There’s less than a month until the end of 2016. Most people think about getting fit, travelling more, or being a kinder person. While lofty goals, I’m more excited about something else for 2017 – annual travel credits!
The American Express Platinum Card in Canada offers a $200 travel credit per calendar year. That means on January 1, 2017, you’ll have a new $200 credit to use. This post is titled “now is the best time,” so why is it? Well, after being approved for the Platinum Card, it’ll take a maximum of a week to be shipped over. So if you applied today, you should expect your new card by December 12. This gives you about two weeks to use your 2016 travel credit. Remember: if you don’t use your annual credit, you lose it when the clock strikes midnight for the new year.
The annual fee for the Platinum Card is $699, with an amazing sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 in 90 days. These points convert 1:1 into Aeroplan and British Airways, and is enough for a round-trip ticket in Economy from North America to Europe. The annual fee usually posts at the end of your first billing cycle. If you got the card now, you’ll be able to use both $200 credits likely before your first statement is due.
Converting Travel Credit into Cash
It’s simple to convert your $200 credit into cash. All you have to do is book a fully refundable hotel on the American Express travel website. There will be an option to use your travel credit. The system will charge your card for the full amount of the reservation, then issue a $200 credit on your account. After you receive the credit, simply cancel the hotel reservation. The travel credit will remain on your statement. This means that you can bring that $699 fee down to $299 immediately.
Not only are you getting the 60,000 point sign-up bonus, which is easily worth more than $1,000, you’re also going to get access to Centurion Lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and hundreds of other lounges throughout the world from Priority Pass.
Note that the terms of the sign-up offer state that if you previously held an American Express Platinum Card, you won’t be eligible for the sign-up bonus. While the language is there, anecdotal evidence from Flyertalk and Red Flag Deals shows that American Express isn’t enforcing this term. This could change in 2017, so you might want to get the card now before American Express enforces their once-in-a-lifetime rule.