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Updated: Jan 2017
One of the best cards to get started is the AMEX Gold card. The first year is free and you get a bunch of points which are insanely useful right away. It also has a great earn rate for everyday spend so is an all-round awesome card for any travel hacker. Read more below including four amazing uses of the points!
- 25k Bonus Points (See what you can do with the points below)
- Extra 5k bonus points if you add an authorized user and get a supplementary card (free)
- Minimum Spend = $1,500
- Minimum Income = $15,000 /year
- Card Type: Charge Card (Pay off in full each month)
- Annual Fee: First Year Free! ($150/yr after that)
- Free supplementary card for first year (get your relative or spouse to earn points for you too)
- My Referral Link here earns you no extra but gets me 10,000 pts towards my trip home to my buddies wedding!
How to use it
How to make the minimum spend?
You have 3 months to spend $1,500 to get the bonus points. That's only $500 per month. Easy peasey when you think about groceries costing most people at least $200-300 per month alone. Put gas, gym, cable, cell phone, etc on there and you have your $500 per month no problem. IF you get really stuck and NEED to spend just a little more to make the $1,500, you could always buy fuel gift cards? That way you know you are going to spend what you purchase and you can use them over the next year or whatever. Esso, PetroCanada and Staples sell gift cards for gas.
What to do with the points?
There are a bunch of great uses for AMEX membership rewards pts.
See here for a full list of Canadian American Express Membership Rewards Partners:
- Air Canada Aeroplan (1,000 MR pts = 1,000 Aeroplan)
- British Airways Avios (1,000 MR pts = 1,000 Avios)
- Etihad Guest (1,000 MR pts = 750 Etihad miles)
- Delta SkyMiles (1,000 MR pts = 750 Delta miles)
- Alitalia (1,000 MR pts = 750 Alitalia miles)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (1,000 MR pts = 750 CX Asia miles)
- Hilton HHonors (1,000 MR pts = 1,000 Hilton pts)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) (1,000 MR pts = 500 SPG pts)
- You can convert SPG pts to almost any other airline
You can also use TripFlex which lets you book any flight through a special American Express portal. The deals might not be as lucrative though as they give you $1 per 100pts. so 25,000 pts is only worth $250 using TripFlex, whereas you could get a roundtrip flight anywhere in North America which could be over $1000 worth of flight if you convert to one of the Airline Partners for American Express.
AMEX also now has a Fixed Points reward program. Read more about that here
How to maximise the pts you earn
- This card earns 2 pts/$ spent on travel, in grocery stores, at drugstores, and at gas stations so I just make sure I use it when I shop or get groceries, gas, prescriptions or book travel.
- I converted the 25,000 bonus points to Aeroplan. 25k points on Aeroplan is a round-trip flight anywhere in North America on any of the Star Alliance Airlines. You can also convert to British Airways Avios to fly on any OneWorld Alliance Airline, and can even fly on Alaska Airlines with BA Avios.
- Some people cancel this card after 8-10 months because they don't want to pay the annual fee of $150
So what are you waiting for?