Normally, my American Express Platinum Canada review is positive since you get so much value out of the card, but due to the world pandemic, American Express has devalued the card.
The current sign up bonus for the American Express Platinum Card is 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 in the the first three months of card membership. Admittedly, this offer is quite low compared to previous welcome bonus, but it seems to be a reaction to COVID-19. For the time being, the American Express Gold Rewards Card is a better offer as you can earn up to 30,000 points as a sign up bonus when you use a referral link.
My American Express Platinum Canada review is still positive since it’s one of the best travel credit cards in Canada if you’re strictly looking at the travel benefits, but who’s travelling these days? The card comes with a yearly fee of $699 which is quite high, but when you factor in the sign up bonus which is worth $250 and the annual travel credit of $200, you’re only paying $249 for the card right now.
Admittedly, that’s still a lot to pay for benefits that you’ll likely not use any time soon. I suspect American Express wants to limit new members so they can focus on existing cardholders. Read my American Express Platinum review Canada now to find out what comes with the card.
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 review
- $699 annual fee
- 25,000 Membership Rewards points sign up bonus
- 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 International 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 American Express Platinum Canada Card is meant to be the ultimate travel credit card and it does not disappoint. It comes packed with benefits that will make you feel like a VIP whenever you travel. Oh, this card is also metal so you’ll also feel like a star whenever you pull it out of your wallet.
Let’s address the biggest issue right away. The Amex Platinum Card comes with an annual fee of $699 which is insane for many people. The card does come with an annual travel credit of $200 so you’re really only paying $499 a year for it. This is likely still too much for many people, but I do believe the benefits you get with it are worth it.
Previously, the card came with a higher welcome bonus when you used a referral link, but right now there’s no added incentive. That said, if you do use a referral link, the person making the referral gets 5,000 Membership Rewards points
The earn rate for the American Express Platinum Canada card is 3 points per $1 spent on dining, 2 points per $1 spent on travel, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. There are other cards that give you a higher earn rate, but you won’t get the same travel benefits.
The additional American Express Platinum benefits are 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 120 days of your purchase.
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. Lower in my American Express Platinum Canada review, I’ll go over how you can nearly double the value of your points.
American Express Platinum Canada Travel 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 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.
$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.
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 part such as American Express, you may not get your hotel status recognized.
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.
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.
Some people think lounges aren’t worth it or if they’ve never experienced them before, they’re not missing out 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.
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.
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 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 which have made it worth while.
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 breakdown the real value of the benefits for you.
- Travel credit – $200
- Welcome bonus $250 – $500
- Lounge access – $580
- Travel insurance – $300
That works out to up to $1,558 in value in the first year. Yes, the fee is $699, but you still come out ahead by $859. Let me break down the value for you.
The annual travel credit is $200. The welcome bonus of 25,000 points can vary in value, but at the minimum, it’s worth $250 and it wouldn’t be hard to get $500 in value out of it. 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.
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 travel purchases through the Amex travel portal. That means your points are worth 1 cent each when redeeming for travel.
Alternatively, 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.
Another option with Membership Rewards points is the ability to redeem your points for a statement credit. When going this route, 1,000 MR points will give you a $7 statement credit which is equivalent to .7 cents per point. As you can see, you’re always better off using your points for travel.
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 Miles 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.
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 1 cent 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.
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.
My American Express Platinum Canada review is positive. The current sign up bonus is lower than usual, but the benefits included are great. That said, obviously using those benefits are near impossible for most people right now. If you use my referral link below, I’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points.