card, which was weaker coverage, the insurance available on the Business product remains gold plated, in my opinion. There is no excess to pay at any time and you are covered up to the age of 80. There is also no requirement to pay for any part of your trip on the card in order to be covered. You can also cover family or work colleagues by issuing them with a free supplementary card on your account.
You will receive Gold status in the Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty scheme. This will give added benefits at Marriott, Renaissance, The Ritz-Carlton, Moxy, Aloft, Sheraton, Westin, W, Aloft, St Regis and The Luxury Collection properties amongst others.
You will receive Gold status in the Radisson Rewards hotel loyalty scheme. This will give added benefits at Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn hotels.
You can access the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Programme. This offers genuine added value benefits at a large number of luxury hotels across the world. These include a GUARANTEED 4pm check-out, free breakfast, an upgrade if available at check-in and typically a $100 credit towards on-property spending. We have written extensively about Fine Hotels & Resorts in the past and rate it highly.
Note that you do not receive the Hilton Honors Gold, Melia Rewards Gold or Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade hotel status Cards that would come with a personal American Express Platinum Charge Card.
You will also receive access to the Platinum Business concierge service as well as other standard Amex benefits such as Global Assist, emergency card replacement, refund protection and purchase protection.
What is the annual fee for Platinum Business?
The annual fee is £450, billed with your first statement and then annually thereafter. As long as you use the Card exclusively for business expenses, the annual fee is a tax deductible expense.
You will receive one consolidated statement showing the spend on your Card and all of the Supplementary Cards. All of the Membership Rewards points earned on the Supplementary Cards will flow into your personal account.
Depending on when in your monthly cycle you make a payment, you will effectively receive up to 54 days free credit on your spending. American Express statements generally provide more underlying transaction detail for flights and certain other transactions than Visa or Mastercard statements, making it easier to reconcile transactions.
The only major issue with Amex Platinum Business Card is the lack of Amex acceptance by some suppliers but Amex is working on increasing their coverage.
The Head for Points verdict:
If you are a sole trader or own a small business (even a service company) then the American Express Platinum Business Card is worth a look.
If you use the Card exclusively for business purchases, and therefore can deduct the annual fee as a business expense, the net cost – especially for higher rate taxpayers – is reduced. The 40,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up are an excellent incentive and the comprehensive travel insurance, Priority Pass and hotel status Cards add a lot of value.
The official American Express website, which contains full details and the application form, is here.
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.