[EXPIRED] Why we rushed to apply for the 100K Business Platinum offer before the end of the year

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The current 100,000 point signup offer for The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN is set to expire on January 25th.  My wife signed up yesterday.  We had intended to do the application earlier in the month, but time slipped away.  You know how that goes.  We realized yesterday that time is running out to eke out the most value possible from the first year of card membership, so we jumped on it.

 

The Business Platinum card has many great benefits, but I’ll point out four that are of particular interest to us at the moment.  Except for the airline fee credits, each of these are unique to the Business Platinum card (i.e. they are not benefits of the consumer Platinum card):

  1. 50% bonus on points earned for purchases of $5,000 or more.
  2. 50% rebate on points used to book flights with your preferred airline (or with any airline for business or first class).
  3. 10 Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year.
  4. $200 in airline fee credits per year.

Chances are good that my wife will cancel this card when the annual fee comes due 12 months from now.  In the meantime, we want to get as much value from the card as possible.  That begins with the signup bonus…

$15K Minimum Spend

To get the full 100,000 point signup bonus, it’s necessary to spend $15,000 in 3 months (new cardholders earn 50K points after $5K spend, plus 50K additional points after $10K more spend in 3 months).  That’s a huge spend requirement.

There are many ways to meet that spend requirement (see: Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works?), but the ideal approach is to avoid purchasing gift cards.  Amex’s terms state that prepaid cards (i.e. gift cards) are not qualifying purchases.  See: How to avoid Amex Clawbacks.

Also, we would ideally make purchases of $5,000 or more in order to earn 1.5 points per dollar for those purchases.  Suppose, for example, we had a very large federal tax bill.  In that case, we could pay our taxes by credit card with a 1.87% fee.

Here’s how it could work:

  • Pay $14,730 in taxes with the Business Platinum card
  • Pay 1.87% in fees = $275.45

We would earn 1.5 points per dollar on the tax payment and 1 point per dollar on the fees (which are usually charged separately):

  • Points earned on taxes: 14730 x 1.5 = 22,095
  • Points earned on fees: 275

The above payments would be enough to trigger the full 100,000 point signup bonus.  So, in total, we would end up with over 122,000 points.

50% Airline Bonus: 122,000 points = up to $2,440 in flights

The Business Platinum card’s 50% Airline Bonus works like this: Use points at 1 cent per point value to book a flight with your preferred airline (or with any airline if you book business or first class).  You will then automatically get 50% of the points back.  So, a $1,000 flight would cost 100,000 points, but you’d get 50,000 points back.

The downside is that you need to have twice as many points to begin with as you’ll ultimately use, but this is unquestionably a great use of points.

You can read more here: Amex 50% bonus is a (minor) game changer . Here’s why…

10 Gogo Wifi Passes

The Business Platinum card’s Gogo Passes are special because they can be used for international travel.  My wife has plans for at least three trips to Europe in 2017, so those passes will come in handy.  And, since her first flight will be fairly early in January, it was helpful to get the card now.

Up to $200 $600 in Airline Fee Credits

We may find that the Business Platinum card’s many great perks will make it worth keeping (see: Your Platinum Card arrived. Here’s what to do next…).  But, if we decide not to keep it past one year, we can walk away $600 in airline fee credits richer, thanks to signing up in December…

The trick is to earn $200 in credit in December when the card arrives.  Then earn $200 in credits in 2017.  Then, finally, earn $200 in credits in January 2018.  Once the second annual fee comes due, we can cancel the card.  If we pay the second annual fee, we’ll have about 30 more days to cancel and get our money back.  If we wait longer, we could downgrade to a $95 Green card so as to get the prorated difference back.

OK, great, but how do we make sure we get the card in time?

According to Travel With Grant, Amex won’t expedite new business cards for the primary user, but they will expedite employee cards.  See: Need to Expedite a New AMEX Card? Add Yourself as an Authorized User / Employee.  Weird.  So, rather than asking to expedite her new card, my wife simply opened a chat session to request an expedited employee card in my name.  Employee Platinum cards would cost $300 each per year, but it’s possible to add employee Green cards for free.  And, spend on the Green card would apply to the minimum spend requirement on my wife’s Platinum card.  Go Green!  Done and done.

amex-rush-biz-employee-card

The new Green employee card should arrive today or tomorrow.  We will then pick a preferred airline and earn $200 in airline fee credits before December 31st.  See: Amex airline fee reimbursements. What still works?

Summary

My wife’s single application for The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN should lead to over $3,000 worth of travel ($2,440 from points + $600 from airline fee credits).  Our costs will include $450 for the first year annual fee plus about $300 in processing fees if we use the card to pay taxes (in order to meet minimum spend).  We can look at this as earning a 75% discount on up to $3,000 worth of flights.  And, this doesn’t even account for the card’s many valuable perks (Gogo Wi-Fi, hotel and car rental elite status, club lounge access, etc.).  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

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. Your example about paying the tax is fine, because the payment is >>$5,000. But folks should be award — I swear I almost messed this up yesterday, which is why it is on my mind — that “convenience fees” (or whatever they call the vigorish) post separately. So for taxes, Plastiq, etc., if you want the 1.5x points with this card on purchases of at least $5,000, don’t include these fees in your mental accounting of the purchase. This is easier to get tripped up in than one might think, since the 100,000 MR points bonus is 50,000 after first $5,000 spend.

    Also, I stand by (now, with experience) some of my comments in your earlier posting on this card: It really can be a game changer, since coupled with the 5x airlines points on the personal Platinum, I have pretty much convinced myself that I am going to keep both Platinum cards (personal and business) after the first year. The 1.5x Business Plat points on >$5,000 (plus some unexpected joys like the 2x points for “small” businesses) has me doing profitable net spending on this card (given 50% airline rebate) that I would not have done on credit cards at all. Say you value the Gogo passes at $40/year (you could value them much higher), the $200 air incidentals remains a lock, and even after discounting for opportunity costs etc. you score $100 annually from Amex offers (not hard to do much better). It’s something like $110 net annually for the near-doubling of MR points value. For me, this has been the most interesting (positive) development of 2016 …

  2. You mention requesting an employee card, but doesn’t this come with a fee of $195 which you haven’t mentioned or calculated into the cost?

    I applied for a new card via phone on Monday and was told I’d receive my card within three days. I called for the application so I could confirm the time frame.

    • You can get an employee green card for free – it doesn’t come with the benefits, but all spend on the card counts towards the bonus requirement and your MR points (it’s also another card eligible for Amex offers).

  3. There’s another way to get the card expedited – call to apply. It takes a long time as they have to read through everything that you would normally scroll through and just click “accept” online, but cards are automatically expedited. I asked at the beginning of the call and the agent told me for this card they always do it and sure enough it arrived two days later (both the plat version and a green employee card).

    • Interesting. I applied for this card through the online application and made no additional contact with AmEx via phone or chat. As soon as my application was approved, I received a welcome message saying it would arrive in 24-72 hours. Sure enough, a couple days later it arrived via UPS Expedited. So in my case, I assumed the primary cardholder would automatically receive the card in 1-3 days.

    • That’s true unless they input “Forest St” instead of “4th St” After being promised priority mail on my card and not getting it for 10 days I called and found out they sent it to the wrong address….

  4. The Business Plat charges $175 (or $195) for EACH employee card, correct? Whereas the Personal Plat only is $175 for up to three cards. That’s a huge difference when you are already shelling out $450.

  5. Yesterdau I tried using one of my GoGo wifi passes on a wifi enabled flight to London on American Airlines. I couldn’t. Turns out, AA has changed their provider. Or at least they had for this flight. They no longer use GoGo and instead use Panasonic, so I couldn’t use the pass and couldn’t get any work done. I suppose I could still use the passes on a domestic flight, but I can no longer count on using these on AA international flights.

  6. I signed my husband up for the Amex Biz Platinum a few days ago for this very reason. Not only that, but I referred him from my Amex Biz Platinum account to earn 25,000 points myself.

    Anyway, his card came yesterday – 2 days after we applied. Last night I picked his airline and bought $200 in gift cards just in time.

    I hope your card comes as quickly as ours did.

  7. let me chime in with another data point (meaning i’m actually here to brag, lol). I lucked out yesterday with AMEX: 4 cards approved, including a CC which is my sixth AMEX CC.

    had a mail offer of 100k for biz plat, a targeted 75k biz plat offer and a targeted 75k biz gold offer under my old blue cash card, plus another recent mail offer of simplycash plus biz ($300 after $3k spent, not great, but nothing better at the time). i did have another upgrade offer without hardpull for a current gold biz (which disappeared after i applied for one of the online targeted offer)

    called to apply 100k mail offer, made sure my current biz plat doesn’t void this 100k offer. instant approval; then used saved app link for the plat biz from online account offers, applied and instantly approved; then used saved link for gold biz, applied and pending, so called in and verified personal info with amex, then instant approval; figured why not giving the simplycash biz mail offer a shot, since i could use some 0% APR time, plus all these pulls get combined and all these cards doesn’t affect Chase 5/24. so called in, applied and pending, called status line and verified info again, approved. I would slam another biz card with amex, but nothing looks interesting to me right now.

    recap: a data point for 1 SSN having 6 amex cc (3 personal and 3 biz; i do not know how my old blue cash plays here, but i somehow feel it stimulates offers which it did this time, maybe because amex still want to phase it out?);
    another data point that: 4 approvals one day with amex; i remember it is used to be up to 2 new account/apps per day; as my third app on a same day being simply not processed happening twice in the past 4 years, and that was what the status line agent told me.

    anyways, quite some MS work down the way, and all those airline fee credits I’d worry about before new year; especially with MPX got shot down recently?!

    good luck you all

  8. If you have EVER had the American Express Platinum Business card before you are ineligible for the bonus again, correct?

    Thanks!

    • Correct-ish.
      A number of people have reported getting the bonus again when they applied under a second business. I did that successfully with a Delta business card, for example. In my wife’s case, she hasn’t had this card before, so she should be fine.

  9. Green cards don’t get too many benefits trickled down, but they do get Global Entry/TSA Pre-check. A nice perk, if you want to add a bunch of your “family members,” since green cards are free. The AU’s have to make their own account with Amex, then use their card to enroll in GE/TSA.

    If you call to apply you can get the card expedited, otherwise you have to go through the AU loophole. Loophole is stupid, but apparently Amex claims the system freezes once you apply online and prevents things like fraud. I just went through all this. Definitely worth getting for $200 x 3!

  10. Hi Greg,

    Thank you for all the wonderful information you share with us.

    My question: I’m not exactly sure how you get that third airline credit before the annual fee kicks in. If I get the card in December won’t the second annual fee kick in on in before the end of 2017?

    • I would expect that your first billing statement will cover late December 2016 to late Jan 2017 and that the one with the next annual fee would cover late December 2017 to late Jan 2018. Even if you go ahead and pay the annual fee in Jan 2018, you’ll have about 30 days to cancel and get your money back.

  11. If the offer expires Jan 25, does that mean you have to apply by that date, or does it mean you have to be approved by that date? I want to apply the last day possible to give myself enough time to use the $200 credits the following year then cancel. (I’m not interested in trying to triple dip like you did…)

    • No, this card isn’t exempt from the once per lifetime bonus, but a number of people have reported getting the bonus again when they applied under a second business. I did that successfully with a Delta business card, for example. In my wife’s case, she hasn’t had this card before, so she should be fine.

  12. Few things, as someone stated earlier I too called and was accepted and asked for my card along with an employee (green) card to be expedited and they said I should have it w/in 24 hours.

    So if I read this correct. I will pick my airline ASAP (Southwest) and then go to a store and buy two $100 SW gift cards which should trigger the $200 credit for 2016. I can then do this again in 2017 anytime. Then once more in Jan 2018 even if I cancel my card after that 2018 purchase? (Receiving $600 in credits)

  13. Also.. is there another credit card I should apply for today? Since I applied today what other cards should I piggie-back with?

    Thanks,
    Gaspare

    • Sorry for the too late reply. If you can handle the minimum spend, tacking on additional charge cards, especially business cards, with Amex is always a good idea if you haven’t had them before and they’re offering a good bonus.

  14. No Amex Membership Reward earning card bonus will be of any benefit to those of us who have large negative balances due to them confiscating our points for whatever reason they gave. Our family now treats Amex MR earning cards as if they’re the Black Plague. Chase sure was happy some of our family who own businesses were so frustrated with Amex and any company owned by them they moved their business to Chase, stopped using Amex and no longer accept it from customers. I’m not sure Amex thought it through when they created the RAT department and all the negative ramifications that department has caused. We had been donating ALL our points to charity through Amex’s program for years, but RAT didn’t care because they’re not paid to have a heart. They are scrooges.

  15. If you are paying $14k in taxes you are “probably” paying a tax penalty as well. How much is that penalty and did you subtract that from the “rewards”.

  16. I just got an email with this offer: spend $10K, get 100K points. So I applied and got instant approval. Hoping to get it right away to still get the $200 travel credit in time. I am thinking that I might get the card on Dec 24 hopefully, do the spend on that day and get the credits 4 days later which is the 28th. I think I still have time!

  17. I don’t understand how an expedited employee Green card helps with earning the $200 airline incidental fee reimbursement before the end of 2016. The Green card does not qualify for that benefit, so why would any airline gift card purchases made with it (it will have a different card number) count towards the $200?

  18. For those who were successful adding an employee card soon after you applied for the platinum, how did you go through the process? I’ve tried several different calls and chats – and AMEX is not able to issue an employee card to me unless I have the primary card at hand to provide them the 4 digit number. Please help. Thank you!

  19. My employee card just arrived today (4 days after asking for expedited delivery). Things must be going slower than usual for the holidays. No sign of the primary card yet. I’ll spend over $200 today on airline incidentals and see if the account gets credited. I’ll report back.

  20. All: I just found something very interesting!

    When my wife’s card was approved she immediately added it to her online account (or maybe she logged into her account when applying — I don’t remember). The point is, the card that she doesn’t yet have appeared in her account right from the get-go. This is interesting because Amex Checkout works without having the card in-hand. We just tested paying an award fee with her card through Delta.com and it worked. The point is that it may be possible to get the $200 reimbursement even if you don’t sign up until the very end of the year. And you don’t have to order an employee card.

    Here are the steps:
    1. Make sure that your preferred airline offers Amex Checkout as an option. I know Delta does, but I don’t know about others.
    2. Make sure that your new Platinum card appears in your online account
    3. When logged into your account, go to the Benefits tab and select your preferred airline for the $200 airline incidental fees.
    4. Spend $200 with that airline on things that will be reimbursed (e.g. gift cards, award booking fees, etc. See my related post for details). Checkout with Amex Checkout.
    5. Report back here whether it appears to have worked (and again once you get the $200 rebate). Let us know if you had to do anything different than I listed here and which airline you chose, and what you bought.

    Related post: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/12/14/amex-airline-fee-reimbursements/

  21. I applied and was approved for my Business Plat on Sunday 12/18 night and called the next day to have it expedited. Like others, I was told that once it’s approved, it can’t be expedited. The automated machine said I would get the card on 1/2/17, but the first line agent said I would get it by 12/29 at the latest. I asked to speak to customer service for new cards, and that agent told me business cards come in 2-3 business days. I’ve read a few people above say they got it in a couple days without AU trick, but are others getting their cards >1 week after application?

  22. Greg, when I applied for the Biz Plat, I was not logged in to my AMEX account. Currently, my AMEX login does not show the Biz Plat card. I tried checking out from Newegg via AMEX Checkout, the Biz Plat card isn’t available.

    • My card did not show up on my account until after I received and registered the card. And even then it did not show up, even after trying to add the card. I had to call for assistance, log out and log back in for the card to finally appear.

      On another note – I booked a business class flight looking for the 50% reimbursement. But when I went to “pay” you need to select a card for ID purposes, and only my personal card was showing. When I called Amex I was told that you must select the business card in this step in order to get the 50% rebate, and you need to add the card to your account in Amex Travel. The charge posts as a real charge to United and then several days later the charge is paid off with points applied to the card as payment. I was also told this charge would earn points and count towards my minimum spend requirement. Time will tell!

  23. applied 12/28, card in hand 12/29, used the card immediately for the 200$ airline credit. The charge is currently ‘pending’.

    Does anyone know if it will still be counted in the 2016 credit even if it doesn’t post until say Jan 3? Or would this be counted in the 2017 credit?

    Thanks

  24. Quick update:
    1. airline fees paid with the employee Green card DID get reimbursed and counted towards the total $200 (in other words, as expected, you do not get another $200 per employee card).
    2. The airline fee paid through Amex Checkout before my wife’s card arrived DID get reimbursed as expected.

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