*** Update: As of March 22, 2018 American Express has changed the welcome and referral bonus on this card, and increased the minimum spend requirement. Full Details can be found here.
American Express is my favourite credit card provider in Canada for many reasons. First off, I consider their Membership Rewards program to be the best overall for Canadians, offering flexible redemption options and unique transfer opportunities to frequent travel participants (Aeroplan, British Airways, and SPG to name a few).
Furthermore, Amex Canada has a diverse selection of credit cards offering a variety of benefits and fees depending on your spending/travel habits. I’ve reviewed several of my favourite cards before:
- The American Express Gold Rewards Card
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
- The American Express Platinum Card
- The brand new Cobalt Card
While these are undoubtedly good cards for most Canadians to consider (with the exception of The Cobalt card perhaps), I realized I hadn’t reviewed one of my favourite premium cards:
The American Express Business Platinum Card
Before we look at what makes this card so attractive, understand that small business cards are easy to apply for, even without a traditional business. How is this possible? American Express uses your personal income and credit worthiness to approve applications. This is different from an American Express Corporate Card, which requires a lengthy application process including company details. For further reading, including how to apply for a small business product without a traditional business, check out our module: How To Apply For An American Express Business Card
Highlights of the Business Platinum card include:
- 60,000 Membership Reward point welcome bonus after spending $7,000 in the first three months of membership. This is the highest sign-up bonus from American Express, and the highest credit card bonus I’m aware of in Canada! This offer is only available through select channels, with the regular offer through American Express is 40,000 points.
- Automatic Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott hotels, offering late checkout, upgrades based on availability, and guaranteed executive club access at Marriott, JW Marriott, and Renaissance hotels (resorts excluded). Lounge access is a fantastic benefit, offering breakfast, evening snacks, honour bars, and dedicated lounge staff.
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts – a collection of luxury hotels around the world available exclusively to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardmembers. Benefits include a unique property amenity (usually $100 credit), room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout, and daily breakfast for two.
- Comprehensive insurance coverage, including flight and hotel insurance, purchase protection, and more
- Participation in the American Express referral program (more on that below)
Unfortunately, the annual fee is $499, and is not waived the first year. However, the welcome bonus is worth $600 minimum if used towards a statement credit for an eligible purchase. If transferred to a frequent travel participant, the welcome bonus could easily be worth thousands of dollars.
The Referral Program
This is maybe the biggest reason why I keep my Business Platinum Card open year after year and happily pay the annual fee. Certain American Express cards participate in the ‘refer-a-friend’ program, where you can earn a set number of points for each new customer you refer to American Express. At the time of publishing this post, the Business Platinum card earns 15,000 points for each approved referral, up to a maximum of 225,000 points per year. In my experience, it has never been hard to refer friends for Amex cards, especially when they are asking how I continue to travel so well and so often!
For a very detailed look into the American Express referral program, and to learn a few secrets to maximize your earning potential, check out our course ‘How To Leverage The American Express Referral Program‘.
I think many people overlook this card due to the high annual fee and the misunderstanding that it’s tough to be approved for a small business card. The reality is, however, small business cards involve the same application process as personal cards with only a couple extra questions asking about your business dealings. Furthermore, the small business cards from American Express offer the highest sign-up bonuses of any cards in Canada. The huge welcome bonus, along with all of the other benefits that come with the card make this a must have for any Canadian wanting to boost their points balance fast! Additionally, the referral program on this card presents a unique opportunity to earn hundreds of thousands of additional points per year, and could make keeping the card and paying the annual fee worth it for those able to maximize the program.