A Surprising Must Have Credit Card for Family Travelers

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The rewards credit card landscape is always changing, and if you get complacent with your current line-up of “best cards” you could easily blink a few times and no longer have the best cards to meet your needs and spending patterns. I know this sentiment is true for me, and as I work on my 2017 credit card plan, it is clear that there is a card I need to add to our line-up as soon as the time is right.

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

To me there is no question that a virtual “must have” for anyone really serious about their miles and points is The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. If this statement comes as a surprise at first I totally get it and know that this wasn’t always the case. In fact, it wasn’t the case even a year ago. However, things have changed, and a card that once was maybe a “nice to have” has become one that should get some very serious consideration even for family travelers who think a Platinum card isn’t right for them.

Application Link: The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months

Why the Amex Business Platinum is a “Must Have” Card

The sign-up bonus of up to 75,000 Membership Reward points is great if you can hit the spending requirement, but that alone is not why The Business Platinum Card has become much more interesting to me in recent months. I want this card because with it you get 50% of your redeemed Membership Rewards points back when you use them to book a flight with the “Pay with Points” feature via Amex Travel. You get 50% of your points back with your selected airline for the year for economy tickets, and then you also get 50% of your redeemed “Pay with Points” back on any airline if you book first or business class seats.

Historically “Pay with Points” was not really an ideal way to get maximum value out of your Amex points as you could do much better by transferring them to hotel and airline partners. That is still sometimes true, but the American saver seats you can get by transferring to British Airways are scarce, the Delta award chart no longer exists, etc. Add to that the reality that paid fares can be really low these days, and paying with points and not having to worry about award availability, especially when booking for a family, can be very attractive when you will get 50% of those points back upping their return from one cent each to two cents each.

Maximizing the Amex Pay With Points 50% Return Benefit

As an example of how this 50% points return benefit can work in practice, here is a round trip nonstop flight from Houston – Cancun on United Airlines. Assuming United was your selected airline, you would get 11,102 of the 22,205 Membership Rewards points spent on the flight returned. Getting a mileage earning round trip flight from Houston – Cancun on United for just 11,103 total Membership Reward points is outstanding and represents a 2 cent per point return on the $223 ticket without having to be an airline award chart master.

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In truth your cents per points return is better than 2 cents each as you will earn United redeemable and elite qualifying miles on the ticket as it is a purchased ticket in the eyes of United. To add additional perspective to why this is such a great deal, if you used United miles to book this ticket via their saver award chart it would cost 35,000 United miles and you wouldn’t earn any elite or redeemable miles on that ticket. Instead, spending just 11,102 total Membership Reward points thanks to having the Business Platinum Amex and not being constrained by saver award availability is obviously pretty great.

No doubt the 50% returned points feature that is unique to this card is the feature I really want in my miles and points toolbox, but there are other elements of the Business Platinum Amex that are also important to know.

Benefits of the Amex Business Platinum Card

Just like with the personal Platinum Card® from American Express, this card comes with an annual $200 airline fee credit, Amex Centurion Lounge access, access to Delta SkyClubs with same-day Delta ticket, Priority Pass Select membership, SPG Gold status, Hilton Honors Gold status, access to the Fine Hotel and Resort Collection bookings, and it uniquely will earn 50% points bonus on eligible purchases over $5,000. You also get a statement credit every four years when you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) and pay with this card. Terms and Conditions apply. 

The Amex Business Platinum card has a $450 annual fee, but it is important that this is now less expensive than getting one of the Amex Platinum personal cards that come with a $550 annual fee as of March 2017. This means you get many of the same benefits without as high of an annual fee. The annual $200 incidental airline fee credit runs on a calendar year meaning that in your first cardmember year you can get $400 in airline credits which really helps the annual fee feel not so terrible…especially if you use it like I do.

Finally, note that this card is a small business charge card, but many of us do indeed run small businesses either exclusively or on the side, and the fact that it is a small business actually helps in the grand scheme as this means that adding this card to your line-up shouldn’t hurt your Chase 5/24 numbers the way a personal card would.

We actually just recently paid the annual fee for our personal Amex Platinum, so I’m holding out for now on adding the Amex Business Platinum, but before we pay another annual fee for a personal Amex card, I hope to switch us over to getting this business version with the 50% returned points benefit. Does your family have The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card to make use of the 50% Pay With Points benefit?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Outstanding post, MP! Thanks! I’ve recently discovered how super-valuable using CSR’s UR points can be for outright purchases (we just stayed 2 nights at a Marriott for which we “bought” the nights using UR rather than converted to Marriott points b/c buying required so many fewer UR points), and I suspect this post will lead us to a new AMEX to use similarly. Terrific point that with reward flights so tough to come by, this could be either the answer or a powerful option. Sold! Thanks again!

  2. Its a great card, and its a shame they only give the 50% refund on the business version, although I would use the uber credits on the personal. I’ve been thinking about getting this card.

    MP how difficult would it be to get the business platinum for periodically selling items online. Doesn’t make me much profit, but I’ve done it in the past, and will do it again. How strict are their guidelines? I really covet the reimbursement perk.

    • Only way to know of course is to apply, but the anecdotal stories thresholds I hear about are much lower than some other issuers.

  3. As you said there are some super affordable fares these days which make the MR points very valuable at 2cpp. Another great thing is when you use the pay with points is that you earn EQM’s (and RDM’s for that matter), so there is additional valuable.

    My biggest issue with it is the selected airline, I wish you could use the 50% back with any airline in economy class.

  4. Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product…..

    And note that the $200 airline credit is strictly for “incidentals”, such as baggage fees and onboard purchased drinks. I think we may spend $20 a year on drinks on an occasional SW flight, but would never hit anywhere near $200. We haven’t paid to check a bag this century, and we already have Global Entry. So this is a no go for us…

  5. @Robert. The $200 “incidentals” thing has been covered to death. See FlyerTalk for an easy workaround. As for the bonus thing, there are some links out there that do not include this language. YMMV.
    @MP. Could you send me of those $223 r/t’s to CUN???:) I’m usually 2 to 3 times that:(
    Although we just go back from Andaz Playa Del Carmen. It was fabulous. Great cash & points as cat 5, they even comped breakfast as Explorist.

    • Early May. I think those exact dates were May 13 – 16 and yes I would be totally shocked if Robert Hanson doesn’t know how to maximize the $200 credit! I use mine for United gift registry which is the same as cash for United flights. Gift cards work with many other airline programs too. If you need some help finding that info I’m happy to point you the way.

  6. We just paid the 2nd year annual fee this week. My wife got the 150k point offer last year. We couldn’t pass it up. She does some lax coaching on the side which we defined as her business. We easily utilized the $400 southwest reimbursements. Used the tsa pre check credit. Centurion club visits… check. Fully used 20% off sams club offer last xmas season which saved us $250. This card is a no brainer. We travel as a family- 3 kids 5 and under. Banking points for late 2017 early 2018 Hawaii trip. Oh and best of all I called to ask if they would reduce the annual fee which they said well no but we can offer you 15k points as a thank you for renewing! Love the blog. Keep up the good work.

  7. I have Amex platinum and open gold and recently got Citi Executive Platinum. I strictly fly domestically every week American Airlines. I got citi AA executive platinum to get 10,000 qualifying miles $450 fee (not impressed with lounges). Does it worth it for me to upgrade business open platinum?

  8. We have been loving the Amex Bus. Platinum so much that both my husband & I have our own accounts. That way you can choose different airlines for the 50% points return on pay with points. I don’t think MP mentioned that you now get 5X MR points when you make your res. with Amex travel in addition to the 50% points back! I would be happy to share in more detail my experiences with pay with points to anyone who is considering the card by emailing me at dar1ene@icloud.com. Of course, I would love to share my referral link too. Thank you.

  9. I’d love the card but $10k spend in 3 months is a stretch, especially since AMEX is on the lookout for manufactured spend. How do you get to that level without AMEX flagging it?

    • I was wondering the same thing! Would love to get the card but not sure I can meet the min. spend of $10k in 3 months.

  10. I’m not getting the excitement. I already have CSR and CFU (which means my everyday spend earns 2.25 cents/$ towards airfare purchases on the UR portal on any airline), along with Citi Prestige (which, since I got the CSR, I primarily use for “4th night free”). I have enough UR, TYP, and FlexPerks points to cover my airfare purchases for quite a while, so the 5x MR on airfare is not useful to me. Am I missing any reasons why this premium AMEX card would be a good “fit” for me?

  11. I was targeted for a 100,000 MR points after 5k spend in 3 months. I had to sign up. I can’t wait to use the rebate.

    I wrote about how we used miles and points, to vacation in Puerto Rico next month, on my blog.

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