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The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has long been a top-tier choice for luxury business travelers. It comes with a steep annual fee of $595 (see rates and fees), but you’re getting an incredible lineup of benefits that can easily offset that price when you regularly use your card.
However, the Amex Business Platinum (and its personal counterpart) has a weakness: It’s not a great card for everyday business expenses. This is because its typical bonus categories are limited.
You earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year) and 1x on everything else. If you are making large purchases regularly and booking business travel regularly, these categories are still valuable. But for a large percentage of businesses, those aren’t the only expenses that you’d want to earn rewards with.
However, the Amex Business Platinum is currently offering a unique bonus. You can earn 85,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership — plus earn 5x (up to 80,0000 points) on eligible purchases in five select business categories in the first three months of card membership.
How much can you earn with this new bonus?
While many cards that have an earning cap on spending categories typically apply that cap to combined purchases, this Amex Business Platinum offer does not. That’s right — you can earn 80,000 points per category.
Here is a list of the eligible categories:
- Online, TV or radio advertising purchased in the U.S.
- Wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
- U.S. gas stations (superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not eligible)
- U.S. shipping purchases (including courier, postal and freight)
- U.S. office supply stores
If you max out all five categories, that’s 400,000 points alone. Then add in the 85,000-point bonus you’ll earn by spending at least $15,000, and you’ve got 485,000 Membership Rewards points in your (digital) pocket after just three months.
TPG values MR points at 2 cents each, which means you’ll be sitting pretty on $9,700 in travel rewards when you use Amex’s transfer partners.
Keep in mind that the Amex Business Platinum also has a 35% Pay with Points rebate benefit. If you use Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible fare, you’ll get 35% of those points back (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year).
However, Pay with Points redeems at a 1-cent value for flights, so there are benefits and drawbacks to using it for the rebate versus transferring to partners. On economy flights with your selected airline and domestic first-class flights, the Pay with Points benefit is generally a great option. But there are other trips (international premium-class flights, for example) where transferring makes more sense even with the rebate.
Who will benefit most from this offer?
Of course, not every business can reasonably spend $16,000 in one of those categories in three months, let alone five. Midsized or large businesses that put company expenses on the card will get the most from the offer.
To max out in all five categories, you’ll need to spend $80,000 in the first three months you have the card. So freelancers and sole proprietors may not get as much value out of this offer. But if you are running a business with employees, have large shipping costs, are looking at a lot of advertising spend and/or are looking to upgrade the tech in your office in 2021, this offer could be your ticket to an incredible redemption (or multiple incredible redemptions) down the road.
This offer certainly isn’t for everyone, but for those who travel for business regularly and can maximize the bonus categories of this new offer, this is one of the most lucrative earning opportunities that we’ve seen on the Amex Business Platinum.
While this isn’t a card built for long-term everyday business spending, putting eligible purchases on this card to max out the bonuses before switching back to your standard card(s) used for those expenses could mean up to 485,000 points in your wallet before summer hits.
Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.