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Sunday, December 22, 2019

[OFFER EXPIRED] The American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card's welcome offer of up to 3,500 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles provides big time value

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views, opinions, Mile calculation and valuation expressed in this blog, however, are my own. American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website.


THIS OFFER IS NOW EXPIRED - PLEASE SEE THE CARD DETAILS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR THE MOST CURRENT OFFER BEING FEATURED.

We've had a good amount of coverage on our site about the newly enhanced American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card and we continue that coverage with a closer look at what the new welcome offer and enhancements to the Card provide.

To recap, this is the current limited time welcome offer on the 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 two week old offer is getting a lot of attention as it is one of the highest sign up bonuses seen on an AIR MILES co-brand Credit Card. The only other comparable Welcome Offer is on the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card. Still for most however the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card is the one have. Whether you are big time AIR MILES Collector or even have the program as a secondary one, this Card should be a serious contender for space in your wallet thanks to its greatly enhanced AIR MILES Reward Miles earning.

The new earn rates are the best of any AIR MILES Cards and they are as follows:
  • 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
Before these changes the Card earned 1 Mile 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 are now earning double the Miles on a lot of those purchases with the 1 Mile for every $5 on food & drinks and gas & transit. These are the 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. (Please note that liquor board purchases like LCBO do not count for the drinks category). Yes I think it is time we rename that page as the Confirmed American Express Multipliers page! Outside of those bonus categories all other purchases will earn 1 Mile for every $10 - not just purchases from AIR MILES Partners, grocery stores etc. as seen before. 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.

The revamp of the Card also sees the addition of the Annual Travel Redemption Benefit:
  • 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)
This reads just as it is sound, you'll get Miles back for your first flight or package vacation each year that is 25% of the net number of Miles you redeem you redeem, up to 750 Miles. So let's take a look at some redemption options you could utilize with the current welcome offer on the Card:

Using the Reward Miles for flights:

If you are based in Ontario here is AIR MILES' map of where 3,000 Miles will take you in the low season and high season:
Low season - Ontario
High season - Ontario
And for those in British Columbia for both low and high season:
Low season - B.C.
High season - B.C.

The above rates are for one ticket, if you are looking for two people to travel the regions available do shrink a bit. Here's B.C. during low season for two travellers at a maximum of 1,700 Miles each:
Low season regions for 2 travellers from B.C.

Here is an example of 2 person booking between Vancouver and Portland. Normally this is 1,300 miles per person (2,600 for 2) so it is well within the range of the welcome bonus on the card. As you can see however, at the time of researching this post there was a special for AIR MILES Gold Card Members that offers 15% off the amount of miles required for this redemption option:
and the lowest priced tickets from Air Canada for the same flights:


You can see that with this option I'd be redeeming 2210 miles to save $518.74 on the reservation. That means I'd be getting a return of 23.4 cents per mile - that's a huge value for AIR MILES Reward Miles. Then if you take the 25% discount in miles if this is your first redemption of the year you are looking at only using 1,658 miles which works out to 31 cents per mile! Of course this is taking into account that you are a Gold member as well. Still if you are just a base member your 2,600 miles for $518.74 is worth ~20 cents per mile, well above our standard 11 to 15 cents per mile. Factor in the 25% discount from the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card's Annual Travel Redemption Benefit and we have 26.6 cents per mile value. This means that the welcome bonus of 3,500 miles that comes with the Card could be worth as much as $1,085 if you can get a redemption at the 31 cents per mile valuation. That's huge.

Using the Reward Miles for All inclusive vacations


You can also use the 3,500 miles earned on the Card towards all inclusive package vacations that are booked via airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca, and take advantage of the 25% redemption discount since it works on these bookings as (once again only if it is your first booking of the year). Package vacations work a little differently than flights as you redeem a set amount of Reward Miles to receive a discount on the package. The rate at the time of posting is 909 miles to receive $100 off. That means you could get $300 off a package vacation with the 3,500 welcome bonus and have miles left over.


You would redeem 2,727 miles to receive $300 of any vacation package but then if it is your first redemption you'll get 682 miles back after the redemption which means you have effectively redeemed 2045 miles for the $300 credit or close to 15 cents per mile.

To sum it up


As you can see from the above examples the new welcome bonus offer for the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card can provide some amazing value. And they don't even take into account the accelerated earning on the card that you'll be achieving to reach the spend required to earn the complete welcome bonus. In fact, if you can make the $1,000 per month spending that is required to earn the 300 bonus miles per month in the accelerated category for 6 months you are looking at 1,200 miles alone on that spend. This means that at the end of 6 months you could easily be at 4,700 AIR MILES Reward Miles.  All in all, this revamped Card and limited welcome offer when combined make for a very strong contender in our market right now.


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