American Express Business Platinum has launched two new benefits for cardmembers today.
I think that they go some of the way towards closing the benefits gap with the personal version of American Express Platinum.
Ever since the personal card added a £300 annual dining credit a few weeks ago, people have been wondering how American Express would make Business Platinum more attractive. Now we know.
A valuable new £200 benefit for all Business Platinum cardholders
American Express is adding a £200 Amex Travel credit to the benefits package.
Importantly, you receive this credit EVERY membership year. It isn’t a one-off.
From 10th October, you will receive £200 of statement credit against £200 of charges from Amex Travel.
The only catch is that the £200 must be spent in a single transaction. If you use it against a hotel booking, it will need to be pre-paid and therefore will not qualify for elite status benefits or hotel loyalty points.
For most people who read HfP, this is almost as good as £200 of cash.
Do note that the credit is paid per membership year and not per calendar year. If your membership year ends shortly after 10th October you will need to to move quickly to ensure that you spend your first £200 credit before it expires.
If you currently have Business Platinum, this offer will not be live until 10th October so don’t rush out to make a £200 Amex Travel purchase today.
A second new benefit but only for very big spenders
Whilst everyone qualifies for the £200 of Amex Travel credit each year, the second change is only for high rollers.
You will receive DOUBLE Membership Rewards points in every month where you spend £10,000.
There is cap of 120,000 bonus points each year. If you can reach that, even in the worse case scenario – ie you convert them via Avios into Nectar points worth 0.8p each – you’re getting £960 of extra value each year.
£10,000 per month is clearly a lot for many businesses. I doubt Head for Points has more than £10,000 of non-salary payments for more than 1-2 months per year. However, there are lots of small companies – primarily those who do lots of Google and Facebook advertising – who spend this easily.
If this sounds like you, American Express Business Platinum is now THE most valuable card in the UK for your spending.
You’d be earning 2 Membership Rewards points per £1 spent in those months where you charged over £10,000 to the card, and this can’t be beaten. This would convert into 2 Avios per £1 or whatever else you chose to do with them.
I would be taking Amex Business Platinum very seriously indeed if I knew I could hit this spending target.
One other change – a higher annual fee
Amex is increasing the annual fee on Business Platinum from 18th October. The change applies from 11th November for existing cardholders.
The fee is rising from £595 to £650 per year, albeit this is easily offset by the new £200 Amex Travel credit each year.
The fee should be fully tax deductible if you use your card exclusively for business purposes.
Now let’s look at the card in more detail …..
The card facts
American Express Business Platinum 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 13 months.”
You earn 1 Membership Rewards points on virtually every £1 spent on the card. These convert 1:1 into Avios, Virgin Points 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.
From 10th October, you will receive DOUBLE Membership Rewards in any month where you charge over £10,000 to the card. This is capped at 120,000 bonus points per year.
The annual fee is £595, refundable pro-rata if you cancel. On 18th October, the fee rises to £650 for new applicants. 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.
You may qualify for the sign-up bonus even if you think you don’t
Remember that it is easier to qualify for the sign-up bonus on the Business Platinum card than the personal Platinum card.
To get the 40,000 Membership Rewards points on signing up, you only need to have gone 13 MONTHS without any American Express card (personal or business) which earns Membership Rewards points. The personal Platinum card requires you to wait 24 months.
However …. having Business Platinum 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 Business Platinum card is a good way to fill the gap if you are waiting 24 months before you can reapply for personal Platinum.
What are the criteria for applying for Amex Business Platinum?
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 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. You can be accepted even if you are not yet trading.
What is the Amex Business Platinum benefits package?
Let’s look at what you get for £595 (£650 for new customers from the 18th October; existing customers 11th November). For comparison, the annual fee on the personal Platinum card is now £575:
You will receive a free Priority Pass card. Priority Pass is a network of 1,400 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. Plaza Premium also has lounges at Gatwick North, Heathrow Terminal 2, Heathrow Terminal 4 and Edinburgh plus many international airports.
You can also access American Express Centurion lounges with a guest, including the brand new Centurion Lounge 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 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 £150 or equivalent cashback when you book a onefinestay home rental. 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.
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.
From 10th October, you receive £200 credit per membership year to spend with Amex Travel. The only rule is that the spend is made in one pre-paid transaction.
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.
You also do not receive the £300 of annual restaurant credit or the £100 of annual Harvey Nichols shopping credit.
That said, personal Platinum cardholders do not receive a subscription to The Times and will not receive the upcoming £200 Amex Travel annual credit. If you would qualify for both the business and personal versions on the card, you need to decide which set of benefits you value most.
£200 of Amex Travel credit, repeated annually, is an excellent new benefit for American Express Business Platinum cardholders.
For heavy spenders, the chance to earn DOUBLE Membership Rewards points in every month where you spend £10,000+ is also a great offer.
In terms of sign-up bonus, 40,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 40,000 Avios or 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or 120,000 Radisson Rewards points or 40,000 Virgin Points etc etc) is an excellent return for getting the card.
Whilst the £595 annual fee is high (and it increases to £650 from 18th October) it would be refunded pro-rata if you decided after a few months that the card was not for you.
Remember that it is easier to get the bonus on Business Platinum compared to the personal version because it only requires you to have gone 13 months without a card earning Membership Rewards points. The personal version requires you to have gone 24 months without a personal card earning Membership Rewards points.
In terms of timing, you should apply before 18th October if you can to avoid the fee increase. Your £200 of Amex Travel credit won’t activate until 10th October when the new benefits package comes into force.
You can find out more about American Express Business Platinum, and apply, on the American Express website 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.