Are you looking for the perfect credit card for travelling?
The American Express Platinum card was launched in 1984 for the Canadian and US markets. Since then, it’s become one of the top cards offered by the company.
Although the card has an expensive annual fee, cardholders can take advantage of exclusive travel benefits (including access to the AMEX lounge at international airports), get free travel insurance benefits, and earn points on a variety of different purchases.
Interested in learning more about one of Canada’s top-rated credit cards?
Keep on reading this AMEX Platinum Canada review.
Set flexible spending limits, earn 3x points on dining and food expenses, 2x points on travel expenses, and get $200 of annual travel credit for an annual fee of $699.
- Earn up to 80,000 bonus points ($800 worth) during your first year
- Earn triple points on dining and groceries
- Earn double points on eligible travel expenses
- $200 worth of annual travel credit
- Set flexible spending limits
- Lending options
- 0% APR when the card is paid-in-full every month
- $699 annual fee
- $175 to add additional card users
- You need a high credit score to apply
American Express Platinum Card: Overview
The Platinum card is one of the most popular (and prestigious) cards offered by American Express. It’s been around for over three decades, and during that time, it’s developed a reputation for being one of the best credit cards for travel.
The AMEX Platinum card isn’t like most “starter” credit cards, though.
For starters, you need to have a good or excellent FICO credit score. Secondly, you have to pay a costly annual fee to keep your card open.
However, if you’re approved for the card, you’ll be able to take advantage of some really nice travel perks, get free travel credit, and even earn up to $800 worth of points during your first year as a card member.
The AMEX Platinum card is a professional card that’s designed for professional spenders. If you’re just getting started building your credit score, then you may be better off looking for an introductory card.
To increase your chances of getting approved for the American Express Platinum card, you’ll want to have a credit score of at least 670.
A 670 FICO score is considered good, and is the minimum score you’ll need to even be considered for the card. Considering that applying to the card will result in a hard credit inquiry, I recommend waiting until your credit score is 700 or greater to apply.
Other factors that could affect your approval for the card include:
- Your recent payment history
- Your debt-to-income ratio
- How many other accounts you have open
- The length of your credit history
Another thing to keep in mind when applying to any American Express card is the 2-in-90 rule. In short, applicants can only get approved for two AMEX cards every 90 days. If you’ve recently applied for or been approved for another AMEX card, then you may want to wait 90 days before applying for the Platinum card.
The Platinum card isn’t like most traditional credit cards. Instead, it operates like a charge card. These types of cards don’t charge interest like a traditional credit card, as cardholders are expected to pay their balance in full every month.
That being said, the Platinum card offers flexible lending options for long-term financing with its Pay Over Time feature. This feature can be used to finance more expensive purchases and entails a variable interest rate that can range between 20% and 30%, depending on various factors.
Here’s the next kicker (and my one qualm with this card) – the Platinum card requires cardholders to pay an annual fee of $699 every year.
If you use the card often and maximize your points, then this annual fee could be justified. However, with this annual fee, it’s clear that the AMEX Platinum card is best for big spenders.
To review, here’s a quick overview of the fees and rates for the American Express Platinum card:
- Annual Fee: $699
- Purchase APR: 0% (if the balance is paid monthly)
- Pay Over Time APR: Variable interest rate between 20-30%
Getting approved for the Platinum card is about the same as getting approved for any other major credit card in Canada, with the exception that you’ll need a good or excellent credit score. Here are the requirements:
- Applicant must be the age of majority in the province they reside in (at least 18)
- Applicant must be a legal resident of Canada
- Applicant must have a Canadian credit profile and score
Although this card comes with a rather costly annual fee, the AMEX Platinum card offers several opportunities to earn points, including the ability to double or triple points for certain spending categories.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how to earn points, so you can take full advantage of your card and offset the annual fee.
One of the key selling points of the Platinum card is that new cardholders are given the opportunity to earn up to 60,000 bonus points during the first year that they have the card and an additional 20,000 points in the second year.
That’s equivalent to $800 worth of free cashback credit that can be applied to virtually any purchase you make with the card.
Here’s how to get your free points:
- Earn 60,000 bonus points by charging $6,000 on the Platinum card during your first three months.
- Earn 20,000 bonus points when you make any purchase between 14 and 17 months of card membership.
The first bonus is awarded to encourage you to use your card upfront. The second bonus is awarded to ensure that you keep using your card as you move into your second year of card membership.
Like to eat out? Enjoy evening cocktails with your friends? If so, then you can earn triple points on all eligible purchases made from restaurants, bars, lounges, and even fast-food establishments.
That’s equivalent to 3% cashback on your purchase, which can really add up, especially if you’re travelling out of the country and eating out more often.
On the other hand, if you prefer to stay in, you can still earn triple points with food delivery services like SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, Uber Eats, local pizza delivery businesses, and more.
Unlike the AMEX Cobalt card, which offers triple points on dining and groceries, you won’t be able to earn extra on grocery shopping expenses with the Platinum card.
From airline tickets to hotels, ferry rides, trains, and more, you’ll be given the opportunity to double your points on all eligible travel expenses. This is on top of the travel perks and benefits that you’ll already have access to as an AMEX Platinum card holder (more on this below).
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to 2x your points when ridesharing or hailing local cabs, though.
Aside from dining, food delivery, and travel expenses, you’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.
Note that some travel or dining expenses may fall under the ‘everything else’ category if the merchant isn’t categorized within the AMEX system. This may occur while shopping at pop-up shops, food trucks, or other micro-businesses.
If you use the American Express Travel website to book your flights, hotels, and other travel-related expenses, then you’ll be able to earn an additional point for every dollar you spend.
This would mean that you’d effectively earn 3x points on travel expenses made through the American Express Travel website (2x standard travel points plus 1x bonus points).
The point system used by American Express cards is a little bit different from the cashback percentage rewards offered by other credit card companies. The concept is the same, but if you’re not used to it, then it may seem a bit confusing.
Here’s how it works:
- You’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend
- You’ll earn double or triple points, respectively, for eligible dining and travel expenses
- Each point is equivalent to $0.01 (10,000 points = $100)
- Points can be redeemed towards your Platinum card balance by covering card purchases
The 1x points you’ll earn on standard purchases is equivalent to earning 1% cashback, 2x points is equivalent to 2% cashback, and 3x points is equivalent to 3% cashback.
Now that you have a better idea of how this card’s point system works let’s take a quick look at some of the standout features that really make this card worth considering.
As an AMEX Platinum card holder, you’ll be offered $200 of annual travel credit every year on your sign-up anniversary. To redeem the $200, you’ll need to book your flight and travel accommodations through the American Express Travel platform.
The $200 cannot be transferred to the next year, and it must all be used at once.
As you use your card, you’ll begin accumulating points for every purchase you make. At any time, you can use the points towards expenses charged on the card. Whether you have $5 worth of points or $500 worth of points, you’ll be able to apply them to upcoming charges on your statement.
Unlike most credit cards, the Platinum card doesn’t have an official spending limit. However, this doesn’t mean that you have an unlimited spending limit. Your spending cap will be determined from one month to the next, depending on your credit score, payment history, and other factors.
As long as your credit and finances are in good standing, though, you won’t have to deal with the same restrictive limits imposed by traditional cards.
When you pay for eligible travel expenses with your Platinum card, you’ll automatically get to take advantage of free travel insurance benefits. Not only does this save you a lot of money (compared to purchasing separate travel insurance) but it also gives you more confidence as you travel.
Some of the key travel insurance benefits that you’ll have access to include:
- Up to $5 million in out-of-country or out-of-province medical insurance
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Flight delay and trip interruption insurance
- $1,000 hotel burglary insurance
- $85,000 of car rental and theft insurance
- $500,000 of accidental death coverage (which can be paid to your family)
If you travel globally, especially in remote areas, theft, accidents, and missed flights are an unfortunate part of life. These AMEX Platinum card travel benefits can really come in handy.
Have you ever wanted to hang out in the American Express airport lounge? In addition to lounge access, Platinum cardholders will also be able to take advantage of premium travel benefits, such as:
- Access to the priority security lane at the Toronto Pearson airport
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status
- Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Platinum concierge service through American Express
- Special deals on dining, spa treatments, room service, room upgrades, and more at affiliated resorts and hotels
While the Platinum card comes with a host of benefits, there are a few drawbacks that could be deal-breakers for some applicants.
The AMEX Platinum card has a $699 annual fee, which is one of the most expensive that I’ve seen on the market. If you travel frequently and spend between $30,000 and $70,000 annually on the card, then this fee cancels out.
Most credit card companies allow you to issue a card to additional users (such as your spouse or children) for free. However, American Express imposes a $175 fee for every additional card that you issue.
American Express charges higher card processing fees to merchants, compared to Visa and Mastercard, which means that you could end up spending more on certain retail purchases.
The AMEX Platinum card is not a beginner’s credit card. You’ll need a good or excellent credit score to apply, must be willing to pay the $699 annual fee, and must pay your statement in full every month to avoid penalties.
However, if you have an excellent credit score, earn six figures (or at least close to it), and frequently travel internationally, then this card can save you a lot of money. Plus, the travel perks and free travel insurance benefits you’ll receive with this card are some of the best offered by any credit card on the market.
Looking for a more beginner-friendly credit card?
Check out my list of the best credit cards for bad credit in Canada next!