If you are looking for an Amex business card, American Express offers two core products in the UK. This review looks at the American Express Business Platinum charge card. Our review of the other Amex business card, the American Express Business Gold charge card, is here.
This article was updated on 1st January 2023, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.
Why Amex Platinum Business?
The American Express Business Platinum charge card is issued directly by American Express.
The Amex business cards are aimed mainly at small businesses and sole traders. The criteria for applying are fairly lenient – whilst this is a Platinum card, the terms are identical to the Business Gold card:
- The business has a UK bank account
- The business has no County Court Judgements against it
- You are over 18
- You have a permanent UK home address
There are no turnover or profitability requirements for the company itself. There is no longer any requirement to have been in business for one year – you can now apply as soon as you have a bank account.
Note that the American Express Business Platinum card is a charge card, not a credit card. You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.
What is the Amex Business Platinum sign-up bonus?
You will receive 40,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend £6,000 within three months. This is a very generous incentive as long as you are confident of meeting the spending target.
Do you qualify for the sign-up bonus?
American Express states on the Business Platinum website that “You will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if you currently hold or have held any Membership Rewards [ie Platinum, Gold or Green American Express card] enrolled American Express Card in the past 13 months.” This includes personal and business cards.
For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus if you already have a British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar or Platinum Cashback American Express card.
What can you do with 40,000 Membership Rewards points?
Membership Rewards points can be converted into a range of goodies. The most valuable options are converting into frequent flyer miles (including Avios 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 Points.
There are also a lot of non-travel redemptions including High Street, Amazon and iTunes gift cards.
Membership Rewards points are awarded to the individual and NOT to the company so you can spend them however you wish.
Any other benefits?
As usual, American Express adds a lot of bells and whistles to the Platinum Business card:
You receive £200 per year to spend at Amex Travel. The only condition is that the £200 is spent in one transaction. For most people this is almost as good as £200 of cash.
You will receive a free Priority Pass card. Priority Pass is a network of 1,300 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. 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. Additional guests, such as your children, 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 cardholders can get access, with a guest, by showing their Platinum card at the front desk. You can also access all other Plaza Premium lounges globally – in the UK this includes Heathrow Terminals 2 and 4, Edinburgh and Gatwick North.
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). Unlike the personal Platinum Amex 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.
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 Premium status in the Radisson Rewards hotel loyalty scheme. This will give added benefits at Radisson Blu / RED, Park Plaza and Park Inn hotels.
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.
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.
You receive £200 per year to spend at Amex Travel. This includes flight and pre-paid hotel bookings and is effective ‘free money’. The only rules are that you must make your booking online and that the total booking must be over £200.
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.
You receive £150 credit per year to spend with Dell. No minimum spend applies but the credit is split into two parts. You can earn £75 cashback between January and June and £75 cashback between July and December.
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.
What is the annual fee?
The annual fee for American Express Business Platinum is £650. This is billed with your first statement and then annually thereafter.
The fee should be tax deductible as a business expense.
It is worth factoring in the value of the £200 Amex Travel credit and the £150 of annual Dell credit when deciding whether the fee makes sense, on top of the value you get from the ‘soft’ benefits such as hotel status and airport lounge access.
The fee is refundable, pro-rata, if you decide to cancel at any point. Once you have banked your 40,000 Membership Rewards points bonus, you may want to reconsider if you are getting full value from all of the benefits.
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 provide more underlying transaction detail for flights and certain other transactions than Visa or Mastercard statements, making it easier to reconcile transactions.
What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?
You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.
There is an extra bonus for high spenders. You will receive 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points (2 per £1) in every month where you spend over £10,000. This would make Business Platinum the most valuable travel rewards card on the market.
What is a Membership Rewards point worth?
Anything from ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer! This article shows you which American Express Membership Rewards transfer options are the most valuable.
Your fallback position is to convert the points into Avios at 1:1 and then into Nectar points at 1:1.33. With a Nectar point worth 0.5p each, this means your American Express points are worth at least 0.66p in Nectar credit to spend at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay.co.uk and other partners. This makes your sign-up bonus worth a minimum of £266.
I tend to value airline miles at 0.75p – 1p each (this is conservative) so that is your valuation if you transfer to an airline programme. The usual transfer ratio to airlines is 1:1.
You’ll need a small business Visa or Mastercard as well
The only major issue with Amex business cards, including American Express Business Platinum, is the lack of acceptance by some suppliers.
Realistically, you will need to have a Visa or Mastercard as well to ensure that you can always get a card accepted. For limited companies, I recommend the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. It has a generous earning rate of 1 Avios per £1 and no FX fees on foreign spend.
If you are a sole trader, you do not qualify for the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa. I recommend the generous Barclaycard Select Cashback card instead:
The Head for Points verdict:
If you are a sole trader or own a small business, even a service company, then the American Express Business Platinum card is well worth a look.
The 40,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up are an impressive incentive and the £200 of annual Amex Travel credit, comprehensive travel insurance, Priority Pass and hotel status cards add a lot of value.
How to apply
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly 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.