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The best American Express credit cards in Canada for 2024

Natasha-M 1
Natasha Macmillan, Business Unit Director - Everyday Banking

April 19, 2024

Explore the best variety of American Express credit cards, tailored to meet your unique needs. Compare, choose, and apply today for a card that matches your purchasing habits.

Compare Canada’s best American Express credit cards

The best American Express credit cards in Canada for 2023

When it comes to premium perks and top-notch rewards, American Express is virtually unmatched. Plus, more Canadian businesses are accepting AMEX cards than ever before, making it a great time to consider one. While American Express may be the smallest of the three major credit card companies in Canada (the others being Visa and Mastercard), it’s also the only one to issue its own credit cards rather than rely on a bank or credit union.

Best overall American Express card


4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $156 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

15,000 bonus points (a $150 value)

Annual fee

$156's take

What makes the American Express Cobalt arguably the best rewards card in Canada is its impressive array of bonus categories. Users can earn a whopping five points per dollar on groceries, restaurants, bars, and food deliveries, three points per dollar on eligible streaming subscriptions, two points per dollar on ride shares, transit and gas, and one point per dollar on everything else.

While the card’s annual fee is a little higher than average at $156, its manageable $12.99/month payment schedule makes it easy to handle. Plus, in your first year with the card, you can earn 1,250 points for each month you spend $750, up to a maximum of 15,000 points.

Outside of its generous welcome offer and point values, the American Express Cobalt also provides flexible point redemption options for travellers.

Users have the choice to either:

  • redeem points for hotel stays or flights on virtually any airline at a flat rate of $10 per 1000 (1 cent per point)
  • use AMEX’s Fixed Points Travel Program to get special redemption rates and potentially earn up to 50%-75% more point value on round trip flights out of Canada
  • transfer points to select hotel partners like Marriott Bonvoy
  • use the Pay with Points program to use your points for regular card purchases like gas and groceries
  • transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs

It also won't cost you extra to add authorized users, meaning you'll avoid annual fees should you have to share the account with a loved one.

The American Express Cobalt also provides a wide variety of insurance benefits, including:

  • travel emergency medical ($5 million for 15 days) 
  • travel accident ($500,000), $500
  • flight interruption
  • baggage loss/delay
  • car rental collision/loss damage waiver for vehicles up to $85,000

Also, as with many other Amex cards, users get access to ticket presales and reserved seats for concerts, movie screenings, and culinary events, along with other special offers.


  • Earn 5x points per dollar on groceries, restaurants, bars, and food deliveries (one of the best earn rates in Canada for this category), 2x points on transportation and travel, 3x points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada
  • Welcome offer - earn 1,250 points for each month you spend $750, up to a maximum of 15,000 points.
  • Very flexible point redemption options - use Fixed Points Travel Program for flights/hotels, or Pay with Points program for everyday purchases like gas and groceries
  • Ability to transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer programs, earning you even more
  • No cost for additional users
  • Comprehensive travel insurance


  • Annual fee of $156 is higher than average (but is paid monthly)

Best cash back American Express card


4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Everyday spending

First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

1.25% – 2% earn rate

Welcome bonus


Annual fee

$0's take

Offering no annual fee, a generous welcome bonus, and no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, the American Express SimplyCash card should catch the eye of anyone looking for a solid flat-rate cash back card with a few extra perks.

New users who apply for the card are able to earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you make at least $300 in purchases (for a total value of up to $100).  There’s also no annual fee for additional cardholders, so you can earn even more by adding extra users to your account. And, if you have a friend or family member who would rather have their own card, a successful referral will net you an additional $750 in cash back. 

While the American Express SimplyCash comes with the standard purchase protection and buyer’s assurance coverage typical to cards of this type, it has one feature that makes it stand out among competitors: $100,000 travel accident insurance - a rarity among non-travel cards with no annual fee. 


  • No annual fee for primary or additional cardholders
  • Welcome bonus - earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you make at least $300 in purchases (for a total value of up to $100). 
  • Earn an extra $750 cash back for a successful referral - a huge bonus when you combine it with the potential earnings of the welcome offer
  • Features $100,000 in travel accident insurance - a rarity among non-travel no-fee cards


  • The card’s standard earn rate of 1.25% isn’t particularly compelling when stacked up against some other no-fee cash back cards
  • Not a lot of redemption flexibility - cash back can only be applied once a year as a statement credit 

Best no-fee American Express card


First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $0 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

10,000 bonus points (a $100 value)

Annual fee

$0's take

The American Express Green Card takes our prize for best no-fee American Express card due to its healthy welcome bonus, point accelerator for travel purchases, and redemption flexibility.

New cardholders can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first three months of cardmembership. After that, you’ll get a standard earn rate of one point per dollar, but you can double that when you book travel expenses through American Express Travel. 

Another great feature of this card is how many redemption options you’re given. Users can choose to cash in their points on travel (booked on American Express Travel Online through the Flexible Points Travel Program), gift cards and merchandise through Membership Rewards, groceries and other everyday purchases through Pay with Points, or eligible purchases at Not only that, but you can also transfer your points to travel loyalty programs such as Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy.

And, of course, American Express Green Card users will also enjoy the same benefits as all AMEX cardholders: Front of the Line presales and reserved tickets as well as American Express Experiences ranging from entertainment, dining, and retail.


  • No annual fee
  • Welcome bonus - earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first three months of cardmembership.
  • Opportunity to effectively double your points when booking travel through American Express Travel
  • Flexible redemption options: travel, gift cards/merchandise, everyday purchases, 
  • Transfer your points to loyalty programs like Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy


  • Standard earn rate of one point per dollar isn’t particularly competitive with other no fee rewards cards
  • Fairly lean insurance package extended warranty and purchase protection only. If you’re interested in more comprehensive coverage, other no fee cards offer more in this area.

Best American Express travel card


4.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & gas

First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $250 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 2pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

60,000 bonus points (a $600 value)

Annual fee

$250's take

If you’re an American Express fan looking for a flexible travel card with a great welcome bonus, the American Express Gold Rewards Card should be on your radar.

The card offers a respectable two points per dollar spent at eligible gas stations, drug and grocery stores in Canada. You'll also earn two points per dollar on eligible travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more). Outside of that, you'll earn one point per dollar spent in all other categories.To redeem points, simply log in to your account for a statement credit.

One excellent feature of the American Express Gold Rewards card is its generous signup offer - earn up to 60,000 Membership Rewards points.

Another thing that makes the American Express membership rewards points so appealing is the fact that you can transfer them to Aeroplan and Avios on a 1:1 basis. Points can also be transferred to other programs, including but not limited to the Starwood Preferred Guest, Asia Miles, and Delta SkyMiles programs. Plus, American Express points don’t expire, so you can transfer your points only when you need to. While travelling abroad, there's certainly no shortage of perks with the American Express Gold Rewards card.

You'll also be treated to complimentary membership in Priority Pass™  – one of the world’s largest independent airport lounge programs. Enjoy complimentary refreshments and WiFi as you wait for your flight in a quiet, spacious atmosphere. In addition to that, you’ll get to enjoy four complimentary visits per calendar year to Plaza Premium Lounges across Canada. Enrolment is required and entry fees apply. Plus, the card comes with a thorough travel insurance package, covering you in case of out of province/country emergency medical, trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, and more.

As an added bonus for frequent travellers to the U.S., you'll also receive a $50 CAD statement credit when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your American Express Gold Rewards Card.


  • 2x points per dollar spent at eligible gas stations, drug and grocery stores in Canada, and  eligible travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more)
  • Welcome bonus - earn up to 60,000 Membership Rewards points.
  • One free additional Gold Rewards card (a $50 value) - allowing you to earn more even faster
  • $100 CAD annual travel credit - offsetting the card’s annual fee
  • Transfer points 1:1 to a number of different loyalty programs (Aeroplan, Avios, etc.)
  • Complimentary Priority Pass™ membership granting you access to a wide network of airport lounges worldwide
  • Extensive travel insurance package
  • $50 CAD NEXUS statement credit


  • Annual fee of $250 may be prohibitive to some users

Best American Express low interest card



Purchase interest rate

Pay $5/mo

Based on a credit balance of $500

Annual fee

$25's take

The American Express Essential card is great credit card option for those looking for a credit card with a low interest rate and the additional benefits and perks that come with American Express, such as Front-of-the-Line Experience, special offers, concierge services, etc. The card has no annual fee and offers a competitive interest rate on purchases and balance transfers (12.99%). 


  • Access to presale tickets, exclusive events, and curated dining and entertainment experiences
  • No annual fee and low annual income requirement ($15,000), making it readily accessible 
  • Allows cardholder to pay off larger purchases in instalments for a fixed monthly fee through Plan It


  • Welcome offer - None 

Best American Express business card


First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $99 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 10pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

67,000 bonus points (a $670 value)

Annual fee

$99' take

The American Express Business Edge Card should be any small business owner's credit card  of choice to earn great rewards on monthly office expenses and streamline their expenses. This card offers a simple and flexible rewards program, with regards earned on all purchases and no restrictions on how rewards can be redeemed. Here are some additional features you can expect with this card:

  • Generous welcome offer - earn up to 67,000 welcome bonus Membership Rewards points.
  • Healthy earn rate on everyday business spending
  • Access to exclusive business benefits, including travel insurance, purchase protection and savings on office supplies
  • A maximum of 99 additional employee cards can be added to the primary cardholder account, which is considerably higher than other business credit cards


  • American Express is accepted at many but not all retailers; Visa and Mastercard are more readily accepted

Best American Express premium card


5.0 Ratehub rated

Best for Premium perks

First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $799 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 2pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

70,000 bonus points (a $700 value)

Anniversary bonus

30,000 pts (a $300 value)

Annual fee

$799 take

When it comes to extra perks, the American Express Platinum Card is in a class all its own and is very easily classified as the best premium credit card in Canada. While its annual fee isn't cheap, the American Express Platinum Card offers all the bells and whistles and benefits that make it worthwhile making it a traveller’s dream credit card.  The perks offered with this card include: 

  • Very lucrative welcome bonus - earn up to 100,000 rewards points ($1,000 value). Conditions apply.
  • High earn rate on dining and travel purchases 
  • No minimum income requirement - a rarity for a card of this calibre
  • Complimentary airport lounge access with unlimited passes to Priority Pass and Centurion lounges 
  • Dedicated 24/7 concierge service
  • Annual $200 travel credit
  • Best in class travel insurance coverage and VIP benefits at Toronto Pearson Airport including access to Pearson Priority Security Lane, free valet parking (usually a $25 fee), and 15% discount on parking as a statement credit
  • Upgraded gold hotel status with Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards and Hilton Honors and car rental privileges with Hertz and Avis 
  • Transfer point 1:1 to several frequent flyer programs


  • $799 annual fee is very steep and could pose a barrier to some cardholders

Cards summary (+/-)

Our guide to American Express credit cards

American Express Membership Rewards points

The American Express Membership Rewards points program is often touted as the best in Canada due to its great value and flexible redemption options.

Depending on if you go for the American Express Cobalt, Gold or Platinum cards, the rewards points you earn can be redeemed for any number of things:

  • Flexible Points Travel Program: lets you redeem points for virtually any travel expense (including flights, hotel stays, vacation packages, and car rentals) in flat increments of 1,000 points for $10. You can charge the travel expense to your credit card and apply points against the purchase retroactively at a later date to offset the cost.
    • American Express Cobalt, Gold or Platinum cards are all eligible
  • Fixed Points Travel Program: lets you redeem points for only round-trip flights out of Canada according to a chart. This chart breaks up potential travel destinations into six regions - each requiring a set number of points (i.e. 60,000 points for a flight to Europe or 100,000 points for a flight to the Middle East). While slightly less intuitive than the aforementioned Flexible Points Travel Program, you can get far greater value (anywhere from 1.75 cents to 2 cents per point) provided you book the right flight and utilize the chart to your advantage.
  • Airline Transfers: With this option, you can transfer your points (often at a 1:1 ratio) to a number of frequent flyer programs including Aeroplan and British Airways Avios. Done right, these transfers can help open up the door to even more opportunities to maximize your points values by leveraging the power of other loyalty programs - not just Amex's own program.
    • Gold or Platinum cards are eligible (the American Express Cobalt is not)

  • Hotel Transfers: Similar to airline loyalty program transfers, you can transfer the points you earn on your American Express card to either the Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honours programs. 
    • American Express Cobalt, Gold or Platinum are all eligible

  • Other rewards (American Express Cobalt, Gold or Platinum are eligible)
    • Ticketmaster: 2,000 points for $20 (1 cent per point)
    • Gift cards: (varies but averages around 0.7-0.8 cents per point)
    • Statement credits: 1,000 points for $7 (0.7 cents per point)

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:

  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Scotiabank:
  • Holt Renfrew(NOW DISCONTINUED) 

What is the difference between a charge card and a credit card?

American Express has the distinction of being the last major provider to offer charge cards and credit cards, and while they may seem similar there are a few things that set each apart. 

The main feature that separates the two is the ability to carry over a balance. While credit cards allow you to do this while accumulating interest, charge cards typically require you to pay off what you owe in full each month. Because of this, you won’t incur compounding interest and debt the way you would with a credit card. Another benefit of a charge card is that they don’t carry a pre-set spending limit the way credit cards do. This can allow you to make large-scale purchases as needed without worrying about maxing out your card and hurting your credit. It also won’t affect your credit utilization ratio, as credit bureaus don’t take charge card balances into consideration during this calculation. Both can still help you build your credit, however.

That being said, don’t interpret this as a license to spend as much as you want on the card. You’ll still have a ceiling dictated by your card usage and credit history, among other things. Often you’ll be able to check ahead to see if a purchase you intend to make will be approved by calling your provider or logging onto your online account.

What happens if you don’t pay your charge card’s full balance on time?

You’ll be hit with a late fee, which can be just as damaging to your credit as non-payment of a credit card bill. With credit cards, you’re allowed to make a minimum payment to satisfy your bill each month. With charge cards, it’s all or nothing. If you don’t pay in full, you’ll be penalized.

Because of this, eligibility requirements for charge cards are often much stricter than for credit cards. While certain credit cards are designed for those with less-than-stellar credit, charge cards require a good-to-excellent score for approval.

If you’re interested in getting a charge card, American Express currently offers the Aeroplan Card.

What is the American Express Front of the Line program?

American Express Front of the Line is a perks and rewards program found on every American Express credit card, no matter the tier or annual fee. It allows members to get special access to presale tickets and reserved seating for major concerts and theatre events.


Reserved seating

When it comes to high-demand concerts, it’s never fun having to click the refresh button over and over to secure good seats for you and your friends. With AMEX Front of the Line, however, entire blocks of seating are reserved specifically for members to purchase ahead of time. This way, you’re not competing with nearly as many other fans for coveted tickets, and you can get a better shot at the best seat in the house.


Ticket presales

With tickets to big-name concerts getting harder and harder to secure, access to presales is essential if you want to ensure you don’t miss out. AMEX Front of the Line ticket presales allow you to get in before the general onsale starts, giving you a much-needed head start. 


Redeeming points for tickets

One great feature of this program is the ability to redeem your Membership Rewards points for event tickets through Ticketmaster.

Simply select the option “Membership Rewards Points from American Express” as a payment method during checkout and enter your card information. You can use your points to pay for part of your tickets or the whole thing, depending on how much you’ve collected, but there is a minimum usage of 2000 points. 

Your card will get charged for the total cost, but a statement credit for the applied points will be applied to your account within 48 hours.


How many American Express cards can I have?

What is the best American Express credit card?

Natasha Macmillan, Business Director of Everyday Banking

With over a decade of experience in the finance industry, Natasha works closely with Canada's top financial institutions - from banks to credit unions - to help's 1,200,000 monthly users get matched with the right banking products. read full bio

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