American Express has announced some major changes to the American Express Platinum Business card. These have gone into effect already, so it is no longer possible to apply for the old package.
Here is a quick summary:
GOOD NEWS: the hotel status benefits now match the personal Platinum card, you now get a free digital subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times; you get £150 cashback on any onefinestay home rental
BAD NEWS: the fee increases to £595; the fee for additional supplementary cards (after the first free one) goes up to £295
AMBIVALENT NEWS: the card is now metal
The sign-up bonus remains 40,000 Membership Rewards points for a £6000 spend within three months.
Remember that it is substantially easier to qualify for the sign-up bonus on the Platinum Business card than the personal Platinum card. To get the 40,000 Membership Rewards points on signing up, you only need to have gone SIX MONTHS without any American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points. The personal Platinum card now requires you to wait 24 months.
(And …. remember …. having Platinum Business does NOT stop you getting the bonus on personal Platinum later. The rule on the personal Platinum card is that you can’t have had any PERSONAL card earning Membership Rewards points in the last 24 months. Amex does not look at Business cards. The Platinum Business card is a good way to fill the gap if you are waiting 24 months before you can reapply for personal Platinum.)
The fee increase for existing cardmembers will apply to renewals from 16th September. If your renewal date is before this it will renew at the existing rate of £450.
Now let’s look at all this in more detail …..
The card facts
American Express Platinum Business is a charge card, not a credit card. You must clear your full balance at the end of each month.
The card is metal.
The sign-up bonus is 40,000 Membership Rewards points which requires you to spend £6,000 within your first three months of membership. You qualify for the bonus as long as “[you do not] currently hold or have held any Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past six months.”
You receive 18,000 Membership Rewards points if you refer a friend for an American Express card. The annual cap is 90,000 points.
You earn 1 Membership Rewards points on virtually every £1 spent on the card. These convert 1:1 into Avios, Virgin Flying Club miles and lots of other airline and hotel programmes, plus Eurostar points (15:1). You can also redeem for various shopping vouchers. You can see the redemption options on the Membership Rewards website.
The annual fee is now £595 (was £450). Additional Platinum supplementary cards after the first free one are now £295 – these cards receive all of the benefits below. You can have 98 free Gold supplementary cards but these do not come with any benefits.
What are the criteria for applying for Amex Platinum Business?
There is no income requirement and no trading requirement. You can apply even if you have just set up your business, as long as:
The business has a current UK Bank or Building Society account
You/The business have/has no County Court Judgements for non-payment of debt
You are aged 18 or over
You have a permanent UK home address
It is no longer a requirement that you have been in business for at least one year.
What is the Amex Platinum Business benefits package?
Let’s look at what you get for £595. For comparison, the annual fee on the personal Platinum card is now £575.
The following benefits are unchanged:
You will receive a free Priority Pass card. Priority Pass is a network of 1200 airport lounges across the world, including eight in London Heathrow. This includes the Aspire lounge in BA’s Heathrow Terminal 5. Your Priority Pass allows an unlimited number of free visits to their lounges. You can also bring in a guest for free.
You can also give a Priority Pass card to a second person by allocating your one free supplementary Platinum Business card to them. If this is your partner or spouse, you would both be able to get into the lounge for free and each bring in a free guest so a family of four is covered. Additional guests would be charged at £20 each.
You will receive access to the Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5. This is not a Priority Pass lounge but American Express Platinum Business cardholders can get access, with a guest, by showing their Platinum card at the front desk. You can also access American Express Centurion lounges with a guest, including the upcoming one in Heathrow Terminal 3.
You will receive comprehensive travel insurance. 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). This is a substantially stronger insurance package than you get with the personal version of Platinum. There is NO EXCESS to pay at any time, there is no requirement to use the Platinum Card to pay for anything and you are covered up to the age of 80.
You will receive Gold status in the Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty scheme. This will give added benefits at Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin, W, aloft, St Regis, The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection etc properties – almost 30 brands in total.
You will receive Gold status in the Radisson Rewards hotel loyalty scheme. This will give added benefits at Radisson Blu / RED, 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.
There are also benefits with Avis Preferred and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards but these are, in all honesty, no better than deals that are generally available.
It is not clear if you can access Eurostar lounge with Platinum Business, which is a benefit of personal Platinum. (EDIT: a comment below suggests it does not.)
The following benefits are new:
You will receive Gold status in the Hilton Honors hotel loyalty scheme. This is the best mid-tier hotel status to have, because you get free breakfast with it. You will get benefits at Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Hampton, Curio etc. The personal Platinum card has had this benefit for many years but it was not part of Platinum Business.
You will receive Gold status in the MeliaRewards hotel loyalty scheme. You will get benefits at Melia and INNSIDE hotels, with benefits including three 20% discount vouchers each year and ‘2 for 1’ breakfast. The personal Platinum card has had this benefit for many years but it was not part of Platinum Business.
You will receive Jade status in the Shangri-La Golden Circle hotel loyalty scheme. Due to a reciprocal partnership, you can match this to Gold status in Taj Inner Circle. The personal Platinum card has had this benefit for many years but it was not part of Platinum Business.
You receive £150 or equivalent cashback when you book a onefinestay home rental. This benefits was also introduced to the personal Platinum card last month. You can use this benefit an unlimited number of times. There are no ‘cheap’ properties with onefinestay, however, and combined with a minimum stay requirement it is virtually impossible to spend less than £600.
You receive a free digital subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times. This is worth over £300, and if you currently pay for this it is a huge incentive to take out the card.
There are also some admin changes – the Global Dining Collections (special restaurant deals) can now be booked via the app. You can also now message American Express via the app.
Whilst the recent changes to The Platinum Card (personal version) were – for most people – negative if you couldn’t use the £120 per year of Addison Lee taxi credit, the changes to Platinum Business are more neutral.
You are gaining Hilton Honors Gold, MeliaRewards Gold and Shangri-La Golden Circle Gold status, as well as a digital subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times. The trade off is a £145 increase in the annual fee which, as the fee is tax deductible, means that the net cost to you would be around £75 – £115 depending on your tax rate. This is probably a fair trade off for most people.
Platinum Business is no longer an inferior product to The Platinum Card (personal version). I will do a comparison article soon, but the key trade off – apart from the initial sign-up bonus which is higher on Platinum Business – is whether you prefer the £10 monthly Addison Lee credit on the Personal card to the digital Times subscription on the Business card. You also need to decide whether the enhanced travel insurance on the Business card matters to you.
For many people, the key driver to applying will be the ability to get the sign-up bonus. It is far easier to get the bonus on Platinum Business because it only requires you to have gone six months without a card earning Membership Rewards points. The personal version requires to have gone 24 months without a personal card earning Membership Rewards poitns.
You can find out more about American Express Platinum Business, and apply, on the American Express website here.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)