The Best American Express Credit Cards in Canada

Have you ever wondered what the best American Express credit cards in Canada are? Well, it really depends on how often you travel, the type of rewards you like to earn, and how much you spend each month.

Every American Express card is different, but many of them offer premium benefits which are much better than the credit cards you get from the big banks in Canada. Here’s a list of the best American Express credit cards in Canada and what they offer.

CardWelcome BonusAnnual fee
American Express Personal Platinum60,000 after $5,000 spend$699
SPG Amex50,000 after $1,500 spend$120
American Express Gold Rewards card25,000 after $1,500 spend$150
American Express CobaltUp to 30,000$10 per month
SimplyCash Preferred Card5% cash-back for 6 months$99

American Expres Personal Platinum Card

  • $699 Annual fee
  • 60,000 Signup points (with my referral link) after charging $3,000
  • Earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent
  • $200 Annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass Membership with unlimited free entries
  • Premium Hotel Program Membership
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included

If you travel frequently, then the American Expres Personal Platinum Card is easily the best American Express credit card in Canada since it comes with unlimited lounge access. Normally a membership with Priority Pass would cost you $99 USD and $32 per visit, so there’s a lot of value with the Amex Platinum card when you factor in all the other benefits.

When you use my referral bonus, you get 60,000 points as a welcome bonus. Your earn rate is 1.25 points per $1 spent, and you get an annual travel credit worth $200. Read my American Express Platinum card review now for my full thoughts.

Apply now for the American Express Platinum Card

Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 50,000 Sign up points after charging $1,500
  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Free Night Award (redemption value of up to 35,000 points)
  • Complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status
  • No annual fee on supplementary cards

If you’re loyal to SPG or Marriott properties, then you need to have the Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express credit card. It comes with a sign up bonus of 50,000 points when you charge $1,500 to your credit card in the first three months of cardmembership. Those points are enough for 5 nights at a category hotel when you factor in the book 4 nights, get the 5th-night free promotion when booking nights on points.

Guests who spend at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties will earn 5 points per $1 spend and 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. You also get a free annual night award up to 35,000 points which will easily offset your annual fee of $120. Read my SPG Amex review now to see if this card is a fit for you.

Apply now for the American Express SPG Card

American Express Gold Rewards Card

  • $150 Annual fee – first year free when signing up via Perkopolis, Venngo, CPA Canada, or eSurvus
  • 25,000 Signup points after charging $1,500 in purchases
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included

With a low annual fee and a strong sign up bonus of 25,000 points, the American Express Gold Rewards card is one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada. Your earnings rate of 2 points per $1 spent on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel is highly lucrative if you happen to spend a lot on those categories while all other purchases get you 1 point per $1 spent.

Don’t forget, with American Express Membership Rewards points, you can transfer them to Aeroplan at a 1:1 basis which would give you enough points for a round trip ticket to anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada. Alternatively, you can transfer those points to Starwood Preferred Guest / Marriott Rewards at a 1:1.2 ratio. For this reason, the American Express Gold Rewards card makes the list of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

Apply now for the American Express Gold Rewards Card

American Express Cobalt Card

  • $10 Monthly fee ($120 Annually)
  • 2,500 monthly welcome points (30,000 total) after charging $500 in purchases
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on food (grocery, restaurants, bars, food delivery, etc)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel (includes public transportation and taxis/Uber)
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The best American Express credit card for foodies is the Cobalt card. This Canadian exclusive card gives you 5 points per $1 spent on grocery, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and even food delivery. Travel purchases including public transportation and Uber get you 2 points per $1 spent while all other purchases earn you 1 point per $1 spent.

What makes the American Express Cobalt card is that it uses a structure similar to subscription services. You pay a monthly fee of $10 and your sign up bonus is 2,500 per month for the first year when you spend $500 in purchases. That’s a total of 30,000 you can earn as a bonus in the first year. Read my American Express Cobalt card review to find out what other perks you get.

Apply now for the American Express Cobalt Card

American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • 5% cash-back on purchases for the first 6 months (up to $300)
  • 2% cash-back on purchases after the first 6 months (no limit)
  • 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • Earn $200 cash back for approved referrals (up to $3,000)

If you prefer to earn cash-back instead of rewards, then the American Express SimplyCash Preferred card will appeal to you. You get 5% cash-back (up to $300) on all purchases for the first 6 months. The card does have an annual fee of $99, but once your promotional period ends, you’ll still earn 2% cash-back on all purchases.

Another nice perk about the American Express SimplyCash Preferred card is the optional balance transfer where you’ll only pay 1.99% interest for the first 6 months. For more details about the card, read my full review.

Apply now for the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card

Final thoughts

The best American Express card in Canada is subjective, but know that the points you earn are highly valuable. If you want to see what other great cards are out there, check out my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

By |2018-11-24T20:25:39+00:00September 22nd, 2018|Credit cards, Personal Finance, Travel|

7 Comments

  1. Catherine October 6, 2018 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry
    We hold an SPG Amex card (our preferred card) since Chase bailed on it’s Mariott Visa Card in March of this year.
    We also hold a TD Aeroplan card.
    We prefer our SPG points to Aeroplan but since AMEX is not as widely accepted, having both works BUT the additional charge now of a Foreign Curency Transaction fee is adversly affecting our travel budget.

    We need a card to use when we travel out of Canada that won’t blow our budget by two additional fees: a foreign transaction fee as well as another ‘annual’ fee! Been considering the Home Trust card……with the concept that even when travelling we might still use the SPG Amex when staying in a Marriott or Starwood property IF the points earned might nearly equal or better the FCT fee ……are we on the right track? ….or is there something else you’d suggest!
    Appreciate your help!
    Cathie

    • Barry Choi October 6, 2018 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Catherine,

      That’s EXACTLY what I would do. Generally speaking, I value 1 SPG point at about 1 cent. Since you get 5 points per $1 (CAD) spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties, you’re essentially getting a bit over 5% which offsets the 2.5% currency exchange fee.

      The HomeTrust card is good since it has no fees, but it’s kind of hit and miss since it has a few issues that I don’t love e.g. can’t change PIN, 10 transactions per day.

      The Rogers World Elite Mastercard has no fee and charged the 2.5% forex fee, but you get 4% back in purchases made in a foreign currency. Also note that currently the Scotiabank Passport Infinite card has a 25K sign up bonus (worth $250), but comes with an annual fee of $139. You could basically test that card out for “free” for a year.

  2. […] Finally, if you charge the full airfare or car rental to your SPG Amex Canada card, you instantly get travel accident, car rental theft and damage, flight delay, baggage delay, lost and stolen baggage, and hotel/motel burglary insurance. It should be noted that travel medical insurance is NOT included. This doesn’t change the fact that the SPG Amex Canada is one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada. […]

    • Cathie October 6, 2018 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks Barry
      Just to clarify, H Trust’s website says they send you a pin my mail and I assume you can change that to a PIN of your choice.
      Are you saying:
      1. that we are stuck with the PIN they mail out…or
      2. once changed to a PIN of our choice, we are then not able to change that one/first choice?

      Thanks for clarifying
      Cathie

      • Barry Choi October 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

        Hi Cathie,

        The PIN you’re assigned cannot be changed. It’s a bit of a pain. You also need to alert them when you’re travelling or else a block will be put on your card.

  3. […] Express Platinum card is still one of the best travel credit cards in Canada and one of the best American Express cards in Canada. Check out my review now for my full thoughts of the […]

  4. […] can earn Membership Rewards (MR) with American Express credit cards. Sign up bonuses give you an incredible amount of points to begin with since you can get 25,000 […]

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