Disclosure: I just signed up for the American Express Platinum Card because of the generous sign-up bonuses.

American Express Platinum

This is the highest premium card in Canada (and a charge card). It charges $699 for an annual fee.

This sounds pricey but let me explain why this was a good deal.

Incredible travel benefits:

1. $200 Annual Travel Credit = $400 credit over 2 years.

The American Express Platinum Card comes with an annual $200 Travel Credit that can be used towards any single travel booking of $200 or more charged to the card through the Platinum Card Travel Service.

$200 Airline Credit American Express Travel.
$200 Airline Credit American Express Travel.

So basically, you get $200 each year to use of credit so if you apply now, you will get $200 in 2014 and another $200 in 2015.

This is $400 in total credit that can be used!

2. Exclusive Toronto Pearson International Perks

The Platinum Card offers several benefits for travellers flying from or through Toronto Pearson:

  • Complimentary Valet Service at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. The $25 Valet service fee is waived when you present your Platinum Card upon car pick up.
  • 15% Discount on parking when you use the Platinum Card to pay for the parking at the Express Park in Terminal 1 and Daily Park in Terminals 1 and 3.
  • Access to the the Pearson Priority Lane when clearing security at Terminals 1 and 3.

Great little bonus for travellers connecting or living in the GTA.

3. Elite Statuses and Complimentary Memberships

American Express Platinum Card holders will be awarded the following Elite Statuses and memberships:

  • Starwood Hotels: Starwood Gold Preferred Guest
  • Carlson Hotels: Club Carlson Gold Elite Status
  • Accor Hotels: Le Club accorhotels Platinum
  • Fairmont Hotels: Accelerated earning of Fairmont Presidents Club Platinum (requires 5 stays to achieve)
  • Hertz: Hertz #1 Club Gold
  • Avis: Avis Preferred

Here is a nice summary table for the hotel elite statuses:

Group and statusBrandsBenefitsLink for more info
Club Accor Platinum
  • Sofitel
  • Pullman
  • Novotel
  • Mercure
  • Ibis
  • Adagio
  • Thalassa
  • Free internet
  • Welcome drink
  • Late check-out
  • Early check-in
  • Room upgrade
  • Executive Lounge
Club Accor Platinum
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold
  • Westin
  • W Hotels
  • Sheraton
  • Four Points
  • Le Meridien
  • St Regis
  • Aloft
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Element
  • Late check-out
  • Room upgrade
  • Welcome gift
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold
Club Carlson Gold
  • Radisson
  • Park Plaza
  • Park Inn
  • Country Inns & Suites
  • Free Internet
  • Early check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Welcome gift
  • Food and drink discounts
Club Carlson Gold

Remember once you get your status, you have the status for at least a year (unless you cancel before the 2nd year). I recommend trying to status match based on these high statuses in other programs like Hilton and Marriott.

4. Complimentary Lounge Access

Through the Canadian Platinum Lounge Benefit enjoy complimentary lounge access across most major Canadian cities regardless of airline or fare booked. When traveling with participating airlines in The Airport Club Program, enjoy complimentary airline club access across the US and Internationally. What’s more, as a Platinum member, you have complimentary access to the American Express Lounge – a private lounge reserved for our most valued Cardmembers. The American Express Lounge is located at Gate B, Domestic departures at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

Premium Complimentary Lounge Access
Premium Complimentary Lounge Access

Also, as a Platinum member you can receive Complimentary Membership in Priority Pass– one of the world’s largest independent airport lounge programs. For complimentary entry, simply present your Priority Pass membership card and a ticket valid for travel on that day on any airline, regardless of class of service.

If you’re travelling with a guest, he or she may accompany you free of charge. For each additional guest, a nominal fee of $27 USD per person per visit will be charged to your Platinum Card.

This is a nice perk and works great for travel hackers like myself that don’t have paid tickets and use miles!

5. Access to book Fine Hotels & Resorts

With a newly enhanced selection of over 700 locations around the world, Platinum members have even more Fine Hotels & Resorts to choose from than ever before. When a Platinum member is ready to book, they can simply let Platinum Card Travel Service know and enjoy enhanced value services such as a complimentary breakfast for two, a 12 noon check-in, a late check-out, and a room upgrade or a complimentary benefit such as a lunch for two or a spa credit (subject to availability). I can’t wait to use this service.

6. Car Rental Upgrades

When a Platinum member rents a car with Hertz, they are entitled to a Complimentary Car Upgrade (subject to availability), fast-track service, and up to 15% discount on the best available rental rates.

When a Platinum member rents with Avis, they enjoy faster rental and reservations and up to 25% discounts on rentals in North America and 20% discounts Internationally.

7. Highest Signup Bonus in Canada

Through my referral link you receive 60,000 American Express Membership Points instead of the usual 50,000! How do Membership points work, basically you can either transfer each point to another program like Aeroplan and your 60,000 American Express Membership Points would be worth 60,000 Aeroplan miles.

Remember that 60,000 Aeroplan miles is a return ticket to Europe (and includes a stopover), or 2 round trip-tickets anywhere in North America.

If you chose not to transfer, 60,000 American Express Membership Points is equal to $600 of travel booked on your card. How the points work is that once you earn points you simply use your outstanding points towards any travel purchases you may have. You simply do this online or call them.

Use a travel agency, tour operator or even an online travel website to book your travel. Charge last-minute flights, seat sales, car rentals, cruises, and more to your Card. Then call American Express to redeem your points to cover the charge – including fees and taxes too.

This is a great idea if you do not want to use Aeroplan, Avios or other great programs but just want to use them right away. This works for families that travel via ferry or take cruises or other types of holidays to help reduce the cost.

8. Rewards and Insurance Benefits

This card comes with Concierge service, American Express Front of the Line service and the same insurance benefits as before such as Trip Cancellation, Out of Province Medical, Flight Delay/Interruption and more.

9. International Airline Program

Anytime you purchase a qualifying Business or First Class ticket for international air travel with your eligible American Express Card on over 25 participating airlines*, you can enjoy savings on a ticket for a companion.

*Airline-imposed fuel and security surcharges and fees and government taxes and fees on international air transportation are the responsibility of the Card Member. See terms and conditions for details.

10. High Earning Ratio

On the earning side it offers 1.25 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on the card. This is similar to the American Express Starwood Card (after the transfer bonus).

Here is my referral link to sign up for the American Express Platinum card (and receive 60,000 bonus Membership Reward Points).