*** Update: As of March 22, 2018 American Express has changed the welcome and referral bonus on this card, and increased the minimum spend requirement. Details can be found here.
Increased Fee And Better Lounge Benefits On The American Express Business Platinum Card In Canada
As of today, The American Express Business Platinum Card in Canada has a higher annual fee, increased from $399 to $499, with the addition of an enhanced Priority Pass Membership that will no longer require a $27USD fee for airport lounge visits. This comes just months after the removal of the Fairmont accelerated status benefit, which was a big devaluation to the Platinum Card family.
For most readers, I would consider this a net negative change, and here’s why:
- Most people interested in travel hacking are using their points for premium cabin flights, which includes lounge access with the airline ticket already. There are very few instances in my years redeeming points where I needed to use a Priority Pass lounge through American Express (I think the only time was when I purchased an economy flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bali, and the lounge was bad).
- Many readers also carry the Personal Platinum Card from American Express, which includes unlimited lounge access as a benefit.
If, however, you are someone who uses points for economy travel primarily and takes flights more than a few times a year, this could be a great benefit for the incremental price difference. Previously American Express Business Platinum cardmembers could access lounges for $27USD, so it only takes a few visits per year to justify the annual fee increase (given you don’t have lounge access already).
Is The American Express Business Platinum Card Still Worth It?
For most, absolutely yes! Fee increases are never great, but this is still one of the most important Canadian credit cards on the market for those looking to leverage welcome bonuses. Reasons you should still consider getting this card include:
- The 40,000 Membership Reward point welcome bonus is almost enough for two roundtrip flights to Hawaii when transferred to British Airways for flights on Alaska from the west coast. The total cost would be 50,000 Amex points normally, but the welcome bonus would cover it if there’s active transfer promotion with British Avios.
- American Express has a great referral program, with The Business Platinum Card offering 15,000 points for each eligible referral, up to 225,000 points per year.
- Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards, which adds a lot of value at select properties (particularly Marriott hotels, which includes lounge access at many properties)
Other Options For Premium Cards
The American Express Business Platinum Card used to be one of the first premium cards I recommended people get for the huge welcome bonus and generous referral program, but in a lot of ways The Personal Platinum Card is starting to look like a better choice:
- 50,000 Membership Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of membership (easier for most consumers to reach compared to the business cards).
- A $200 travel credit awarded annually
- 15,000 Membership Reward points per eligible referral, up to 225,000 points per year (same limit as the Business Card, just more referrals needed)
- Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards
American Express Business Platinum Card Fee Increase Bottom Line
I’m never happy when I see a product devalued, either in the form of benefits being removed or in this case, annual fee increases. While $499 is a lot to pay for a premium credit card, I do think for most travellers there are enough benefits to justify the fee (for the first year at least). The welcome bonus is the best in Canada, with a good opportunity to boost Membership Reward balances quickly by leveraging the referral program. Also, the enhanced airport lounge access and hotel status with Marriott and SPG certainly have some value.
There are rumours The Personal American Express Platinum Card will be getting some new benefits in Canada soon – I just hope it doesn’t come with a fee increase also!
If you’re interested in applying for either card, you can find the application with the best available welcome bonuses through the links below!
What are your thoughts on the added benefit and fee increase for The American Express Business Platinum Card? Are you less likely to apply for this card now?