Best Credit Cards

Best American Express Credit Cards In Canada For 2019

| Last updated on November 4, 2019
best amex cards canada

All Canadian consumers know that there has always been cut-throat competition between credit card providers.  American Express is that singular brand that has silently enjoyed its loyal and forever growing consumer base. They used to be primarily considered a status symbol for those exclusive consumers with deep pockets and ample spending accounts. Now, they offer credit and charge cards for an eclectic faction of society that ranges from families, entrepreneurs to travellers.

There is no universally perfect Amex card, and which one suits you the best will depend on your spending habits and financial history and goals. And while its not accepted as globally as Visa and Mastercard, this is still a fantastic credit card to have in your wallet. In this article, we have thoroughly researched and round-up the best 7 American Express Credit Cards available in Canada today. 

Summary

Best Overall: American Express Cobalt Card
Best For Travel Rewards: Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Best For Premium: American Express Platinum Card
Best For Cash-Back: SimplyCash Preferred Card 
Best For No-Fee: Scotiabank American Express Card
Best For Low-Interest: American Express Essential Card
Best For Aeroplan Rewards: American Express Gold Rewards Card

Best Overall AMEX Credit Card

American Express Cobalt

american-express-cobalt-cardcard

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on American Express’ website

Welcome Offer: 30,000 Points

Earn Rate: 5x rewards on dining, coffee shops, grocery stores. 2x rewards on travel, lodging, transit. 1x point for everything else.

Annual Fees: $10/month

Min. Income Required: $0

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The American Express Cobalt Card graces the top spot on our best Amex credit card list because it generously rewards the one activity that most of its consumers engage in- being social. 

New card holders will earn 30,000 membership rewards points in 2,500 point-increments every monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in purchases through your credit card. Grocery and dining expenses at restaurants, bars, cafés, and food delivery will give you 5 Points for every $1 spent. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and transit such as cab, morning bus or gas purchases in Canada. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

You can also earn points by referring your friends or family to open an account with Amex. Every successful referral will give you 500 bonus membership points up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 75,000 points.

Cardmembers will also enjoy a full suite of insurance benefits that include Emergency Medical insurance, Flight Delay insurance, Baggage Delay insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage insurance, Car Rental Theft and Damage insurance, Travel Accident insurance, Purchase Protection, and  Buyer’s Assurance Protection plan. Keep in mind that you don’t have to pay the annual fee of $120 in full; you can pay it at an affordable monthly fee of $10.

The accumulated points can be redeemed on movie tickets, dining, retail, streaming services, flights through fixed point travel program, concerts and events on Ticketmaster.ca, on travel purchases through American Express travel online and more. Points can of course also be redeemed as a credit to pay your monthly bill.

Click here for more details about the American Express Cobalt Card

Best Travel Rewards AMEX Credit Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express

scotiabank gold american express

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on Scotiabank’s website

Welcome Offer: 30,000 Scotia Rewards points.

Earn Rate: 5x points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, entertainment. 3x points for every $1 spent on gas, transit, and streaming services. 1x point for everything else.

Annual Fee: $120

Min. Income Required: Personal – $12,000

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Scotiabank Gold American Express card is cherished among frequent Canadian travelers for its compelling rewards program that lets you earn and redeem points with no restrictions.

As a welcome bonus for users who apply by December 30, 2019, you can earn 30,000 ($300 in rewards) bonus Scotia rewards points in your first year. To release the first 25,000 points, you will have to make at least $1000 worth of eligible purchases within 3 months from account opening. For the remaining 5000 bonus Scotia rewards points you will have to make at least $10,000 in purchases in your first year.

One rare feature that makes this card a steal for frequent travelers is its no foreign transaction fee. You will not have to pay the standard 2.5% foreign transaction fee on any purchases you make either online or when traveling internationally.

Once the promotional period is over, you will earn 5 points for every $1 spent on dining, groceries and movies. Earn 3 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas and daily transit using buses, taxis, subway and rideshare. You will also earn 3 points per $1 on streaming services such as Netflix. And, earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Your points can be redeemed on any flight without restrictions. You can also spend your points on merchandise and gift cards through Scotia rewards portal. Please note that the value of your Scotia reward points will depend on the redemption route, but as a rule of thumb, remember that travel-related purchase bring the most value.

This card comes with 8 types of insurance coverages including Travel Emergency Medical insurance, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption insurance, Flight Delay insurance, Delayed and Lost Baggage insurance, Travel Accident insurance, Rental Car Collision, Loss/Damage insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary insurance, and Purchase Security and Extended Warranty protection.

Learn more about the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card

Best Premium AMEX Credit Card

American Express Platinum

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on American Express’ website

Welcome Offer: 50,000 Points + $200 annual travel credits

Earn Rate: 2x points for travel, 3x for dining, and 1x for everything else.

Annual Fees: $699

Min. Income Required: $0

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Yes this card has a very steep annual fee of $699, but it offers a wide range of perks, bonuses and benefits that makes it worth the hefty fee. First of all, this card offers one of the best welcome bonuses is available through any credit card in Canada. As a Platinum card holder, new users earn 50,000 bonus membership rewards points once you have at least $3000 in net purchases within the first three months of account opening. To give you some perspective, 50,000 points can easily get you a one-way flight ticket to USA, Central America, or Mexico. You can also transfer these points to a loyalty program like Aeroplan Loyalty Program (they transfer on a 1:1 scale).

Other than the generous welcome bonus, cardholders can earn 2 points on every $1 for travel related purchases along with complementary access to over 1200 airport lounges across 130 countries. Earn 3 points for every $1 spent on dining. And earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.  Get an annual $200 travel credit that can be used on any single travel booking worth $200 or more charged through your platinum card. This is a significant perk especially for those who only travel once or twice a year as it can cut your flight charge in half or more.

Your accumulated points can be redeemed on gift cards, merchandise, flights and hotel stays. 

Also, as most other AMEX credit cards, your Platinum card will come with a suite of different insurances, which in this case there’s 10 different kinds: Out-of-Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption Insurance, Flight Delay, Baggage Delay, Car Rental Theft and Damage insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage insurance, Travel Accident insurance, hotel/motel burglary insurance, and Travel Emergency Assistance. 

Do note that this is a charge card. Failure to pay your balance in full at the end of each month will result in a 30% annual interest fee charged to your balance.

Click here for more details about the American Express Platinum Card

Best Cash-Back AMEX Credit Card

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

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on American Express’ website

Welcome Offer: 5% cashback in your first 6 months (up to $300).

Earn Rate: Flat rate of 2% back on purchases when your welcome period ends.

Annual Fee: $99

Min. Income Required: $0

This AMEX credit card is best suited for those who are looking for a strong cash back credit card, or a card that would enable consolidation of debt with no heavy balance transfer rate.

As a welcome bonus for new users, you will receive a 5% cashback (up to $300) on your first 6 months and a special 1.99% introductory interest-rate on balance transfers for your first 6 months. You can transfer 50% of your credit limit up to a maximum of $7,500 without a balance transfer fee. After the promotional period, you will receive a cash back of 2% on all your purchases without limit.

Another cool feature of SimplyCash Preferred credit card is its referral bonus. For every successful referral, you will win $150 cash back up to an annual maximum of $2,250.

The suite of insurance coverage accompanying this credit card includes Car Rental Theft and Damage insurance, Travel Accident insurance, Emergency Medical insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage insurance, Flight and Baggage Delay insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary insurance, Buyers Insurance Protection and Purchase Protection plan. 

Learn more about The SimplyCash Preferred Card

Best No-Fee AMEX Credit Card

Scotiabank American Express Card

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on Scotiabank’s website

Welcome Offer: 5,000 Scotia Rewards points.

Earn Rate: Simple 1x point earnings on all purchases.

Annual Fee: $0

Min. Income Required: $0

As you can see from the cards in this list, AMEX credit cards come with a moderate to high annual fee which not everybody can afford to maintain. Scotia Bank‘s American Express card is in no-fee card, but don’t let that fool you because this credit card is jam-packed with tons of features that any credit card holder would love to have at their disposal. 

To start off, new users can earn 5000 bonus Scotia rewards points once you make at least $500 in purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

This credit card comes with a flat-point rate structure of 1 Scotia rewards points on every $1 spent on any purchases. You can redeem your accumulated points on travel purchases made through Scotia Rewards Travel Service. You can also spend your points on a selection of merchandise and gifts through the Scotia Rewards portal.

Also, if you rent a vehicle at AVIS and Budget Car Rental locations in Canada or the US, and you pay your rent in full through your ScotiaBank American Express card, you will be eligible to save up to 25% off.

For a credit card with no annual fee, this comes with 4 types of insurance coverage that protects you when you are on the road. The coverage includes Travel Emergency Medical insurance, Trip Interruption insurance, Rental Car Collision/Damage insurance, and Travel Accident insurance, It also comes with Purchase Security, Extended Warranty and Price Protection service.

Learn more about Scotiabank American Express Card

Best Low-Interest AMEX Credit Card

American Express Essential Credit Card

American Express Essential

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on American Express’ website

Welcome Offer: 1.99% interest in first 6 months if you transfer your other credit card balances to this card.

Interest Rate: 12.99% on purchases and cash advances.

Annual Fee: $0

Min. Income Required: $0

Not all credit card users are successful at paying off their full balance at the end of each month. Most credit cards punish consumers with a hefty interest-rate for not making their payments. This can significantly add to your credit debt.

The American Express Essential credit card is designed for users who want to focus on paying off their principal amount without being punished with jarringly high interest-rates. There is no annual fee on this card. And, for a limited time you can enjoy a 1.99% balance transfer for the first six months.

This card comes with a very low interest-rate of 8.99% which is extremely rare in the Canadian credit market. This means you can save hundreds of dollars on interest if you are someone who tends to carry a balance from month to month.

It does have a few insurance coverages for its consumers which includes Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan, Purchase Protection plan and Travel Accident Insurance. The American Express Essential credit card comes with easy eligibility which makes it perfect for individuals who might not have the best credit history or a massive household income to qualify for an otherwise premium credit card.

Click here for more details about the American Express Essential Credit Card

Best Aeroplan Rewards AMEX Credit Card

American Express Gold Rewards

American Express Gold Rewards Card

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on American Express’ website

Welcome Offer: 25,000 Points

Earn Rate: 2x points for travel, groceries, gas stations, and drugstores. 1x point on everything else.

Annual Fees: $150

Min. Income Required: $0

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The American Express Gold rewards card is one of the most revered Amex credit card in Canada today. As a welcome bonus, this credit card offers 25,000 membership rewards points once you make at least $1500 in net purchases within the first 3 months of your account opening.

The ongoing rewards structure lets you earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and everyday purchases including gas, groceries and drugstore. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 1 additional membership rewards points for every $1 you charge to your card on hotel or car rental bookings made through American Express travel.

You can transfer your accumulated points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 exchange rate. This means, your welcome bonus you will give you 25,000 Aeroplan points. This feature makes this card one of the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada today. 

The American Express Gold rewards card comes with a comprehensive insurance coverage including policies for Out-of-Province/Country Emergency Medical insurance, Trip Interruption insurance, Car Rental Theft and Damage insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary insurance, Flight Delay insurance, Baggage Delay insurance, Travel Accident insurance, Buyers Insurance Protection, and Purchase Protection plan.

Click here for more details about the American Express Gold Rewards Card

Methodology: How We Choose The Best American Express Cards In This List

Simple Rate took into account several factors such as welcome bonuses, points-reward structure, redemption options, insurance coverage, and other benefits and perks when compiling the list of Canada’s best American Express card.