For small business owners, American Express means luxury: travel benefits, concierge service, you name it.
And for the most part, the Amex cards are known as “benefits cards”—their value lies in side benefits, not rewards rates and signup bonuses.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is the epitome of a benefits card: A base rewards rate of 1 point per $1, with bonuses for airlines and big purchases, isn’t much to write home about, but its perks make it well worth the $450 annual fee.
We’re breaking down the best little-known Amex Business Platinum perks and helping you make the most of your card.
One of the Amex Business Platinum’s most-touted benefits is its free lounge access: You get free entry into American Express lounges (Centurion and International) as well as its partners, Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass Select lounges.
These lounges are a great place to kick back, get some work done, and enjoy free drinks while you’re waiting at the airport.
But depending on where you go, you might be in for a culinary experience as well. The Dallas-Fort Worth lounge features a menu designed by James Beard winner Dean Fearing (plus spa treatments and massages). New York’s La Guardia serves food by Zagat 30-under-30 winner Cédric Vongerichten. And San Francisco International Airport’s menu comes from Daniel Patterson, who founded two-Michelin star restaurant Coi and was named 2014’s best regional chef by the James Beard Foundation.
Traveling with an Amex card means eating very, very well.
While lounge access makes the most of your airport time, Global Entry or TSA Pre-check helps reduce it.
Global Entry eases your customs interactions when you’re returning from an overseas trip, and typically costs $100 for a five-year membership. Pre-check gives you expedited security (shorter lines, fewer hoops to jump through) on flights departing domestically—a five-year membership comes with an $85 application fee.
The Amex Business Platinum will reimburse you for either Global Entry or Pre-check, letting you bypass the soul-crushing lines at customs and security.
If you book a hotel stay through Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts portal, you’ll be eligible for a whole host of benefits: early check-in and late check-out, upgrades, free breakfast for two, free Wi-Fi, and benefits specific to the location like a $100 food and beverage credit.
You might also be eligible for extra perks, like a free night at a top-notch hotel. At a luxury resort, this benefit can easily save you hundreds of dollars. As you probably guessed from the program’s title, you won’t see many Motel 6’s in the FHR lineup, but if you want to splurge, your Amex Business Platinum can get you a whole host of perks.
Another little-advertised benefit is automatic Gold status with both Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors.
With SPG Gold status, you’ll get room upgrades, late checkout, free internet access, accelerated rewards with Starwood and its partners, and more. HHonors Gold status brings you a fifth night free, late checkout, free bottles of water, and other hotel-specific perks.
Enjoy the benefits of hotel elite status, without having to meet any stay requirements.
In a newly announced perk, American Express is offering 5 points on every $1 spent on airfare booked through amextravel.com. If you frequently purchase plane tickets or hotel stays, this significantly increases the card’s value.
The Points Guy values American Express Membership Rewards Points at 1.9 cents apiece, so you’re looking at a sky-high 9.5% rewards rate. You also get 1.5 points on every purchase over $5,000 (a 2.8% rewards rate, per TPG’s valuation), making this an ideal card for big spenders and frequent travelers.
The Amex Business Platinum’s annual $200 airline fee credit goes a long way to offsetting the $450 annual fee. The credit is automatically used against incidental expenses, like checked bag fees or in-flight food and drink.
This perk allows you to better take advantage of budget airlines, like Spirit or Ryan Air, which offer super-cheap tickets but tack on fees like there’s no tomorrow.
Finally, you get the convenience of a credit card concierge, who can help you with anything from making dinner reservations to finding the perfect hotel.
You have to pay for any services booked or purchases made, but if you’ve ever tried to book a nice dinner at a trendy restaurant that doesn’t offer online reservations or send last-minute flowers because you forgot it was Valentine’s Day, you can appreciate passing off the logistics to someone else.
We covered the lesser-known benefits of the Platinum, so here are the basics. We mentioned the $450 annual fee, but there’s no charge for foreign transactions. You can earn a signup bonus of up to 75,000 Membership Rewards Points—50,000 after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000, all within your first three months of cardmembership.
You’ll earn a base rewards rate of 1 point per $1, but get 1.5 points per $1 on purchases over $5,000 and, as we mentioned, 5 points per $1 spent on travel booked through amextravel.com.
Keep in mind that the Platinum is a charge card, so you should pay off your balance every month to avoid getting hit with steep interest rates.
Overall, the Amex Business Platinum is a fantastic benefits card. Between lounge access, concierge service, accelerated travel rewards, and elite status, a business traveler can’t do better than this.