Sadly, the world of points is getting worse and worse. Credit card bonuses are going down, and banks are getting more restrictive. However, American Express is currently offering their best-ever sign-up bonuses, and we don’t know how long this will last. If you get all three cards below, you’ll get 165,000 Membership Rewards, convertible 1:1 into Aeroplan and British Airways.
This is the first card that everyone should have. You can get 30,000 Membership Rewards miles, which convert into 30,000 Aeroplan or 30,000 British Airways Avios miles by getting the American Express Gold Card (Personal). This card is free for the first year, and you should cancel it before your renewal date to avoid all fees. You get the following sign-up bonuses with this card:
- 25,000 Membership Rewards miles after spending $1,500 in three months, and;
- 5,000 Membership Rewards miles when you register an authorized user for free during your application. The authorized user can be anybody’s name (AMEX doesn’t check), and you never need to actually use the card.
While this card is rather expensive ($699), you get the following benefits (and more):
- 60,000 Membership Rewards miles after spending $3,000 in three months (this is worth at least $1,000, much more than the card’s cost);
- Two $200 travel credits (one right away, and one on the first day of 2018 – you can easily convert these credits into cash, making the effective fee only $299);
- A complimentary Priority Pass which allows you and one guest to access hundreds of airport lounges around the world for free, including Plaza Premium lounges in Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton;
- Complimentary Hilton and SPG Gold status (SPG Gold status means you also get Marriott Gold status), meaning you’ll get free breakfast at most of these hotels;
- The best credit card insurance (travel, baggage, purchases, etc.) in the industry;
- And a number of other benefits.
I would not recommend keeping this card past the first year, since the card is churnable and you can get the bonus multiple times. For an effective fee of $299, you get 60,000 Membership Rewards miles (enough for a round-trip ticket to Europe), including a number of other benefits, which is well-worth the fee.
This card has the best sign-up bonus of any card in Canada – you get 75,000 Membership Rewards miles after spending $5,000 in three months. This card costs $399. While it is a business card, AMEX has no problem approving individuals as a sole-proprietorship with no business income – simply enter your name as the business name. This card has most of the personal platinum benefits, except for the travel credits and Priority Pass, however, you can still access Plaza Premium lounges throughout Canada and Centurion Lounges in the United States and around the world.
How many AMEX credit cards can I have at one time?
You can actually have all three of these cards – I wouldn’t apply for more than two in one day though. I would apply for two on day one, and the third card about two weeks later.
How do I meet the minimum spend?
If you cannot meet the minimum spends organically, there’s an amazing promotion through Paytm, a Canadian app for Android and iOS. This app will allow you to pay most bills and university/college tuition FOR FREE. Seriously, there is no catch – it’s a new app so they are currently having a no-fee promotion. I’ve used the app for tens of thousands of dollars, and it works perfectly. Since many people will be paying for university/college right now, it’s easy to use Paytm to meet minimum spends. If you don’t have any significant bills due, you can use Paytm to overpay your bills and then get a cheque refund from the biller. You can pay a maximum of $1,500 per day per account… which is more than enough, but you can always make new Paytm accounts to pay more if you so choose. Paytm accepts American Express, Mastercard, and Visa cards from Canada.
How about AMEX’s ‘once per lifetime rule’?
While American Express includes a ‘once per lifetime’ rule in the terms and conditions for personal cards (NOT business cards), I have not seen any reports of this being enforced. However, points are often taking up to 12 weeks to post – my recommendation is to never contact American Express about your points. If you meet the minimum spend, current history shows that you will eventually get the points. This may change in the future, hence why getting these cards now makes sense.
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