I consider the American Express Gold Rewards Card the best travel rewards card for Canadians due to the generous welcome bonus, annual fee waiver for the first year, and high earning potential for everyday spend.
Furthermore, American Express Membership Rewards points are a flexible points currency that can be transferred to a number of airline loyalty programs, including British Airways Executive Club (Avios) and Air Canada Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. Points can also be redeemed for a fixed value of 1 cent per point towards travel purchases charged to the card. For more information about the different type of points programs, check out my beginner’s guide to earning and redeeming travel rewards points.
Currently American Express Canada is offering a 30,000 welcome bonus after spending $1,500 on the card in the first three months of membership and adding a supplementary cardholder during the initial application (no additional fee for the supplement card). They will also waive the first year’s annual fee – a savings of $150. That welcome bonus is worth a minimum of $300 if redeemed for a statement credit, but can be transferred to one of the many airline transfer programs for substantially better value, which I will outline below.
First let’s highlight some of the card’s features:
- 30,000 Membership Reward welcome bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership and adding a supplement card during the application
- Earn 2 points for every $1 charged to the card at gas stations, grocery stores, travel purchases and drugstore
- Earn 1 point for every $1 charged everywhere else
- Emergency medical insurance (out of province)
- Trip interruption, lost baggage and comprehensive car rental insurance
- First year annual fee waiver – a savings of $150
- Refer a friend and receive 5000 Membership Rewards points
Similar to the Fine Hotel and Resorts Program offered by the Platinum Card and The Business Platinum Card, The Gold Rewards Card allows access to the Hotel Collection by American Express. For hotel stays booked through American Express travel with a minimum 2 night stay, card members are entitled to the following benefits at select properties:
That’s a great benefit as the program rate will always be comparable to the best available rate from the hotel, and in some instances, cheaper.
This is a must have card for anyone hoping to leverage rewards programs to travel for less. It’s usually the first card I recommend to beginners as there is no annual fee the first year and the welcome bonus is enough for a round-trip flight anywhere in North America. Here’s an example how Canadians could redeem their welcome bonus:
Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Aeroplan at 1:1 ratio and redeem for an economy flight anywhere in North America (excluding Hawaii for Aeroplan). In this example, I will show direct flights from Vancouver to Chicago.
The total cost of the flight in 25,000 Aeroplan points and $63.31 in taxes and fees.
The same flights would cost $774 if booked without points.
In this example, redeeming Aeroplan represents good value, netting roughly 2.84 cents per point.
Of course, there are many other ways points could be redeemed, including flights to Hawaii using British Airways Executive club for flights on Alaska Air from the west coast, or simply redeeming points for a statement credit towards travel purchases charged to the card. Regardless of your travel plans, consider applying for the American Express Gold Rewards Card today to start earning valuable membership rewards points!
For those without specific travel goals, or anyone who wants advice in planning a perfect rewards trip, please fill out the initial questionnaire for your free consultation, including a comprehensive overview of your current rewards programs and assistance in setting and reaching your travel goals faster!