The conversations always start the same way: an aspiring Canadian traveler wants to know how I’ve been flying around the world for the past four years for next-to-nothing. And the answer is always the same: while I had a strong handle on how to travel in style extremely cheaply before that—think roundtrips to Asia or Europe for under $100 total—it wasn’t until I got my own personal Amex Platinum Card in 2015 that things truly kicked into overdrive.
And since then, thousands of Canadians have joined me in capitalizing on an incredible travel opportunity available to Canadians right now. My only question is…
Will you be one of them?
A 40,000 Points Welcome Bonus
I’ve already written about the relevant benefits of the American Express Platinum card here, so I won’t repeat those in this post. The summary, though, is that even if you use the points in the worst possible way, you’ll receive some impressive rewards by getting the Platinum card.
And yes, that’s after accounting for the $700 annual fee.
If you use the points smartly, of course, you can do much, much better than that. For example, when you accumulate 75,000 points, here are some of the trips you can take:
|Route||Points Needed||Taxes & Fees|
|Roundtrip: Toronto to Hong Kong||70,000||$100|
|Roundtrip: Vancouver to Hong Kong||60,000||$90|
|Round-the-world: Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto||74,500||$761|
|Round-the-world: Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver||74,700||$742|
The Platinum card is a truly exceptional offer that I can’t recommend highly enough. It’s been my ticket to flying in business and first class all over the globe, not to mention staying in some of the world’s nicest hotels for a fraction of the regular price.
But that said, American Express’ Business Platinum card is the new offer in town, and it’s one that every Canadian traveler needs to know about, too.
Though the Platinum and Business Platinum cards are extremely similar in their benefits and features, there are a few crucial differences. Here’s how the two cards compare:
Comparing The Amex Platinum And Amex Business Platinum Canadian Cards
|American Express Business Platinum Card||American Express Platinum Card|
|Welcome Bonus||40,000 points||50,000 points|
|Annual Travel Credit||No||$200|
|Worldwide Airport Lounge Access With Priority Pass Select ($399 USD Value)||✓||✓|
|Worldwide Centurion Lounge Access||✓||✓|
|Complimentary flight upgrades and companion tickets||✓||✓|
|Hotel Upgrades & Extras||✓||✓|
|Comprehensive travel, medical and purchase insurance||✓||✓|
|24/7 Platinum Travel Concierge||✓||✓|
|Earn 1.25 Points Per Dollar Spent||✓||✓|
|Employee Card Misuse Protection||✓|
|Application Link||APPLY HERE||APPLY HERE|
As you can see, the two cards are pretty similar. For 99% of people, the top three rows are what matter most.
The Business Platinum card costs $499 and comes with a welcome bonus of 40,000 points, while the Platinum card costs $699 and comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 points plus the $200 annual travel credit.
How To Transform 40,000 Points Into 52,000 Points
This one is dead simple: at least once per year, American Express offers a transfer bonus when you transfer your points to a program like British Airways Avios or Aeroplan. The most recent transfer bonus period, where every point transferred to British Airways Avios earned a 30% bonus, ran from September until November 25, 2018. Just by transferring your points at the right time, 40,000 points all of a sudden become 52,000 points. As we’ll see next, that little trick is worth hundreds of dollars to you.
How Much Are The 52,000 Points Really Worth?
As I outlined in my post on the Platinum card, I value these American Express Membership Rewards points at between two to three cents per point. That means that your 52,000 points are worth between $1,040 and $1,560!
Why isn’t there an exact value for the points?
Because every flight you use them on holds a different value. Here’s an example.
This week I booked a direct Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to London, and a direct British Airways flight from London to Istanbul a few days later. I have plenty of points laying around thanks to my Business Platinum card, so I booked both of them using British Airways’ Avios program.
I also took screenshots on the same days I booked the flights to compare the prices between what I paid and the cash price. Here’s how it all shakes out.
Flight 1: Hong Kong To London — Economy Class
On March 27th, I fly from Hong Kong to London on Cathay Pacific in economy class. I paid 30,000 Avios points plus $52.50 CAD for my ticket. If I had bought my exact same seat with cash, it would’ve cost me $3,911 CAD, but since the cheapest direct flight on that day is $1,194 CAD, we’ll compare with that instead.
$1,194 – $52.20 = $1,141.80 saved by using points
÷ 30,000 points paid
= 3.8 cents per point
This is a really good redemption. At this rate, your 52,000 points would be worth just under $2,000!
Flight 2: London To Istanbul — Business Class
Four days later, on March 31, I’m flying from London to Istanbul in business class. I paid 20,000 Avios points plus $40 CAD for my ticket, though as you can see below, the exact same ticket was priced at $1,001 CAD when I bought it. Let’s do the value per point calculation again.
$1,001 – $40 = $971 saved by using points
÷ 20,000 points paid
= 4.9 cents per point
This is an even better value than the Hong Kong to London flight. If you could redeem all 52,000 of the points you get with the Business Platinum card at this rate, they’d be worth over $2,500 to you. That’s a 5x return on your initial $499 investment!
How To Book Some Amazing Flights With Your 52,000 Points
We’ve already put together some mega-posts on how to book some seriouslyamazing flights all over the world, so I won’t repeat those here. You can’t go wrong with these three:
“I always thought people who cared about credit card points were silly. Now I’m kicking myself for not caring sooner.“
It’s not tough to spend the travel credit, since you can use it on flights/hotels/rental cars and more, and you don’t need to do the traveling itself in order to spend it. If you’re going on vacation in May, you can buy your flight or hotel in January and you’re all set from there.
Side note: If you are planning on doing some international travel, you should definitely read our N26 review, our review on the new N26 You Card and our TransferWise review to learn the best way to save money on foreign ATM withdrawals and currency conversion while you’re abroad.
There’s a reason I mentioned above that the current offer on the American Express Business Platinum card is so good:
I don’t expect it to be here for long!
If the Platinum card—which used to also offer a 75,000 points welcome bonus—is any indicator, we’ll see the same things happen to the Business Platinum card.
The welcome bonus will decrease.
The annual fee will increase (in fact, it already increased from $399 to $499 as of mid-February, 2018).
The benefits to new applicants will decrease.
So while this offer still stands, I highly recommend you pick up the Business Platinum card.
While you’re at it, you should seriously consider the Platinum card as well.
I realize that paying $499 AND $699 in fees seems like a lot, and it is. (The Cobalt Card is a much more manageable $10/month, though it doesn’t offer the massive welcome bonuses that you get with these Platinum cards. For a card that offers both an impressive welcome bonus and a low annual fee, go for the Marriott Bonvoy Card.)
But when you compare the value you get out of the offer—more than double that amount in travel, free access to airport lounges around the world, complimentary flight upgrades, extremely comprehensive insurance, and on and on—it truly is a steal.
At the end of the day, it’s a small expense given the value you’ll extract, both today and for years to come.
Three Alternative Cards
If you’re not quite sure whether the Business Platinum Card is right for you, there are plenty of other great credit cards out there.
Here are the three best offers available in Canada right now:
#1 The Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card
This is undoubtedly the best credit card offer in Canada in 2019. Its 60,000 points welcome bonus, annual free night award and a wide array of other benefits makes the personal Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card an absolute steal for its $120 annual fee. We recommend that every Canadian sign up for this card while this incredible introductory offer still lasts.
#2 The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card
If you’re set on getting a business credit card, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card is another great option. If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll love the annual Free Night Award, which you can cash in at some of the nicest hotels in the world.
The Business Gold Rewards Card offers good value as well, though we feel that 60,000 points welcome bonus and the lower annual fee of the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card make it the better choice.
#3 The Cobalt Card
The Amex Cobalt Card is the best everyday spending card available right now, and one of our favorite cards overall. Why? Because you can get up to 10% cashback on your spending when you use the Cobalt Card on at coffee shops, restaurants, bars and grocery stores coffee anywhere in Canada.