Best American Express credit card in Canada for 2020 award seal

The number of people who carry an American Express credit card and the number of stores who accept them as a payment method seems to be growing, and for good reason.

Amex cards have some of the highest earn rates on the Canadian credit card market right now, the coolest perks, and often come out on top in a number of different categories.

It’s not hard to see the Amex appeal, with cards like the coming out on top in just under a third of the "Best of" credit card categories, making it the highest rated credit card in Canada.

So what makes these credit cards so special?

Best American Express credit cards for 2020

Here's a preview of the best American Express credit cards we think you should consider adding to your wallet:

CategoryCredit CardCurrent Welcome Bonus Offer
Best American Express cardAmerican Express Cobalt™ CardUp to 30,000 points (terms)
Best Aeroplan American Express cardAmerican Express® Card Gold Rewards Card25,000 points (terms)
Best American Express card for hotel staysMarriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card50,000 points (terms)
Best Scotiabank American Express cardScotiabank Gold American Express® Card CardUp to 30,000 points (terms)

Review all 10 top American Express Cards here.

American Express travel

American Express Membership Rewards is one of the most flexible credit card rewards programs out there, hands down. For the most part, its great values are due to its Fixed Points Flights chart.

American Express Fixed Flights Chart

The Fixed Points Flight chart displays set flight distances that you can redeem for a set number of Membership Rewards. For example, a long-haul flight inside Canada or the U.S. requires 40,000 points. No more, no less, every single time.

And with the ability to transfer to over 6 different airline partners and 2 hotel partners, as well as being able to book your travels with any provider you choose (with no loss of value at that), you know you won't be stuck with unredeemable points forever.

American Express perks

On top of getting unbeatable flexible travel options, owning an American Express credit card opens up a world of exclusive perks.

Some benefits of top Amex cards include:

Plus, even with the best, most premium credit card from American Express, there’s no minimum income requirement. That makes it much easier for anyone with good credit to qualify.

American Express Front of the Line

Having access to Front of the Line as an Amex cardholder means you get access to Ticket Presales as well as Reserved Tickets.

With Ticket Presales, cardmembers are able to buy presale tickets for in-demand concerts, theatre shows, and other special events before everyone else.

And with Reserved Tickets, cardmembers can buy their tickets from a section of great seats reserved for American Express exclusively.

Best American Express card

The top credit card in all of Canada, American Express offers great rewards with sky-high earn rates and flexible annual fee payment with the .

Unsurprisingly, this card will make any other card shrink in comparison, giving you:

  • 5 Membership Rewards per $1 spent on grocery, restaurant, bar, food delivery, and café purchases,
  • 2 Membership Rewards per $1 spent on any travel and transit, and
  • 1 Membership Reward on every other $1 spent.

Don't let the $120 annual fee scare you – Amex allows you to pay off the somewhat hefty annual fee in manageable monthly $10 payments.

On top of that, you'll be able to start off your rewards balance with 30,000 Membership Rewards after spending $500 each month for 12 months. That's enough for 2 short-haul flights.

Best Aeroplan American Express card

Coming in at 2nd-best is the , offering:

  • 2 Membership Rewards for each $1 spent on gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases,
  • 1 extra Membership Reward per $1 spent on travel through American Express Travel, and
  • 1 Membership Reward per $1 spent on everything else.

Enjoy complimentary Hertz Gold membership as well as the other typical American Express perks.

Ironically, we rank this card as the best Aeroplan credit card, even though it isn't an Aeroplan-branded card.

Why? Because of its transferability, of course. The Membership Rewards points you collect with the Gold Rewards card differ slightly from the ones you collect with the Cobalt, namely that you can transfer your points to various airline rewards programs.

Aeroplan is one of those programs, and the points collected with your Gold Rewards card can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio. This gives the Gold Rewards credit card the best earn rate of any Aeroplan card on the market right now.

Best American Express card for hotel stays

Want to start staying for free at hotels? Then the is up your alley. You'll earn Marriott Bonvoy points on everything you buy.

To start, earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months.

On all your purchases, you'll enjoy a high earn rate on everything you buy:

  • 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties, and
  • 2 points per $1 spent on everything else.

We value a Marriott point at 0.97 cents when redeemed for free hotel nights, giving you a return of almost 2% on all purchases.

But then, there's the great Marriott Bonvoy benefits provided by this card:

  • annual free night voucher worth up to 35,000 points,
  • automatic Silver Elite status,
  • Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 annually, and
  • 15 Elite night credits every year.

The free night voucher is a top-notch perk. Every year on your card's anniversary, you can redeem for a free night stay worth up to 35,000 points. This benefit alone more than covers the annual fee of $120.

Throw in complimentary Silver Elite status, which will earn you bonus points on your stays, and you'll be racking up Marriott Bonvoy points to use for free stays in no time.

Best Scotiabank American Express card

Scotiabank is the only bank from the Big 5 that also issues American Express cards, as well as Mastercards and Visas.

These cards include:

  • ,
  • , and
  • .

The best one of the bunch is the .

For a reasonable annual fee of $120, you'll get:

  • a welcome bonus of up to 30,000 points,
  • up to 5 points per $1 spent on your purchases,
  • 11 types of insurance coverages, and
  • no foreign exchange fees.

It's the complete package for a travel rewards credit card.

The downside

As many of us already know, one of Amex's only downfalls is its acceptance – not all retailers will accept their cards as a payment method.

But it seems as though more and more retailers are starting to accept this type of card, and our wallets couldn't be happier.

In the meantime, it's always a good idea to have a backup Mastercard (especially if you shop at Costco) or Visa.

Compare American Express Credit Cards

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