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The Best Business Card for Jet-Setters

If your business has turned you into a frequent flier, you’ll want to consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Every time you spend a dollar purchasing flights and prepaid hotels on Amextravel.com, you’ll earn five Amex Membership Rewards points.

Amex points are typically worth between half a penny and one cent, depending how they are redeemed. And this card’s base rewards rate of one point per dollar can be bested by other business cards. There is also a $695 annual fee, meaning the card is a big commitment.

Still, five points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels makes this the most generous travel rewards of any business card we found. It’s why Buy Side from WSJ named this card Best Business Credit Card for Travel.

American Express® The Business Platinum Card

  • Base rewards: 1x
  • Bonus rewards: 5x on flights and prepaid hotels on Amextravel.com
  • Bonus rewards: 1.5x at U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers; electronic goods retailers; software and cloud system providers; shipping providers; and purchases of $5,000 or more. Bonus rate capped at $2 million in spending per calendar year.
  • Welcome bonus: 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 in the first three months.
  • Credits that make flying cheaper and easier, like a $200 airline credit and $189 CLEAR® credit
  • $695 annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • APR: 17.24% to 25.24%, variable
  • Terms Apply. See rates and fees.

Are the fees worth the rewards? 

The annual fee is $695, the highest of any of the business credit cards we looked at, and one of the highest you’ll pay for any card anywhere. But if you travel frequently for your business, there’s an excellent chance you’ll earn enough rewards points to justify your investment. 

For starters, there are a lot of perks that come with this card, including a $200 airline fee credit that will help cover checked baggage fees and seat upgrades. Cardholders also will receive a $189 credit toward the Clear program, which uses biometrics to allow passengers to move faster through security at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. You’ll also get access to American Express’s many airport lounges, a big benefit if you’d like somewhere to relax when waiting hours for a plane to arrive.

But the card really shines with its bonus rewards for flights and prepaid hotels that you purchase on Amextravel.com—you’ll earn five points per dollar spent. These points can be redeemed for anything from merchandise to gift cards to purchase on Amazon.com. But you will get the most for your money if you redeem them for travel booked through Amextravel.com.

To evaluate business credit cards, we assumed a spending budget of $10,000 a month. (More on that below.) If you used Amex Business Platinum to spend that much, with half of that going to flights and prepaid hotels, and the other half earning the base rewards rate, you would receive 480,000 points in the first year, and 360,000 points in subsequent years. If redeemed for travel through Amex, the points you earn in a typical year would be worth $3,600—easily enough to offset the card’s annual fee, even without some of the lucrative travel credits. And you’d probably be left with enough points to pay for an international flight or two and several nights at a hotel, depending where you’re going.

Card details you might miss

While Buy Side from WSJ judges business credit cards primarily based on their cash back offers or how points are redeemed, it’s important to understand all the terms and conditions. Here are some other key terms to keep in mind about The Business Platinum Card® from American Express:

  • Technically, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, but as with many of its charge cards, it has a “pay over time” feature that cardholders can use for purchases as well as the annual fee, so that you can carry a balance. The APR is 16.49% to 24.49%, variable.
  • If you book your flight with American Express Travel using Membership Rewards Pay with Points, you can get 35% of those points back, making your points more valuable.
  • Numerous business credits for making purchases with Dell (up to $400), Indeed (up to $360), Adobe (up to $150) and up to $120 in statement credits per year for wireless telephone service purchases made directly with a wireless provider in the U.S. on the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express to each approved claim.
  • Cellphone protection. If you damage your cellphone, you’ll get a maximum of $800 per claim with a limit of two approved claims per 12-month period, provided your cellphone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month’s wireless bill was paid by The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. A $50 deductible applies.
  • A personal dining concierge. If you use Global Dining Access by Resy with your card, you can get exclusive reservations at some of the world’s most elite restaurants and access to premium events.
  • American Express Preferred Access. You can get access to premium seats for cultural events, like Broadway musicals, and sporting events, based on availability.

Who benefits most from the Business Platinum Card® from American Express

For heavy business travelers the  The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers hard-to-beat airfare and hotel rewards, despite its $695 annual fee.

If you’re not much of a road warrior, you’re likely to fare better with a business credit card that carries a lower fee (or no fee at all) and offers a generous across-the-board rewards rate. 

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. This card lacks Amex Business Platinum’s extensive list of travel credits but also offers 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Its $150 annual fee translates into a much smaller commitment. One important caveat: Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card is a charge card, and not designed to carry balance. 

If you are looking for a rewards business credit card with no annual fee at all, the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card offers 1.5% unlimited cash back across your spending. This card isn’t the best in the travel department, however. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Methodology: How we evaluated the Business Platinum Card® from American Express

To pick Buy Side from WSJ’s Best Business Credit Card we looked for cards with the most generous cash back and points rewards, both overall and in popular business spending categories such as shipping, advertising and travel. We also looked for cards that were easy to use, without gimmicks or complicated rules to follow. 

Our $10,000-a-month credit card budget was based on data from the credit bureau Experian which shows that for the second quarter of 2022, the average commercial credit card limit was $56,000. From there we assumed business owners would use about 20% of their available credit, roughly in-line with national averages. We then rounded down to keep things as simple as possible. To find out more about how we chose credit cards—and to meet our panel of experts—you can also check out Buy Side from WSJ’s full best credit cards methodology.

The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of the Buy Side from WSJ editorial team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.

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