Are you looking for an American Express Platinum Canada review? I’ve been using the card for years (even during the pandemic) and it’s still one of my most frequently used cards. The main reason to get this card is for the welcome bonus. It consistently has one of the best sign up offers. Right now, you can earn up to 105,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you apply with a referral link. Those points could easily be worth more than $2,000 which is worth much more than the $699 annual fee.
When you look at everything included, the American Express Platinum card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Frequent travellers will love how you get unlimited lounge access (including Plaza Premium lounges). You also get instant hotel status, and great insurance. Read my American Express Platinum Canada review now and find out what you get with the card and how to maximize your benefits.
American Express Platinum Card
Let’s be real for a second. Many people sign up for this card because it typically comes with a crazy welcome bonus. Right now you can earn up to 105,000 points when you apply with a referral link . 80,000 American Express Membership Rewards points are given when you spend $6,000 in the first three months. Another 25,000 points are awarded when you make any purchase between months 14 and 17 of cardmembership.
In the past, you would get all your points upfront after meeting the minimum spend requirement, but many credit card welcome offers are now being split up. The extra points between months 14 and 17 are clearly aimed at retaining you as a customer beyond the first year. While some people will find this split annoying, it makes sense for American Express. They want to attract loyal customers and they offer a ton of benefits to keep you.
The earn rate is decent. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining (not grocery stores), 2 points per $1 spent on travel, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Admittedly, there are cards with a higher earn rate, but this is not bad
$200 annual travel credit
One of the reasons my American Express Platinum Canada review is positive is that you get an annual travel credit of $200 on your card anniversary. You also get that travel credit immediately when you sign up. This effectively makes your annual fee just $499.
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. Alternatively, some people have been able to convert that amount into “cash” by booking a hotel that’s fully refundable.
I should mention that although the prices on the American Express travel portal are pretty good, there will be times where you’ll find prices lower somewhere else. American Express will price match any hotels, but not flights.
Remember, when you book hotels through a third party such as American Express, you may not get your hotel status recognized. In other words, it’s probably better to just book any travel separately to get any status benefits, and then call American Express to get the credit applied. Note that this credit typically expires one year after you get it, but it was extended during COVID.
Unlimited lounge access
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 $429 (CAD $589). Plus, you get to bring a guest during every visit at no extra cost.
What’s interesting is that Plaza Premium recently left Priority Pass. This is significant because most airport lounges in Canada are operated by Plaza Premium. If you only have access to lounges with Priority Pass, then you can’t get into a lot of Canadian lounges. However, American Express has a separate agreement with Plaza Premium, so your American Express Platinum Card allows you and a guest to enter.
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. Generally speaking, I find the lounges in Asia and Europe to be better than what’s available in North America.
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, Air France / Skyteam, and Delta lounges when you fly on Delta.
Some people think lounges aren’t worth it or if they’ve never experienced them before, they’re not missing out on anything. I personally disagree as the travel experience starts at the airport. Having lounge access makes things much more comfortable and they’re perfect if you have a long layover. Lounges have also made long delays much more reasonable.
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
- 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. Marriott International has more than 7,000 properties in 130+ countries, so you’ll have no problem finding a hotel.
With Hilton Honors Gold, you get complimentary breakfast at their hotels which is great since who doesn’t like hotel breakfast?
American Express Platinum Canada insurance
When you pay $699 a year for a credit card, you expect a good amount of insurance. Forunately, the American Express Platinum Canada Card doesn’t disappoint.
|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 a lot 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.
- Purchase protection
- Buyer’s assurance
The included purchase insurance is pretty standard. You get purchase protection which covers your purchases for 90 days from theft, loss, and damage. With buyer’s assurance, your manufacturer’s warranty is doubled up to one additional year. In both cases, you need to charge the full amount of your purchase to your American Express Platinum Canada Card for the insurance to apply.
Benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
If you happen to fly out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, you get the following VIP perks:
- Priority security lane
- Complimentary valet service at the Express Park and Daily Park
- 15% discount on parking rates at the Express Park and Daily Park
In my experience, the priority security line is usually faster than the Nexus line. That may seem weird to many Nexus cardholders, but it’s the truth. Always use the priority line to clear security but obviously use the Nexus line to go through customs.
Airport parking is always expensive so getting 15% off when paying with your American Express Platinum Card is nice. Keep in mind the discount shows up as a statement credit.
The complimentary valet service only saves you on the one-time fee, you still need to pay the daily rate for parking which is more expensive than using the regular or long term lots.
American Express International Airline Program
The American Express Platinum Card gives you access to the International Airline Program which is a little-known benefit. This feature gives you discounts when you book premium economy, business and first class tickets on international flights with select airlines.
For reference, the only Canadian airline participating in the American Express International Airline Program is WestJet.
In addition, the International Airline Program gives you discounted companion tickets with select airlines when booking business or first class seats.
I don’t think you should expect to save hundreds of dollars with this discount, but it’s worth calling the Platinum Card Travel Service at 1.800.263.1616 if you plan on booking any seats in premium economy, business or first class to see if there are any deals.
American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
The American Express Platinum Canada card also gives you access to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts collection which is a highly underrated benefit in my opinion.
When booking a hotel that falls into the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection, you’re entitled to the following benefits:
- Free room upgrade
- Free daily breakfast for two
- $100 credit for food and drinks per stay (may vary per hotel)
- Noon check-in
- 4PM check-out
- Complimentary WiFi
The website lists that the average value of this benefit is US $550, but I prefer to value this benefit at $150 since the room upgrade is not guaranteed.
Whenever you book a hotel, it’s worth checking to see if a hotel you’re interested in is part of the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection. There have been times where booking through this benefit will cost me only $20 more but I get all the extra perks that have made it worthwhile.
I should mention that another benefit you get for being an Amex Platinum cardholder is the hotel collection. These properties only give you a room upgrade and a $75 credit for food, drink or spa which may still be worth it.
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 break down the real value of the benefits for you.
- Travel credit – $200
- Welcome bonus $1,000+
- Lounge access – $520
- Travel insurance – $300
That works out to at least $2,020 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. If we assume the welcome bonus is worth at least 100,000 points, then that’s a minimum value of $1,000. However, if you transferred your points to Aeroplan, it wouldn’t be hard to get a value of at least $2,000. With lounge access, a prestige Priority Pass membership is US $429 (CAD $580) and it gives you and a guest unlimited free visits. 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.
American Express Platinum pros and cons
Clearly, my American Express Platinum Canada review is positive, but if you’re going to pay an annual fee of $699, you need to consider all of the pros and cons. The benefits are only really worth it if you can maximize them each year or you’ll be paying for something that you don’t use. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of the Amex Platinum.
- Lucrative welcome bonus: When using a referral link, your welcome bonus is 60,000 points which is easily worth $900 if transferred to Aeroplan
- Unlimited lounge access: Frequent flyers will love access to lounges in almost every airport in the world. Plus, you get to bring a guest for free
- Hotel status upgrades: Enjoy increased hotel status upgrades without ever staying a night.
- Membership Rewards: There’s no doubt that American Express Membership Rewards is the best bank travel loyalty program.
- High annual fee: Even though the annual fee of $699 is offset by the yearly $200 travel credit, that’s still a pretty high fee.
- Not accepted everywhere: American Express credit cards are accepted at fewer merchants compared to Visa and Mastercard
How Membership Rewards work
In this American Express Platinum Canada review, I need to go over how American Express Membership Rewards (MR) work since those are the points you’ll be earning.
You can redeem 1,000 MR points for $10 for a statement credit. This applies to ALL purchases. Previously you would only get this value for travel redemptions, but Amex recently changed how Membership Rewards so all statement credit redemptions are equal. You can literally redeem your points towards a statement credit for ANY purchase
Another interesting thing about Membership Rewards is that you can pretty much double the value of your points. Take a look at the chart below. A short-haul flight between Canada and the U.S. requires 15,000 points but has and has a maximum base ticket price of $300. That means your points can have a value of 2 cents each.
American Express Platinum Canada transfer partners
What really makes Membership Rewards points valuable is the fact that you can transfer your points to various partners which include airlines and hotels. This gives your points a lot of value since they’re flexible. Basically, you can look at all the different options available to you and then redeem your points for maximum value.
The transfer ratio for American Express Membership Rewards points are as follows:
|Transfer partner||Transfer ratio|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1:1|
|British Airways Avios||1:1|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||4:3|
Understanding your transfer partners and the American Express \ Fixed Points Travel Program is essential to getting maximum value.
For example, 60,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $600 if you use them on travel purchases. However, they’re worth up to $900 if you used the Fixed Points Travel Program.
Transferring the same number points of to Aeroplan would give you 60,000 Aeroplan points which can go quite a long way depending on how you use them.
If you’re an American Express Platinum cardholder and you plan on booking a flight, always compare the Amex travel portal, the fixed points travel program and Aeroplan to see what gives you the best value.
When it comes to hotels, transferring your points to Marriott Bonvoy. can save you a bit of money. Every Marriott hotel has a category assigned to it which means it’ll cost you a fixed amount of points if you want a free night.
Generally speaking, you should value your Marriott Bonvoy points at .9 cents each. If a hotel costs you 25,000 points but the nightly rate is $300, then that’s a good value. However, if the nightly rate is say $150, it would be better to pay cash or to redeem your American Express Membership Rewards points towards the travel purchase.
My American Express Platinum Canada review is positive. If you’re a frequent traveller, want to travel like a VIP, or are trying to earn a lot of points fast, then this card is for you. You can easily get more than $2,000 in value in the first year, so the annual fee of $699 shouldn’t be a huge concern. Friends, family, and readers of my blog can use my referral link below if they want to earn some extra points.