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Amex is just full of surprises these days, and via View from the Wing, they just announced a new wave of changes for the American Express Platinum Business card. This announcements is just one week removed from the new changes announced to the American Express Platinum card.
For your quick reference, those changes to the personal card included:
- Increase in annual fee from $450 to $550
- 5X on hotel purchases made through Amextravel.com
- $15 a month in Uber credits ($35 offered for the month of December)
- Card to be issued in metal
- Complimentary Gold Cards (up to 99)
- Two guests allowed for Priority Pass lounge access
The biggest changes were the increased annual fee, the $200 in Uber credits, and the increased guest access to Priority Pass lounges. In my eyes, this was a net positive for myself but surely a net negative change for just about anyone who doesn’t regularly use Uber. Many folks were worried that this increased annual fee was heading the way of the Business Platinum but that doesn’t look like it’s the case.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express saw changes back in the fall of 2016. At that time, the following changes were announced:
- Purchases over $5,000 would earn 1.5X and
- You could redeem points on flights at 2 cents per point by taking advantage of a new 50% rebate.
But now there’s even more additions to the Business Platinum Card. According to View from the Wing, the new changes will come March 30, 2017 and include:
- 5X Membership Rewards Points on flights and prepaid hotels at Amextravel.com
- Access to the recently announced Global Dining Collection, Global Lounge Collection, and the Global By Invitation Only Events.
- Two guests allowed for Priority Pass lounge access
- Annual fee remaining at $450
According to The Points Guy, there are a few points of clarification:
Metal card — there are no plans to issue the Business Platinum Card in metal at this time.
5x on Pay with Points bookings — you won’t earn points on flights booked as part of a Pay with Points redemption, so the new 5x earning rate will not apply to these reservations.
Employee cards — Platinum, Gold and Green authorized user cards can earn 5x points on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through Amextravel.com as of March 30, 2017. Points will be deposited into the master account.
To be honest, it’s what didn’t change that matters to me the most here.
The annual fee is remaining at $450, so all of those Platinum junkies who have no use for Uber can still retain Platinum Card benefits at the price of $450 per year, which is a huge for win for them.
5X on flights and prepaid hotels at Amextravel.com
The new perk of 5X on airfare and hotel booked through Amextravel.com is a nice addition but not too exciting to me. For one, I’ve already expressed that I don’t care for booking hotels through Amextravel.com since you often lose out on elite perks and don’t accumulate points or credits for stays (although this could come in handy for non-chain hotels).
The 5X on airfare is a bit different since you can still earn your points and receive elite benefits when flying on those paid tickets. Also, I’ve purchased airline tickets with my Premier Rewards Gold Card and Platinum Card in the past and based on my anecdotal experience, the prices are usually equal or similar to what you’d find purchasing the tickets directly from the airline.
Still, the personal Platinum Card offers 5X on airfare purchased directly from the airline so it remains a much broader bonus category. But to be completely honest, I still struggle to put my flights on the Platinum Card given the Platinum’s lack of trip interruption/delay protections that can be found on the Sapphire Reserve.
So, again, this new 5X doesn’t do much for me.
Access to Global Dining Collection, Global Lounge Collection, and the Global By Invitation Only Events
I don’t know enough about the enhancements or additions involving the Global Dining Collection and the Global By Invitation Only Events but it sounds like it could be interesting. I assume the expanded Global Lounge Collection is just a fancy way of describing new Centurion Lounges and other lounges that access is already granted to.
Two guests allowed for Priority Pass lounge access
The addition of two complimentary guests to Priority Pass is pretty huge to me, because this card already offers Centurion Lounge access and Delta SkyClub lounge access when you fly with Delta. And while the personal Platinum Card offers the two complimentary guests to Priority Pass, this card now offers all of the above for the $450 annual fee. That’s a pretty big deal to me and make this the card with arguably the best lounge access, depending on your location.
The 50% rebate
The Business Platinum Card will still retain arguably it’s most worthwhile benefit: the 50% rebate on flights booked with points. This rebate applies to economy tickets of a chosen airline and all business and first class tickets. With the 50% rebate, you are rebated 50% of the points used on a given airfare, so that your redemption comes out to 2 cents per point. The rebate is not instant so you’ll need to have the full amount of points required for the redemption.
Personally, I use my Membership Rewards almost exclusively for aspirational first class and business class redemptions, so getting 2 cents per point doesn’t excite me too much. Still, getting 2 cents per point opens up many great opportunities for economy flights or cheap business class flights and can result in some very cheap tickets to get across the country and you get to earn reward points or EQMs for the flights.
Thus, this is a great perk that makes the Business Platinum stand out from other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that only offer 1.5 cents per point on travel redemption.
Unlike the latest changes to the personal Platinum Card, these changes definitely net an overall positive, in my opinion. With the annual fee staying at $450, the Business Platinum Card is going to be a much more tempting option for many current holders of the Platinum Card.
It’s a bummer that it’s not getting the 5X on airfare purchased directly from airlines, but since I’ve found prices to be competitive at Amextravel.com, I still think this is still a worthy addition (unlike the 5X on hotels).
I don’t care about the lack of metal since my personal Platinum will take care of that, and I love that the complimentary guests are being automatically added to the Priority Pass benefit.
Overall, the changes aren’t game-changing but they are definitely positive and should be welcomed by a lot of people who’ve decided to drop their personal Platinum Card due to the increased annual fee.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.