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The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most feature laden credit cards out there. Those features come at a cost though and the annual fee on the card recently went up from $450 to $595 per year as it added even more benefits. I’ll talk more about what those features are below.
Yossi Goldstein asks via DDFB what he should do with his accumulated points if he wants to close his Business Platinum Card.
If you have short-term travel plans that’s an easy question. Just figure out which airline will charge the fewest miles for your trip.
But without travel plans, I hate preemptively transferring bank points into airline miles or hotel points. Bank points are far more versatile than miles as they can be used for paid travel or transferred to an airline for award travel. Plus they never expire as long as you have an active card and they aren’t subject to devaluations like airline miles are as you have a plethora of transfer options as a hedge against devaluations.
Even when there is a transfer bonus, it’s not worth transferring bank points into airline miles unless you have travel plans to use those miles within the next year or so. The risk of expiration and devaluation is just too great. And once you transfer the points to an airline they’re stuck there, they can’t go back into transferable bank points.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the AMEX transfer options:
- ANA has lots of great Star Alliance award bargains and round-the-world award bargains. That’s great for short-term plans, but points expire after 36 months and won’t be extended with activity.
- Air Canada Aeroplan also has Star Alliance award bargains, but the program is changing hands next June and nobody knows how that will play out.
- Avianca Lifemiles is a fantastic option for Star Alliance awards as they never charge fuel surcharges. However the program has terrible customer service and changes their rules and rates on a whim. You also need to earn a mile every 12 months to keep your miles from expiring.
- Singapore is yet another Star Alliance option, but devaluations have been too frequent. The points are great for Singapore premium cabin travel, but points expire after 36 months and won’t be extended with activity.
- Alitalia is not a good transfer option due to their financial problems and expiration policies.
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue can have good SkyTeam values, but I would never transfer to this program speculatively even with the current 25% transfer bonus.
- BA Avios have good value for short-haul OneWorld flights, but I wouldn’t transfer to this program speculatively due to stingy AA award space and the lack of a current transfer bonus.
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has some great OneWorld bargains and expanded availability for Cathay flights, but points expire after 36 months and won’t be extended with activity.
- El Al devalues their points nearly as often as they strand their passengers in Greece for Shabbos. Plus points expire after 36 months and won’t be extended with activity.
- JetBlue point transfers are more valuable from Chase or Citi due to the 1:800 AMEX transfer ratio versus the 1:1 ratio with those programs.
- Emirates and Etihad have niche uses, but both programs expire points after 2-3 years regardless of activity.
- Virgin Atlantic has some amazing uses for travel on ANA and Delta. But those rates seem ripe for a devaluation and you would probably want to wait for a transfer bonus anyway.
- Delta miles never expire and they have already been devalued with their award chart elimination. The program still has value with their constant flash sales, but I’d hate to transfer here preemptively.
- I’m not a fan of transferring AMEX points to hotel points unless there is a compelling value or a great transfer bonus to be had.
In short, there are tons of programs that are potentially lucrative if you have travel plans and there is award availability, but not really any programs that I’d want to lock my miles into for the long-term.
Assuming Yossi doesn’t have short-term travel planes, that leaves him with some other options:
- He can downgrade the Business Platinum card to a American Express® Business Gold Card ($295/year, see features below) or Business Green Rewards Card from American Express ($95/year, no notable features) to keep those points alive.
Those options aren’t free, but they will keep the points alive without a $595 annual fee.
But there are free options as well, though those will require a new card application. Typically, AMEX doesn’t perform a hard pull though for existing customers applying for a new card, but YMMV (your mileage may vary).
- He can apply for a no annual fee card with American Express. The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is the big winner in this category as it earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere on up to $50K in annual purchases. You can read more about this fantastic card here.
- Another no-fee option is the AMEX Everyday card, which earns 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries if you make 20 transactions on the card that month.
Those are some excellent no annual fee cards that will keeps the points alive free of charge. And they both allow transfers into airline miles when you need them!
Benefits of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express include:
- A free year of WeWork Global Access, a $2,700 value!
- $200 in annual statement credits for purchases from Dell, with $100 rebated for spending in the first half of each year and another $100 rebated for spending in the second half of each year. This fully stacks with the 10% back via AMEX Offers, so a $100 item will actually cost you negative $10. You can also use up to 3 credit cards per Dell transaction, so if you or family/friend has this card you can save up to $300 plus 10% off.
- $200 in annual airline fee credit on the airline of your choice.
- 1.5 points per dollar on transactions of $5,000 or more. Of course if you have The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express you can use that to earn 2 points per dollar on up to $50K/year.
- A 35% points rebate for award redemptions on paid tickets on the airline of your choice in coach, stackable with discounted AMEX Insider fares.
- A 35% points rebate for award redemptions on paid tickets on all airlines in business or first class, stackable with discounted AMEX Insider fares.
- Charge card with no preset credit line.
- Hilton Gold status.
- Marriott Gold status.
- Centurion lounge access
- Delta SkyClub lounge access
- Priority Pass lounge membership.
- Airspace lounge access.
- Escape lounge access.
- Global Entry/Pre-Check Fee Refund
- Gogo In-Flight Wi-Fi: 10 free annual passes.
- Lost Item Protection
- Premium Roadside Assistance
- Hertz 4 hour late return grace period.
Benefits of the American Express® Business Gold Card include:
- A 25% points rebate for award redemptions on paid tickets on the airline of your choice in coach, stackable with discounted AMEX Insider fares.
- A 25% points rebate for award redemptions on paid tickets on all airlines in business or first class, stackable with discounted AMEX Insider fares.
- 4 points per dollar (Up to $150K/year) on the 2 select categories where you spend the most each month, including Airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio), U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases at restaurants, U.S. purchases for shipping
Will you be renewing your Business Platinum card with the new $595 annual fee? If you won’t, what is your strategy for your Membership Rewards points?