Digital lending seems to be luring Canadians into FinTech. Finally! Borrowell offers services which are easy to use, quick and safe. They make personal loans available in record time with very attractive conditions, and also provide its users with information, knowledge and resources to take better financial decisions. In this post, we’ll explain how it works and help you figure out whether you should go digital with your credit needs.

FinTech can make budgeting, saving and investing more accessible for the average person. However, Canada is falling behind. A lack of consumer awareness of the alternatives available in the market keeps the country’s digital adoption of fintech less than half that of other developed markets of similar size.

Still, some signals show that the Dominion is catching up. One of them is Toronto-based Borrowell, a peer-to-peer personalized loans platform, reaching and long passing the milestone of one million users in 2019. This way, they became the country’s largest online lender and consumer FinTech, the new technology companies that seek to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services.

Here’s a Borrowell review that will help you understand what it offers, how it works and figure out whether it’s a good option for you.

What Is Borrowell?

Borrowell is an online company that gives Canadians access to credit monitoring services and offers loan alternatives to credit card debt to those who are employed and have a good credit rating.

Borrowell logo
‘The credit is all yours’

The company’s co-founders and leaders Andrew Graham (MBA Harvard; PC Financial Insurance) and Eva Wong (MPA Harvard; The Meeting House) found an opportunity in the large number of Canadians with very good credit-card histories who end up carrying credit-card debt at high rates because it’s often quite challenging to get a traditional bank loan.

The company started in 2014 aimed at educating users to make good decisions about credit. Since 2016, they offer free Equifax credit reports without having to apply for a loan, which was unusual and expensive in the traditional banking system.

Is Borrowell legit?

Borrowell has entered partnerships with some of the biggest banks (CIBC), credit card providers (AMEX) and insurance companies (Sonnet), and became a smart service for peer-to-peer personalized loans.

Last year, the company received $20 MM in a second round of funding by existing investors Portag3 and White Star Capital with new investors Clocktower Ventures, Argo Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. In addition, Borrowell launched a mobile app that instantly provides personalized loan quotes and credit advice, and also announced Canada’s first bill-tracker and predictive interest-free advances.

What Does Borrowell Actually Do?

Borrowell is entirely digital. All their business is in three main service categories:

The first one of these services is free while the other two make money for the company via referral fees. This makes the business model viable and sustainable, which is an important thing to know when considering a company among the options available to improve your personal finance.

Borrowell’s Credit Scores And Reports

Credit Score And Report Monitoring

As you might already know, potential lenders need to asses the risk you might present in case you borrow money from them. Companies such as TransUnion and Equifax gather your information from credit card companies, mortgage brokers and other sources of credit and calculate your credit score as an indicator of your overall financial health (or creditworthiness).

What is less obvious, though, is that credit score monitoring and report allows people to improve it. It is also worth noting that a well-monitored credit score makes it much easier to prevent identity theft and other security breaches. With this in mind, Borrowell provides tools that give its members the opportunity to refinance or adjust credit and qualify for lower interest rates on their mortgage, student loans or personal loans.

How Is Credit Score Calculated?

Most people are aware that credit scores take into account a person’s payment history, credit utilization, age of credit history, credit inquiries, credit mix and public records/derogatory marks.

Although, in Canada, credit scores can be calculated in multiple ways, almost 90% of Canadian lenders, including Equifax and TransUnion, use the FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score. This three-digit number between 300 and 900 is determined using five factors: your payment history (35%), amount owning and credit utilization (30%), credit history age (15%), recent credit applications (10%), credit types used (10%).

Before Borrowell, obtaining a credit score and report was not that easy. First, applicants had to pay for it (usually between $15-$20). Second, since lenders are contractually obligated not to share a copy of the report with the client, they could only discuss the information and provide insight.

Finally, just requesting the report in a traditional way (“hard inquiry”), has consequences. Lenders and credit card issuers could consider you a higher-risk customer, as it suggests you may be short on cash or getting ready to rack up a lot of debt. Besides the fact that you’d save up to $250 a year for a similar service, avoiding this is one of the most important benefits of using Borrowell’s reporting services.

Free Credit Score And Report With Borrowell

Users can access monthly updates to their credit score and report in approximately 3 minutes following these simple steps:

Step 1: Sign up with Borrowell

It only takes a couple of minutes.

Step 2: Complete the online form

This includes basic information such as name, email, address, date of birth, etc.

Step 3: Verify identity by answering a few questions.

The more security, the better.

Step 4: Get a free credit report

Once you’re in, you’ll have access to a credit report that doesn’t affect your credit score (“soft inquiry”).

Borrowell credit score mobile app
Borrowell’s mobile App

It is worth noting that Borrowell Quebec free credit scores are the only available in the market since July 2018.

Borrowell Loans

Borrowell offers personal unsecured (no collateral required) loans up to $35,000. These loans are payable in three or five years, with interest rates from 5.6% to 29.19%.

Who Can Get A Quick Personal Loan?

Quick personal loans with Borrowell are officially available only for those who:

In practice, employed Canadians who need loans from alternative lenders can get one from Borrowell, provided they have good credit. Their purposes might include paying bills on time, home improvement, car loans, business loans, and high-interest debt consolidation.

Related post: Business Credit Cards In Canada: Which One Suits You?

OK, but… Should I?

In case you need credit without collateral and can pay your loan relatively quickly, Borrowell is perfect for you. It can also be a good option for people who’d like to consolidate high-interest debt into a single, low-interest loan.

On the other hand, if you have a low credit score or uneven credit report, you should consider other options. Also, there are ways to get longer-term and/or lower-interest loans with traditional institutions, especially if you can provide a collateral.

Related post: Student Credit Cards: The 5 Best Cards In Canada

Applying For A Borrowell Loan

The entire procedure to obtain a personal loan through Borrowell can take 1-3 days and is almost as easy as the credit report inquiry:

Step 1: Open an account

Borrowell indicates what loan options the user qualifies for. This step can be skipped if the user already has an account.

Step 2: Decide on a three- or five-year term

You can consult Borrowell’s website for relevant information regarding the two options.

Step 3: Request a quote

This requires an explanation as to what the loan will be used for. Unlike loans in banks, this process does not affect the user’s credit score.

Step 4: Upload or email a digital copy or even a photo of proof of income

This includes either the two most recent pay stubs or the Notice of Assessment from the last two tax returns.

Step 5: Verify bank account

This is done using the bank and branch number and following the steps indicated.

Step 6: Review and accept the loan

This is as simple as responding to an email. You’ll have the money deposited in your account in about 2 days, if eligible.

Paying Your Borrowell Loan

Pay automatically following a regular monthly schedule through the registered bank account. A reminder will be sent three days before the payment is removed. Repay in full with no prepayment penalties.

It is worth noting that the loan balance can be paid back in full at any time without any penalty or added fees whatsoever.

Real Cost Of A Borrowell Loan

Common knowledge says that the cost of borrowed money is interest. This is true, but borrowers must also read the small print. It generally includes fees and penalties that could end up increasing said cost significantly.

To be honest, Borrowell makes the cost of a loan easy to understand:

However, if you pay on schedule, payments will be the same every month and won’t go up. No hidden fees or complex calculations.

Borrowell’s Credit Advice Services

Borrowell’s growth has been driven by big data and machine learning development.

Borrowell's artificial intelligence credit score coach
Molly, the AI credit coach

The digital platform gathers data. This includes lending applications, credit score patterns, loan histories and even personal information like financial goals and other attributes from millions of users. Using these inputs, the company can make personalized product recommendations and offer new tools aimed at improving the financial well-being of its members. Molly, Canada’s first AI-powered credit coaching tool, is the best example.

In this manner, Borrowell continues to provide financial education while growing its own financial marketplace. Currently, the company has 50 financial partners, including credit cards, mortgages, loans, investing, insurance, and banking.

Related post: Credit Counseling Society: Everything You Need to Know

From 2020, members can also access Boost, a paid-subscription predictive analysis tool. This innovative AI resource will help them protect their credit scores. Boost tracks their bills, determining the likelihood of insufficient funds and offering them access to interest-free advances to avoid NSF fees.

Drawbacks

Although Borrowell’s website and app are well-designed and user-friendly, customer service is by e-mail only. Being a financial service, some may consider this inadequate or insufficient.

It is also worth noting that Borrowell loans are only available to people with a credit score above 660. However, it is not yet available in all the provinces and territories of Canada. Also, loan options currently available are limited to three and five years.

It is also worth noting that Borrowell’s interest rates are based on no-collateral status. Therefore, they’re not the lowest cost option compared to Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or standard car loans.

The Bottom Line

Borrowell offers services that are transparent, quick, useful, easy to use and safe. It is worth considering for your debt needs.

Among its highlights, the free credit score and report service is an outstanding tool for financial health improvement. Besides saving hundreds of dollars per year in credit monitoring fees, it allows members to better understand their credit options and prevent fraudulent activities, including identity theft.

In summary, Borrowell is a good option. This is especially true for Canadians who need an unsecured, lump-sum loan with a relatively short repayment term. Considering credit card interest rates as high as 29.99%, borrowers can take advantage of Borrowell’s rates as low as 5.6% APR.

In addition, online access to loans through a user-friendly interface displaying interest rates and associated fees in the application process, combined with the promise of funding within 48 hours and flexible repayment terms, gives users a powerful resource to take control of their personal finance.

The digital alternative offered by Borrowell will allow you to consolidate and pay off expensive debt or fund important personal investments like getting a car or starting a business without having to put up any collateral.

The American Express® AIR MILES® Platinum Credit Card is a great tool to increase your AIR MILES balance. The welcome bonus of 2,000 miles is easily worth $200, far more than the $120 annual fee, making signing up a great investment. The possibility to double-dip and earn miles twice will help you get more return on every purchase, and the card’s earn rate of 1 mile for every $5 in purchases in everyday essentials like food, drink and transport, is the best earn rate of any of the AIR MILES’ partners.

In addition, more than 80% of the annual fee is covered by the annual travel benefit, and a single 4-day car rental would be more than enough to cover the rest, thanks to its embedded insurance coverage. This, along with all its other benefits, make the Amex AIR MILES Platinum a great choice

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The sleek-looking silver colored Amex AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
The Amex AIR MILES Platinum

AIR MILES is one of Canada’s biggest independent loyalty rewards program and it counts its members by the thousands. With the Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, you’ll not only join the ever-growing number of AIR MILES collectors, but you’ll also get an edge by earning miles on any purchase, and even twice on eligible purchases. In this review of the Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, we’ll show you how to make the most of your new Amex card, how to maximize your miles, and how to maximize your return on every mile as well. Keep on reading to learn everything there is to know about the AIR MILES Rewards program and all the benefits that come with the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card.

To make it easier to navigate, this post is divided into the following 14 sections:

#1 Basic Features And Benefits

Welcome Bonus2,000 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles when you charge a total of $1,500 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership. That’s enough for a select flight
Miles Earn Rate • Earn 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases, up to $30,000 annually, on eligible food & drinks, (such as eligible restaurants, coffee shops and stand-alone grocery stores), and eligible gas & transit (such as local commuter transportation including ridesharing services and taxi) in Canada.

• Earn 1 Mile for every $10 in Card purchases everywhere else.
Annual travel benefit
Optional Balance Transfer Offer
Insider Access
Front of The Line
Travel and Purchase Coverage
Additional CardsUp to 9 for free
Type of CardCredit Card
Applied Interest Rate • 20.99%
• 22.99% on funds advances
Annual Fee$120

#2 Pros & Cons Of The Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card

PROSCONS
• A welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles
• Excellent earn rate on everyday purchases
• Earn AIR MILES Bonus Miles twice on eligible purchases
• Includes insurance coverage even though it has a low annual fee
• Doesn’t give you a great overall return on purchases. Other Amex cards can give you more
• $750 cap on daily redeemable Cash miles (in-store or online)
• $30,000 Cap on the 1:5 earn rate
• Not too many travel perks

#3 Amex AIR MILES Platinum Benefit #1: The Welcome Bonus

The Amex Platinum AIR MILES card brings in a whopping welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.

As you’ll see in the section on how to use your miles, these miles are enough to buy a one-way ticket for a long-haul flight within Canada and most of the continental USA with any of their airline partners.

If you’re not keen on scouting around for good deals on flights, the welcome bonus alone is nearly enough for a new Nespresso machine.

If you’re not into this kind of home appliances or if you don’t like what AIR MILES has to offer in terms of merchandise, you can always trade your Bonus Miles in for $200 worth of cash discounts on purchases at any AIR MILES partner. Since AIR MILES counts its partners by the hundreds, it’ll be very easy for you to find a way to use your miles on something you really need or like.

$200 worth of miles for just $120? That’s what I call return on investment.

Bonus: Get up to 20% off all merchandise and up to 40% off all flights with AIR MILES Onyx.

#4 Amex AIR MILES Platinum Benefit #2: Miles Earn Rate

Before diving into the Amex AIR MILES Platinum’s earning rate, there’s something I need to explain first:

A Different Way To Express Earning Rates

Earning rates in the AIR MILES Rewards program are expressed a bit differently from other programs. Instead of miles per every $1, they are expressed as the amount you have to spend on purchases to earn each mile. The reason is simple: These earning rates are a lot lower than for other rewards programs because AIR MILES Rewards miles are worth much more than all the other reward points. This makes Air Miles earning rates per every $1 be only small fractions of a mile, which is not a convenient way to express them.

To compare earning rates when expressed like this, you have to consider that the lower the number, the better the earning rate. If the amount of dollars is four times greater, the earning rate is four times lower.

Let me show you what I mean with the following example of a $140 purchase at different earning rates:

Earning Rate Total Purchase Miles Earned
$35 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $35 = 4 miles
$20 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $20 = 7 miles
$15 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $15 = 9.33 miles
$10 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $10 = 14 miles
$5 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $5 = 28 miles

Comparing the first and last earn rates will clearly show what I just said: $5 per mile is seven times lower than $35, but you earn 28 miles, which is seven times greater than 4 miles.

This has some other setbacks apart from this unintuitive way to interpret the earning rate. The biggest problem is that you can’t add these earning rates when you earn more than one rate on the same purchase(something you can actually do with your Amex AIR MILES Platinum), but we’ll get back to that further down the post.

And now, The AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card’s Earn Rates

A great perk with the AIR MILES Platinum Card is its excellent earn rates:

You’ll get 1 mile for every $5 on food & drink and on gas & transit

This includes purchases in things like:

This makes it very easy to get the best earning rate on common everyday expenses. For example, on a $60 super at a restaurant you would earn 12 air miles, which are worth at least $1.26 (a 2.1% return on your purchase)

The Cap On The 1:5 Earn Rate

One thing to look out for is that this earn rate is capped at $30,000 in purchases. Therefore, the maximum earning potential of this card at its top rate is 6,000 air miles, or $630.

1 mile for every $10 on all other purchases

This earn rate applies to any purchase outside the categories mentioned above, and it also applies to all purchases after you’ve capped out the 1:5 earn rate. In this case, a purchase of same $60 will get you only 6 miles.

Now, you may be wondering:

Are these good Earning Rates, or a bad ones?

Since they are expressed differently from the earning rates on other cards such as the Platinum, the Cobalt, or the Marriott BonvoyTM Amex cards, it’s a bit hard to compare these earning rates straight up. The answer to this problem is simple though: we just have to know how much the miles are really saving you on your purchase.

Suppose you made a $100 purchase at the 1 mile per $5 rate. That means you’ll receive 20 miles for your purchase. Valuated at an average of 10 cents per mile (we’ll explain why further down the post), those 20 miles are worth $2.

If you made the same $100 purchase at the 1 mile per $10 rate, you would earn 10 miles, which are worth $1.

So, basically, the most your AIR MILES Platinum Card is really giving you back is $2 on a $100 purchase, in other words, 2% back. To put things in perspective, that’s the same earn rate on the Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card, If you compare it with the Amex Platinum Card, it looks even worse. In its defense, however, 2% is still better than 0%, and this card has other benefits that help make it a good choice.

#5 Amex AIR MILES Platinum Benefit #3: The Annual Travel Redemption

This is a great long term benefit that will help offset the annual fee in the long run. Once per calendar year, when an eligible Cardmember uses Dream Miles with the AIR MILES Reward Program to book their first single flight or package vacation through the AIR MILES site or through their Vacations Site, they can get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used.

This benefit, of course, isn’t unlimited, and it’s capped at the first 750 bonus mile. You’ll be getting the most out of this benefit as long as you book travel or vacations worth at least 3,000 miles (not something hard to do). Any less, and you’ll be getting less than the maximum 750 miles.

#6 Amex Platinum AIR MILES Benefit #4: Optional Balance Transfer Offer

As a way to attract new members, Amex provides the Optional Balance Offer with the Platinum AIR MILES Card. To be eligible for this offer, the only condition is that you’re not already an Amex cardmember (i.e., you don’t own any charge or credit card issued by Amex Bank of Canada)

What Is The Optional Balance Transfer Offer?

This is an offer for new American Express cardmembers, who can opt to transfer their debts from other credit cards to the AIR MILES Platinum Card upon enrollment. As long as you don’t fall behind on your minimum payments, you’ll get a preferential interest rate of just 1.99% on all transferred balance during the first 6 months.

In short, it’s a way of helping Canadians pay off their debts by lowering the interest incurred because of the balance they carry every month. It’s like taking a low-interest loan with Amex to pay for your other credit cards.

Tablet depicting debt recovery text
Pay off your debts with other credit cards thanks to your new Amex membership and the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card

This is the same offer made by Amex with the SimplyCash and SimplyCash Preferred cards. Just as in those two cases, the big pro of the AIR MILES Card’s offer is that Amex doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee.

How To Opt For The Balance Transfer

Considering that you’re not already an Amex cardmember and are, therefore, eligible for this offer, all you need to do is opt in for the offer when filling out your online application.

That being said, there’s a limit to how much balance you can transfer to your Amex AIR MILES Card account.

How Much Of My Balance Can I Transfer To My New American Express AIR MILES Card

The maximum amount you can transfer is limited to $7,500 or 50% of your assigned credit limit, whichever is smaller.

Let’s look at the numbers of three simple examples to show you how this works:

When Should You Opt For The Balance Transfer Offer

One very important thing to consider is that after the low-interest promotional period of 6 months expires, any unpaid transferred balance will be subject to the current funds advance interest rate. As of today, this means that from under 2%, the interest rate jumps up to 22.99%.

That’s an over 10-fold increase in interest rate.

You’ll also immediately lose the low preferential rate and get the funds advance rate if you fall behind on your payments, even during the first six months. Additionally, if you fall behind again, you’ll lose that rate as well and get 26.99%. The bottom line is that it hurts to pay late.

I’ll summarize all this information into simple actionable advice.

You should only apply for the balance transfer if:

You should definitely not apply for the balance transfer if:

If your current interest rate is lower than 22.99% but you can’t pay the debt by the end of six months, it may still make sense to transfer the balance to the AIR MILES Card from American Express. It all depends on the difference between the two interest rates, and how long you think it will take you to pay off the entire debt.

#7 Free Additional Amex AIR MILES Platinum Cards

An easy way to quickly build up you AIR MILES balance, is to get help from your closest friends or family members. You can share your credit with your loved ones easily by giving them a supplementary additional card.

With the Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, you can get up to 9 additional cards, for FREE! You won’t pay a dime, and your loved ones will always have your purchasing power at hand, whenever they need it, even if you’re far away. This makes earning miles a lot faster than it used to be!

#8 Two Other Special AIR MILES Platinum Benefits

Special Benefit #1: Insider AccessTM

Insider AccessTM is about seeing your favorite artists LIVE, for FREE!

A couple of times every year, Amex opens up a contest for American Express AIR MILES Cardmembers (sporting either the Amex AIR MILES, AIR MILES Platinum or AIR MILES Reserve Cards) so they get a chance to win free tickets to their favorite shows.

In some cases, you need to answer some skill-testing questions to enter the contest. You can also participate and enter more than once (usually limited to one entry per day) to increase your chances of winning.

To give you an idea of just how great the prizes are, the most recent contest was for two tickets to see Jennifer Lopez’s “It’s My Party” world tour in Canada. Last year, it was Shania Twain and Bon Jovi

Go to Jennifer Lopez's It's My Party world tour, thanks to your Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card's

To keep an eye out for the latest contest, just go to http://amexinsideraccess.ca to find out which event is coming up.

Special Benefit #2: Front Of The Line

Front of the line gives you access to many benefits regarding some of the most sought after concerts and special events. These benefits include

Additionally, you get other perks as well on special venues and locations like at the Budwiser Stage where you can get in through a special priority line, and enjoy the show at the Amex lounge.

#9 A Closer Look At The AIR MILES Rewards Program

The AIR MILES Rewards program, as you may have imagined, is a loyalty program. However, there’s a clear difference between this loyalty program and others we’ve covered before such as Aeroplan, Membership Rewards and the Marriott BonvoyTM program. In those cases, the company that runs the program offers its products and services to loyal clients directly, and rewards them for their purchases. They also have a set of secondary partners who reward their customers under the same loyalty program.

A Different Sort Of Loyalty Program

The first difference is that the AIR MILES Rewards program is an independent loyalty program, in the sense that it’s not tied to a particular brand or merchant. AIR MILES is owned and run by LoyaltyOne Inc., a company that provides loyalty solutions to other companies in a B2B (business-to-business) model. They offer Canadian companies a platform on which to build their loyalty program under the same banner. It’s actually the partner companies who offer you reward miles, through LoyaltyOne Inc., for your purchases. This basically translates into two things:

AIR MILES members are called Collectors, and when you sign up, you receive an AIR MILES Card, reminiscent of the Aeroplan Card you get when signing up to that loyalty program. Just like in the latter case, you show this card at eligible merchants to earn points on purchases, and you use this card to pay for eligible purchases with your miles (Note: Read below to learn how to use your miles).

#10 How To Earn Air Miles

There are plenty of ways for collectors to earn miles within the AIR MILES program. As a loyalty program, the first one is obvious: shopping at partner brands. However, the list doesn’t stop there, and you’ll see that the AIR MILES program has a lot more to offer. Of course, if you add in a brand new American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card, you’ll multiply your options and increase your rewards.

Shopping at Partner Brands

As stated above, you can buy at any of AIR MILES Rewards’ partners and receive points for your purchases. This includes both in-store and online purchases. To earn your miles, all you have to do is present your collector’s card and you’re set.

In the following tables, you’ll find the complete list of all of AIR MILES Reward’s partners, along with each merchant’s miles offer.

AIR MILES In-Store Partners

AIR MILES Online Partners

When comparing the different earning rates in the tables, it’s clear that you’ll get the best deals with hotels stays and purchases. The absolute best earning rate is 1 mile for every $5 at any of the InterContinental Hotels Group properties. The worst-case scenario would be ADI, where you’ll need to spend $50 to earn a single mile.

In the case of online stores and retailers, most offer a rate of $20 in purchases for every mile, but a few fetch a higher price of $35.

Double-Dipping: Earn AIR MILES Rewards Miles Twice With Your Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card

How does this work? It’s beyond easy! As a collector (read AIR MILES Rewards member), you’re entitled to earn miles on every purchase at partner brands, as we just showed you. But as an American Express AIR MILES Platinum cardholder, you’ll also get 1 mile for every $5 of the same purchase, no matter how much that merchant awards. This is because, in the second case, it’s Amex that’s rewarding you for your card purchase, not the merchant.

Put two and two together, and you’re earning miles twice when you show your AIR MILES Card AND you pay with your Amex AIR MILES Platinum.

Finding out how this adds up isn’t that hard, but, reader beware, it’s not as simple as adding earning rates like you may intuit. Remember that earning rates in the AIR MILES program are expressed differently from the other cases!

Let’s look at a simple example so that you’ll learn to work out your own numbers:

Buying a $600 laptop at Amazon.ca

Ok, so Amazon.ca is in the list of AIR MILES sponsors. This means that by paying for your laptop with your Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, you’ll earn miles twice. But at what rate?

Reviewing past sections of this post, you’ll get 1 miler for every $10 thanks to your Amex card + 1 mile for every $20 awarded by Amazon.ca, through the AIR MILES program.

The first mistake you might be tempted to make is to assume that this adds up to a rate of $30 for every mile, but it doesn’t work that way. Remember that the higher the number, the worse the rate, so $30 to earn a mile is actually worse than any of the two original cases.

One way to work it out is to figure out how many miles you get with each rate, and THEN add the miles:

Purchase Value: $600
Miles earned with your card purchase: $600 x 1mil/$10 = 60 miles
Miles earned for the sponsor purchase: $600 x 1mil/$20 = 30 miles
TOTAL: 90 miles

There is an alternate way to work out a sort of average earning rate, but this method is by far easier to understand. The bottom line, though, is that the Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card can help you get a lot more for every buck, compared to regular collectors.

Earn Miles On Any Purchase With An Amex AIR MILES Card

Nothing new here. With any one of American Express’ different AIR MILES credit cards (not just with the Platinum), you’ll earn miles on any purchase. There’s always a preferential rate for buying at AIR MILES sponsors and other eligible purchases, and a lower rate for all other purchases.

However, the bottom line is simple enough: every time you use your card, you’ll earn miles!

Special Rewards: Booking Hotel Stays Through AIR MILES Travel Hub

As a special offer, if you book and pay for hotels through AIR MILES’ online travel booking system, Travel Hub, you could earn as much as 1,000 Miles per night, depending on the property. Additionally, if you book any hotel before the end of 2019, you’ll also receive an extra, one-time 75 miles bonus.

With this method, you could get some seriously high earning rates. If you book a room at the Boston Park Plaza, for example, paying the $190 would get you, at the normal rate of $5 to a mile:  $190 x 1mile/$5 = 38 miles.

However, if you book through travel hub, you’ll receive 440 miles per night.

That’s over ten times what you would get, just for booking through their travel service!

By the way, if you pay with your American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card, you’ll also get an extra 19 miles, which doesn’t hurt at all!

Way to go AIR MILES Rewards, and way to go Amex!

Buying AIR MILES Rewards Miles

Picture this scenario:

You want to use the miles you’ve been earning on a dream vacation in a beautiful resort, but you’re short by some miles. AIR MILES doesn’t offer split cash/miles redemptions, so you only have two options:

  1. Either you pay the full price in cash, or,
  2. You have to get those extra miles somehow.

There’s one other way to get miles for cases just like this one: You can buy them.

As a last resort, since AIR MILES allows collectors to transfer miles between each other, you could always ask your best friend to give you a hand.

#11 How To Use Your Miles

Here I’ll highlight another oddity of AIR MILES Rewards: you don’t have one, but actually two AIR MILES balances, depending on how you want to redeem them.

Two Redemption Methods, Two AIR MILES Balances: Cash Rewards And Dream Rewards

As I said, there are two ways to redeem miles. One is for discounts on direct in-store or online purchases at partner brands, and the other is the more familiar set of rewards you can choose from in the AIR MILES site.

The air miles you earn are automatically split between two balances: your Cash Balance, and  your Dream Balance. Miles that go to your cash balance are called Cash Miles, whereas the ones that go to your dream balance are called Dream Miles. When you sign up to AIR MILES, and at any time in the future, you can choose what portion of the miles that you earn you want to go to each of the two balances (in 10% increments), but make note that, once in one balance, miles can’t be transferred to the other.

Cash Balance for Cash Rewards

You use your cash miles to pay for Cash Rewards. As I just mentioned, those Cash Rewards get you discounts at AIR MILES sponsors, either in physical stores or online.

The way it works for in-store purchases is by presenting your Collector’s Card or number at checkout, and letting the cashier know that you want to pay with Cash Miles. You have to pay a minimum of $10 in cash (before taxes) and then you can choose how much of a discount you want, in $10 increments.

You trade in 95 air miles for every $10 in discounts. There’s a cap on this redemption method, and you can only reach a maximum of $750 in accumulated discounts each day.

In Canada, cash rewards are an especially versatile redemption method, because, as you saw above, there are literally hundreds of partners at which you can spend your miles. Additionally, it’s the easiest possible way to use your miles, since all you have to do is give your card and choose how many miles you want to trade in. It’s kind of like having $10 coupons redeemable for any purchase whatsoever.

Online redemptions are a bit different, as you have to log into your AIR MILES profile and order $10 virtual coupons or e-Vouchers, which you then use at participating online stores.

Dream Rewards

Dream Rewards are the more traditional way to use miles. They work like any other loyalty rewards redemption you’ve come across in the past, in the sense that you pay the whole price of different rewards exclusively with your miles, and you choose those rewards by logging into your collector’s account in the AIR MILES website.

There are four Dream Rewards redemption categories:

 You can choose hundreds to thousands of different redemptions from within these categories. Anything from a new microwave oven and that concert you’ve been dreaming of since you heard it was coming, to flights around the world and stays at 5-star hotels.

Some of these categories offer better value than others, but it’s sure great to have options.

AIR MILES has 15 partner airlines with which you can redeem your miles for flights. These partners are:

It also partnered with five of the best hotel chains in the world, giving you access to literally thousands and thousands of dream hotels around the world. AIR MILES’ hotel partners include:

#12 How Much Are My AIR MILES Worth

As usual, miles value depends on how you redeem them. With AIR MILES Rewards Miles, there’s also the issue of two different kinds of miles, but since you can choose to which balance you want your miles to go, we’ll consider them as equal.

 Let’s look at some examples and numbers to see the best way to spend your miles:

Cash Miles’ Value

This is the easiest to assess value of any loyalty rewards points. There’s only one redemption value for cash miles: You trade in 95 miles for a $10 cash discount coupon.

This translates to a value of:

$10 / 95 miles = $0.105 or 10.5 cents for each mile.

As you can see, air miles are worth close to 10 times more than other loyalty points like the Marriott BonvoyTM points, for example, which are worth close to 1 cent per point.

Dream Miles’ Value

Here, we’ll analyze each individual Dream category separately, much like we did before with the Aeroplan miles:

Merchandise Dream Rewards:

In the merchandise category, you can choose from electronics, home, kitchen and cooking, garden, kids and many more sub-categories where you’ll find all sorts of products to meet your every whim.

You can buy a $1.250 cell phone for an average 20,000 miles or a $1,500 4K 65” TV for around 22,000 miles.

At this rate, each Mile is worth about 7 cents, or $0.07. That’s not a great value considering that you can get over 10 cents from cash miles, which are easier to redeem and offer even more flexibility.

Events, Attractions, and Stage Passes:

You can use your dream miles to purchase tickets for major events, concerts and different attractions. In this category you could redeem about 1,800 miles for a pair of tickets to a concert that are worth close to $200. In some cases, the reward even includes other perks like beverages, or complimentary valet parking and the like, which further increases the value you get for each mile.

Things start looking up, as with this kind of redemption you could easily get 10 to 12 cents per mile.

Using Your Miles For Flights

When redeeming your dream miles for flights, you’ll be spending a minimum of 1,200 miles and a maximum of 20,000. The 1,200 miles minimum is for flights within your own state or province during the low season, traveling in economy class. Of course, you have to choose a carrier from within the airline partners list.

Let’s look at a couple of typical case-studies:

Visiting Relatives In The Same Province: Flying from Toronto to Ottawa:

Looking at the AIR MILES redemption chart, you’ll see that this trip will cost you a minimum of 1,200 miles during the low season. The least this trip will cost, according to Google flights, is $230 for the round trip, or $115 for the one-way fare, flying with Porter Airlines, one of AIR MILES partners, as you can see in the image below:

Google Flights graph for airfare prices from Toronto to Ottawa during the low season. showing the lowest price of $230 for the round trip
Google flights price graph for a Toronto-Ottawa round trip

With a price tag of $115 per trip, the 1,200 miles reach an average value of j 9.6 cents each.

Going Far Away: Flying from Ontario to Sydney, Australia

A good example of a big flight is going from Toronto to Sydney. During the High season (December 21st), this flight will cost you 19,000 dream miles. The lowest fare, according to Google flights, is $1,833, giving you a value, again, of just over 9.6 cents per mile.

Google Flights graph for airfare prices from Ontario to Sydney during the high season. showing the highest price of $1833 for December 21st
Across-the-world trip in high season: From Ontario to Sydney on christmas

Booking Hotel Stays With Dream Miles:

Not only are hotel stays and purchases the best category to earn miles, but they’re also a good place to spend them. On most cases, you’ll find deals that’ll get you around 9 or 10 cents per mile, but on some other deals, you’ll do a lot better. One example is a night at the InterContinental Residence Suites in Dubai, where you have to pay 955 miles + $40 in taxes and fees for a 1-night stay in mid-September, in a standard Deluxe room, as you can see in the image below.

An example of a hotel booking with miles in the AIR MILES site. Picture features the InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai
Booking a 5-star hotel in Dubai with your Dream miles

If you were to book it in cash, the same room on the same date would cost $151, taxes and fees included. That means your 955 miles are saving you $111 and thus, are worth almost 12 cents a piece.

The Bottom Line On Air Miles Value:

Now that we’ve seen all the redemption categories and the value you can get out of every mile in each case, here’s some easy to follow advice on how to get the most out of every mile:

In any case, as you just saw, the value of each miles will go from about 6 to 12 cents ($0.06 to $0.12/mile). However, the best estimate we can make, the one that will always hit the bullseye, is the Cash miles value of 10.5 cents or $0.105 per mile.

#13 The AIR MILES Platinum Card’s Insurance Coverage

Even though the AIR MILES Platinum fee is small, that doesn’t mean it won’t bring travel and purchase coverage. However, don’t be mislead by the name of the card, because its coverage is nothing like the Amex Platinum Insurance. The following table shows the coverage you’ll get when you sign up to the AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card.

Policy Description Coverage
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance Used to waive the rental company’s own daily car insurance policy Car rental with a maximum MSRP of $85,000
$100,000 Travel Accident Insurance AD&D policy to protect you against accidents while in transit $100,000

Of the two policies, the most valuable is hands down the Car Rental Theft and Damage policy, because you can use it to save yourself the rental company’s policy every time you rent a car. That policy can run for about $16 to $23 per day!

The only condition is that you charge everything to your Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, as usual.

Apart from these travel insurance policies, the Amex AIR MILES Platinum also comes with the standard Amex purchase coverage:

Policy Description Coverage
Purchase Protection® Plan Insures your purchases against accidental physical damage and theft for 90 days after purchase $1,000
Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to 1 extra year $1,000

It’s nice to know that Amex always has your back, even with its ower end cards.

#14 Is The AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card Worth The Annual Fee?

As it happens with all Amex cards, the first year is an absolute no-brainer, as usual. For starters, the fee isn’t that high at just $120, so it doesn’t take much to outweigh it. The welcome bonus alone is worth far more than that, so you don’t even have to think about it before signing up for the first time.

Keeping it after the bonus runs out is another matter. It all comes down to your lifestyle. Every American Express rewards card, like this one, is a clear deal if you use it frequently to pay for your purchases. However, even if you don’t use them every day for whatever reason, some cards also offer great value just for keeping them in your pocket.

Let’s look at how the Amex AIR MILES Card performs on both fronts:

Turning The Tide For The Long Haul

There will always be a turning point in which the card’s return on your purchases surpasses the annual fee. After you reach that amount, every other dollar you spend will only bring you profit. We’ll show you a very conservative estimate of the minimum amount in purchases you have to charge to your American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card every year, in order to recover the $120 annual fee.

First, we need to know how many miles you must earn to cover the $120 fee. To keep numbers simple, we’ll round up each miles value to 10 cents or $0.10. Let’s get started:

To get a value of $120 in miles, you need:

$120 / $0.10 per mile = 1,200 miles

Estimating An Average Earning Rate

In order to convert these 650 miles into purchases, we need to know what your average-earning rate throughout the year will be. To calculate this average, we’ll assume that you split your spending half-and-half between both of the earning rates, which is a fair assumption.

We’ll start by assuming a $100 purchase split evenly on both earning rates. That means $50 @ $5 per mile + $50 @ $10 per mile

The total amount of miles you’ll earn in this case will be:

($50 x 1mile / $5)  +  ($50 x 1mile / $10) = 15 miles for the entire $100 purchase

Therefore, your Average Earning Rate will be:

$100 / 15 miles = $6.67 for each mile

The Break-Even Point

With the average earning rate, it’s easy to find how much you have to spend to earn 1,200 miles, and so, the needed $120:

1,200 miles x $6.67 /1 mile = $8,000 in purchases

THE BOTTOM LINE: For the Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, the break-even point sits at $8,000 in purchases.

You can definitely get a better value than $0.10 per mile (as we explained before), and you could probably reach more than 50% spending at the best rate. Therefore, it’s highly probable that you’ll need less than the estimated $8,000 in purchases. Either way, it won’t be a meager sum, and you’ll get a lot more benefits and return if you charge those same purchases to other Amex cards, like Canada’s best every-day spending card, the Cobalt Credit Card. So regarding card use, the Amex AIR MILES Platinum is probably not your best choice.

What About The Other Long-Term Benefits?

Ok, so getting your annual fee back just for using your card is doable, but it isn’t easy. However, this card comes with other benefits that may give you a head start or even get you past the finishing line. Of all the benefits that this card offers for $120 a year, the one that has the most potential value is, without a doubt, the annual travel redemption, which is worth 750 miles, or around $75, leaving short only by $45.

After this benefit, the runner up in terms of potential value is the Car Rental Insurance policy.

Since damage or theft policies for an $85,000 car rental can go for as high as $23/day (with an average of roughly $20/day), the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card can help you save more than the missing $45 in a single 2 or 3-day car rental. Add in Travel Accident and Purchase Protection insurance, Front of the Line, Insider Access and everything else, and you’ll easily be in green numbers.

Summarizing this section, the Amex Platinum AIR MILES Card is a great choice for the first year, as are all Amex Cards. It will keep on being a good choice after that, so long as you either charge more than $8,000 in purchases to it, or use it to pay for four or more days of car rentals during each year.

#15 FAQs

How Do I Protect My Cash Balance Against Unauthorized Use?

All you have to do is log into your AIR MILES profile and lock your cash account. That way no one will be able to use your cash miles (not even you) until you unlock them. If you download the AIR MILES app, you’ll be able to lock/unlock your Cash Balance anywhere, anytime. Consequently, you can keep your account locked all the time, and only unlock it once you’re at the cashier.

If My Account Is Locked, Will I Still Earn Miles?

Yes, you will. Locking your account only stops cash miles from going out of your account, but it doesn’t stop them from going in. You can keep your account locked all the time and only unlock it when you’re about to pay with your miles.

The Golden American Express AIR MILES Business card

If you’re a small business owner and you use AIR MILES®, it’s a great idea to sign up to an AIR MILES credit card, because it will help boost your AIR MILES Bonus Miles balance. The American Express AIR MILES Business Card is an excellent choice because it brings a 2,000 miles welcome bonus, great earning rates, travel insurance and plenty of Amex business solutions. Read on to learn all the basics about Amex’s best AIR MILES Card for small businesses.

In this post:

Basic Features And Benefits Of The AIR MILES Business Card

How Do The Perks Compare To The Annual Fee

The American Express AIR MILES Business Card is great choice if you’re a small business owner and use AIR MILES. It does come with an annual fee of $180, but the welcome bonus of 2,000 air miles, which can easily be worth close to $300, will leave it well behind during the first year. After that, only the travel insurance and the 25% discount on AIR MILES rewards for small businesses will help you lower the amount you would have to earn in miles in order to cover the fee.

Related: The American Express Business Edge™ Card

If you do manage to keep in green numbers, which is really as simple as earning close to 1,000 miles every year and renting a car for a couple of days at least once, the business solutions that come with the American Express AIR MILES Business Card will be worth your while.

The American Express AIR MILES Business Card’s Perks For Small Businesses

Cash-Flow Management

As all Amex charge cards, you need to pay your full balance every month in order to avoid paying penalty interests. However, with the American Express AIR MILES Business Card, you get nearly twice the time to pay, because it comes with a 55-day interest-free period. This is great for your small business, because it gives you a lot more flexibility in cash flow management. The only risk is that if you do exceed those 55 days with a balance, then you’ll get a penalty interest rate of 30%, so beware.

Employee Card Misuse Protection

The Employee Card Misuse Protection is a service that helps protect your business from unscrupulous employees who use their employee card for personal expenses instead of those related to your business. There are obvious conditions to use this benefit: The first one is reaching an agreement with Amex as to which charges are authorized and which aren’t. The second big condition is that you have to cancel the employee card immediately when the unauthorized charge is made if you want Amex to assume liability for those expenses.

Discounts On AIR MILES Redemptions

Finally, there’s the 25% discount you get at the AIR MILES for Businesses catalogue. This benefit will help you, as a small business owner, make the most out of the miles you earn with your Amex AIR MILES Business card. A 25% discount in the miles you have to spend on merchandise or travel, will ramp up your mile’s value by 33%, making this benefit a really great value.

Earn More Rewards With Your American Express Business Card And Your Employees’ Additional Cards

The Amex AIR MILES Business Card will boost your miles earning potential in two ways

Combine that with extra earnings from every single additional card you give your employees, and you’ll be on your way to AIR MILES Onyx Status in no time flat.

Take Your Business Trips At Ease With The Amex AIR MILES Business Card

One of the reasons behind the annual fee is that this card comes with a good set of travel insurance policies. Even though it doesn’t offer travel medical Insurance or trip cancellation and interruption insurance, it still provides most of the other policies and services that Amex has to offer.

Travel Coverage

With the car rental insurance alone, you could justify the annual fee after an 8- to 12-day rental, considering the fact that these policies are normally worth $16 to $23 per day. The other policies aren’t worth as much, but they sure can be of great help if you lose your luggage with you laptop and other personal effects in it.

Purchase Coverage

Apart from this travel coverage, all Amex cards also come with the standard purchase coverage composed of the following:

The Bottom Line With The American Express AIR MILES Business Card

This charge card is a good choice if you meet the following criteria:

Other Business Cards To Consider

The Amex AIR MILES Gold Business Card

If you plan to carry a balance on your card every month, then the AIR MILES Business is not the best choice. You could consider the American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card, which is a credit card and therefore comes with an interest rate of 19.99% on purchase and 22.99% on funds advances. The card has no annual fee but it doesn’t offer as much insurance coverage and it also has a lower earning rate.

The Business Gold Rewards Card

If you’re not in love with AIR MILES, you can also consider the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card that is also a credit card. This card’s annual fee is a bit higher than the AIR MILES Business, but it also brings more perks and earns MR points which can be more flexible than dream miles or cash miles.

The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Card

Finally, if you can live without AIR MILES, we recommend the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Card. It’s also a credit card, it has a lower fee of just $150, and it offers an Annual Free Night award that alone is worth twice that much, making this card a sure win.

Great news for American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Cardmembers! Amex has recently enhanced the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card to make this already-great Card even better. If you have one in your pocket today, take it for a spin and make the most out of the new and improved earn rates in Amex’s most recent updates to the Card. And if you’re not a Cardmember yet, now is an excellent time to apply for your own and take advantage of a welcome bonus offer of 2,000 AIR MILES® Bonus Miles.

LEARN MORE

The Changes

Exciting Change #1: The Annual Travel Redemption Benefit

This is an entirely new, very attractive benefit for anyone holding an American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card.

Once per calendar year, when an eligible Cardmember uses Dream Miles with the AIR MILES® Reward Program to book their first single flight or package vacation through airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca, they can get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a maximum of 750 Bonus Miles).

The new Annual Travel Redemption Benefit on the American Express AIR Miles Platinum Credit Card will have you thinking about your next trip.
The new Annual Travel Redemption Benefit on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card will have you thinking about your next trip.

Exciting Change #2: The New Earn Rate

A second important change made to the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card comes in the form of enhanced earn rates. American Express didn’t just improve the earn rates on the Card – they also broadened their purchase categories to include a wider range of purchases in the more lucrative categories, earning you even more Miles.

Before November 4th, you would earn:

Starting November 4th, the new earn rates on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card is:

Change #3: The New Annual Fee

To make all of these improvements possible, the annual fee on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card has increased from $65 to $120, matching other popular American Express Credit Cards like the Cobalt Card. As you’ll see below, though, the extra $55 is well worth it!

How Good Are The New Earn Rates?

The new earn rates on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card are impressive. In the most lucrative spending category (eligible food and drinks and eligible gas and transit), the earn rates are now twice as good as they previously were. Before, to earn 1 Mile you had to spend $10, and now you only have to spend $5. Here’s an example to illustrate.

Suppose you spend $500 on food and drinks in a month: a $12 lunch here, a $27 round of drinks there. The individual transaction values (in this example, $12 and $27) don’t matter in calculating the number of Miles you earn: all that matters is your monthly total. Before, you would’ve earned 1 Mile per $10, or 50 Miles. But now, you earn 1 Mile per $5, or 100 Miles.

The new earn rate is twice as good!

Even in the general spending category, you’re still getting 50% more Miles for your money than before! Here’s how those numbers work.

Suppose you made a $150 purchase that falls into the general spending category. Before, you would earn 1 Mile for every $15 in purchases, so the $150 would have earned you:

$150 x 1 Mile/$15 = 10 Miles

If you make that same purchase today, you’ll earn:

$150 x 1 Mile/$10 = 15 Miles

That’s 50% more than before!

The new food and drinks earn rates on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card mean you earn double the Miles with every purchase.

Before & After: Comparing Purchase Categories

OK, so the earn rates are now much better than before. But, what about purchase categories? As it turns out, they’re better than before, too!

Food & Drinks + Gas & Transit

The new purchase categories for the new high earn rate on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card turn it into an everyday spending powerhouse. Why? Because Amex’s definition of eligible food & drinks and gas & transit purchases are very generous. Here’s the breakdown of which purchases will give you 1 Mile per $5 spent:

So whether you’re paying for a cab to work in the morning, buying your kids a sandwich for school, or trying to impress that special someone by picking them up in a rented limo, the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card will reward you for your everyday purchases.

Are The Improvements Worth The Higher Annual Fee?

Without a doubt! Here’s why:

  1. The new Annual Travel Redemption Benefit of up to 750 Miles is worth at least $75 (1 Mile, when redeemed for cash, is worth 10 cents), so this perk alone covers the $55 every year, and you’re left with $20 on the side.
  2. If you don’t use the Annual Travel Redemption Benefit, you just need an extra 550 Miles to offset the $55 annual fee increase. With the enhanced earn rates, you’ll earn those extra Miles when you hit $5,500 in annual spending ($460/month) on eligible food and drinks or eligible gas and transit. Any spending you do beyond that is just gravy!
  3. The welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles is worth at least $200–more than enough to pay for your Card!

There’s no question that the refreshed American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card is a winner. Our question is:

Will you capitalize on it, or will you let it pass you by?

Learn More

AIR MILES Rewards is one of Canada’s biggest independent loyalty programs, and it counts both its members and sponsors by the thousands. It classifies its members or collectors according to how many miles they earn every year, and the AIR MILES Onyx™ status is the highest class of them all. As an Onyx member, you’ll get the whole package of benefits that only the most loyal elite collectors can get.

Learn what’s so special about the Onyx status and why signing up to an American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card is the best way to get the most out of this loyalty program. Hint: A Great welcome bonus is just the beginning…

The AIR MILES Onyx and Gold Status

Everyone wants to be a VIP wherever they go, and achieving high elite status levels in loyalty programs is one way to do it. See what it means to be at the top of the AIR Miles Rewards program with the AIR MILES Onyx status.

In this post you’ll find:

#1 What Is AIR MILES Onyx

Simply put, AIR MILES Onyx is the highest possible elite status in the AIR MILES Rewards program. It brings in the best benefits that AIR MILES Rewards has to offer, including great travel and shopping perks, as well as access to unforgettable events. It took AIR MILES a while to follow in the footsteps of other loyalty programs like Aeroplan who were already offering several levels of rewards by 2014. But in the end, everything fell into place and the Onyx Status was born.

AIR MILES Onyx Benefits: A Quick Take

To give you a spoiler of what it means to be an AIR MILES Onyx collectors, here are all the perks that come with it:

Travel Benefits • Access to more flights and better seats
• Up to 40% less miles on select flight redemptions
• 10% discount on accompanying partner ticket paid in cash
• Special prices on some vacations packages and cruises
Shopping Benefits • Discounts of up to 20% on all merchandise rewards
• Personal Shopper service to help you purchase anything outside the catalogue (Like a shopping concierge) at no extra cost
• Buy anything you want with your Dream miles at the Cash miles exchange rate of 9,500 miles per every $1,000 ($0.105/mile)
Customer Service BenefitsSpecial dedicated service line for priority at the AIR MILES Call Center
Other Perks • Get invited to special Onyx only events
• Access to contests for entertainment tickets as well as the chance to meet & greet your favorite artists
• Monthly giveaways, contests and movie tickets

But before we go headlong into all the details behind each of these benefits, lets review all of the AIR MILES statuses so that you can get a good grip on what’s so special about Onyx.

#2 Elite Status Levels In The AIR MILES Program

All loyalty programs offer different levels of rewards and redemptions depending on how “loyal” you are to the brand. In other words, the more you purchase and spend within the program and earn points (in this case air miles), the more benefits you’ll receive for your spending.  In this sense, the AIR MILES Rewards program is no different from other loyalty programs, and it offers three different rewards levels or statuses, depending on the number of miles you earn each calendar year (January 1st through December 31st):

#3 What Do I Get In Each Status

That’s the key question! It’s not about how cool the name is; it’s what it means to be in each level. Check out the following table and compare all the perks and benefits you get with each status in the AIR MILES Rewards Program. The last column is where you want to aim at, since the Onyx status has it all.

STATUS Blue Gold Onyx™
Flights, merchandise and events Standard Prime Premium
AIR MILES Perks
AIR MILES Stage Pass
Discounts on Flights   Up to 30% off Up to 40% off
Discounts on merchandise rewards   Up to 10% off Up to 20% off
Exclusive Events  
Top Service    
Personal Shopper Service    

Blue Status

The Blue Status is the basic collector status, and you get it just for signing up to the AIR MILES program and getting your Collector’s Card. In short, being in the blue status doesn’t really mean much, and it’s not an elite status. To go elite you need to spend and earn miles. While you are in the Blue, you get access to the standard flights, merchandise and events redemptions, with the possibility to earn and redeem either Dream Miles or Cash Miles. AIR MILES Perks and Stage Pass give all collectors, including the blue ones, access to special offers, discounts, redemptions and passes to popular events.

You’ll remain in the Blue Status every year you earn less than 1,000 miles. Blue Status is your starting point, but what’s next?

Gold Status

If you reach 1,000 or more miles, but less than 6,000 miles during the calendar year, AIR MILES will cover you in gold. The first thing you’ll notice once you’re half way up the status ladder, is that you immediately gain access to more flights than before, with better schedules, and you can access better merchandise and events that weren’t available to you when you were in Blue status. You’ll still have access to all the perks in the Blue Status, of course, but you will also get these Prime AIR MILES benefits, and they can be of great value.

The most valuable Gold Status benefit is, without a doubt, the up to 30% discounts you could get on select flights. This could really add up to big savings if you do the math. Of course, 10% discounts on some consumer products and merchandise don’t hurt either.

#4 AIR MILES Onyx Benefits

Now that we’re clear on all the things that the Blue and Gold statuses include, we finally got to where you want to be: The Onyx Status.

We already gave you a heads up on the pros that come with this tier, but here well review the top benefits and show you what they’ll be worth to you as an Onyx collector:

Travel Benefits Of The AIR MILES Onyx Status

Travel benefits of the AIR MILES Onyx status

Even though the AIR MILES program has been known to be a bit weak in the travel department, the upgrades that come with the Onyx AIR MILES status really make a difference:

Even though the AIR MILES program has been known to be a bit weak in the travel department, the upgrades that come with the Onyx AIR MILES status really make a difference:

Premium Flight Rewards

In terms of flights, Premium means that you gain

This can really help take the edge off finding available seats on the flight you want to book, which is something some blue and even gold collectors have been known to complain about.

Discount Of Up To 40% On Select Flight Redemptions

Compared to Gold Collectors, AIR MILES Onyx collectors enjoy an additional 10% in discounts on select flight rewards. This makes savings go up to 40%. This is a really valuable benefit, as it could increase your miles value by 67%, as long as you can find a flight to use it on.

10% Discount On Companion Ticket Paid In Cash

This is a benefit that is also available for Gold collectors, but it’s still well worth mentioning here. Whenever you book a flight reward with your dream miles, you can buy a second ticket for a companion in cash, and you’ll get a 10% discount.

Shopping Benefits Of The Onyx AIR MILES Status

Shopping benefits of the AIR MILES Onyx status

Shopping and merchandise rewards is what the AIR MILES program is most famous for, but the Onyx status takes this to another level.

With these shopping benefits, you’ll not only get more value from your miles, but you’ll also give your dream miles the ultimate flexibility.

Premium Merchandise Rewards

As with the premium flight rewards, premium merchandise means that you’ll get access to all of the products and merchandise availabe in the AIR MILES catalogue.

Discounts Of Up To 20% On All Merchandise Rewards

The discount that comes with the AIR MILES Onyx status in the merchandise rewards category isn’t as great as the one on flight redemptions, but it’s still a great way to stretch your miles even longer. Additionally, there’s also the fact that these discounts are a lot easier to find than the select discounted flights, so in the end this benefit could offer more value.

By reducing the amount of miles you need by 20%, you’ll effectively increase your dream miles’ value by 25% (I’ll explain below)

Personal Shopper Service

The Personal Shopper Service is almost like having a concierge but only for shopping, so let’s call it a “Shopping Concierge”. The personal shopper service basically puts an entire team at your disposal to look for and shop for any item you might possibly want,

not just the ones in the AIR MILES catalogue!

You can buy literally anything you want, from a brand new iphone to a Mercedes, all straight out of your dream miles balance, without paying a single cent.

A Benefit With No Fineprint

You’re probably thinking “There’s gotta be a catch somewhere!” but there isn’t:

If you think about it, in a way, this benefit is almost like having the ability to transfer dream miles to the cash balance, and additionally dropping the $750 cap per transaction. It actually lets you save all your miles in your dream balance but without losing the ability to use them as cash miles for merchandise purchases.

Additional AIR MILES Onyx Perks

First Class Customer Service

Customer service benefits of the AIR MILES Onyx status

Onyx collectors get an independent priority customer service line so they don’t have to wait for a service rep to become available. Instead of calling the regular AIR MILES phone number, Onyx collectors call 1-844-399-ONYX (6699) and receive priority service.

This is something good to have in case you need any help, especially considering that AIR MILES has tens of thousands of members all across Canada, which can sometimes saturate the regular customer service line.

Access To Exclusive Onyx Events And Attractions

Additional AIR MILES Onyx perks

Great once-in-a-lifetime experiences can be hard to find and plan out, but AIR MILES takes care of its Onyx collectors by pampering them with things like

To top it off, you also get discounts of up to 20% in spa and golfing experiences (see the full list here)

#5 With AIR MILES Onyx Status, You Can Boost your Dream Mile’s Value By 25% To 67%

Remember that by being an Onyx collector you can get select flights for 40% fewer miles and select merchandise for 20% less. Here I’ll show you that this benefit translates into an increase of 25% to 67% in the value of each mile.

A Hypothetical Case Study: A 40% Discounted Flight

Suppose you find a flight that normally costs $1,000, but it’s offered in AIR MILES for 12,500 Dream miles. That would give you a value of $1,000 / 12,500 miles = $0.08 per mile, or 8 cents.

Now suppose that you’re an Onyx Collector ant that the said ticket is eligible for a 40% discount. This means that it’ll cost only 7,500 miles. However, the value of the ticket is the same $1,000, because it’s the exact same flight. Now, your miles are worth more, because you’re getting the same value for less miles. In fact each mile will be worth, in this hypothetical case, $1,000 / 7,500 miles = $0.1333 per mile, or 13.33 cents.

THAT’S 67% MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL 8 CENTS PER MILE VALUATION!

Have a go and do your own numbers, it’ll be the same every time, no matter how much value the flight you choose will  originally give your miles:

By the same logic, if a $100 product is worth 1,000 miles (at a valuation of 10 cents per mile), the AIR MILES Onyx 20% discount will let you have it at 800 miles, giving you a value of 12.5 cents per mile.have to pay for select merchandise will increase your miles value by almost 25%.

That’s an increase of 25%!

#6 How Do I Reach Onyx Status?

As I mentioned above, to reach each status you need to earn a minimum amount of miles. To learn how, let’s first take a closer look at the AIR MILES program:

A Different Sort Of Loyalty Program

The AIR MILES Rewards program has some differences and similarities with other loyalty programs like Aeroplan, Membership Rewards and the Marriott BonvoyTM program. The most important differences reside in the way earning rates are expressed and in the way you store and redeem the air miles you earn, but there are other more subtle differences as well.

The first difference with other popular programs, is that AIR MILES is an independent loyalty program, in the sense that it’s not tied to a particular brand or merchant, like Aeroplan, which is tied to Air Canada for example. AIR MILES is owned and run by LoyaltyOne Inc., a company that provides loyalty solutions to other companies in a B2B (business-to-business) model. It’s actually the partner companies who offer you reward miles through LoyaltyOne Inc., for your purchases. This basically translates into three things:

AIR MILES members are called Collectors, and when you sign up, you receive an AIR MILES Collector’s Card, reminiscent of the Aeroplan Card you get when you join that loyalty program. Just like in the latter case, you show this card at eligible merchants to earn points on purchases, and you use this card to pay for eligible purchases with your miles.

A Different Way To Express Earning Rates

Earning rates in the AIR MILES Rewards program are expressed a bit differently from other programs. Instead of miles per every $1, they are expressed as the amount you have to spend on purchases to earn each mile.

To compare earning rates when expressed like this, you have to consider that the lower the number, the better the earning rate, because you need to spend less to earn each mile. If the amount of dollars is four times greater, the earning rate is four times lower.

Let me show you what I mean with the following example of a $140 purchase at different typical earning rates:

Earning Rate Total Purchase Miles Earned
$35 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $35 = 4 miles
$20 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $20 = 7 miles
$15 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $15 = 9.33 miles
$10 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $10 = 14 miles
$5 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $5 = 28 miles

Comparing the first and last earning rates will clearly show what I just said: $5 per mile is seven times lower than $35, but you earn 28 miles on a $140 purchase, which is seven times greater than 4 miles.

This has some other setbacks apart from this unintuitive way to interpret the earning rate. The biggest problem is that you can’t add these earning rates when you earn more than one rate on the same purchase(something you can actually do with an Amex AIR MILES Credit Card), but we’ll get back to that further down the post.

Many Ways To Earn Air Miles

AIR MILES provides plenty of ways for you to earn miles and become an Onyx AIR MILES Collector. As a loyalty program, the first one is obvious: shopping at partner brands. However, the list doesn’t stop there, and you’ll see that the AIR MILES program has a lot more to offer. Pair it with one of American Express’ AIR MILES credit cards, like the AIR MILES Platinum and the AIR MILES Reserve, and you’ll multiply your options and increase your rewards.

Shopping at Partner Brands

As stated above, you can buy at any of AIR MILES Rewards’ partners or sponsors and receive points for your purchases. This includes both in-store and online purchases. To earn your miles, all you have to do is present your collector’s card to the cashier or at check-out, and you’re set.

Check out the FAQs section at the end of this post where you’ll find a complete list of all the AIR MILES Sponsors, along with their respective miles earning rate offers.

Double Dipping: Earn Miles Twice With An Amex AIR MILES Credit Card

This is a great way to boost earnings and it’s as simple as paying with your card at AIR MILES Sponsors. If you show your collectors card, you’ll ear miles thanks to the AIR MILES program, and if you pay with your Amex AIR MILES Card, you’ll earn additional miles, courtesy of Amex.

Earn Miles On ANY Purchase With An American Express AIR MILES Credit Card

With any one of American Express’ different AIR MILES credit cards (like the AIR MILES Platinum, Business Platinum, Business and the Reserve), you’ll earn miles on any purchase, not just on sponsors. There’s always a preferential rate for buying at AIR MILES sponsors and other eligible purchases, and a lower rate for all other purchases.

However, the bottom line is simple enough: every time you use your card, you’ll earn miles!

Special Rewards: Booking Hotel Stays Through AIR MILES Travel Hub

As a special offer, if you book and pay for hotels through AIR MILES’ online travel booking system, Travel Hub, you could earn as much as 1,000 Miles per night, depending on the property. Additionally, if you book any hotel before the end of 2019, you’ll also receive an extra 75 miles bonus.

With this method, you could get some seriously high earning rates. If you book a room at the Boston Park Plaza, for example, paying the $190 would get you, at the normal rate of $5 to a mile:  $190 x 1mile/$5 = 38 miles.

However, if you book through travel hub, you’ll receive 440 miles per night.

That’s over ten times what you would get, just for booking through their travel service!

Buying AIR MILES Rewards Miles

Picture this scenario:

It’s December 30th and you check your annual miles earnings and see that you’re only short by 100 miles to reach AIR MILES Onyx status (in other words, you’re at 5,900 miles). You’re soooo close, and you don’t have too many options, given how little time you have. What are your options?

  1. Make a purchase to earn the extra miles
  2. Get those extra miles somehow, or
  3. Forget about Onyx for another year

Of course, nobody wants to have to choose the third option, but the first one implies making a $2,000 purchase at the average $20 per mile rate. You spent so much on christmas already that putting forth an extra 2K for a random purchase seem unreasonable.

What can you do?

Yes, you can, but they’re not cheap! You pay 30 cents per mile, which is 2 to 3 times what those miles will be worth to you in the end, so it’s something to keep as a last resort. However, in the present circumstances, spending $30 to get the extra miles so that you can enjoy all the benefits Onyx offers for an entire year seems more than reasonable.

#7 How Much Would I Need To Spend On Purchases To Reach Onyx Status

Climbing up the status ladder in the AIR MILES Rewards program isn’t easy, especially if you have to do it by yourself, without the help of an Amex AIR MILES credit card.

To compare, I’ll summarize all the amounts you would normally have to spend to reach each level at both the best and the average earning rates the AIR MILES program offers, which are $5 and $20 per mile respectively. I’ll also include the amounts you would need if you had an Amex AIR MILES Platinum or Reserve card in hand, assuming you pay for everything with your card at the Amex rate of $10 per mile.

AIR MILES STATUS (needed miles) AIR MILES Average Earning Rate ($20/mile) AIR MILES Best Earning Rate ($5/mile) Amex AIR MILES Platinum ($10/mile) + Average Earning Rate ($20/mile) Amex AIR MILES Reserve ($10/mile) + Average Earning Rate ($20/mile)
Blue Status (0 miles) $0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES) $0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES) $0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES) $0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES)
Gold Status (1,000 + miles) $20,000 annually (almost $1,700/month) $5,000 annually ($417/month) $6,667 annually ($556/month) $0 in purchases (you get it automatically with the Reserve)
ONYX STATUS (6,000 + miles $120,000 annually ($10,000/month) $30,000 annually ($2,500/month) $40,000 annually ($3,333/month) $0 in purchases (you get it automatically with the Reserve)

Breaking Down The Numbers

As you can see in the previous table, at the average earning rate for AIR MILES collectors, which is 1 mile for every $20 in purchases, you would need to spend $120,000 on purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors in the course of one year! This worst-case scenario amounts to $10,000 every month! Not all Canadians have the wallet or the stomach for that kind of spending!

You can do a lot better if you decide to earn all your points on InterContinental Hotel Group properties, which offer the best earning rate of any AIR MILES sponsor, but you’d still have to spend $30,000 a year. That’s like staying at a luxury resort for a whole month! It’s a bit unrealistic.

Luckily, Amex AIR MILES Credit Cards can really help!

Just by signing up to the Amex AIR MILES Platinum, which has the same earning rate as the Reserve, things start looking a little easier. You need $40,000 in purchases at AIR MILES sponsors in order to earn miles twice, but it’s a lot more doable because you’re not limited to hotel stays at a single hotel chain. That’s three times faster just for being a Platinum AIR MILES Cardholder.

#8 Automatic Onyx Status With The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card

The AIR MILES Platinum helps a lot, like you just saw, but who wants to spend $40,000 to get to the AIR MILES Onyx status, when you can get it automatically just by signing up to the Amex AIR MILES Reserve! What’s more, you won’t have to wait till the next calendar year to enjoy your benefits. You start off in the AIR MILES Rewards program like a pro – right at the top of the chain, ready to get the most out of every mile!

Add in a 2,400 miles welcome bonus, an annual partner flight ticket worth another 1,700 miles, worldwide airport lounge access and comprehensive travel insurance, and the $299 annual fee will look like a joke.

#9 Is The AIR MILES Reserve Card Worth The Annual Fee?

Without a doubt. All benefits combined could give you up to 3X return on the initial $300 investment during the first year, thanks to the welcome bonus. After that, you’ll still be able to get away with an ROI of at least 100%

#10 FAQs

What is the earning rate on AIR MILES sponsors?

There are many AIR MILES sponsors or partners, and each has its own rewarding scheme. In the following tables you’ll find the full list of all in-store and online partners along with their respective earning rates:

In-Store Partners

• Ace ($20 per mile)
 • ADI ($50 per mile)
 • Alamo Rent-A-Car (5 miles per day of rental)
 • Auto Plus UniSelect
 • Best Western (20 miles per stay)
 • Budget Car & Truck Rental ($15 per mile)
 • Cedarlane Laboratories ($25 per mile)
 • Co-op Atlantic ($30 per mile)
 • Co-op Country Store ($30 per mile)
 • Craftsman Collision ($15 per mile)
 • FOODLAND ATLANTIC ($20 per mile)
 • Fountain Tire ($20 per mile)
 • Gerrie Electric ($30 per mile)
 • Gescan ($30 per mile)
 • Global Pet Foods ($20 per mile)
 • Goodyear ($20 per mile)
 • HearingLife Canada (N/A)
 • Hudson’s Bay Rewards (N/A)
• IGA (Excludes Quebec Stores) ($20 per mile)
 • IGA Express ($10 per mile)
• Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG)
    o  InterContinental Hotels and Resorts ($5 per mile)
    o  Crowne Plaza ($5 per mile)
    o  Hotel Indigo ($5 per mile)
    o  Holiday Inn ($5 per mile)
    o  Holiday Inn Express ($5 per mile)
    o  Staybridge Suites ($5 per mile)
    o  Candlewood Suites Hotel ($5 per mile)
 • Irving Oil (1 mile per 20L)
 • Jean Coutu ($15 per mile)
 • Jiffy Lube ($20 per mile)
 • Johnsons Insurance ($20 per mile)
 • Kent (N/A)
 • Lawtons Drugs ($20 per mile)
 • LCBO ($30 per mile)
 • Les Marchés Tradition ($20 per mile)
 • Lowes ($20 per mile)
 • Lumen ($30 per mile)
 • Lumino Health (100 bonus miles)
 • Macdonalds Consolidated (N/A)
• Manitoba Liquor Marts ($30 per mile)
 • Manulife (N/A, earn miles for your Quote)
 • Metrobus (N/A)
 • Metro ($20 per mile)
 • National Car Rental (10 to 40 miles per day of rental)
 • Needs (N/A)
 • Nettoyeurs Daoust ($10 per mile)
 • NLC Liquor Stores ($25 per mile)
 • NSLC (N/A)
 • OSSO Electrical ($30 per mile)
 • Pharmasave ($10 per mile)
 • Primus ($15 per mile)
 • Rachelle-Béry ($20 per mile)
 • Reno Depot ($20 per mile)
 • Rexall ($20 per mile)
 • RONA (Excludes ACE) ($20 per mile)
 • RSA ($20 per mile)
 • Safeway Grocery ($20 per mile)
 • Safeway Liquor ($20 per mile)
 • Safeway Pharmacy (7 miles for $20, conditions apply)
• SaskEnergy ($20 per mile)
 • Shell AVIATION ($25 per mile)
 • Shell Bulk Fuel (1 mile per 100L)
 • Shell Residential Heating Oil ($30 per mile, or 1 mile per 30L of oil)
 • Shell Retail ($10 in-store purchase per mile, or 1 mile per 15L of fuel)
 • Sobeys Atlantic ($20 per mile)
 • Sobeys Ontario ($20 per mile)
 • Sobeys Urban Fresh ($20 per mile)
 • Staples Canada ($40 per mile)
 • Thrifty Foods ($20 per mile)
 • Thrifty Foods Liquor ($20 per mile)
 • TIMBER Mart ($15 per mile)
 • United Van Lines ($30 per mile)

Online Partners

When comparing the different earning rates in the tables, it’s clear that you’ll get the best deals with hotels stays and purchases. The absolute best earning rate is 1 mile for every $5 at any of the Intercontinental Hotels Group properties. The worst-case scenario would be ADI, where you’ll need to spend $50 to earn a single mile. The average earning rate for this category is very close to 1 mile for every $20 in purchases. In the case of online stores and retailers, most offer a rate of $20 in purchases for every mile, but a few fetch offer each mile for $35.

Are there special rewards to earn miles?

Yes, there are. One is booking hotels through AIR MILES’ online travel booking system, Travel Hub, you could earn as much as 1,000 miles per night. There are also occasional limited time offers on select sponsors where you can earn a lot more miles than you would just for the purchase alone.

Can I buy AIR MILES Bonus Miles?

Yes, you can, but they’re not cheap! You pay 30 cents per mile, which is 2 to 3 times what those miles will be worth to you in the end, so only keep this as a last resort, and only when you’re short by a few miles. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

Do AIR MILES expire?

AIR MILES Bonus Miles will expire if your account is inactive for 24 consecutive months. To prevent your Bonus Miles from expiring, you just need to earn or redeem your AIR MILES at least once during every 24-month period.

AIR MILES will send you multiple emails as your miles approach their expiry date, but if those emails end up in your Junk folder, you might miss them. Our suggestion is that if you haven’t used your AIR MILES Onyx card in a while, bring it out and start earning some miles to prevent those you already have from expiring!

Does my AIR MILES Onyx status expire?

Your AIR MILES Onyx status is valid from the day you achieve it until the end of the following year. For example, if you qualify for Onyx status on July 1, 2020, your Onyx status will expire on December 31, 2021. If you meet the requirements for maintaining your status during that span, it will not expire.

If you have an American Express AIR MILES card like the Platinum or the Reserve card, your Onyx status will only expire after you get rid of those cards.

The American Express® AIR MILES® Reserve Credit Card is the best AIR MILES credit card that Amex has to offer. The welcome bonus of 2,400 AIR MILES Bonus Miles coupled with Onyx™ Status in the AIR MILES program can be worth over $650, but it doesn’t stop there. The long-term benefits of this card will make paying the annual fee a laugh. A small example is the 1,700 AIR MILES complimentary partner ticket, which alone almost single handedly covers the fee. Add in an impressive insurance package, worldwide lounge access with four complimentary visits, and other benefits on the side, and you’ll happily sign up before you finish reading this post.

Find out why this is the perfect travel card for occasional travelers, offering the best value when you travel once or twice a year.

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The Amex AIR  MILES Reserve Card
The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card

As one of Canada’s biggest independent loyalty programs, AIR MILES® Rewards is used and trusted by thousands. After Amex partnered with AIR MILES to bring forth the American Express® AIR MILES® Credit Card family, that number has grown even more. Of all these cards, I find that the benefits that come with the Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card are the ones that best balance its annual fee, and give you more besides. In this Amex AIR MILES Reserve review, I’ll show you why I consider this card as the best choice among all the AIR MILES Credit Cards from American Express.

To make it easier to navigate, this post is divided into the following sections:

#1 The Amex AIR MILES Reserve’s Basic Features And Benefits

Welcome Bonus 2,400 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles when you charge a total of $3,000 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership. That’s enough for two select flights.

Miles Earning Rate • 1 Air Mile per $10 in eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors or standalone grocery stores, gas stations and drugstores in Canada
• 1 Air Mile per $15 on everything else
Travel Benefits • Complimentary Annual Companion Flight Ticket worth up to 1,700 miles
• Access to FlexFly redemptions
• Access to AIR MILES business class seats
• 4 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year
• Access to Toronto Pearson Airport Priority Security Lane
Comprehensive Travel and Purchase Coverage
Automatic Onyx Status
Optional Balance Transfer Offer
Insider Access
Front of The Line
Type of Card Credit Card
Applied Interest Rate • 20.99% on purchases
• 22.99% on funds advances
Annual Fee $299
Additional Card Fee $50
Benefit for Additional Cardmembers

#2 Pros & Cons Of The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card

PROS CONS
• Great long-term benefits like an annual partner ticket worth over $200 and automatic Onyx Status in the AIR MILES program
• Great Lounge Access offer for the occasional traveler
• Impressive travel and purchase coverage
• Earn Air Miles on any purchase
• Great earning rate on AIR MILES sponsors even when compared the AIR MILES program’s own earning rate
• More flight redemption possibilities including business and first-class tickets as well as better itineraries
• The choice to use your miles to pay for taxes and fees completely avoiding the need for cash when redeeming your miles
• Unlimited earning potential (no caps on earning)
• Low annual fee for a premium card
• Contrary to other offers, the welcome bonus alone doesn’t cover the annual fee during the first year.
• The earn rate doesn’t give you a great overall return on purchases. Other Amex cards can give you a lot more
• $750 cap on daily redeemable Cash miles (in-store or online)
• No Amex Concierge Service even though it’s a premium reserve card

Before diving into the details behind all the features and benefits of this card, it’s important to understand how the AIR MILES Rewards program works.

#3 An Overview Of The AIR MILES Rewards Program

The AIR MILES Rewards program, as you may have imagined, is a loyalty program. However, there are some differences between this loyalty program and others we’ve covered before such as Aeroplan, Membership Rewards and the Marriott BonvoyTM program.

A Different Sort Of Loyalty Program

The biggest difference with the AIR MILES program is that it’s an independent loyalty program, unlike Membership Rewards, which is tied to American Express or Aeroplan, which is tied to Air Canada. Three key features of this program include:

AIR MILES members are called Collectors, and when you sign up, you receive an AIR MILES Collector’s Card, reminiscent of the Aeroplan Card you get when signing up to that loyalty program. You show this card at eligible merchants to earn points on purchases, and you use this card to pay for eligible purchases with your miles.

A Different Way To Express Earning Rates

Earning rates in the AIR MILES Rewards program are expressed a bit differently from other programs. Instead of miles per every $1, they are expressed as the amount you have to spend on purchases to earn each mile.

This makes it a bit bothersome when you want to compare earning rates, especially if you want to compare with other loyalty programs. The bottom line is that the higher the number, the lower the earning rate.

Let me show you what I mean with the following example of a $140 purchase at different typical earning rates:

Earning Rate Total Purchase Miles Earned
$35 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $35 = 4 miles
$20 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $20 = 7 miles
$15 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $15 = 9.33 miles
$10 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $10 = 14 miles
$5 per 1 mile $140 $140 x 1mile / $5 = 28 miles

Comparing the first and last earning rates will clearly show what I just said: $5 per mile is seven times lower than $35, but you earn 28 miles on a $140 purchase, which is seven times greater than 4 miles.

This has some other setbacks apart from this unintuitive way to interpret the earning rate. The biggest problem is that you can’t add these earning rates when you earn more than one rate on the same purchase(something you can actually do with your Amex AIR MILES Reserve), but we’ll get back to that further down the post.

Two Different Kinds Of Miles

Here I’ll highlight another oddity of AIR MILES Rewards: The miles you earn are automatically split between two balances: your Cash Balance, and  your Dream Balance. Miles that go to your cash balance are called Cash Miles, whereas the ones that go to your dream balance are called Dream Miles. You can choose what portion of the miles that you earn go to each of the two balances (in 10% increments), but make note that, once in one balance, miles can’t be transferred to the other.

Cash Balance for Cash Rewards

You use your cash miles to pay for Cash Rewards, which you use to get discounts at AIR MILES sponsors, either in physical stores or online.

You trade in 95 cash miles for every $10 in discounts, and there’s a cap at $750 in accumulated discounts each day.

Dream Balance For Dream Rewards

Dream Rewards are the more traditional way to use miles. They work like any other loyalty rewards redemption you’ve come across in the past, in the sense that you pay the whole price of different rewards exclusively with your miles, and you choose those rewards by logging into your collector’s account in the AIR MILES website.

There are four Dream Rewards redemption categories:

Some of these categories offer better value than others, but it’s sure great to have options.

AIR MILES has 15 partner airlines with which you can redeem your miles for flights. It also partnered with five of the world’s best hotel chains, giving you access to literally thousands and thousands of dream hotels around the world.

#4 How Much Are The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Miles Worth

As usual, miles value depends on how you redeem them. Since there are two types of air miles, which you can redeem in different ways, we’ll look at them separately:

Cash Miles’ Value

This is the easiest to assess value of any loyalty rewards points. There’s only one redemption value for cash miles: You trade in 95 miles for a $10 cash discount coupon.

This translates to a value of:

$10 / 95 miles = $0.105 or 10.5 cents for each mile.

As you can see, air miles are worth close to 10 times more than other loyalty points like the Marriott BonvoyTM points, for example, which are worth close to 1 cent per point.

Dream Miles’ Value

There are different types of redemptions for Dream miles. Here’s an estimate of the value you can get out of each type:

The Bottom Line On Air Miles Value:

As you just saw, the value of each miles will go from about 6 to more than 12 cents ($0.06 to $0.12/mile). However, the best estimate we can make, the one that will always hit the bullseye, is the Cash miles value of 10.5 cents or $0.105 per mile.

After seen all the redemption categories and the value you can get in each case, I’ll give you some easy to follow advice on how to get the most out of every mile:

Air Mile Value For Onyx Collectors

The average 10.5 cents I just mentioned is the value that regular AIR MILES members or Blue Collectors will get out of their miles. However, as you’ll learn in the section covering the AIR MILES Status, Onyx members – a status you get automatically with your new Amex AIR MILES Reserve – could get up to 67% more from each mile when they redeem them for special discounted flights only available for that tier. This could raise the value of each mile to over 17.5 cents or $0.175/mile.

You’ve gotten a couple of previews of some of the benefits that come with the Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card, but now it’s time to really dig into the details:

#5 Amex AIR MILES Reserve Benefit #1: The Welcome Bonus

Once you’re approved for your new American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card for the first time, and after you charge $3,000 in purchases to it before your third month as a cardmember, you’ll receive an enticing welcome bonus of 2,400 AIR MILES Rewards Miles.

The AIR MILES Rewards program offers over a thousand different ways to redeem those miles.

Using Your Bonus To Pay For Flights

Regarding travel, you could use those points to pay for a flight anywhere in Canada and continental USA in economy class.

Flight options with the AIR MILES Reserve welcome bonus
Flight options with the AIR MILES Reserve welcome bonus

Using Your Bonus To Pay For Hotel Stays

You can also use them to pay for stays at thousands of different hotels around the world, including Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental, just to name a few. The bonus is enough for 4-5 nights on some great 3 and 4-star hotels many great destinations, or even for one night at any of the following beautiful hotels in Paris:

Four great Parisian hotels you can book for one night with the Amex AIR MILES Reserve
Four great choices to stay in Paris for one night with your welcome bonus

Having said that, this bonus is only 400 Bonus Miles higher than the 2,400 Bonus Miles that come with the AIR MILES Platinum Card. This may seem disappointing considering that the annual fee on the reserve is over two times higher. However, at the basic rate of 10.5 cents/mile, the bonus would translate to $400, easily covering the annual fee and leaving you an extra $100 on the side. Furthermore, when you consider the fact that you could get up to 67% more value from your miles with the Reserve Card, thanks to the automatic Onyx Status, these 2,400 miles suddenly start feeling like more than $650, doubling the annual fee and making the Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card an easy choice for an investment. .

#6 Amex AIR MILES Reserve Benefit #2: Miles Earn Rates

A great feature of both the AIR MILES Reserve Cards and the AIR MILES Platinum Card is that they earn miles on all purchases, not just on AIR MILES sponsors. With the Reserve, there are two slightly different rates:

You’ll get 1 mile for every $10 on eligible purchases

This means that on a $60 eligible purchase, for example, you’ll receive 6 miles deposited directly to your AIR MILES Collector’s account (split between the two balances). Eligible implies one of the following four categories of purchases:

This makes it very easy to get the best earning rate on common everyday expenses like food, medicines and gas.

1 mile for every $15 on all other purchases

In this case, a purchase of the same $60 will get you only 4 miles. The good thing here is that the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card rewards you for any purchase, while AIR MILES alone will not. In fact, the 1 mile for every $15 earning rate is better than what most AIR MILES sponsors themselves offer (which averages to $20 for each mile)

Now, you may be wondering:

Are these good Earning Rates, or bad ones?

Since they are expressed differently from the earning rates on other cards such as the Aeroplan Reserve, the Cobalt, or the Marriott BonvoyTM Amex cards, it’s a bit hard to compare these earning rates straight up. The answer to this problem is simple though: we just have to know how much the miles are really saving you on your purchase.

Suppose you made a $100 purchase at the 1 mile per $10 rate. That means you’ll receive 10 miles for your purchase. Valuated at an average of 10 cents per mile, those 10 miles are worth $1.

So, basically, your AIR MILES Reserve is really only giving you back $1 on a $100 purchase. In other words, you get 1% back. To put things in perspective, the Amex SimplyCash Card gives you that same return, but it’s free. The Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card gives you 2% back on all purchases, which is twice as much, and it’s a lot cheaper as well. If you compare it with the Amex Platinum Card, it looks even worse.

Either way, 1% is still better than 0%, and this card comes with other great benefits that’ll tilt the balance in the right direction.

#7 Double-Dipping: Earning Miles Twice With Your Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card

How does this work? It’s beyond easy! As a collector (read AIR MILES Rewards member), you’re entitled to earn miles on every purchase at partner brands, as we just showed you. But as an American Express AIR MILES Reserve cardholder, you’ll also get 1 mile for every $10 of the same purchase, no matter how much that merchant awards. This is because, in the second case, it’s Amex that’s rewarding you for your card purchase, not the merchant.

Put two and two together, and you’re earning miles twice when you show your AIR MILES Collector’s Card AND you pay with your Amex AIR MILES Reserve.

Finding out how this adds up isn’t that hard, but, reader beware, it’s not as simple as adding earning rates. Remember that earning rates in the AIR MILES program are expressed differently from other cases!

Let’s look at a simple example so that you’ll learn to work out your own numbers:

Case Study: Buying a $600 laptop at Amazon.ca

Ok, so Amazon.ca is one of AIR MILES’ sponsors. This means that by paying for your laptop with your Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card, you’ll earn miles twice. But at what rate?

Reviewing past sections of this post, you’ll get 1 miler for every $10 thanks to your Amex card + 1 mile for every $20 awarded by Amazon.ca, through the AIR MILES program.

The first mistake you might be tempted to make is to assume that this adds up to a rate of $30 for every mile, but it doesn’t work that way. Remember that the higher the number, the worse the rate, so $30 to earn a mile is worse than any of the two separate rates.

One way to work it out is to figure out how many miles you get with each rate, and THEN add the miles:

Purchase Value: $600
Miles earned with your card purchase: $600 x 1mil/$10 = 60 miles
Miles earned for the sponsor purchase: $600 x 1mil/$20 = 30 miles
TOTAL: 90 miles

This works out to 1 mile for every $6.67 of purchases at Amazon.ca.

#8 Amex Reserve AIR MILES Credit Card Benefit #3: Annual Companion Ticket

This is one of the Amex AIR MILES Reserve’s best long-term benefits. Once every year, when you redeem your miles for an AIR MILES flight reward, you will get a complimentary ticket for a companion for the same itinerary, worth up to 1,700 miles. Those 1,700 miles can easily be worth close to $280 when you combine them with the AIR MILES Onyx Status that comes with your card (read below for more on the Onyx Status).

There are other Amex cards that offer a similar benefit. One example is the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card that also offers an annual partner ticket worth up to 25,000 aeroplan miles. However, the key difference with the AIR MILES partner ticket benefit is that you’re not limited to a 1,700 miles flight ticket. You may still use this benefit even if your flight costs more than 1,700 dream miles. All you have to do is pay the extra miles of your partner’s ticket with your dream balance, and you’re both set to go.

This added flexibility really enhances this benefit’s value, and it practically ensures that you will be able to redeem it for the maximum 1,700 miles.

#9 Amex AIR MILES Reserve Benefit #4: More Flexibility In Flight Redemptions

Ok, so you know that AIR MILES offers its own flight rewards with its airline partners. However, the partners list is limited, and unless you’re an Onyx collector (which, thankfully, you will be if you sign up for this card), you won’t have access all the flights they offer. This slight setback of the AIR MILES Rewards program, is overcome by Amex for its cardmembers, by offering two additional benefits:

Access To Air Miles Business-Class Flights

This is an exclusive benefit of the AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card. AIR MILES Flight Rewards are strictly for economy-class flights, no matter where you go. It doesn’t even matter if you’re an Onyx Collector. However, by signing up to an American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card, you’ll also be able to pay for business-class flights within the AIR MILES Flights program.

Access to FlexFly Redemptions

What do you do if the destination you want simply isn’t covered by any of AIR MILES’ partners? This is a frustrating scenario that many collectors come across once in a while. If you find yourself in this situation, FlexFly redemptions can help. This is yet another Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card exclusive, and it’s as simple as redemptions get: book any flight, on any carrier, in any class you want, and pay for it with the miles in your dream balance.

Amazingly, the redemption rate for the FexFly benefit is of 770 miles for every $100, which turns out to be 13 cents per mile, which is not bad at all!

#10 American Express AIR MILES Reserve Benefit #5: Lounge Access

Airport lounges absolutely change the way you experience travel. The problem is that, in most cases, to access any lounge requires that you be a member of that lounge club, and memberships can be expensive.

The AIR MILES Reserve Card comes with a Priority Pass membership that not only gives you access to over 1,200 lounges worldwide at no extra cost, but it also throws in four complimentary lounge visits per year. You could be chilling out in the newly added Primeclass Lounge Zurich, whether you’re departing from or just in transit in that city’s international airport.

Primeclass Lounge, Zurich, Switzerland
The bar at the Zurich Primeclass Lounge
Primeclass Lounge, Zurich, Switzerland
Some of the inviting snacks and refreshments you can enjoy at the Lounge

What’s so special about lounge access?

Lounges aren’t just comfortable places to sit and rest. Most establishments also offer a wide array of services that make them a great place to be before you go. These services include things like

The Amex AIR MILES Reserve’s Lounge Access Is A Great Choice For Occasional Travelers And Frequent Fliers Alike

The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card includes a Priority Pass Lounge membership that grants you access to all of its lounges, four complimentary visits, and a reduced additional-visit fee of just $27 USD.

When Does The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card’s Lounge Access Offer The Most Value?

This membership plan is like having the Priority Pass Standard membership (which costs $99 USD), and four prepaid visits (which would run for a total $128 USD). So just by signing up, you’re already saving about $300 CAD.

But the kicker is that the reduced additional visit fee saves you $5 USD every time you visit a lounge after the fourth visit. This makes the AIR MILES Reserve’s lounge access better than any of the membership plans Priority Pass offers, at least for the first 16 visits, even after paying for twelve of them!

The bottom line is that signing up to the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card’ is the cheapest way to get Priority Pass lounge access if you travel between 4 and 16 timer every year.

This makes it a great choice for both infrequent fliers (those who travel only a few times a year), as well as for frequent fliers that travel a little more than once a month. If you don’t travel at all, of course, then this benefit doesn’t offer you any value.

If you’ve never experienced an airport lounge, this is your opportunity to do it with style and at the lowest price possible.

#11 Amex AIR MILES Reserve Benefit #6: Optional Balance Transfer Offer

As a way to attract new members, Amex provides the Optional Balance Offer with the Reserve AIR MILES Card. To be eligible for this offer, the only condition is that you’re not already an Amex cardmember (i.e., you don’t own any charge or credit card issued by Amex Bank of Canada)

What Is The Optional Balance Transfer Offer?

This is an offer for new American Express cardmembers, who can opt to transfer their debts from other credit cards to the AIR MILES Reserve Card upon enrollment. As long as you don’t fall behind on your minimum payments, you’ll get a preferential interest rate of just 1.99% on all transferred balance during the first 6 billing cycles (read months).

In short, it’s a way of helping Canadians pay off their debts by lowering the interest incurred because of the balance they carry every month. It’s like taking a low-interest loan with Amex to pay for your other credit cards.

Pay off your other credit card debts with the Air Miles Reserve Card

Some cash cards offer similar offers, and some even go the length of charging 0% interest and increasing the interest-free period to 1 year. However, the good thing about the AIR MILES Reserve Card’s offer is that Amex doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, whereas the others do.

How To Opt For The Balance Transfer

Considering that you’re not already an Amex cardmember and are, therefore, eligible for this offer, all you need to do is opt in for the offer when filling out your online application.

That being said, there’s a limit to how much balance you can transfer to your Amex AIR MILES Card account.

How Much Of My Balance Can I Transfer To My New American Express AIR MILES Card

The maximum amount you can transfer is limited to $7,500 or 50% of your assigned credit limit, whichever is smaller.

Let’s look at the numbers of three simple examples to show you how this works:

When Should You Opt For The Balance Transfer Offer?

One very important thing to consider is that after the low-interest promotional period of 6 months expires, any unpaid transferred balance will be subject to the current funds advance interest rate. As of today, this means that from under 2%, the interest rate jumps up to 22.99%.

That’s an over 10-fold increase in interest rate.

You’ll also immediately lose the low preferential rate and get the funds advance rate if you fall behind on your payments, even during the first six months. Additionally, if you fall behind again, you’ll lose that rate as well and get 26.99%. The bottom line is that it hurts to pay late.

I’ll summarize all this information into simple actionable advice.

You should only apply for the balance transfer if:

You should definitely not apply for the balance transfer if:

If your current interest rate is lower than 22.99% but you can’t pay the debt by the end of six months, it may still make sense to transfer the balance to the AIR MILES Card from American Express. It all depends on the difference between the two interest rates, and how long you think it will take you to pay off the entire debt.

#12 An Amex AIR MILES Reserve Exclusive: Automatic Onyx Status In The AIR MILES Rewards Program

This is one of the great benefits that come exclusively with you Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card.

The AIR MILES Rewards program offers three different levels of rewards, depending on the number of miles you earn each calendar year (January 1st through December 31st):

Depending on which status you achieved, you’ll get access to more and more benefits.

What Do I Get In Each Status In The AIR MILES Program?

That’s the key question! It’s not about how cool the name is; it’s what it means to be in each level. Check out the following table and compare all the perks and benefits you get with each status in the AIR MILES Rewards Program. You’ll want to compare the last column with the other two, because that’s what comes with your American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card:

STATUS Blue Gold Onyx™
Flights, merchandise and events Standard Prime Premium
AIR MILES Perks
AIR MILES Stage Pass
Discounts on Flights   Up to 30% off Up to 40% off
Discounts on merchandise rewards   Up to 10% off Up to 20% off
Exclusive Events  
Top Service    
Personal Shopper Service    

The Onyx Status

Becoming an Onyx Collector without the help of your Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card isn’t easy, because you need to earn a minimum of 6,000 air miles during one calendar year. This amounts to $120,000 in purchases, or to roughly half of that if you have the Amex AIR MILES Platinum , which has the same earning potential as the Reserve, but without the automatic Onyx status.

So you would need to spend $5,000 to $10,000 a month to get to Onyx Status by yourself. That’s one steep climb. It sure is great that your new American Express AIR MILES Credit Card brings in Onyx Status, but what will that mean to you?

Keep reading to find out:

Access to Premium flight, merchandise and event rewards.

This means that you get the whole package. You start off with access to all the rewards that AIR MILES has to offer, which translates into the possibility to book better flights, more routes, with more schedule flexibility. Not only that, you can also use your miles to pay for taxes and fees, avoiding the need to pay with cash altogether.

Better Discounts On Flights And Merchandise Than With Gold Status

Onyx collectors enjoy an additional 10% in discounts compared to Gold collectors in both flight and merchandise rewards. This makes savings go up to 40% on select flights and to 20% on eligible merchandise. This is a really valuable benefit, as it could increase your miles value by 67%. Here’s why:

Boost your Dream Mile’s Value By Up To 67%

Suppose you find a flight that normally costs $1,000, but it’s offered in AIR MILES for 12,500 Dream miles. That would give you a value of $1,000 / 12,500 miles = $0.08 per mile, or 8 cents.

Now suppose that you’re an Onyx Collector ant that the said ticket is eligible for a 40% discount. This means that it’ll cost only 7,500 miles, but the value of the ticket is the same $1,000, because it’s the exact same flight. Now, your miles are worth more, because you’re getting the same value for less miles. In fact each mile will be worth, in this hypothetical case, $1,000 / 7,500 miles = $0.1333 per mile, or 13.33 cents.

THAT’S 67% MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL 8 CENTS PER MILE VALUATION!

Have a go and do your own numbers, it’ll be the same every time, no matter how much value the flight you choose will  originally give your miles.

By the same logic, the 20% discount in the miles you have to pay for select merchandise will increase your miles value by almost 25%.

If you manage to spend your entire welcome bonus on Onyx discounted flights, the 2,400 miles could easily be worth $400! That’s $100 over the annual fee.

The question is, will you join one of the biggest loyalty programs in Canada and enjoy from day one all the benefits it has to offer?

#13 The AIR MILES Reserve Card’s Insurance Coverage

As an American Express premium Canadian Credit Card, the AIR MILES Reserve offers an impressive insurance package that will keep your mind at ease when you travel, as much as whe you shop.

Travel Coverage

The following table shows all the travel insurance policies that come embedded into your card, as well as their respective coverage limits:

Policy Description Coverage
Emergency Medical Insurance Covers for accidents or illnesses that require medical attention, during the first 15 days of your trip. $5,000,000
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance Used to waive the rental company’s own daily car insurance policy Rental Car with a maximum MSRP of $85,000
$100,000 Travel Accident Insurance AD&D policy to protect you against accidents while in transit $100,000
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance Covers for lost personal effects or damage to your luggage while in transit $500
Flight & Baggage Delay Insurance Covers for hotel, restaurant and out of pocket expenses when flights or your baggage are delayed for a long time $500
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance Covers for lost personal effects if your hotel gets burglarized $500

A very important feature of the embedded insurance coverage of the Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card is that it covers for any number of trips throughout the year (something referred to as Multi-trip policy in the insurance world). Additionally, it not only covers you, but your spouse and any dependent children you may have, as long as they are traveling with you, of course.

Purchas Coverage

Apart from these travel insurance policies, the Amex AIR MILES Reserve also comes with the standard Amex purchase coverage:

Policy Description Coverage
Purchase Protection® Plan Insures your purchases against accidental physical damage and theft for 90 days after purchase $1,000
Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to 1 extra year $1,000

How To Be Eligible For Coverage

One key condition to be eligible for coverage in all the policies I just mentioned is that everything has to be paid for with your Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card. Other conditions obviously apply, such as exclusions, limitations, pre-existing conditions, etc., but that happens with any insurance policy.

If you want to learn more, you can read our post on American Express Insurance.

How Much Is The Reserve AIR MILES Credit Card Insurance Worth?

It’s hard to estimate exactly how much you’re saving by having this insurance coverage. You’ll be hard pressed to find a policy that’ll cover you, your spouse and any dependent children under 23, as well as any additional cardmember, his or her spouse and dependent children, for an unlimited number of trips, every year.

If you add in the fact that insurance prices also depend on age, gender, pre-existing medical conditions and stability periods, calculations get even harder.

Regardless, here’s a quick estimate only considering the two most valuable policies, which are the travel Emergency Medical Insurance and the Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance:

Emergency Medical Insurance Value

An annual, multi-trip $5 million travel medical insurance policy for one 35 year old traveler in perfect health costs an average $80, give or take. Add in your spouse and one child and the cost, at the very least, doubles. If you add in more children and additional cardmembers, you’ll be pushing well over $300.

Car Rental Theft And Damage Insurance Value

For a rental car worth $85,000 or less, Theft and Damage insurance can cost $16 to $23 per day. Therefore, paying with your AIR MILES Reserve Card for a short, 3-day rental could be saving you anything from $48 to almost $70. And that’s only for a single very short trip.

The bottom line is that, by using your Amex Reserve AIR MILES Credit Card year after year, and by traveling and renting a car at least once a year, you’ll be saving well over $120 in travel insurance alone, but as a conservative estimate, I’ll round this up to $100.

#14 Four Other Special AIR MILES Credit Card Benefits

Special Benefit #1: Use Miles To Pay For Taxes And Fees

When I go flight-hacking, I always try to pay the least amount as possible with cash, that’s what my points are for! However, most loyalty rewards programs will only let you pay for the base ticket price with their reward points, and not the taxes and fees. These can go as high as one or two hundred dollars for international flights on certain carriers.

You could say hey! that’s not a problem, I’ll just pay for the fees with my Amex card and get rewarded and keep boosting my rewards balance. The thing is, since taxes and fees aren’t classified as purchases, they won’t earn you miles or any other kind of points for that matter!

With the Amex AIR MILES Reserve, you get a neat benefit that allows you to pay for taxes and fees with your miles, avoiding the use of cash altogether.

Special Benefit #2: Avoid AIR MILES Booking Fees

This is a simple benefit but it could be worth a lot if you travel frequently. If you book travel through AIR MILES while being a Reserve cardmember, AIR MILES will waive the booking fee whether it’s an online booking or by phone. Those fees are always in the $2-$8 range per trip, per traveler.

That’s another $64 you could save if you travel twice in a year with your spouse and two children!

Special Benefit #3: Insider AccessTM

Insider AccessTM is about seeing your favorite artists LIVE, for FREE!

A couple of times every year, Amex opens up a contest for American Express AIR MILES Cardmembers (sporting either the Amex AIR MILES, AIR MILES Platinum or AIR MILES Reserve credit cards) so they get a chance to win free tickets to their favorite shows.

In some cases, you need to answer some skill-testing questions to enter the contest. You can also participate and enter more than once (usually limited to one entry per day) to increase your chances of winning.

To give you an idea of just how great the prizes are, the most recent contest was for two tickets to see Jennifer Lopez’s “It’s My Party” world tour in Canada. Last year, it was Shania Twain and Bon Jovi

https://www.themarcocorporation.biz/AmexAirMilesContest/contests/c39/JenniferLopez2019.jpg

To keep an eye out for the latest contest, all you have to do is visit American Express Insider Access to find out which event is coming up.

Special Benefit #4: Front Of The Line

Front of the line gives you access to many benefits regarding some of the most sought after concerts and special events. These benefits include getting advanced tickets before they are sold to the general public, and reserved tickets so that you’ll always have an extra chance to buy them even if they run out for everyone else.

Additionally, you get other perks as well on special venues and locations like at the Budwiser Stage where you can get in through a special priority line, and enjoy the show at the Amex lounge.

#15 Is The AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card Worth The Annual Fee?

Absolutely! Even though almost $300 may seem steep at first glance, the benefits will clearly outweigh the fee year after year, as long as you travel at least once or twice annually.

And that’s without counting in the welcome bonus!

To estimate how good of a deal this is I’ll make the following assumptions, based on four trips per year:

Let’s see how this card performs during the first year and for the long run:

Benefit During The First Year After The First Year
Welcome Bonus $252 N/A
Complimentary Partner Ticket $300 $300
Lounge Access $300 $300
Insurance Coverage $100 $100
Booking Fee Waiver $20 $20
Annual Fee ($300) ($300)
TOTAL PROFIT: $572 $420
Additional Benefits

This is a conservative estimate, and it still works out to return of over 300% during the first year and over 100% every year after that. Even if we valued the partner ticket at 10 cents per mile, it still works out to over 100% in return.

The question is, will you get your hands on this card, or will you let it pass?

#16 FAQs

Can I transfer dream miles from my dream balance to my cash balance?

No you can’t. What you can do is choose what percentage of your miles go to each balance. That way you’ll always have the miles you need for the rewards you want.

How Do I Protect My Cash Balance Against Unauthorized Use?

All you have to do is log into your AIR MILES profile and lock your cash account. That way no one will be able to use your cash miles (not even you) until you unlock them. If you download the AIR MILES app, you’ll be able to lock/unlock your Cash Balance anywhere, anytime. Consequently, you can keep your account locked all the time, and only unlock it once you’re at the cashier.

If My Collector’s Account Is Locked, Will I Still Earn Miles?

Yes, you will. Locking your account only stops cash miles from going out of your account, but it doesn’t stop them from going in. You can keep your account locked all the time and only unlock it when you’re about to pay with your miles.


Canadians have known the AIR MILES Reward program for years and today it touches almost two thirds of all Canadian households. The program offers great rewards and redemptions from hundreds of merchants across Canada that can really give the miles you earn a lot of value. However, when it comes to making the most out of the AIR MILES program, nothing beats having an American Express AIR MILES Card when paying for your purchases. These cards can really help you stock up on miles a lot faster than regular collectors, either with great bonuses, by earning miles twice on AIR MILES sponsors at excellent rates, by earning miles on non-sponsor purchases, and more.

Regarding AIR MILES cards, American Express offers four options: two personal cards and two business cards, depending on what sort of features and benefits you cherish the most. I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you’re already an AIR MILES collector, or if you plan to join in the near future, the question isn’t whether you should sign up for an American Express AIR MILES card… the question is which one. In the following post, we’ll teach you how to make the best decision when choosing the right American Express AIR MILES card for you or your business.

In this post you’ll find:

A Comparison Of The Basic Features And Benefits Of The Four American Express AIR MILES Cards

If you’re looking for a quick take on how the four American Express AIR MILES cards differ, all you have to do is take a look at the table below:

American Express Air Miles Reserve credit card
Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card
American Express Air Miles Platinum credit card
Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card
American Express Air Miles for Business credit card
Amex AIR MILES for Business Card
American Express Air Miles Gold Business credit card
Amex AIR MILES Gold Business Card
Welcome BonusNew American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card Cardmembers earn a welcome bonus of 2,400 AIR MILES®* Bonus MilesNew American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card Cardmembers earn a welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles2,000 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles
(after spending $5,000 in the first three months)
150 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles
(after spending $1,000 in the first three months)
Miles Earn Rates • 1 Air Mile per $10 in eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors

• 1 Air Mile per $10 in eligible purchases at standalone grocery stores, gas stations and drugstores in Canada

• 1 Air Mile per $15 on everything else
• Earn 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases, up to $30,000 annually, on eligible food & drinks, (such as eligible restaurants, coffee shops and stand-alone grocery stores), and eligible gas & transit (such as local commuter transportation including ridesharing services and taxi) in Canada.

• Earn 1 Mile for every $10 in Card purchases everywhere else.
• 1 Air Mile per $10 in eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors

• 1 Air Mile per $15 on everything else






• 1 Air Mile per $15 in eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors

• 1 Air Mile per $20 on everything else






Travel Benefits • Complimentary Annual Companion Flight Ticket worth up to 1,700 miles
• Access to FlexFly redemptions
• Access to AIR MILES business class seats
• 4 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year
• Access to Toronto Pearson Airport Priority Security Lane
Annual travel benefit worth up to 750 air miles N/A N/A
Comprehensive Travel and Purchase Coverage Limited Limited N/A
Small Business Benefits N/A N/A • 55-day interest-free period
• Employee Card Misuse Protection
• 25% discount in the AIR MILES for Businesses catalogue
• Business servicing from Amex and AIR MILES
• Access to Expense Management Reports
• Dynamic purchasing power
• Access to cash through Interlat ABMs
• Monitor employee spending
• Access to Expense Management Reports



Automatic Onyx Status N/A N/A N/A
Optional Balance Transfer Offer N/A N/A
Insider Access N/A N/A
Amex Invites and Front of The Line
Type of CardCredit CardCredit CardCharge CardCredit Card
Applied Interest Rate • 20.99% on purchases
• 22.99% on funds advances
• 20.99% on purchases
• 22.99% on funds advances
30% on any unpaid balance after the interest free period • 19.99% on purchases
• 22.99% on funds advances
Annual Fee$299$120$180FREE
(No Annual Fee)
Additional Card Fee$50Up to 9 free additional cards$50FREE
(No Annual Fee)
Benefit for Additional Cardmembers N/A N/A N/A
Application Links
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The table I just showed you is nothing more than a very organized summary of some of the key aspects to consider when you want to choose a credit card. It always boils down to how the benefits balance the annual fee in each case, under different circumstances. Before we embark in the differences, let’s get the similarities out of the way, since they won’t help you at all to decide for one or for another.

What All American Express AIR MILES Credit Cards Have In Common

The four Amex AIR MILES cards are quite different from one another. However, they share a couple of key benefits that help you boost your earnings at a much faster pace than you’d expect, as well as other benefits that come with almost all Amex cards:

Double-Dipping On AIR MILES Sponsors Purchases

Apart from the miles you regularly earn by being a collector and shopping at partner brands, when you use any American Express AIR MILES card to pay for that purchase you will receive extra miles, courtesy of Amex. This means that by using your Amex AIR MILES card you earn miles twice on eligible purchases. What’s more, the earn rate on these cards is actually better than the ones most AIR MILES sponsors offer.

Earning Miles On Purchases Other Than In AIR MILES Sponsors

In addition to earning miles twice on sponsor purchases, using any one of the Amex AIR MILES cards will let you earn miles on purchases outside of the loyalty program. As long as it’s classified as a purchase, it will earn you miles. The earn rate on non-partner brands is obviously lower than the one for sponsors, but it’s still a good rate with all of the cards, and it can even be better than the one AIR MILES offers on most of its sponsors.

Amex Invites And Front Of The Line

American Express Invites and the Front of The Line service are standard Amex perks that come with all of their current cards. It’s a chance to get tickets to coveted shows and events before they’re sold to the public and, sometimes, even after they’ve already sold out for everybody else. These services also gives you access to special memorable events you won’t be quick to forget, all of it just for being a part of the American Express cardoholders family.

How To Compare The American Express AIR MILES Cards

Now we can really get down to business. In this post, I’ll estimate the value of each card based on a series of assumptions with the intention of making things easier to understand and the cards easier to compare under different circumstances. The basic assumptions, which apply for all four cards, are listed below:

Since they are different types of cards, I’ll compare the personal and business cards separately and I’ll also show you other credit card options outside of the AIR MILES program that will probably interest you.

Comparison Of The American Express AIR MILES Personal Cards

The American Express AIR MILES Reserve and Platinum cards are quite different, even though they belong to the same card family. The only aspects in which they coincide are in the fact that both are credit cards with the same interest rates, they both offer a balance transfer offer to help pay off other credit card debts, and they both provide Insider Access. However, the similarities stop there. In the following sections, I’ll take you by the hand and show you where the Amex AIR MILES personal credit cards show the most promising potential.

The Welcome Bonus

It’s common with Amex cards that the welcome bonus pays the annual fee several times over during the first year of cardmembership. This makes these credit cards an attractive investment in which you sign up with the sole intention of winning the bonus, and then you cancel the card after the first year, something referred to as “churning”. We’ll compare the cards’ welcome bonuses based on their potential for churning, without considering any of the other benefits they offer.

Two differences regarding the welcome bonus offers of these two cards stand out:

  1. The 2,400 miles bonus on the Reserve is only 400 miles (20%) higher than the bonus on the Platinum Card, while its annual fee is nearly three times higher.
  2. You need to spend a minimum of $9,000 in purchases during the first six months of cardmembership in order to get the Reserve’s maximum bonus, 50% more compared to the AIR MILES Platinum Card.

Now let’s see how much these bonuses are really worth and how the numbers add up:

Card Welcome Bonus Miles value Bonus Value Annual Fee
AIR MILES Reserve 2,400 miles 10.5 cents/mile $252 $299
AIR MILES Platinum 2,000 miles 10.5 cents/mile $210 $120

The AIR MILES Platinum Card’s welcome bonus offer is better than the Reserve Card’s.

Miles Earn Rates And The Return On Your Purchases

The miles earn rates on these two cards are also different. On the one hand, the platinum gives an excellent earn rate of 1 mile per $5 in everyday essential purchases and 1 mile for every $10 everywhere else. The reserve, on the other hand, barely gives you half that amount on not so flexible categories that include AIR MILES Sponsors, groceries stores, gas stations and drugstores in Canada, and 1 mile: $15 on all other purchases. So let’s see how much these earn rates are giving you back on your purchases:

The following table shows how much you recover from a $1,000 purchase with either card in the best- and worst-case scenarios:

Card AIR MILES Reserve AIR MILES Platinum
Purchase Value $1,000 $1,000
Average Miles Earn Rate 1 mile : $12 purchase 1 mile : $6.67 purchase
Earned Miles 83 miles 150 miles
Miles Value $0.14/mile $0.105/mile
Overall return on your purchase 83 miles x $0.14/mile = $12 (1.2%) 150 miles x $0.105/mile = $15.75 (1.6%)

So, on average, you’re only getting 1.2% cashback with the AIR MILES Reserve and 1.6% with the AIR MILES Platinum. These numbers aren’t too promising but it’s obvious that the AIR MILES Platinum Card is a better choice than the AIR MILES Reserve in terms of rewards, but neither of these cards actually represents the best choice in terms of earning potential. The only upside to the Reserve is the fact that it doesn’t have a cap on the best earn rate.

Either way, since we’re here to compare, the bottom line is this:

The American Express AIR MILES Platinum card has a better earning potential than the AIR MILES Reserve, but neither excels in this category.

Travel Benefits

Well, not much to say here, is there? I mean, Just look at the features table and you’ll see a long list of travel benefits on the AIR MILES Reserve and only one for the AIR MILES Platinum. So, if you’re looking for a travel card that earns you air miles, the reserve is your only real option.

Those travel perks are really awesome, by the way. The lounge access and annual partner ticket alone will take care of the annual fee for you, as long as you travel at least once or twice a year.

Embedded Insurance Coverage

Both cards offer the same standard Amex shopping coverage, but travel insurance is another matter. The Amex AIR MILES Reserve’s travel coverage exceeds by far the limited coverage that comes with the Amex AIR MILES Platinum, as you can see in the following table:

Travel Insurance Policy American Express AIR MILES Reserve card American Express AIR MILES Platinum card
Emergency Medical Insurance ($5,000,000) N/A
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance ($85,000)
Travel Accident Insurance ($100,000)
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance ($500) N/A
Flight & Baggage Delay Insurance ($500) N/A
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance ($500) N/A

The AIR MILES Reserve has a matching travel insurance plan for its many travel perks. It has almost all the embedded insurance policies that Amex offers, only missing trip cancelation/interruption coverage. The Car Rental Theft and Damage policy is definitely a plus on both cards, but especially on the AIR MILES Platinum card, considering its low annual fee.

However, in terms of travel insurance, the AIR MILES Platinum falls short once again compared to the Reserve.

Are The Benefits Worth The Annual Fee?

In the case of the AIR MILES Platinum Card, absolutely.

And even though the return from the welcome bonus on the Reserve Card seems low, when you add up all the other benefits this card brings, it’ll leave both its annual fee and the Platinum well behind, particularly during the second year onwards.

Take a look at the following tables to see how much each card can be worth every year of use with only $1,000 in monthly purchases, one trip with lounge access and a four-day car rental:

Overall Annual ROI On the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card

Benefit During The First Year After The First Year
Welcome Bonus $252 N/A
Complimentary Partner Ticket $240 $240
1 Priority Pass Lounge visit $170 $170
Return from $12,000 in annual purchases $140 $140
Travel Medical Insurance $80 $80
4-day Car Rental Insurance $80 $80
Booking Fee Waiver $5 $5
Annual Fee ($300) ($300)
TOTAL PROFIT: $667 $415
Additional Benefits

This works out to a return of over 200% for signing up and using your card during the first year, with a manageable spending level. On the long run, the return drops down to roughly 140%, which is still really good. One thing must be said though. Virtually all the high-value benefits that come with this card are travel perks, and if you don’t travel, you won’t be saving money by having this card. In that case, you would have to spend close to $26,000 a year, or around $2,100 a month in purchases alone just to break even with the annual fee.

The AIR MILES Reserve Card is a travel card, so the more you travel, the more you will reap its benefits. If you travel at least four or more times a year, especially if you’re travelling with your family, you’ll save hundreds of dollars and you’ll be able to travel at ease and like a VIP, from lounge to lounge while being the one that got in for the least amount of money.

Overall Annual ROI On the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card

Benefit During The First Year After The First Year
Welcome Bonus $210 N/A
Return from $12,000 in annual purchases $189 $189
4-day Car Rental Insurance $80 $80
Annual Travel Benefit $79 $79
Annual Fee ($120) ($120)
TOTAL PROFIT: $438 $228
Additional Benefits NOT MANY NOT MANY

In the Amex AIR MILES Platinum’s case, numbers get even better. In the same circumstance as before (one trip with car rental, etc.), with this card you’ll get almost 4X in return from the $120 annual fee during the first year. After that, it drops down to about 2X, which is still a lot better than the Reserve’s return in the same conditions. Even if you didn’t travel at all, you’d just need to spend a little over $630 a month in purchases to break even, only a third of what you need to cover the Reserve’s annual fee.

The Bottom Line When Choosing Between The Two Personal American Express AIR MILES Cards

The two personal American Express AIR MILES cards are quite different and I’ll show you how to choose, based on your lifestyle.

You should choose the AIR MILES Reserve if:

Choose the AIR MILES Reserve Card

Choose the American Express AIR MILES Platinum if:

Choose the AIR MILES Platinum Card

Other Personal Amex Credit Cards To Consider

The Platinum Card

With an impressive welcome bonus, the best travel insurance coverage Amex has to offer and the most spectacular travel perks you can dream of, the Platinum Card pays for itself several times over, and not only during the first year. If you want to experience what VIP travel is all about, then you absolutely need to try this card out. Lounge access and the famed Platinum Concierge Service are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Amex Cobalt Card

The best everyday spending card in Canada today, the American Express Cobalt Card includes features like a one of a kind accessible monthly $10 fee in lieu of annual fee, great points earn rates on everyday spending like food and drink and transportation, including commuter transport. More benefits and travel perks on the side, make this card a must-have in any Canadian’s wallet.

The Marriott Bonvoy™ Card

As the successor to the Amex SPG Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Card is the best all-around hotel credit card, and it’s not even expensive. The long term benefits are so great that it becomes one of the best options available to Canadians, even if you only stay at a hotel for one single night during the entire year. A handsome welcome bonus transferable to the membership rewards program gives you all the flexibility you need to get the most out of Marriott Bonvoy points.

Comparison Of The American Express AIR MILES Business Cards

The Welcome Bonus

Both cards offer a welcome bonus, though the difference is noticeable. 2,000 Bonus Miles after spending  $5,000 in the first three months versus 150 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in the same period? That’s the difference between paying and not paying an annual fee.

At an average value of $0.105/mile, the AIR MILES for Business Card’s bonus is worth $210, which covers the annual fee during the first year. In the second case, those 150 miles are worth only $16, which is not much, but it’s ok because it’s pure profit, no strings attached.

Miles Earn Rates

The AIR MILES Business Card takes the lead in miles earn rates, as it gives you 1 mile per $10 in purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors, and 1 mile per $15 on all other purchases. The AIR MILES Gold Business Card, on the other hand will grant 1 mile per $15 on sponsors and 1 mile per $20 in all other purchases, which is worse.

The following table shows how much you recover from a $1,000 purchase with either business card if you split your spending half-and-half between both of the earn rates each card offers. Since the AIR MILES Business Card offers 25% discount from the Business AIR MILES catalogue, I’ll value each mile a little higher than the basic 10.5 cents per mile, at $0.12/mile:

Card AIR MILES Business AIR MILES Gold Business
Purchase Value $1,000 $1,000
Average Miles Earn Rate 1 mile per $12 purchase 1 mile per $17 purchase
Earned Miles 83 miles 59 miles
Miles Value $0.12/mile $0.105/mile
Overall return on your purchase 83 miles x $0.12/mile = $10 (1 %) 59 miles x $0.105/mile = $6 (0.6%)

What these numbers show is that neither of these two cards are a good choice when it comes to the return on your purchases. Plenty of other cards will give you more bang for your buck.

So, regarding the two American Express AIR MILES Business cards, we can reach the same conclusion we did when analyzing the two personal cards above:

Neither the AIR MILES Business nor the AIR MILES Gold Business cards are a good choice if you’re looking for a high return on your purchases, but the Business is better than the Gold Business card.

Business Solutions

A big difference with the personal cards is that the Business cards include solutions or perks for your small business, while the others do not. One common feature on both business cards is that you could use quarterly or annual expenses reports to assess areas where you can cut operational costs, for example. They also include great business expense management tools to keep track of your business’ expenses as well as your employees’ spending. Finally, with both cards you can also get access to cash at any Interlac ATM in Canada, or Amex branded ATMs worldwide. Keep in mind that foreign transaction fees do apply.

Yet the American Express AIR MILES for Business Card gives you more than the Gold. Great business solutions like a 55-days interest-free period, 25% discounts in the AIR MILES for Business Rewards Catalogue, employee card misuse protection and special business servicing from both Amex and AIR MILES, make the AIR MILES Gold Business Card’s business benefits seem insignificant.

As a no-fee credit card, the Amex AIR MILES Gold Business Card doesn’t bring many benefits. In this sense, perhaps the only business benefit where the AIR MILES Gold Business Card beats the AIR MILES for Business Card is in the fact that you can get free supplementary cards for your employees, while in the latter case each additional card costs $50. This was to be expected considering that the basic card is free as well.

Embedded Insurance Coverage

As a no-fee credit card, the Amex AIR MILES Gold Business card only comes with American Express’ basic purchase coverage, whereas the AIR MILES Business Card gives you four additional travel policies. Of course, they’re not free, because in the end you are paying $180 a year for the card.

Travel Insurance Policy American Express AIR MILES Reserve card American Express AIR MILES Platinum card
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance ($85,000) N/A
Travel Accident Insurance ($100,000) N/A
Flight & Baggage Delay Insurance ($500) N/A
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance ($500) N/A
Purchase Protection Plan
Buyers Assurance Protection Plan
Fraud Protection Guarantee

If you’re looking for an AIR MILES card with travel coverage for your small business, than the Amex AIR MILES for Small Business Card is the only real choice. As before, the one policy you’ll get the most value from if you travel and rent a car is the car rental insurance coverage.

Are The Benefits Worth The Annual Fee?

Let’s take a look at how these business cards perform overall during the first year and in the long run so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it or not.

Overall Annual ROI On the American Express AIR MILES for Business Card

Benefit During The First Year After The First Year
Welcome Bonus $210 N/A
Return from $12,000 in annual purchases $120 $120
4-day Car Rental Insurance $80 $80
Annual Fee ($180) ($180)
TOTAL PROFIT: $230 $20
Additional Benefits

Notice that this card can give you a very decent return during the first year, but after that, it barely breaks even, even if you charge $1,000 to it every month. Anything less than that and you’ll be in red numbers. That’s definitely not a good sign.

Overall value of the American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card

Benefit During The First Year After The First Year
Welcome Bonus $16 N/A
Return from $12,000 in annual purchases $72 $72
Annual Fee ($0) ($0)
TOTAL PROFIT: $88 $72
Additional Benefits

In this case, the AIR MILES Gold Business Card performs almost equally in the short and long terms. It turns out to be a great idea to apply for this card, regardless of any other card you may be considering, because you don’t risk to lose anything… it’s free, so everything it gives you is profit; there’s no losing with this card.

The Bottom Line When Choosing Between The Two Business American Express AIR MILES Cards

Both these cards can be good choices depending on your business’ financial behavior.

You should choose the AIR MILES for Business Card if:

Since this is a charge card, you should avoid it if you plan on keeping a balance and paying the bare minimum, as there is a very high penalty interest rate of 30% for any unpaid balance.

Choose the AIR MILES For Business Card

Choose the American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card if:

Choose the AIR MILES Gold Business Card

Other Amex Business Credit Cards To Consider

The Business Platinum Card

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has offered excellent value to Canadian business owners for years. The card’s impressive 40,000 MR points welcome bonus is enough for a flight to just about anywhere in Europe or Asia, but the long-term benefits – worldwide airport lounge access, impressive travel and business insurance policies, Amex Concierge, and more – also make this card a winner every single year.

The Business Gold Rewards Card

If you’re not in love with AIR MILES, you can also consider the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card that is also a credit card. This card’s annual fee is a bit higher than the AIR MILES Business, but it also brings more perks and earns MR points which can be more flexible than dream miles or cash miles.

The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Card

Finally, as our winner in the mid-range fee, we recommend the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Card. It’s also a credit card, it has a lower fee of just $150 but it offers an Annual Free Night award that alone is worth twice that much, making this card a sure win.

Canadians increasingly favor non-traditional card issuers who offer tangible benefits. Customers are becoming aware that personal finance decisions are part of their everyday lives and their choices are being oriented towards getting more value for their money in day-to-day purchases. Credit cards are a fundamental financial instrument in this trend and PC Financial’s Mastercard is its best example. But is it a good deal? Here’s our take on Canada’s largest retail conglomerate’s basic credit card.

PC Financial Mastercard is the entry-level credit card of federally chartered President’s Choice Bank, the financial services branch of Loblaws Companies Limited, Canada’s largest retail holding.

PC Financial Mastercard art
PC Financial Mastercard

This credit card is intended for the devotees of Loblaw-owned stores’ loyalty program, PC Optimum. It allows cardholders to boost their point-earning potential while offering good-enough credit conditions and some Mastercard benefits.

Last year, J.D. Power’s inaugural Canada credit card study ranked PC Financial Mastercard first in customer satisfaction among all credit cards in the country, beating out American Express, Canadian Tire (since rebranded Triangle), Tangerine and all the Big Six banks’ offerings.

In 2019, PC Financial Mastercard’s ranking fell to fourth, but its evaluation didn’t actually see much of a change. During the last two years, this study has shown that Canadians favor non-traditional card issuers with tangible benefits, such as rewards, and smart communication channels.

PC Financial, formerly PC Bank

President’s Choice Financial has been operating since 1997. President’s Choice Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian bank (not a subsidiary of a foreign bank) offering branchless financial services since 2001. Until 2017, its portfolio had a full range of compelling products and services. However, in November 2017, it stopped conducting banking services such as taking deposits and offering loans and now uses the brand of the corporate division.

At present, PC Financial is focused on auto insurance, home insurance, and its no-annual-fee Mastercard credit cards, which have the ability to earn PC points, redeemable for free groceries.

PC Financial Mastercard’ Basics

PC Financial Mastercard may be considered among the best options available in the Canadian market for students or people entering the workforce.

This no-annual-fee credit card is quite easy to get. Although applicants must have a fair-good credit score and a minimum level of income of $12.000 to qualify, the application takes minutes and the new card is usually in their hands after approximately 5-7 days.

The card offers some pretty standard conditions:

Interest Rates

Other Basic Perks

For a small fee, Cardholders can also add spousal, standard or involuntary job loss account balance protection, which ranges from 79 cents to $1.19 per $100 of the current month’s statement ending balance.

In addition, Cardholders who spend at least $15,000 on their PC Financial Mastercard over the course of a year and maintain their credit score in good standing, can get upgraded to the more premium PC Financial World, which otherwise has a minimum income requirement of $60,000.

Two-Circles’ Perks

Apart from those I just mentioned, PC Financial’s basic card offers some of Mastercard’s basic benefits as well:

Mastercard Global Service:

Replaces the card or offers a cash advance in case of an emergency.

Free Purchase Assurance:

The products paid in full with this credit card will be protected in the event of theft, loss or damage in the 90 days following the purchase.

Free Extended Warranty:

Doubles the manufacturer’s regular warranty for up to an additional year on items purchased with your PC Financial Mastercard credit card.

Authorized users:

Add up to four free additional cards on your account.

Fraud Detection:

Best-in-class fraud detection tools provide security to customers from the application to each transaction, including the support of a dedicated team of fraud specialists.

128-bit Data encryption:

Scrambles all information between your computer and the secured areas of our website, ensuring high levels of security, privacy, and confidentiality.

Proactive Monitoring:

PC Financial also offers optional products to proactively monitor, manage and protect credit and personal information.

The Point of Having a PC Financial Mastercard

The PC Financial Mastercard allows cardholders to earn reward points at least 50% faster than with the PC Optimum loyalty card. One of the credit card’s most important advantages is that it can earn its holders points for every dollar spent anywhere, not just in Loblaws-affiliated stores.

PC Plus, now known as PC Optimum Logo
PC Optimum (CNW Group/Loblaw Companies Limited)

Considering that PC Optimum is Canada’s Nº 1 rewards points program, it’s quite easy to understand why some would find the PC Financial Mastercard convenient, especially for everyday spending: The more they use it, the more points they’ll earn and the more rewards they’ll get.

Earning PC Optimum Points

Entry-level credit cards from big banks typically offer just 0.5% reward-point earn rates on most purchases. PC Financial Mastercard’s minimum 1% is quite impressive for a no-fee card with minimal application requirements. Yet, in many cases, it offers much more:

PC Points

Cardholders can combine points earned through their PC Financial Mastercard with personalized offers made available to them through their PC Optimum accounts, which they can access through a mobile app or the program’s website. So, they can “double-dip” and rack up points even faster.

PC Points do no expire and as soon as you have 10,000 points you can redeem them for up to $10 worth of free products and groceries at over 4,500 Loblaws-affiliated stores, including:

Find more details on the PC Optimum program here.

PC Insiders

For $99 a year, PC Insiders subscribers unlock perks & benefits on select food, apparel and more at Loblaws-affiliated retailers, online at shoppersdrugmart.ca, and joefresh.com, and get a $99 credit with PC Travel services.

Despite PC Financial credit cards don’t give additional benefits to cardholders who subscribe to this program, travelers should note that with the $99 PC Travel credit they would be breaking even, and still earn 200 points for every dollar spent with them.

PC Financial Mastercard Disadvantages

PC Financial takes 2-3 business days to process payments. So, after paying your card’s balance with a transfer from your checking account, you won’t be able to use the amount paid right away. Also, a credit limit increase will require a credit check, no matter how small it is, or even if you’ve been paying your balance on time for the last six months. This can be a real inconvenience, especially considering how much they take to process payments.

Another disadvantage is that this credit card will not let you put a hard cap on your credit, yet it’ll charge you with $20 if you go over your credit limit. No notification. You’ll just see it on your statement.

Therefore, if you need some extra credit during an emergency, you should choose another card.

It is also worth mentioning that, in case of failing to make the minimum payment for 2 consecutive months, the interest rates will jump to 25.97% for regular purchases and up to 27.97% for cash advances.

PC Optimum Drawbacks

Regarding the card’s PC Optimum features, we see an obvious disadvantage in the program itself with respect to other loyalty programs: points must be redeemed exclusively at participant retailers and for eligible products.

In addition, PC Financial Mastercard’s 1% earn rate on groceries (10 points per 1$ spent) isn’t that good, especially considering that similar credit cards offer 2%. So, it is important that you take advantage of the personalized PC Optimum offers and promotions if you want to increase that rate. Don’t forget to download them to your account with the mobile app or using the website.

Also, travelers should be aware that with this credit card they won’t get any extra benefits. Despite PC Financial’s focus on credit cards and insurance solutions, which make its more premium products (PC Financial World Mastercard and PC Financial World Elite Mastercard) very attractive options in the Canadian market, this basic Mastercard does not offer any kind of insurance for them.

The Bottom Line

PC Financial Mastercard is a great option, even a must, for regular shoppers at Loblaws-owned stores. It is perfect for families with kids who are looking to save some money, especially when combined with a PC Insiders subscription. In this regard, it is not particularly different from the more premium products offered by PC Financial. This Mastercard will maximize their point-earning potential and they can use those points for discounts in your day-to-day shopping.

Those who fit the above description, should check the conditions and consider applying, as well as entry-level customers who might find the PC Financial Mastercard well suited to their needs. Actually, it might end up making them want more and get to the upgrade. All they need in order to climb to the higher tiers is to make sure their credit history is in good shape. This is fairly simple, provided they always pay on time, keep utilization below 30% and, in general, are just responsible with their PC Financial Mastercard.

Conversely, frequent travelers who want or even require more benefits and qualify for the PC Financial World Mastercard or PC Financial World Elite Mastercard should consider applying directly and skip the basic PC Financial Mastercard. And finally, those who are not regular customers of participating stores and, especially, those who carry a balance on their card for a long period of time, could be better served with other credit card options available in the market.

It’s a known fact most loyalty point systems allow you to redeem fulfilling rewards to your preference. Such is the case with American Express as well. But how do you earn whopping amounts of points quickly to earn your wishlist rewards? American Express’ Referral Bonus scheme – ‘Refer A Friend’ is your answer. Read on to get a clear understanding of how it works

REFER A FRIEND NOW

American Express credit/charge cards have their own referral bonus plan known as ‘Refer A Friend’. It’s a great way to boost your points within the Amex loyalty program or its affiliates’ while at the same time letting your friends in on some of the top loyalty programs in Canada today. Amex referrals are the way Amex rewards its most trusted users for “spreading the word”.

In this guide, you will find:

What is a Referral Bonus?

A Referral Bonus is a number of bonus points (Membership Rewards points or Marriott Bonvoy points) or cashback you can get when you refer a friend or acquaintance to an Amex card or product. It is an easy way to earn points on your Amex Card from every approved referral.

Not only do you earn points or cashback, but Amex referrals also let you share great Amex perks with your friends, so they’ll benefit from it as well. Not to forget some of the cards come along with a substantial welcome bonus while the offers last.

How Do Amex Referrals Work?

Below you can find a step-by-step visual aid of how you can refer a friend and get your bonus:

Step 1: Log in to your Amex online account

Amex login page

Step 2: Click on Refer a Friend

When you successfully log in, you will see the ‘Refer A Friend’ option on the left panel. Click on it and you will be directed to the Referral home page.

Amex online account

Step 3: Choose the card to recommend

At the top of the Referral home page, you will have a view of the card options that you can do a referral from.

Amex Referrals home page. Select one of your cards

Once you select your card, you will receive your personalized referral link.

Step 4: Share your referral link  

Share your referral link with your friends either personally or via social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Step 5: Wait for their approval

When your friend applies for the card via your referral link and gets approved, you will be rewarded your referral bonus within 8-12 weeks to your account.

For a more comprehensive idea of how successful referrals can be done as per Amex terms and conditions, you can log in to the Amex Refer-A-Friend site

What is the Referral Bonus you can get for an Amex Card Type?

In the table below, you can view the referral bonus awarded for each Amex card, along with the annual fee and the referral bonus annual capping limit. For more details on the features and benefits each Amex card has to offer, just click on the link at the respective card’s name. 

Card Annual Fee Referral Bonus 
per approved referral
Referral Bonus Earning Limit
per calendar year
American Express Cobalt Card $120 $10/monthly 5,000 MR Points 15 friends / 75,000 MR points
American Express Gold Rewards Card $150 5,000 MR Points 15 friends / 75,000 MR points
American Express Platinum Card $699 15,000 MR points 15 friends / 225,000 MR points
American Express Business Platinum Card $499 25,000 MR points 15 friends / 225,000 MR points
American Express Business Edge Card $99 5,000 MR points 15 friends / 75,000 MR points
American Express SimplyCash Card $0 $100 cash back 15 friends / $1,500
American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card $99 $150 cash back 15 friends / $2,250
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card $120 10,000 Bonvoy points 15 friends / 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card $150 10,000 Bonvoy points 15 friends / 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points

If you don’t see your card of choice in the table above, it’s probably because Amex has yet to introduce a “Refer a Friend” bonus scheme for it. 

Let’s help you clarify that immediately. 

Cards That Do Not Offer Amex Referrals

Below are the cards that don’t have any referral bonus perks at the moment. However, rest assured that we will be the first to notify you once Amex updates its offers.

However, should you wish to know more about a particular card, click on the card name and read our reviews on it. 

Card Type Annual Fee Referral Bonus Status
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold $120 Not offered at present
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum $499 Not offered at present
Scotia Gold Amex $120 Or $79 if cardholder is above 65 years old Not offered at present
American Express  Air Miles Gold Business Card $0 Not offered at present
American Express Air Miles Platinum Card $65 Not offered at present
American Express  Air Miles Business Card $180 Not offered at present
American Express  Air Miles Reserve Card $299 Not offered at present

What Causes Unsuccessful Referral Bonuses?

It’s important to mention that not all referrals will gain you a referral bonus. These are the most important things to look out for when referring a friend in order to make sure you get the bonus. You won’t get the bonus if:

Final Thoughts

Being an Amex cardholder, you can earn high amounts of MR points, Bonvoy points or cashback via the Refer-A-Friend program by American Express. Get your personalized referral link to get started on the process and you can work your way to huge amounts of points that can add up to thousands of dollars in either travel or merchandise redemptions or statement credits.

You’ve probably already heard about the American Express CobaltTM Card and all of its benefits. You might also know that the 30,000 Membership Rewards® points welcome bonus is worth $300 when used as a statement credit for travel. This makes signing up to the American Express Cobalt Card an easy decision.

However, don’t let the shining welcome bonus blind you from the rest of the benefits that come with this Card—there’s a lot more to the Cobalt Card than meets the eye. With flexible points earning rates, extensive travel insurance and up to $100 in hotel credit at participating properties, there are plenty of reasons the Cobalt Card is one of Canada’s favourite travel credit cards today.

APPLY NOW

The American Express Cobalt Card has only been around for a short while, yet it’s already becoming one of Canada’s favourite credit cards. The Cobalt Card is targeted at millennials and near-millennials, though they’re not the only ones who are taking advantage of the great benefits that come with this awesome Card. In the following post, you’ll learn why so many Canadians today are choosing the Cobalt Card as their favourite everyday spending card. It’s not just about a strong welcome bonus at a very reasonable fee—it’s about all the other Cobalt benefits you get year after year.

Pros & Cons Of The American Express Cobalt Card

Before we focus on the long-term benefits, let’s take a look at the most important pros and cons that come with the Amex Cobalt:

PROS CONS
• Monthly fee of just $10 instead of an annual fee
• Up to 30,000 MR welcome bonus points for using your Card every month
• $100 in hotel credit annually
• One of the best and most flexible points earning rates of any credit card in Canada
• Points are easy to use
• Up to 9 additional Cobalt Cards for free
• Annual $30,000 cap on the 5X earning rate (equivalent to 150,000 MR)

Amex Cobalt Features & Benefits

Welcome Bonus• 2,500 MR points every month you charge at least $500 to the Cobalt Amex Card, for a total of up to 30,000 MR points
Travel Benefits • $100 hotel credit for spa, restaurants and other amenities at The Hotel Collection participating properties
• Complimentary room upgrades at The Hotel Collection participating properties (subject to availability)
Monthly Fee$10
Additional Card FeeUp to 9 free additional cards
Points Earned Per $1 Spent• 5X on eligible eats and drinks, including groceries and food delivery
• 2X on eligible travel, transit & gas purchases
• 1X on everything else
American Express Invites
Travel Coverage• Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance (For under age 65)1†
• $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance2†
• Flight Delay Insurance1†
• Baggage Delay Insurance1†
• Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance1†
• Hotel Burglary Insurance1†
• Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance1†
Purchase Coverage• Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan1†
• Purchase Protection Plan1†
Eligibility• Canadian citizens or residents
• A valid Canadian Credit file
Type of CardCredit Card
Applied Interest Rate• 19.99% on purchases
• 22.99% on funds advances

Looking Past The Welcome Bonus

This post is about all the long-term benefits of the Amex Cobalt Card, so I won’t linger much on the welcome bonus. All I’ll say is that you can expect great things during the first year of Cardmembership!

During the first year, every month that you charge a minimum of $500 in purchases to your new Amex Cobalt, you will receive a 2,500 MR points bonus. That means that, if you manage to get all twelve bonuses, by the end of the year you’ll have 30,000 MR points. We value them at 1 cent apiece, making those monthly bonuses worth $300.

Related: Read our full Amex Cobalt review.

The welcome bonus alone was enough for me to sign up for the Amex Cobalt Card, and it’ll probably be enough for pretty much everyone. But if you want to know why I’ve kept it in my wallet ever since, and why I use it every time I get the chance, read about the other long-term benefits below.

The Top Five Long-Term Benefits Of The Amex Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt Card is loaded with benefits specifically tailored for today’s inter-connected, app-oriented, service-driven economy. This is why most millennials love it so much. Nevertheless, there are five big winners that provide hundreds of dollars of value and make the Cobalt Card a smart investment well beyond the first year.

Long-Term Benefit #1: The Best Points Earning Rate

The Amex Cobalt Card earns Membership Rewards points (MR points for short) for every dollar of purchases charged to it. These points go to American Express’ loyalty program, Membership Rewards. If you find this familiar, it’s because other Amex Cards like the Platinum Card®, the Business Platinum Card®, and the Gold Rewards Card, among others, also earn the same kind of points.

But one of the things that sets the Cobalt Card apart from these other options is its unique reward scheme:

If this doesn’t intrigue you, it’s probably because you still haven’t crunched your numbers yet. Let’s break it all down to show you just how great this earning rate is:

5X on eligible eats and drinks

This is one of the highest earning rates you’ll get on any credit card, period. Considering the value of MR points, no other card offers this level of return on your spending, unless you consider sporadic special offers with very specific merchants, like with some of the AeroplanPlus® Cards.

But the real kicker of the 5X earning rate is how easy it is to get it.

The broad definition of the “eats and drinks” category includes restaurants, quick-service restaurants, drinking establishments, coffee shops, grocery stores, and even food delivery services in Canada, like Uber Eats.

Two women eating out thanks to their Amex Cobalt Card Benefits
How would you like to earn 5x the points on your food and drink purchases? You can with the American Express Cobalt Card.

This means you can get 5X the points every day, whether you’re eating out, ordering take-out, cooking at home, on a date, or at a nightclub with your friends.

The Cap On The 5X Earning Rate

As of August 20th, 2019, the earning rate cap is set to $30,000 in purchases (in the eats and drinks category) or 150,000 MR points, which resets every year. After you hit the $30,000 annual cap, your earning rate drops to 1X.

2X On Gas, Transit And Eligible Travel Purchases

The Cobalt Card also earns 2 points for every dollar spent on travel, gas and transit expenses, a very generous earning rate for a card that only costs $120 per year.

The best thing about it is that this earning rate is just as easy to access as the eats and drinks category.

Why?

Because it includes any purchase at any stand-alone gas station in Canada, which is great if you own a car, but it also includes payments to local commuter transportation options like taxis, buses, subway, and even Uber rides, as well as more exotic ways to get around like renting a limo. So whether you have a car or not, this earning rate is likely to benefit you in a serious way.

People on a subway. Amex Cobalt Benefits: 2X earning rate on Commuter transportation

You’ll also get 2X on travel bookings including transportation and lodgings, as well as when paying tour operators. There is no cap on this 2X earning rate.

So, unless you get around on foot or on your own bike, chances are that you’ll be able to use your Cobalt Card and get the 2X earning rate every day, everywhere that you go.

1X On Everything Else

Want to buy some clothes or a new phone? Don’t worry, you’ll still get rewarded for using your Cobalt Card. In these cases it may make more sense to use a card that’ll reward you more for your money, like the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card, which gives you 2% cash back on every purchase (and comes with an annual fee of just $99). But as you can see, the Cobalt Card’s benefits include exceptional earning rates on two categories you likely spend on every day. This is why we consider the American Express Cobalt Card the best everyday spending card in Canada today.

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Long-Term Benefit #2: Travel And Purchase Insurance

Even though the American Express Cobalt Card’s $10 monthly fee is very affordable, it still comes with a very comprehensive travel insurance package, as well as the standard American Express purchase coverage.

The Cobalt Card’s Travel Coverage

The travel-related insurance coverages that come with your new Amex Cobalt Card include:

  1. Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance (For under age 65)1†
  2. $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance2†
  3. Flight Delay1† & Baggage Delay Insurance1†
  4. Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance1†
  5. Hotel Burglary Insurance1†
  6. Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance1†
Soaking in beach views thanks to the insurance that comes with the Amex Cobalt Card

Compared to the Platinum Card, which carries all of the insurance coverages Amex has to offer, the only two coverages that the Cobalt Card doesn’t have are Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance. Of course, the Cobalt Card costs almost $600 less, so this makes sense.

American Express Purchase Coverage

Regarding purchase coverage, the Cobalt Card comes with American Express’ two standard coverages:

Break your smartphone? No problem - American Express' purchase coverage is here to help.

Read our full post on American Express Insurance to learn all the details regarding these and other insurance coverages offered by American Express in Canada.

How Much Is The Cobalt Card’s Insurance Worth?

It’s hard to estimate exactly how much you’re saving by having the insurance coverage that comes with your Cobalt Card.

However, here’s a quick estimate of the value of what we believe are the two most valuable insurances: Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance1† and Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance1†:

That means if you took a solo 15-day trip and rented a car for 3 days, you’d be looking at at least $80 in medical insurance plus $48 in car rental insurance.

By using your Amex Cobalt Card year after year, you can easily save $120+ per year on insurance alone.

Long-Term Benefit #3: The Hotel Collection Benefits

JW Marriott Khao Lak, Phang-Nga, Thailand

Signing up to the American Express Cobalt Card gives you access to two special benefits at The Hotel Collection properties, like the JW Marriott Khao Lak Hotel and Spa in Thailand, shown above:

You’ll only be able to take advantage of these benefits if book through American Express Travel, and you stay at any of the 600+ hotels and properties that make up The Hotel Collection at least once a year for 2+ nights.

Long-Term Benefit #4: The Referral Bonus

Another great option that American Express offers is the chance to boost your MR balance by referring your friends, family members and other acquaintances to the Cobalt Card.

Here’s how it works: When you sign up to the Cobalt Card, you’ll receive a personal referral link. When someone you refer to Amex signs up to the Cobalt Card through your referral link, you could get a bonus if American Express approves the referral.

The bonus for each approved referral is 5,000 MR points.

Now don’t get carried away counting all the friends and family members you plan to refer, as there’s a cap on this benefit as well. You’re limited to a maximum annual referral bonus of 75,000 MR points, which currently translates to a maximum of 15 successful referrals per year. Still, the potential to earn the equivalent of $750 every year, just for recommending your friends, is certainly a nice bonus.

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Long-Term Benefit #5: Up To 9 Free Additional Cards

Do you want to make the most of the Cobalt Card’s awesome earning rate? The simplest way is to give your loved ones a supplementary Cobalt Card linked to your account. That way, whenever they use their card for their everyday purchases, they’ll help you build up your Membership Rewards balance.

Of course, you can get additional cards for any American Express card, but in most cases, you have to pay an additional fee for each one. Additional Cobalt Cards, on the other hand, are completely free.

How Do The Long-Term Benefits Compare To The Card’s Fee?

The following table shows very conservative estimated values for the long-term benefits that come with the Cobalt Card, and how they compare to the accumulated annual fee.

Annual hotel credit at The Hotel Collection properties $100
Travel and Purchase Insurance $150
One successful referral bonus per year (5,000 MR points) $50
$500 in monthly spending on eligible eats and drinks (2,500 MR points earned per month)$300
$150 in monthly spending on gas, transit and eligible travel purchases (300 MR points earned per month)$36
$500 in monthly other spending (500 MR points earned per month)$60
Accumulated Annual Fee ($10/month) ($120)
Estimated Net Profit From Benefits $576
Additional Benefits Yes

The above estimate only involves one trip per year and very conservative monthly spending amounts. Regardless, you still come out winning by over $500 in the end.

Another way to look at things it that you only need to earn 12,000 MR points to offset the annual fee. You can earn 12,000 MR points just by spending $200 per month in eligible eats and drinks on the Card.

That’s peanuts!

So are you ready to join the thousands of other Canadians with an American Express Cobalt Card?

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Footnotes
1 Underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. You may contact the insurer at 1-888-877-1710 in Canada and the U.s. or visit www.rsagroup.ca.
2 Underwritten by Chubb Life Insurance Company of Canada (“Chubb Life”).
†: All insurance coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of their respective master policies. Certain limitations, exclusions and restrictions apply. Please read your Certificates of Insurance carefully.