Why The American Express Business Platinum Card Is An Excellent Long-Term Choice

The Business Platinum Card by American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has offered excellent value to Canadian business owners for years. The card’s impressive 40,000 MR points welcome bonus is enough for a flight to just about anywhere in Europe or Asia, but the long-term benefits – worldwide airport lounge access, impressive travel and business insurance policies, Amex Concierge, and more – also make this card a winner every single year.

One of the things many American Express cardholders love most is how generous Amex is to their new cardmembers. Welcome bonuses regularly reach 25,000 (the Gold Rewards Card), 40,000 (the AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card) and even 50,000 points (the Platinum Card® and the Marriott Bonvoy™ Card), which are exceptional offers if you have any desire to travel the world. The Business Platinum Card offers its own welcome bonus of 40,000 MR points.

But many people don’t see past those welcome bonuses: they believe that once the welcome bonus is gone, much of the value of these cards is, too.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

That’s why this post is designed to show you that the Business Platinum Card® by American Express isn’t just a no-brainer for its huge welcome bonus, but also because of all the long-term benefits that come with it. These benefits outweigh the annual fee every single year, and once you know how to make use of the Business Platinum Card, you won’t want to go back to life without it.

Since we’ll be focusing our attention on the long-term benefits, we won’t linger much on the welcome bonus, as you only get it once during the first year. You can read our separate posts on the Business Platinum Card® and on the personal Platinum Card if you want to learn more about the welcome bonus, how best to redeem your MR points, and how to maximize your return on your initial investment during the first year.

To make this post easier to read, I’ve broken it down into the following sections:

The Business Platinum Card’s Main Features & Benefits

Welcome Bonus 40,000 MR points
Annual Fee $499 (may be tax deductible)
Additional Card Annual Fee Additional Business Platinum Card $199
Additional Business Gold Card $50
Travel BenefitsThe American Express Global Lounge CollectionTM:
· The Centurion® Lounge
· International American Express Lounges
· Plaza Premium Lounges
· Delta Sky Club®
· Airspace Lounges
· Escape Lounges
· Priority PassTM

As a Canadian Business Platinum Cardmember, you can also access the following lounges in Canada by presenting your Business Platinum Card:
· Executive LoungesTM by Swissport
· Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport VIP Lounge

Hotel Benefits:
· Fine Hotels & Resorts
· The Hotel Collection from American Express®
· Premium Hotel Program Membership

Car and Limousine Rental Services:
· Hertz
· Avis
· Carey

Additional Travel Benefits
· International Airline Program
· Platinum Card Travel Service
· Special benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
Points Earning Rate 1.25 Membership Reward points for virtually every $1 in purchases charged to your Card.
Business Benefits Cash Flow Management
Dynamic Purchasing Power
Expense Management Report
Business Servicing
Business Insurance Coverage
American Express Invites
American Express Concierge
Travel Coverage Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip Interruption Insurance
StandbyMDSM Travel Medical Concierge
Travel Emergency Assistance
$500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
Baggage Delay Insurance
Flight Delay Insurance
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
Purchase Coverage Purchase Protection® Plan
Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan
Business Coverage Employee Card Misuse Protection
Eligibility1. You are a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file.
2. You are the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Type of Card Charge Card
Applied Interest Rate 30% on any unpaid balance

Looking Beyond The Welcome Bonus

If you’ve read our other post on the Business Platinum Card, you’ll know by now that the 40,000 MR can be worth $400 simply by redeeming them for a statement credit. American Express may occasionally offer a transfer bonus, offering a better rate on all transfers of MR points to an airline partner like British Airways Avios or Air Canada Aeroplan, for example, for a limited time. We’ve seen bonuses reach 25% or 30% in the past, which means that if you transfer your MR points to an airline partner at the right time, you may be able to turn those 40,000 points into 50,000 or 52,000 points.

Valued at an average of 2.5 cents per Avios or Aeroplan mile, those 52,000 points turn into $1,300. If you use them to fly creatively, as we show you how to do in this post, you can reach point values in excess of 4 cents per point, which means 52,000 points would be worth more than $2,000 in travel to you.

So there’s no doubt that the welcome bonus is great, and it’ll cover the annual fee completely, making signing up for the Business Platinum Card an easy decision. But the really important question here is: What happens after your first anniversary, when you have to pay the annual fee again?

Three Reasons Why The Business Platinum Card Is A Great Year-Over-Year Investment

Benefit #1: The American Express Global Lounge Collection™

One of the most important highlights of the Business Platinum Card is the incredibly extensive lounge access you get with it. Amex partnered with the best names in the industry to give Platinum Cardmembers a place to relax almost anywhere they travel. Amex’s worldwide coverage is made possible through their own networks, The Centurion® Lounge and The International American Express Lounges, as well as access to other networks such as Plaza Premium Lounges and Priority Pass™. Nevertheless, I’ll give you a short summary of the most important features these lounges offer, and how much they’ll be worth to you.

The Centurion® Lounge

American Express sets itself apart from the competition by being the only card-issuing company to offer its own lounge club to its members: The Centurion Lounge. Inspired by the invitation-only Centurion Card, commonly known as the Black Card, these lounges are exclusively for premium American Express Cardmembers, so only Platinum, Business Platinum, Corporate Platinum and, of course, Centurion cardholders can get in. Today, there are 9 Centurion Lounges around the world, with another six preparing to open their doors.

Centurion Lounge access thanks to your American Express Business Platinum card
The Amex Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Terminal 3

Lounges like the San Francisco Centurion Lounge shown above offer food, drink, resting areas, showers, newspapers, magazines, TV, high speed Wi-Fi, and more.

How Much Is Centurion Lounge Access Worth?

You can’t buy a Centurion Lounge membership, so it’s not possible to give you an exact figure of how much you would have to spend to gain access to these lounges, if you didn’t apply for the Business Platinum Card. Nevertheless, the guest entrance fee is $50 USD per guest, so that could be taken as an estimate of how much it would be saving you, per visit, per person.

Plaza Premium Lounge Access

With the Amex Business Platinum Card, you gain access to all Plaza Premium lounges around the world. There are over 70 different lounges in over 40 different airports that offer great service and a place to lay back and relax while you wait for your flight.

There is a lounge for every taste: some are classier, others are simpler, but they sure beat having to wait on a hard bench for a couple of hours before your departure.

How Much Is Plaza Premium Lounge Access Worth?

Unlike other lounge clubs, Plaza Premium isn’t a membership club, which means that anyone can get in, as long as they pay the entrance fee. This makes it hard to estimate how much this benefit is worth to you, especially considering that there are many different price tags on different classes of lounges. But we can get some rough numbers.

The Plaza Premium lounge access that comes with the Business Platinum Card gives the cardholder and 1 guest complimentary access.

How much are these fees worth? It depends on the lounge you choose.

For example, when I fly out of Toronto Pearson (YYZ), I’ll sometimes head to the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 1.

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Accessing Plaza Premium Lounges thanks to Amex Business Platinum
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) Plaza Premium Lounge (International Departures, Terminal 1)

This lounge costs $43 USD per person, so if you were traveling with a guest, the Business Platinum Card would save you $86 USD.

And that’s only for using it once in one single trip. If you travel frequently, you could save this sort of money every time you fly. There are more expensive lounges in the program as well, and you’ll have to pay more if you want to stay for 5 or 6 hours instead of the standard 2 or 3, so you could easily be saving hundreds of dollars in Plaza Premium lounges alone.

Priority Pass™ – Worldwide Lounge Access

Priority Pass is a behemoth in the airport lounge industry, with over 1,200 lounges in its program. Priority Pass boasts some of the best, most innovative lounges available, like the PrimeClass Lounge at Muscat International shown below, which includes all the regular amenities that you would expect from a great lounge, and other less common like a cinema, children playing area, gaming zones, and more.

Innovative Gaming Zone at the Muscat Airport PrimeClass Lounge of Priority Pass.
Muscat International Airport (MCT) PrimeClass Lounge, available with Priority Pass

How Much Is A Priority Pass Membership Worth?

This is a membership club, and its membership is expensive. Offering three separate membership plans, the one that best compares to the access granted with the Platinum and Business Platinum cards is the Prestige membership for frequent travelers. This is an annual membership plan that grants unlimited, complimentary access to all Priority Pass lounges, all over the world, and it costs $429 USD.

Delta Sky Club

The Delta Sky Club lounge access grants you complimentary access to all Delta Sky Club lounges, as long as you have a Delta flight boarding pass. Additional guest access and fees are subject to terms and conditions of participating airport clubs.

JFK Delta Sky CLub lounge thanks to The Amex  Business Platinum
Delta Sky Club lounge at JFK Terminal 4

How Much Is Delta Sky Club Membership Worth?

The membership included with the Business Platinum Card is comparable to Delta Sky Club’s annual Individual Membership plan, which costs $545 USD. However, we’d say that most Canadian travelers will find their Priority Pass and Plaza Premium memberships more valuable, since there are many more of those lounges in Canadian airports than there are Delta Sky Club lounges, which is more US-focused.

The Bottom Line: Lounge Access

When you add up the retail values of the Priority Pass ($429 USD) and Delta Sky Club ($545 USD) memberships, plus access to the Centurion Lounges and Plaza Premium lounges, you’re saving in excess of $1,000 USD per year. Of course, how much those memberships are actually worth to you depends on how often you fly, but a reasonable ballpark is $25 – $50 per lounge visit.

That means that if you take a roundtrip flight every three months, which is 8 airport visits per year, you’d be saving $200 – $400 per year just in lounges alone. Many of us travel much, much more than that.

Benefit #2: Amex Concierge

Amex Concierge is one of those services that are simply priceless. Sometimes planning a trip can be a hassle, so having an expert to back you up and get things sorted out for you is just what you need to be able to really relax and enjoy the ride. Other times, the stress of work and other day-to-day obligations don’t leave enough time to plan something original for that special occasion you’ve been thinking of.

Whether you need to book tickets for a show you want to see, send a gift and you just don’t have the time to look for one, or need advice on what to do at your city of destination, an American Express Concierge will be there to help.

Having the Amex Concierge service is pretty much like having a 24/7 personal assistant, travel planner and lifestyle counselor, all rolled into one.

How Does Amex Concierge Work?

It’s really simple.

Whenever you have a request, all you have to do is contact Amex Concierge, from anywhere in the world, by phone or by email, to let them know what you need. Any of Amex’s concierges will respond by asking a series of questions to get to know you a little better, get to know your likes and dislikes, and what you expect out of the service.

A little while later, they’ll let you know if he or she can do what you ask, and will get to work on it immediately. The service is completely free for Platinum Cardholders. If the service you’ve requested requires making a purchase (eg. booking flights or hotels, shipping an item, etc.), your concierge will inform you of the charges for your approval before charging them to your card.

Tasks You Can Outsource To An American Express Concierge

People get really creative when it comes to testing the reach of an Amex Concierge. Here are just a few of the most popular things you can ask him or her to do:

  • Send a gift
  • Get tickets to sold-out events
  • Get reservations at highly coveted restaurants
  • Help plan a trip
  • Help plan an event
  • Find special service providers near you
  • And much, much more!

If there’s something you need help with, and you’re unsure whether a concierge will be able to deliver, all you have to do is ask. You’d be surprised at how many things they’re able to help you with.

Benefit #3: Impressive Insurance Coverage

The Business Platinum Card offers highly extensive coverage for everything related to travel, shopping and your business.

The generous coverage in health insurance, life insurance, personal effects protection, trip delay, trip interruption and more, stacked on top of all the other benefits of the card, make it an even sweeter deal.

If you want to learn more about all the embedded insurance policies that comes with every Amex card, as well as other stand-alone insurance plans that American Express offers, you can read our dedicated post on American Express Travel Insurance. That’s where you’ll learn all the details about coverage, making claims, and what all the footnotes and fine print means.

How Much Is The Business Platinum Insurance Coverage Worth?

As with so many other perks, this one is very tough to put a price on. However, if you were to choose an insurance plan as extensive as the one that comes with your Business Platinum Card – one that covers you, your spouse and any dependent children, for an unlimited number of trips, it would cost much more than the $499 annual fee on this card.

The Bottom Line

By now, you can probably tell why I love this card so much. Even by just looking at the three benefits we’ve described here, you get an exceptional return on your $499 investment, the card’s annual fee. Once you add in the different hotel benefits, limousine and car rental benefits, and everything else shown in the benefits table at the beginning of this post, you’ll see why so many Canadians are happy, year after year, with their Business Platinum Cards.

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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