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American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card Review

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Consider the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card and let your Miles take you around the world in style.

Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,400 AIR MILES when you spend at least $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months.


30-second take

  • Get this card if you’re looking to pay a premium for travel rewards.
  • Pick something else if you don’t want to pay an annual fee or want to earn cash back.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 650 or higher.

The basics

The American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card is a high end travel card which rewards you with AIR MILES on your eligible purchases. Aside from earning AIR MILES, this card offers a wealth of travel perks including Air Miles Onyx status, extensive travel insurance coverage and an annual companion flight.

Unlike the charge card that is commonly offered by American Express, this card is a regular credit card, which means you don’t have to pay off your entire balance each billing cycle. If you don’t pay off the entire balance, you will face a 20.99% APR. Keep in mind there is also a hefty annual fee of $299 for the card.

The perks

  • Welcome bonus.
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,400 AIR MILES when you spend at least $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
  • Earn AIR MILES.
Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on purchases at eligible stand-alone grocery stores, gas stations and drugs stores in Canada, as well as eligible AIR MILES partners, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $15 spent on all other eligible purchases elsewhere
  • Companion flight.
The American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card is the only AIR MILES Credit Card that provides these exclusive benefits: AIR MILES FlexFly Redemptions, the Companion Flight Benefit, the choice to redeem Miles for flight taxes and fees, and waived AIR MILES flight administration fee.

You’ll also like …

  • Travel insurance coverage.
Get $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, Emergency Medical Insurance, Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance, access to Flight and Baggage Delay Insurance, Lost and Stolen Baggage Insurance and Hotel/Motel Burglary Assistance.
  • FlexFly rewards.

Redeem your Air Miles and enjoy more freedom with the FlexFly program. You can now access additional airlines, destinations, departure times and economy, business and first-class seats on flights not available within the AIR MILES Reward Program.

  • Redeem your Air Miles to pay taxes and fees.

You can redeem your Air Miles to pay for taxes and fees including waived AIR MILES® flight administration fee associated with your flight bookings.

  • Four complimentary airport lounge passes per year.

Receive four complimentary visits over the course of a year to Priority Pass™* – Worldwide Airport Lounge Access and access to the Toronto Pearson Priority Security Lane with your Reserve Credit Card.

  • Receive Onyx status.

Offered by the Air Miles program, you’ll automatically be given Onyx status. Having Onyx status can grant you major discounts on flights, merchandise and events, as well as other perks.

  • Purchase benefits.

Buyer’s assurance doubles the manufacturers warranty (up to one additional year) when you use your American Express card to purchase the item. Your eligible items are also covered against theft and accidental damage with Purchase Protection.

  • Exclusive American Express perks.
American Express offer a range of opportunities to cardholder-only experiences and preferred seating at select events. You can enjoy concert, theatre, film, dining, shopping and travel perks with American Express Invites.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee.

The card’s annual fee is $299. However, if you use the rewards and perks, you may find the annual fee is worth the expense. Additional cards are available for $50 each annually, which means you can share them with your family members to rack up your Air Miles points faster. Remember that you will be responsible for all purchases made by additional cardholders.

  • The cash advance fee.

Cash advances will be subject to a 21.99% APR, which will be charged from the moment you withdraw the funds.

  • Not as widely accepted overseas.

Compared to Visa and Mastercard, American Express is much less widely accepted in locations across Canada, the US and around the world. This might provide you with less opportunity to use the card, and therefore less opportunity to reap the rewards.

    Consider other cards if …

    • You don’t use Air Miles.

    If you don’t collect and redeem Air Miles, a different card will likely suit your needs better. This card is tailored toward customers who frequently travel and take advantage of the Air Miles offers, as well as the host of travel insurances on offer. If you prefer to collect Aeroplan Miles or Amex Membership Rewards, a different American Express card may be a better fit.

    • You don’t want to pay an annual fee.

    The American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card comes with an annual fee of $299. If paying an annual fee is not in your best interests, consider looking into a no annual fee credit card.

    • You want cash back.

    If you’re looking to reap the benefits of cash back, you may want to consider a cash back rewards card. These types of cards typically offer anywhere from 1-5% cash back on purchases. If you spend frequently on gas, groceries and dining out, a cash back rewards card may be more beneficial for you than a travel rewards card, especially if you don’t travel often.

    Compare other American Express credit cards

    What should I know before I apply?

    To apply for the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card, you will need to meet the following criteria:

    • Be at least 18 years old, or the age of majority in your province or territory.
    • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian credit file.

    What credit score do I need?

    Having a good to excellent credit score of 650 or higher will give you a better chance of your application being approved. Also having a relatively high annual income or combined household income may be beneficial for approval.

    Other factors that might affect your odds of approval include:

    • Few hard inquiries on your credit report. Having several hard pulls listed on your credit history can indicate to lenders that you’re desperate for credit or have trouble managing your current debt. The provider may be less likely to approve your application if this is the case.
    • Factors that tie into your credit score. Your credit utilization ratio can play a major factor in the approval of your application. Customers who have low balances relative to their credit limits are usually preferable to providers.

    What do customers say about this credit card?

    Positive things are generally said by customers who have the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card. Cardholders are pleased with the welcome sign-up bonus, alongside the flexibility of the Air Miles points and the extensive suite of travel insurance offered. However, considering the high annual fee for the card, cardholders do feel that the complimentary lounge access should be extended to more than four per year.

    Customers of American Express usually complain of the companies inflexible policies. However, positive reviews are usually about the customer service team, who are said to be prompt and helpful when it comes to dealing with issues.

    How to apply for the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card

    1. Head to the American Express website, navigate to the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card page and click the Apply Now button.
    2. Complete the application with information including your full name, home address, income and financial details.
    3. Review and submit your application.

    How long will it take to get my American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card?

    Pre-approval for an American Express credit card is automated on the website, which means you may get a decision on your application within just 60 seconds. If there are issues with your application, such as missing information, it may take within 10 days to hear back.

    Once your application has been approved, you’ll typically receive your card in the mail within 5 to 10 business days.

    I got the card. Now what?

    • Make your repayments.
      Register for an account on the American Express website to pay your balance online and enroll in autopay. Since this card is a regular credit card, you are not obligated to pay off your balance in full each month. If you don’t pay the full balance each month however, you will face a 20.99% APR.
    • Avoid fees.
      Late and returned payments will incur fees, so be sure to pay on time. If you’re enrolled in autopay, be sure to have enough funds in your account to pay off your balance each billing cycle.
    • Contact American Express.
      If you’re not able to find what you need on the American Express Canada website, call 1-800-268-2639 and speak to a customer service representative.

    Bottom line

    The American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card is worth exploring if you’re a frequent traveller and a spender of AIR MILES®. With comprehensive insurance, a great point to dollar earn ratio, an enticing bonus offer and an annual companion flight, this credit card can be a powerful travel companion.

    If you’re not looking to pay a hefty annual fee for your credit card, the $299 annual fee for the Reserve Credit Card may be too pricey. There are plenty of other travel rewards credit cards on the market that have similar features for less, so be sure to compare your credit card options before you apply for one.

    Frequently asked questions about the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card


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