If you’re looking forward to traveling in 2021 and beyond, a premium travel rewards card, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, may be a good long-term fit.
Along with high-value benefits, both cards currently offer generous introductory bonuses. The American Express Platinum card gives cardholders 75,000 bonus points when they spend $5,000 in the first six months of card membership, as well as an elevated rewards rate of 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets in the first six months (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases). Meanwhile, small-business owners can earn 85,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first three months with the Amex Business Platinum card.
These are among the most generous offers ever for the two cards, so now is a great time to apply.
Comparing American Express Platinum cards
In addition to sharing similar annual fees, the American Express Platinum cards both offer bonus points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. The most notable difference is that one is designed for business owners and the other is geared toward consumers.
See how the cards compare side by side in the table below.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum CardÂ® from American Express
|Estimated yearly rewards value||$797
($1,325 monthly spend)
($4,000 monthly spend)
As you can see, the Business Platinum card offers considerably more value per year than the consumer card. That’s largely because business owners typically charge a lot more on their cards than consumers, thereby earning more rewards. We estimate that the average business owner spends approximately $4,000 each month on office supplies, business travel and other company expenses â compared to the average consumer who spends around $1,325 each month on food, gas, clothing and general purchases.
That said, the Platinum Card’s boosted rewards rate on your first $15,000 in U.S. gas station and U.S. supermarket purchases in the first six months could also make up some of the difference if those are large spending categories for you.
Recent changes to the American Express Platinum cards
While the Business Platinum cardâs bonus has teetered between 75,000 and 100,000 points, the consumer Platinum cardâs bonus doesn’t change as often. The current bonus is the highest ever publicly available on the card, excluding targeted offers.
American Express Platinum card bonus history
|Change date||Introductory bonus|
|Nov. 12, 2020||
Business Platinum card bonus history
|Change date||Introductory bonus|
|Jan. 11, 2021||
|March 26, 2020||
|Dec. 5, 2019||
|Sept. 5, 2019||
|Aug. 9, 2018||
|May 10, 2018||
|Jan. 26, 2017||
Best ways to use 85,000 Membership Rewards points
The American Express Membership Rewards program offers a huge variety of redemption options, so you may feel overwhelmed trying to sort them out. Weâve listed them in the table below, and, as you can see, if you are looking for a simple redemption with the best value, you are best off redeeming your rewards for airfare through the Membership Rewards portal.
Furthermore, you can earn a 35% bonus on your points by redeeming them for airfare on a designated airline. This option requires you to jump through some hoops â you have to log in and choose your airline once your account is activated, and then you can only redeem your points with this airline for the remainder of the year to earn the bonus â but this is a great way to boost the value of your bonus. With the redemption bonus, a 75,000-point bonus is worth about $1,200 in airfare and 85,000 bonus points are worth approximately $1,365 in airfare.
Redemption options for the Business Platinum card
|Redemption option||Point value (cents)||Value of 75,000-point bonus||Value of 85,000-point bonus|
|Membership Rewards portal airfare||1 cent||$750||$850|
|35% airline redemption bonus||1.35 cents||$1,013||$1,148|
|Other Membership Rewards portal travel rewards (hotels, vacations, cruises)||0.7 cent||$525||$595|
|Expedia travel||0.7 cent||$525||$595|
|Uber/NYC taxi||1 cent||$750||$850|
|Gift cards/vouchers||Up to 1 cent (sometimes lower)||$750||$850|
|Shopping partner (Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed, Grubhub, Newegg, Rite Aid, Seamless, Staples)||0.7 cent||$525||$595|
|Amex Express Checkout||0.7 cent||$525||$595|
|Shopping portal||0.5 cent||$375||$425|
|Transfer to Plenti||1 cent||$750||$850|
|Ticketmaster & AXS tickets||0.5 cent||$375||$425|
|Statement credit||0.6 cent||$450||$510|
|Charity donation||1 cent (up to 500,000 points, 0.5 cent thereafter)||$750||$850|
|Excise tax offset fee (for transfer to travel partner)||0.5 cent||$375||$425|
However, if you really want the best value for your points, you should consider transferring them to one of American Expressâs 19 travel partners. Your points transfer to most partners at a 1:1 ratio, and, if you are willing to spend some time searching through airline redemption charts, you can get a much higher value than 1 cent per point with many of these partners (even once you factor in the small 0.06 cent excise fee that American Express charges per point).
As you can see from the chart below, 75,000 bonus points can score you more than $1,600 worth of airfare with partners such as Singapore KrisFlyer, while 85,000 points can get you more than $1,800 in value:
Transfer options for the Business Platinum card
|Transfer ratio||Point value (including transfer ratio & excise fee)||Value of 75,000-point bonus||Value of 85,000-point bonus|
|Singapore KrisFlyer||1:1||2.16 cents||$1,620||$1,836|
|Iberia Plus||1:1||1.64 cents||$1,230||$1,394|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1||1.4 cents||$1,050||$1,190|
|Delta SkyMiles||1:1||1.29 cents||$1,967||$1,097|
|Hawaiian Airlines||1:1||1.27 cents||$952||$1,080|
|Emirates Skywards||1:1||1.04 cents||$780||$884|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||1:1||0.94 cent||$705||$799|
|Asia Miles||1:1||0.94 cent||$705||$799|
|Etihad Guest||1:1||0.94 cent||$705||$799|
|Flying Blue||1:1||0.94 cent||$705||$799|
|Hilton Honors||1:2||0.94 cent||$705||$799|
|Marriott Bonvoy||3:1||0.8 cent||$600||$680|
|Choice Privileges||1:1||0.77 cent||$578||$655|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1||0.74 cent||$555||$629|
|El Al Israel Airlines||20:1||(0.01) cent||($7.5)||($8.5)|
Who is eligible for the introductory bonus?
American Express has one of the most rigid introductory bonus policies in the industry, limiting cardholders to earning the bonus on a particular card only once in a lifetime. If you currently own or have previously owned an American Express Platinum card or an American Express Business Platinum card, you are not eligible for the current bonus. Additionally, you must be a business owner to be approved for the Business Platinum card.
Should you apply now?
Yes. The introductory bonuses for the Amex Platinum cards are very generous. While the Business Platinum occasionally offers a bonus of up to 100,000 points, you can still get quite a bit of value out of the current offer. As for the consumer card, the current bonus is one of the highest ever offered and is only available for a limited time.
See related: American Express Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Membership Rewards points