Review of Canadian Amex Plat

Old Mar 28, 14, 11:17 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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Review of Canadian Amex Plat

I received my Canadian Amex Plat card a month ago and would like share the experience with others. I signed up since it came with 50,000 points and $200 travel credit which essentially covers the $699 fee which makes the card free for a year. Ive had an RBC Avion Infinite Visa for about 5 years which I receive for free due to a multiple product discount but it normally costs $120/yr.

After receiving the card I decided to take a trip to Vegas using Amex Plat on a very busy weekend.

I tried to book Bellagio but they quoted $350/ night while I got it for $200 / night on the Mlife website. I noticed they had Hooters Hotel listed on the Amex Plat travel booking page for $180 / night. Are you kidding me? Why is this flea bag motel even on he Plat travel site? The so called Fine hotels program hotels where all listed for higher then the hotel websites. Conclusion is that the hotel program is limited to getting Gold and Platinum status at 3 different hotel chains which frequent travelers get in any case.

Then came lounge access. For all practical purposes this "benefit" is useless in North America since you cannot access United, American, US Airways, or Air Canada lounges. You are limited to third party lounges that are far and few between. In the past I've bought lounge access in other countries for example Jamaica for reasonable $30/pp rates which included great food and drinks something not usually associated with independent NA lounges. Conclusion is that the lounge benefit is only useful if you do international travel or use Pearson in Toronto often.

Next came the airline benefits which are again completely useless in North America. There is some vague verbage of possible upgrades and free companion flights if you book the most expensive tickets. I do have an international trip to Dubai planned this year and will try to use the benefit.

I then looked at booking a rental car using Hertz or Avis. I already have Gold and Preferred service though the CAA membership. Hertz was insanely overpriced as usual so settled with a Mustang GT from Avis at $70/day using my Mlife discount code. Conclusion is that the rental car program provides zero benefit over over discounts obtained on the net.

Next came restaurants. Amex could not get us seats at any popular restaurant. The ones they did offer was obtained using the hotel concierge instead since I figured having the Bellagio concierge booking it seems to have a bigger impact then some credit card company. Conclusion is that this benefit is very much limited since I receive the concierge benefit from my budget RBC Infinite Visa as well and the hotel you are staying at can usually get you a good restaurant.

Next is travel insurance. I am an avid scuba diver so traveling must always include insurance for travel health. My $120 RBC Infinite card has virtually the exact same insurance as the Plat card including the scuba diving heatlh care. My Sun Life company medical benefits also covers scuba diving.

Next is spending limits. My RBC Infinite card has a $20k limit and I can go over the limit when required even though I've never had to spend more than $20k/month. Amex Plat card supposedly has no limit but they do in fact limit you based on credit score and past spending habits. Conclusion is that there is no benefit in this for me.

The front of the line benefit is available for all Amex cards and I've used my free Blue card for this in the past so again no real benefit. Maybe the concierge can get better seats compared to from of the line alone I'm not sure and will give it a try next time.

Prestige of having the card is a myth and you are treated exactly the same. Maybe if you go to some 3rd world country they will think it means you have money but I doubt it.

The points are no better then what I get with my RBC Visa. So no real benefit.

My final conclusion is that paying $699 per year for this Amex Plat card is a waste of money unless they come up with some additional benefits. I will cancel when this year is over since I get everything I need from my cheap RBC Infinite card for $120/year which I get for free with a multiple product discount. Why anybody would keep this card past the first year baffles me.
tonym6969 is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 12:47 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: YVR
Programs: AA Gold, Marriott Plat
Posts: 888
You missed a few things.
  1. Platinum Travel Credit of $200. This brings the card down to $499 as a net cost. The Fine Hotels & Resorts rate can be more expensive at times, but the benefits of property credit, early check-in/late check-out, breakfast and room upgrade is quite useful. Vegas might not be the best place to use it. The travel website contains all types of hotels, not just the high-end ones... but what weekend did you go? I found the rates on Canada Day to be quite reasonable for higher end properties like the Bellagio, Mandarin Oriental, etc.
  2. Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold. This benefit is ending at the end of the month, but since it seems like you've had it for a month, you should've gotten it before it ended. Cathay has some great lounges around the world, and the Gold membership allows you access into Oneworld (American Airlines in North America - AAdmirals lounges) lounges on any class of travel as long as you're flying with an Oneworld airline. This status also gives you priority check-in, boarding, etc. Lasts for one year and then you get fast track to maintain status.
  3. Plaza Premium and Priority Pass lounges are found in most major airports. YVR, YYC, YEG, YYZ, etc, all have such lounges, as do most USA airports. There is a Priority Pass app that helps you find lounges worldwide, and Amex's website has a lounge finder.
  4. Airline benefits can be useful for international travel, not so much for North American. The one useful thing for Canadian travel is the Platinum discount for Westjet fares.

I haven't used the concierge or car rental, so I don't have much to say in that regard.
roastpuff is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 6:50 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,627
Well, AMEX Plat is not for everyone

1. Too bad you only signed up with 50K welcome (instead of 60K AMEX MR via referral)...but at least you can use 2 x $200 credit in your first year as it's calendar-based annual credit. hopefully they don't ask it back if you cancel your renew too soon after using the 2015 $200 credit

2. For lounges, only Priority Pass (unlimited + 1 guest) is really useful, and more so in Asia/Int'l instead of North America

3. Other benefits are so-so, depending on personal usage.
I've benefited from FHR with awesome upgrades, late checkout, $100 food credit per room, etc... I've also enjoyed Fairmont Platinum status (for 2 years)


In short, if you already have airline status (*A Gold, like I do, or OW elite, etc...), this card is redundant
If no airline status, then one really gets this card for the welcome points, and the prestige of owning this card


I do agree they should probably add more benefits now with recent loss of few benefits
jerryhung is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 10:01 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: YYZ (YUL/LHR)
Programs: AC - E50, CX - G, Accor Plat, SPG Gold
Posts: 899
The Platinum Card may have been weakened recently but it is still the single best deal out there for the first year:

1. The 60,000 (yes you were too late to the FT party in picking up 10,000 too few) welcome points essentially make this a free card for the first year.

2. Even if you can only get $600 value from the bonus, add in the travel credit, and yes everyone I know except one report here has had no problem using 2*$200 and only paying one annual fee, and you are in the red by $101 or $301.

3. The Priority Pass is worth >399 USD which is the retail price of membership without guests. If you have airline status across the networks then this will be of limited use, but this perk has opened my mind to flying other airlines and saving cold hard cash. Also you CAN use United lounges via Priority Pass, only US issued cards are excluded, and you still have DL lounge access.

4. The insurance coverage is unparalleled as far as I know, my bags arrived late to TPE, the agent told me I would have zero problem reclaiming $1,000 expenses as long as the delay was more than three hours. I can confirm this was true, although I did not max out.

5. You should have registered for Marco Polo, this was a huge perk and one of the driving forces behind me getting the card. If you are not enrolled, make sure you call this weekend (I know a longstanding cardholder who signed up successfully yesterday with an excellent agent).

6. Your earn rate is better than RBC, and you have many more choices. Amex MRs can b converted to oneworld (BA/CX), skyteam (DL) or star (AC) amongst others, giving you maximum chances of being able to use your points for J redemptions. Redemptions are much easier to manage than Avion.

7. The various hotel statuses are of variable worth especially depending on if you already have status. For me, I find I get decent return, I have been especially well treated at Accor with the Platinum status, SPG decent, no experience with Club Carlson, I have heard outstanding report on Fairmont Plat after five nights, but again I do not have personal experience, although thinking of trying it out.

8. 10% off all Westjet fares can give a fair fare saving for domestic sloggers.

Platinum may not be for you, but for many people, the first year is simply unbeatable value, and for certain warriors even future years are a good enough deal to keep.
markandrew is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 5:31 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 135
Some more benefits...

Some of the benefit's I've gotten out of it this year.
$200 travel credit twice as I got my card mid year. If you cancel the card before your second year membership comes due, they won't make you pay the second $200 back. If you cancel your card after you make your second year membership fee, they reimburse the prorated amount, but will subtract the $200 you used already.

Flight Delay insurance. Expenses including hotel all paid while stranded in New York City.

Insurance paid for severe checked luggage damage.

I'm happy with the benefits. In my first year, I've received the following benefits:
Luggage Replacement Cost: $500
Hotel Accommodation: 30,000 points = $300 -> Value is more if you redeem for Aeroplan and use wisely
Points Accumulation in $: $500 bonus, $200 bonus X 2
Points Accumulation on Spend in $: $300
Priority Pass Lounges: Saved a ton of food and drink costs while waiting for flights + comfort. Priority Pass is more than private lounges. Many airline lounges are eligible.
$2000+ this year in monetary benefits

This is in addition to other things that are standard on other credit cards including travel insurance, car rental insurance - which has saved me in the hundreds of dollars on top of that - sure, even cheap credit cards offer this, but it means I don't have to shell out another $120 for a credit card with these options.
DanTravel is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 5:40 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 135
Hi MarkAndrew,

Marco Polo club? How is this a Platinum benefit?

Last edited by DanTravel; Mar 29, 14 at 5:49 pm
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Old Mar 29, 14, 5:52 pm
  #7  
mia
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Originally Posted by DanTravel View Post
Marco Polo club? How is this a Platinum benefit?
See here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...ast-track.html
mia is online now  
Old Mar 29, 14, 6:13 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 135
Not available in US and Canada as far as I understand...
DanTravel is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 6:16 pm
  #9  
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 39,961
Originally Posted by DanTravel View Post
Not available in US and Canada as far as I understand...
Available in Canada, but not in USA. The window to enroll ends on Monday, 31 March, 2014, as you will see when you have time to read more recent posts.
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Old Mar 29, 14, 6:33 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: YYZ (YUL/LHR)
Programs: AC - E50, CX - G, Accor Plat, SPG Gold
Posts: 899
Indeed, hurry hurry and make sure you get an agent who knows what they are doing. They should -mail you a form and you fax it back. If the CX-Amex deal ends on 31/3, then Amex will likely have little scope to correct if an agent messes up.

I meant to explain clearer in my earlier post that you can be 99% sure to not lose a cent of value if you use your travel credits for flights. Hotels, Amex do not seem to get the most competitive rates but flights they have always been excellent in booking eactly what I have wanted for the same or less than the best afre I have foudn on the web.

Oh and referral bonuses are very sweet and Avion will give you nothing to compare to that!
markandrew is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 8:57 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 135
Thanks for the tip! It seems I'm eligible. I mostly fly within North America, Europe, and South America. I don't anticipate any Asian destinations in the next year or so.

It's probably not worth the effort of the telephone call other than just to have it.

Dan
DanTravel is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 9:14 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: YYZ (YUL/LHR)
Programs: AC - E50, CX - G, Accor Plat, SPG Gold
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Originally Posted by DanTravel View Post
Thanks for the tip! It seems I'm eligible. I mostly fly within North America, Europe, and South America. I don't anticipate any Asian destinations in the next year or so.

It's probably not worth the effort of the telephone call other than just to have it.

Dan
Marco Polo Gold = oneworld Sapphire = free bags on AA, extra luggage, priority services and lounge access across the network, most notably perhaps for you - access for 2 ppl on Y tickets to the excellent BA lounges.
markandrew is offline  
Old Mar 29, 14, 9:41 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 135
Thanks Tony. That's a good point! I'm calling Amex tomorrow. Tam is now one world, so I may have a new found use for this. . Plus Amex points can be easily transferred to my Avios. This goes hand in hand.....

Dan
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Old Mar 30, 14, 5:00 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I also have buyer's remorse over getting the Plat Amex.

I've only had it for about 30 days and tried to call them to cancel it. Two agents have told me that they won't refund the annual fee. I was told to call back on a weekday to speak to a supervisor to see if they can do anything. I suppose if the supervisor doesn't agree to a refund, I'm either stuck appealing to the Amex Ombudsman or swallowing the $699.

While this is mostly/entirely my fault, it seems to me that Amex should clearly write in their T&Cs that the annual fee is non refundable after XX days or once the bonus points/benefits are used, or once the fee is paid/billed? I've looked through all the documents and there's no mention (either positive or negative) about the annual fee -- to me this should lead to a liberal (consumer friendly) interpretation.

I posted this question in the "churning" thread but anyone here ever heard of the annual fee being refunded in the first year?
Sam_AE is offline  
Old Mar 30, 14, 6:52 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: YYZ (YUL/LHR)
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Originally Posted by Sam_AE View Post
I also have buyer's remorse over getting the Plat Amex.

I've only had it for about 30 days and tried to call them to cancel it. Two agents have told me that they won't refund the annual fee. I was told to call back on a weekday to speak to a supervisor to see if they can do anything. I suppose if the supervisor doesn't agree to a refund, I'm either stuck appealing to the Amex Ombudsman or swallowing the $699.

While this is mostly/entirely my fault, it seems to me that Amex should clearly write in their T&Cs that the annual fee is non refundable after XX days or once the bonus points/benefits are used, or once the fee is paid/billed? I've looked through all the documents and there's no mention (either positive or negative) about the annual fee -- to me this should lead to a liberal (consumer friendly) interpretation.

I posted this question in the "churning" thread but anyone here ever heard of the annual fee being refunded in the first year?
If you have only had the card for thirty days, then how come your annual fee is paid? Usually it would not be payable for sixty days after card is approved.

What is the status of your bonus points of 50,000 or 60,000 for sign up? If these have not been credited to date or if they are remaining on your account, then you should make clear to Amex that you are willing to forfeit these and you may get a much more enthusiastic reply to a request for refund.

If you are trying to grab the sign up bonus and then run and refund, you cannot seriously expect Amex to allow this? You may have given them $699, but they have spend way way more than that on you already and you cannot expect them to just swallow all those fixed expenses and give you back your $699.

Maybe you could expand on why you have buyer's remorse. You paid $699, at a strict minimum if you were not referred you scored 50,000 sign up bonus = $500 if redeemed as a statement credit and you have a $200 2014 travel credit (and one for 2015) so for absolutely nada you have been granted a bunch of hotel statuses, unlimited airport lounge access and truly premium insurance coverage. I cannot quite connect the dots as to why this is a bad thing.
markandrew is offline  

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