As I’m writing this post, I solely use the American Express Platinum card for all my business expenses and have for Let’s talk money, honey. The American Express Platinum card has been my ride or die business card for ALL my business expenses for the past five years. I may be a little biased BUT I can say with confidence it’s the best of the best credit card for destination wedding photographers. (It’s not just for photographers though, honestly, if you LOVE traveling in general, this card is a must.) I wanted to break down why it’s been such a game-changer in my business and what I consistently use with it so you can get a window into whether it’s a good fit for you.
If you’re already sold, apply here!
Let’s talk credit cards and money mindset. As a business owner, I highly recommend staying out of debt and avoiding credit cards if you have been in the habit of overspending. Why? Well, credit cards can feel very attractive with juicy sign-on bonuses and the promise of accumulating points as you spend BUT this is only good for you if you are paying your card off every month. If you are leaving a balance on your credit card, they will charge you predatory interest rates that are so dang hard to pay off and that trashes your credit score, making it much harder to qualify for a mortgage or car loan down the road. It’s truly not worth it.
That being said, if you ARE in a season where you are traveling a lot for destination weddings or for fun, this is a card worth your consideration!
Some of my non-travel obsessed friends are shocked at the annual fee, I will be the first to say it’s higher than others! It’s $695 per year (which sounds crazy I know but keep reading this entire post to find out WHY it’s worth it) BUT…. Two super important things if you consider this card.
You have slept on the floor of an airport in between layovers using your camera bag as a pillow. (Lolll – we have all been there, no shame in the hustle.)
American Express has its own line of luxury airport lounges in all major destinations. When you become an AMEX platinum cardholder, you instantly gain access to the Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Club & others. What do these clubs include? Wellll….You get complimentary access to their exclusive experience, including comfortable furniture, incredible FREE food, FREE cocktails/wine and dedicated a workspace to catch up on emails or editing! Some of their locations even have areas to freshen up, shower & change into your cozy plane outfit. Overall, they make you feel like you’ve left the airport entirely & stepped into a luxury exclusive lounge. They’re WAY quieter and cleaner than the rest of the airport, too. Usually, I’ll pop in my AirPods and find a corner of the lounge to have my own space. I don’t know about you but when I’m in a long stretch of traveling constantly, the normal airport air starts to feel gross! The lounges are such a nice break from that.
Lounges aside, the American Express Platinum card makes security a breeze. I don’t know about you but traveling with gear through security can feel stressful! I 100%. don’t want to get separated by my camera bag and laptop. Not only does it cover TSA Pre-Check, but it also covers CLEAR (that’s where you get a personal escort to the FRONT of the TSA Pre-Check line! Talk about feeling like royalty, it is music to a tired photographer’s ears when you’re flying home amidst the rush of a busy airport. I could never justify the cost of the CLEAR outside of this card but since it’s included, it’s a no-brainer. Trust me when I say there is no better feeling than skipping a two-hour TSA line & being escorted to the front.
This card also reimburses you for Global Entry, which is amazing for international travel. You can expedite your experience re-entering the country, a feature that will be incredibly helpful for my upcoming destination weddings in Italy. Another perk that really adds up in making this the best credit card for destination wedding photographers.
One downside of planning travel with a destination wedding is that you can’t guarantee your favorite airline will fly into your destination. I love Southwest Airlines because of the free checked bags and the whole pick your own seat deal but they didn’t fly into the airport I needed to land in for a wedding last year! I had to choose from a different airline that made me pay for my checked bags. The cool thing with this credit card is they give you a $200 annual credit you can use for ANY airline to pay for seat upgrades or checked baggage costs. I’m here for it and it makes the pain of a randomly assigned seat feel a little better. They also have baggage insurance, should anything happen to anything you had to check.
This is where the AmEx Platinum really shines, in my opinion. You automatically get Gold Status with the Marriott and Hilton’s reward system which isn’t super easy to get outside of this credit card. That gives you automatic room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout. Sooo here for that! I love staying in a hotel that really lets me relax and recharge when I’m photographing a destination wedding. Their Fine Hotels and Resorts Collection can be such a fun splurge and it’s often not that much if I pay with points! You automatically will get breakfast for two, a $100 resort credit (I usually use this for room service within the first day lol) and early check-in/late checkout. ALL from simply just being a card-holder.
Another sweet perk for travel is an annual $200 Uber credit that can be used for rides or Uber Eats. I use both all the time when I travel for destination weddings!
This is minor but so nice; you can get a $100 Saks 5th Avenue Credit. Now, if you’re using this for a business card, you can’t put this towards clothing or makeup because those aren’t business expenses, but you sure can use it for a new laptop case, suitcase, folding lap desk or a cute designer fanny pack to hold your extra batteries, phone and timeline on a wedding day! (I always recommend checking with your bookkeeper if you’re not sure what qualifies as a tax write-off; they can advise on what will serve you best!)
I highly recommend insuring your camera gear and computer, but let’s say something happens and you don’t want to report it and raise your insurance rates, or it falls outside of what your insurance protects. American Express also offers purchase protection! They’ll help replace anything accidentally damaged, stolen or lost for up to 90 days after purchase. They do have exclusions and restrictions but it’s an incredible feature. I know someone who has a large, external monitor they plug their laptop into and use for editing. One of their children accidentally damaged it (#workingmomlife) and AmEx reimbursed her for a new one. It wasn’t cheap either, it was around $2k!
They also have a $200 yearly entertainment credit so transfer all of your random subscriptions like Spotify over and get them for free!
American Express has a TON of time-sensitive offers where they partner with different companies to offer us something amazing. As I’m drafting this, they have a plethora of restaurant deals where you get money back. This is perfect for treating your clients or grabbing meals while you’re traveling! They also have a deal where if you spend $149 with Zoom (their annual subscription), you get $40 back. If you use Park n’ Fly to leave your car at the airport, they have a deal where you get $15 back when you spend $75 or more. (An easy spend if you are traveling for a multiple-day destination wedding!) All these offers change regularly because each one is a limited-time offer but anytime I go check them out, I find something I can use for a purchase I was planning for anyway.
In my opinion, this is the best credit card for destination wedding photographers. So many people I know in the industry have this card, and it’s served me so dang well for the past 4 years.
If this really sold you on the perks, I’d be so grateful if you sign up using my link. It shouldn’t affect any promotional bonuses you’ll get and I receive a little points kickback. Go ahead and apply here!
If you want to learn more about how I grew my business, come check out this post.