Are American Express Cards Worth It For Canadians?

Are American Express Cards Worth It For Canadians?

By | 2018-12-03T13:52:30+00:00 January 19th, 2017|Credit Card Reviews, Credit Cards, Expert Opinions|
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The Canadian credit card market consists of three main players: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Many Canadians have mixed feelings about American Express Cards, and admittedly, I used to be one of them.

Some common complaints I often hear are:

  • Most places don’t accept American Express
  • They have high interest rates
  • Annual fees are expensive

However, most of that is misinformation, and American Express cards are some of the most rewarding on the Canadian Market.

Where is American Express Accepted in Canada?

It’s true that American Express has limited acceptance compared to Visa and MasterCard, mainly due to higher processing fees paid by the merchant.

However, over 70,000 places in Canada started accepting American Express cards in 2017.

Below are some of the bigger Canadian retailers that accept American Express, both in-store and online.

And for an even more detailed list, you’ll want to check out this map of retailers near you that accept American Express in Canada.

MerchantCategoryNotes
Fortis BCBillsFortis BC doesn't natively accept American Express, however you can pay your Fortis BC bill by using a third party company, Plastiq. This is useful if you need to meet a minimum spend, or want to earn more American Express points. Get your first $500 fee free dollars with this link.
ShawBills
TelusBills
Pattison Outdoor AdvertisingBusiness Suppliers (Advertising)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
ReachLocalBusiness Suppliers (Advertising)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Yellow PagesBusiness Suppliers (Advertising)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Acklands GraingerBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Castle Building CentersBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
CDMV Inc.Business Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
CooperVisionBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Dixon ElectricBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Gescan OntarioBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Goodyear Canada Inc.Business Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Hiossen Implant CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
K Dental Inc.Business Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Kal TireBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Lowe's CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Nobel Biocare CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Equipment)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
407 ETRBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Atlas Van LinesBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Canadian Linen and Uniform Services, Quebec LingeBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Halpern EnterprisesBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
MVR Cash and CarryBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Petro-CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
PlastiqBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Sameday WorldwideBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
The InsureBC GroupBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
The Medcan ClinicBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Unisource CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Vector EnergyBusiness Suppliers (Everyday B2B)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Best BuyBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
CDW CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
MicrosoftBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Quickbooks CanadaBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
SageBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Shaw CommunicationsBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
TigerDirect.caBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Wolters KluwerBusiness Suppliers (Technology)With the American Express Business Gold card, choose up to 3 suppliers from the Business Suppliers category and earn 1 extra Membership Reward point for every $1 spent. With this program, you can earn up to a maximum of 250,000 extra points in each calendar year. Apply for the American Express Business Gold card today!
Alice Fazooli'sDining
Browns Social HouseDining
BymarkDining
Cactus ClubDining
Canyon Creek ChophouseDining
Chop RestaurantsDining
DennysDining
EarlsDining
Earls Kitchen & BarDining
FabbricaDining
HarveysDining
Jack Astor'sDining
KelseysDining
Loose Change CharliesDining
McDonaldsDiningSeems to vary by location. Ask upon ordering to confirm.
MilestonesDining
MontanasDining
Moxie's Classic GrillDining
MoxiesDining
North 44°Dining
Oliver & Bonacini RestaurantsDining
One RestaurantDining
Pickle BarrelDining
Revelstoke Mountain ResortDining
Second CityDining
Shark Clubs Of CanadaDining
StarbucksDining
SubwayDiningSeems to vary by location. Ask upon ordering to confirm.
Swiss ChaletDining
The KegDining
The Second CupDining
Tim HortonsDining
Triple O'sDining
White SpotDining
CineplexEntertainment
TicketmasterEntertainment
7-ElevenGas Station / Convenient Store
Canadian Tire Gas BarGas Station / Convenient Store
ChevronGas Station / Convenient Store
EssoGas Station / Convenient Store
HuskyGas Station / Convenient Store
Mac’sGas Station / Convenient Store
On the RunGas Station / Convenient Store
Petro CanadaGas Station / Convenient Store
Safeway Gas BarGas Station / Convenient Store
ShellGas Station / Convenient Store
Federated Co-opGrocery Store
IGA MarketplaceGrocery Store
London DrugsGrocery Store
Longo’sGrocery Store
MetroGrocery Store
Pusateri’sGrocery Store
RabbaGrocery Store
SafewayGrocery Store
Save-on FoodsGrocery Store
Shoppers Drug MartGrocery Store
SobeysGrocery Store
SPUD.CAGrocery StoreLocal, organic groceries delivered to your door. Get $25 off your first order with promo code CRVAN-MENBRI
Urban FareGrocery Store
Whole Foods MarketGrocery Store
ICBCInsuranceCheck with your local insurance office. Yearly insurance renewals can be made with American Express. Monthly payment plans cannot be paid with a credit card, unless you use a third party company, Plastiq. This is useful if you need to meet a minimum spend, or want to earn more American Express points. Get your first $500 fee free dollars with this link.
RBC InsuranceInsurance
Sussex InsuranceInsurance
WawanesaInsurance
Westland InsuranceInsurance
AmazonOnline Retailer
eBayOnline Retailer
AldoShopping
AppleShopping
BestbuyShopping
BoseShopping
Canadian TireShopping
Fountain TireShopping
H&MShopping
Holt RenfrewShopping
Home DepotShopping
Home HardwareShopping
HomeSenseShopping
Hudson’s BayShopping
IKEAShopping
Indigo ChaptersShopping
Kal TireShopping
Lowe’sShopping
LululemonShopping
NikeShopping
Old NavyShopping
PetsmartShopping
RonaShopping
SephoraShopping
Sport ChekShopping
StaplesShopping
The BrickShopping
The GapShopping
WalmartShoppingWalmart accepts American Express in Canada for online purchases. Check in-store upon purchase.
WinnersShopping
ZaraShopping
Air CanadaTravel
AirbnbTravel
AvisTravel
Best WesternTravel
Fairmont Hotels and ResortsTravel
HertzTravel
Marriott HotelsTravel
Royal Caribbean CruisesTravel
Sandman Hotels & InnsTravel
Starwood Hotels and ResortsTravel
WestJetTravel

Enough retailers accept American Express that my Platinum Card is my ‘top of wallet’ card (the card I use most often for everyday spend). I use a CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite for retailers that don’t accept American Express.

American Express Platinum Canada

American Express Platinum Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

  • Get a $200 travel credit & airport lounge access worldwide.
  • $699 annual fee.

Apply Now!

What Canadian American Express Card Should I Get?

That really depends on four main factors:

  1. How much do you spend annually on credit cards?
  2. How often do you travel?
  3. Do you mind paying an annual fee for additional benefits?
  4. Are you a small business owner?

American Express Canada has four Membership Rewards cards; two personal and two for small businesses:

The American Express Platinum Card

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of membership
  • Earn 1.25 Membership Reward points for every $1 in spend on everyday purchases
  • Enjoy a $200 annual travel credit (each calendar year – resets in January) for flights, hotel stays, or car rentals
  • World-wide airport lounge access, including complimentary Priority Pass membership ($399USD value) and access the American Express Centurion Lounges
  • Complimentary Gold status with Starwood Hotels and Marriott
  • Industry leading insurance benefits including trip cancellation and out-of-province medical
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • $699 annual fee (not waived the first year)
  • Earn 15,000 Membership Reward points for each approved referral
Apply Now for the American Express Platinum Card Canada!

The American Express Gold Rewards Card

  • Earn 30,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership and adding an authorized user during the initial application
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 on gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 on everything else
  • Comprehensive insurance benefits, including out-of-province medical
  • Earn 5,000 Membership Rewards points for each approved referral
Apply Now for the American Express Gold Rewards Card Canada!

The American Express Business Platinum Card

Apply Now for the American Express Business Platinum Card Canada!

The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

Apply Now for the Business Gold Rewards Card Canada!

In addition to the family of Membership Reward cards, I would also consider the two Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from American Express. SPG is my favourite overall loyalty program for hotel redemptions and flexible airline transfer partners. Those who are considering the SPG card should act fast, as Marriott and SPG have merged, and the future of both programs is unknown.

***Update as of April 17th, 2018*** The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards are no longer offering SPG points as a welcome bonus. For all the details on the changes, check out our recent post!

The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

  • Earn 20,000 SPG points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership (free night redemptions start at 2,000 points per night)
  • Earn 2 SPG points for every $1 at participating Starwood and Marriott hotels
  • Earn 1 SPG point for every $1 on everyday purchases
  • Complimentary SPG and Marriott Gold status after spending $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Complimentary weekend night stay at a category 1-4 SPG property after spending $40,000 in a calendar year
  • Transfer SPG points to 30 participating airline programs, usually at 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 mile bonus for each transfer of 20,000 points
  • Comprehensive insurance benefits
  • $120 annual fee (not waived the first year)
  • Earn 5,000 SPG points for each approved referral
Apply Now for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Canada!

The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

  • Earn 20,000 SPG points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership (free night redemptions start at 2,000 points per night)
  • Earn 2 SPG points for every $1 at participating Starwood and Marriott hotels
  • Earn 1 SPG point for every $1 on everyday purchases
  • Complimentary SPG and Marriott Gold status after spending $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Complimentary weekend night stay at a category 1-4 SPG property after spending $40,000 in a calendar year
  • Transfer SPG points to 30 participating airline programs, usually at 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 mile bonus for each transfer of 20,000 points
  • Comprehensive insurance benefits
  • $150 annual fee (not waived the first year)
  • Earn 5,000 SPG points for each approved referral
Apply Now for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card Canada!

Compare The Best Travel Rewards Cards in Canada

If you’re having a tough time deciding which card is right for you, check out more in depth reviews of The American Express Gold Rewards Card, The Platinum Card, or The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit card.

Or compare the best travel rewards cards in Canada using our dynamic comparison tool to find the card that’s right for you.

Compare The Best Travel Rewards Cards in Canada!

Why Every Canadian Needs An American Express Card

It’s really simple: American Express offers the most rewarding credit cards on the Canadian market:

  • Membership Reward points are the most flexible points currency available to Canadians, with transfer options to Aeroplan, British Airways, and Starwood Preferred Guest (among others)
  • American Express offers some of the most generous sign-up bonuses for new members, with annual fee waivers on the personal and business Gold Rewards card
  • Referral program: earn bonus points for each friend or family member you refer to American Express
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases with the Gold Rewards card means points can add up very quickly on everyday spending
  • Comprehensive insurance benefits on all cards
  • American Express customer service is industry leading

Forget the old stigma that American Express isn’t accepted in Canada and start rewarding yourself today!

American Express Platinum Canada

American Express Platinum Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

  • Get a $200 travel credit & airport lounge access worldwide.
  • $699 annual fee.

Apply Now!

About the Author:

Champagne taste on a beer budget has always been reminiscent of Tyler’s travel style. Raised in British Columbia, Tyler has an unquenchable thirst for more adventure, which is fueled by leveraging airline and hotel loyalty programs to travel the world in luxury and style. Want to learn how you can travel the world on points, like Tyler? Sign up for an American Express Platinum card and get 60,000 bonus points and a $200 travel credit towards your next dream vacation. (Offer subject to approval and when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months).

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