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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

AMEX Business Platinum Card 100K sign up bonus

I received an interesting offer in the mail today for a 100K Membership Rewards sign up bonus for the AMEX Business Platinum card which is one of the highest bonuses they offer. I had heard of reports of others being targeted for this offer but I never expected to be targeted myself. I had previously tried to see if I qualified for this increased sign up offer before when I was applying for the AMEX personal Platinum card last year but unfortunately I was only able to receive the standard 40,000 Membership Rewards sign up bonus which is what they are still advertising on their website.

The envelope I received in the mail today with the increased sign up bonus (circled above)
The letter I received from American Express with the terms for the increased sign up bonus
I'm not exactly sure how or why I was "targeted" for this offer since it was sent to my business address which I literally just formed a few months ago and have done absolutely NOTHING with yet. It makes me wonder if AMEX is trying to broaden their customer base by extending this offer to more individuals than they normally would have in the past.

So this leads me to a couple of questions that often come up. Can I apply for this card even though I already have the personal version. The answer is yes because they are considered 2 different products and I would qualify for both sign up bonuses. However, as many of you know American Express is rather stingy when it comes to their sign up bonuses and only allow you to receive them once per lifetime as of May 2, 2014 which also applies retroactively.

A few AMEX Open Savings partners

Another question that comes up is what is the difference between the personal and business versions of the Platinum card. The short answer is they are essentially identical in that they offer the same benefits except the business version has a few additional perks. For starters, the business version comes with 10 Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes each year and also comes with the AMEX OPEN Savings Program which is standard to all American Express business cards. What this translates into is a 5% discount at certain merchants such as FedEx, Hertz, and Hyatt which appears as a statement credit. However, one downfall of the business version is that it costs an extra $300 for each additional authorized user whereas the personal version allows up to 3 additional cardholders for only one annual fee of $175.

There are also the standard differences that apply to all business and personal credit cards which span across all brands and are beyond the scope of this post. Just remember that you do not necessarily need to have a formal business to apply for a business credit card and often times you can use your SSN instead of a business tax identification number to apply. The cards also run on different lines of credit in case you do have a business that runs large balances so it won't affect your personal credit utilization and therefore score.

So what do you do if you weren't targeted for this offer. Well you can see if you still qualify by using the CardMatch tool that I talked about in an earlier post. This uses a soft pull on your credit so won't affect it and will also let you know about other offers you may be targeted for. You can also see if you were targeted by applying directly with American Express by going to their website and entering your information. Make sure you click the "Can't find your RSVP?" link if you did not receive an offer in the mail. Finally, you can try your luck by calling American Express directly at (800) 971-6736 or (877) 628-6736 and asking if you were targeted.

Bottom Line

While this offer does seem tempting I am still debating whether to take advantage of it or not. I already have the personal version of the Platinum card so won't really be gaining any additional benefits but I'll be subject to an additional annual fee of $450. However, the sign up bonus alone is worth roughly $2,000 in travel if you value Membership Rewards points at about 2 cents per point (100,000 x $0.02) so that alone might make it worthwhile. Have you been recently targeted for this increased offer?

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