The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider and The Points Guy Affiliate Network receive a commission from card issuers if you apply through these links and are approved.
The Platinum Card from American Express has a high annual fee, but you can get enough value for it to be worthwhile. Over the past two years, Amex has added new benefits and perks to both the personal and business versions of the card, and made a few tweaks as the credit card rewards space has become more competitive.
While the personal and business versions used to have virtually identical benefits and terms (with a few exceptions), they’re no longer quite the same — while they do have many overlapping benefits, there are a few key differences between them.
Here are the benefits that the cards offer — and the differences between them:
1. Welcome offer
The personal Platinum Card offers new members 60,000 Membership Rewards points when they spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. Points can be redeemed for various products, to book travel through Amex, or, representing one of the best options, transferred to various airline frequent flyer partners. Travel website The Points Guy values Amex Membership Rewards points at 1.9¢ each — using that valuation, the welcome bonus is worth $1,140.
Keep in mind that that valuation is subjective and an “average” of all of the different ways you can use points. Membership Rewards points are worth a different amount depending on whether you use them for shopping, purchase travel through Amex, or transfer them.
For a limited time, the Amex Business Platinum is offering a bigger bonus of 100,000 points, broken into two segments: You’ll earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first three months, and another 50,000 if you spend an additional $15,000 in that same time frame. The offer ends on August 8, 2018.
Obviously, that’s a lot of money to spend in three months. Unless you own a a small-to-medium-sized business and realistically expect to spend $25,000 in a single quarter, the personal card might be a better option for you.
2. Earning rates on purchases
Both cards offer a whopping 5x points per dollar spent on flights booked through Amex Travel — the personal version also earns quintuple points on flights booked directly through the airline — and 1x point per dollar on everything else.
However, the Business Platinum offers a 50% bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more, meaning you’ll earn 1.5x points per dollar, up to 1 million extra points per year (after that, the rate drops back to 1x point per dollar for the rest of the year).
3. Annual fee
Until last year, both versions of the Platinum card had the same $450 annual fee. However, when the cards were refreshed last year, the fee on the personal card was raised to $550, while the Business Platinum stayed at $450.
While you never want to see a fee increase, the personal Platinum Card offered new perks to make up for it, including…
4. Uber credit
A new feature launched last year, the personal Platinum Card offers up to $200 a year in Uber credits. The credit is broken down by month: You’ll get a monthly $15 credit, with an extra $20 in December (for a total of $35 that month). That’s up to $200 in credits each year in exchange for the $100 annual fee increase — definitely a win for consumers.
The Business Platinum doesn’t have an equivalent Uber credit, part of why it still carries the lower annual fee.
5. Airline fee credit
In this case, both cards offer an identical perk.
Every calendar year, the Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card offer a $200 credit toward incidental fees on one airline (that you can choose at the beginning of each year). While it doesn’t cover tickets, it applies to a wide variety of charges and fees, such as checked bags, change fees if you need to change your flight, in-flight food and drinks, fees for traveling with a pet, airport lounge day passes (if you don’t already have complimentary access), and sometimes even things like seat assignments and extra legroom upgrade fees.
While it’s not specified, you may even be able to purchase airline gift cards with the credit, which you can use for ticket purchases. Be sure to search online to see whether this works for your chosen airline — the frequent-flyer message board FlyerTalk even has dedicated threads for each airline.
The best part of the airline credit is that because you get it each calendar year, not cardmember year, you could get it twice in your first year of having the card.
Say you opened the card in February — you can earn the full $200 credit before the calendar year ends, then once the credit resets on January 1, get it again before your next annual fee posts, meaning you can get up to $400 in value from this credit each year.
6. Airport lounge access
Both cards offer identical access to airport lounges.
Lounges are exclusive areas where you can enjoy seats, an internet connection, food, drinks, and sometimes other amenities. Although lounges were traditionally reserved for first class and business class passengers, many are accessible to any traveler who holds either a lounge membership or certain credit cards — and the Platinum cards offer access to three different kinds of lounge.
The first type is Amex’s own proprietary lounges, located at eight airports in the United States — and in Hong Kong. These chic venues offer an oasis in the middle of the main terminal’s chaos, featuring comfortable seating, complimentary cocktails and food created by award-winning mixologists and chefs, respectively, and other amenities. Access to these lounges is limited to holders of the Amex Platinum or Amex Centurion cards.
If you’re flying with Delta and carry a Platinum Card, you can also access any Delta Sky Club lounge. With more than 30 locations, Sky Clubs offer snacks, complimentary soft and alcoholic drinks (with more “premium” drinks available for purchase), fast Wi-Fi, and a place to unwind. Some locations also feature showers.
Finally, the Platinum Card from American Express comes with a Priority Pass membership. Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world. With the membership provided by your Platinum card, you and two guests can access any location (as long as there’s room) to enjoy free snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines, showers, and more, all separate from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal. If you have an international version of the card, instead of the US version, be sure to double check the guest policy for your card’s Priority Pass benefit.
7. 35% points rebate
This is an incredibly valuable perk that’s only available with the Business Platinum Card.
One of the ways to redeem Membership Rewards points is by using them to book flights, hotels, cruises, or more through Amex Travel. When you do that, points are generally worth 1¢ each.
However, when you have the Business Platinum card and use points to book any flight on one airline that you pre-select — or business or first class flights on any airline — you’ll get 35% of your points back. Because booking through Amex Travel is the easiest way to use points for flights, this represents a great option to use fewer points to get more.
8. In-flight Wi-Fi
The Business Platinum card comes with 10 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each year. You can use these to get online during flights with many participating airlines.
The personal Platinum card doesn’t have this same perk.
9. Other benefits shared by both cards
Both cards offer a credit that you can use to apply for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck. The credit renews every four years, so it covers you when it’s time to reapply.
When you hold either card, you’ll receive Gold elite status with Hilton hotels, as well as Starwood and Marriott hotels, without having to meet any stay requirements. Elite status comes with benefits including more points earned on stays, early check-in and late check-out, room upgrades, and more.
Both cards also offer access to Amex’s exclusive Fine Hotels & Resorts program. When you book a stay at a participating hotel through Amex Travel, you’ll get benefits like even earlier check-in, a priority room upgrade, free breakfast during your entire stay, and a special amenity, such as a credit to use at the hotel bar or spa.
Which is best for you?
For most consumers, the personal Platinum Card offers a fantastic suite of premium travel perks and benefits, all of which add up to more than enough value to make up for the annual fee.
If you have a small business, there might be reasons to go for the Business Platinum Card instead. Although you’ll give up the Uber credits, you’ll pay a lower annual fee, and get perks like the points rebate when booking flights through Amex Travel, plus Boingo in-flight Wi-Fi. If your business regularly makes purchases of $5,000 or more — and you can put them on the card — or you think you can get value from the 35% points rebate, then the business card might be a better option.
Finally, keep in mind that these are both charge cards — that means that you pay your balance in full each month.