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Why I Haven’t Been Promoting Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express

Over the last several weeks I’m sure you’ve noticed quite a few posts on The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express Open offer. I’ve briefly mentioned it in this write-up, but haven’t covered it since. The offer expires on Wednesday, so I thought it might be prudent to mention it one last time.

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First, here are the details, and I’ve highlighted those that are relevant to my audience:

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points. Offer expires January 25, 2017.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • New: Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That’s 1.5 points per dollar, on each qualifying purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • Plus, continue to get one point per dollar for qualifying purchases under $5,000.
  • New 50% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 50% of the points back.
  • New: You can also receive 50% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Annual fee of $450 is not waived.

So, for most normal people, it’s a 50K points offer. Don’t even think about doing any manufactured spending in order to get the bonus. It will most likely be clawed back by eager-beaver Amex Rewards Abuse team (oh yes, it’s a real thing). Several of my readers have emailed me and asked what I thought about this offer. I wanted to highlight one such email (after taking out all personal details):

I’ve been intrigued by the 100K Amex business offer – though it’s realistically only a 50K offer for us. We can do $5K in 3 months, but not $15K. While we have more than enough Amex points for now, I’m interested in the ability to redeem for 2 cents. There’s a peak travel period on which there is zero availability returning from Hawaii on any program, so this could be a good backdoor solution. 

I was wondering if you happen to know how often bigger sign-up bonuses (more than 50K) come along for these cards? I saw a 75K targeted offer yesterday mentioned by DOC, but neither of us seem to qualify. I’d prefer to wait for a larger bonus, but might just get it anyway to unlock 2 cent redemptions. I really want to make this trip to Hawaii happen, and it might be the only way to do it. I refuse to pay the blackmail of standard-priced awards.”

My response (edited version):

“This offer on The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express Open pays me commission, but I haven’t been covering it very much. So that should tell you something! It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good deal, but there are several things that concern me:

1) High minimum spending requirements. Obviously, not as much of an issue if you stop at first part of the bonus. But I’m concerned that the offer would tempt some to overspend in order to receive the second half of the carrot.  

2) They may raise this bonus in the future, but it’s hard to say. In the past, there were links that gave 100K points after spending $3,000 in three months. But then again, Amex didn’t include the  50% rebate when you use MR points to pay for flights. Maybe this is the new highest offer (aside from targeted ones), who knows? Still, I don’t think the current offer is a one time thing, never to be repeated again. The requirements are high enough to deter many people in the hobby. 

3) I’m afraid this type of card will invite scrutiny. Amex is targeting high-spenders who have a decent size business. Once they see that you are in it mostly for the bonus, they may look for ways to claw back the points. Perhaps I’m just paranoid, but something to consider.

4) If you plan to maximize $200 calendar year airline allowance by buying gift cards, this method is kind of iffy right now. You may not be able to do it when you get the card.”

Things for readers to consider:

1) Do you have a large stash of MR points already? If so, you can use your 50% rebate on the entire amount. You’ll get 1 cent per MR point towards flights on your designated airline. So, let’s say you already have 200K MR points in your account. You get approved for this card, and use them for $2,000 worth of flights. Then you get 100K MR points back.  A pretty good deal. This could make a strong case for applying for this offer, especially if you are hub-captive and are used to flying one specific airline.

Read my post on other good uses of Membership Rewards points.

2) Do you have existing miles or other flexible points you can use for flights instead?  If you have UR points and Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could just redeem those for your flights at 1.5 cents apiece. This is something to consider, especially if you plan on canceling CSR. That way you’ll dump your UR stash at a favorable rate. Also, even though there may not be mileage award availability right now, it may open up tomorrow. Will you be able to easily use up MR points without adding extra unplanned trips?

3) Can you wait for a better offer on Amex Platinum card? I don’t know if they will raise it in the future, but I’m fairly certain that it will come back in its current form.  You may even qualify for a targeted offer that will require less hoops to jump through. So, if you apply right now, you may be foregoing this opportunity.

4) Do you think airline gift cards loophole will be closed in a near future? If so, this could make an argument in favor of applying for the current offer. On the other hand, Amex may allow all travel purchases (or at least flights) to count towards $200 allowance in order to compete with Chase Sapphire Reserve.

5) How important are all the perks of the card to you (Priority Pass, roadside assistance, TSA pre-check etc)? I don’t consider any of them to be game changers, but it depends on your needs and preferences. One perk that is kind of neat is the ability to get SPG Gold status, which you can then use to get Marriott Gold status. The latter will provide free breakfast at most properties, plus potential upgrades.

6) Do you have a real business? Sounds obvious, but it needs to be said. Don’t try to outsmart American Express because it may backfire.

7) Can you easily spend $5,000 in 3 months?

Other cards you may want to look into instead:

See the details on them here

1) Chase Sapphire Reserve (100K points offer) If you can stop by Chase branch in the next few months, by all means, get this card if you are able to.  To me, it’s a far superior offer compared to Amex Platinum. Not to mention, it’s a personal card. Some bad news: according to DoC post, pre-approvals no longer work in branch.

But if you are under  5/24, it doesn’t really matter. So, get this card, you’ll be glad you did. Just do it if you are able to swallow the initial $450 fee. No, Chase doesn’t pay me to send people to branches. I wish! I think it’s worth it to drive several hours in order to try to get approved for this offer. How about doing a short getaway with family and killing two birds with one stone?

2) Merril +Visa Signature See this post on why it’s a fantastic deal No, it doesn’t pay me a dime.

3) Citi Prestige There is a non-affiliate offer for 50K points, and who knows how much longer it will be around. Read my post on why this card is a good deal for an average joe.

4) Applying for two versions of Chase Southwest card simultaneously in order to secure Companion Pass. You’ll be able to use it for close to two years. Personal Plus version ($69 annual fee) pays us commission and you can use my  referral link for Premier version ($99 annual fee). The cards are subject to  5/24 rule.

5) Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard  This is supposed to be a limited-time offer, though it’s now been around for few months. But you never know with these things. The card does pay us commission, but I have no problem recommending it. In fact, I just got a third Arrival Plus in a span of three years, that’s how much I like it!

Bottom line

The current offer on The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express Open is decent, but it’s not a no-brainer, not even close. Obviously, if you decide to apply, I hope you consider supporting this blog. But I recommend you resist the strong push towards this offer in the upcoming days and instead, do your own math.

Readers, who is considering it?

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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4 thoughts on “Why I Haven’t Been Promoting Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express

  1. Hi Leana,
    I used your link to apply for this card last week and was instantly approved. However, I do have a clear plan for meeting the minimum spend: college tuition (no extra fees at the college we’ll be paying), and business taxes, since I do have a genuine business. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to meet that high spending requirement! I also heard I may be able to deduct the annual fee and/or the credit card fee for paying taxes as a business expense. Thanks for your advice!

  2. @Andrea A huge thanks for using our link! We appreciate it immensely. Your plan sounds perfectly reasonable, and I can see why you decided to go for it. If you can meet the spend and collect the entire bonus via regular expenses, this offer is very attractive. Obviously, better targeted links pop up now and again, but it’s impossible to predict those in advance. I think the ability to redeem points on flights with 50% rebate is a bit of a game changer. I still wouldn’t renew the card, but there is a ton of value to be had during year 1. Oh, and I’m almost certain you can deduct the annual fee on your tax return.

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