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Million Mile Secrets reader, Mark, commented:
Great question, Mark!
So, which card is better? It depends!
AMEX Platinum Comparison – Personal Vs. Small Business
Just a couple months ago, AMEX introduced bonus categories to the Platinum cards. Before, the personal and small business versions of the card were very similar.
The best AMEX Platinum card depends on your spending and travel habits. But here’s a look at the pros and cons of each.
1. AMEX Business Platinum Pros & Cons
But to earn the maximum sign-up bonus, you’ll have to spend $15,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
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.
Other exclusive perks of the Business Platinum card include:
- Earn 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
- 10 complimentary in-flight Gogo internet passes each year
- Terms & restrictions apply
This small business version is good for folks who want to use AMEX Membership Rewards points to book flights without blackout dates using Pay With Points.
For example, I’ve written how you’ll pay the fewest number of points for JetBlue Mint Business Class airfare by using the Business Platinum Pay With Points perk.
Plus, if you have other AMEX Membership Rewards cards, you can combine your points to take advantage of the 50% points back benefit.
But keep in mind, you must have all of the AMEX Membership Rewards points in your account to book a flight through Pay With Points. So a $1,000 ticket requires 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points in your account. Then, you’ll get 50,000 points back.
2. AMEX Platinum (Personal) Pros & Cons
With the personal version of the AMEX Platinum card, you can earn 40,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within 3 months of account opening.
Look in your snail mail though! Because some folks report getting targeted offers with higher sign-up bonuses.
The only exclusive perk of the personal version of the AMEX Platinum card is you can earn 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or from American Express Travel.
Compared to the Business Platinum, some cons of the personal version include:
- Sign-up bonus is much lower
- Counts as a new card for Chase’s tougher application rules
Unless you’re targeted for a higher sign-up bonus, I don’t think the 5X bonus on airfare is reason enough to get the personal AMEX Platinum.
3. These Perks and Terms Are the Same on Both Cards
Regardless of which version of the AMEX Platinum card you have, you’ll always get these perks:
- $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)
- Earn flexible AMEX Membership Rewards points
- Flexible spending limit
- Free Hilton HHonors Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
- No foreign transaction fees
- Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
The annual fee on both cards is also the same. You’ll pay $450, which is NOT waived the first year on either version.
But because you can earn the $200 airline incidental fee statement credit each calendar year, you are effectively paying only $50 ($450 annual fee – $400 total in statement credits) in the first year you have either of the cards.
Interested in Both AMEX Platinum Cards?
If you already have one version of the AMEX Platinum card (like the personal AMEX Platinum), you can still apply for the other version.
But you’ll want to do the math to see if paying an additional $450 annual fee is worth the exclusive perks on the second card.
So paying the second $450 annual fee makes sense to me! And I got the $200 statement credit by purchasing Southwest gift cards. So right away, the effective annual fee is $250.
Keep in mind AMEX no longer offers prorated annual fees. You only have 30 days after the annual fee is charged to cancel or downgrade the card and get a credit.
The business version has more perks, like 50% of your points back using Pay With Points and a 1.5X bonus on purchases of $5,000+.
If you don’t have either card, the sign-up bonus on the Business Platinum is 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points, which is much bigger than the 40,000 point bonus on the personal version.. But you’ll have to meet a large minimum spending requirement to earn the full bonus.
You can get both cards. But run the numbers to see if the extra perks are worth paying 2 annual fees!