Is the $699 Annual Fee Worth it for the Canadian American Express Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum Card has the second most expensive annual fee out of all the credit cards in Canada, though an argument can be made due to the American Express Centurion Card. First place goes to the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. For today, let’s find out whether the $699 fee is worth it for this American Express Platinum Card with the following highlights:

  • $699 annual fee
  • $175 fee for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 50,000 (without a referral) or 60,000 (with referral) sign up bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 15,000 points for each approved referral (to a maximum of 225,000 points per calendar year)
  • Earn 1.25 point for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • Receive a $200 Annual Travel Credit
  • Receive a complimentary and discounted companion tickets and upgrades
  • Airport lounge access worldwide
  • Premium hotel program membership
  • Extensive insurance coverage

Initially, the $699 annual fee may seem steep, but if we break down the benefits, we may find out that it’s not so bad. Let’s set aside the sign up bonus, being only one time, as we want to find out whether this credit card is worthwhile to retain year after year.

First of all, the $200 Annual Travel Credit covers any travel booking (through Platinum Card Travel Service) once per calendar year. So this benefit covers $200 of the annual fee, so we have another $499 ($699 – $200) to go.

Lounge access is definitely valuable, considering that it is unlimited access worldwide. You have the Canadian Platinum Lounge Benefit which allows access to participating lounges in Canadian airports, which the list can change from time to time. For international travel, you have the The Airport Club Program, which allows you access to lounges in international airports, including American Express Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, etc. The more lounges you visit, the more value that you get from this credit card.

To receive a complimentary or discounted companion ticket, the cardholder must purchase a first class or business class fare ticket with a participating airline, which definitely holds value.

You also receive elite status with the following hotel chains: Starwood Preferred Guest (Gold), Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (Platinum membership after charging 5 nights to the card), Club Carlson (Gold) and Le Club Accorhotels (Platinum).

This credit card includes a host of insurance coverages including:

  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft Damage Insurance
  • Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • StandbyMDSM Travel Medical Concierge
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Travel Emergency Assistance
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Trip Interruption Insurance

As you can see, there is a host of benefits and perks associated with this credit card that can definitely cover the remaining $499 part of the annual fee. I would say that this is currently the best travel credit card in Canada. If you plan to pay for at least 5 trips on your own dime in a calendar year, do not have elite statuses (with airlines or hotels), but enjoy premium class travel, then this is the credit card to go for!


  1. Good post

    Forgot to mention the annual travel credit is good twice in the first year

    So first year annual fee is $299

    Not bad

    1. Yes! For example, if we can take advantage once in 2015 and again in 2016 before the 1 year anniversary of the credit card.

      1. While you can certainly use the $200 twice before the 1st anniversary, they will charge you for that second $200 if you cancel the card and don’t renew. That little trick has been gone for sometime now.

  2. The benefits of the Canadian Plat Amex and the features aren’t as useful as the American Plat Amex are, The airlines participating in the Canadian Plat Amex IAP are fewer and have strict rules than American Plat Amex.

    1. To receive a complimentary or discounted companion ticket, the cardholder must purchase a first class or business class fare ticket with a participating airline, which definitely holds value.

      –> So how does that work exactly? Seems too good to be true. Unless it’s only with full fare flexible biz tickets. In which case it’s ridiculous and useless (who books that anyways?).


      1. There is a lot of information available on internet regarding success people had when using American Platinum IAP and there are different threads on several forums where people had earned big discounts on companion fare even with full flex biz on Etihad/Emirates.

        Right after I received the card , it dawned on me that Canadian IAP airlines and rules aren’t as flexible and inventory is probably different for Canadian Amex. After talking with certain agents in PTS , I came to know that Canadian IAP is loosing one of its partners next year i.e Etihad. So the chances of scoring a companion ticket with IAP airlines are grim and fading out.

        At current rate 699 CAS = 520 US and current American Amex Plat has annual fee of only 450 USD and more features, except for 10K more points on Canadian side like Free Boingo Wifi , No Foreign Currency Transaction fee etc etc…

  3. Hey, I’ve recently been approved for this card. I only applied because I have at least a total of 4 flights within Canada in the next 12 months as well as a 3 week planned trip to South America with my gf.

    Originally, I looked into getting the card thinking the priority pass+ companion would be worth it.

    Can you help me identify other ways I could get the most of this card with these trips in store? I’ll be getting the extra 60K as I’m going to spend 1K CAD in the next three months but I read something about the reward points being a better deal if transferred to aeroplan or avios?

    Thanks for your help

  4. Hi Matthew,

    I became aware of your website from reading Moneysense. Thanks! Great website and info.

    The piece in Moneysense made me quite interested in this AMEX Platinum card. However, there is still one important thing that confuses me. I know this card has many features. One of the big “deals” is the 50-60K (depending on the website offer) bonus points for signing up. My confusion is what these Membership Reward points are actually good for? First off, can I use it to book/pay for airfare on AMEX’s own travel website? It seems like you can get hotel and car rentals maybe but I don’t easily see airline bookings being available? If these points can be used to book air travel, can you tell me what the “exchange rate” is?

    I guess I’m trying to figure out how “valuable” this 60000 points really is. I know I can also transfer the points to Aeroplan but Aeroplan seems to be notoriously restrictive in terms of what flights/seats are actually available. And the fees/taxes that have to be paid with an Aeroplan flight redemption is also extremely high.

    1. Hi Ken,

      Unfortunately there is no short answer to this question. Here’s our post on Membership Rewards: http://pointshogger.boardingarea.com/american-express-membership-rewards-program. Personally, I transfer to BA Avios during a transfer bonus promotion. Otherwise, 60,000 Aeroplan can get you a round-trip flight ticket to Europe on Economy. I use United Airlines so that I pay less taxes and fuel surcharges. This is an example of a redemption: http://pointshogger.boardingarea.com/cdg-to. The real value in the AMEX Platinum is the benefits associated with the card, such as the $200 travel credit, lounge access, companion fare, ability to get referral points, etc. I would look at this card as a whole package rather than just the sign up bonus.

      1. Matthew,

        Thanks for the quick reply. I click on and read through the first link you included in your reply. I think I get it. (It’s just that the AMEX website does not seem to make real mention of Tripflex or describe it in any way)

        If I understand, using a simple example, I can book any flight/or any travel for that matter (through the airline’s own website or thru Expedia, Travelocity or whatever), with my AMEX card. Then on my AMEX online statement, once the charge is posted, I can redeem Membership Reward points to offset or pay for the cost of this travel booking. And the current rate is $100=10000 points? So if I booked a flight that cost $700 (with taxes and fees, all-in), I can use the 60000 sign up bonus points to pay $600 of this, leaving me only having to pay $100 for this flight? If so, that’s not too bad at all…

        1. If you redeem 60,000 points for $600, you are getting 1 cent per point. Usually you want to target at least 1.6 cent per point (http://pointshogger.boardingarea.com/the-points-index) when redeeming for an economy reward flight. You can get an even better return when you redeem for a business/first class reward flight. Otherwise, as you indicated, if you do not convert your points to a frequent flyer program, 60,000 points is worth $600 in travel credit.

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