Want to earn uncapped frequent flyer points on your everyday business expenses with added cashflow benefits like up to 51 interest-free days on purchases? Then take a look at the American Express Business Platinum Card, suited to businesses with up to 100 spending employees.
All transaction made on the account accrue Membership Rewards points – pooled to the primary cardholder (such as the business owner) which can be converted into frequent flyer points with airlines like Qantas, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines, and which come itemised by cardholder on your monthly statement.
However, a high annual fee of $1,500 will have some business owners thinking twice before applying – so take a closer look and consider the value you could be deriving from the card over and above that annual fee: whether it’s lounge access, travel insurance, free flights booked with your points or something else.
American Express Business Platinum Card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Business Platinum
- Card type: American Express charge card
- Loyalty program: Membership Rewards Ascent Premium (MR)
- MR points earned per dollar (restaurants, airlines, hotels, advertising, couriers and computer equipment): 2
- MR points earned per dollar (insurance, utilities and government spend): 0.5
- MR points earned per dollar (everywhere else): 1
- 1 MR point = 1 frequent flyer point with: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Virgin Australia Velocity, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (and 1 Hilton Honors point or 0.5 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints)
- 1 MR points = $0.01 Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars
- Points capping: Uncapped, but after accruing 375,000 MR points per year, all further spend earns 1 MR point per dollar (except transactions in the 0.5 category)
- Supported tech: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay
Fees, charges and interest: 4/5
- Annual fee: $1,500
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (up to 99 cards)
- Interest rate on purchases: N/A – card must be repaid in full every month
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 51
- Interest rate on cash advances: N/A
- International transaction fee: 3.0%
- Minimum personal pre-tax income requirement: $75,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: No pre-set spending limit
Earning points for free flights: 4/5
Businesses that spend big on travel, entertaining clients, advertising, couriers or computers from the likes of Apple, Dell and IBM are poised to take great advantage of this card, given that these transactions earn the equivalent of two frequent flyer points per dollar spent.
With no limit to the number of points you can earn, you’ll be amassing points on every single dollar you spend via this card: and even if you surpass 375,000 MR points per year, you’ll continue to earn one MR point per dollar spent on most transactions.
New cardholders who apply by October 2 2017 and spend at least $5,000 on the card within two months of approval can also fetch a cool bonus of 120,000 Membership Rewards points – on-par with 120,000 frequent flyer points with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and most other partners.
There’s a hefty $1,500 annual fee to pay for the primary cardholder (such as the business owner), but you can issue supplementary AMEX cards to up to 99 further employees at no extra cost to use for their business spending, with all points pooled to the primary cardholder’s Membership Rewards account.
At the top end of the spectrum, that pegs the fee paid per card at just $15 – while a business with 10 cards overall would be paying the equivalent of $150 per card.
Airport lounge access: 4/5
For primary AMEX Business Platinum Charge Card holders (plus one guest), unlimited access is provided to Virgin Australia domestic lounges when travelling onwards with Virgin Australia the same day, and to over 1,000 participating Priority Pass lounges across the globe when flying with any airline.
One nominated supplementary cardholder can also enjoy complimentary and unlimited Priority Pass membership: a perk you might save for your business partner, most senior employee or as a reward for a top performer, although this supplementary cardholder doesn’t receive Virgin Australia lounge access.
All further supplementary cards do not gain access to Virgin Australia or Priority Pass lounges, although ALL Business Platinum Charge Card holders – whether the primary cardholder or one of 99 supplementary cards – can make use of AMEX lounges across the globe at no charge.
That includes the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport, AMEX Centurion Lounges in the United States in cities like New York, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco, and more.
Other business benefits: 5/5
One monthly statement covers all your business expenses with transactions itemised by cardholder, and your transactions can also be synced with MYOB, Quicken or Microsoft Excel to save time for your bookkeeper or accountant – saving you money.
Platinum Business Concierge and Platinum Travel 24/7 also provide you and your staff with round-the-clock assistance: whether that’s booking a flight or organising and sending a gift to your client – provided you have at least 100,000 Membership Rewards points in your account (even though the service is typically free).
Cardholders also receive complimentary Club Carlson Gold Elite and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status – offering benefits such as complimentary room upgrades and more when staying at participating hotels – and access to AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts Program for added upgrades and benefits.
Also thrown in: a free, 12-month multi-device subscription to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age or The Australian Financial Review for the primary cardholder, complimentary Elite Preferred Golf Club membership and the use of AMEX Access Line, where business owners can pay suppliers using AMEX even where that business doesn’t accept AMEX (much like RewardPay).
Complimentary travel insurance and other business protections: 5/5
Cardholders are eligible for complimentary travel insurance – but unlike most other cards where this is only activated after purchasing elements of the journey by using the card or by spending frequent flyer points, merely having an AMEX Business Platinum Card finds you covered.
That means you won’t need to shell out for a separate travel insurance policy if a client books your flights using their own credit card, and as this policy covers all cardholders – both primary and supplementary – the prospect of paying a cover-all $1,500 annual fee is sweetened further.
Business owners also receive ‘monthly business expense insurance’ should they be temporarily unable to run their business (up to a maximum of $12,000), and can hire cars knowing that they’ll be covered for vehicle loss or damage waivers up to the value of $125,000.
Goods purchased using the card may also be eligible for 90-day refund and purchase protection, and if a cardholder loses their card while away from home or a card needs to be replaced due to fraud, AMEX can generally have a replacement card in your hands within 48 hours, wherever you are in the world.
American Express Business Platinum Card: the verdict
With features like uncapped frequent flyer points, travel insurance that covers all cardholders and automatic transaction feeds to major accounting programs like MYOB and Quicken, the AMEX Business Platinum Card is well-positioned to deliver great value to businesses that take advantage of its perks.
Even though there’s a $1,500 annual fee, you’ll only pay that fee once per year on the entire account (up to 100 total cards), not per card – and given that fee covers AMEX lounge access and travel insurance, plus extra perks for the main cardholder (such as the business owner), it’s not hard to reap more in benefits than you’re paying in fees.
However, given the card is so travel-centric, it’s disappointing that AMEX chooses to levy a 3% international transaction fee on all off-shore payments, and delivers only one point per dollar spent on these same charges when the personal AMEX Platinum Card serves up double points instead.
We should also flag that this isn’t a ‘credit card’ where you can carry a balance from month to month during tough times: it’s a ‘charge card’ which needs to be repaid in full each month, so you’d only use this card to spend what you can afford to repay soon after.