American Express OPEN Business Platinum Review
American Express OPEN Business Platinum card is a card for business owners who make frequent business trips. The card’s $450 annual fee is a stiff barrier to entry, but then again, this card isn’t intended for the small business owner on a tight budget.
The Business Platinum card is a charge card (a segment of the market dominated by Amex). That means that unlike a standard credit card, your entire balance comes due on your statement date. You can’t carry any of your balance over to the following month. On the plus side, there is no preset spending limit. We published an article on the relative merits of charge cards and standard credit cards for those interested.
While the Business Platinum card isn’t aimed at a mass audience, it offers real value to the frequent business traveler. Businesses of more modest means and with less intensive travel needs may find the American Express OPEN Business Gold Rewards charge card to be a more sensible option with a more flexible and varied rewards profile.
Does the OPEN Business Platinum charge card make sense for you and your business? Read this review to see how well the card stacks up against the competition.
Table of Contents
Business Platinum At A Glance
American Express Business Platinum Card
N/A (this is a charge card)
Want to know how this card measures up to the competition? Compare popular business credit cards at Credit.com to see how the rates and fees for Business Platinum stack up.
Applicants must have good to excellent credit to qualify for the Business Platinum card. Charge cards tend to be somewhat easier to qualify for than regular credit cards, all else being equal.
Rewards & Fees
- The annual fee is $450, so you’ll have to spend at least $45,000 per year just to cover the cost of the fee (assuming a point value of $0.01).
- The welcome offer of 50,000 points is worth $500 if redeemed for airfare.
- Cardholders earn 5X points for every dollar spent on flights and pre-paid hotels if you book your travel through Amex’s travel website, amextravel.com. Redeem your points with an airline of your choice for one cent per point and you’ll get 35% of the points back. Use your points this way and they will effectively be worth 1.54 cents apiece. With the 35% Airline Bonus benefit, you can earn up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Using the same airline you use to get your Airline Bonus benefit, you can earn up to $200 per year in statement credits to cover incidental fees for things like checked bags and in-flight refreshments when the airline charges them to your account.
As you can see by the structure of the rewards program, you’ll need to travel quite a bit to make the most of it. That’s not to say travel is the only way to benefit from using the Business Platinum card. You’ll earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, so if you need to make large purchases on behalf of your business with any kind of regularity, you’ll earn a lot of extra points. You can earn up to one million additional points per year on such purchases.
One thing to note: Although the Business Platinum card is a charge card, meaning you ordinarily must pay the balance in full on your statement date, you can avoid paying your entire balance under certain circumstances. According to American Express:
For months when you may need additional time to pay, we offer a feature that allows you to pay certain purchases over time with interest. If eligible, you may be given the option to enroll in the Pay Over Time feature, and if you choose to enroll, you will accrue interest on all eligible purchases when you choose to carry a balance.
The rewards points you earn on your Business Platinum card are redeemable via Amex’s Membership Rewards program. Besides redeeming your points for flights as I discussed earlier, another great way to extract value from this program is to transfer your points to partner travel loyalty programs. As of April 2018, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to 16 different airline loyalty programs and three different hotel loyalty programs. See the American Express website for further details.
You can redeem your rewards for gift cards to a vast selection of merchants, from AMC Theaters to Zappos.com. Points redeemed for gift cards are generally worth one cent apiece, though not always. You can also redeem your points for Uber rides to the tune of one cent per point.
While you can just redeem your points on eligible charges on your billing statement (though the term “eligible charge” is left undefined by Amex), they’re only worth 0.6 cents per point this way — not a great value. For a slightly better value, you can link your Amazon and Membership Rewards accounts together and redeem your points through Amazon for 0.7 cents per point. However, if you travel a lot, you’re better off just saving your points for your business trips.
One last note on the subject of rewards: As of April 2018, a Business Platinum card also gets you into AmEx’s OPEN Savings program, which gives you the choice of receiving a 5% discount as a statement credit or two extra Membership Rewards points for every eligible dollar spent with OPEN Savings partners, including FedEx, Hertz, and HP.
Don’t get used to this perk, though. The following statement is posted to Amex’s OPEN Savings page:
Effective June 1, 2018, the OPEN Savings program will no longer be available on your Business Card. You can view savings and rewards opportunities for business purchases, including offers from FedEx, in Amex Offers, which you can access by logging into your American Express online account at americanexpress.com.
The Business Platinum card is a high-end business card, and, as such, carries with it a host of benefits beyond earning points. According to Amex’s Business Platinum page, you get:
- 1,100+ airport lounges in over 500 airports around the world through the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes:
- The Centurion Lounge
- The International American Express Lounges
- Delta SkyClub
- Priority Pass Select
- Airspace Lounge
- Escape Lounges
- Free credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Complementary benefits when you book through Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Free upgrade to Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest Program and the Hilton Honors program
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access at more than one million hotspots through the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan
- Access to travel counselors who help tailor your itinerary to maximize your travel rewards through the Business Platinum Travel Service
- Concierge services through the Business Platinum Card Concierge program
- Preferred Seating Program benefits — get access to premium seats for select cultural and sporting events
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Global Dining Collection benefits
- Premium roadside assistance
- Baggage Insurance Plan
- Premium Global Assist Hotline
- Travel accident insurance
- Premium car rental privileges
- Extended warranty
- Purchase protection
- Dispute resolution
- No foreign transaction fees
Business Platinum vs Business Gold Rewards
While Amex’s OPEN Business Platinum card provides a lot of value if you’re a frequent business traveler who likes to hang out in exclusive airport lounges and enjoy the other travel perks associated with the card, you won’t earn much in the way of extra points on other purchases unless you spend at least $5,000 in one sitting (in which case you get 1.5 points per dollar).
Amex’s OPEN Business Gold Reward card, by contrast, lets you rack up the points with a much wider variety of business purchases. With the Business Gold Reward card, you can accumulate 3 points per dollar spent on your choice of one of five spending categories — airfare, US gas station purchases, US shipping, US computer hardware/software, and US advertising in select media. And for the four other categories, you get 2 points per dollar spent.
Essentially, if travel consumes the bulk of your business expenses and a significant chunk of your personal time, the Business Platinum card will see you make out like a bandit with points and travel perks, whereas if your business spending is more diverse/variable and includes expenses in the five categories I mentioned, you’re better off going with the Business Gold Rewards card. Check out our Amex OPEN Business Gold Rewards review to learn more.
If your business has you traveling on a regular basis and you want all the perks that come with a high-end travel card, the American Express OPEN Business Platinum card is a compelling value proposition. The ability to earn 5 Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels, combined with the ability to get 35% of your points back on flights, means that if you travel frequently, your benefits will easily make up for the $450 annual fee.
However, if your business spending doesn’t fit this profile, a card that better facilitates earning points through non-travel spending, like the Amex OPEN Business Gold Rewards card, should make more sense for you. Then again, Business Platinum lets you earn 1.5 points to the dollar on all eligible purchases of $5,000 or more, so it’s not a useless card for non-travel spending by any means.
Don’t be afraid to comparison shop for the business card that best befits your spending profile. Compare popular business credit cards at Credit.com to see how Business Platinum stacks up to the competition.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.