American Express are offering a 120,000 Membership Rewards points bonus to new holders of the American Express Platinum Business Charge Card until 4 February 2019.
Note that American Express is adjusting both earn rates and points transfer rates for most cards effective 15 April 2019. Here is our take on the changes and further information from American Express.
The card is aimed at large business spenders who are looking for high points earn rates on travel and business expenses, along with Amex Platinum service and travel benefits.
The 120,000 Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Qantas, Velocity, Asia Miles or KrisFlyer (and more) and are available to those who spend $5,000 on the card within the first two months of membership.
The card now has an annual fee of $1,750, an increase from the previous fee of $1,500. These benefits and changes took effect for new applicants as of 17 July, and for existing Card Members, the higher fee will hit from their next fee renewal date after 1 November.
The physical card also got a makeover, with the card now being fully metal and looking very upscale.
The sign-up bonus will help offset the cost of the annual fee in the first year, so you could use the initial year to test whether you are getting real value from the card that can be earned in subsequent years—or that’s the theory, at least.
How you could use the bonus points from this card
All redemption figures shown are examples only and exclude accompanying taxes and fees. Points redemption price data is provided by a third-party, so inaccuracies may be present. Please check with the airline directly for a complete and accurate total redemption cost.
|Card||American Express Business Platinum Charge Card|
|Loyalty Program||American Express Membership Rewards|
|Points earned from spend||2 MR points earned per $1 spent at restaurants, airlines, accommodation |
2 MR points earned per $1 spent on a range of business expenses
0.5 MR point per $1 spent on government and utilities, and
1 MR point per $1 spent everywhere else
|Cap||375,000 points per year|
|Travel Benefits||Global and domestic lounge access, Platinum Business Concierge service|
|Included Insurance||Travel insurances, purchase protection, monthly business expense and car rental damage waiver (PDS)|
|Overseas transaction fee||3% of the converted amount|
|Annual Fee||$1,750 p.a.|
Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates
|Frequent Flyer Program||Restaurants, airlines, |
|Business Expenses||Domestic Spend|
|Qantas Points||2 points / $||2 points / $||1 point / $|
|Velocity Points||2 points / $||2 points / $||1 point / $|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles||2 miles / $||2 miles / $||1 mile / $|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||2 miles / $||2 miles / $||1 mile / $|
Key eligibility requirements for the American Express Business Platinum Charge Card
- Have a personal gross (pre-tax) annual income of $75,000 or more
- Operate a trading ABN or ACN
There are no requirements for the self-employed to have been trading for 18 months or 12 months if they hold another American Express card when considering the Platinum Business Charge Card. Therefore, this card could be an alternative to the personal Platinum Charge card.
Key differences to the personal Charge card
- Increased 2x per $ points earn on advertising spend, couriers and computer supplies
- Higher points cap (from 300,000 to 375,000)
- 55 days cash flow
- Dedicated Account Management
- Up to 99 additional card members
- No $450 travel credit
- No complimentary guest privileges for Priority Pass lounges (guests are charged US$27 each)
For many people, the personal Platinum Charge card could be a more appropriate card. For those who spend a lot in certain (business-related) spend categories where points bonuses are available, then the Platinum Business Charge Card could increase the potential points earn and also provides additional cash flow to businesses.
Platinum Business is a charge card
This is a charge card, which means that the balance of the card must be paid for in full each month, as opposed to a credit card, where you can carry your balance over to the next month.
American Express offer some more detailed information regarding the differences between a charge and credit card here.
Benefits of the Business Platinum Charge Card
The benefits of the Business Platinum Charge card include (take a deep breath):
- Earn Membership Rewards points, including the ability to transfer to Qantas Points
- 99 additional card members free of charge
- 55 days cash flow and Dedicated Account Management
- Global and domestic lounge access: American Express, Virgin Australia and Priority Pass
- Benefits when utilising travel booking services when using American Express Travel
- Travel insurances (including points redemption bookings) and purchase protection, monthly business expense, car rental damage waiver and breakdown cover (read full PDS here)
- Complimentary annual digital multi-service subscription to the Australian Financial Review
- Platinum’s By invitation only program, which gives access to events and experiences that are not open to the general public
American Express Platinum Business Charge Card guide quick links
- Earn Membership Rewards points, including the ability to transfer to Qantas Points ↓
- Points capping ↓
- Global and domestic lounge access: American Express, Virgin Australia and Priority Pass ↓
- Travel booking benefits ↓
- Elite status in Marriott-Starwood (Gold Elite) & Radisson Rewards (Gold Elite) ↓
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program (FHR) ↓
- Business & Travel insurances (including points redemption bookings) ↓
With the American Platinum Business Charge Card, you’ll be earning Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points.
In short, Membership Rewards partners with the major frequent flyer programs in the region as a flexible points program, which allows on-demand transfers of your points over to the frequent flyer program at your request.
On top of the standard benefits of Membership Rewards points, Platinum Business Charge Card account holders are also able to transfer their points to Qantas Frequent Flyer, one of only a couple of cards in the market that can do this since it earns Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points (rather than earn directly into Qantas Points).
The Platinum Business Charge Card earn rates are as follows:
- 2 points per $ at restaurants, airlines and accommodation
- 2 points per $ spent on a range of business expenses, which includes ‘key national and regional advertising media channels, preferred national and local courier and freight distributors, select computer equipment and supply specialists excluding department stores and general computer suppliers’
- 0.5 points per $ on government and utility transactions
- 1 point per $ everywhere else
You should be aware that in order to receive the 2 points per $ for spend at restaurants, airlines and accommodation, the expense must be categorised as such in the American Express Merchant Acceptance system.
For example, dining within a retail department store, hotels, pubs and liquor outlets may not be eligible to receive the additional points for restaurants. Spend on airlines or accommodation is eligible for the additional points when paid directly to the merchant or through a travel agent.
Some of the merchants that earn double points for advertising spend:
- ABC Outdoor
- Community Newspapers
- Google Adwords
- Macquarie Southern Cross
- News Limited
- Nine Entertainment
- Prime Television
- Seven West
- Surround Plan
- The Sunday Times
- The West
- WIN Television
National and local courier and freight distributors eligible for bonus points include:
- Toll Priority
The 0.5 points per $ earn rate for government and utility transactions includes gas, water and electricity providers, Australian Taxation Office, Australia Post, federal/state and local government bodies and insurance providers excluding insurances offered by American Express.
American Express applies a points cap of 375,000 points earned before reverting to 1 point per $1 spent.
The points cap is a shame, given that this card allows for 99 additional card members free of charge, which is encouraged by American Express as ideal for small business owners to spread points earning across many employees.
There are several airline lounge options you can take advantage of as a Platinum Business Charge Card Member.
Virgin Australia offers the primary Card Member unlimited access to Virgin Australia lounges—and you’ll also be able to bring in a guest travelling with you. You’ll need to be travelling with Virgin Australia to gain access.
Generally, you can bring two guests to the American Express lounges, as well as children travelling with you, and with the Platinum Charge you may be able to access the Sydney lounge, the Melbourne Lounge and others globally on an unlimited basis.
You’ll receive a Priority Pass lounge membership for you and an additional card member, which now includes eateries at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Airports. Guests are charged US$27 each.
Another lounge network Platinum Charge Card Members get access to is Plaza Premium, which operates a small number of about 50 high-quality lounges worldwide, including a great lounge in Brisbane’s International Terminal. You can read more in our Plaza Premium guide.
The Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane
Additionally, when travelling with Delta, a Platinum Charge Card Member can access Delta SkyClub lounges.
American Express Travel is available to all Amex Card Members, but Platinum Business Charge Card Members receive additional value. The benefits are now similar to those of the personal Platinum Charge, with the biggest difference being the lack of travel credit.
For Business Class fares, Amex Travel has competitive pricing and has access to a wide range of discounts that may not be publicly available.
This is primarily across their partner airlines: British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Virgin Australia.
Beyond airfare, there are also a number of partner independent hotel chains which offer some exclusive benefits when booking through American Express Travel.
There’s then the major hotel program benefit – American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts.
American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts is a unique benefit for Card Members, which offers more hotel benefits when booked through American Express.
With many Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings you’ll also continue to receive points and status with the parent hotel loyalty program too.
The benefits may include:
- An on property benefit, often $100 USD in credit per stay
- 12pm check in
- Room upgrade if available
- Free breakfast
- Guaranteed 4pm late checkout
- Free wifi
Business Platinum Card Members also have access to The Hotel Collection, which is a smaller set of high-end (as opposed to ultra high-end) properties, where they can get a free room upgrade and US$75 hotel credit.
The Platinum Business Charge Card comes with a range of hotel and other elite status benefits. We’ve covered off exactly what you’ll receive in a dedicated guide, but the key benefits are Marriott-Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Elite, Hilton HHonors Gold, and Radisson Rewards Gold Elite status.
Also included with the Platinum Charge is a complimentary membership to Accor Plus, which has an annual fee of $395 if bought separately.
This membership offers benefits such as a free night at a hotel in the Asia-Pacific each year you hold the card and the potential for large discounts at restaurants within hotels, even when you are not staying at one.
It is difficult to provide too much commentary on the card’s insurance coverage given that each person’s insurance needs are different, so check out the full Platinum Business Charge Card Insurance PDS and assess whether it will cover your needs.
Depending upon the type of cover, the insurance is activated by either just being a Platinum Business Charge Card Member, or by making a purchase of an eligible item.
The insurances included are:
- Monthly Business Expense Insurance, where the Card Member will receive protection in the event of they are temporarily unable to run their business, to a maximum of $12,000
- Travel insurance, including for points redemption bookings from using points earned by your Platinum Business Charge Card
- Purchase protection
- Roadside assistance insurance
- Up to $125,000 of Loss Damage Waiver insurance for rental cars
This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this card.
You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.
Complimentary Digital Multi-Device Subscription to the Australian Financial Review
Tailored to Platinum Business Charge Card Members is a free annual digital subscription to The Australian Financial Review.
American Express Apple Pay & Android Pay support
American Express cards support both Apple Pay & Android Pay, meaning you can use this card on your smartphone for easier payments. Find out more in our guides for each of the compatible services.
Eligibility criteria for bonus points for existing American Express Card Members
American Express are quite specific about whether existing Card Members will be eligible for bonus points if they apply for a card, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria.
If you hold a bank-issued American Express – such as from Westpac, Commonwealth Bank or NAB – that won’t affect whether you’re eligible for bonus points with an American Express branded card offer. There’s more in our guide to this here.
However American Express don’t allow existing cardholders, even for different types of American Express cards (e.g. Charge, Credit or Business) to be eligible for bonus points offers for cards in a different family.
Summing up: American Express Platinum Business Charge Card
With a large annual fee, the expectation is that this card should tick all the boxes, and while the card does offer some very nice benefits, it is different to its personal card equivalent, the Platinum Charge card.
If you are a frequent traveller with a high spend, put a lot of your business spend on advertising, couriers or computer equipment, and are likely to utilise the softer benefits such as insurance protections, then this card may be for you.
But given the high cost of the card, a serious cost-benefit analysis should be undertaken before considering it.
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