Last Chance to get the American Express Platinum for $99

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There are only a few more days to get the American Express Platinum Card for $99. As of September 26, 2023, the annual fee is increasing from $699 a year to $799. However, you’ll only pay $99 for the first year due to the new credits being introduced. The breakdown is as follows.

$400 in dining credits

When the new annual fee kicks in on September 26, 2023, cardholders will get a $200 dining credit. This dining credit is good each calendar year. That means the first credit is available between September 26 and December 31, 2023. You’d then get the dining credit again on January 1, 2024. That’s $400 in dining credits you’d get.

There are a few catches regarding the dining credit. First off, it only applies to select restaurants. Although American Express hasn’t formally revealed the full list, they did say that they’ve partnered with Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. Those living in major urban centres likely won’t have an issue using the credit, but if you live somewhere more rural, the credit could be harder to use.

In addition, the dining credit is structured as a single transaction. That means if you spend $175 at one of the participating restaurants, you’d lose $25. In an ideal world, you’ll just make a purchase that exceeds $200, so you get the entire credit. That said, I’m hoping Eataly is on this list, as I can buy a gift card and then spend it down as needed.

$200 travel credit

The other way to reduce your annual fee is with the $200 travel credit. Unlike the dining credit, the travel credit is only given once a year on your anniversary. This includes your first year. In other words, you get the $200 travel credit right away, but you won’t get it again until your second year anniversary fee posts. 

Redeeming this credit is easy since you can use it on any travel purchase made through the American Express travel portal. Just select your travel, and then when you go to pay, you’ll see an option to use your $200 travel credit. 

Alternatively, there’s the refundable hotel trick. Make a fully refundable hotel reservation. The $200 credit is applied right away. You can then cancel your hotel later for a full refund. This effectively turns your $200 credit into cash.

$99 annual fee or $199 after Sept. 26, 2023

If you applied for the American Express Platinum Card before Sept. 26, 2023, the annual fee is $699. Since you could redeem up to $600 in credits, the annual fee would be $99 for the first year. Even if you applied after the deadline, the first year would be just $199. That’s an incredible deal for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Other benefits you get with this card include unlimited airport lounge access for you and a guest, hotel elite status, a NEXUS rebate, comprehensive travel insurance, and more.

Although some people don’t like the idea of paying a high annual fee, the credits you get reduce your annual fee to $99 in the first year. There’s no better deal. Compare that to the American Express Cobalt Card, which has a monthly fee of $12.99 or $155.88 a year. The Platinum Card is even cheaper. Of course, if you want to keep your costs down, you could cancel your card before your annual fee posts for the next year.

90,000 American Express Membership Rewards welcome bonus

If the $600 in credit wasn’t enough to entice you to sign up, the welcome bonus should. When you apply with a referral link, you can earn 90,000 American Express Membership Rewards points. To get the bonus, you’d have to spend $7,500 in the first three months. That’s clearly a lot you need to spend, but it can be worth it.

90,000 American Express Membership Rewards points have a minimum value of $900. That means you’d actually come out ahead by $801 when you factor in the annual fee, credits, and welcome bonus. In addition, you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. Since Aeroplan points typically have a value of 2 cents each, your welcome bonus could be worth up to $1,800 or $1,701 when you factor in the annual fee and credits. 

To be clear, assuming you use all the credits and you’re able to meet the minimum spend requirement, you can easily come out ahead by $1,701. That’s clearly an incredible value. This offer is only available if you use a referral link. The regular offer only gets you 80,000 points.

The strategy moving forward

Even if you don’t sign up before the deadline, don’t worry as you can still get the card for $199 in the first year. That said, the welcome bonus can change at any time. It’s unlikely the minimum spend requirement will ever drop by much, so consider this card if you have a major purchase coming up. For example, my wife recently had to get a new laptop which came out to $3,000ish. I had her sign up for the Platinum Card first to take advantage of the welcome bonus. Check out my American Express Platinum Card review for more details about the card, including what benefits you get. 

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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