My Experience with the Business Platinum Card from American Express

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The undisputed kings of credit card benefits are the American Express Platinum Cards, which come with airport lounge access, airline fee reimbursement, Global Entry reimbursement, hotel status, and a Platinum concierge.

All Platinum cards have access to these benefits, whether they are personal or business Platinum cards.

I recently got The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN. The card has a $450 annual fee. I got it because the card member benefits far exceed $450.

 

After getting the card, I did something I do embarrassingly often, I consulted a MileValue post to refresh my memory. Specifically I read Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum Card to remind myself of all of the card’s benefits and how to activate them.

How did I activate my airport lounge access, airline fee credits, hotel elite status, and how long did activation take? This information is useful whether you have or plan to get a personal or business Platinum card.

When my Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN arrived in the mail, I called American Express to activate the card.

While activating the card, I took five more minutes to activate all of the card’s benefits, most of which are not automatic. On the call, I made four requests:

  1. I designated an airline to receive my $200 annual (calendar year) airline fee credit.
  2. I asked to be enrolled in Priority Pass Select.
  3. I asked to be given Gold status with Hilton.
  4. I asked to be given Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest (and enrolled in SPG if necessary).

1. I designated American Airlines as my airline for $200 in fee credits.

The airline fee credit benefit is awesome. For me, it does the bulk of the justification for the $450 annual fee. You can designate any airline and when you pay fees like checked baggage fees, change fees, close in ticketing fees, phone ticketing fees, etc with your Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN, you will receive a credit in your account very quickly to off set the fee.

You may also receive reimbursement for airline gift card purchases, though that is not an intended benefit and is clearly excluded from the fee credit’s terms.

The $200 in credits is based on the calendar year, so I plan to get $200 in credits in 2013 and $200 more in 2014 for $400 worth of free money.

2. I asked to be enrolled in Priority Pass Select

Priority Pass Select is a lounge access program. With Priority Pass Select, I get free entry into hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

My physical Priority Pass Select card arrived a few days later in the mail.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN also automatically gives me free entry into Delta and Centurion lounges. For those, I just flash the Platinum card and a boarding pass.

3. I asked to be given Gold Status with Hilton through 2014

I have Hilton Gold Status for as long as I hold my Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. But I figured I would ask for Gold Status this way too in case I decide to cancel the Hilton Reserve.

Hilton Gold Status is normally achieved with 20 stays or 40 nights and entitles one to free breakfast and internet among other benefits.

This is a limited-time benefit of Platinum cards. Make sure to request Hilton Gold Status by December 31, 2013.

4. I asked to be given Gold Status in Starwood Preferred Guest

Platinum Card holders are entitled to free Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Gold status entitles me to late checkout, free internet, and other benefits on any stays at a Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points, and other hotel brands.

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 11.16.36 PM

I recently got the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, so having Gold Status with SPG will help me get the most out of my upcoming stays.

Still To Do

I still need to spend $200 with American Airlines this month to actually earn that $200 airline fee credit for 2013. Then I need to spend $200 more with American Airlines in 2014.

Update 3/24/14: I’ve already received my $200 statement credits for 2013 and 2014!

I might also look into the other benefits of holding a Platinum Card–many more than would fit here. For a complete list including benefits at Neiman Marcus, Equinox Fitness Clubs, car rental agencies, and more, see here.

Things I Skipped

The other benefit I love of a Platinum card is the $100 credit for paying the $100 Global Entry application fee with a Platinum card. Luckily I already have Global Entry–it has already been worth so much more than $100–so I skipped applying for Global Entry with this card.

More Info

Get the Most Out of Your American Express Platinum Card is a far more thorough article about activating the benefits of a Platinum card. Read it if you have your own Platinum card.

All Platinum cards are eligible for all the benefits mentioned. So if you don’t have your own business, you can still get The Platinum Card® from American Express.

I haven’t even mentioned the 25,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN. To me, the sign up bonus is the icing on the benefits cake.

Offers

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

 

  • Welcome Offer: Get 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.†
  • 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
  • A Premium Card with access to over 40 benefits to help power your business
  • Complimentary access to 600+ participating airport lounges through Priority PassTM Sele
  • Business Platinum Concierge is like your own assistant, ready to help you with just about anything personal or professional, 24 hours a day
  • Purchasing power that can adjust as your business evolves
  • Terms & Restrictions Apply*

Application Link: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

 

and the personal Platinum card

The Platinum Card® from American Express, your card for lounge access and other benefits

 

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • With the Platinum Card, you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight-change fees, and snacks.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to enroll and select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

Application Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. You should gift global entry to a family member or friend! The charge that shows up and is reimbursed does not show who the fee is paid for.

      • That’s a great tip, guys! I will definitely look into getting my sister Global Entry. She’s a big time traveler.

    • Yes, US/AA access is lost 3/22/14. That will leave Delta, AMEX Cenurion Lounges, and Priority Pass Select, which is a great program especially at foreign airports.

  2. Shame on me for not performing more thorough customer sentiment research before signing my team up for our American Express Business Platinum cards.

    I run an eCommerce startup in the apparel space and like many, was dazzled by the prestige and membership “benefits” that American Express is supposedly known for. I applied for this card, which was a much easier process than I anticipated (a facade…keep reading). I was approved almost instantly and signed my CFO up for a Platinum Business card as well.

    We made it through 2 weeks of card use before the issues started rolling in.

    I am not naive enough to believe an unlimited monthly spending limit is truly possible. What I do expect is for my spending projections, annual revenue and personal income to be considered intelligently by a rational human being and not solely by a computer algorithm that is clearly flawed. Despite indicating a minimum monthly requirement of $10,000 (a pretty modest limit, all things considered) we were assigned a $6000 limit. Unknowingly, I might add. It wasn’t until my CFO was mid-travel that we discovered this to be the case.

    After a hour on the phone I was informed that we needed to “prove a track record” of spending and payment before they could increase the limit. I paid the entire balance instantly. The card was up and running again once the payment posted (remember, we’re 2 weeks in here). Total monthly spend and payment month 1: $16000. Multiple payments were made in the first month, all before they were even close to being due.

    This behavior repeated during month 2 as well. We had the same issues with the card being shut off for spending that we advised them of in advance during the application process and the same behavior of making multiple payments early to try to “prove our track record” as they say.

    Furthermore, when you ask their customer service representatives how the calculation for credit limit increase is performed they will not be able to tell you. I asked what we could expect our increase to be for the next month if our spending/payment behavior was as they suggested and was told that there wasn’t any real way of telling. You are American Express! You don’t know how your algorithms work?!

    Month 3 rolled around and we were at our wits-end. The second week of month 3 I was in the middle of business travel and took out my card to pay for something. Declined. This was not only impressively inconvenient, it was also mortifying. We paid all of our bills early and made multiple payments per month. This was the last straw.

    I called American Express Business Platinum “customer service” to find out what the issue was now. News to me, they do a “financial review” on month 3. Now the easy application process made sense. They were requesting 2 years of income statements, tax returns…everything I expected they would have handled upfront.

    This is the shadiest customer acquisition process I have had the displeasure of being unknowingly subjected to. Whatever was required for card approval should have been handled at the genesis of the engagement. Period.

    Mind you, I am in another state traveling for work. This came without any warning. I pleaded with customer service to turn the card on until I could return home from business to gather the requested documents. They said this could not be done. That was it. I cancelled the card on the spot. I was never confident that when I took the card out it would actually work. I could not keep running my business with a card so unreliable.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Over the course of the very brief time we had the cards we accrued close to 90,000 points. Imagine my surprise when I logged into my account a few days later to find they were gone.

    To make an already long story a bit shorter, American Express is not required to disclose to you when you are cancelling your card that they will wipe the points from your account immediately upon account closure. Why, you might ask.

    Several phone calls and multiple hours of my time speaking with the American Express Business Platinum “customer service” team led me to the following discovery.

    Do you remember that brick of a contract that they packaged so beautifully with your American Express Business Platinum card when you first got it? READ IT CAREFULLY. Memorize it. That discloses every shady thing that American Express will be doing to you over the course of your time as their client. Because it is stated in there, they were not required to advise me of the point seizure upon account closure.

    This is easily the worst tool any startup could get locked into. American Express should be ashamed of the way they treat small business owners. We were impeccable customers to them. I will NEVER give my business to them or anything they stand to benefit from ever again. Nor will anyone who asks about my opinion of American Express, I can assure you.

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