How To Capitalize On The New Earn Rate On The American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card

January 20, 2020
Canadian Credit Card Reviews
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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.

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:

  • 1 Mile for every $10 in purchases at AIR MILES Partners, on eligible grocery stores, gas stations and drugstores in Canada.
  • 1 Mile for every $15 in purchases everywhere else.

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

  • 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases on eligible food and drinks and eligible gas and transit in Canada (up to $30,000 annually).
  • 1 Mile for every $10 in Card purchases everywhere else.

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:

  • Restaurants, quick service restaurants, coffee shops and drinking establishments in Canada
  • Stand-alone grocery stores in Canada
  • Delivery of food and groceries in Canada as a primary business
  • Stand-alone automobile gasoline stations in Canada
  • Local commuter transportation in Canada including subway, streetcar, taxi, limousine, and ridesharing services

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?