Need a travel credit card?
Deciding between the many bonus offers and various Amex/ Mastercard/ Visas, and Aeroplan, Air Miles, World Elites, First Class Travel, Avions, and Aspire Travels of the world? We’ve tried many. But we’ve decided. We think the best travel credit card in Canada is the American Express (Amex) Platinum card. Yes, it’s got a $699 fee per year, but if you travel by air more than once or twice per year, it may be worth it for you (especially the first year which is filled with bonuses that might even leave you coming out ahead!).
The Cost, and the Perks
The card is $699 per year, and although this seems exorbitant, you can come out ahead if you think of the $200 travel benefit, the 50- to- 60,000 bonus points (see details below) equivalent to at least $600 of value, unlimited airport lounge access, and the incredible travel insurance benefits that can put other cards to shame. For us, the best part of the card is the airport lounge access, as we find these lounges a great place to relax before a flight (not to mention indulge in some free liquor and eats). One inclusion is Priority Pass Prestige membership, which gives Canadian cardholders of the Amex Platinum unlimited access to lounges when flying, along with a guest. This is a $399USD value, included with the card. (The Business Platinum and US versions of the card don’t even come with this highest-level membership of Priority Pass.) Other lounge memberships are included, as well (including Amex lounge at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.) Just keep in mind, with Amex, you just cannot carry a balance and need to pay off your bills monthly as the interest rates are sky-high (think of it as a charge card, not credit card).
Interested? Want to apply? Feel free to use our referral link and apply here – applying through this link will give you 60,000 bonus points (instead of the regular 50,000 points), equivalent to $600 of credit you can apply towards future travel expenses (defined quite broadly) on your Amex bill. The main downside of this is you have to spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, which might be a difficult proposition for some, depending of availability of Amex-accepting merchants in your sphere of spending. These 60,000 Amex Rewards points can also be converted, if you wish, to other points programs – for example, 60,000 Aeroplan miles, which can garner you two round-trip flights to anywhere in North America, and is halfway towards getting you towards a business class trip to Europe, for example (a far better use of Aeroplan points). Don’t forget ways to travel-hack Aeroplan to create yourself an amazing multi-stop itinerary.
I was impressed from the get-go as I received the card in just a few days, in a fancy leather-like portfolio with intriguing documentation pamphlets inside (intriguing, as in they described the various benefits in a way that made me hungry to use the card!). I look forward to all our upcoming flights so we can use the lounge access, insurance coverage, and maximize our points.
(Again, feel free to apply through our personal referral link, which will give us bonus points, and will reward you with an additional 10,000 Amex points, valued at about $100+. You certainly don’t have to use our link but we appreciate if you do. Feel free to ask us any questions about the Platinum experience by email or in the comments below.)
Summary of benefits (see more at Amex’s page):
- Complimentary Airport Lounge Access (Priority Pass Prestige, Amex Lounge Toronto, etc.)
- $200 Annual Travel Credit
- International Airline Program (“discounted companion tickets, complimentary upgrades, or special discounted airfares”
- Special benefits at Toronto Pearson (priority lane, valet service, etc)
- Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Premium Hotel Program Membership (upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest “Gold” status, etc)
- Platinum Card Travel Service (access to “experienced travel counsellors”)
- Preferred Golf Membership (“complimentary Preferred Golf Membership for a full year, no strings attached – a $295 USD value”)
- Car Rental Programs
- Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)
- Car Rental Theft Damage Insurance
- Flight Delay Insurance
- Baggage Delay Insurance
- Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
- Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
- $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
- Travel Emergency Assistance
- StandbyMDSM Travel Medical Concierge
- Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Trip Interruption Insurance