If you’re looking for a card that will help you earn cash back on purchases, and don’t want the bother of managing different spending categories or bonus tiers, look no further than the American Express SimplyCash Preferred. With a return of 2% back on every dollar spent, this is the best flat-rate cash back card in Canada. Cardholders gain access to premium perks, and new members are bonused with a whopping 5% back for a full six months.
|Rewards||2% cash back on everything|
|Welcome offer||Earn 5% for the first 6 months (up to $300)|
|Income requirement||None specified|
|Annual interest rate||19.99%|
|Best features||Great flat earn rate; no cost to add up to 9 authorized users; entertainment perks with American Express Invites including Front of The Line|
|Who it’s best for||People who want simple yet lucrative rewards; frequent online shoppers|
6 things to know about the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
1. It’s the best flat-rate cash back credit card in Canada
Most cash back credit cards offer boosted earn rates in one or two spending categories, like groceries or gas, but only 0.5% or 1% back on everything else. The American Express SimplyCash breaks this mould by offering a single, excellent earn rate of 2% back on every dollar you spend regardless of category—including online purchases. This means cardholders will rack up double the cash back or more on a host of purchases (like clothes, electronics, and more) when compared to other cash back cards. The card’s regular 2% earn rate is the richest available and you don’t have to keep track of anything. One thing to consider is some other cards do beat the SimplyCash Preferred on certain types of purchases like groceries or gas.
2. The welcome offer
With a welcome bonus cash back rate of 5%, the American Express SimplyCash Preferred gets our attention—and it’s even better than you think. Where most welcome offers last between three and four months, this boosted rate is in effect for up to six months. This gives new cardholders half a year to rake in the cash from their everyday—and not-so everyday—spending. It’s worth noting the welcome offer does max out at $300 in cash back, so if you spend over $6,000 before your first six months, the welcome rate will end and you’ll start earning at the 2% cash back.
3. It has a below-average annual fee
American Express’ SimplyCash Preferred is one of only a handful of premium rewards credit cards that charges an annual fee of $99 rather than the $120 to $150 typically charged by most others. Even better, you can add up to nine additional users for no extra fee—an effective, no-cost way to harness other household members’ spends to boost your cash back—which helps make up for the fact that the welcome bonus doesn’t include a first-year fee waiver. In comparison, some premium cards charge an extra annual fee of $29 or $50 for every authorized user you add. The lower annual fee and free authorized users don’t come at the expense of perks or benefits, either.
4. Side perks
SimplyCash Preferred comes with some American Express benefits, including Invites with Front of The Line, which lets you access pre-sale tickets to major live events like concerts and plays, and Amex Offers, which provide exclusive discounts on certain purchases. You can even refer friends and family to sign up for the card, and you can earn $100 for each one who’s approved, up to $1,500.
5. Travel insurance
Included travel insurance is a hot benefit for many credit card shoppers, but not all policies are created equal. The good news here is that the SimplyCash Preferred comes with a package that rivals the insurance offerings of most full-fledged travel credit cards. The SimplyCash Preferred covers you for up to $5 million in travel emergency medical insurance for 15 days, up to $500 in lost or delayed baggage insurance, car rental theft and damage insurance for vehicles up to MSRP of $85K (a full $20,000 more than most cards offer), and hotel motel burglary insurance.
6. What you need to know about American Express
American Express has made a name for itself as an issuer of charge cards—but that’s not all they offer. The SimplyCash Preferred is a credit card just like any other, with a credit limit and a regular interest rate of 19.99% on unpaid balances. Of course, it’s always recommended to pay off your balance in full every month but the SimplyCash Preferred does not require full payment, as charge cards do.
American Express is accepted at tens of thousands of locations across Canada, including most major retail chains and dining establishments. It is important to note, though, that American Express is not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard. In addition to not being accepted at some mom-and-pop stores, American Express can’t be used at retailers under the Loblaws banner (except for Shoppers Drug Mart) or at Costco.
Are there any drawbacks to the American Express SimplyCash Preferred?
As mentioned above, American Express isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, but you can cover your bases by carrying a second no-fee credit card as a backup. While the 2% earn rate is strong, consumers who spend in a few categories (like groceries and gas, for example) might want to consider another card with a higher rate in those categories. The TD CashBack Visa Infinite, for example, offers 3% on groceries, gas and recurring bills, but their base rate is 1%, half of what the SimplyCash Preferred returns.
When it comes to cash back cards, the earn rate is arguably the most important metric to consider—and, at 2% across the board, the SimplyCash Preferred easily climbs the ranks as one the best cash back credit cards in Canada.
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