Amex Platinum – Canada’s Best Frequent Flier Card 2018

Amex Platinum
Photo: American Express

The Platinum Card is simply the best travel card in the Canadian travel market for frequent flyers. While admittedly the $699 price-tag at first glance is a shocker, you can turn the $699 to $299, and walk away with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points instead of the posted 50,000 (enough to take you anywhere in the Americas, Europe or even China). You also get premium luxury perks such as airport lounge access, platinum concierge service, air, hotel, car, cruise, and entertainment perks; have travel and purchase insurances, and much more.

Basics

  • Annual Fee: $699
  • Card Type: Charge Card
  • Annual Interest Rate: 30%
  • Point Type: American Express Membership Rewards
  • Earn: 1.25 points per $1
  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points if you use this link (otherwise only 50,000 points)
  • Minimum spend: $3,000 in the first three months

PROS

  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points where you use this link (otherwise 50,000 points)
  • $200 CAD Annual Travel Credit; renews every January (that’s $200 in 2018, $200 in 2019 = $400 in your first 12 months if you plan it right).
  • American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the most flexible travel point currencies available to Canadians.

    Air

  • Airport lounge: over 1000 airport lounges worldwide (Canadian Platinum Lounge Benefit, Delta Sky Club [value $495 USD], Priority Pass [value $399 USD], Platinum Card Travel Service, Centurion Lounge.
  • Transfer points to frequent flyer and other loyalty programs such as Aeroplan, Avios, Delta SkyMiles, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).
    • Tip: a few times a year American Express offers a 25% transfer bonus when you transfer to other programs. That can further increase this card’s value!
    • Boomer Traveller finds that this is the best use of points in this program.
  • International Airline Program: discounted companion tickets, complimentary upgrades, special airfares.
  • Use points to book flights within Canada or to anywhere in the world with the Fixed Points Travel Program.
  • Special benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport including complimentary valet service, 15% discount on parking, Pearson Priority Security Line, 15% discount on Car Care services.
  • Private Jet Service Partners – $600 flight credit when booked through Platinum Card Travel Service and charged to your card.

    Hotel

  • Hotel Membership Loyalty Program: Carlson Rezidor Hotels – Club Carlson Gold Elite Status; Hilton Honors Gold Status; Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold Status.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts: 975 iconic properties around the world; when available: noon check-in, room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, 4:00 PM late check-out, in-room wi-fi, additional special benefit.
  • Hotel Collection: 500 hotels 30 countries: $75 USD hotel credit, a one category room upgrade when available.
  • Luxury Villas, Exotic Tours & Expert Guides: with various perks.

    Car

  • Car Rental Partners & Limousine Program: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – Five Star Tier; Avis – Avis Preferred; Carey Worldwide Limousine Service; Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services.

    Cruise

  • Luxury Cruise Partners: a variety of perks such as excursion credits, complimentary wine/champagne.

    Experiences 

  • American Express Invites: Platinum concierge service; Platinum Dining Program; Unique experiences created around you; Front Of The Line Advance Access.
  • Preferred Golf Membership ($295 USD).
  • Lifestyle and Rewards: Redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, experiences (driving, advance film screening, VIP parties, fashion, dining) and events.

    Insurances

  • Platinum Insurance Coverage: Emergency Medical Insurance (15 days): $5,000,000 per insured injured person under the age of 65; Trip Cancellation Insurance ($2500); Trip Interruption Insurance ($2500); Car Rental Theft Damage Insurance; Flight Delay Insurance ($1000); Baggage Delay Insurance ($1000); Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance ($1000); StandbyMD Travel Medical Concierge; $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance; Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance ($1000).
  • Shopping Coverage: No Pre-Set Spending Limit on Purchases; Purchase Protection Plan (120 days – simply the best available); Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan (1 year); Fraud Protection Guarantee.

UNDECIDED

  • You have to sign up for a number of the perks, which are not automatic, when you get your card (e.g., Priority Pass, Hotel and rental car Membership Loyalty Programs).
  • You can charge any eligible purchase to your Card then log in to redeem your points for a statement credit – but this is usually a lousy use of points.

CONS

  • Not all vendors take American Express.
  • Lounge access does not include the Maple Leaf Lounge.
  • The Canadian Platinum Card perks are not as robust as the American version.
  • The Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country) is only useful to the 65 and under crowd.

TIPS

  • $200 CAD Annual Travel Credit; renews every January (that’s $200 in 2018, $200 in 2019 = $400 in your first 12 months if you plan it right). To do this book a hotel room that is fully refundable. Your travel credit gets applied immediately, but your credit card doesn’t get charged until you check in. Cancel your reservation after your credit has been posted.Do this, once in your first year, and again in the second year to get a total of $400 back reducing your yearly fee from $699 to $299.
  • American Express charges back the second $200 calendar year if you cancel your card the same month or the month the month before your annual fee is up. If you are going to churn the card make sure to cancel at the end of 12 months.
  • A few times a year American Express offers a 25% transfer bonus when you transfer to other loyalty programs (e.g., Aeroplan, Avios, Delta SkyMiles, and Starwood Preferred Guest).
  • Some of the reward options have higher financial value than others (e.g., transferring points to partner hotel and airline loyalty programs) compared to poorer financial value redemptions: (e.g., redeeming your points against eligible purchases charged to your card; shopping purchases) – but at the end of the day the highest value is the options that most matter to you.

BoomerTravell’s Platinum Card is our go-to card – primarily for the perks. For example, on our most recent trip to Europe we used the following perks: the bonus points for a flight (cash value in high season ~$1400), annual credit ($200 value) on hotel, lounge passes (with over 30 hours in connections, this significantly reduced travel stress), hotel membership program (got a room upgrade, a drink and free breakfast), car rental partner program, platinum concierge service (for arrangements and reservations), and the StandbyMD Travel Medical Concierge service (in Portugal, they sent a doctor to our hotel to deal with a case of food poisoning within an hour of calling). That’s a lot from one card on one trip.

BoomerTraveller’s reaction to this card:


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If you decide to get the Platinum card PLEASE use our American Express Platinum Card affiliate link. Not only will you get an extra 10,000 points, you will also enjoy that warm feeling you get from supporting BoomerTraveller’s blog.

2 Comments

    • Hi there! They set up a free telephone consultation with a doctor, but if you need a house (hotel) visit, drugs, etc., then you have to pay whatever the fee may be. In our experience, outside the US, those fees are quite reasonable.

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