No matter how you look at it, the points and miles game is dying a slow death, as churning becomes a more mainstream activity and creditor profits are dipping. While there are still a number of opportunities to score a huge number of points quickly, those opportunities are shrinking in quality and in frequency.
American Express offers the best sign-up bonuses in Canada. However, over the years, we’ve noticed significant devaluations in their bonuses. Benefits have been cut, sign-up bonuses have gone down, minimum spends have increased, and we’ve even seen an American “once per lifetime” rule applied (though the application of said rule is inconsistent).
What are the best sign-up bonuses in Canada?
For about a year now, the best-ever sign-up offer has been available on the American Express Platinum Business card, of 75,000 Membership Rewards (‘MR’) points after spending $5,000 in three months (MR convert 1:1 into Aeroplan and BA Avios) . This deal remains incredible, considering that 75,000 MR is worth substantially more than $1,000, and even with the $399 annual fee, you’re getting a significant return with the sign-up bonus and the card benefits (Centurion Lounges, insurance benefits, hotel/travel benefits, etc.).
Note that you don’t actually have to have a business – in the business name field, your name is sufficient as a sole proprietorship. History shows that AMEX is fine with a $0 business income.
A while ago, the American Express Platinum card offered 75,000 MR points as well, however, that bonus is long gone, and I don’t expect it to come back. Right now, the best offer is 60,000 MR points after $1,000 in spend, which I still think is a terrific deal. The card’s annual fee is $699, however, you get $400 off in your first year through travel credits, which means an effective annual fee of $299 for 60,000 points, Priority Pass, etc.
Are these bonuses at risk?
Without a question, these are the best sign-up bonuses available in Canada. However, I believe they are at risk of dying. Both sign-up bonuses are historically high, and as AMEX has lost the Costco partnership, they are likely to reduce the bonuses in order to curb losses. Further, while reports of AMEX enforcing their new once-per-lifetime rule are rare, they could start strictly enforcing that rule at any time – it makes sense to get the card right now for the bonus before they start enforcing a once-per-lifetime rule.
In the unlikely event AMEX enforces the rule after you applied, you can always cancel the card within the first month for a full refund – so if you can make the minimum spend quickly, it makes sense to get the card, make the spend, and in the unlikely scenario that your points are denied, cancel the card for a full refund. As of right now, there is no once-per-lifetime rule on the American Express Platinum Business card, but this could change at any time.
We’ve also seen AMEX raise annual fees for a number of other cards. So far, the Platinum cards have been untouched, but if AMEX continues on the trend of increasing fees, we could see the Platinum card annual fees increasing, and the sign-up bonus decreasing.
If you haven’t had the American Express Platinum card before, now makes perfect sense to apply – you’re sure to get the sign-up bonus and be able to lock-in the current favourable bonus/fee structure.
Even if you’ve had the American Express Platinum Business card before, you can still get the sign-up bonus again, as the once-per-lifetime language isn’t yet included in the terms and conditions. This is definitely a deal to jump on – the card is currently at the highest bonus ever (75,000), and the annual fee hasn’t changed for years, and previous card holders can get the bonus again.
This post contains affiliate links. We receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card through our affiliate links. Your support keeps this blog running. All affiliate links refer to the current best-available sign-up bonus.
Hi – this is offer for 75k bonus points only available through your referral? I just checked on the Amex Canada website and currently the Amex Business Platinum card has a welcome bonus of 40k points so not sure what is driving that.
Correct. The 75K offer is available through referral only.
pushing this card to hard.
I don’t know. Do you have any evidence or facts to back up the sense of urgency or are you just looking for more referrals? (I counted four links included in the post). Also, the data points for sign-up bonuses have started to show that they are taking longer to receive. When I signed up for the business platinum it took 10 weeks to receive the bonus points after meeting spend. That is long past the chance to cancel and receive a refund on the annual fee. You would get the referral points either way though, right?
Of course it’s always nice to be compensated for your time, therefore I am looking for referrals. That’s the lifeblood of the blog, for which readers get lots of helpful and free information. However, yes, I honestly believe, namely for the AMEX Biz Plat, that there is a real sense of urgency. The 75K bonus was released within the past year, alongside with the AMEX Personal Plat with a 75K bonus. That bonus disappeared, while the AMEX Plat Biz has not. There’s an obvious risk of this bonus being lowered. You also have the risk of once-per-lifetime wording being added to the business terms. Further, we’ve seen an “Americanization” of AMEX Canada lately – US policies have been adopted in Canada, the same IT is starting to be ported over, etc. As of right now, there are very few reports of the once-per-lifetime rule being enforced in Canada, however, if we look to the USA, and the fact that AMEX Canada is starting to use US AMEX IT infrastructures, there’s a very real chance that the once-per-lifetime rule will start being similarly enforced. I also recently spoke with an AMEX MR Canada manager, who did confirm that they are seeking to further once-per-lifetime enforcement.
I have read the data points of bonus MR taking longer to receive. However, at the 25-day mark (or anytime before the 30 day mark), if you’re nervous as to whether the once-per-lifetime rule is being applied to you, you can simply email AMEX and ask why you haven’t received the points. They’ll either say wait 6-8 weeks, or they’ll deny based on the policy, at which point you can get your refund.
I have the Gold card and am having trouble meeting the spending requirements due to how few locations accept Amex in Quebec (especially now that Costco no longer accepts it). Any recommendations on how to maybe manufacture some spend with the card?
So can you sign up for these cards, get these bonus’ then cancel the card and still keep those points??
Absolutely! Just transfer the points (to Aeroplan for example) before you close the card
Is this the once-in-a-lifetime thing you are talking about where that bonus, no matter which card you sign up for, can only be applied once in your lifetime? So best to get the biggest one in case they do not allow you to get the bonus more than once?
The once-per-lifetime rule theoretically applies to personal cards. It means if you’ve had the Platinum Personal card before, you may not get the bonus again. This doesn’t apply to business cards. Further, it applies per card type – so if you’ve only ever had the Gold Personal before, you’re good to go for the Platinum Personal.
Awesome news! Thank you 🙂
If my amex platinum has just come up for renewal after 1 yr, can I cancel it and reapply through your referral and get my points, or do I need to wait for 6 months to a year before reapplying?
In my experience, 3 months is totally fine.