05Apr

Amex Business Platinum for freelancers and contractors in the UK, is it worth the price?

This is a personal review of the Amex Platinum business card for UK based freelancers/contractors. It can help you to decide if you should or shouldn’t take the American Express Business Platinum when you are a freelance running a limited company with no employee.

Is the Amex Business Platinum worth for freelancers and contractors? (UK based)

As a disclaimer, I can only speak for freelancers/contractors in a similar situation to mine. I run a limited company where I am the sole director, employee and secretary of myself. My business field is digital and I don’t have tons of expenses. I have been a cardmember for 2 years. This article will contain my own Amex Platinum referral invite (scroll to the end) but I am giving an honest review and this is not an advert or paid article type of content as I don’t do this on this blog.

How much does it cost per year?

You probably know already the annual cost is £595 VAT included.

But what do you get for that price? Well it’s a credit card with 54 days to repay, not a magic card, well there is no spending limit, but you are not going to spend what you can’t afford.

The biggest perk is linked to business travel

Do you travel? Do you have pay for travel insurance?

Before the COVID-19 I used to travel a lot, flying to different destinations and all my flights are part of my business expenses. Always buy your flight ticket with your Amex. They have a great travel insurance that covers you during business and also outside of business. Before I paid the premium Revolut covering when you are abroad too, but this is much better. Amex will also cover for your family.

“You, your family, as well as your Supplementary Cardmembers are covered, whether travelling together or travelling alone on business and leisure trips of up to 120 days when travel is booked on your Card”

I made some use of the Amex Business Platinum travel insurance in January 2021. I got stuck in Madrid for 48 hours because of the snow they had to close the airport. Iberia said they will cover the expense up to 100 euros per day for hotel and subsistence, even gave some papers saying this. I did my claim with photos and everything but they rejected it saying they can’t control the weather… a bit predictable. Same stories for all the group of people I shared my stuck in Madrid time.
However, I called Amex (they are good and clear on the phone, no funny accent, very professional) and I put a claim online alone after talking to an agent and they refunded me based on what I provided about £184. That covered my hotel for 2 nights, some food, and my taxi. Only a few days later I had the money in my personal account.

Do you usually pay for personal travel insurance? How much do you spend on it?

But the best part of it for me is the Priority pass = Access to VIP lounge about everywhere in the world.

Priority Pass: Airport Lounge Access Worldwide

One of the reasons I took the card (well, the main reason) was this Priority Pass which part of the Amex Platinum membership. Priority pass is the “world’s largest independent airport lounge access programme”.
OK, it’s a bit silly, but as I said, I like to travel, but I am not a gold BA member or anything. I prefer to pay for a pass and still fly with low-cost airlines and I think in the end it works fair. On prioritypass.com, the frequent Traveller cost £339 + £20 Guest visit fee. With Amex, you can bring one guest for free without an extra fee. Also got a regular Traveller offer at £189 for 10 passes per year.

Do you like fancy hotels stay?

I personally don’t and don’t use that perk. But you get some high tier membership, Hilton, Marriot Bonvoy™, Meliá Hotels International, Radisson Hotel Group… upgrade and little perks.
You can also pay for hotels with your business Amex for professional trips. I am a bit of a low cost when it comes to that so I prefer to stay in cheaper places.

They also have onefinestay £150 statement credit, but again those listed are very expensive places to stay from the beginning.

Plus some car renting discount, but that’s also something I don’t use.

The Times and The Sunday Times digital subscription

You get it as part of your membership, worth £312 per year. Personally, I don’t care much about this. And with the London libraries Consortium, I can access the Times for free.

Dell.co.uk £75 statement credit every 6 months, no minimum to spend

This is new and good, as a freelance, I don’t have my employer giving me work from home money (joking as a freelance we could always do that) I bought a laptop stand for £75.59 with a refund of £75. A nice little tool for £0.59.

Real cost/benefits of Amex Business Platinum as a freelancer for the year:

Last year in 2021 Amex refunded £250 on the annual price of £595 as Covid-19 help. Really appreciated it as I didn’t do much use of it (the travel part) it was very nice of them.

So far in 2021, I paid £345 (£595 – £250 refunded)
– yearly VAT £99 on the initial price (the rebate is a refund after you pay the full price and must be entered as Bank interest/fees and is VAT Exempt (0.00%) according to my accountant and the software I use).
– £184 travel insurance refund, really glad for that
– £75 Dell credit x2 (but I could have avoided buying these laptop accessories…)
– 3 times at the lounges (= meals + drinks) A sandwich and bottle of water at the airport cost easily £10+ in Europe. (After a long flight from South America I had 5 hours in Madrid airport as connection time. I was so happy at Madrid Terminal 4 lounges to have lunch of my choice, grab a little snack for the plane and also a little cocktail to relax haha. Be able to rest and kill time in a nice comfy area, especially as there is zero non-paid food until I arrive in London)
– I offered myself some urban massage as a “yearly staff event” getting £30 in credit statement from Amex offer (you can use up to £150, it applies per person, and you can even claim for partners who don’t work for your company – so that’s £300 per couple. Source from my accountant knowledge hub)

If we do the maths so far, I am pretty good with the cost and what it brings me.

Other bits I sometimes used:
– The Amex small shop £5 back for £10 spend on small shops partners. (Up to £50 statement credits. All Amex cards have this offer at some point during the year, but you have to activate it)
– Membership Rewards points

With each purchase, we cumulate Membership Rewards points we then can exchange for discounts, gift card, etc…

You have to be smart with the offers, I failed/missed on a few offers:

– a £100 rebate on £1000 spend when I bought my new MacBook
– my Dropbox membership rebate (some high percentage statement credit)
– spending 6k under 3 months when I joined to get x amounts of points.

It’s actually possible to make it really worth it. In the USA they offer co-working space WeWork part of the membership. (Free Membership For 1 Year – $2,700 Value) Sadly we don’t have this benefit in the UK Amex Business Platinum contract, I wish we did!

My conclusion, is the Amex Business Platinum really worth for freelancer?

So yeah £595 per year is a cost, but it makes my life much nicer when I travel. I have this good insurance just in case, I use some statement credit. And it’s a business expense where I claim back VAT as a VAT registered limited company. Because it’s a business credit card it’s a business expense, so it’s not from my own personal money even if it affects my personal life. So I will keep renewing it next year too.

If you don’t travel, I wouldn’t encourage you to join. Unless if you have lots of expenses (it’s good for your cash flow, you have purchase protection on everything and you will cumulate lots of points). If you want to join, get some extra bonus points!

Amex Business Platinum invitation, get 5000 extra Membership Rewards when you use a referral invitation.

You can earn 105 000 Membership Rewards points if you spend £10 000 in your first 3 months of Card membership with this Amex Business Platinum invitation.

I hope this helps you to evaluate if you should get that Amex or not. Feel free to leave your comments.

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