Update (February 2018): In a recent move, American Express has raised the annual fee of this card to $499, while improving the Priority Pass benefits. I have made updates to the article accordingly.
The American Express Business Platinum Card is without question the most intimidating of all the cards in the Membership Rewards family. When I pull out my Business Platinum to pay for a $2 cup of coffee at Tim Hortons, people recoil with reverence that I have a card that's both "Business" AND "Platinum". You should definitely get this card, so that you too can impress people.
Seriously, though, the Business Platinum is a must-get card for anyone who takes their points game seriously, for two reasons: the incredible signup bonus, and the even more incredible referral bonus. Let's talk about that.
The American Express Business Platinum Card offers 75,000 Membership Rewards points upon spending $5,000 within the first three months if applying through a referral link. The standard offer on the Amex website (without a referral link) is 40,000 MR points, with the same spending requirement. Needless to say, apply through a referral link! A friend of mine once accidentally applied for this card without using a referral – not his brightest moment.
In either case, the annual fee of $499 is not waived for the first year. That means that you're effectively paying $499 for 75,000 MR points, which remains an incredible deal. For example, if you transferred the points to Aeroplan, that's enough for a round-trip economy ticket to Asia with two additional stopovers of unlimited duration. For a $499 outlay, that's unbeatable.
(The annual fee used to be $399 until it was increased to $499 in February 2018.)
Now for the real kicker: as I've discussed before, you can earn 25,000 MR points for every referral you make to any card in the Membership Rewards family, up to a maximum of 225,000 MR points per calendar year.
Let that sink in for a bit. For every friend or family member you refer to one of the MR-earning cards, you earn enough points for a round-trip flight within Canada and the US. One person signed up? Boom, free trip. Another one? Boom, another.
However you slice it, the referral bonus on the Business Platinum Card is an absolute steal.
Rewards & Benefits
In terms of earning points on your everyday spending, the Business Platinum Card operates the same as the Platinum Card. You earn 1.25 MR per dollar spent on all purchases.
As with the Platinum Card, the Business Platinum also comes with similar travel-related benefits. You can earn instant Gold elite status with Starwood Preferred Guest, giving you benefits such as room upgrade, free internet, and late checkout when staying at Starwood hotels. And if you charge 5 nights at a Fairmont hotel to your Business Platinum Card, you'll earn instant Platinum Membership within Fairmont's President's Club.
It's worth deliberating on the lounge access benefits of the card. The Business Platinum Card grants complimentary access to Plaza Premium lounges and American Express Centurion Lounges for you, your spouse, and two children under the age of 21 or one travelling companion. As of February 2018, the Priority Pass membership that you get with the Business Platinum grants you complimentary access to any Priority Pass lounge worldwide together with one guest.
The card also comes with access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, benefits at Toronto Pearson Airport such as priority security lane access, and of course the handy Platinum Concierge service. I've discussed all of these benefits in my review of the Platinum Card, so head over to that page for the details. Overall, the Business Platinum Card's travel benefits are still relatively strong despite an inferior Priority Pass offering, and definitely contribute to justifying the $499 annual fee.
The insurance provided by the Business Platinum Card is extremely comprehensive, and does not pale in comparison to the regular Platinum Card at all. In fact, I'd say that the coverage provided by the Business Platinum is the most complete out of all the Membership Rewards cards, since the card offers both top-notch travel insurance benefits and insurance geared towards small business owners.
There's the essential emergency medical insurance up to $5,000,000, travel accident insurance up to $500,000, and the usual assortment of insurance against flight delays, trip interruption, trip cancellation, car rental accidents, hotel burglaries, and lost, stolen, or damaged baggage. But there's also the Disability Plan for Small Business, which covers you as a sole proprietor for up to $10,000 in the unfortunate event of permanent, total disability as the result of an accidental injury. In terms of insurance coverage, the Business Platinum Card offers the best of both worlds.
Just to reiterate: the Business Platinum Card offers an absolutely whopping referral bonus of 25,000 MR points per referral, which can be an incredible way to earn free trips for doing pretty much nothing. It's by quite a huge margin the highest referral bonus available in Canada. If you're able to hustle for a few referrals among family and friends, the (already huge) 75,000 MR signup bonus almost feels like merely the icing on the cake.
It hasn't always been this way either: historically, the referral bonus on this card was 15,000 MR points, until March 2016, when it became 25,000. There's no guarantee it won't drop back down, so it's best to get this card while the referral bonus is hot, and start racking up the points pronto.
There's no minimum income requirement for this card, and you don't need to be a registered small business owner to apply. And if you do decide to jump on this gravy train, I would be ever-grateful if you considered using my referral link below, which would get you the highest possible signup bonus of 75,000 MR points. It's a great way to let me know you're enjoying the content on the blog, and it helps me immensely in continuing to put out content on a regular basis.
The value proposition of the American Express Business Platinum Card is simple and clear to see: while earning a signup bonus of 75,000 MR points for a $499 outlay is already good value, the 25,000 MR referral bonus is almost too good to be true. Even if you are more interested in some of the other MR-earning cards, it's a good strategy to grab the Business Platinum first, then self-refer to any other cards you want, racking up 25,000 MR per self-referral in the process.
If you want to earn a proper boatload of points, grab this card. It's really as simple as that.