Most travel rewards credit card issuers hit pause on their generous welcome bonus offers when the pandemic shut down global travel last March. What good are perks like airport lounge passes and priority boarding when nobody is traveling?
American Express consistently offers some of the most generous benefits, including luxury travel perks with its iconic Platinum Card. Existing Platinum Cardholders (like me) were pleased to see an extraordinary effort by Amex to keep loyal customers happy by offering easily attainable statement credits.
In addition to providing its annual $200 travel credit, Amex offered two $200 statement credits on grocery purchases. This helped ease the pain of paying a $699 annual fee without receiving typical travel perks like Priority Pass lounge access and elevated hotel status.
As more countries look to ease travel restrictions we can finally look forward to booking – not just dreaming about – that next trip. American Express has launched its Best Offers Yet with new welcome offers on seven Amex travel cards. They’re not just for new customers, but existing cardholders can take advantage of extra bonus points on spending throughout the summer.
To say I’m excited about this development is an understatement. Here’s a quick rundown of the new offers:
American Express Platinum Card
Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 in the first six months. Plus, earn a total of 10x points for every $1 in eligible eats and drinks purchases (groceries, dining) in Canada for the first six months, up to a maximum of 50,000 points. Finally, you can also earn an additional 30,000 points when you make a purchase between 14 to 17 months of Cardmembership. That’s a total of up to 150,000 bonus points. Offer ends on August 3, 2021.
American Express Membership Rewards points are incredibly flexible. My preference is to transfer the points to Aeroplan where I believe I can reasonably earn 2 cents per mile. That means if I earn the full 150,000 bonus points I can turn that into $3,000 in flight rewards.
Need I remind you that Aeroplan did away with fuel surcharges on Air Canada flight redemptions so now you can redeem your Aeroplan miles for good value on flights and pay very little in terms of fees and taxes.
American Express Business Platinum Card
This one isn’t new – it’s the same offer I shared several weeks ago. Business owners can sign up for the American Express Business Platinum Card and earn up to 100,000 in Membership Rewards points when they spend $10,000 in the first three months. A tall order, for sure, but doable if you out a lot of charges through on your business card each month (or have a large one-time expense due shortly).
Again, I’d transfer these points to Aeroplan and strive to earn 2 cents per mile on flight reward redemptions. That’s $2,000 in travel rewards value.
Earn 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend $3,000 in the first six months. Plus, earn a total of 5x points for every $1 in eligible eats & drinks purchases (groceries, dining) in Canada for the first six months, up to a maximum of 25,000 points. You can also earn an additional 15,000 points when you make a purchase within 14 to 17 months of Cardmembership. They can earn a total of up to 105,000 bonus points. Offer ends on August 3, 2021.
I value Marriott Bonvoy rewards at 0.9 cents per point, so the full 105,000 points would be worth ~$945.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
This is a new one for me (I just signed up for it yesterday) but it might be the most lucrative of the bunch.
Earn up to 100,000 Aeroplan points + 10x points on eligible eats & drinks (groceries and dining), up to 50,000 points. Also, enjoy benefits like Maple Leaf Lounge access, an annual Worldwide Companion Pass, and priority airport services.
The annual fee is a steep $599 ($100 less than the Amex Platinum Card) but I like this offer slightly better because it won’t take as long to earn the full welcome bonus (six months).
This Week’s Recap:
Earlier in the week I wrote about some misguided thinking around dividend investing that got the pot stirring.
Over on Young & Thrifty I wrote an evidence-based guide to successful investing. There’s a longer e-book version that should come out soon as well. I’ll keep you posted.
From the archives: Here’s a realistic retirement income target.
Summer Reading List:
I haven’t read as much as I wanted to over the past 16 months (doom scrolling Twitter might have had something to do with it), but I’ve powered through a couple of excellent books recently and have two more in the queue for later this summer.
The Data Detective: Ten easy rules to make sense of statistics. A fantastic book by Tim Harford about why we need good, reliable statistics in our lives.
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story. Michael Lewis wrote another masterpiece with this gripping story about the early stages of the pandemic in the United States and how a small group of visionaries worked to contain the virus despite the ignorance and lack of response from the federal administration.
The Bomber Mafia. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest work looks at the bombing of Tokyo and the deadliest night of the second world war.
Noise: A flaw in human judgement. Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein explain how and why humans are so susceptible to noise in judgment – and what we can do about it.
Our friends at Credit Card Genius always have the latest and greatest credit card offers and this time they have their own promotion offering a $100 Amazon gift card when you sign up for the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card or the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card.
A lot of investors are headed for disappointing returns in the years ahead. Rob Carrick explains why.
The Irrelevant Investor Michael Batnick also says investor expectations are way out of whack with reality, with U.S. investors expecting 17.5% real returns over the long term.
Of Dollars and Data blogger Nick Magguilli answers the question, how much do you need to be financially independent.
Retirement Heaven or Hell author Mike Drak says we need to remember that smart retirement is about everything other than money:
“Unfortunately, most people have no idea about the type of lifestyle they want to enjoy in retirement.”
Michael James on Money wrote a good piece about the potential pitfalls of pursuing a perfect portfolio.
Diversification is key in the face of uncertainty. But does the classic 60/40 portfolio still make sense?
On a similar note, Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam explains what percentage you should have in stocks and bonds.
Online trading apps are drawing in millions of new and naive investors. Here’s how a generation of amateurs got hooked on high-risk trading.
Here’s a worthwhile read on whether you should consider selling your home and renting in retirement.
Finally, here’s a profile of our ‘down-the-street’ neighbours and their thriving fairy-tale cottage business. A terrific entrepreneurial story that I think is just getting started.
Enjoy the start of summer, everyone!