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Published: Nov 8, 2022, 5:55pm
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The Platinum Card® from American Express’s $699 annual fee may raise eyebrows, but if you prefer to feel pampered when you travel, you’ll find this card’s ends justify its means and then some. The high earn rate, welcome bonus and unparalleled perks also make the annual fee sting even less.
$699

Fair/good

N/A (30% interest, plus penalty charges if you fail to pay in full on each bill’s due date)

$699

Fair/good

N/A (30% interest, plus penalty charges if you fail to pay in full on each bill’s due date)

Few credit cards offer the allure of The Platinum Card from American Express. Made from stainless steel, this card weighs around 18 grams, so It comes as no surprise that it means business.
The ultimate “good time” card, this Amex offers a staggered point system that will make even the most luxurious traveller happy. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants, including coffee shops, bars and delivery orders. For all travel-related purchases, including airfare, hotels and local tours, you’ll get 2 points per dollar spent. All other purchases will earn you 1 point per dollar.
Yes, this card has a yearly fee of $699. However, it does come with a welcome offer that you’d have a hard time finding elsewhere. As a new cardholder, you’ll get 60,000 points after you spend $6,000 within the first three months and then 20,000 additional points when you buy something between your 14th and 17th month of spending.
The American Express Platinum‘s highest earning category, which offers 3 points per dollar spent, is eligible food and beverage purchases, including restaurants, cafés, bars and food delivery. It also includes “quick service restaurants” like fast food.
After food and beverages, the next rewards tier down is the 2 points per dollar category. This includes most travel-related transportation and accommodation purchases, including even local transportation like subways and commuter trains.
Finally, every purchase that doesn’t fall within one of the above categories will earn 1 point for every dollar .
As long as your account is in good standing, you can redeem your American Express Platinum rewards at any time through the online portal. You can convert rewards to statement credits you can apply to any eligible purchase, use them toward travel purchases on Amex’s Flexible Travel Rewards Program or use them towards flights on Amex’s Fixed Travel Rewards Program.
The Forbes editorial team estimates that the card’s annual earnings are $359.86, which creates a negative balance of $339.14 when compared against the steep annual fee. However, this average amount does not reflect the earning potential of above average spenders, who will likely make their annual fee back and then some. Additionally, the number of features that come with this card, and their associated values, make the annual fee worth it for the perks alone, especially if you’re an avid traveller. For instance, you’ll receive an annual $200 travel credit and $100 NEXUS card statement credit. That said, it’s important to calculate the rewards with your projected spending to make sure you don’t end up in the red.
The American Express Platinum card carries a 30% interest rate on all balances not paid in full. An interest rate of 20.99% applies to any purchase eligible for the Flexible Payment Option.
The American Express Cobalt card’s intro offer pales in comparison to the Platinum card, but 30,000 welcome points is still nothing to scoff at. Members also have the option of earning an additional 2,500 points for every month they spend $500 or more in the first year.
The Cobalt card does offer you slightly more earning potential, with an annual fee that’s a fraction of the cost ($12.99 monthly, $155.88 annually). Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar spent on food purchases, 3 points per dollar spent on subscriptions, 2 points per dollar spent on transit or gas and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Compared with the Platinum card, the Cobalt’s insurance options are limited. They don’t offer any trip interruption or cancellation insurance, nor do they offer travel emergency assistance and you can forget about airport lounge access.
That said, when you factor in the annual fees for both cards, the Cobalt earns $594.52 in annual rewards value, compared to the $-339.14 earned by the Platinum. So, if you’re not a huge spender or interested in luxury travel experiences, the Cobalt is probably better for you.
There’s no annual fee for the Express Green Card. This means that cardholders get to pocket 100% of their 10,000 welcome points as long as they charge a minimum of $1,000 to the card in the first three months of card ownership.
The rewards system on the Green Card is basic but efficient. Cardholders simply earn 1 point for every $1 spent on any eligible purchase. These rewards can be used towards a statement balance or to book a flight. When you factor in the annual fees for each card, the Green Card earns $278.51 in annual rewards value, compared to the -$339.14 earned by the Platinum.
However, as far as insurance goes, the Green Card doesn’t offer any. However, cardholders will be pleased to know that they get access to American Express Experiences, including dining, shopping and entertainment options. The Green Card isn’t a direct competitor for the Platinum card, but it provides a good foot in the door for anyone unwilling to commit to an expensive credit card and still wants access to classic Amex perks.
Scotiabank Gold American Express cardholders will see their $120 ($79 if you’re 65 or over) annual fee waived for the first year. They’ll earn up to 45,000 Scene+ points within their first year, as well.
Scotiabank customers will be familiar with the Scene+ points set-up, but here’s a quick intro: Every dollar spent on groceries, restaurants and bars will earn Scotiabank Gold American Express cardholders 5X Scene+ points. Entertainment purchases, like movie tickets and concert tickets, will also earn 5X Scene points. Streaming services and transit expenses earn 3X Scene+ points. Every other purchase earns 1X Scene points.
Overall, when you factor in the annual fee for both cards, the Scotiabank Gold Amex earns $823.12 in annual rewards value even when you factor in the annual fee, compared to the -$339.14 earned by the Platinum.
Plus, the Scotiabank option offers comparable travel benefits and redemption options. The main difference is that it doesn’t have any Forex fees, which may sway international travellers in its direction.
When determining a rating for individual credit cards, the Forbes Advisor Canada editorial team factors in an exhaustive list of data points. With rewards, the scoring model used takes into account factors such as, but not limited to, earn rates and categories, fees, welcome bonus and other benefits and features. Keep in mind, what may be best for some people might not be right for you. Conduct informed research before deciding which cards will best help you achieve your financial goals.
For high-earning frequent travellers, the American Express Platinum Card is the holy grail. However, this isn’t a card for everyone. Even with its hefty welcome bonus , the $699 annual fee doesn’t make sense unless you plan to earn it back in travel rewards. The Platinum Card’s status as a charge card makes it a rarity, but this approach to spending also requires financial discipline that not everyone can execute.
Credit card data researched and compiled by Debra Toews.
In order to be eligible for the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need a fair to good credit score. There is no income requirement.
If you value unique travel experiences and consider yourself a frequent traveller, then the $699 annual fee that comes along with the American Express Platinum Card is well worth it. You’ll likely make this amount up in hotel upgrades and unique American Express experiences. You will also likely not have to worry about purchasing additional travel insurance to fill any gaps in coverage because there likely won’t be any. However, if you don’t spend enough as an average Canadian credit card holder to overcome the high annual fee, then this card likely will put you in the minus and won’t be for you.
With a high annual fee, extensive insurance coverage and travel perks that go above and beyond, it’s fair to call the American Express Platinum Card a luxury credit card.
The American Express Platinum Card is a charge card. This makes it different from a regular credit card, which allows you to pay only a minimum balance every month at about 19.99% to 20.99% interest. With a charge card, if you don’t pay your balance in full, you’ll pay 30% in interest.. If you’re eligible for the Flexible Payment Option, your APR is 20.99% and a fee of $10, unless you’re a Quebec resident.
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege is a good alternative to the Amex Platinum—it provides a hotel upgrade and extensive insurance. The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard comes with a comparable welcome bonus to the Platinum Card and decent coverage as well. Both cards make good alternatives with lower annual fees.
Rachel Cribby is originally from Windsor, Ontario. A professional writer of many years, Rachel has a passion for explaining money-related topics with a lens that makes them approachable to all, no matter their financial background. Her personal finance articles have also appeared in Wealth Rocket and GreedyRates. She has a degree in creative writing from Montreal's Concordia University.

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