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Monday, March 11, 2019

A closer look at the newly refreshed Platinum Card from American Express

 

The Platinum Card from American Express is now three weeks into its refresh and for the most part the changes have been well received.  Back on February 13th we detailed the refresh that saw two changes come to one of the best high end premium cards in Canada. The first change was the points earning structure and the second change is the introduction of the metal card that The Platinum Card has seen in other countries. The beauty of these changes was that they were brought in without changing any of the card's other benefits nor with an increase to the annual fee.

Now let's take a closer look as to why The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the best high end premium cards for Canadians:

Points Earning
 This was where the first major change happened with the refresh of this card. Prior to February 13 the card earned 1.25 points on all eligible purchases made on the card. Now the cards earns up to 3x points depending on the category:
  • 3 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible dining in Canada
  • 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible travel
  • 1 point for every $1 in all other Card purchases
As you can see two categories have increased earn while all other spending has gone down. The 3x points for dining is great and just like the Cobalt card, American Express has to legally word it 'in Canada' as that is all they can control but as long as a restaurant outside of Canada codes properly as dining you will earn the 3x points (this has been confirmed from Amex). I would recommend reading the following for additional details on dining outside of Canada:
The other increase is that the card now earns 2 points per dollar on travel spending - this should be global like the Gold Rewards Card and is a welcome increase. Here are examples of the 2x points already posting on some flights I booked:


The remainder of the spending does unfortunately drop to 1 point per dollar. I did a lot of shopping on my Platinum card to earn the 1.25 points where other cards don't have category bonuses and I will now have to reevaluate that spending.

I was told by American Express that they did lots of research and their numbers do show most spending on the Platinum Card is for dining and travel so for most people this should be a boon. Even if you don't have other cards and get 1 point per dollar, when you average out with your other spending you will most likely still be getting 1.25 points per dollar or more.

A deeper evaluation of this earn shows that the 3 points per dollar is also like earning 3 Aeroplan Miles or 3 British Airways Avios per dollar since Membership Rewards points transfer to those programs 1:1! That's huge and remember Amex typically offers a bonus once per year for transferring to British Airways so that 3 per dollar could go as high as 3.75 or higher depending on the bonus! No other cards can get you that many Aeroplan Miles or Avios on dining spend. For the 2 points per dollar on travel, this is the same as the Gold Rewards Card which means you can earn 2 Aeroplan Miles or Avios on travel spending, once again the highest earn for all around travel for those programs in Canada.

Points Redemption
When you redeem Membership Rewards points for their great Use Point for Purchases Travel option it means you'll be getting a 3% return on Dining, 2% return on Travel and a 1% return on all other purchases. Remember you only have to redeem as little as 1,000 points - you don't have to wait until you have the full amount of points and you can redeem up to 12 months AFTER the purchase posts to your account!

Related: Membership Rewards Use Points for Purchases explained


The points can also be used for the Membership Rewards Fixed Points for Travel option that works like traditional frequent flyer programs with set point amount for tickets.

Related:  A closer look at the Membership Rewards Fixed Points Travel program 




Of course there many other redemption options like the aforementioned transfers to frequent travel partners. Currently you can convert Membership Rewards points earned on The Platinum Card to the following partners:


You can also choose to redeem points for Ticketmaster & Amazon purchases, merchandise, gift cards and a whole lot more!

Benefits
The card is stacked with a lot of benefits and features. In fact - the last time the card was refreshed in 2012 (read our post from June 2012  to see what happened then!) and at that time Amex went out to their members asking what they wanted in the card and points was not the number one topic - it was benefits and experiences! Those benefits continue on today!

$200 Annual Travel Credit
You get this credit right when you get the card and then it renews each year on your card anniversary. What is it? It's $200 you can use towards any single travel booking of $200 or more charged to  your Platinum Card through Platinum Card Travel Service or American Express Travel Online.

Fine Hotels & Resorts


Fine Hotels and Resorts provides complimentary benefits at over 1,000 extraordinary hotel and resort properties around the world. Benefits are as follows and may vary based on the location.

Not only do you get these benefits there are times of the year  where you can book a certain amount of nights, 3 for example and you get one more night free.

Global Lounge Collection
From years of talking with our readers, one of their favourite benefits from The Platinum Card is the Global Lounge Collection. The card gets you access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the globe and thanks to its top end Priority Pass membership you'll also get dining credits at select airport restaurants!


Related: Rewards Canada's Guide to Business Class Lounge Access


Hotel Benefits
The Platinum Card provides you with automatic hotel elite status from four major hotel loyalty programs. Gold with Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and Radisson Rewards as well as Jade status with Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle.  To get these status levels without the card would take thousands of dollars in actual hotel night stays - so it is a huge benefit!

And a hint from us.... you can then parlay those four statuses into even more status:
Get elite status with ten hotel reward programs, one airline and one cruise program with The Platinum Card from American Express

Car Rental Benefits

Similar to the hotel elite benefits, the card provides Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star membership and Avis Preferred membership. The Hertz membership is an elite status level while the Avis membership is the same as what anyone can get albeit the Platinum Card discount code may provide larger discounts than without it.

Other benefits you'll also find on the card are Toronto Pearson International Airport benefits like valet service, discounted parking and priority security, Preferred Golf Membership, a strong insurance package and more.

As you can see there is lot to The Platinum Card from American Express, in fact we could probably write an entire novel detailing each and every benefit but to keep this post to reasonable length we've only highlighted the most popular benefits of the card. Some may wince when they first see the annual fee of $699 but when take into account everything the card provides you can quickly see how you can pull way more value out of the card than the $699. Another benefit of the card that I myself like? Additional cards are only $175 each and provide the majority of the benefits listed above like the Priority Pass membership and hotel elite status benefits to each additional card holder. Pretty good deal for only $175!

Finally here's the nitty gritty on the card:

- 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.
- This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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