American Express Aeroplan Card: Best Card Around

Air Canada did a complete update of their Aeroplan program in November of 2020, and with that came an overhaul of the Aeroplan credit card suite. The changes to the Aeroplan credit cards made the American Express Aeroplan card the clear winner kicking CIBC out of the top spot.

Today we’re going to talk about why you should seriously consider the American Express Aeroplan card if you want an Aeroplan specific credit and all the features of the card.

It is a powerhouse of a credit card, and it helps you get to your Aeroplan goals quickly.

The American Express Aeroplan credit card offers a generous sign-up bonus of up to 15,000 Aeroplan points plus a Buddy Pass for an annual fee of $120. This is the highest sign-up bonus on any of the Aeroplan specific credit cards and the lowest annual fee. The Amex Aeroplan card also features 1.5x points earning on dining and food delivery services, which is a category not seen in any other Aeroplan credit card.

The American Express Aeroplan credit card is the perfect addition to anybody’s wallet. The new Aeroplan program is very versatile, and the program is much easier to use since the upgrade.

Aeroplan is without a doubt the best travel points program in Canada, and the Amex Aeroplan helps you get to your dream trip faster than ever!

Best travel credit cards for Canadians

Highlights

There is a lot to love about the American Express Aeroplan card. It has great points earning categories, a great sign-up bonus, and a reasonable annual fee- especially compared to the other Aeroplan credit cards on the market.

A few of the top highlights include:

  • Up to 15,000 Aeroplan points as part of the sign-up bonus
  • Receive a Buddy Pass after spending $1,500 in the first three months of holding the card
  • 2x points on Air Canada purchases and purchases at participating Aeroplan partner retailers (like Hudson’s Bay, Chapters, Etsy, and more!)
  • 1.5x points on eligible grocery, restaurant, and food delivery services in Canada
  • Free first checked bag for primary card holder and up to eight companions on the same reservation
American Express Aeroplan Card

Pros and Cons of the American Express Aeroplan Card

Pros

  • Excellent sign-up bonus and points earning categories
  • Easy to redeem points for travel throughout the world
  • No blackout dates on Air Canada flights

Cons

  • Charge card, so you have to pay it off in full each month
  • Not every vendor accepts American Express cards
  • Can’t transfer points to another program

Points

You earn and redeem Aeroplan points with the Amex Aeroplan card.

There isn’t the option to transfer your Aeroplan points to a partner program like with other American Express cards. It is extremely easy to earn and redeem Aeroplan points, and it is basically the same process as booking a flight and paying for it in cash.

The old Aeroplan program got a lot of hate. It was difficult to use, you had to call to book many non-Air Canada flights, and you were often hit with high taxes and fees that rendered your points basically useless.

The update to the Aeroplan program solved most of those problems, and it is a much easier and less frustrating system to use now.

There are no blackout dates on Air Canada flights, it is easier than ever to avoid paying high taxes and fees, and most partner airline flights can be booked online rather than through the phone.

It was a much needed upgrade and one that benefited the user a lot.

Sign-Up Bonus

You earn up to 15,000 Aeroplan points and a Buddy Pass as the sign-up bonus on the Amex Aeroplan card, but it isn’t a straightforward sign-up bonus to earn.

There are multiple steps you have to take in order to receive all 15,000 Aeroplan points and the Buddy Pass.

Here is a breakdown of how the sign-up bonus on the American Express Aeroplan card works:

  • Receive a Buddy Pass after spending $1,500 in the first three months of holding the card
  • Earn 9,000 Aeroplan points after spending $1,500 in the first three months of holding the card. You get the Buddy Pass and 9,000 Aeroplan points at the same time.
  • Earn 1,000 Aeroplan points every month you spend $500 or more on the Amex Aeroplan card in the first six months of holding the card for up to 6,000 Aeroplan points awarded.

That’s a bit confusing, but it isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

All you need to do is spend at least $500 on the American Express Aeroplan card each month for the first six months of holding the card, and you’ll receive the full sign-up bonus.

WHAT THE HECK IS A BUDDY PASS?!

The Buddy Pass is a new addition to the Aeroplan program, and it is part of the sign-up bonus on every Aeroplan credit card that has an annual fee.

It allows you to bring a companion on any North American Air Canada flight for free. You just have to pay the taxes and fees but don’t have to pay the base fare.

The Buddy Pass can only be used on round-trip flights within North America, so you’re quite limited on how you can use the pass.

You also have to be booked on the reservation as well.

Essentially, you pay full price for your airfare, and you only pay the taxes and fees on the second person’s airfare.

This is a pretty good deal as long as you use it properly!

Couple Travelling Together
Best Use of your buddy pass

I suggest using it for a flight from Canada to the United States. Flights are often expensive, and American airports have significantly lower taxes and fees than Canadian airports.

This is the best way to use your Buddy Pass because you get the most value out of it.

There is no sense using your Buddy Pass on a flight where you’re paying hundred of dollars on taxes and fees. It takes the perk out of the Buddy Pass and costs you nearly the same out-of-pocket as if you paid for the full airfare.

For example, I used a Westjet companion fare to fly from Edmonton to Orlando. The taxes and fees were less than $50, so it was a great use of my companion pass.

The next time I went to use my companion fare, I looked at flying from Edmonton to Ottawa. The taxes and fees on that flight came to over $500! That is pretty close to the price of a full-price ticket, and I decided not to book it because it was essentially a waste of the companion fare.

A companion pass is very similar to the Buddy Pass but is provided by Westjet and has a base fare you have to pay.

There are ways to strategically use your Buddy Pass to squeeze every single dollar possible out of it and keep as much money in your pocket as possible.

If you’re going on multiple trips in a year, play around with the Buddy Pass and use it on the trip where you pay the least in taxes and fees!

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Earning Points

There are multiple different points earning categories, so you need to be strategic on when you use your American Express Aeroplan.

You can really rack up the points quickly when you use the Amex Aeroplan card to its full potential!

Here are the points earning categories:

  • 2x points on purchases through the Air Canada website
  • 2x points on purchases at Aeroplan partner retailers. The most common way to earn these points is making your online purchases at partner retailers through the Aeroplan portal. You have to be logged in and access the retailer through the Aeroplan website in order to earn your bonus points!
  • 1.5x points on eligible grocery, restaurant, and food delivery services in Canada. You won’t receive bonus points for food purchases outside of Canada. You will only earn 1 point per $1 spent on food outside of Canada.
  • 1x points on every other purchase including travel and other purchases made outside of Canada.

Of all the Aeroplan credit cards on the market, the American Express Aeroplan card has the best points earning categories.

CIBC and TD have 1.5x points on gas and transportation, and American Express has 1.5x on groceries, restaurants, and food delivery services.

Most people spend more money on food than transportation, so it is easier to earn more points with the American Express Aeroplan card than any other Aeroplan card on the market.

Woman putting credit card in purse

Redeeming Points

It is so easy to redeem your Aeroplan points!

You simply log into your Aeroplan account via the Air Canada website. After that, you go to the book a flight box on the homepage and toggle the red button from $CAD to points. You search your flight just as you normally would, and the prices shown are in points rather than Canadian dollars.

Most of Air Canada’s partner airlines will show up in your search, so you can easily book a ticket on a non-Air Canada flight.

There are some partner airlines that, unfortunately, don’t show up on the Air Canada website.

In this case, you have to do a little more work. Find the flight you want to take on a different website (like the partner airline’s website or Google Flights) and then call the Aeroplan booking phone number and book your flight with a customer service agent.

There is a small $30 fee for booking your flight over the phone.

It is a shame that they charge you when it is the only option, but it is a small price to pay to get the flight you want to book!

More and more partner airlines are added to the Air Canada website, so (fingers crossed) it won’t be long until we can book every flight online and never have to call a customer service agent again!

You can use the Aeroplan price predictor tool to help figure out how many points you need for any given flight!

Best Ways to Redeem Aeroplan Points

Aeroplan breaks down the number of points you need to redeem into travel zones and distance travelled within each travel zone.

There are also different points required depending on whether you’re flying Air Canada or a partner airline.

It can be a little bit complicated to wrap your head around, but the redemption chart is a huge help.

Looking at the redemption chart, the very best value for your points is flying a partner airline between North American and the Pacific zone or North American and South America.

You get the most bang for your points when you travel between these zones. This goes for whether you’re flying economy all the way up to business class!

That being said, I’m going to give you some really unpopular advice that most people in the travel hacking space won’t tell you.

You should spend your points on whatever fits your travel schedule the best.

It is always better to use your points for any travel then let your points sit there collecting dust or (even worse) expire and go to waste!

Most people tell you to get the absolute best value for your points no matter what. This ends up creating analysis paralysis, and many people don’t use their points for anything.

Don’t be that person!

I personally am planning to use my Aeroplan points for a flight from the Atlantic zone to North America even though technically it isn’t the best value for my points.

But it works for my travel plans, and that’s all that matters!

Prague, Czechia

Worst Ways to Redeem Aeroplan Points

While there isn’t a best way to use your Aeroplan points, there is certainly a worst way to use them!

You should try at all costs to avoid using your Aeroplan points for merchandise or gift cards.

It gives you the lowest value for your points, and basically anything else is better than redeeming your points for merchandise or gift cards.

If your points are able to expire, then, of course, use them for merchandise or gift cards, but it should be a last resort!

In terms of flights, the worst point redemption values is flying between North America and the Atlantic zone.

The points required are higher than in other categories, and it isn’t the best value for your points.

I chalk it up to Europe being the most popular travel destination and people being willing to pay a premium to travel there.

That being said, if you want to redeem your points for a trip to Europe, redeem your points for a trip to Europe! You earned them, and you can use your points however you want!

The points required to fly within South America are outrageous as well! I highly recommend you not use your points for travel on a partner airline within South America.

It is a rip off!

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the American Express Aeroplan card is $120. There is, unfortunately, no first year fee waiver, so you’ll be shelling out $120 every year you hold the card.

This is a very fair annual fee!

The comparable CIBC and TD Aeroplan cards have a $139 annual fee and a lower sign-up bonus!

I love that American Express gave us more for less! There is a reason they are known to have the best travel credit cards in Canada!

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Qualifications

American Express makes it really easy to get one of their credit cards!

They don’t have a minimum income requirement, so their credit cards are accessible to most Canadians assuming you have a decent credit score.

Here are the listed American Express requirements for the Amex Aeroplan card:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a Canadian credit file
  • Be the age of majority in the province you live in

It is as easy as that!

American Express doesn’t post a required credit score, but you do need a decent credit score in order to be approved for the American Express Aeroplan card.

I suggest having a credit score of at least 650 before applying for the Amex Aeroplan card.

Venice, Italy

Who Should Get the American Express Aeroplan Card

I honestly think anybody can benefit from having the American Express Aeroplan card in their wallet.

It is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, and it suits pretty much any travel style.

I love how versatile the Amex Aeroplan card is. You can use it to travel anywhere in the world and in any class of service.

The points are super easy to redeem, and the Aeroplan program is perfect for beginner travel hackers and more experienced travel hackers.

The American Express Aeroplan card is one of those rare credit cards where it suits everybody’s needs, and you can’t go wrong applying for it!

Who Should NOT Get the American Express Aeroplan Card

I can’t really think of a situation where the Amex Aeroplan card isn’t a good fit.

There are the obvious scenarios where you can’t meet the minimum spend or don’t have the restraint to not go into credit card debt.

Outside of those obvious situations that are universal, I think everybody will love the American Express Aeroplan card!

Copenhagen, Denmark

Alternative Cards

Conclusion

There you have it! A complete analysis of the American Express Aeroplan card and why it is the best Aeroplan credit card on the market.

I truly think it is the a great addition to every wallet, and everybody can benefit from holding the Amex Aeroplan card.

You can use Aeroplan points to travel anywhere in the world on a myriad of different airlines.

With the updates to the Aeroplan program, the elimination of blackout dates, and the reduction of fees and taxes, there are very few downsides to the Aeroplan program and the American Express Aeroplan card.

I highly recommend you look into the American Express Aeroplan card next time you’re in the market for a new Canadian travel credit card!

American Express Platinum Canada (Good or Bad?!)

The American Express Platinum Canada credit card is one of the most popular travel credit cards in Canada. It comes with a steep annual fee, so we need to investigate whether or not the Amex Platinum Canada is actually worth the hype or is overrated.

The American Express Platinum Canada card has a $699 annual fee. You receive complimentary Priority Pass lounge access, a $200 travel credit, and a generous sign-up bonus. In most cases, you get enough value out of the card in the first year that it is worth the steep annual fee, but you have to crunch some serious numbers to determine whether or not the card is worth keeping into the second year and beyond. Most people won’t find enough value in the Amex Platinum Canada long-term to make it worth the annual fee.

In order to make the American Express Platinum Canada card worth the annual fee, you have to be a very frequent traveller and take advantage of your free lounge access on a regular basis.

This post breaks down everything you need to know to determine whether the Amex Platinum Canada is a good addition to your wallet.

There is nothing worse than not getting enough value out a card to make it worth paying the annual fee, and I’m going to help you not make that mistake and only get the card if you get enough out of it.

The American Express Platinum Canada card is not for everybody even though I think most people get enough out of the card the first year to make it worthwhile.

You need to take advantage of every perk the Amex Platinum Canada offers in order for it to be beneficial in the first year and beyond.

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Highlights

There are a lot of perks that come along with the American Express Platinum card.

They have to sweeten the pot to make it worth the annual fee, and they do a great job of it!

Some of my favourite highlights include:

  • Complimentary Priority Pass card that gives you free access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide
  • Access to the award-winning Centurion lounges across the US and in Hong Kong
  • $200 travel credit every year
  • Hotel status at Hilton, Marriott Bonvoy, and the Radisson
  • 2x points on every travel purchase
  • Some of the best travel insurance found on any Canadian credit card including car insurance, trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost baggage, accidental, and medical insurance!

It is still best and safest to have your own personal health insurance, but the insurance built into the American Express Platinum Canada card is a great safety net on top of you own personal medical insurance.

There are other smaller perks (like having access to the Platinum concierge service) included in the card, but the above highlights are the ones that the average person will get the most use out of.

My two favourite perks are the free Priority Pass membership and the $200 travel credit.

They really help to elevate your travel experience. The Priority Pass, if used properly, adds a lot more value to you than the sticker price of what it would cost to buy the Priority Pass with your own money.

American Express Platinum Canada

Pros and Cons of the American Express Platinum Canada Card

Pros

  • Great perks like lounge access and $200 travel credit
  • Hotel status at some of the most popular hotel chains in the world
  • Unbeatable insurance

Cons

  • Hefty annual fee that makes the card inaccessible to many people
  • Points earnings aren’t as good as on the American Express Cobalt Canada
  • Many vendors don’t accept American Express cards

Points

You earn and redeem MR points with the Amex Platinum Canada card.

MR points can be redeemed directly through the American Express portal or transferred to partner programs.

American Express partners with a number of airline and hotel partners, and you can easily transfer your MR points to a partner program.

Once your MR points are transferred to a partner program, you redeem your points as you normally would through that program’s portal.

You get the most value out of your MR points by transferring them to a partner program. It gives you more flexibility in how you redeem your points and (in most cases) gives you more value per point than simply redeeming through the American Express portal.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus on this card varies, and it ranges from 40,000 MR points to 60,000 MR points.

That is a very generous sign-up bonus, and the second highest sign-up bonus offered on an American Express Canada card. The highest sign-up bonus is 75,000 MR points on the Amex Platinum Business Canada card.

You have to spend $5,000 in the first three months of holding the card in order to receive the bonus points.

That’s a pretty large amount of money and outside a lot of people’s average three month budget.

If you plan on applying for the American Express Platinum Canada card, make sure you have a plan on how you will meet the $5,000 minimum spend.

You don’t get the bonus points if you don’t meet the minimum spend, so have a plan in place!

A few ways you can meet the minimum spend include:

  • Buying gift cards for food, hotels, or flights that you know you will use later
  • Use a service like PaySimply to pay your rent with your credit card
  • Make purchases for your friends and family on your card and have them e-transfer you money to pay off your card balance

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Castle Neuschwanstein, Munich, Germany

Earning Points

I have to be honest and say the least attractive part of the Amex Platinum Canada is the points earning.

There aren’t any high point earning categories, and it can be difficult to earn a lot of points quickly.

Here are the earning categories:

  • 3x points on eligible dining purchases made in Canada. You will not get bonus points for dining purchases made outside of Canada.
  • 2x points on eligible travel purchases. This includes flights, hotels, trains, and anything else related to travel. This includes purchases anywhere in the world and not only in Canada.
  • 1x points on every other purchase. No matter what the purchase is, you get 1 point for every $1 spent on items outside Canadian dining and travel.

I certainly wish the earning categories were a little bit higher.

The card has such a high annual fee that I think American Express could have thrown us some better points deals.

I would have loved to see 3x on travel or the same 5x on dining you see with the American Express Cobalt Canada.

You really have to be strategic about how and when you use your Amex Platinum Canada.

There are better American Express Canada cards to use on everyday spending (like the Cobalt and Gold).

If you hold multiple American Express cards, make sure you’re using the right one for the right purchase to get the most points!

Imperfect earning categories aside, the Amex Platinum Canada is a great card to earn points on when travelling.

You earn 2 points per $1 spent on all travel purchases, and if you’re interested in this card, you probably travel a lot.

This is the best category to use your Amex Platinum Canada in and how you will earn the points the quickest.

Redeeming Points

You can redeem your points through the American Express portal or you can transfer your points to a partner program and redeem them directly through that program.

Redeeming points directly through the American Express portal is easier, but you often get a better value for your points when you transfer them to a partner program.

It requires an additional step, but it is worth the effort!

Transferring your points to a partner program can be intimidating, but it isn’t, and after you’ve done it once, you see how easy it is and feel confident next time you transfer your points.

MR points can be used to book airfare, hotels, travel experiences, buy merchandise, or purchase gift cards.

All of this is done directly through the American Express portal in your American Express account.

It is the one-stop place to go whether you’re redeeming points or transferring them to a partner program.

The best part is that American Express makes it incredibly easy to use your points!

You simply toggle to the redemption portion of the header section, and click however you want to use your points.

It only takes a few clicks, and you’ve either redeemed your points directly through American Express or transferred them to a partner program!

It doesn’t get any easier!

One important thing to note about transferring points is that you can’t transfer them back into MR points after they are transferred to a partner program.

Once you ask the system to transfer points to a partner program, there is no way to reverse it.

So please be sure you want to transfer your points before you click the transfer button!

Airplanes at Airport

AIRLINE PARTNER PROGRAMS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

AirlineTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Air Canada (Aeroplan Points)1000:100030 minutes
Alitalia (MilleMiglia)1000:7505 business days
British Airways (Avios)1000:1005 business days
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)1000:7505 business days
Delta (SkyMiles)1000:75030 minutes
Etihad (Etihad Guest Miles)1000:7503 business days

HOTEL PARTNER PROGRAMS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

HotelTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Times
Hilton1000:10005 business days
Marriott2:35 business days

Best Ways to Redeem MR Points

Without a doubt the best way to redeem your MR points is transferring them to a partner program.

You get the most out of every point, and you have more flexibility to create the trip you want rather than being limited to the options American Express offers.

You decide what trip you want to use your points for, do the research on what partner program gets you where you want to go for the best price, and transfer the points to that program!

It is incredible how much you can do with your MR points when you use them strategically and transfer them to the right program that suits your travel needs!

The best partner programs to transfer MR points to are Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Avios, and Hilton Honors.

You get the best bang for your points with these transfer programs!

That being said, it is better to use your MR points in any fashion than to let them go to waste and not use them at all!

There is no bigger faux pas in the travel hacking game than not using your points and letting them expire or collect dust.

It is better to use your MR points on any trip even if it technically isn’t the best use of your points or you don’t get the highest value out of them.

You need to use your points in any and every way possible or else it isn’t worth being in the credit card point collecting game.

This isn’t popular advice to give in the travel hacking community, but it is the truth.

You hear all the time that you have to get every single cent out of your points that a lot of people get analysis paralysis and don’t end up using their points at all.

Don’t be that person.

Use you points in a way that suits you and your travel needs (but still try to get as much value out of them as possible)!

Worst Ways to Redeem MR Points

While I’m not going to tell you there is a 100% right and best way to use your MR points, I am going to tell you there is clearly a worst way to use our MR points!

The absolute worst way you can redeem your MR points is using them to purchase merchandise or gift card.

It is the worst value for your MR points, and you should avoid using them for merchandise and gift cards at all costs.

MR points don’t expire as long as you have at least on MR-earning credit card open, so there is no rush to use your points.

Don’t get sucked in by the “deals” on merchandise because the value is never as good as it seems.

Another less than desirable way to use your MR points is for a statement credit, but I’m not going to tell you that is the worst way to use your points.

Most people who use points as a credit statement are in a poor financial situation. They may have lost a job, had a car break down, or hit with some unexpected medical bills.

If using your points as a statement credit is the only way you can pay off your bill at the end of your billing cycle, do it!

It is far better to use your points as a credit statement than not being able to pay off your balance and go into debt.

Couple Travel Hacking

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the American Express Platinum Canada card is a painful $699.

There is no waiver of the annual fee in the first year, so you have to be prepared to shell out $699 as an annual fee each and every year you hold the card.

It is quite a substantial annual fee, but when you consider the perks you get with the American Express Platinum Canada, the true cost of the annual fee shrinks.

You get a $200 travel credit each year you hold the card and a complimentary Priority Pass, which has a retail value of $429USD (approximately $550CAD).

That means you’re getting about $750 worth of perks for holding the Amex Platinum Canada card.

As long as you use the Priority Pass enough to get the full value out of the card and apply your $200 travel credit, you’re essentially not paying an annual fee on the American Express Platinum Canada.

This calculation doesn’t even include the perks you get by having elite status at various hotel chains.

You need to use all the perks in order to essentially negate the annual fee on the Amex Platinum Canada.

If you only use the $200 travel credit and hardly use your priority pass, then the annual fee is still pretty hefty and possibly not worth paying.

You really need to crunch the numbers and look at your travel schedule to see if you’ll use the Amex Platinum Canada perks enough to justify paying a $699 annual fee.

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Qualifications

American Express makes it pretty easy to get one of their credit cards. You just need:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • The age of majority in the province you live in
  • Have a Canadian credit file

They don’t place a minimum income requirement on their cards, which is something I love.

The American Express Platinum Canada is a charge card, and that means you’re expected to pay it off in full every single month. It is also a premium credit card.

Because of those two things, American Express expects you have a good credit score.

They don’t publicly advertise what credit score you need to be accepted for the Amex Platinum Canada, but I suggest having at least a 700 before applying for the card.

Who Should Get the American Express Platinum Canada Card

This is a card for the most serious of travellers. People who fly multiple times a year and will get a lot of use out of the complimentary Priority Pass.

The annual fee on the American Express Platinum Canada is not inexpensive, and $699 can buy you a week’s stay in a budget hotel or multiple short-haul flights in Asia or Europe.

You really need to weigh the pros and cons of the card perks and see if you’ll get a lot of benefit out of them.

If you’re a casual traveller and only go on one or two holidays per year, this probably isn’t the card for you.

However, if you’re a frequent traveller and fly at least four or five times per year, you’ll most likely get a lot of use out of the Amex Platinum Canada.

It all comes down to how frequently you travel.

Woman waiting in airport

How to Decide Whether to Keep the Amex Platinum Canada Past the First Year

Most people get enough value out of the Amex Platinum Canada in the first year to justify the annual fee.

Between the sign-up bonus and the perks, the majority of people come out on top in the first year.

But that changes in the second year.

You no longer get those juicy sign-up bonus points, and it is time for you to figure out whether or not it is worth keeping the American Express Platinum Canada past the first year.

You get the $200 travel credit, so you can subtract that from the annual fee. This makes your annual fee now $499 out-of-pocket.

You really need to do the math and figure out how often you plan on using the Priority Pass in the coming year.

Each lounge visit is about $32USD a pop, and the Priority Pass has a value of $429USD. That means you have to use a lounge at least 13 times to get the full value from the priority pass.

In other words, you need to fly at least six round-trip flights with no stop overs and use the lounge each flight to get the value out of your Priority Pass.

You also get the hotels perks of being automatically upgraded in status, but those are more difficult to quantify. You don’t know whether you’ll ever be upgrade, so you can’t rely on those perks to add value to you.

When push comes to shove, if you’re not taking at least 12 one-way flights in a year, the American Express Platinum Canada probably isn’t worth holding for a second year.

Tips for flying alone for the first time

Who Should NOT Get the American Express Platinum Canada Card

Anybody who doesn’t travel very often, only travels by land, or isn’t in a financial position to afford the annual fee should not get the Amex Platinum Canada.

It is as easy as that.

You need to travel by air a lot to get the full benefit from the American Express Platinum Canada, and if you don’t, then this simply isn’t the card for you.

Additionally, if you’re not in a position to pay $699 for an annual fee, this isn’t the card for you. You should never put yourself in a precarious financial position just to get the points from a credit card sign-up bonus.

It isn’t worth it!

If you’re in that position, wait a few years until you can afford the annual fee and apply at that point.

Venice, Italy

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Conclusion

The American Express Platinum Canada is a bit of a tricky card. It isn’t for everybody, and you really have to crunch the numbers to see if it is the right card for you.

If you fly a lot, then the Amex Platinum Canada is probably a good addition to your wallet.

It is the most premium travel credit card in Canada and comes with a host of benefits and perks that make it easy to justify the $699 annual fee.

Any frequent traveller knows how luxurious a lounge sounds after a long flight with multiple layovers. The inclusion of a complimentary Priority Pass is a huge seller for me and many other frequent fliers.

The American Express Platinum Canada is the only credit card in Canada that offers a full complimentary Priority Pass, so it is the only option available to you if you don’t want to pay for lounge access out-of-pocket.

On the other hand, if you don’t fly a lot, then the Amex Platinum Canada probably isn’t the right card for you.

The sign-up bonus is attractive and can lure you in, but if you don’t use all the perks that come with the card, then it isn’t worth paying such a high annual fee.

There are plenty of credit cards in Canada (like the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite) that offer a few lounge passes each year you hold the card. Having four to six lounge passes included is probably enough to get you by if you don’t travel all that often.

As you can see, there isn’t a universal answer to the question of whether the American Express Platinum Canada is a good card or not.

It is so dependant on your individual circumstances and travel style.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada Review

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is the best hotel credit card you can get as a Canadian! It should be a staple in every traveller’s wallet.

Today we’re going to dissect the card and give you all the information you need to decide whether or not you should apply of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card.

Hint: I think nearly every traveller can benefit from the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card, and it is more a matter of adding it to your wallet at the right time rather than deciding whether or not you want to get the card at all!

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada gives you 50,000 Bonvoy points as a sign-up bonus, a free night’s stay on your anniversary each year, and lets you earn 5x points on every $1 you spend at Marriott properties. It is the quickest way to earn free hotel stays with a Canadian credit card. The sign-up bonus alone is worth up to 3 free nights! The Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is a no-brainer for anybody who travels at least once a year!

I love the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card. It is a keeper card for me, and I recommend it to all my family and friends as an essential travel credit card they should consider getting.

Highlights

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is your standard hotel credit card. You see a lot of hotel credit cards on the US market, but not many in Canada.

That is why the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is such a special credit card.

There are a number of awesome perks that come along with this credit card, and here are just a few of my absolute favourites:

  • 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a sign-up bonus
  • Free night’s stay awarded on your anniversary each year
  • Automatically awarded 15 night’s worth of stays applied to your Bonvoy profile to help you reach new reward levels
  • 5x points on every Marriott purchase
  • Receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status (all the rewards that come along with that)
  • Hotel burglary insurance, which isn’t found on many credit cards
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

Pros and Cons of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

Pros

  • The best hotel credit card in Canada
  • Easy to redeem points and can transfer points to a few partner programs
  • Good insurances and protections

Cons

  • Limited to Marriott hotels
  • Some hotels are very expensive to redeem at
  • Not every vendor accepts American Express

Points

You earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points with this card.

The most common way to redeem points is for hotel stays, but you can also transfer points to a partner airline program.

This isn’t the best way to use your points, and I recommend you stick to using your Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays.

The Marriott Bonvoy program allows you to redeem points for stays at over 7,000 hotels across every continent expect Antartica. Because, well, it’s Antarctica.

As a side note: there have been numerous studies on how tourism and the increasing number of tourists visiting Antarctica every year is damaging the fragile ecosystem and environment. I know it is a super cool bucket list adventure but stick to getting your Antarctic fill by watching documentaries!

Anyways, back to what you’re actually here for.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is quite generous. Especially considering they have basically no competition in the hotel credit card space and could have easily justified being stringent on the sign-up bonus.

You earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend at least $1,500 on the card in the first three months of holding it.

That is enough points for a three 3-night stay at a category 2 hotel!

Category 2 is one of the lowest categories in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards system, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nice!

There are countless gorgeous hotels that fall into category 2.

It may take a little bit of searching to find the best use of your points, but no matter what hotel you use your sign-up bonus points on, it’ll be a nice stay!

If you travel multiple times per year, I recommend looking through the hotels in all the cities your visiting and picking the hotel with the most value to be the one you redeem your points at!

Luxury overwater bungalow

Earning Points

The points earning categories on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada are really easy to remember.

Your purchases fall into one of two categories:

  • 5x points on Marriott Bonvoy purchases (including dining and spa services at eligible hotels)
  • 2x points on every other $1 spent

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

In the whole big scheme of things, those are really good earning categories!

You can wrack up an impressive number of points if you consistently stay at Marriott properties.

Bonus tip: Marriott gift card purchases count as a Marriott purchase and are eligible to receive 5x the points! A sneaky way to get the most out of your credit card is to spend the $1,500 minimum spend requirement on Marriott gift cards to use on your future travels.

You earn 7,500 Marriott Bonvoy points on top of the 50,000 point sign-up bonus if you do that!

That’s some travel hacking magic right there!

Redeeming Points

Marriott makes it super easy to redeem your Bonvoy points!

It is all done through their website. All you have to do to redeem your points is check the “use points” box before searching for your hotel, and you are shown the price in points.

You select the hotel you want to stay at, and your points are withdrawn from your account.

It is as easy as that!

The other way you can redeem points is by transferring them to a partner airline program. This isn’t recommended because you lose a lot of value per point, and you get better value when you redeem your points for hotel stays.

If you do choose to transfer your Bonvoy points to an airline partner, you receive 15,000 Bonvoy points back as a bonus when you transfer 60,000 points to a partner program.

You can easily transfer your Bonvoy points to a partner program through your Marriott Bonvoy program, and the transfer will be complete within 24 hours in most cases.

There are literally dozens of airline partners. Instead of listing all of them here, you can go to the Marriott website and check it out for yourself.

Champagne in hotel room

Best Way to Redeem Points

The only way you should be redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points is for free hotel stays.

It is the best use of your points hands down.

In terms of what hotel you should redeem your points at, that requires a little bit of investigative work.

I like to look around the Marriott website and search for hotels in each city I know I’ll visit that year.

I compare all the different hotels and find the most expensive hotel in whatever category I’m looking to book.

For me, I like don’t need anything fancy and normally book a category 2 or 3 hotel, but you may prefer something more luxurious and want a category 7 or 8 hotel.

Whatever suits you and your travel style the best!

Once you find the most expensive hotel in whatever category you want to stay in, go ahead and book that hotel through the Marriott website.

It is super easy to redeem your Bonvoy points through the Marriott website! You simply search for a hotel as you normally would but check off the “use points” button before you press “search”.

The search will show you the price in points rather the price in fiat currency, and you can book from there!

Worst Way to Redeem Points

The worst way to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points is transferring them to an airline partner.

You lose a lot of value when you do that. If you want to redeem points for flights, then get a flight-specific travel credit card.

The American Express Aeroplan card, RBC Westjet World Elite, and MBNA Alaska Airline World Elite Mastercard are all great options.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is a hotel credit card, and you should use it to redeem for free nights at a hotel.

It can be tempting to transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to a partner airline program because you get 15,000 Bonvoy points back when you transfer 60,000 points to a partner program.

But it isn’t worth it!

Even with the “bonus” points you get back, you’re still losing value on each point you transfer to a partner program.

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card is $120.

American Express doesn’t offer a first-year annual fee waiver, so you’re stuck paying the annual fee every year you hold the card.

I think this is a very reasonable annual fee considering all the perks you get with the card. You receive a free night’s stay every year you hold the card, so you’re making up the cost of the annual fee with that free stay.

Woman putting credit card in purse

Qualifications

American Express is one those lovely (and rare) credit card issuers who don’t have a minimum income requirement.

I love and appreciate this because it makes their cards accessible to more people unlike many other Canadian travel credit cards on the market.

I’m looking at you BMO and MBNA who have outrageously high minimum income requirements.

The only requirements to get the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card are:

  • Be the age of majority in the province you live in
  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a Canadian credit file

That’s it! It doesn’t get easier than that!

American Express doesn’t post a required credit score, but, in most cases, you need a pretty decent credit score to be approved for one of their cards.

I suggest having a credit score of at least 650 before you apply for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card.

The higher the credit score, the better chance you will be approved!

With that being said, American Express is pretty reasonable when it comes to approving people, and as long as you have a decent credit score, you should be fine.

But I can’t make any promises so try your best to have a good credit score!

Who Should Get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

I honestly think everybody who travels at least once a year will benefit from having the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card in their wallet.

The card comes with so many perks that even a casual traveller will benefit from the card.

It is super easy to earn and redeem points, the sign-up bonus is incredible, and you get a free night’s stay every year you hold the card.

There is basically no down side to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card!

With an annual fee of $120, as long as you redeem your free night every single year you hold the card, you’re getting value out of the card!

Who Should NOT Get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

This isn’t the credit card for people who are very loyal to other hotel brands.

If you’re a die hard fan of a non-Marriott hotel chain and won’t get much use out of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card, then I don’t recommend you add it to your wallet.

The American Express Platinum may be a better fit for you in this scenario. It gives you upgraded status at many hotel chains like Hilton, and you can even transfer your MR points to Hilton Honors points if you’re a Hilton fan.

No matter what hotel chain your loyal to (or perhaps you hate all chains and only stay in small, local hotels), if you’re not interested in Marriott properties, this card isn’t for you.

For everybody else, I think you can get a lot of value out of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card!

Luxury hotel

Alternative Credit Cards

Conclusion

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card isn’t the most versatile travel card in Canada, but it does hotel rewards perfectly.

This is hands down the best hotel credit card in Canada, and no other credit card comes closing to knocking it out of first place!

You earn points so fast when you use the card at Marriott hotels, and the earning rate for everyday purchases isn’t too shabby either.

The 50,000 Bonvoy point sign-up bonus and free night’s stay awarded every year on your anniversary are just the icing on top of an already great card.

I’m pretty impressed American Express offers this card to Canadians. It helps fill a gaping hole in the Canadian travel credit card market.

Here’s hoping American Express introduces more hotel credit cards in Canada. I really want to see a card similar to the Hilton card offered in the United States.

But until American Express offers more hotel credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is a great option to earn free hotel nights quickly.

As I said at the start of this post, this is the type of credit card everybody can get use out of, and it is more of a question of when you’ll add it to your wallet not if you’ll add it to your wallet.