American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada Review

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The American Express Air Miles Platinum is one of the best Air Miles credit cards in Canada.

I’m not a huge fan of the Air Miles program, but if you are, you do not want to miss out on this card!

The American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada gives you 3,000 Air Miles points as a sign-up bonus. It is the largest sign-up bonus on a non-premium Air Miles card, and the minimum spend is half the amount as the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard. The downfall of the Amex Air Miles Platinum is that it is weak points earning, and you don’t earn a lot of Air Miles quickly. To be fair though, that is a problem with every Air Miles credit card in Canada.

Overall, I think the American Express Air Miles Platinum is a clear front runner when it comes to Air Miles credit cards in Canada.

It isn’t much of a surprise though. American Express leads the way in pretty much every category when it comes to travel credit cards in Canada!

There is a lot of upside with the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card, but it isn’t for everybody.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not this is the right credit card for you.

Best travel credit cards in Canada

Highlights

The Amex Air Miles Platinum isn’t the fanciest of credit cards. It doesn’t have many bells or whistles, but it does what it is made to do well.

That’s all that really matters!

Here are some of the top highlights you need to know about:

  • 3,000 Air Miles as a sign-up bonus
  • Earn 1 Air Mile for every $5 spent on gas and grocery purchases in Canada
  • Earn 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent on every other purchase
  • Once per calendar year save 25% on flights or vacations through the Air Miles website when redeeming points (save up to 750 Air Miles)
American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card

Pros and Cons of the American Express Air Miles Platinum Card

Pros

  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • Points can be used in a variety of different ways
  • Points are easy to use even if you’re a beginner

Cons

  • Not the best points program
  • Points earning ratios aren’t great, so you don’t earn points quickly
  • Not every merchant accepts American Express cards

Points

You earn and redeem Air Miles with the Amex Air Miles Platinum Canada card.

Makes sense!

You don’t have the option to transfer your points to a partner program, and all redeeming is done through the Air Miles website.

It is a super easy redemption process, which is great for people new to travel hacking. You don’t have to worry about figuring out the best transfer partner or anything like that.

Everything is in one easy place!

That is definitely one of the perks of the Air Miles program.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus on the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card is 3,000 Air Miles.

You have to spend $1,500 in the first the first three months in order to get the full sign-up bonus.

Most people are able to meet the minimum spend within the first three months of holding the card just through their regular spending.

If you don’t tend to spend $500 a month on your credit card, be sure you have a plan to meet the minimum spend before applying for the Amex Air Miles Platinum Canada card!

Earning Points

The points earning on the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card is really straightforward!

You don’t have to worry about remembering a bunch of different categories to maximize the points you earn.

Here are the points earning categories for the Amex Air Miles Platinum Canada card:

  • Earn 1 Air Mile for every $5 spent on eligible gas, transportation, and grocery purchases in Canada up to $30,000 in a calendar year.
  • Earn 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent in every other category

Those aren’t great points earning categories, but as far as Air Miles goes, those categories are pretty good.

For example, the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard has a points earning of 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent across the board.

So you earn more Air Miles with the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card just because it has one elevated points earning category.

Woman waiting in airport

Redeeming Points

Air Miles are very easy to redeem!

You just need to log into your Air Miles account, search for what you want to redeem your Air Miles for, and you’re set.

Everything is done through the Air Miles website, so it is no fuss to redeem your miles!

Best Way to Redeem Air Miles

The Air Miles program is known for charging high taxes and fees on flights and vacation packages.

It is very unfortunate and is the main reason I don’t care for the Air Miles program.

I think the best way to redeem Air Miles is for experiences.

You can redeem your Air Miles for many travel-related experiences.

My personal favourite is redeeming my Air Miles for Universal California tickets!

You can redeem Air Miles for anything from museum tickets to event tickets. There is probably an event for everybody no matter what your preferences are.

In terms of travel rewards, the two best ways to redeem your Air Miles is for hotels or short-haul flights within North America.

You tend to get the best value per Air Mile and pay the least in taxes in those two categories.

The best strategy when it comes to redeeming Air Miles is avoiding paying as much as possible out-of-pocket while getting the most value per mile.

Easier said than done though!

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Unpopular Opinion

My somewhat unpopular opinion in the travel hacking world is that you should redeem your points in any way that gets you the most value out of it.

Use your points for what makes you happy and not necessarily what is the best value per point.

It is far more important for you to enjoy your reward and use your miles rather than use your miles to get the most value out of them even if it isn’t for the reward you wanted.

Airplanes at Airport

Worst Way to Redeem Air Miles

The worst way to redeem Air Miles is to use your miles for merchandise and gift cards.

You just don’t get as much value per Mile as you do when you redeem your Air Miles for travel.

Outside of merchandise and gift cards, the worst way to redeem your Air Miles for travel is on long-haul international flights.

You get nailed with taxes and fees on those flights, and you don’t get as much value per Air Mile as you do on short-haul domestic flights.

It isn’t a great situation any way you cut it!

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card is $120.

That’s a really fair annual fee for this type of credit card. Most other similar American Express cards have a $120 annual fee and many other similar credit cards have an annual fee of $139 or higher!

For comparison, the annual fee on the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard (Amex’s biggest competition) is $120.

So exactly the same!

Qualifications

American Express makes it pretty easy to be approved for one of their credit cards.

They are basically the only credit card issuer in Canada that doesn’t have a minimum income limit, and we love that!

To be approved for the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card you need to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a Canadian credit file
  • Be the age of majority in your home province

Yup! It is as easy as that!

One other really important think to note is that American Express is pretty strict about you having a strong credit score before being approved.

You should have a credit score of 750 to have the best chance of being approved for the Amex Air Miles Platinum Canada card.

Paris, France

Who Should Get the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada Card

Anyone who enjoys the Air Miles rewards program should consider adding the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada card to their wallet.

It is a fantastic Air Miles co-branded credit card.

The 3,000 Air Miles sign-up bonus and the elevated points earnings on gas and groceries makes it a very attractive card to Air Miles lovers.

The only thing I caution you on is making sure you have a varied credit card portfolio. It is easy to fall in love with American Express and load up on their cards. But you want to make sure you have at least one non-American Express card in your wallet to use when merchants don’t accept American Express.

As long as you have a Mastercard or Visa in your wallet, go ahead and get the Amex Air Miles Platinum Canada card!

Who Should NOT Get the American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada Card

This is a bit harsh, but I don’t think this is the right credit card for most people.

The American Express Air Miles Platinum card is great at what it does, but that doesn’t help much when what it does well isn’t great.

That was a confusing sentence.

What I’m trying to say is that the flaw in the Amex Air Miles Platinum card falls in the Air Miles program rather than in the credit credit card.

No matter how good the card is, it isn’t going to compete with other credit cards that have better points programs.

For people new to travel hacking and want an easy program, I suggest looking at Aeroplan credit cards and the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard.

I hope this section didn’t come off too harsh!

Luggage

Alternative Credit Cards

Conclusion

The best way to summarize this review is to say that the American Express Air Miles Platinum card is a great credit card for Air Miles loyalists but isn’t a great choice in the whole big scheme of things.

There are way better points programs and travel credit cards out there.

I don’t recommend this card to the average Canadian (unfortunately).

You will be better served by a different credit card. Whether it is an easy to use points credit card like Westjet or Aeromiles or a more complicated card where you transfer points to partner programs, there is most likely a better credit card for you.

That being said, if you love Air Miles and use them all the time, this card will be a nice addition to your wallet!

American Express Air Miles Platinum Canada ReviewAmerican Express Air Miles Platinum Canada ReviewAmerican Express Air Miles Platinum Canada Review

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