Get 30,000 Points FREE!

American Express offers the best credit cards in Canada for free travel, and the first card everybody should get is the American Express Gold card. The annual fee for this card is waived for the first year (and you’ll cancel before the year is done), and after spending $1500 in three months, you’ll get 25,000 Membership Rewards points. Further, when you apply, if you add an authorized user (doesn’t have to be a “real” person), you’ll get an additional 5,000 Membership Rewards points.

a credit card with a picture of a man
Source: American Express (, retrieved 2016-11-18.

Value of 30,000 Points

Membership Rewards points convert 1:1 into Aeroplan and British Airways Avios. 30,000 points is enough to do one round-trip anywhere in North America on Aeroplan, or up to six round-trips on short haul flights using British Airways Avios. You can even convert the points into $300 cash, though you’ll get a lot more value converting them into points.

It’s Easy to Get!

American Express recently changed their underwriting requirements for the American Express Gold card, making it substantially easier to get this card. There is no minimum income requirement, and it’s by far the easiest mainstream credit card to get. It’s a great card for students, newcomers to Canada, and in general, everyone should get it at least once for the miles. Further, if you hold the card for at least three months, you can use it to get US American Express cards through the Global Transfer program.

the inside of an airplane
Fly Lufthansa First Class for only 70,000 miles!

Can I Get it More Than Once?

While the application has a “once per lifetime” clause, I haven’t seen many datapoints of this being enforced. I have personally had over five gold cards, one of which I got a couple months ago (and got the bonus, no problem). This might change in the future, but as of right now, I would feel perfectly comfortable getting this card even if I’ve had it before since American Express does not appear to be enforcing their limitation clause.

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  1. Is there any benefit to getting US American Express cards through the Global Transfer program if you have neither a SSN or an ITIN?
    If so, which American Express cards participate in this program?

    1. All American Express cards are included 🙂 There are numerous reports of Global Transfer working without SSN/ITIN, though that’s not my experience. ITIN is easy to get.

  2. I’ve recently talked to a rep and his super, I’ve got an impression that they started strictly enforcing one of footnotes:
    >5. This offer is only available to new American Express® Gold Rewards Cardmembers. For current or former American Express® Gold Rewards Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.

    I applied through another referral web site, their offer was FYF, $99 from 2nd year, 25k points only after $500 spending requirement within first 90 days. Their offer and T&C look like similar to past offers, where it didn’t say anything about once per lifetime rule.

    I got the card, but I didn’t find any detail about offers as usual, so I called Amex to confirm.
    The first rep could see right away that I canceled Gold Rewards in May, then got a new one this month, started telling me that I’m ineligible for welcome bonus. I explained him that I clicked thru a 3rd-party web site to get a better offer, and its T&C doesn’t say anything like the footnote that I pasted above. He didn’t sound like he’s aware of referral web sites, we were going around a circle, so I asked to speak to a supervisor.

    The super was defensive, but after I talked about RSVP code that I provided at time of application, he said he’ll need to escalate this issue, and I would have a call back. He put me on hold for a few minutes, came back, telling me that I was correct, the offer was much better than for general public, and he noted it in my account.

    So those churners who applied thru your referral link, the best strategy may be DCTA (don’t call the amex lol). If you don’t get welcome bonus, there isn’t much we can do.

    1. We’ve been seeing AMEX referrals post at about 12 weeks – this has been predictable even with reoccurring cards. I wouldn’t call in – the points will usually post, unless there’s some sort of manual intervention.

      1. >We’ve been seeing AMEX referrals post at about 12 weeks

        Data point:
        I’ve checked statements from 2015 and 2016, bonus points credited on next statement soon as I reached their minimum spending requirements. I don’t remember how quickly the bonus points posted online, but I can tell they’ve been posting in less than 4 weeks last 2 years.

  3. In the article you had mentioned that one can get US American Express cards through the Global Transfer program. How does that work? DO I need to have amex gold card to get it or any AMEX canadian card will work?

    I want to get the bonuses that US version offers and establish a credit rating to get points. Is that possible? And, how to go about and get ITIN?

    Appreciate your help

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