On my mind, unplugged (Business Platinum Edition)

I’m writing this while flying across the Atlantic on my return from England. I don’t have internet access at the moment because my wife does. I know, that was a confusing sentence. Bear with me. I’ll explain, and I’ll get to the point…

Several credit cards offer free Gogo in-flight wifi passes. These include CNB Crystal Visa Infinite, US Bank Altitude Reserve, US Bank Flexperks Signature Visa, and Amex Business Platinum. Did I miss any? Maybe. I don’t currently have internet access, so I can’t check. Anyway, I’m pretty sure of this: The Amex Business Platinum card is the only card with free in-flight wifi passes that can be used on international flights.

My wife has the Business Platinum card. I don’t. And my wife is currently sitting beside me using the internet. I know from experience that two people can’t use the same Gogo account at once. Actually, they can do so if the person with internet sets up their device as a hotspot but I haven’t set one up. So, when traveling together internationally, we usually take turns.

Rather than wait for my turn or to (gasp!) pay for an internet session, I decided to try something different: Frequent Miler Unplugged. What’s on my mind when I don’t have the internet influencing my writing? You’re looking at it.

Free international internet isn’t the only feature unique to the Business Platinum card. Another is its whopping $595 annual fee. It doesn’t have that “feature” yet, but it will kick in by February 2019. That means I have some deciding to do. Should I pick up a Business Platinum card before February to lock in the current $450 annual fee for a year?

If I were to sign up new for the Business Platinum, it would make sense to do so immediately. That way it would be possible to earn $200 in airline fee credits this month, another $200 in 2019, and another $200 in January 2020 before cancelling or downgrading the card. If I thought that I could get a new welcome bonus for the Business Platinum I’d do that for sure, but I’ve had the card before, so I don’t technically qualify. On the other hand, I didn’t technically qualify for new SPG cards when I applied over the summer, but I did get the welcome bonuses on those cards… so who knows.

Another option is for me to upgrade my Business Green card. This card exists in my portfolio only because I downgraded from the Business Platinum card. And the Business Platinum card existed in my portfolio because I had upgraded from the old Business Gold Rewards card thanks to a 50K upgrade offer. My decision to drop down to the Business Green rather than cancel outright was primarily to wait and see if I’d receive an upgrade offer on that card. No upgrade offer has appeared yet. It may be too soon or maybe Amex’s computers know that this particular account has already been through an upgrade/downgrade roller coaster. If I upgrade this card now, I don’t think I’d qualify for $200 in airline fee reimbursements in 2018 since I’ve already earned that amount this year when my Business Green card was Business Platinum. Worse, since I originally applied for the Business Gold Rewards card in June, I would pay a prorated annual fee now and be charged the full “enhanced” $595 annual fee in July. That answers that question: I’m not going to upgrade.

I’m now thinking that the best option is for me to give it a pass altogether. That said, my 19-year-old son has never had the Business Platinum card and this is probably the best time for him to pick one up. I’ll pay his annual fee and help him meet the spend requirements. In exchange, I’ll keep the $600 in airline fee reimbursements and grant myself access to his Gogo passes. He can keep the Membership Rewards points and get upgraded to both Hilton and Marriott/SPG Gold elite status. That will put him in position to status match to other brands as well. He would also get airport lounge access which might come in handy when traveling without his parents. Yep, this is sounding like a good idea. Remind me to put this in motion when I get home.

What about my wife’s Business Platinum account? Should she renew her card for another year? If I recall, her annual fee will come due later this month or in January, so she’ll be able to lock in the old $450 annual fee for another year. Yeah, I think she gets enough value from the card to justify one more year with it. Starting February 2020, though, we’ll need a new international Gogo plan because I really don’t think we’ll be able to justify continuing her account at $595 per year… unless Amex comes up with seriously good benefits beyond those we know about today ($200 in Dell credit doesn’t cut it).

I didn’t intend to write only about the Business Platinum card in this post, but there you go. I don’t know if readers will like this type of post, but I found it helpful! Before writing this post, I had no idea what I’d do about the upcoming Business Platinum fee increase. Now I know: my son will apply ASAP; my wife will renew for another year; and I’ll sit it out. Thanks for your help!

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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Rob
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Rob

Good post. Exactly the sort of obsessive mental gymnastics I do when passing time and stuck in my own head. Good to know it isn’t a mental disease, or if it is, someone else has it too.

BombayMike
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BombayMike

That’s exactly how I felt after reading the post too :-)…. Birds of a feather and all that…

Steve
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Steve

Greg, android phones can hotspot off WiFi. I know you want to stay with Apple, but just saying….

Yuri
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Yuri

Windows computers can do it too.

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

Can’t use ur VPN on the plane correct ? . I can’t use it on Amazon Prime movie’s.or download more

Sophia
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Sophia

Great post. I was just wondering myself if I should pull the trigger on getting the business platinum amex card this month before the annual fee is increased. This is helping me lean in the direction of yes.

Dan
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Dan

When I cancelled my business Platinum card, the lady on the phone told me they would regularly offer 50k miles to upgrade to the Platinum (from Gold) as they want people to have this card. I think if you called about the business green they would offer you an upgrade to the Platinum with points. It’s worth a call.

Kate
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Kate

Yes, liked the post! Would also be very interested in updates in your son’s credit card journey!

losingtrader
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losingtrader

The only reason I see to keep the business version when I have the personal one is to use pay with points at a “bonus.”
I’ve never used international gogo and haven’t been on a domestic flight with it in a long time where I couldn’t use T-Mo.

Any benefits I’m missing here that I don’t get with the personal version? Maybe charging taxes at 1.5 points? The Business Blue and Alliant cards killed most of that .
It’s actually quite surprising the didn’t just add $200 more in Uber credits v Dell. I use Uber quite frequently, especially Uber Eats.

I’m searching……
The personal version gets me worldwide evacuation after every heart attack I suffer in the Maldives . Or at least the first.

You can’t use both the personal and business versions to get 4 people into the Centurion lounge.

I’m searching……

What AMEX needs is some more 88 year old cardholders like my dad whose card says “member since 1965” so they can deny his 6 figure jewelry purchase for my stepmom for being out of line with his normal spending pattern Someone who never sought extra benefits or more points.

Smart move AMEX. (The jeweler just let him take the jewelry on his word he’d send a check, but AMEX doesn’t trust him to pay. Seems membership has it’s deficits)

Steve
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Steve

There is the 35% points rebate on travel thru the Amex website, although I don’t use them that way.

Rob
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Rob

I believe evacuation is available with all Platinum flavors (not just the personal).

Mark
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Mark

Free WiFi is a fabulous feature with the Plat Biz Card.
What’s been annoying for me is that it hasn’t worked on my main air line, United.
They use a different system, and I’ve been told it won’t work.
The GoGo customer service has told me the same, somewhat vaguely, though.
If anyone knows a trick for United, I’d appreciate education; thanks.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

I didn’t download their app before I got on the 10hr Flt.. HaHa oops
I just got back from T-moble they TOAD me my plan & sp should be able to tether anywhere T-moble works ??? Not in the EU like many times..

BombayMike
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BombayMike

@CaveDweller, I can confirm that (for several years), tethering on T-mobile data has worked in all international destinations I have been in where T-mobile works (incl. Asia, Europe etc). Bear in mind that they only promise 2G speeds internationally, and as a practical matter, in most countries they do connect to 3G/4G but throttle the speeds. But hey, can’t complain – it is free and works great for my purposes (email, Maps, light web browsing, Uber/food ordering).

cavedweller
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cavedweller

Thanks.. They claim it does or Maybe my connection isn’t Fast enough so T- moblie won’t let u connect .I got a SkyRoam to use last month in AUS but I didn’t try T-moblie because everything worked . I’ll try T-moblie in May in the EU with my new $800 LT everything does work better and Faster .
Thanks I’m a No Tech person..
CHEERs

Robert F
Guest
Robert F

Great post. I tried using the Amex Plat referral link (deep within your profile) and it popped up a blank tab. Fix that so that people can reward you for your insight!

Robert F
Guest
Robert F

Oops! My fault, needed to whitelist americanexpress.com on my pi-hole.

veeRob
Guest
veeRob

Buy a travel router.

Bill
Guest
Bill

Going to point out that the GL.inet GL-AR750S solves this problem quite well and is handy for a VPN tunnel in a hotel room or sharing a limited number of connections from the hotel. Sure you could get another card, but this costs less.

MSer
Guest
MSer

Greg, aren’t all your card fees deductible since this credit card blog er, travel blog is a business?

Kaung
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Kaung

I’m bookmarking this page for the great info regarding HotSpot/GOGO tips in comments!