As a premium version of the regular SimplyCash Card from American Express, the SimplyCash Preferred Card has everything you love about the former, only better. Unlimited earning potential combined with a 2% cashback rate on any purchase, no strings attached, is one of the best offers you’ll find for a cashback card in the market. Of course, these extra benefits aren’t free, and the card comes with an annual fee of $99, but they’re worth far more than that, even after the first year of card membership.
As an added bonus, you get a welcome cashback rate of 5% on the first $6,000 in purchases (equivalent to $300 cashback) during the first six months of card membership. This welcome rate alone is worth an extra $180, almost doubling the annual fee.
If you’re looking for a great cashback card you can use anywhere without having to worry about purchase categories, with the best possible earning potential and that includes great premium Amex perks like travel and purchase insurance, this is the one!
This SimplyCash Preferred Card review is broken down into the following sections, to make it easier to read:
Pros and Cons of the SimplyCash Preferred Card From American Express
In the following table, you’ll find a list of the most important things you’ll love about this card, as well as the things you need to be aware of when signing up.
| • Welcome cashback rate of 5% worth up to $180|
• The best flat-rate cashback on all purchases of any cash card in the market
• Limitless earning potential at the base rate
• Balance transfer offer to help you save on interests while paying your debts with other credit cards
• Great travel and purchase insurance package
• Referral bonus of $150 per approved SimplyCash Preferred Card, with a maximum of $2250 per year
| • You’ll only get the cash back reward once a year|
• Cashback rewards are only redeemable for a statement credit. There’s no option for a check or a deposit
Features and Benefits Of The Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card
|Welcome Cashback Rate||5% on the first $6,000 in purchases during the first 6 months of card membership|
|Base Cashback Rate||2% on all purchases without a cap|
|Additional Card Fee||Up to 9 supplementary SimplyCash Preferred Cards for free|
|Travel Insurance Coverage|| • $5,000,000 Emergency Medical Insurance|
• $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance policy
• Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
• Flight and Baggage Delay Insurance
• Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
• Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
|Purchase Insurance|| • Buyers Assurance Protection Plan|
• Amex Purchase Protection Plan
|Optional Balance Transfer Offer|| • Introductory Interest Rate of 1,99% for the first 6 months|
• Transfer up to 50% or $7,500 of your assigned credit limit
• No Balance Transfer fee
|Type of Card||Credit Card|
|Preferred Interest Rate|| • 19,99% on purchases|
• 22,99% on funds advances
|Eligibility|| • You are a Canadian Citizen or Resident|
• You are the age of majority in your state or province
• You have a Canadian Credit File
Ok. That was just an overview, but what does it all mean? Keep on reading to learn all the details behind each of these features and benefits, and, most importantly, find out what they mean to you.
How Does The SimplyCash Preferred Card’s Cashback System Work?
If you already read our post on the no-fee SimplyCash Card, then this section won’t shed light onto anything new. In that case, you can jump to the next section regarding the SimplyCash Preferred Card’s annual fee.
If not, then keep on reading!
Cashback is the easiest to understand credit card rewards system. You simply use your card to pay for purchases, and Amex rewards you by giving you back part of the total purchase you made.
But, how does Amex give it back?
It’s very simple. When you use your card, you accumulate cashback rewards and every September, American Express will give you all you have accumulated in the form of a statement credit. You can then use this statement credit to pay off your cards balance. In other words, The SimplyCash Preferred Card’s rewards system is intended to help you pay for the purchases you make with your card.
The fact that you can only redeem your rewards for a statement credit, and the fact that you can only get that statement credit once a year, are the only real downfalls of both the SimplyCash and the SimplyCash Preferred Cards.
However, American Express more than makes up for these downfalls by offering great earning rates as well as unlimited earning potential.
The SimplyCash Preferred Card’s Annual Fee
Since it’s a premium card, then the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card comes with an annual fee. This fee, which is $99, gets you more than twice the earning potential and a handsome set of insurance policies that’ll let you save tons when you travel.
As far as annual fees go, $99 isn’t a big sum. In fact, it’s below middle ground between the less expensive and the ultra-premium cards Amex offers. Still, for it to make sense to pay the fee, even if it is small, you want to make sure that it’s worth it. I can tell you up front that it is, but you’ll have to read on to find out why.
If you’re looking for a no-fee cashback card, I definitely recommend you go for the regular SimplyCash Card. However, keep in mind that being free also means a lot less benefits and, in that case, a lot less earning potential.
Having gotten the fee out of the way, let’s take a look at all the things you’ll get for the yearly $99.
American Express SimplyCash Preferred Benefit #1: The Welcome Cashback Rate
There are many different cashback cards out there, and to compare which one is better, the first thing you have to look at is how much they’ll give you back for your purchases. In other words, you need to compare the cash back rate. The Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card comes with two earning rates: A welcome rate when you sign up to the card for the first time, and the card’s regular base rate.
In the following paragraphs we’ll discuss the SimplyCash Preferred Card’s welcome cashback rate.
When you sign up for the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express for the first time, you’re entitled to a welcome cashback rate of 5% during your first six months of card membership. This is probably one of the best earning rates on cashback cards you’ll find, but it’s capped at the first $6,000 of purchases. Additionally, the rate only applies during the first six months after you sign up.
What do these numbers tell us?
Basically two things:
- The most you can earn in cashback rewards with the welcome rate is $300 (5% of $6,000)
- You need to charge a minimum of $6,000 to your SimplyCash Preferred Card during the first 6 months to get the maximum possible bonus cashback reward.
Compared to the regular SimplyCash Card, this welcome rate is much better for a couple of reasons.
The first one is obvious: the welcome rate is twice the welcome rate of the SimplyCash Card, so you’ll earn cashback twice as fast.
The second one is that you get twice the length of time to charge the $6,000 in purchases needed to reach the maximum “welcome bonus” of $300. This means that instead of having to charge an average $2,000 a month for three months, as with the Amex SimplyCash Card, you only need half of that in monthly purchases with the Preferred Card.
The bottom line is that, with the Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card, you can get twice the cashback reward with half the pressure.
How much is the Welcome Rate Worth?
A welcome rate on a cashback card is the equivalent to the welcome bonus Amex offers with most of their other cards. In those cases, figuring out how much the welcome bonus is worth is as simple as estimating how much each reward point is worth and then multiplying times the number of points in the welcome bonus.
In this case, however, the “welcome bonus” depends on how much you spend on purchases with your card while the welcome rate is in effect. Keep in mind that, if you didn’t have the welcome rate, you would still get the base rate on those same purchases.
Therefore, even if you earned the maximum $300 cashback with the welcome rate, that’s not really what the bonus is worth to you, because you would’ve earned 2% of $6,000 ($120) if you didn’t have the welcome rate in the first place.
What you’re getting on top of the base rate is
$300 – $120 = $180
Finally, the welcome rate is worth up to $180, as long as you manage to cap it out.
Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card Benefit #2: Base Cashback Rate of 2%
A 2% return on any purchase probably doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but since Amex doesn’t put a cap on this cashback rate, there’s no limit to how much you can earn with this card.
However, limitless earning potential is not what the SimplyCash Preferred Card is big for. The real kicker is the flexibility with which you can earn rewards.
Flat rate on all purchases
The most important advantage of the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card’s base rate is the fact that it’s the same for all purchases. No need to worry about categories, types of merchants, and so on. As long as it’s classified as a purchase (which excludes funds advances, interests, fees, balance transfers, Amex cheques and travelers cheques), you’ll get 2% back every year.
There are other cards that can give you better earnings but only for a few categories. As a consequence, with both the SimplyCash Card and the Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card you trade off cash back rate for the ultimate flexibility.
Whether this is a deal maker or breaker is entirely up to you. If you’d rather get better earnings on select categories, I recommend picking up the Amex Cobalt Card. This is one of the best cards for average Canadians and has a similar fee of $120, which you pay in 12 monthly installments of just $10. It’s not a cashback card, but its points earning rate on very versatile categories such as food & drink, combined with the value of MR points, will let you recover more than 10% of your spending, even after the first year. Read our post on the long-term benefits of the Cobalt card and find out for yourself why it’s quickly becoming one of Canada’s favorite everyday spending cards.
Unlimited Earning Potential
In most of the few cases where credit cards do offer higher cashback rates, those rates are usually capped. An example is the Amex Cobalt Card, whose 5X points earning rate was recently capped by American Express to a maximum of 150,000 MR points per year. The other great aspect of the Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card’s flat cashback rate is that there’s no earning limit. You could use this card to earn as little as a dollar or as much as ten thousand. It’s totally up to you how much you want to earn, all you have to do is use it.
American Express SimplyCash Preferred Benefit #3: Optional Balance Transfer Offer
To attract new cardmembers and to help Canadians pay off their credit card debts, American Express developed the Optional Balance Transfer Offer. This offer is only available for new American Express cardholders who are signing up to either the SimplyCash or the SimplyCash Preferred Card for the first time.
Being a new Amex cardholder means that you’ve never had a credit card or cash card issued by Amex Bank of Canada before.
What Is The Optional Balance Transfer Offer?
It’s an exclusive offer in which you can opt to transfer your debts from other credit cards to the SimplyCash or the SimplyCash Preferred Card upon enrollment. So long as you don’t fall behind on your minimum payments, you’ll get a preferential low 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.
Some of the benefits of transferring your balance to the SimplyCash Preferred Card is that Amex doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, and the interest rate is very low.
How To Opt For The Balance Transfer
If you’re eligible for this offer, all you need to do is opt in when filling out your online application.
That being said, there’s a limit to how much balance you can transfer to your SimplyCash Preferred Card account.
The Cap On The SimplyCash Preferred Card’s Balance Transfer Offer
The maximum amount you can transfer to your new card 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:
- Suppose you have a balance of $2,000 and a credit limit of $6,000. In this case, since 50% of your credit limit is $3,000 and this number is smaller than $7,500, than you can transfer a maximum of $3,000. In this particular case, you could transfer your whole balance of $2,000.
- Now suppose that you have a balance of $8,000 and a credit limit of $20,000 (50% of which being $10,000). In this case, you can’t transfer your whole balance, because it’s higher than $7500. Furthermore, since $7,500 is less than $10,000 (50% of your credit limit), then the most you can transfer is the former $7,500.
- Finally, suppose you have a balance of $8,000 but a credit limit of just $10,000 (50% of which is $5,000). You obviously can’t transfer the whole $8,000 balance for the same reason as above. However, since $5,000 y less than $7,500, then in this case you can’t transfer $7,500 either. You can only transfer a maximum of the said $5,000.
When Does It Make Sense To 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 for a second time, you may lose that rate as well and get a penalty rate of 26.99%. The bottom line is that it hurts to pay late.
I’ll summarize all this information into simple actionable advice.
You should apply for the balance transfer only if:
- You’re financially responsible and never miss a payment – you at least make the minimum payment on time, every month.
- The current interest rate on your balance is greater than 22.99% (no matter how long you think it’ll take you to pay the entire balance).
- The current interest rate on your balance is less than 22.99% but you think you can pay off the entire balance in 6 months or less.
You should definitely not apply for the balance transfer if:
- You frequently find yourself missing payments or not paying the minimum on time.
- If the current interest rate on your balance is actually lower than 1.99% (obviously)
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 SimplyCash Card from American Express. It all depends on the difference between the two interest rates, and on how long you think it will take you to pay off the entire debt.
Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card Benefit #4: Insurance Coverage
This is where the annual fee really starts to shine. The aforementioned benefits will only be valuable to you when you use your card to pay for purchases. Remember that those benefits are cashback rates on purchases, so no purchases means no benefits.
Insurance coverage, on the other hand, is a benefit that comes as a default with your card, even if you only use it to pay for your travel arrangements.
I’m glad to say that I’ve never had the misfortune of needing to make a claim on my travel insurance. However, I’ve always felt more at ease when I travel thanks to Amex’s different embedded insurance policies. As far as insurance goes, it’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it, so having it is always a plus.
In the following section, I’ll tell you all you need to know about the insurance policies that come embedded into the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card:
#1 Travel Insurance
Regarding travel insurance, the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card brings in most of Amex’s best policies:
Travel Emergency Medical Insurance
This is an annual multy-trip policy. It will cover you, your spouse and any dependent children under 23 years of age, as well as any supplementary cardholder his or her spouse and children, during the first 15 days of each trip, for up to $5million each in unforeseen medical expenses. The condition is that all travelers be under 65 years old and that all travel arrangements are paid for with the SimplyCash Preferred Card.
$100,000 Travel Accidents Insurance
The Travel Accidents Insurance is an AD&D policy that will cover each insured person for up to $100,000. It’s underwritten by Chubb Life Insurance Company of Canada, and it will cover you, your spouse and any dependent children as well as any supplementary cardholder and his or her family while in transit in a common carrier. The only condition is that all tickets be paid in full with your SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express.
Flight & Baggage Delay Insurance
This policy is intended to cover you for expenses related to waiting for a delayed flight or baggage. These expenses may include out of pocket money, food and drink expenses and even lodgings at a hotel in case the delay ends up being too long. The maximum coverage is of $500.
Lost Or Stolen Baggage Insurance
If you paid for the airline tickets with your SimplyCash Preferred Card, you’re also covered for up to $500 in case your luggage and/or personal effects get lost or damaged while in transit.
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
This policy covers you for up to $500 in stolen personal items if the hotel/motel booking was paid for with your SimplyCash Preferred Card, and it gets burglarized.
Car Rental Theft And Damage Insurance
When you rent a car you have to purchase an insurance policy to cover the vehicle in case of an accident or theft. Car rentals will always offer their own policy and it usually costs around $16 to $23 per day. If you pay for the rental with your Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card, you can waive the rental company’s insurance and use Amex’s instead, at no extra cost to you. The limit is a rental vehicle with a suggested retail price (MSRP) of $85,000 or less.
#2 Purchase Coverage
Apart from comprehensive travel insurance, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express also includes Amex’s standard purchase coverage, which is composed of the following two insurance policies:
The Buyers Assurance Protection Plan
This policy, underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, automatically doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one extra year, of any item paid in full with the Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card.
Let’s take a look at three different scenarios:
- If you buy a new cellphone that has a 6-month warranty with the SimplyCash Preferred Card, then the Buyers Assurance Protection Plan will cover that cellphone for another 6 months (therefore doubling the warranty).
- If you buy a camera that comes with a one-year warranty, then you’ll get one extra year thanks to your new SimplyCash Preferred Card (again, doubling the warranty)
- However, if you purchase an item that has a two-year warranty, then the Preferred Card will give you only one extra year, therefore increasing your warranty period to three years.
The Amex Purchase Protection Plan
This policy is also underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, and it covers any items you purchase with your SimplyCash Card, for up to 90 days, against any accidental physical damage or theft.
American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card Benefit #5: Refer A Friend And Get A Bonus
Besides using your Preferred Card, American Express lets you build up your cashback balance by giving you a bonus every time someone you refer to the Amex site is approved for a new SimplyCash Preferred Card.
When you sign up for the SimplyCash Preferred Card and become a cardmember, you’ll receive your own personal referral link. You can share this link with anyone you want (i.e. friends, family, co-workers, business-related acquaintances, etc.). If your referrals sign up to the SimplyCash Preferred Card through your referral link, and Amex approves them, then you’ll get a bonus of $150 cashback for every approved referral at the end of the year.
Simple as that, no strings attached!
That’s $50 more than what you get by referring friends for the regular SimplyCash Card.
How To Be Eligible For The Referral Bonus
There are some obvious conditions for you to get the bonus though. These include:
- Your referral has to be a new SimplyCash Preferred Card cardmember
- He or she has to know you personally or through a business relationship
- Your referrals have to know that they are signing up through your referral link (they will be asked to authorize Amex to bonus your account, so you can’t trick people into signing up)
- You can’t mislead referrals into signing up with false claims, only with information that Amex provides.
Other than that, you’re good to go!
The Cap On The Referral Bonus
This is a great benefit, but it’s capped at $2,250 per year. Since the current bonus is $150 per approved referral, this translates into a maximum of 15 successful referrals per calendar year. The good news is that the count resets every year, so after hitting the cap, try not to get people to sign up through your referral link untill next year!
Additional Amex Benefits
The Amex SimplyCash Preferred Card comes with American Express Invites, which opens the doors to the Front of The Line, as well as to special offers, experiences and VIP access at key venues like the Budweiser Stage, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall.
Front Of The Line Advance Access
Advance Access means being able to purchase or reserve presale tickets to major events, before they are sold to the general public. That way, American Express will help ensure that you won’t miss out on that concert you’ve been dreaming to see, or those theater productions that sell out as soon as the tickets go on sale. Amex can even help you make reservations at highly coveted restaurants, all that just for being a Preferred Card cardholder.
Front Of The Line Reserved Tickets
You couldn’t buy advanced tickets or make an advanced reservation? No problem! Amex is so set on ensuring you won’t miss your dream event, that they reserve whole blocks of seats exclusively for their cardmembers. That way, you can still get seats to the hottest events, even if they already sold out to everyone else.
In case you’re wondering if that next concert you want to go to is covered in the American Express Front of The Line program, all you have to do is sign up for the Front of The Line e-updates. This is something like a newsletter where you’ll get the full list of all the current and upcoming events you can choose from.
Summarizing, as you can see, the SimplyCash Preferred Card is a great option when it comes to cashback cards. A low annual fee and benefits that are worth much more than the $99 you have to pay every year, make this card a smart investment.
If I have a co-branded Amex card issued by another bank, am I eligible for the Balance Transfer Offer?
Yes you are, as long as you don’t own any other card issued by Amex Bank of Canada. Most banks issue their own credit cards but they use American Express’ global payment network, so their cards are co-branded. Even if the card does say American Express on it, Amex Bank of Canada really doesn’t issue it. The one that’s actually lending you the money is the other bank. Therefore, owning a co-branded card doesn’t make you an Amex cardholder, and it therefore doesn’t make you ineligible for the Balance Transfer Offer.
If I already have a SimplyCash Card from American Express, and I sign up to this one, will I still get the welcome cashback rate?
Yes, you will, because the SimplyCash Card and the SimplyCash Preferred Card by American Express are two different cards. Signing up to one of them doesn’t make you a cardholder of the other, therefore you will still get your welcome cashback rate.
If I already have a SimplyCash Card, does it make sense to sign up to the SimplyCash Preferred Card?
Of course it does! First of all, because, when you do, you’ll get the awesome welcome cashback rate of 5% on any purchase giving you the potential to earn an extra $180. Secondly, because the SimplyCash Preferred Card offers great travel coverage for a very low fee. This coverage alone can offset the annual fee if you travel at least once a year.
Can I get my cash back as a cheque or a deposit into my bank account?
No, you can’t. You can only redeem your cashback rewards as a statement credit to pay for purchases already charged to your SimplyCash Preferred Card.
Can I get my cashback reward whenever I want?
Unfortunately, no. You will only get the accumulated cash back once a year at a predetermined date.
Can I use the optional balance transfer offer more than once?
No, you can’t, because the offer is only for new American Express cardholders, and you can only opt in for the offer when signing up for the SimplyCash or SimplyCash Preferred Card for the first time. After you sign up and use the offer the first time, you become an Amex cardholder, and are therefore ineligible for the offer.