American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the best transferable currencies. I find the points to be extremely valuable, and one of my favorite ways to use Membership Rewards points is to transfer them to ANA to redeem around the world trips in business class.
The Platinum personal and business are two American Express cards that are popular for good reason. One, they offer generous perks and two, they have great bonus spending categories. However, purchases for 5x points with the personal and business Platinum Card from American Express differ — and in significant ways. Let’s take a look at each card.
5x Points: (Personal) Platinum Card from American Express
Occasionally, purchases made with online travel agencies, like Expedia, also earn 5x because the charge is processed by the airline. That’s not a risk worth taking, in my opinion since the booking might just earn 1 point per dollar.
The card also earns 5x points on prepaid hotels booked directly on amextravel.com. There’s no limit on how many points can be earned this way.
American Express Platinum also has a host of other valuable benefits, such as Global Entry / TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, access to Priority Pass, Centurion and other lounges, and a $200 airline fee reimbursement. Airline fee credit can’t be used to purchase tickets, but it can be used for seat upgrades, bag fees and in-flight purchases on select airlines. Unfortunately, a loophole to purchase airline gift cards with the $200 credit seems to be closing.
These valuable benefits and the welcome bonus help offset the $550 annual fee (see rates & fees).
5x Points: The Business Platinum Card from American Express
The business version of the Platinum also earns 5x points on all flights and prepaid hotel bookings made on amextravel.com. However, the biggest difference is that ticket purchases made directly with the airline will NOT earn 5x points. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings also don’t earn 5x points. So if you have both personal and business Amex Platinum cards, you have way more flexibility with the personal card in terms of travel spend to get the 5x bonus.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express has a $595 annual fee (see rates & fees). The benefits are similar to the personal version and include Global Entry / TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, access to Priority Pass, Centurion and other lounges, and a $200 airline fee reimbursement.
American Express recently introduced new benefits for the business Platinum which include $200 a year statement credit for purchases made directly with Dell and a one year membership to the co-working space WeWork.
If you are working toward a particular redemption and trying to earn as many Membership Rewards points as possible, earning 5x points on airfare and hotels will definitely help. Keep in mind, however, that American Express cards do not have trip interruption insurance like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If this benefit is more important to you than earning 5x points, and if you have one of the Sapphire cards as well as an Amex Platinum, use your Chase card to purchase airfare.
Most amextravel.com prepaid hotel bookings also aren’t eligible for points accrual with hotel loyalty programs or receiving elite perks. However, prepaid hotels could be a great deal, especially when booking smaller, independent hotels that don’t have a loyalty program.
When I book prepaid hotels I always compare prices on a few sites, including Orbitz. I want to make sure I am not overspending just because my Amex Platinum card earns 5x points.
What are your thoughts on how to maximize Amex Platinum 5x benefit on the business vs. personal?