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Amex Platinum Vs Reserve

Comparison: Platinum Card vs American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

To the point Here's our detailed comparison of the Platinum Card® and the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, two card for frequent travellers.

American Express Canada offers two cards for frequent travellers:

Welcome bonus

The welcome bonus offered by each of these cards varies according to the promotions.

Here is how the current offer is structured:

With this welcome offer, you can earn up to 80,000 Membership Rewards points.

Here’s how:

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points after $6,000 in Card purchases within the first three months
  • 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you make a purchase between 14 and 17 months of Cardmembership

With this welcome offer for the American Express®* Aeroplan® Reserve Card, you can earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points.

Here’s how:

  • 25,000 Aeroplan points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months
  • 5,000 Aeroplan Points per month, after $1,000 in Card purchases per month for the first 12 months, or 60,000 Aeroplan Points
Advantage: Platinum Card

If you think you can spend $6,000 in 3 months, you will quickly earn the first portion of the Platinum Card® welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points or the equivalent of 60,000 Aeroplan points. To earn the 20,000 additional Membership Rewards points, you will need to renew your card for a second year.

The structure of the offer of the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card requires spending more but more spread out over time. Here, you’ll earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points in your first year.

Minimum income

The Platinum Card® requires no minimum income.

The American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card requires no minimum income.

Draw

Like the vast majority of American Express Cards, these two cards require no minimum income, unlike other high-end cards such as Visa Infinite Privilege Cards requiring $200,000 household income.

If you want travel benefits but don’t have a very high income, either of these cards may be right for you.

Annual fee

The Platinum Card® has an annual fee of $699.

The American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card has an annual fee of $599.

Advantage: American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

On paper, the annual fee for the Platinum Card® is $100 higher than the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card.

However, as you will see below, the Platinum Card® comes with a $200 annual travel credit, which virtually brings the fee down to $499 in net cost.

Earning points

The Platinum Card® and the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card each offer 3 levels of points earning.

Maximum earning level

With the Platinum Card®, you can earn 3 points per dollar of purchases for:

  • restaurants, bars, food delivery services
  • Accommodation and car rental reservations made through Amex Travel Services

With the Carte Prestige AéroplanMD* American ExpressMDCard, you can earn 3 points per dollar of purchases for:

  • purchases from Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations
Advantage: Platinum Card

Here we could have declared a draw. However, the fact that the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card restricts this category to Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations means that you will likely earn more points with the Platinum Card® during the year. Especially for every restaurant outing or food delivery.

Unless, of course, you spend a lot of money with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations (but choosing the Platinum Card® will still get you 2 points per dollar, the same level offered by Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege credit cards)!

Intermediate earning level

With the Platinum Card®, you can earn 2 points per dollar of purchases for:

  • Travel (flights, hotel nights, Airbnb, car rentals, etc.)

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you can earn 2 points for every $1 in purchases at:

  • restaurants, bars, food delivery services
Advantage: Platinum Card

Travel purchases (flights, hotels, Airbnb, cruises, car rentals, etc.) are generally higher than restaurant expenses. So you will earn more points with the Platinum Card® than with the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card.

Again, you should analyze your annual expenses to determine which card to choose based on your personal situation.

Basic earning level

With the Platinum Card®, you can earn 1 point per dollar of purchases for all other purchases.

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you can earn 1.25 points per dollar in purchases for all other purchases.

Advantage: American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

0.25 points that make a difference for those who make a lot of purchases outside of the bonus categories. The American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card will therefore be more advantageous here.

We would like American Express to offer 1.25 points for the Platinum Card® as it does for the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card (and the Business Platinum Card® from American Express).

Aeroplan 25K Elite Status

If you want to earn Aeroplan 25K Elite status through your spending (to earn eUpgrade Credits, for example), the best way to do so is to get the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card. Points earned through your Card purchases will count towards your Elite status. This is not the case for point transfers to Aeroplan from the Platinum Card®.

Redeeming points

Both cards are made for travellers.

However, their loyalty programs are completely different:

This means that the ways you can redeem your points are different.

For travel

With the Platinum from American Express, you can apply its Membership Rewards points to card travel purchases (airline tickets, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals, etc.).

The redeeming rate is 1,000 points = $10.

You can also use the American Express fixed rate chart for specific flights.

The redeeming rate is 1,000 points = $20.

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you can use your points for flights on Air Canada, Star Alliance and partner airlines.

Here, you will need to refer to the Aeroplan Flight Rewards Chart.

1,000 points could be worth as little as $5 for economy travel as well as $40 for business or first class travel (or for specific flights).

You can also use your Aeroplan points for hotel bookings, car rentals and vacation packages. Generally, you will be able to earn a value of 1,000 points = $10.

Advantage: Platinum Card

The Platinum from American Express has one clear advantage: flexibility. With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you must use your points through the Aeroplan program.

While with the Platinum Card®, you can book your trip anywhere you want.

For everyday shopping

With the Platinum Card®, you can apply its Membership Rewards points to everyday purchases charged to the card .

The redeeming rate is 1,000 points = $10.

You need to redeem a minimum of 1,000 points (i.e., a minimum of $10).

No options are available for everyday purchases with the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card (other than purchasing gift cards with your Aeroplan points).

Advantage: Platinum Card

With the Platinum Card®, whether you want to use your points for travel or everyday purchases, you’ll get the same value: 1,000 points = $10.

While with the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you do not have this option.

Transfers to other programs

With the Platinum Card®, you can transfer your points to other rewards programs:

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you cannot transfer your points to other programs.

Once Aeroplan Points are in your Aeroplan account, there is no way out: you must use them within the Aeroplan program.

Advantage: Platinum Card

Not only can you transfer Platinum Card® Points to Aeroplan, but you also have the option of transferring them to other programs (or using them for travel or cash back as seen above).

This is a flexibility that the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card doesn’t have.

The Benefits

Access to airport lounges

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you can access Air Canada Maple Leaf lounges in North America at no charge.

You have a complimentary Priority Pass membership. However, you will have to pay for each access.

Advantage: Platinum Card

If you regularly travel internationally, there is no question: the Platinum Card® will open the doors to many lounges around the world for you and one guest (or even up to two children depending on the lounge), as well as in Canada in Plaza Premium lounges, the National Bank lounge or the WestJet Elevation Lounge.

However, if you are travelling exclusively within Canada or even the United States on Air Canada, the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card may be the Card to choose: you will have free access to all Maple Leaf lounges in North America (as well as the Air Canada Café lounge in Toronto).

Other benefits

With the Platinum Card®, you receive the following benefits:

  • $200 Annual Travel Credit
  • $100 credit for NEXUS membership
  • Pearson Priority Security Control
  • Access to over 1,300 airport lounge(including American Express Centurion)
  • Complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges for the cardmember and one guest
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Elite Gold Status
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, you receive the following benefits:

  • Annual Companion Pass (after $25,000 in purchases)
  • Pearson Priority Security Control
  • Access to Maple Leaf lounge in North America
  • Paid access to Priority Pass lounge
  • Air Canada benefits: priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage handling
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to 8 companions
  • Earn Aeroplan Status Qualifying Miles with your purchases
  • Carryover of unallocated Aeroplan Elite Status Qualifying Miles and unused eRating credits to the following year
Advantage: Platinum Card

The Platinum Card® is for all frequent flyers, whether they travel with Air Canada or many other airlines. But also to those who stay at Marriott or Hilton hotels, luxury hotels belonging to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program.

For its part, the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card is primarily aimed at Air Canada’s frequent flyers. You will then benefit from many advantages with the airline. But that’s where it ends.

As with every aspect of these cards, the answer will be up to you depending on your personal situation. But if you are not an Air Canada frequent flyer, we recommend getting the Platinum Card® instead.

Promotional offers

With the Platinum Card®, for example, Cardmembers were able to take advantage of specific promotional offers:

With the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card, Cardmembers were able to take advantage of targeted promotional offers, for example:

Advantage: Platinum Card

The Platinum Card® is the American Express Premium Card: it is usually on this Card that the offers will be the most generous.

However, the American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card has not fallen short since it was introduced (November 2020) with many great offers. To date, these have proven to be somewhat less lucrative, or “closed” with Air Canada.

Insurance

Insurance New Platinum Card amex aeroplan reserve
Trip Cancellation Insurance Up to $5,000 Up to $3,000
Trip Interruption Insurance Up to $6,000 Up to $6,000
Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance Up to $5,000,000
15 days
Up to $5,000,000
15 days
Flight delay insurance Up to $1,000
after 4 hours
Up to $1,000
after 4 hours
Misdirected Baggage Insurance Up to $1,000
after 6 hours
Up to $1,000
after 6 hours
Lost or stolen luggage insurance Up to $1,000 Up to $1,000
Hotel Burglary Insurance Up to $1,000 Up to $1,000
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance Up to $85,000 Up to $85,000
Travel accident insurance $500,000 $500,000
Purchase Protection® Plan 1 additional year 1 additional year
Purchase Protection® Plan Up to $1,000
120 days
Up to $1,000
90 days
Medical Concierge Service Standby Included
Advantage: Platinum Card

The insurance offered by the two cards is almost identical.

However, the Platinum Card® has better coverage forTrip Cancellation Insurance as well as for the Purchase Warranty.

Conclusion

So? Which Card is the winner?

It’s hard to declare an official winner. In fact, it will be up to each person to make up their own mind according to their needs.

The Platinum Card® stands out thanks to:

  • flexible points
  • better earning rates for all types of travel
  • the diversity of airline and hotel partners
  • a wide choice of airport lounge

The American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card stands out on:

  • many advantages with Air Canada
  • an unbeatable 3 points per dollar accrual rate for Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations
  • an earning rate of 1.25 points per dollar for all purchases
  • access to Maple Leaf lounges in North America
Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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