The American Express Platinum Canada: September 2020 Review

September 24, 2020
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Updated August 3, 2020

The American Express Platinum Canada comes with worldwide airport lounge access, a $200 annual travel credit, platinum hotel memberships, travel medical insurance, a sleek metal card and a welcome bonus of 25,000 MR points, which we value at $500-$750 on top of it all.

However, with the changes made to the American Express Cobalt Card on February 14, 2020, we highly recommend getting it instead. If you’re looking for exceptional long-term value and excellent flight redemption options, we recommend grabbing a Cobalt Card before the current 30,000 points promotion disappears

#1 American Express Platinum Basics & Benefits

Welcome Bonus Points25,000
When you charge
$2,000 to the card
in the first 3 months
Points Earned Per $1 Spent On Dining3
Points Earned Per $1 Spent On Travel2
Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Card Purchases1
Companion Tickets
Fine Hotels & Resorts Exclusive Benefits
Hotel Elite Statuses
Amex Platinum Concierge
American Express Invites
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
Annual Fee$699

The card also comes with additional American Express benefits that come with all of their cards. These include Front Of The Line, which offers cardholders advanced access/tickets to concerts, sporting events and shows across Canada.

#2 Four More Special American Express Platinum Benefits

Amex Platinum Special Benefit #1: Worldwide Airport Lounge Access (Priority Pass)

On top of the 25,000 Membership Rewards points that come with your Amex Platinum Card (when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months), you also receive a Priority Pass Prestige membership, which holds a value of $429 USD per year. Your Priority Pass membership gets you into more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world without paying a dime. All of the lounges have free food (some offer full meals, while others have an array of snacks), drinks (many, though not all, offer alcoholic drinks as well), and many include additional amenities like nap rooms, showers, libraries, printing, and games rooms.

Related: The American Express Gold Rewards Card

My Priority Pass is definitely the American Express Platinum benefit that I use the most, and it’s completely changed the way that I travel. I seriously can’t imagine flying without stopping in the American Express Platinum lounge first now.

Where can you use your Canadian Platinum lounge benefit in Canada? How about the 24-hour SkyTeam Lounge in Vancouver (YVR)?

The SkyTeam Lounge at Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Or the National Bank Lounge in Montreal (YUL)?

You get free access to the National Bank World MasterCard Lounge at Montreal International Airport (YUL) thanks to your Canadian Platinum lounge benefit

Toronto (YYZ) has a whopping seven Priority Pass lounges—plus the American Express Lounge at Pearson—and you’ll be able to access all of them for free.

You’re stepping up your travel game already.

Amex Platinum Special Benefit #2: $200 Annual Travel Credit

This is exactly what it sounds like: $200 for you to use on travel, every single year. In the past 3 years alone, I’ve used my $200 travel credit on a flight to Asia, a flight to South America, and a flight to Europe.

The Amex Platinum Card comes with a $200 annual travel credit you can use anywhere in the world!

Pro Tip: Use your $200 annual travel credit on the first hotel or flight booking you make with your Platinum Card. You don’t want to forget to use it!

Amex Platinum Special Benefit #3: Hotel Elite Statuses

Your Amex Platinum also upgrades your statuses with a handful of hotel chains. This means you get special benefits: exclusive discounts, early check-in and late check-out, complimentary breakfasts and more.

These are the sort of status upgrades you can expect with your Amex Platinum Card:

Amex Platinum Special Benefit #4: American Express Front Of The Line

Front of the Line gives American Express Cardmembers exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and reserved seating at concerts, musicals, sporting events and much more.

The best thing about Front of the Line is in the name itself: you get access to tickets at the biggest shows (think Justin Bieber and Beyoncé) before everyone else. These shows are known for selling out in seconds, but with Front of the Line, you’ll always get your ticket. Past performances that Front of the Line has had pre-sale access to include Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Wicked, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Billy Elliot, West Side Story, Imagine Dragons, The Lion King and many more.

Front of the Line always offers great seats close to the action at these events. They also send periodic emails to let you know when artists are coming to town so you never miss a show.

#3 How To Turn 25,000 Points Into 32,500 Points

The 25,000 welcome bonus points that come with the American Express Platinum are great, but if you know what you’re doing, you can actually turn them into 32,500 pretty simply.

How? At least once per year, American Express offers a 30% transfer bonus when you transfer your points to a program like British Airways Avios or Aeroplan. Just by transferring your points strategically, 25,000 Membership Rewards points all of a sudden become 32,500 Avios points.

You just gained another 15,000 points—worth at least $300 if you use them at a value of 2 cents per point or above—just for being in the loop.

Here are 3 realistic scenarios of the value you can achieve with the Amex Platinum:

Very EasyVery EasyModerate Difficulty
Redemption TypeCash (against statement balance)FlightsFlights with creativity
Redemption Value Per Point1 cent2 cents3 cents
Total Value Of 65,000 Points$650$1,300$1,950
Less: Annual Fee($699)($699)($699)
Plus: $200 Annual Travel Credit$200$200$200
Profit From Points-$50$600$1,250
Additional BenefitsYesYesYes

Most of you will find yourselves in columns 2 or 3 in the $801-$1,451 profit range, since you can just read our other blog posts like how to get cheap flights to Asia and how to get cheap flights to Europe to find tons of flights that get you 2-3 cents per point of value.

But if you’re ambitious and want to push your points even further, it’s completely possible to surpass what’s listed above with a value of 3 cents per point or more. Just send us an email and we’ll help you sift through your options to ensure you get a great bang for your buck.

#4 How To Use Your Points

Case Study #1: Visiting Asia

Suppose you want to take a trip to Hong Kong to visit family or friends. The Amex Platinum is your perfect companion, since one of the easiest, best ways to use your 65,000 Avios points is on direct flights to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific.

Since Cathay Pacific is a premium airline, these flights normally cost at least $1,000 from Vancouver, and even more from Toronto. You won’t be paying anywhere close to that.

Roundtrip flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong cost just 60,000 Avios points + $90 in taxes and fees. Roundtrip flights from Toronto to Hong Kong cost 70,000 Avios points + $100, though you can pay a little bit more in cash (~$50) and drop the points down to 65,000 if you want.

How does a $90 roundtrip flight to Hong Kong sound? It’s yours with the Amex Platinum for Canadians.

Of course, Hong Kong isn’t your only option. Tokyo is a bit closer than Hong Kong, so flights between Vancouver and Tokyo are just 50,000 points.

Are you getting excited yet?

Case Study #2: Going Round-The-World

Let’s suppose you want to go around the world using your Platinum card.

No problem.

If you’re in Vancouver, you can fly from Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver (or the opposite direction) for 74,700 points + $742 in taxes and fees.

Toronto works just the same.

Flying from Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto (or the opposite direction) costs just 74,500 points + $761 in taxes and fees.

Did you ever imagine you could fly around the world for $750?

That’s the power of the Amex Platinum.

RoutePoints NeededTaxes & Fees
Roundtrip: Toronto to Hong Kong70,000$100
Roundtrip: Vancouver to Hong Kong60,000$90
Round-the-world: Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto74,500$761
Round-the-world: Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver74,700$742

These round-the-world trips offer a value of well over 4 cents per point, meaning the $699 fee you paid just saved you several thousand dollars on flights.

#5 Is The Amex Platinum Canada Worth The $699 Annual Fee?

Absolutely.

Here’s the magic in the $699 annual fee: it’s impossible not to make money by having this card, even after paying the fee.

Huh? Sounds confusing, right?

Here’s how it works.

If you use your 25,000 points in the worst way possible, they’re worth $450 to you. Why? Because American Express allows you to apply your points against your statement balance at a value of one cent per point, which means 25,000 points = $250. Add in your $200 travel credit for 2019 and you’re at $450.

And that’s not even considering the other benefits you get from the card. The travel/emergency/baggage insurance and additional purchase insurance (for theft/damage of your items), the worldwide airport lounge access, the premium hotel memberships, and everything else you see here everything else you see here are all just cherries on top.

So even if you use your points in the worst way you could—by applying them to your statement balance as a cash equivalent—you still come out way, way ahead.

But if you use them in the ways we’ve suggested in sections #3 and #4 above, you can reasonably expect to save $800 or more after accounting for the annual fee.

#6 Amex Platinum Travel Insurance

The Platinum Card also comes with an impressive American Express travel insurance policy. Here’s what the policy includes:

BenefitDescriptionCoverage Limit
Travel Accident InsuranceYou, your spouse and your children are covered in the case of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling$500,000
Car Rental Theft and Damage InsuranceDamage or theft of your rental car$85,000
Flight Delay InsuranceHotel, motel, restaurant expenses and other sundry items when your flight is delayed$500
Baggage Delay InsuranceReasonable and necessary emergency purchases when your baggage is delayed$500
Lost or Stolen Baggage InsuranceLoss or damage to your luggage or personal effects while in transit.$500
Hotel/Motel Burglary InsuranceLoss of most personal items if your hotel/ motel is burglarized.$500
Travel Emergency AssistanceMedical & legal referrals by phone 24/7N/A

Every American Express card also comes with two other insurance benefits:

  1. Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on your purchases and will repair/replace faulty or damaged items up to $10,000.
  2. Purchase Protection Plan insures your purchases against accidental physical damage and theft for the 90 days after purchase, up to $1,000.

Fraud protection, global emergency card replacement and 24/7 express customer service are included with every American Express card, too.

#7 The American Express Business Platinum Card

This entire review has been about the Amex Platinum Card, though there’s also an American Express Business Platinum Card for Canadians, too. There are a few key differences between the two cards:

  • 50,000 welcome bonus points for the Business Platinum Card (25,000 more than the Platinum Card)
  • $499 annual fee for the Business Platinum Card ($200 less)
  • No $200 annual travel credit for the Business Platinum Card

#8 Three Less Expensive Cards To Consider

Even though we’ve clearly shown how you can save thousands of dollars with the Platinum Card, the $699 annual fee still rubs some people the wrong way.

So here are a few less expensive, high-value cards you can consider instead:

#1 The Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card

Released in March 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card is a great choice for a Canadian travel credit card right now. It comes with an incredible 50,000 welcome bonus points at an annual fee of just $120. You also receive a free hotel night every year after the first year with the card, which you’re able to use at some of the swankiest hotels in the world. While this current offer lasts, we can’t recommend the Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card highly enough.

#2 The Amex Cobalt Card

There are many reasons why we recommend the Amex Cobalt Card over any other credit card in Canada right now.

One is that it offers the highest rewards on everyday spending of any card in Canada (with just a $10 monthly fee!). Another is that you can get up to 10% cashback on your spending when you use the Cobalt Card at coffee shops, restaurants, bars and grocery stores coffee anywhere in Canada. The current offer of 30,000 welcome bonus points isn’t likely to last long, so we recommend getting this card sooner rather than later.

#3 The Amex Gold Rewards Card

You can think of the Amex Gold Canada as the classic American Express card. It comes with 25,000 welcome bonus points, which is enough for a roundtrip flight anywhere in North America. With its $150 annual fee, the Gold Rewards Card has offered good value for years, though the current offer on the new Cobalt Card provides better value right now.

#9 How To Apply For The American Express Platinum Card

Applying is as simple as clicking the button below, taking 3 minutes to fill in the application form, and waiting a few days for your card to arrive!

It’s important to take action now, though—the welcome points bonus used to be 75,000 on this card, but Amex has reduced it several times over the past few years. Grab yours while this sweet offer is still available.

Is The Amex Platinum Canada The Best Travel Credit Card In Canada?

The Amex Platinum is certainly one of the best travel credit cards in Canada in 2020. While the Marriott Bonvoy Card has recently grabbed a lot of attention for its 50,000 points welcome bonus with just a $120 annual fee, the Platinum Card offers great value-for-money, too.

#10 FAQs

What Is The New American Express Platinum Metal Card Like?

Honestly—it’s pretty cool!

If you didn’t already know, the American Express Platinum is now made of metal. It has a significant heft to it, weighing in at 19 grams (for reference, a typical plastic American Express credit card weighs 5 grams). It’s sure to impress your friends when you “accidentally” drop it on the table as you pay.

All new Platinum cardholders now receive the metal card, so that’s a nice bonus on top of all the other benefits we’ve talked about above. Existing cardholders can also request to have their old plastic card exchanged for a metal card at any time.

How Can I Sign Up With An American Express Platinum Referral?

To get the best available welcome points bonus, which is currently 25,000 points, sign up here. After you’ve signed up, you can refer your own friends to the Platinum Card for a referral bonus of 15,000 points.

What Is The American Express Canada Exchange Rate?

All foreign purchases are made at the American Express foreign currency exchange rate, which tracks the bank rate very closely with small fluctuations above and below that rate. A 2.5% commission is charged on top of that on all foreign purchases regardless of the currency.

How Does American Express Travel Work In Canada?

American Express Travel is Amex’s online travel portal for buying flights, booking hotels and rental cars, and getting support from some of the best travel concierges in the business.

The $200 annual travel credit that comes with your Amex Platinum can be used either directly through the American Express Travel platform or as a statement credit after you’ve made a travel-related purchase with your card.

What Is The Amex Concierge?

The Amex Platinum Concierge is definitely an under-rated benefit of the Platinum Card. It’s totally free for as long as you have the card, and is there to offer you 24/7 assistance with a whole host of things.

Need a table for four at a fully-booked place in Paris or New York? No problem. Looking for the perfect gift for a friend visiting from out of town? Easy.

I mainly use the Platinum Concierge to help me build travel itineraries when I’m visiting a new city, and they’ve done a remarkable job. After a minute or two on the phone getting to know my preferences (Do I like fancy restaurants or low-key joints? Do I prefer museum hopping or getting lost walking around a neighbourhood? etc.), they send back a document of 30+ pages outlining restaurants and bars to check out, cultural attractions, events taking place when I’m there, and a lot more. It takes them 24-48 hours to compile it all, which is extremely quick.

You can request help using email as well, though I find just calling them up is faster (you never have to wait on hold) and easier.

How Good Is The Amex Platinum, Anyway?

If you’re like most Canadians, you’ll love your Amex Platinum Card. It’s numerous perks and benefits make it a great choice for frequent travelers, and if you spend your points wisely, you’ll more than make up for its annual fee.

What’s the first thing you should do when you receive your American Express Platinum Card?

Call the number on the back of your Platinum Card and ask Amex to set you up with these things right away:

  1. Your hotel elite statuses: Hilton Honors Gold Status, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade Membership, Radisson Rewards Gold Status, and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status. Even if you never plan to stay in one of those hotels, it’s good to get these statuses set up, just in case. They’re included with your card, after all.
  2. Priority Pass. Make sure Priority Pass is set up so you get lounge access right away, and if it’s not, get Amex to set it up for you.
  3. Ask if they know when the next Avios or Aeroplan transfer bonus will be. Generally, they won’t disclose this information (and often the customer service reps don’t know it), but it’s worth asking anyway. (If you do find out, look to these posts on redeeming points for flights to/from Asia and redeeming points for flights to/from Europe for suggestions on how to use those extra points.)

In Summary

We believe anyone considering getting a Platinum Card should apply for the Cobalt Card instead. The Cobalt Card doesn’t offer the lounge access and Amex Concierge of the Platinum Card, but it does come with a $100 USD annual hotel credit, complimentary hotel room upgrades, and all of the same insurance offerings.

What’s more, the Cobalt Card offers far better earn rates on your spending, which means you’ll earn points faster over the entire lifetime of the card. And with a monthly fee of just $10 vs. the Platinum Card’s $699 per year, you truly can’t go wrong with the Cobalt Card.

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