Let’s get to the point, my American Express Platinum Canada review is positive since it’s easily one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. The card comes with a yearly fee of $699 which is quite high, but it comes with a huge signup bonus, amazing benefits, and plenty of airline and hotel transfer partners which gives you different options when it comes to redeeming your points.
Yes, the $699 fee is high, but you get an annual travel credit of $200, so it reduces the fee to just $499 a year. The sign up bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points are worth at least $600, so in the first year alone, you’re getting a minimum of $800 value which is more than the annual fee. When you look at the additional benefits you get with the card, you’ll quickly realize that the Amex Platinum Card is arguably the best travel credit card is easily one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada.
American Express Platinum Canada benefits
- $699 annual fee
- 60,000 Membership Rewards points sign up bonus when using a referral link
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- $200 Annual travel credit
- Unlimited airport lounge access
- Special benefits at Toronto Pearson Airport
- Hotel status upgrades
- Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits
- Exclusive dining experiences with the Global Dining Collection
- Comprehensive travel insurance package
- Buyer’s assurance
- Purchase protection
The best value of the American Express Platinum Canada card comes in the form of the sign up bonus. If you go to the main sign up page, you’ll see that only 50,000 points are offered for people who charge $3,000 in purchases in the first three months.
However, by using my referral link, your sign up bonus becomes 60,000 points, that’s 10,000 extra points compared to the regular offer. Note that with any referral, the spend requirement is $5,000 in the first three months compared to $3,000 with the regular offer. In other words, to earn those extra 10,000 points, you need to charge an additional $2,000 to your card in the first three months. I personally think this is worth it since 10,000 points can be worth a fair amount.
As for points multipliers, you earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining, 2 points per $1 spent on travel, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
The additional American Express Platinum benefits are also impressive since you get unlimited airport lounge access, hotel status upgrades, access to exclusive dining experiences, Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits, and a great travel insurance package. Buyer’s assurance is basically extended warranty (up to one additional year) while purchase protection covers you in the event of loss, damage or theft within the first 90 days of your purchase.
How Membership Rewards work
With the American Express Platinum Card, you earn American Express Membership Rewards. What that means you can redeem 1,000 MR points for $10 for travel purchases through the Amex portal or you can get a statement credit of the same value if you booked travel with your Amex Platinum Canada card. You can literally redeem your points towards a statement credit for ANY of your travel purchases. That effectively means your 60,000 signup bonus is worth $600. To get even more value out of your points you could also consider booking travel through the American Express fixed points travel program where you can redeem a flight up to a certain amount of dollars for a fixed amount of points. For example, you can claim 40,000 points for a flight to anywhere within North America (except Hawaii and Alaska) as long as the base ticket value doesn’t exceed $700. Assuming you maximize that value, your points would be worth nearly double the regular redemption value.
What really makes Membership Rewards points valuable is the fact that you can transfer your points to various partners. Right now you can transfer your MR points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.
If you did that, you would have 60,000 Aeroplan points which are enough for two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada. A standard return trip to Los Angeles from Toronto is $600, so that signup bonus instantly has a value of $1,200. Plus, you’ll still have 10,000 points left over.
You can also transfer your points to Marriott at a 1:1.2 ratio, That means your signup bonus of 60,000 points is worth 72,000 Marriott Rewards points. That’s enough points for 5 free nights at a category 3 hotel when you factor in Marriott’s book 4 nights, get the 5th-night free promotion. Those five nights could easily have a value of more than $1,000!
Your Membership Rewards points can also be used as a statement towards any purchase. However, the ratio is only 1,000 MR points = $7 statement credit, so to get the maximum value of your points, use them towards travel purchases or transfer partners.
$200 annual travel credit
One of the reasons my American Express Platinum Canada review is positive is because you get an annual travel credit of $200 on your card anniversary. Let’s be realistic, if you’re applying for this card, you’re likely a frequent traveller so the annual credit will be incredibly useful. It can be applied at the time of booking when you’re making a reservation online via the American Express travel portal, or you can call in later to claim your statement credit.
Now, let’s say you have an off-year where you can’t travel, you can covert the $200 credit into “cash” if you wanted. All you need to do is book a hotel room that is fully refundable. You get charged for the hotel right away, but the travel credit will also appear on your statement rather quickly. After a few weeks, cancel the hotel and you’ll be refunded the amount that was charged earlier. It’ll appear as a statement credit, but at least you’ve now used your travel credit.
Having lounge access is a great way to start your travels. With the Platinum card, you get a Priority Pass membership with unlimited free entries at – that’s a value of US $399 (CAD $520).
Priority Pass gives you access to 1000+ lounges in hundreds of cities. The main network of lounges is Plaza Premium, but you also get access to Air France, Delta, and Centurion Lounges.
All of these lounges will usually have hot and cold food options, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as a variety of snacks. Some will even have showers and beds available.
What makes the American Express Platinum card one of the best credit cards with airport lounge access is that it also gets you into premium lounges such as Centurion by American Express and Delta lounges when you fly on Delta. These lounges typically have fewer people compared to the PriorityPass lounges and are more luxurious.
I hate to admit it, but ever since I got lounge access, I hate sitting in the common wait areas at airports. Lounge access is one of those perks that are often overlooked, but once you’ve sat in an airport lounge, it completely changes the flying experience.
If you happen to be flying out of Pearson International airport in Toronto, you get additional benefits such as priority security lanes and complimentary valet service.
American Express Platinum Canada Insurance
|Emergency Medical Insurance||$5,000,000 - 15 days / Under 65|
|Trip Cancellation Insurance||$2,500 per person / $5,000 total|
|Trip Interruption Insurance||$2,500 per person / $6,000 total|
|Flight Delay Insurance||$1,000 - 4 hours +|
|Baggage Delay Insurance||$1,000 - 6 hours +|
|Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance||$1,000 combined per occurrence|
|Car Rental Theft Damage Insurance||$85,000 - 48 days|
|Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance||$1,000 per occurrence|
|Travel Accident Insurance||Up to $500,000|
That’s 11 different types of insurance you get with the American Express Platinum credit card. Some people would argue that there are better credit cards with travel insurance in Canada, but that really depends on your point of view. There’s no denying that the 15 days of insurance coverage with the American Express Platinum Canada Card is a bit disappointing, but you need to look at the entire suite of insurance that’s included.
At $2,500 a person or $5,000 total for trip cancellation and $2,500 a person or $6,000 total for trip interruption, you’re covered for quite a bit in the event you need to cancel or cut your trip plans.
Your flight delay insurance kicks at 4 hours which is nice since some policies require you to wait 6 hours. I prefer having this four-hour window as I can make a claim sooner. Honestly, flight delays can be brutal and knowing that I’m covered for hotels, meals, and minor expenses can make a huge difference.
You’ll also notice that the car rental theft damage insurance covers vehicles up to a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $85,000. Many credit cards only cover you up to $65,000 so the Amex Platinum Card travel insurance can be handy if you’re planning on renting a car that costs more.
Instant hotel status upgrade
Another major perk of the American Express Platinum credit is the instant hotel status upgrade at many of the major chains. The value of the status is subjective, but generally speaking, you would need to stay 25 nights at each chain every year before you qualify. Here’s what you get right at each brand
- Hilton Honors – Gold
- Marriott Bonvoy – Gold
- Club Carlson – Gold
- Shangri-La Golden Circle – Jade Membership
- Fairmont – Platinum status after charging 5 Fairmont stays to your card
Most of these programs give you free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, bonus points, as well as early check-in and late check-out. This may not seem like a big deal but you need to read the details of each hotel loyalty program to see what you’re entitled to.
With Marriot Bonvoy Gold, you get 25% more points on eligible spending, a welcome gift or points, and a dedicated reservation line. This status stacks with the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card so you can earn points quickly if you’re a frequent guest at Marriott hotels.
With Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Hilton Honors Gold, you get complimentary breakfast at their hotels which is great since who doesn’t like hotel breakfast?
American Express offers
One final benefit that I wanted to highlight that comes with the American Express Platinum Card is the exclusive offers that are available to cardholders. These offers can be incredibly valuable and sometimes it’s “free money.”
For example, just recently there was a dining experience at Michael’s steakhouse in Toronto where American Express Platinum cardmembers would get a $100 statement credit when they spend $100 at the restaurant. You’re literally getting a fine dining experience for free. Another recent promotion was where you would get a $200 statement credit when you spend $200 at the YYZ duty free shop. That’s right, you could get $200 for free by shopping duty-free.
I’ve also noticed that the offers have become more lucrative over the years. Earlier this year, American Express had an offer where you could get up to 10,000 back in points when you used their fixed travel program. I was able to claim a flight to Seattle that had a real cost of close to $900 for 35,000 points (after getting 5,000 back) plus taxes. Just recently, I booked a flight for my parents to Vancouver at 15% off thanks to an American Express Platinum offer.
There’s also American Express invites where you get front of the line access to some of the most popular dining, entertainment, and sporting events. These invites shouldn’t be overlooked as the concerts and dining experiences you get access to are some of the most sought after events.
Is the American Express Platinum Annual fee worth it?
If I haven’t convinced you about the value of the American Express Platinum Card yet, let me breakdown the real value of the benefits for you.
- Travel credit – $200
- Welcome bonus $600 – $1,000
- Lounge access – $513
- Travel insurance – $300
That works out to up to $2,013 in value in the first year. Yes, the fee is $699, but you still come out ahead by more than $1,300. Let me break down the value for you.
The annual travel credit is $200. The welcome bonus of 60,000 points can vary in value, but at the minimum, it’s worth $600 and it wouldn’t be hard to get $1,000 in value out of it. With lounge access, a standard Priority Pass membership is $99USD while each visit is $32. I estimated 8 visits, but since you can bring a guest, that’s actually only 4 visits which works out to two round-trip flights. People applying for this card would likely be travelling more so I might be underestimating the value of the lounge access. Finally, the travel insurance is worth roughly $300 per person.
As you can see, there’s an insane amount of value with this card. Even after the first year, the benefits you get are still easily worth more than the annual fee so consider keeping this card if you travel on a regular basis.
My American Express Platinum Canada review is positive. The signup bonus is massive at 60,000 points when you use me referral link below. The Membership Rewards program is flexible, and American Express offers can be incredible. Honestly, if you love to travel or to live the good life, then you need to apply for the American Express Platinum Canada Card.