Should you take the Business Platinum 50K upgrade offer?

Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

If you have any American Express Business cards that earn Membership Rewards points, it’s worth logging into your account to see if you’ve been targeted to earn 50,000 points for upgrading to the Business Platinum card.

Log into your account, select your business Membership Rewards card, and scroll down to “Amex Offers and Benefits”. You may then see an offer like this:

Amex Business Platinum 50K Upgrade Offer

This offer appeared in both my and my wife’s accounts.  In my wife’s case, you may remember that we were planning on cancelling her Business Gold Rewards card since the annual fee came due this month.  This offer potentially changes things.

In my case, I signed up for the Business Gold Rewards card in June of this year so I was surprised to find the upgrade offer on my account.  It’s unusual to be offered an upgrade bonus so quickly!

The Business Platinum 50K upgrade offer: Good and Bad

There are both good and bad aspects to this upgrade offer:

Good

  • No credit impact whatsoever. With an upgrade, there shouldn’t be a new credit inquiry.  And, no new account will appear on your credit report (Amex business cards don’t show up on your credit report anyway, but this would be true of a personal card upgrade offer too)
  • Chance to get new bonus if you’ve had the Business Platinum card before.  Most Amex signup bonus offers state that you can’t get the offer if you’ve ever had the same card before.  The only similar restriction with this upgrade offer is: “Offer is available for first-time
    upgrades to the new Business Platinum Card only and for one Card account only.”
  • Good timing for airline fee credits: This offer is available through 10/5/2016.  Amex Platinum cards offer $200 in airline fee credits per calendar year.  This means that you can accept the upgrade offer now and still have time to get $200 in airline fee credits this calendar year and next calendar year before cancelling or downgrading the card.

Bad

  • Reduces chance to get signup bonus if you haven’t had the Business Platinum card before.  If you haven’t had the Platinum Business card before, accepting this offer will disqualify you from getting a new signup bonus for the Business Platinum card in the future except in the rare cases where a signup offer does not state “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”
  • Large spend requirement.  To earn the upgrade bonus it is necessary to spend $10,000 in 5 months on the card.
  • Cash equivalent language might be enforced. For years, all Amex signup offers and upgrade offers have had terms like this (found in the current upgrade offer): “Qualifying purchases do NOT include … purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents.”  In the past, these restrictions were rarely enforced.  Recently, though, with a 100,000 point personal Platinum offer, Amex has been taking back signup bonus points when they discovered that people had met the spend requirements by purchasing gift cards or other cash equivalents.  While I don’t think it is likely, it is possible that Amex will continue to monitor this type of activity for current and future offers.For more details about this, please see Miles to Memories: Caution: Why You Should Probably Be More Careful with Spending & Amex Bonuses (Clawbacks & Frozen Accounts).

Decision Rules: Should You Upgrade?

While everyone’s situation is different, I’m going to plow forward with general decision rules that I think will be useful for most people. Use your own judgment to decide if these work for you:

Accept the upgrade offer if…

  1. You have had the Business Platinum card in the past; and…
  2. You can meet the minimum spend requirements without buying cash equivalents; and…
  3. You are likely to get value from the card’s $200 per calendar year airline fee reimbursements and/or from it’s many other perks.

Decline the upgrade offer if…

  1. You’ve never had the Business Platinum card before; or…
  2. You cannot easily meet the minimum spend requirements without buying cash equivalents; or…
  3. You do not expect to get any value out of the card’s plentiful benefits*:
    • $200 per calendar year airline fee reimbursements
    • Airline lounge access
    • Gogo Wi-Fi certificates good for both domestic and international flights
    • SPG & Hilton Gold status
    • National Car Rental Executive Status
    • etc.

* Note: The 50K offer in itself is arguably worth considerably more than the card’s $450 annual fee even if you don’t take advantage of the card’s benefits, but it is less of a slam dunk.

My Decision: Take it!

I found that I easily met all three criteria in the decision rules above titled “Accept the upgrade offer if…” so I went ahead and clicked the button to upgrade.  In less than a second, it was done:

Amex Business Platinum 50K Upgrade Offer Accepted

My Wife’s Decision: Reject it

If my records are accurate (which I have some reason to doubt, unfortunately), my wife has never had the Business Platinum card before.  Since Amex often sends out targeted offers of 100,000 to 150,000 points for the Business Platinum card, I think we’re better off waiting to sign her up new.  We’ll go back to our original plan and cancel her Business Rewards Gold card.

Offer Terms

For reference, here are the full Offer Terms from American Express:

50,000 Membership Rewards® points
To be eligible to earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points, your request for the Business Platinum Card must be received by 10/05/2016. If your request is not received by that date, you will not be eligible for the 50,000 Membership Rewards points even if your account is upgraded. In addition, you must charge $10,000 of qualifying purchases* on your new Business Platinum Card in the first 5 months from the date your account is upgraded. Offer is available for first-time upgrades to the new Business Platinum Card only and for one Card account only. Additional Card Members are not eligible. Offer limited to 50,000 additional points per Card account. Offer may not be combined with any other promotional offers. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke this offer at any time.

*”Qualifying Purchases” are purchases of goods and services. Qualifying purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of other cash equivalents. Additional terms and restrictions apply.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] bonus points for upgrading from one card to another.  Recently, for example, we’ve seen 50,000 point offers for upgrading from the Business Gold Rewards card to the Business Platinum card.  Even better, these upgrade offers often do not have the once per lifetime language.  That is, […]

Comments

  1. Perhaps wait to upgrade until datapoints so come in about clawbacks? $10,000 x (.0265 – .01) = $165 of lost cashback for me if I don’t use cash equivalents for BP.

  2. AMEX may be having more IT issues. I received this offer on my business gold card and accepted it about a week ago and just received my platinum card on Monday. Yesterday, I received the same offer to upgrade to platinum card . . . on my platinum card.

  3. Thanks for pointing this out. Just logged in and see I have the offer. If I hadn’t just opened a personal Platinum Ameriprise card this would be a tough decision.

  4. I think you’re omitting one major downside to upgrading – increased annual fee. The Business Gold is $175/year, while the Platinum is $450/year. Will be mitigated by prorating – you’ll only be charged the difference in price based on how much of your cardmember year remains. But for those ‘early’ in their cardmember year, there becomes a true cash payment for the bonus points and perks upgrade. And for those whose Gold is still within its first year (free), that becomes an even larger cash layout for those points/benefits.

    • I didn’t purposely omit the increased annual fee, but I guess I was less obvious about it than I should have been. The annual fee is the reason I included this in the criteria:

      You are likely to get value from the card’s $200 per calendar year airline fee reimbursements and/or from it’s many other perks.

      In other words, if you know how to turn the $200 per calendar year statement credits into $400 cash back, then the increased annual fee shouldn’t be much of a concern.

      • didn’t mean to imply the omission seemed deliberate or deceitful. really enjoy your blog and objective advice. just feel the annual fee should play a prominent role in this calculation, rather than a one-line easy-to-miss sidenote.

  5. I see the offer on both of my gold cards(one on an EIN, one on my SS). I have had the platinum on both accounts. Do you think I should be able to get it on both cards? Or does this wording prevent that.
    * and for one Card account only.

    thanks

    • I do think that they intend it to be only for one account, but since you have it under two different businesses you might get away with it. It’s a bit risky since it requires $10K of spend that would be largely wasted at only 1X earnings if it doesn’t work out.

  6. I have a regular platinum that i’m canceling soon due to the $450 fee. I also just recieved a 100k PRG business offer in the mail. Should I sign up for that before or after closing my personal account?

  7. I took Amex up on the 75,000 MR points on the Business Gold Rewards card two days ago. Haven’t received the card yet, but the offer to upgrade to Platinum is already showing up on line! How’s that for quick? Of course, I have to secure the 75,000 first before going for the 50,000.

      • Yeah, I have not had the business platinum before. I do have a personal platinum. Since fee for the business rewards gold is waived for the first year, I figure I have a year to keep my eyes open and see if a 100k offer comes around. If it doesn’t, then I will consider upgrading the gold closer to when the fee comes due, assuming I still do have an upgrade offer.

  8. My previous business platinum was also an upgrade from a business gold. Does that make me eligible for a bonus on a new application or do you suggest I get this upgrade offer? Thanks Greg for all your good work.

  9. What about upgrading in order to pass time and get back under 5/24 in order to get approved for chase sapphire reserve? I want that card but need 5 months in order to have any chance for approval? I have a personal Amex platinum, but never applies for the biz one before. I see the upgrade offer in my biz gold.

  10. i get an error every time i click to upgrade and it says to call the number on back of my gold bus card. the agents cannot see my offer. the last one i spoke to said they are aware of some errors on the offers pages and to give it til friday. he did confirm i am eligible for the offer (fwiw). i’ll just take a screenshot. BTW i still had a plat bus showing on my account but was closed earlier this year. maybe that’s one reason for the error.

  11. Don’t forget that some of the benefits of the Business Gold do not accrue to the Business Platinum. Including, I believe, 2x bonus points on US purchases for shipping up to $100,000. For those of us who use these cards for running a business that ships things, that can be a big deal. I do roughly $50,000 in shipping annually, so that’s 100,000 *additional* points every. single. year. That (in addition to the lower annual fee) is why I will stick with the Gold version of the card.

  12. I already have the Amex Bus Plat and have the upgrade offer for my Amex Bus Gold. Do you think they would allow me to have 2 separate Amex Bus Plat’s under the same business name? Or do you think it is a mistake/IT glitch?

    • Good question. I think you’re likely to have the same issue as mrredskin (who got an error when trying to upgrade). My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that you either won’t be able to upgrade or you won’t get the points.

  13. Greg – what do you think if I recently applied and received a new amex business platinum with 100K bonus (5K + 10K spend), but did not yet make the spend (so haven’t got the 100K yet) – and now can also upgrade my gold for 50K? It says has to be by 12/31/16.

    • Good question. There is some risk that they wouldn’t award the 100K since you will then have had a Biz Plat card, but I believe that the intent of the rule is that you can’t have had the card by the time you apply. That was a long way of saying that I think you will be safe, but there’s no way to know for sure how Amex will handle it.

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