Are the new perks coming to the Amex Business Platinum card worth it?

Upgrades include complimentary access to WeWork offices plus new Dell credits – but also an annual fee $145 higher

Cashing In with Tony Mecia

Tony Mecia is a business journalist who writes for a number of trade and general-interest publications. Every week, he answers readers’ questions about credit card rewards programs in his “Cashing In” column.

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Are the upcoming upgrades to the Amex Business Platinum card worth it?

The new benefits the premium card will offer starting February 2019 – including complimentary access to WeWork offices and Dell credits – may be particularly appealing to small-business owners.

If you fall in that category, the upgraded version of the Business Platinum® Card from American Express is certainly worth considering.

Otherwise, you might want to apply for the card now, before the changes kick in, or consider another travel rewards card with a lower annual fee.

Expert Q&A

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Dear Cashing In,

I just read that American Express is redoing its Business Platinum card. I had been thinking about that card but don’t know if I should wait for the new version. What should I do? – Dylan 

Dear Dylan,

American Express announced in December 2018 that changes are coming for one of its signature premium cards, the Business Platinum Card from American Express. Effective in February 2019, American Express is raising the annual fee but also adding a number of perks that might be attractive to business owners. 

That timeline means that if you are considering a high-end rewards credit card, you actually have two choices here: Sign up before February for the existing card, or wait until February for the new card.

See related: Earn 75K bonus points with The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Business Platinum: Current offer versus upcoming new perks

Let’s examine the existing and future offers on the card to see which strategy might make more sense:

Current offer

Annual fee:

  • $450.

Sign-up bonus:

  • 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 in three months.
  • 25,000 additional points after spending another $10,000 in three months.

Points:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com.
  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel purchases through the American Express website. 
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more.
  • 1 point per dollar spent on general purchases.

Perks:

Business Platinum Card – upcoming offer

Annual fee:

  • $595.

Sign-up bonus:

  • Unknown.

Points:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com.
  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel purchases through the American Express website.
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more.
  • 1 point per dollar spent on general purchases.

Perks:

  • Complimentary access to WeWork for one year (valued at $2,700).
  • Statement credit of up to $200 toward Dell purchases.
  • Statement credit of up to $100 at American Express Hotel Collection.
  • $200 annual airline fee credit.
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit (worth up to $100).
  • Airport lounge access (Delta, Centurion lounges, Priority Pass).
Tip

Tip: If you want to take a break from the crowds while waiting to catch your next flight, airport lounges are for you – and the right credit card can unlock access to a wide network of lounges around the world. Read “Best credit cards for airport lounge access” to learn more.

New perks appealing to small-business owners

As you can see, American Express is hiking the annual fee on the Business Platinum card by $145, to $595. That places it toward the top of the most expensive rewards cards. Many others in the same category are in the $450 range, like airline-branded cards that offer lounge access.

But it is also adding several benefits that make the card more appealing to its core customers, business owners.

In this sense, the changes represent a transition from a travel-oriented card to one that might appeal more to owners of businesses – particularly small-business owners or freelancers poised to take advantage of the access to WeWork offices for a year. The credit for spending money with Dell is another draw.

So, who makes out best with the new American Express Business Platinum?

The customer best-suited to take advantage of the rewards on the new card would be the one who needs office space (WeWork), buys Dell computer equipment, flies frequently and can use the lounge access and airline fee credits.

For somebody who matches that description, the perks on the new card from the first year far outweigh the high annual fee. 

See related: Best small business credit cards

Updated intro bonus in the works?

There is one additional unknown on the new card that could justify signing up for it when it becomes available.

American Express has not announced the sign-up bonus on the new card. Usually, when launching a card, companies start with a high number of points to attract attention.

If the card comes with a ton of Membership Rewards points – say, the current 75,000 it offers, or even 100,000 – then the card might make sense even if you are not a business owner who could benefit from office space and Dell credits.

That’s because a high number of points alone might be worth more than the $595 fee. 

See related: Maximizing card rewards after you've earned the sign-up bonus

Applying now for the Amex Business Platinum versus waiting

If it is just the points and travel benefits you are interested in, you might consider hurrying to apply for the existing card with the lower annual fee.

The spending requirement is substantial – $20,000 in three months for the full 75,000 points – but if you can achieve that, those points are worth more than the $450 annual fee, especially when you factor in $200 in airline credits, lounge access and Global Entry/TSA Precheck benefit.

Clearly, most people will find neither option suitable. Both the current and upcoming offers make the Business Platinum an expensive card with lavish perks and probably more than most consumers will need.

But for the right person, the Business Platinum Card from American Express might make some sense.


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Updated: 01-17-2019