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If you’re new to points and miles, you might be surprised to learn that there are dozens of travel rewards cards on the market and that many of these cards come in two forms: personal cards or small-business cards.
These cards might look the same but more often than not, business and personal cards have slightly different benefits, offers and fees.
In this post, we compare two of the best Amex card cards, The Platinum Card® from American Express and its small-business counterpart, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — which also happens to be one of the top business credit cards.
Here’s a detailed look at the components of each card, including their welcome bonuses, annual fees, rewards structures and other benefits.
Best welcome offer
A great starting point is to compare welcome offers, which provide huge opportunities to earn points and miles quickly. I start by considering which cards offer the most bang for the buck in the first few months of earning.
With the Amex Platinum card, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s a great offer, although you can earn even more miles with the Amex Business Platinum if you can meet the card’s larger minimum spending requirements. The current welcome offer on the Amex Business Platinum card is 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of opening your card.
You can use Membership Rewards points to travel nearly anywhere on earth, so it’s an important decision. Think about how much you can practically spend (on credit cards) during the introductory time period. The $15,000 minimum spending requirement on the Amex Business Platinum card represents a significant amount, and we certainly recommend you don’t overspend just for sake of earning a single welcome bonus.
Another consideration is the cost of these cards that comes in the form of an annual fee. Before applying for a new card, think carefully about whether the benefits outweigh the cost and whether you can recoup the annual fee through the welcome bonus, annual credits and other card offerings.
For the Amex Business Platinum and the Amex Platinum, we’ve already done most of this analysis for you. Before we get into the benefits of each card, know that you’re looking at an annual fee of $550 per year for the Amex Platinum card (see rates and fees) and $595 for the Amex Business Platinum card (see rates and fees). For detailed breakdowns of the fees and value of each card, see our posts on if the Amex Business Platinum’s annual fee is worth it and if the American Express Platinum’s annual fee is worth it.
Earning and redeeming rewards
In addition to the annual fee and the initial welcome bonus, it’s wise to consider how these cards stack up when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards. Again, although the numbers are similar, there are a few key differences to consider to help you decide which card is right for you.
American Express Platinum
The American Express Platinum card actually earns at a relatively poor rate on everyday purchases, just 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent, despite its hefty annual fee. So you’d be much better off putting your grocery, gas or restaurant purchases on a different card that earns at a more favorable rate. However, for airfare booked directly with airlines and for prepaid hotels, you’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent — an industry-leading return on that spending category.
American Express Business Platinum
Similarly, the American Express Business Platinum card earns 5x Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels, but they must be booked on amextravel.com. So the Amex Platinum holds a slight edge when it comes to booking flights directly on airline websites. But if you’re a big spender, the Amex Business Platinum card comes out on top as any purchase over $5,000 will earn 1.5x Membership Rewards points, regardless of the merchant or category (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year). For businesses that regularly incur large bills to stock up on supplies or to fulfill invoices, this bonus can be quite lucrative.
Benefits and perks
Here are a few of my favorite benefits and perks, including those which provide the most overall value:
Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts
Both the Amex Platinum and the Amex Business Platinum give you full access to the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts booking program. This is a luxury hotel booking offer that gives you upgraded benefits when booking certain hotels. Those benefits include free breakfast, early check-in, late checkout, room upgrades (when available) and an on-property amenity (typically a $100 spa/dining credit to be used during your stay). This is a phenomenal option for folks booking nicer hotels, and one that I’ve taken advantage of on many occasions.
Annual airline travel credit
Both credit cards provide an up to $200 annual airline travel credit for things like checked-bag fees, seat upgrades, or inflight food, beverages or Wi-Fi. These charges are reimbursable only with your “select airline,” which can be chosen (or changed) once every year.
I regularly receive the full value benefit here as my family pays for some checked bags and seat upgrades in order to make travel more comfortable. For more details, check out our breakdown of the Amex Platinum annual airline credit.
35% Membership Rewards rebate when booking airline travel
Only the Amex Business Platinum provides a lucrative 35% rebate on Membership Rewards points when booking travel through the Amex travel portal on either the airline of your choice or on any airline when booked in business or first class (up to 500,000 additional points per calendar year).
For example, a $1,000 first-class ticket from Los Angeles to New York would effectively only cost you ~65,000 Membership Rewards points because you’d receive a 35,000-point rebate after redeeming 100,000 points to cover the initial fare using Pay With Points.
For more information, read our post on the Amex Business Platinum rebate.
Hotel elite status
- Free breakfast (Hilton hotels only)
- Upgrades to bigger rooms when available
- Late checkout
- Better rooms (views, higher floors, etc.)
- More points for paid stays
Airport lounge access
Complimentary lounge access at more than 1,200 lounges worldwide is provided to cardholders by both the Amex Platinum and the Amex Business Platinum at Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Plaza Premium and Escape lounges, among others.
Amex Offers are targeted rewards and cashback offers for American Express cardholders. You must sign up for the offers such as 10% back on your insurance payment or a saving of 20% on purchases from Staples.com or Dell.com.
We have details on everything you need to know about Amex Offers here.
Monthly Uber credit
Only the personal Amex Platinum provides this perk — a $15 monthly Uber credit (increased to $35 each December). If you ride Uber frequently, this may be worth ~$200 per year. If not, you might not value this benefit nearly as much. Keep in mind that you can also redeem this monthly credit for Uber Eats, the food-delivery service.
Biannual credits for Saks and Dell
Amex Business Platinum cardholders receive an up to $100 statement to spend at Dell or online at Dell.com twice per year on U.S. purchases, with one credit valid from January to June and the other credit from July to December. That’s up to $200 in potential reimbursements for things like office supplies, software subscriptions, etc. I find great value in this benefit and easily max it out each year.
On the other hand, the personal Amex Platinum provides two annual statement credits of up to $50 each of at Saks Fifth Avenue, including at Saks.com. For folks with fewer business expenses and more personal expenses, this may be the more valuable benefit. Keep in mind that the personal card offers only up to $100 total each year at Saks, while the Amex Business Platinum offers a total of up to $200 of credits for U.S. purchases at Dell.
Amex transfer partners
We talked briefly about earning Membership Rewards points, but I want to emphasize that the most valuable way to use those points is usually by transferring points to Amex transfer partners. In the last couple of years, I’ve maximized the value of my Membership Rewards points by transferring them to partners like Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM and FlyingBlue.
There are many ways you can redeem your Membership Rewards points, but these cards allow you to transfer your points to truly maximize their value. For folks who hold a Membership Rewards points-earning card that does not allow transferring to travel partners, both the Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum can be incredibly valuable.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement
Both cards reimburse the fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every five years (via a statement credit up to $100). These services offer expedited screening when flying domestically (TSA PreCheck) or when crossing international borders (Global Entry).
My wife and I have enjoyed the convenience of Global Entry for the last six years, so we’re always grateful when a credit card pays the enrollment fee. The current fees for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are $100 and $85 respectively, and each program is valid for five years. Both the Amex Platinum and the Amex Business Platinum are great credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck fees.
Which card is best for you?
It’s ultimately up to you to decide which card is preferable: the Amex Platinum or the Amex Business Platinum. Or if you’re like me, you recognize the strengths of each card, including the 35% points rebate on the Amex Business Platinum and the monthly credits (for both Uber Eats and Uber, in my household) that the Amex Platinum offers. So I hold both cards.
It’s also important to consider whether you can actually qualify for these cards. American express is relatively lenient when it comes to approving folks for the Amex Platinum, but you do need to qualify for a small-business credit card like the Amex Business Platinum.
I love both of these cards for their generous benefits and lucrative points-earning opportunities. That said, the hefty annual fees mean that many folks may be better served by picking one card and paying a single yearly fee.
If you have a small business requiring supplies from Dell (and consistent airline travel), the Amex Business Platinum may be the better choice. You can find our full review of the Amex Business Platinum card here. But if you prefer the luxury of Uber credits and shopping at Saks, then you may prefer the flexibility and accessibility of the American Express Platinum. Here’s a detailed review of the card.
Whichever card is more suitable for you, you’ll enjoy a number of benefits and luxury offerings that make either card a fantastic addition to your wallet. Do you hold either the Amex Platinum or the Amex Business Platinum card — or both? What do you love about them?