American Express Platinum Card
Best offer available via a referral link only

  • Signup bonus: 60,000 MR points
  • Minimum spending: $5,000 in the first three months
  • Annual fee:
    • $699
    • Offset by $200 annual travel credit
    • Nets to $499
  • Earning rate:
    • 3 MR points per dollar spent on dining in Canada
    • 2 MR points per dollar spent on travel purchases
    • 1 MR point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Referral bonus: 15,000 MR points per referral; up to 225,000 MR points per calendar year
  • Perks & benefits: Priority Pass lounge access, Hotel elite status, Fine Hotels & Resorts, Platinum Concierge
  • Insurance: Strong

The Bonuses

The Platinum Card currently offers a whopping 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on the card within the first three months, when applying through a referral link. This is one of the highest signup bonuses currently available in Canada. Note that for a period of about three months in 2016, the Platinum Card had offered a 75,000 MR signup bonus, though it's not known if that'll ever return.

The annual fee of $699 is one of the highest around, although the Platinum Card offers a $200 travel credit once per year, making the effective annual fee $499 per year.

Referral bonuses as a Platinum cardholder can also be lucrative. You'll earn 15,000 MR points for every referral you make, up to a maximum of 225,000 MR per calendar year.

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Rewards & Benefits

On daily spending, the Platinum Card allows you to earn:

  • 3 MR points per dollar spent on dining in Canada

  • 2 MR points per dollar spent on travel purchases

  • 1 MR point per dollar spent on all other purchases

The 3x return on dining is highly lucrative when eating out, although keep in mind that the Cobalt Card also offers 5 MR Select points per dollar spent on the same purchases.

Likewise, the 2x return on travel is a good return, although the same benefit is offered by the Gold Rewards Card as well.

Lastly, the 1x return on all other purchases is rather measly, and you can do better with the Business Platinum Card’s 1.25 MR points per dollar spent on all purchases.

Overall, the Platinum Card’s tiered earning rate is decently compelling when you look at it as a whole, but each individual earning category can in fact be bettered with a different card in the Amex portfolio.

What really sets the Platinum Card apart, though, and what is meant to justify its hefty $699 annual fee, is the outstanding travel benefits. Chief among these is the Complimentary Membership in Priority Passwhich grants you (and one guest) access to more than 600 Priority Pass airport lounges all over the world for free. Most major airports have a Priority Pass lounge, meaning that you'll rarely be without a relaxing space before your flight to grab a drink or a quick meal, away from the crowds at the gate.

As a Platinum cardholder, you'll automatically be bestowed with Gold elite status in Starwood Preferred Guest, Club Carlson Rewards, and Hilton HHonors. These fast-tracked membership levels come with their own series of valuable benefits when staying at each chain.

Another outstanding benefit is access to American Express's Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which allows you to book special rates at select luxury hotels around the world. These rates include perks such as suite upgrades, daily breakfast for two, and benefits unique to each property (examples include a private airport transfer or a spa & dining credit). The FHR program often pops up with third-night-free or fourth-night-free offers as well, meaning that there's plenty of good deals to be had.

Among many other bells and whistles, the Platinum Card also offers priority security lane access at Toronto Pearson Airport, upgrades and discounts on car rentals with Hertz and Avis, and of course the aforementioned $200 annual travel credit that can be used towards any flight, hotel, car rental, or vacation booking made with Amex's Platinum Travel Service. (Note that you don't get the travel credit returned to you if you subsequently cancel your booking; instead, it simply remains on your statement!)

Lastly, the Platinum Concierge is worth a brief mention. They're an extremely professional "global concierge" team that's able to help you out with any and all requests you may have, wherever you are. In the past, they've helped me out with everything from restaurant bookings to last-minute flower orders.

They aren't miracle workers, so don't expect them to be able to snag a spot for you at the hottest restaurant in town for tomorrow evening, but they will proactively put you on the waitlist or look to confirm a spot for you on some future date. Personally, I do find it incredibly useful to have a capable, service-oriented Platinum Concierge just a call away.

Insurance Coverage

As a premium travel credit card, you can be sure that the Platinum Card's insurance coverage is top-drawer as well. In fact, the card offers all of the basic travel coverage items (emergency medical insurance up to $5,000,000, travel accident insurance up to $500,000, flight delay, trip interruption, etc.) plus the following key covered items:

  • Trip cancellation insurance for non-refundable prepaid trip expenses, up to $3,000 for all insured persons combined, when you need to cancel a trip for a covered reason

  • Baggage delay insurance, up to $1,000 (aggregate total with Flight Delay insurance), for items purchased within four days when your baggage is delayed – this is different from lost and stolen baggage insurance, which doesn't cover delays

If you've ever had your baggage delayed because an airline left it somewhere along the way, you'll know all about the nail-biting wait for getting your stuff back. (If not, just know that it happens to everyone eventually.)

I was recently in a situation where the airline had mishandled my bags and left them in a connecting city, and the card I had booked the ticket with came with coverage for lost and stolen baggage but not delayed baggage, leaving me to cover my costs for a few days out-of-pocket. With the Platinum Card, you'll be able to rest easy knowing that you are covered in the event that your bags go sightseeing on their own for a little while.

Apply Now

American Express recently abolished their minimum income requirements, meaning that anyone can apply for this card. Note that applying without a referral link (i.e., straight through the Amex website) will only give a 50,000 MR signup bonus, rather than 60,000. If you do decide to apply through a referral, I would as always be grateful if you chose to support the website by using my link below.

Of course, if you already hold another Membership Rewards card, it would be most lucrative to use your own referral link to apply!

Any questions? Contact me.