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The 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards point sign-up bonus from The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is the highest public bonus I’ve seen on this card. But it also comes with a $450 annual fee.
In the first year you get the sign-up bonus, so for some folks, paying the annual fee is a no-brainer. Because you can get A LOT of Big Travel with 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.
But is it worth keeping the AMEX Business Platinum card for a 2nd year and beyond?
I’ll explain why I think keeping the card after the 1st year could make sense for some.
About the AMEX Business Platinum Card
With the AMEX Business Platinum card, you can earn up to 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points if you apply by January 25, 2017.
You’ll earn 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. And an extra 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the same timeframe.
You’ll also get:
- 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+
- Get 50% of your points back for ALL First Class or Business Class flights booked through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
- Get 50% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
- $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc.)
- Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
- Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Free Hilton HHonors Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
- $450 annual fee is NOT waived
- Terms & limitations apply
Should You Keep the Card After the 1st Year?
If you can spend enough to earn the full 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards point sign-up bonus, it’s certainly worth getting the AMEX Business Platinum card for at least 1 year. Because although the $450 annual fee seems like a lot, you’ll get the $200 airline statement credit each calendar year.
So you are effectively paying only $50 ($450 annual fee – $400 total in statement credits) the first year you have the card, if you open it before the end of 2016. And $50 is an excellent deal for 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points, lounge access, and a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck!
But after you’ve earned the sign-up bonus, deciding whether to keep the card for a 2nd year and beyond is trickier.
Here’s what to keep in mind:
1. Will You Use the $200 Annual Airline Credit Twice Every Card Membership Year?
Because you’ll get the $200 airline incidental fee statement credit per calendar year, it’s possible to use this credit TWICE each year (for the 1st 2 years) you’re a cardholder.
For example, if you apply for the AMEX Business Platinum card in October 2016, you’ll get a $200 airline fee credit in 2016 and another $200 airline fee credit in 2017.
Because you’re effectively paying only $50 ($450 annual fee – $400 in airline fee credits) each year you have the card.
2. Do You Fly a Lot and Use Lounge Access?
So if you’re a frequent flyer and spend a lot of time in airports, access to these lounge networks is a worthwhile perk. Especially given that a day pass to an airport lounge often costs ~$50!
That said, there are other premium cards that come with lounge access AND offer better airline credits, like Citi Prestige and the Chase Ritz-Carlton card. You can read my post about low-cost ways to earn lounge access here.
3. Are You a Big Spender?
Because the more you spend, the more AMEX Membership Rewards points you’ll earn. Plus, you’ll also earn 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+.
But remember, other cards could earn MORE bonus points for certain purchases. Like the Chase Ink Plus card, which earns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent each year in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV.
So it’s worth considering your spending habits when deciding which card is best for you.
And don’t forget! You MAY be able to get a retention offer in year 2 to partially offset the annual fee. Check out my post about how to get your card’s annual fee waived. I can’t guarantee this will work, but it never hurts to ask! 😉
4. 50% of Your Points Back
You now get 50% of your points back when you use points to buy a ticket on your selected airline. For example, if you book a ticket through the AMEX travel portal for 50,000 points, you will get 25,000 points back.
Even if you value 1 AMEX Membership Rewards point at 1 cent, you’re saving ~$250, so this could be a HUGE reason to keep the card!
Paying the $450 annual fee for the AMEX Business Platinum card the first year is a good deal for lots of folks. Because if you can earn the full 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus, you can get a LOT of Big Travel with the sign-up bonus alone.
But to make it worth it for the 2nd year and beyond, you’ll likely need to use the $200 airline incidentals credit, take advantage of the card’s lounge access perk, or regularly spend a decent amount with the card. And the 50% rebate in points for booking travel on your selected airline makes it even more compelling to keep the card!
Statement credits, lounge access, and earning lots of AMEX Membership Rewards points, can offset the cost of the annual fee.