Reviews The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express review

The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express review

Published: April 24, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value 0.0
Annual Percentage Rate 0.1
Rewards Flexibility 3.7
Features 5.0

In a nutshell:

The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express offers great travel benefits and a large sign-up bonus, but the spending requirement to earn the bonus is daunting, and many small business owners may be hard-pressed to spend enough to qualify for all of the card’s benefits.

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Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 flights and prepaid hotels
  • 2:1 travel purchases booked through American Express website
  • 1.5:1 qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 1:1 general purchases
  • Terms apply

Sign-Up Bonus

  • 50,000 points if you spend $10,000 in first 3 months
  • Another 25,000 points if you spend additional $10,000 in first 3 months
  • Terms apply

Annual Fee
$450 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
$388

APR
Charge card (See rates and fees)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No limits on points you can earn
  • Redeem points for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment, merchandise or charity

Cons

  • Must redeem for travel through American Express website
  • Fee to transfer points to frequent flier programs

Other Notable Features: $200 airline fee credit, free airport lounge access, no foreign transaction fees, $100 credit every 5 years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, free Gogo and Boingo Wi-Fi access, no pre-set spending limit, set limits on employee cards, track receipts through mobile app, assign an account manager, American Express OPEN benefits and business savings

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As an elite card, the Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express goes the extra mile. The card’s impressive list of perks – including entry to some of the grandest airport lounges in the U.S. – and discounts and travel credits can help make up for the steep $450 annual fee.

Also, the Enhanced Business Platinum card is offers one of the fattest sign-up offers in the industry. If you spend at least $10,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points. If you spend an additional $10,000 on the card in the first three months, you’ll earn a total of 75,000 bonus points.

The Enhanced Business Platinum also now offers a 50 percent bonus on points when you apply them toward an eligible first- or business-class airfare. So if you redeem your points for a 75,000-point airfare, you will get 37,500 of those points back later.

Unfortunately, the card also comes with some large barriers to entry. On top of the $450 fee, the minimum spend for the bonus is high – $20,000 in three months to earn the full 75,000 points.

The rewards rate also favors big expenses by allotting a 1.5 bonus rate to purchases of $5,000 or higher (up to 1 million additional points per year). You earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel through the American Express Travel website. General purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.

Bottom line: For a business that doesn’t make big purchases and spend a lot on business travel, this probably is not the optimal business rewards card. Also, note that this is a charge card, not a credit card, so you must pay your balance every month.

Rewards targeted to travelers and big spenders

The rewards structure of the Enhanced Business Platinum Card is designed to encourage large purchases and business travel. The card awards 2 points per dollar to travel purchases booked through the American Express website and a special rate of 1.5 points per dollar to purchases greater than $5,000. General spending, on the other hand, earns a meager rate of 1 point per dollar.

The average small-business owner who doesn’t fit the card’s spending profile may find the rewards rate less than impressive and will likely be better off with one of several cash back business cards that offer a higher rewards rate on common business purchases.

Industry-leading sign-up bonus

American Express’s sign-up offer grabs attention. The card offers 75,000 bonus points to new cardholders. This a massive number of points – one of the largest offers currently available and nearly twice the size of the average sign-up bonus.

Alas, if you dive into the fine print, there is a huge catch. You must spend at least $10,000  in the first 3 months to earn 50,000 of those points. To earn 25,000 points more, you must spend an additional $10,000. In other words, you must spend at least $20,000 in three months to earn the full 75,000 bonus points. Spending that much in three months may be far beyond the means of many cardholders.

High annual fee

The $450 annual fee is the other major drawback of the card. Unlike some cards, American Express doesn’t waive the fee in the first year. However, cardholders who spend a lot on business travel can take advantage of the card’s numerous travel credits to help cancel out the fee. Also, for cardholders who enjoy luxury travel perks, the card’s features are well worth it.

Luxury travel perks

Travel perks are where the Enhanced Business Platinum Card really shines. The card grants free access – along with two guests – to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide. Among these are the limited but fabulously plush Centurion lounges located in a smattering of U.S. airports. Additional travel benefits include a $200 credit for travel fees (including baggage and airline fees), and a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck every five years. The card also charges no foreign transaction fees, a plus for world travelers.

Cardholders who also are members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program will get an immediate upgrade to gold status. If you already own the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card – which also grants elite status – this may be a moot point. Gold status comes with great benefits, including a 50 percent bonus on Starpoints, room upgrades and more.

In addition to Starwood hotel perks, cardholders can enjoy benefits and discounts at a variety of luxury hotels through American Express’s Fine Hotels and Resorts programs. These hotel perks, such as free room upgrades and hotel credits, can be worth hundreds of dollars.

American Express OPEN benefits
Numerous business benefits also come with the Enhanced Business Platinum card. The American Express OPEN program makes card management easy for business owners, offering free employee cards at no extra charge, individual spending limits on employee cards, mobile apps that allow you to track card usage, and the ability to assign another party to manage the account. The OPEN savings program lets business owners glean a little extra value from their purchases – business owners can opt to receive either a 5 percent discount or 2 bonus points per dollar on purchases made through participating merchants.

Reasons to get it:

  • You’re a business owner who spends a large amount on business travel.
  • You tend to make large business purchases and can easily meet the spending requirements to earn the card’s bonuses.
  • You are searching for a card with a large sign-up bonus.
  • You enjoy luxury travel and perks.
  • You want a card with free airport lounge access.
  • You travel frequently enough to make use of the card’s travel features.

How to use it:

  • Be sure to spend at least $20,000 in the first three months to unlock the card’s 75,000 sign-up bonus.
  • Charge large business purchases to the card to earn the card’s 1.5 bonus rate (be sure to read the fine print to see which purchases qualify).
  • Be sure to designate an airline to earn your travel credit for baggage and airline fees.
  • Enroll in the OPEN savings program to earn discounts on your business purchases.

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