American Express credit cards overview
American Express is the smallest of the three major credit card companies in Canada, in terms of how many credit cards it offers and where they are accepted. The company currently offers four personal credit cards in just its own name – not attached to any outside partners – as well as a few business credit cards, and a number of rewards credit cards with their partners.
The 4 personal credit cards American Express offers are its 2 x SimplyCash Cards, the American Express Gold Rewards Card and the Platinum Card. The SimplyCash Cards are cash back credit cards that offer as much as 5% cash back for the first 6 months, then 1.25-1.5% afterwards. The American Express Gold Rewards Card is one of the most popular American Express credit cards in Canada, as it comes with a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points (which can be redeemed to cover travel expenses) and offers double points on eligible purchases. Finally, the Platinum Card is the most high-end credit card in Canada, as its $699 annual fee gives you 50,000 Membership Rewards points and access to the First Tier of American Express’ Membership Rewards Program.
American Express Membership Rewards points
Depending on whether you go Gold or Platinum, the Membership Rewards points you earn with your American Express credit card can be redeemed for any number of things:
The American Express Gold Rewards Card is a travel rewards credit card that knows no boundaries. On top of the 25,000 points bonus, you can earn 1-2 points for every $1 spent at specific retailers. You then have two options to redeem your points: you can either book a trip with your credit card, then call American Express and ask them to redeem your points, or you can transfer your points (1:1 ratio) to a number of frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs.
If you’re a Platinum Card holder, you are automatically enrolled in the First Tier of American Express’ Membership Rewards Program. Along with your 50,000 points bonus, you earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent on the card. You can then choose to transfer your points (1:1 ratio) to to a number of frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs, or redeem them directly through American Express. The Platinum Card also gives you access to their other benefits, including: the Canadian Platinum Lounge Benefit, Airport Club Program, complimentary and discounted companion tickets and upgrades, and lodging benefits at a collection of over 700 hotels and resorts around the world.
American Express credit card partnerships
American Express has always been fairly selective about who they team up with. American Express’s current credit card partnerships include:
Aeroplan: American Express offers 3 Aeroplan credit cards: the American Express AeroplanPlus Card, American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card and American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card. Each card comes with a welcome bonus of some free Aeroplan miles (more as you move up the tiers) and helps you earn Aeroplan miles with every purchase. The American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card is one of the most popular American Express credit cards in Canada.
AIR MILES: Similarly, American Express also offers 3 AIR MILES credit cards: the American Express AIR MILES Card, American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card and American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card. Each card comes with a welcome bonus of some free AIR MILES (more as you move up the tiers) and helps you earn AIR MILES Rewards Miles.
Holt Renfrew: The Holt Renfrew Card from American Express has no annual fee and lets you earn 1.4 Holt Renfrew Rewards Points for virtually every dollar you charge to the card at Holt Renfrew stores. You can also earn 1 Holt Renfrew Rewards Point for every dollar spent anywhere else, and will receive invitations to exclusive Holt Renfrew events.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG): The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express comes with a welcome bonus of 10,000 free Starpoints (3 free nights). With every purchase you make, you will also earn 1 Starpoint per $1, and can earn extra bonuses depending on how much you spend on the card each year.
Scotiabank: Currently, Scotiabank is the only bank in Canada to offer American Express credit cards. One of the most popular American Express credit cards in Canada is the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, which comes with a welcome bonus of 30,000 Scotia Rewards points and lets you earn 4x the points for every $1 spent at certain retailers. They also offer the Scotiabank American Express Card, which comes with a welcome bonus of 5,000 Scotia Rewards points and lets you earn 2x the points for every $1 spent.
American Express also used to be the only credit card company to have a partnership with Costco, until 2014 when that relationship ended and Costco decided to offer its members a Capital One MasterCard credit card instead.
More on American Express
American Express (also known as Amex) is a multi-national financial services corporation that offers a variety of credit cards, charge cards, travel insurance and traveler’s cheques. While Amex cards are said to account for 24% of the total dollar volume of credit card transactions in the U.S. , The Nilson Report showed that American Express held just 3.8% of the market share of purchase transactions made worldwide in 2013. American Express operates in more than 140 countries.
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