Amex’s Business Platinum is one of the best cards for small business owners — the welcome bonus alone is worth up to $2,000 in free travel

The Amex Business Platinum is packed with luxury travel benefits, including annual statement credits for airline incidentals and Dell purchases.

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The Amex Business Platinum is packed with luxury travel benefits, including annual statement credits for airline incidentals and Dell purchases.
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The Points Guy

Small business owners have many options when choosing a card. When it comes to getting the biggest rewards and benefits, the American Express Business Platinum Card stands out from the rest. While the card carries a higher-than-average annual fee, frequent travelers get a ton of value back in benefits.

From up to a 100,000-point welcome bonus to up to $200 of airline fee credits each year and access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, it’s easy to earn back the annual fee and more in value from the Amex Business Platinum. Let’s dive in and look at the details to help you decide if it makes sense for your small business needs.

Amex Business Platinum welcome bonus and points earning

The Amex Business Platinum card offers rewards in the form of Amex Membership Rewards points. These points are worth around 1.5 to 2 cents each when redeemed for travel. On the high end, that means the welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points is worth $2,000 in free or discounted travel!

To qualify for the full welcome bonus, you’ll have to do quite a bit of spending. Earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first three months after opening a new account. You’ll earn 50,000 more points after spending an additional $15,000 on purchases in the same period. That means you’ll have to spend $25,000 on purchases in the first three months to get the full bonus.

This elevated welcome offer is only available until December 4, 2019, so don’t wait.

Outside of the bonus, the card offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com, 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Depending on your business needs, you could earn a ton of points through regular spending.

Using the Amex Business Platinum’s points

Using Amex Membership Rewards is easy, but it might take a little research to get the best value per point. The best value typically comes from transferring points to airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. Not all airlines offer that rate, so be careful when linking accounts and transferring points.

The easiest way to use points is to book travel directly through the Membership Rewards portal. You can search and book with a familiar-feeling system that works like many popular travel search websites. You usually get 1 cent per point for airfare and a little less value for hotels, rental cars, cruises, or vacation packages.

As a Business Platinum holder, though, you get an additional perk when booking through Amex Travel. If you use points to pay for eligible airfare, you get 35% of your points back as a bonus up to 500,000 points per year. That bonus can add up fast if you travel regularly for business.

You can also use points to pay your bill, shop at Amazon, pay for Uber rides, shop in an online mall, or buy gift cards. In general, you get less value per point with these redemption options.

Read more: 5 ways Amex cardholders can redeem their points – plus the method that gets you maximum value

American Express Business Platinum benefits

A large bonus was enough to entice me to sign up for this card for my own business a couple of years ago, but it was the lounge benefit that got me most excited to carry the card in my wallet.

This card comes packed with valuable benefits tailored to premium business travel. These benefits can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars on top of the value you can get from your Membership Rewards points.

Here’s a list of what you get with an Amex Business Platinum card. Note that many of these perks are identical to what you get with the Platinum Card® from American Express (the non-business version).

  • $200 travel credit – Get $200 back in fees from the major US airline of your choice. While it doesn’t count toward airfare, you’ll be reimbursed for things like luggage fees, upgrade charges, and in-flight purchases up to $200 per year. That is a big offset to the annual fee when it’s used to its full potential.
  • Lounge collection – Get access to American Express Centurion lounges, a complimentary Priority Pass membership, and access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta. Centurion and Priority Pass visits work when you’re flying with any airline. Combined, that gives you access to more than 1,200 lounges in 130 countries.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit – Every four years get your Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) fee covered by your AmEx card. That’s worth $20 per year with Global Entry; you have to renew every five years to keep your membership active.
  • No foreign transaction fees – You won’t pay a 3% additional charge when you use the card outside of the United States.
  • Hotel status – Get instant Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Gold elite status without meeting minimum stay or purchase requirements.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts – Get free benefits including free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, free breakfast for two, late checkout, and a hotel amenity valued at $100 each stay when you book through Fine Hotels & Resorts. As Business Insider’s David Slotnick experienced, these perks can elevate a luxury hotel stay.
  • Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi – Tap into free internet access at more than 1 million Boingo hotspots at airports and other locations around the world with the American Express Preferred Plan, included for Platinum cardholders.

The card also offers the following business-oriented benefits, which aren’t available on the personal Amex Platinum:

  • One year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork – When you enroll by December 31, 2019. This lets you use coworking spaces around the world.
  • Up to $200 in annual Dell statement credits – Get reimbursed for purchases at Dell. This is divided into two $100 credits: up to $100 in Dell statement credits between January and June, and up to $100 between July and December.

Benefits don’t stop there, but those are the most valuable and popular. Cardholders also get access to a concierge service for travel planning services and exclusive entertainment and events. Few cards come close to what the Business Platinum card offers in terms of benefits.

Read more: I use Amex Offers to find exclusive discounts at stores and restaurants like Amazon and Starbucks – here’s how the credit card benefit works

American Express Business Platinum costs and fees

Now that you know how much you’ll get in benefits from the Amex Business Platinum, it’s important to understand what it will cost you. Out of the gate, this card charges a $595 annual fee.

That may give you sticker shock, but when you add up the value of Membership Rewards points, the $200 annual airline fee credit, a credit for Global Entry, and all of the free drinks and food you get when visiting airport lounges, it is easy to see how you can recoup most, if not all, of the annual fee each year.

This card is a charge card, not a credit card, so you pay your balance in full each month and don’t pay any interest. If you prefer to carry a balance, you can enroll in the optional Pay Over Time feature for an additional cost. Pay Over Time currently charges 20.49% APR, a rate that can change any time. If you miss a payment or pay late, you’ll pay a higher 29.99% variable rate penalty APR.

Late payments cost the higher of $39 or 2.99% of the past due amount. Returned payments cost $38 per occurrence.

There’s no foreign exchange fee and this card does not offer balance transfers or cash advances, so you don’t have to pay for those either.

Does the Amex Business Platinum card make sense for you?

There are a lot of business credit cards out there, but if you want a premium card with premium rewards and benefits, you can’t go wrong with the American Express Business Platinum. The card has been in my own wallet since December 2016, and I love the combination of benefits. There’s little that makes a hectic travel day easier than dropping into a Centurion Lounge for a drink and a bite.

If you don’t travel regularly, you may not value the benefits this card provides. But if you’re a regular jet-setter for work or pleasure, you’ll likely find the $595 annual fee well worth it. When you used the card’s benefits to the max, you may get thousands of dollars in value from this card each year.

Click here to learn more about the Amex Business Platinum from our partner The Points Guy.