Monday, November 8, 2021

A closer look at the credit card that Canada voted as the number one Ultra Premium Card


The results of Canada's Choice 2021 were revealed last month covering 10 categories of credit cards and loyalty with some surprising and not so surprising results. The fifth and final card we look is the card that took the top spot in the Ultra Premium Card category and that's The Platinum Card®  from American Express.

 Other posts in this series:

Much like the overall category, airline category and several others Canada's thoughts and our own research and opinion here at Rewards Canada are on the same trajectory for the Ultra Premium Card. Canada ranked the Platinum Card  as the number one Ultra Premium Card in Canada just like we do in our Top Travel Rewards Credit Card rankings.

Let's look at just some of the reasons why this card ranks so high both by us and by the Canadian population:

Welcome bonus points value

At the time of posting this the Platinum Card from American Express is offering a welcome bonus of up 100,000 Membership Rewards Points. Here's how the bonus part of the welcome offer is broken down:

  • New Platinum® Cardmembers, earn 80,000 Welcome Bonus points after you charge $6,000 in net purchases to your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership– enough to redeem for a $800 credit towards eligible purchases
  • Plus, you can also earn 20,000 points when you make a purchase between 14 and 17 months of Cardmembership – enough to redeem for a $200 credit towards eligible purchases

As you can see that you can earn the majority of the points, 80,000 when you spend $6,000 in the first three months of having the card. This is on the higher end of spend requirements but this is a higher end card that Amex expects big spenders to get. The great thing however is just like all other Amex cards there is no minimum income requirement on this card. Now that doesn't mean someone making $10,000 a year can get it but someone who say makes $50,000 a year and has good credit could theoretically get this card. Then once you have to card for over a year and make a purchase a few months after your card anniversary date you'll get the additional 20,000 points for 100,000 total not including what you have earned on your everyday spend.  

Those 100,000 points are worth no less than $1,000 towards travel or even cash back to purchases you make on the card. We say no less you have multiple travel redemption avenues with this card. The three key redemption options that get you the best bang for your buck with these points are as follows:

You can redeem via Amex's Use Points for Purchases which was simplified earlier this year where you can now redeem 1,000 points for $10 off any purchase made on the card. Previously that redemption rate was limited to travel purchases. With this option those 100,000 points would net you $1,000 in value.

You can redeem via American Express' Fixed Points for Travel Award chart:  : where the 100,000 points would net you up $2,000 in value

You can also convert the points earned on this card  to Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1 transfer ratio), British Airways (1:1 transfer ratio), Marriott Bonvoy (1:1.2 transfer ratio) and other programs. We value Aeroplan points and British Airways Avios at no less than 1.5 cents each so the welcome bonus is worth $1,500 (at a minimum, could go much higher as recent examples we've had could put it at $6,000) and Marriott points at 1 cent each so the welcome bonus is worth $1,200 (again at a minimum, could go much higher)

Earning & Benefits

The card itself may not be the highest earning American Express card out there (that title goes to the Cobalt Card) but it is still one of the better cards out there for earn rates. The card features a 3 points per dollar spent on dining with no annual caps, 2 points per dollar on travel and then 1 point on all other spending. You may ask why does this $699 per year card not earn more than the Cobalt Card? Well it about providing more than earn. When American Express updated the Platinum Card (not this last round a few years ago but the time before) they surveyed those people who already had the card and they overwhelmingly said they wanted benefits and perks first and the reward earn second. And that's what they got - benefits and perks and that's what you pay the $699 for.

Let's get down to those benefits:

  • Annual Travel Credit  - You have access to a $200 CAD Annual Travel Credit to use towards any single travel booking of $200 or more charged to your Platinum Card and made on or through Platinum Card Travel Service
  • Business Class Lounge Access - No card in Canada does business class lounge access like the Platinum Card. The Platinum Card provides The American Express Global Lounge Collection which unlocks access to over 1200 airport lounges worldwide. This includes The Centurion® Lounge network, Plaza Premium Lounges, and hundreds of other domestic and international lounges designed to enhance your travel experience. It also provides the best Priority Pass membership plan with unlimited lounge access for the cardmember and one guest. These lounge benefits are also extended to additional cardmembers.
  • Hotel and Car Rental Elite Status  - The Platinum Card provides cardmembers with Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status, Hilton Honors Gold Status, Radisson Rewards Americas Gold Status and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status.  These lounge benefits are also extended to additional cardmembers.

    Recommended reading: How to maximize the elite status benefits from The Platinum Card from American Express

  • Fine Hotels & Resorts: Complimentary benefits that offer an average total value of $550 USD* at over 1,100 extraordinary properties worldwide when you book Fine Hotels + Resorts. Those benefits include free daily breakfast for 2, guaranteed late check out, unique property benefits (typically a hotel / dining / spa credit) and more
  • NEXUS Credit -  Receive up to $100 CAD in statement credits every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your Platinum Card.3
  • International Airline Program - provides discounts on the base fare for qualifying International First, Business, and Premium Economy Class tickets at participating airlines when you book with Platinum Travel. Air Canada and WestJet are included.

The card also has a full slate of insurance coverage including but not limited to Out of Province Emergency Medical Insurance,  Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay, Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Lost/Delayed Baggage.

Wrapping it up

The Platinum Card may command the highest annual fee out of any publicly available cards but for good reason. The card offers so much to the cardholders (both Primary and Supplementary) that if you travele even semi-frequently (I'd say at least 2 to 3 times per year) it is more than worth it to pay the fee on this card. From the welcome bonus to the earn rates and all the extra perks it's not hard to see why this card was voted the Top Ultra Premium Card in Canada.

Click here to learn more about and apply for the Platinum Card from American Express


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