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 rewards 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.

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 card in CanadaAmerican Express Cobalt™ CardUp to 30,000 points
Best Flexible Rewards American Express card with no foreign exchange feesScotiabank Gold American Express® Card Card20,000 points (terms)
Best Aeroplan American Express cardAmerican Express® Card Gold Rewards Card25,000 points
Best Flexible Rewards American Express card With No Annual FeeScotiabank American Express® Card Card5,000 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 value is 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 travel 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.

Amex Offers

Want to earn some extra cash while shopping? Amex Offers will let you earn statement credits when you shop with select merchants.

Simply sign in to your account, and head to the Amex Offers section. You'll see the offers available for your card, and you can register your card if they’re of interest to you.

To see what kind of offers are available, this page has details on current Amex Offers.

Best American Express card in Canada

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 American Express card for flexible rewards with no foreign exchange fees

Want to earn the most points possible, to use towards any travel booking? You can't beat the .

You'll earn the most points of any flexible rewards credit card:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment,
  • 3 points per $1 spent on gas, transit, and select streaming services, and
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

A Scotia Rewards point is worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel, giving you a return of up to 5% on all your travel redemptions.

But there's more. It's the only American Express credit card that charges no foreign exchange fees. Save the typical 2.5% fee most other cards charge when you make purchases in foreign currency.

Finally, it also has 11 types of purchase and travel insurance, just in case you need some coverage while you're travelling.

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

Best Aeroplan American Express card

To earn Aeroplan rewards, the will earn the most Aeroplan miles of any credit card, 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 flexible rewards American Express card with no annual fee

To earn flexible rewards while also skipping the annual fee, the checks both boxes.

You'll earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on the card – a 1% return when redeemed for travel through Scotia Rewards.

But there's more to this card than just a high earn rate. It's also got 7 types of insurance – including emergency medical coverage for those over the age of 65 (3 days) and rare price protection insurance.

And, you've also got access to the usual Amex benefits like Front Of The Line and Amex Offers.

Add these things together, and you've got a top flexible rewards card that won't cost you anything to keep in your wallet.

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 Canada’s Best American Express Credit Cards

How we get our rankings

How do we decide what the best American Express credit cards are? We take into account over 126 features of each card, broken down into 7 main categories:

American Express page genius rating scoring

We then take those features and put them through our algorithm, which calculates a score out of 5. And since we're talking about American Express credit cards, we don't give extra weight to any category, as we're interested in the best Amex cards overall.

Learn more about our Genius Rating methodology.

Frequently asked questions about American Express credit cards

Here are some frequently asked questions about American Express credit cards.

Are these credit cards only issued by American Express?

While the majority of American Express credit cards are issued by American Express themselves, Scotiabank also issues 3 Amex cards:

They offer the same benefits as other Amex cards, they're just issued by Scotiabank instead of Amex themselves.

Is Amex acceptance something to be concerned about?

While it is true that Amex is accepted less than Visa or Mastercard, Amex acceptance is improving all the time, and it is accepted by most large retailers. You can learn more about Amex acceptance here.

What is the best American Express credit card?

The best American Express credit card is the Amex Cobalt card, which earns up to 5 points per $1 spent, with a high point value of up to 1.75 cents each.

What are American Express charge cards?

In addition to credit cards, Amex also issues charge cards. And while they're used like credit cards, they have 2 distinct differences:

  • they have no pre-set credit limit, and
  • blance must be paid in full every month.

Amex currently issues 4 charge cards, with the Amex Gold Rewards card being one of them.

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