Monday, November 4, 2019

Earn up to 3,500 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles with the newly enhanced American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card



Towards the end of September we brought to you the details of the changes coming to the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card. Those changes, most of which can be considered true enhancements are now live! Along with the changes however comes a new welcome bonus offer on the card, an amazing 3,500 bonus AIR MILES are up for grabs when you get the newly enhanced card:
  • New American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card Cardmembers, earn a welcome bonus of up to 3,500 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles – here’s how:
  • Earn 1,700 Bonus Miles when you charge a total of $1,500 in purchases to your Card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
  • Earn up to 1,800 Bonus Miles - In your first 6 monthly billing periods as a new American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card Cardmember, you can earn 150 Miles for every $500 you spend in purchases in each monthly billing period (up to a maximum of 300 Miles per monthly billing period). Welcome bonus offers end January 20, 2020.
This welcome bonus continues a trend that we are seeing more often now where card issuers are rewarding ongoing spend over and above the initial welcome bonus. Looking at this new welcome bonus we see the old offer of 2,000 miles for $1,500 in spend actually being lowered to 1,700 for the same spend over 3 months. However they are now adding in the potential to earn 1,800 more miles for 3,500 miles in total. To earn those 1,800 additional miles you have to spend $1,000 per billing cycle for the first six billing cycles. That bonus is broken down at 150 miles per $500 spent in each cycle up to 300 miles in each of those periods. If you take an average value of 13 cents per AIR MILE Reward Mile you can see that the 3,500 mile welcome bonus is worth around $455 and ultimately $335 when taking the annual fee into account. This is a limited time offer that runs until January 20, 2020. The question at that point will be if the standard welcome bonus will only be 1,700 miles or will revert to the 2,000 we saw up until the day before the enhancements kicked in. And speaking of those enhancements here is a reminder of what they are:
  • 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases, up to $30,000 annually, on eligible food and drinks (including stand-alone grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops) and eligible gas and transit (including local commuter transportation, ridesharing services and taxis) in Canada
  • 1 Mile for every $10 in Card purchases everywhere else
  • Annual Travel Redemption Benefit – Once per calendar year, when an eligible Cardmember uses Dream Miles with the AIR MILES Reward Program to book their first single flight or package vacation through airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca, they can get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a maximum of 750 Bonus Miles)
  • Annual fee increased to $120 
These changes make this card the number one credit card in Canada for earning AIR MILES Reward Miles. Before these changes the card earned 1 Rewards Miles for every $10 spent at AIR MILES Partners and at other eligible grocery stores, gas stations, and drugstores in Canada and then 1 mile for every $15 everywhere else. As you can see you'll be earning double the miles on a lot of those purchases now with the 1 Mile for every $5 on food and drinks, gas and transit (same categories as the American Express Cobalt Card so you can utilize our Confirmed Cobalt Multipliers page to see where you'll earn the 1 Mile for every $5 on food, drinks, transit and gas) and then all other purchases will earn 1 Mile for every $10 - not just purchases from AIR MILES partners, grocery stores etc. The 1 Mile for every $5 is capped for $30,000 in spending annually just as we see on the American Express Cobalt Card. This means you can earn 6,000 AIR MILES each year for that $30,000 in spending. We value AIR MILES Reward Miles between 11 and 15 cents each when you redeem for travel although you can get even more than that out of each Reward Mile. This means the 1 Mile for $5 sees you getting a return of 2.2% to 3% for travel or if you look at Cash Rewards where you redeem 95 miles for $10 your return would have an effective return of 2.1% - that's higher than a lot of the cash back cards in the market.



The other enhancement to the card comes on the redemption side. When you book a flight or vacation package with AIR MILES you will receive 25% of the miles redeemed back to you as a bonus (up to 750 miles). This means  you will get some miles back to your account when you redeem up to 3,000 miles. Ideally this is what you would want to do and push your first redemption of each year as close to that 3,000 miles mark if at all possible to maximize your return. Still, 25% back on redemptions below that amount is a great feature as you may be someone who never gets to the 3,000 mile level but can easily get to 1,200 or 1,500 miles and redeem for a short haul flight and save 25% on it. I'm happy to see American Express add this feature as it is something we don't see very often, the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Card does have it's 15% off on redemptions in North America with no cap but other than that there aren't many cards offering a miles or points discount when redeeming for flights.

As is usually the case with enhancements to cards, all the positive changes tend to be offset by some negative changes and the card has only one, the annual fee is being increased to $120 from the previous $65. As before I still feel this is on the high side since the card doesn't have a large benefits and insurance package however the current welcome bonus offer makes it more than worthwhile. If you already have the card you will not have to pay the $120 annual until your next card anniversary date.

You can learn more about this limited time offer and apply for it here.



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