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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.
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.
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.