Amex Platinum Card Showdown – Does the Personal or Business Card Win?

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Best Amex Platinum
Entrance (Image courtesy of American Express)

The Best Amex Platinum Card – Does the Personal or Business Card Win?

Amex has been on many hobbyists’ minds lately.  Actually, when are we not thinking about Amex?  Indeed, Amex does a lot to hold our attention.  Recently, many have focused on the deluge of Amex shutdowns.  Meanwhile, Amex has continued to tweak their Platinum card benefits, on the personal and business sides.  With these recent refreshes, which is the best Amex Platinum Card – the personal or business version?  I’ll first share my take on the most recent card tweaks, my benefit valuations and comparison, and two unique benefits that alone may sway cardholders.

The Most Recent Platinum Card Updates

Best Amex Platinum

Amex Platinum

Since I last wrote at length about the personal Platinum, Amex has added the following benefits:

  • Walmart+:  U.S. Consumer Platinum Card members can now receive a statement credit which covers the full cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership ($12.95/month plus applicable taxes) when they use their card.

  • SoulCycle At-Home BikePlatinum Card Members will receive a $300 statement credit every time they purchase a SoulCycle At-Home Bike up to 15x per calendar year. An Equinox+ membership is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction.

My Take

Many continue with their tired joke of calling these more coupons in the Platinum coupon book.  Get some new material.  Amex continues to offer new benefits, this time without an annual fee increase.  Adding Walmart+, while off-brand from what the Platinum card has been historically, will be useful for many cardholders.  My wife and I are two of them.  I’m a fan of everyday rewards where I can consistently realize value, rather than simply focusing on limited travel rewards.  Amex continues to push the envelope with such everyday value.

I don’t do SoulCycle stuff, but inevitably, some use them.  They’ll be able to take advantage of yet another benefit.  Keep the new benefits coming, Amex.  Even if I only use a small portion of them, I come out ahead (more on that later).

Best Amex Platinum

Amex Business Platinum

In return for a $100 annual fee increase to $695, Amex has made earning structure updates and refreshed some benefits.

Earning Change:
  • 1.5x Membership Rewards® points earned on purchases for up to $2 million per calendar year across new categories that include:
    • Electronics goods, retailers, software, and cloud service providers
    • Construction materials and hardware supplies
    • Shipping providers
Refreshed Benefits

More significantly, in terms of upfront benefits, Amex has increased or added the following:

  • Dell:  Up to $400 annual statement credit on all Dell purchases, up to $200 semi-annually. This is a $200 increase from the existing Dell benefit for Business Platinum Card Members.
  • Indeed:  Up to $360 annual statement credit on all Indeed hiring and recruiting products and services to post open positions and find top talent, up to $90 per quarter.
  • Adobe:  $150 annual statement credit on select purchases, including Adobe Creative Cloud, the world’s best collection of creative apps and services, and Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign, which makes it easy to send, track and collect trusted e-signatures.
  • Wireless Credit:  Up to $120 annual statement credits for purchases made directly from any US wireless telephone provider, up to $10 per month.
  • Expedited Security Screening:  An annual $179 statement credit for a CLEAR membership.
My Take

The increased Dell and new wireless credits are the big standouts for me, and I bet I’m not alone there.  With the larger Dell credit, Business Platinum cardholders can buy more substantial items without going out of pocket.  Those who hold multiple Business Platinums can make up to a $600 purchase without spending a dime of their own money, since Dell allows split payment across three cards.

The wireless credit enables many cardholders to effectively decrease their phone bills by $120 annually.  This credit alone balances out the annual fee increase and puts cardholders $20 ahead.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the option of banking these credits with my provider, so I’ll use the credit to add data a la carte to my existing 1GB plan.  In short, my plan goes from 1GB to, essentially, unlimited data without any out of pocket expense.

Indeed, Adobe, and CLEAR credits offer the overall Business Platinum cardholder population solid benefits, but I don’t have a need for them.

Best Amex Platinum
You can’t go wrong with either Platinum card for airline fee credits.

Valuing and Comparing the Amex Platinum Cards

Now, I’ll value the personal and business Amex Platinum card benefits to see which comes out on top.

Amex Platinum

  • $200 Annual Airline Incidental Credit: I value this as a 1:1 credit, since I (like many of you) are able to easily use the total credit annually.
    • My Value: $200
  • $200 Annual Uber/Uber Eats Credit:  I value this at 90%.  I minimize inflated Uber Eats rates by primarily picking up orders.
    • My Value: $180
  • $100 Annual Saks Fifth Avenue Credit:  I now value these twice-yearly $50 credits at 50%.  I get value out them, primarily for gifts, but there’s no denying Saks’ inflated prices.
    • My Value: $50
  • Up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every 5 years: I don’t use either of these.
    • My Value: $0
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: $20 monthly credit for Peacock, SiriusXM, New York Times, and Audible purchases.  I pay annually for SiriusXM at a discounted rate, so this credit isn’t useful for any ongoing charges there.  I get value out of all the other services, but not 1:1 for all of them.  Conservatively, I value this credit at 50%.
    • My Value: $120
  • $200 Hotel Credit:  Redeemable for Fine Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Collection bookings through Amex Travel.  I just recently had an excellent experience using this credit.  I wouldn’t normally book through Fine Hotels & Resorts, though.  Confirmed by my recent experience, I value this at 50%.
    • My Value: $100
  • $179 CLEAR Credit:  Annual statement credit for a CLEAR membership, which offers expedited security screening at select airports and stadiums across the US.  I don’t use it.
    • My Value: $0
  • $300 Equinox Credit:   $25 monthly credit for purchases of select Equinox Fitness Club monthly memberships or a digital subscription to Equinox+ (the on-demand fitness app).  I don’t use this one, either.
    • My Value:  $0
  • Walmart+:  I’ll take advantage of this credit, but it’s not one I would seriously consider otherwise.  I value it at 25%.
    • My Value:  ~$39
  • SoulCycle At-Home Bike:  No use to me.
    • My Value: $0

Overall Annual Value Of These Amex Platinum Benefits: $689

Pick up all sorts of fun stuff, like earbuds, with your Dell credit. Source: Dell.

Amex Business Platinum

  • $200 Annual Airline Incidental Credit: I value this the same as I do on the personal Platinum.
    • My Value: $200
  • Cell Phone Protection for repair or replacement costs following damage or theft up to $800 per claim, with a limit of two approved claims per 12 month period, when the cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month’s wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim.  I won’t use this one.
    • My Value: $0
  • Up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every 5 years: I don’t use either of these.
    • My Value: $0
  • Dell:  Up to $400 annual statement credit on all Dell purchases, up to $200 semi-annually. This is a $200 increase from the existing Dell benefit for Business Platinum Card Members.  I wouldn’t normally shop at Dell, but I do save on my relatively infrequent technology purchases.  Now, I value this at 50%.
    • My Value: $200
  • Indeed:  Up to $360 annual statement credit on all Indeed hiring and recruiting products and services to post open positions and find top talent, up to $90 per quarter.  No need for this one.
    • My Value: $0
  • Adobe:  $150 annual statement credit on select purchases, including Adobe Creative Cloud, the world’s best collection of creative apps and services, and Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign, which makes it easy to send, track and collect trusted e-signatures.  No use for this one.
    • My Value: $0
  • Wireless Credit:  Up to $120 annual statement credits for purchases made directly from any US wireless telephone provider, up to $10 per month.  I’m adding data to my existing phone plan, and I’ll value this at 50%.
    • My Value: $60
  • Expedited Security Screening:  An annual $179 statement credit for a CLEAR membership.  No need.
    • My Value: $0

Overall Annual Value Of These Amex Business Platinum Benefits: $460

Either Platinum card type will grant cardholders access to the Centurion lounges.

The Outcome, But More For Us All to Consider

Lounge Access

In my situation, the personal Amex Platinum comes out ahead, at $689 versus $460 value.  My benefits are still under the $695 annual fee of each card version, however.  But more value comes from these cards.  The Platinum (personal and business versions) unlocks access to many worldwide lounges, including Amex’s stellar Centurion lounges.  For my travel style, I value this benefit at $100.

Taking into account lounge access, I value the personal Platinum at $789, and the business version at $560.  Crunch the numbers for yourself to determine the value you can/would obtain from each card.

Two Significant Benefits Not to Forget

This is all great, but two unique benefits alone may sway a cardholder to hold one card over another, regardless of how they value the other benefits:

Amex Platinum Card for Schwab:  Via the Invest with Rewards program, holders of this personal card can redeem points to their Schwab account at a rate of 1.1 cents per point (cpp).

Amex Business Platinum Card:  Cardholders receive 35% points back when paying with points to purchase all or part of an airline fare (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year).

I love the elevated cashout convenience of the Schwab card to quickly obtain value from my points, even at the recently lower rate of 1.1 cpp.  Couple this with my $789 valuation of the other benefits, and the Schwab card is a keeper for me, even with renewal at the $695 annual fee later next year.  However, those who frequently book airfare with Amex may do better with the business version while leveraging the points back feature.  Taking it a step further, some could make a case for holding Schwab and Business Platinum cards.  I’m not in that group, but many are.

Conclusion

I’ve gone pretty long with this article, but that’s primarily due to the wealth of benefits from each Platinum card version.  As I’ve said before, I’d rather have too many options and benefits in our hobby than the alternative.  Amex has, again, raised the bar to a new level with their increasing annual fees and growing pile of benefits.  It’s on us to put in the time and effort to obtain optimal value from the cards we obtain.  No issuer puts more obligation on us to do so than Amex.  But in return, we can come out far ahead.  Have fun!

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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