Posted by William Charles on December 13, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on December 13th, 2018 | by William Charles

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American Express Changes Travel Credit For Canadian Cardholders (One Per Cardmember Year Vs One Per Calendar)

American Express Canada has made a big change to the way the Platinum airline credit works for Canadian Platinum cardholders. Up until now cardholders received a a $200 travel credit every calendar year, new cardholders starting receiving this travel credit once every cardmember year on October 2nd, 2018. Existing cardholders will have this change applied from January 1st, 2019 onwards.

Keep in mind this is for Canada and the annual fee on that card is $695. I’ve seen no indication something similar will be implemented here, but I did think it was worth posting. This really affects cardmembers for their first year only because under the old rules you can get two travel credits and only pay one annual fee (e.g apply in June, use the credit and then use it again from January onwards).

Hat tip to Travel Update



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LC
LC

it will happen eventually for all of us… this game is slowly but surely dying. take advantage of it while you can!!

Dylan
Dylan

Not dying, but its gonna be harder to find premium rewards cards in the future to justify their AF.

I still see credit card SUBs being around in the future, but it just might be harder to get positive expeced value your first year.

Even if these generous bonuses banks are giving out to credit cards ends one day, theres always churning bank account bonuses ;).

Also you can still double dip the travel credits by getting them in your 30 day window then cancelling the card to get the AF back.

Unfortunently triple dipping in 3 years will no longer be possible.

Darv
Darv

I think the future is probably 5 signup bonuses a year. In two player mode, that’s fair. I think we’ll see issuers tighten to the point where that’s all that’s possible/allowed. I do think the days of racking up dozens of signup bonuses in one year are nearly over. I expect things to tighten up fairly quickly over the next 1-2 years. They already have in the 3 years I’ve been hitting it hard. Things are amazingly different today compared to 2015.

Dylan
Dylan

The next recession could bring back some of these large sign up bonuses as banks get consumers to try to spend again. But this only applies to issuers that derive a lot of their revenue from interest like capital one, discover, bank of america, and barclays, and citi.

We may actually see a resurgence of sign up bonuses from these issuers but because chase and amex are prime and superprime lenders, I expect them to continue tightening their lending standards especially through a recession.

Theres no telling when these credit card bonuses will stop but as long as banks keep making money, then they will keep offering these bonuses.

Dylan
Dylan

Heres my best guess as to why amex and chase keep cutting benifets. The market for credit cards is currently saturated. Anyone that could get the CSR or amex platinum card and wanted it already have them. Thus chase and amex have no reason to try and lure in more customers.

Chase and amex are now evaluating their balance sheets and finding ways to cut out unprofitable customers (like us). Amex is raising fees and chase is cutting benifets, but both accomplish the same thing.

But when the recession hits, many of chase and amex’s prime customers will continue to hold the CSR or platinum since they are less likely to default on their debt.

Meanwhile citi, BofA, barclays and the rest will have customers closing their cards and defaulting on their debt, so they will have to promote bigger sign up bonuses to bring back customers.

When we start coming out of the recession, chase and amex might be just as tight if not more on their lending standards, but the rest like barclays, citi, BofA and such will loosen their lending standards in attempt to gain more customers.

Most people dont realize credit card sign up bonuses are heavily dependent to the macroeconomic policies of the federal reserve and the confidence of banks to lend. Right now the economy is still chugging along and the cardholder market is saturated most issuers. But once a recession hits, I expect more bonuses to come hard and fast after we make our way out.

P
P

Wait, the Canadian version has a travel credit instead of airline credit? WTH

Andy
Andy

Can only use on amex travel Canada’s website

P
P

Except for the high annual fee and low travel credit compared to the US version, the credit is still more flexible than the airline credit we get (supposed to be only incidental) for just one airline and the airline selection is limited.

Mjs
Mjs

Good time to get the Ameriprise Platinum Amex TODAY 1) since it’s still zero fee first year, 2) can triple up on the calendar year credits. I don’t see it lasting the way Amex is racing to the bottom on raising fees and cutting benefits.

Lrdx
Lrdx

Note sure why is the annual fee relevant, but 695 CAD is 520 USD, so they are actually paying less annual fee than US customers.

sumdum11
sumdum11

The perks arent on par compared to the US version if you want true comparison 🙂

Andy
Andy

It’s relevant because the travel credit (which can only be used on amex travel Canada), is 200/699, (or 150/520 in usd terms), versus the US amex of 200/550

There’s also no uber credit or amex offers program in Canada, nor is there a nexus/global entry fee there, and amex Canada charges 2.5 percent forex fee on all cards including the platinum

Darv
Darv

I’ve thought for a while that Amex would implement this. I’m actually amazed it has not happened by now. I imagine they will do this before the end of 2019 or make it effective 1/1/20. I also think they will do it similar to how they are handling issuance of free nights on the hotel cards…so that reimbursements cannot be double dipped–like actually have the reimbursements go through 6-8 weeks after the original charge.

The days of the triple dip are numbered.

Without the double/triple dips and churning the Ameriprise Plat, it will be awfully hard to justify holding an Amex Plat going forward. But that is probably what Amex wants…to weed out the churners.

One good thing that should come from this is Amex making it a travel credit. They are okay with people buying gift cards to cash out their airline credits but that’s the worst kept secret around. If they make it calendar year they are going to have to step up the airline/travel credit to make it competitive with other premium cards like the Sapphire Reserve and Altitude Reserve. It’s ridiculous that people need to jump through hoops to use the Plat credit. I could see Amex making the Plat credit a travel credit, upping it to $250, and making it calendar year. With the lounge access and other unique benefits, that might make it competitive with the CSR and AR.

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