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The Business Platinum Card from American Express: A Valuable Card for Business Travel

If you can take full advantage of the perks and credits, your business trips will be far more comfortable.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

7/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
CNET’S PICK
The Business Platinum Card®  from American Express
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The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

7/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
120,000 points Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$695
APR
19.49% – 27.49% Variable
Rewards rate
1x – 5x Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com; Earn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year; 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
Rewards Rate
5x
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5x
Earn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1x
1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most useful business cards available for traveling business owners. It costs $695 annually (see rates and fees) but offers plenty in return, including annual statement credits and access to over 1,400 airport lounges.

While primarily travel focused, The Business Platinum Card does offer a number of benefits for general business spending as well. Its rewards target a variety of different business-related purchases, with an emphasis on travel booked directly through Amex.

However, because it has such a high annual fee, it should only be considered by businesses that require travel and spend enough to take full advantage of everything the card has to offer. That means traveling and spending enough each year to use the statement credits and airport lounge access, while staying at Hilton or Marriott Bonvoy properties to utilize the Elite statuses that come with the card.

American Express Membership Rewards Points, depending on how they are redeemed, may not be worth too much. However, using them for airfare booked through American Express Travel or for point transfers to its airline and hotel partners will provide a solid return.

Rewards and redemption

While the card’s true value lies with its travel credits and perks, The Business Platinum rewards program can yield a considerable return on small business spending depending on how you choose to redeem the points.

The card is most lucrative when used to book flights directly through American Express Travel, as it earns 5x points per dollar for airfare and prepaid hotels booked directly through amextravel.com. It also features 1.5x points per dollar for some general business expenses like U.S. electronic retailers and with U.S. shipping providers -- including UPS, FedEx, and the U.S.P.S. -- plus for any eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year).

If you have any high monthly business expenses and have to travel regularly, the rewards could pile up relatively quickly. Cardholders can then redeem the points they earn for:

  • Statement credits: According to American Express, when redeeming for statement credits your points are worth 0.6 cent.
  • Travel: Redeeming for airfare through American Express Travel will get cardholders a per-point value of 1 cent.
  • Gift cards: Redeeming for gift cards generates a per-point value of 0.5 to 1 cent.
  • Online shopping: When using points at checkout, they are worth 0.5 cent with Amex’s merchant partners.
  • Point transfers: Transfer your points to Amex’s airline and hotel partners (listed below). Point values will vary but you could find the greatest value by doing so.

Cardholders can shop online with their Membership Rewards points at major brands including Apple, Best Buy, Bose and Sephora.

The redemption option that will give you the best return on your spending is either using your points to cover airfare through American Express Travel or for select gift cards. While airfare through Amex travel is generally the highest value redemption method, point transfers could end up being more lucrative, given the situation.

According to American Express, the issuer has 17 travel partners that feature a 1:1 point transfer ratio, which means 1 Membership Point will transfer to 1 mile/point with the airline or hotel. But some transfer partners -- like Hilton Honors -- offer a better deal. 

Here are Amex’s travel partners and the transfer ratios to each.

Transfer partnerPoint transfer ratio (Membership Point:miles/points)
Aer Lingus1:1
AeroMexico1:1.6
Aeroplan1:1
Air France KLM1:1
ANA Mileage Club1:1
Avianca LifeMiles1:1
British Airways Executive Club1:1
Cathay Pacific1:1
Choice Privileges1:1
Iberia Plus1:1
Delta Air Lines1:1
Emirates Skywards1:1
Etihad Guest1:1
HawaiianMiles1:1
Hilton Honors1:2
JetBlue TrueBlue1.5:1
Marriott Bonvoy1:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1

Cardholders are able to transfer their Membership Points to the brands listed above, for the most part, at a one-to-one ratio, with an even better ratio for Hilton. Because of that, point transfers to Hilton will likely net the best return.

American Express’ Pay Over Time

It’s also important to note there are two paths available for paying your statement balance. Cardholders will either need to pay their entire statement balance each month, or utilize American Express’ Pay Over Time option that lets them carry a balance with interest for eligible purchases. 

The Business Platinum card currently has an APR of 19.49% to 27.49% (variable) depending on your credit, so if you don’t choose to pay your statement balance each month and instead revolve a balance, it’ll accrue interest at that rate.

Welcome offer

The Business Platinum Card features one of the most lucrative welcome offers of any credit card. Cardholders can earn 120,000 points for spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of having the card. Depending on how you redeem, that’s a significant value added back into your bank account.

Take a look at a few different valuations for the welcome offer based on how you can redeem points.

RedemptionPoint valueWelcome offer value
Statement credits0.6 cent$720
Travel (Amex airfare)1 cent$1,200
Gift cards0.5 to 1 cent$600 to $1,200
Online shopping0.5 cent$600
Point transfer (Hilton)1:2 ratio$960*

*For the Hilton valuation, we found that Hilton points are worth about .04 cent each. If Amex Membership Points transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio (120,000 x 2), then you’d have 240,000 Hilton points to redeem at their properties. 240,000 Hilton points, at a per-point value of .04 cent, would be equal to a value of $960 (240,000 x .004).

Couple that with the rewards you’d earn by spending $15,000 on the card, and the welcome offer becomes a nice bonus. Your best bet will be to use the points for airfare through American Express Travel.

That said, it’s important to note that you should not change your business budget simply to reach the welcome offer. Try to reach it naturally either through regular monthly business expenses or on already planned business trips. Let the card bolster your spending rather than muddying your finances with unnecessary purchases.

Premium travel benefits

The Business Platinum Card features one of the most valuable collections of premium benefits of any business card. These benefits are why the card’s annual fee is so high, and the reason why it should only be considered by business owners who travel frequently enough to take full advantage of what the card has to offer.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Annual statement credits

If you’re able to use every credit, the value greatly exceeds the cost of the annual fee.

  • Up to $400 in statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell Technologies 
  • Up to $360 in statement credits for Indeed purchases
  • Up to $150 in statement credits for select Adobe subscriptions
  • Up to $120 in statement credits for U.S. wireless telephone services
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit (incidental travel fees on one selected qualifying airline, including things like checked bags and in-flight refreshments)
  • Up to $189 statement credit back on CLEAR® Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal)

Taking full advantage of every statement credit the card offers would equal up to $1,419 in value, which is well above the $695 annual fee. And that’s before taking the other perks into account, like complimentary airport lounge access and elite hotel statuses.

Other card perks

The card has plenty to offer outside of its annual statement credits, particularly for any businessperson who finds themselves at airports and hotels often. It features access to the largest selection of airport lounges of any business credit card, as well as complimentary elite hotel statuses at two popular collections of properties.

  • The Global Lounge Collection: Gain access to over 1,400 airport lounges in over 140 countries.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status: Gold Status brings a 80% point bonus on Hilton stays, room upgrades when available, and a daily food and beverage credit.
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status: Gold Elite Status offers 25% more points at Marriott Bonvoy properties, priority late checkout, and room upgrades when available.
  • Fine Hotels + Resorts Program: Get special perks at hotels around the globe. Benefits include automatic room upgrades when available, complimentary breakfast for two, late check out and noon check in, among others.
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. Available every four years for Global Entry and every four and a half years for TSA PreCheck ($100 and $85, respectively).

In addition to the perks listed above, the card features a handful of travel protections and premium rental programs for private jets and car rentals, as well as access to Business Platinum Travel Service for custom travel itineraries.

Alternative cards

While The Business Platinum Card is an impressive offering, it isn’t for every small business owner. Below you’ll find two alternative cards that might fit your spending and travel habits better.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred from Chase is better suited to business owners who travel regularly, but not frequently enough to take advantage of all of the perks of The Business Platinum Card.

It has an annual fee of $95, considerably lower than The Business Platinum, but it still offers good rewards and some useful perks. It earns 3x points per dollar (on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1x) for shipping purchases, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, internet, cable and phone services and travel.

The Ink Business Preferred’s primary selling point is its 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners, as well as its 25% point redemption bonus when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Both add a degree of flexibility when it comes time to redeem rewards. And despite the lower annual fee, it still comes with a welcome offer that is competitive with that of The Business Platinum Card.

So if you don’t travel or spend enough to justify the cost of The Business Platinum Card, the Ink Business Preferred would be a strong alternative.

For more information, see our full review of the Ink Business Preferred card.

American Express® Business Gold Card

The Business Gold Card is a tier below The Business Platinum, coming in at $375 annually (see rates and fees) but it still offers plenty for cardholders to take advantage of. Its rewards have more flexibility, and it still offers a few annual statement credits to lessen the sting of its annual fee.

The Business Gold Card earns 4x points per dollar (on up to the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) on the two categories where your business spends the most in each month. The categories include:

  • Transit
  • U.S. purchases on online, TV and radio advertising
  • U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software and cloud systems
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants 
  • U.S. monthly wireless telephone service charges

The perks are less impressive, but that’s to be expected considering the card’s lower annual fee. The flexibility is nice, especially if you spend more on different expenses each month. However, it’s better for businesses that spend less than $150,000 each year on any of the above purchases because of its spending limit.

How The Business Platinum Card® from American Express compares to other cards

CNET’S PICK
The Business Platinum Card®  from American Express
Learn More

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

7/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
120,000 points Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$695
APR
19.49% – 27.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 5x Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com; Earn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year; 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Learn More

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

6.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
100,000 points Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠
Annual fee
$95
APR
21.24% – 26.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 3x Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year; Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
American Express® Business Gold Card
Learn More

American Express® Business Gold Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
See Rates & Fees Terms apply
Intro Offer
70,000 points Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
Annual fee
$375
APR
19.49% – 27.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 4x Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories. While your top 2 categories may change, you will earn 4X points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these categories each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Only the top 2 categories each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap.; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card.; 1X is earned for other purchases. **

FAQs

Typically the differences lie in the card’s perks and fees. A premium business travel card, such as The Business Platinum Card, usually has a higher annual fee but a wide collection of perks to take advantage of.

A general business travel card, like the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card, typically has a lower annual fee but doesn’t include any luxury travel perks such as airport lounge access or annual statement credits.

You’ll need to look at your business’s budget and travel needs. If you or your employees travel frequently enough to take advantage of travel credits and amenities like airport lounge access, while spending enough on travel to justify a higher annual fee, a premium business travel card would work well.

However, if you only travel a handful of times per year and therefore aren’t able to take advantage of everything an advanced travel card has to offer, a more general travel card with a lower annual fee is the way to go.

No, but oftentimes point transfers are a great way to get a higher per-point value for your rewards, depending on transfer ratios and transfer partners. If you can utilize point transfer you should, but you don’t have to in order to benefit from a travel credit card.

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card from American Express, click here

For rates and fees of American Express Business Gold Card, click here.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.