Overview of the SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express
On all purchases4%
On eligible gas station purchases in Canada & on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually), groceries
SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express details
- Annual fee
- Earn 2% on all purchases, 4% on eligible gas station purchases in Canada & on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually), groceries
- Average point value
- Purchase interest rate
- Cash advance interest rate
- Balance transfer interest rate
- Minimum income
- Any amount
- Household income
- Any amount
- Recommended credit score
- American Express
- American Express
- Card type
- Cash back
Detailed card summary
Benefits & features
- In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months
- Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases
- Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually) and 2% cash back on all other purchases
- Access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences
- Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
- American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.
How to redeem
Credit to statement balance annually in August
How to get approved
- Minimum income Any
- Household income Any
- Recommended credit score 660+
- You are a permanent Canadian resident and have reached the age of majority in the province in which you live.
American Express SimplyCash Preferred – Quick review
- Earn an unlimited 2% cash back on everything you buy – the highest flat-earn rate of any cash back credit card in Canada.
- Thanks to its flat earn rate, you’ll get double the cash back on categories that don’t get much love from other cash back cards (think online shopping, consumer electronics, clothing, furniture, and more).
- The card’s annual fee of $99 is below average when compared to similar premium rewards cards, which typically charge anywhere from $120 to $150.
- Adding authorized users is free, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to share a single account with a partner or family member.
- Despite being a cash back credit card, it comes with comprehensive travel insurance benefits including emergency travel medical insurance, lost/delayed baggage coverage, and rental car insurance.
- Cardholders will gain American Express Front Of The Line benefits, including the ability to purchase and reserve pre-sale tickets to live events from concerts and theatre shows to sporting events, and more.
- You won’t need to meet a specific income requirement in order to qualify for the card.
- Cash back is only redeemable once per calendar year in September.
- While American Express is accepted at over 90,000 locations across Canada, the SimplyCash Preferred isn’t as universally accepted as Mastercard or Visa credit cards.
- Depending on your particular spending habits, a credit card with bonus categories (such as the TD CashBack Visa Infinite, which earns 3% on groceries, gas, and recurring bills but just 1% on everything else) might be a better match for you.
American Express SimplyCash Preferred – Detailed review
In a clear nod to its name, earning and redeeming rewards on the SimplyCash Preferred is about as simple as it gets. You’ll earn the same flat 2% cash back on everything you buy – from groceries and gas to online shopping – and there are no limits, caps, or tiered earn rates. There isn’t another rewards card in Canada that offers a higher flat-rate.
As a cash back card, you also won’t have to devote any brain power to working out complicated rewards charts or calculating redemption values as you’ll earn the same 2 cents on every dollar spent and the savings will automatically be deducted from your balance.
The fact it’s got a flat earn rate makes the card a particularly great fit for miscellaneous everyday purchases that aren’t categorized under conventional bonus categories. For instance, while most cash back cards will earn you between 0.5% and 1% on everything from online shopping to clothes and consumer electronics, the SimplyCash Preferred will earn you double that at 2%.
For all its advantages though, there are a few drawbacks you’ll want to take into account.
One disadvantage is you can only access your cash back rewards once every calendar year in September. That’s considerably less flexible when compared to cards like the BMO CashBack Mastercard and TD CashBack Visa Infinite, which allow you to redeem your cash back at any time in the year.
You’ll also want to ensure the SimplyCash Preferred fits with your particular spending habits. If a disproportionately big chunk of your monthly budget is spent towards groceries, you may want to consider an alternative card that has groceries as a bonus category (for instance, the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite earns 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bills and 1% on most other everyday purchases).
Our CardFinder Tool can help you find the right credit card for your particular spending habits.
While the SimplyCash Preferred isn’t a travel credit card, it does offer a comprehensive suite of insurance benefits that’ll help you save and keep you covered when travelling out of the country or province.
Insurance will apply automatically provided you pay for the entire cost of the travel expense on your card.
|Emergency travel medical insurance||$5,000,000 (trips up to 15 days) for cardholders under 65|
|Travel accident||Up to $100,000|
|Car rental insurance||Up to $85,000 (a coverage period of 48 days)|
|Lost/stolen baggage||Up to $500 per trip|
|Delayed baggage||Up to $500 per trip (after 6 hours)|
|Flight delay insurance||Up to $500 (after 4 hours delay)|
|Hotel/motel burglary insurance||Up to $500 (in the US and Canada)|
There a few areas where the SimplyCash Preferred’s insurance benefits stand out:
- The emergency travel medical insurance offers up to $5,000,000 in coverage – which is a higher maximum coverage amount than the average of $1,000,000 provided by many full-fledged travel cards
- Car rental insurance will cover vehicles with an MSRP of $85,000 versus the standard of $65,000 – which means you can rent a more expensive luxury vehicle while will still receiving coverage
- Hotel/motel burglary insurance is included for hotel stays within the US and Canada, which is a more niche offering that’s often lacking on many travel cards.
The drawbacks? Travel medical insurance lasts up to a maximum of 15 days per trip, which means you’ll have to pay for additional coverage on longer getaways. Plus, there isn’t complimentary coverage for senior cardholders or travel companions.
Like virtually all other credit cards, the SimplyCash Preferred also includes automatic extended warranties (up to one additional year) and purchase protection (insures lost or stolen items up to 90 days from the purchase date).
It’s helpful to think of Amex Offers as an online coupon book. Available right from the Amex app or online portal, it includes a curated list of discounts from a changing roster of retailers. In the past, discounts included up to 10% off contact lenses from Clearly and select furniture purchases from Wayfair.
While nothing earth-shattering, it’s a great nice-to-have that can help you rack up some additional savings. Admittingly though, the selection of discounts and retailers is quite limited and we’d love for more choice.
Amex Front Of The Line
With Amex Front of the Line, cardholders can purchase pre-sale tickets or reserve seats to some of the biggest live events in Canada – from concerts and theatre shows to sports events, restaurants openings, and more. The ability to snag tickets before they’re widely available to the general public is a huge perk and can mean the difference between attending your favourite concert and missing out.
Fees and application requirements
As we’ve already covered, the SimplyCash Preferred has a $99 annual fee, which is slightly below average when pitted against similar tiered cards that often charge between $120 to $150. The annual fee is charged every twelve months from the date you first signed up for your card.
In our opinion, paying the annual fee is well worth the cost of admission and you can earn far more in cash back (and access valuable side perks) that are worth well more than the annual fee.
Generally speaking, this card is best suited for people who spend an average of at least $1,100 every month. If you spend below that threshold, you might not earn enough cash back rewards to offset the card’s annual fee and you may want to consider a no-fee alternative (like the SimplyCash that earns 1.25% on everything). Note though, paying the annual fee can also be worth it just to access the card’s side perks (like rental car coverage and travel insurance) which aren’t typically offered by no fee cards and would otherwise cost well over $100 when paid for out-of-pocket.
The annual fee on the SimplyCash Preferred isn’t waived for the first year and can’t be rebated by signing up for a premium chequing account (like you can with other credit cards from Canada’s big banks). All that said, you can earn far more in rewards than it costs to carry.
While American Express is synonymous with charge cards, the SimplyCash Preferred is a conventional credit card. You have the option to carry a balance from month-to-month, and like almost every rewards credit card, it has a 19.99% purchase interest rate that can be completely avoided as long as you pay off your balance owing in full every month. The SimplyCash Preferred also has a 21.99% annual interest on cash advances and balances transfers, which again, fits with what most conventional rewards cards charge.
In short: like any rewards credit card, the American Express SimplyCash Preferred is only truly beneficial to cardholders who consistently pay off their balance in full and avoid interest charges.
- American Express does offer a feature called Plan It which acts as an installment plan, helping transform credit card bills into more manageable and predictable monthly payments.
- If you do regularly carry a balance from month-to-month, we’d recommend checking out our list of the best low interest credit cards in Canada.
Unlike its Visa or Mastercard alternatives, the SimplyCash Preferred doesn’t have a specific income requirement making it one of the best and most widely accessible cash back credit cards in Canada. You will need to be employed and earn some form of consistent income, however, and it’s recommended you have a credit score of at least 660. Before applying, we suggest checking your own credit score and using our CardFinder Tool to see if you’re eligible. Remember, checking your own credit score won’t have any impact on your credit rating.
American Express acceptance
It’s a sticking point that’s led many to (in our opinion, unfairly) completely dismiss American Express credit cards: AMEX isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.
Potential cardholders should know American Express is accepted at over 90,000 locations across Canada including most big box stores (think Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Home Depot), virtually all fast-food chains, and a countless number of cafes, restaurants, and groceries (including Metro, Sobeys, Farm Boy, Longo’s, and more). Most online e-stores and food delivery apps also accept AMEX.
That said, it’s a fact American Express isn’t accepted everywhere, particularly at smaller, mom-and-pop stores and independently-run dining establishments. Some notable exceptions where AMEX isn’t accepted include Loblaws’ chain of grocery stores (that encompasses no Frills) and Costco (which doesn’t accept Visa cards either).
As an AMEX cardholder, it’s always a good idea to carry a second no-fee rewards credit card with either a Visa or Mastercard badge in your wallet in the event you’re shopping at a merchant that doesn’t accept AMEX. One of our personal favourites is the no fee Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard.
The bottom line
The American Express SimplyCash Preferred easily lands a spot as one of the best credit cards in Canada – with an unbeatable 2% cash back rate across the board on all purchases, a below-average annual fee, lucrative welcome offer, and a comprehensive suite of side perks.
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