The Business Platinum from American Express’ benefits package will undergo some large changes come February of 2019, at the expense of an increased annual fee that will jump from $450 a year to $595 a year. For the extra $145, cardholders will get:
- A year of complimentary Platinum Global Access at WeWork, a large co-working space chain with locations all over the world. Amex states that the value of this membership is $2,700. No where is it mentioned that this an annual (read, ongoing) benefit, so this looks like a one-off perk (similar to the new one-off G Suite Basic / Ziprecruiter perk offered by the American Express Business Gold Card).
- $200 in statement credits towards Dell purchases annually. It’s unknown whether the benefit will be doled out monthly or credited in one $200 fell swoop.
- An increase from $75 in statement credits to $100 in statement credits towards hotels in The Hotel Collection.
That is a lot of potentially added value that could negate the increase in annual fee, but only if you were already going to buy a WeWork Membership and/or spend $200 with Dell. Hopefully Amex doesn’t drop the introductory bonus with the addition of these benefits come February. That would be some serious salt rubbing in an open wound.
If you already have an Amex Business Platinum, you will be able to take advantage of the new benefits in February 2019. Your annual fee will increase whenever your cardmember year renews and the annual fee is charged again post February 2019. So if, for example, you opened the Business Platinum in July of 2017, you will owe $595 in July of 2019.
Those Considering a Business Platinum Card
If you don’t value the new benefits being rolled out in February, then open the Business Platinum as soon as possible. Open the card in February of 2019 or later and your first annual fee will cost $595.
As long you open the card by January of 2019, you will still pay the $450 annual fee upon account opening and not owe the increased $595 until January of 2020. You could an get $200 in airline incidental fee statement credits in January of 2019–buy a gift card to use later if you wouldn’t otherwise spend that in January–and then get the $200 credit once again in January of 2020 before owing the $595 for the second year of card membership. Then reconsider at that point whether or not it’s worth keeping open for $595. For many travelers, the benefits package at a cost of $450 is easily justifiable. But if you’re not a freelancer/small business owner without an office, then it’s likely the upcoming Business Platinum package isn’t worth $595.
Assumedly–and I’m not 100% sure about this–you could also cash in on the new WeWork/Dell/Hotel Collection benefits before your annual fee jumps to $595.
Of course, this post is written under the assumption that the current introductory offer for new applicants doesn’t change through January, but of course, it could. As of publishing this post, the Business Platinum still costs $450 a year and comes with all the benefits outlined in the next section. And in February you’ll get access to all the new benefits as well.
Point being… now’s a good time to open and squeeze what you can out of it before the value equation shifts.
What the Current Benefits Look Like
Right now, the card has an annual fee of $450. The 75k introductory bonus is unlocked in tiers:
- spend $10,000 within three months of opening the card will get you 50,000 Membership Rewards,
- spend an additional $10,000 and get an additional 25k Membership Rewards within the same three month period.
At the moment (and through January 2019), you get all of these perks for the $450 annual fee:
- $200 in statements credits towards airline incidental fees with one specific (called designated by Amex) airline. Incidental fees technically mean things like checked bags, in-flight meals, and change/cancellation fees…not the cost of purchasing a flight. However, there are various airline gift cards that historically trigger the incidental fee statement credit which you could then, in turn, use to purchase a flight (or use for actual incidental fees, gift card effectively extending the life of that $200 credit). Check out these Flyertalk threads for data points on airline gift cards and statement credits on the Platinum cards:
- $100 Global Entry or or TSA Pre✔ free credit
- Tons of lounge access: Centurion lounges (the best in the US), international Amex lounges, Delta SkyClubs, and Priority Pass lounges
- Category Bonuses:
- 5 Membership Rewards earned per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels through Amex’s travel portal
- 1.5 Membership rewards per dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more
- 35% rebate when you Pay with Points (using Membership Rewards at a fixed 1 cent value on cash flights versus turning them into airline miles for redemption on award space) for all Business/First Class flights, and in economy with your designated airline
- Hotel status in two loyalty programs: Hilton Honors Gold and Starwood Preferred Guest/Marriott Gold
- $75 in statement credits at properties in The Hotel Collection
- 10 Gogo in-flight wifi passes each calendar year
If you open a Business Platinum Card from American Express before February 2019, you can lock in a year of paying only $450 instead of $595. You’d have the chance to get $400 in airline incidental fee statement credits (and assumedly all the new WeWork/Dell/Hotel Collection benefits) before reevaluating whether or not the card is worth keeping open in 2020 for $595 a year instead of $450.
The new benefits coming to the Business Platinum Card will be very valuable to some, although I think we’ll see many cardholders, who don’t care about a WeWork membership, drop the card whenever their card renews in 2019 and the new pricey annual fee pops up on billing statements.
What do you guys make of these changes?