American Express is a credit card company that is largely known for their terrific rewards cards like the and the .

You may be glad to hear Amex also has a lineup of cash back credit cards, with both an annual fee and no fee version – the and .

Let’s dive into both cards and see what they have to offer…

How does Amex cashback lineup compare to the competition?

Summary of Amex SimplyCash Cards

American Express SimplyCash American Express SimplyCash Preferred
Earn Rate 1.25% 2%
Welcome Bonus 2.5% for the first 3 months (terms) 5% for the first 6 months (terms)
Insurance Coverages 4 types 8 types
Apply Now Apply Now Apply Now

American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card

Amex has made the rewards for their cards simple – a flat rate on all of your spend.

The card will get you 2% cash back on all of your spending with no limits on how much you can earn. No categories, no caps or tiers to worry about.

The annual fee is $99 per year – with supplementary cards at no charge.

The following insurance & shopping coverages come with the card:

    Note: here’s a list of all 16 types credit card insurance with explanations.

    Now, keeping in mind that cash back credit cards typically don’t have the greatest insurance packages when compared to travel cards

    This is a fairly extensive list of coverages, and one of the best for a cash back card.

    You will also be joined in the American Express invites and Front Of The Line, which includes special offers and advance access to events.

    Comparison to the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite

    While having a different way of offering cash back, the is our top ranked cash back card.

    So what are the differences between these two? And is there a time when the Amex card can be a better option than the Scotiabank?

    Let’s review seven factors to see how they stack up.

    1. Rewards Earned

    To calculate total rewards earned, we will use our base $2,000 monthly spend for comparison.

    American Express Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite
    Spend Category Monthly Spend Amount Earn Rate Annual Rewards Earn Rate Annual Rewards
    Grocery 350 2% $84 4% $168
    Gas 200 2% $48 2% $48
    Bills 300 2% $72 4% $144
    Others 1,150 2% $276 1% $138
    Total 2,000 $480 $498
    Annual Fee $99 $120
    Total Return $381 $378

    At our base spend these cards are pretty evenly matched. Spend more on bills and groceries than we have here and the Scotiabank card will be better. But spend more on general purchases and the Amex card is better.

    2. Annual Fee

    The Scotiabank card has an annual fee of $120, higher than the Amex Card.

    3. Redeeming Cash Back

    The Amex card will give your cash back every September as a statement credit.

    The Scotiabank card also only gives you your cash back once a year, in November.

    4. Insurance Coverage

    Here are the two cards’ coverage for comparison:

    While both cards have good insurance coverage, I would give the Scotia a slight edge based on having a few more included coverages.

    5. Acceptance

    While much is made about acceptance of Amex cards, as an Amex cardholder myself I don’t find it is much of an issue.

    Yes, there are the odd small businesses that don’t accept it, but almost all of the large chains take it with two exceptions:

    • Costco (which only accepts Mastercard), and
    • Loblaws group of stores (including, but not limited to Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Atlantic Superstore, Independents and No Frills to name a few, but not including Shoppers Drug Mart).

    Shop regularly at these two stores and the Amex card won’t be of much use to you without a backup. While you won’t be able to use the Scotiabank card at Costco, it’s 4% earnings really boost your rewards at Loblaws stores.

    Related: 3 PC Financial Mastercards Reviewed and Compared

    6. Welcome Bonus

    While I would never base a card I apply for based on a welcome bonus, it can be an edge when deciding between two evenly matched cards.

    In this case, the Amex has a welcome bonus worth up to $300, while the Scotiabank card has no welcome bonus, but is offering the first year free.

    The Amex bonus isn’t worth the full $300 though because you’d be getting your normal 2% cash on those purchases anyway, so you have to subtract that from the total bonus value. With the 5% promo now going on, the true bonus maxes out at $180.

    7. Eligibility

    This is Amex’s biggest advantage.

    While the Scotiabank card will require you to have either an annual personal income of $60,000 or household of $100,000 (your typical Visa Infinite requirements), the Amex card has no income restrictions for any of its cards.

    Verdict

    While a close call (especially if you tend to use your rewards for travel), I would give the overall edge to the Scotiabank, due to the higher earn rates and wider acceptance.

    American Express SimplyCash Card

    Don’t like paying an annual fee?

    Don’t have a high monthly spend?

    Looking for a 2nd card to compliment a category based card?

    American Express has you covered as well. The will get you a return of 1.25% on all your spend, with no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn – and no annual fee.

    And because this card has no annual fee, the insurance coverage is not as robust. It does come with the following:

      For a no fee cash back card, that’s still pretty decent coverage.

      The welcome bonus is also pared back when compared to the preferred card. You will get 2.5% cash back on all purchases for the first 6 months, up to a maximum of $150. That’s $75 more than you’d get on that amount of spending normally.

      And like the Preferred card, you will also be have access to American Express invites.

      Comparison

      We’ll compare this card to two other cash back cards – the and the .

      Let’s review three factors to see how they stack up.

      1. Return on spend

      The BMO card gives 1% return on spending, the Amex will give back 1.25%, and the Tangerine card gives 2% on 2 categories of your choice, and a 3rd if you have a Tangerine Bank account (we’ve selected gas, groceries, and recurring bills), and 0.5% on everything else.

      This is what a typical monthly spend and rewards earned will look like for each card:

      Amex SimplyCash:

      Monthly Spend Amount Monthly Rewards (1.25%)
      $1,000 $12.50

      BMO CashBack:

      Monthly Spend Amount Monthly Rewards (1%)
      $1,000 $10

      Tangerine:

      Monthly Spend Amount Monthly Rewards
      Gas, groceries, and recurring bills (2%): $425 $8.50
      All other spending (0.5%): $575 $2.88
      Total: $1,000 Total: $11.38

      All in all, the Amex SimplyCash can earn you slightly more per month, but these cards are evenly matched, especially Tangerine and Amex.

      2. Welcome Bonus

      The BMO, Amex and MBNA all earn their welcome bonus by upping the percentage of rewards on all or certain categories. They all have a maximum that can be earned:

      • Amex has a total bonus of $150 – your cash back rewards are increased to 2.5% for 3 months.
      • BMO CashBack offers 5% back on all purchases for the first 3 months, up to a total of $100 in rewards.
      • Tangerine has a welcome bonus of 4% cashback on your selected categories for the first 3 months, with no upper maximum. Since there’s no limit on how much you earn, it all depends on how much you spend in each category.

      Doing a little math, based on a $1,000 monthly spend, with Amex you’re getting a $37.50 increase in overall cash because of the bonus. With BMO, it’s $80. And for Tangerine, it’s $25.50.

      3. Insurance

      The Amex SimplyCash has travel accident insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty.

      The BMO CashBack card offers purchase protection (90 days) and extended warranty (1 year).

      The Tangerine Mastercard also offers purchase protection (90 days) and extended warranty (1 year).

      Final verdict

      At a monthly spend of $1,000 per month, we have…

      On a strict spending return, the Tangerine and Amex cards are pretty comparable. The SimplyCash Preferred card is a terrific all around high-end cash back card.

      And the SimplyCash card is great on its own – but also pairs well with a category card (as they typically give 1% on non-category purchases) giving you a little increase in your annual rewards. It makes an especially great pairing with the Tangerine card. You’d earn 2% cash back on your selected categories, and 1.25% everywhere else.

      Combining all 3 factors together, we have to give the crown and flowers to the Amex SimplyCash card.

      It offers great rewards, an awesome amount of insurance for a no fee card and great perks to boot. The sign up bonus is great, too.

      However, if you want a big bank behind your card along with great acceptance, then the BMO CashBack is still a contender.

      Tangerine also offers a unique product where YOU get to choose how to earn your bonus cash back, and pairs well with almost any other credit card out there.

      Your thoughts

      What are your thoughts on these cards?

      Which ones stand out to you?

      Let us know in the comments below.