Is the American Express (AMEX) SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card a good cash back credit card? Yes it is! If you want unlimited cash back potential, $1,500 cash back in referral bonuses, travel insurance, and access to great experiences, then look at this credit card.

The card has a $99 annual fee. Does it give $99 more value than the no-annual fee AMEX SimplyCash Credit Card? The answer requires some simple math. We did the calculations! Fundamentally, it will give you more cash back at a certain point. Read on to learn more.

Interest rate:19.99$ on purchases/21.99% on cash advances

Annual fee: $99

Cash back: 2%/unlimited

Welcome Offer: 10% cash back /$400 maximum

The AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card Welcome Offer

To claim the AMEX SimpleCash Preferred Credit Card Welcome Offer, you have to apply online. The Welcome Offer is pretty good but also time limited. You earn 10% cash back on all your purchases in the first 4 months of having your card. Is it revolutionary? Not really. Is it generous? Yes. Can you exploit it to your benefit? Yes! Here is how to do it.

Maximize your 10% back and cancel-out the annual fee

First, do some math. The card has a $99 annual fee for the primary cardholder but all 9 potential supplementary cards are free. Given that you earn 2% cash back on every purchase, how fast will you get that $99 back? Well, the $99 is 2% of approximately $5,000. 

Unfortunately, it does not take much effort to spend $5,000 in a year. Plus with the Welcome Offer of 10% back in the first 4 months, up to a maximum of $400 cash back, you actually get this card for free for spending less. That’s right: spend $4,000 in the first 4 months and you get $400 back. 

Suddenly that $99 annual fee isn’t so scary. You saved $1,000 off your spending threshold to get the $99 back and pocketed an extra $301 in cash back. This AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card is looking pretty good.

How to earn cash back with the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card

First, it is an AMEX card, so the cash back is easy and has very few gimmicks or hassles. You earn 2% on everything and any category. The earning rate with this card is a step up from the 1.25% you get from the regular SimplyCash card.

The one thing to remember is that your cash back is applied as a statement credit once a year. There is no cheque or quarterly cash back applied to your account. This applies to all cash back including the $1,500 referral reward. The following transactions are excluded from earning cash back:

  • Funds advances
  • Interest
  • Fees
  • Balance transfers
  • AMEX cheques and charges for travellers cheques and foreign currencies

Earn $1,500 when you refer friend, family or colleagues

First, this is a game-changer. If someone you refer eventually submits an application and gets approved, you earn cash back. You can earn up to $1,500 in a year. There are certain rules you need to follow. You have to use the approved text that AMEX provides and you actually have to know the people you refer to the card. You should stick to friends and family. If you refer business colleagues, you have to know them as well. I guess there is a way to verify this. 

Supplementary cards and cash back

As mentioned above, you can add 9 supplementary cards to your account. There are two requirements. First, your account has to be in good standing. You need that to get any of the benefits of this credit card. Second, the minimum age requirement for a supplementary card holder is 13 years of age. 

Why mention the possibility of supplementary cardholders? It is because purchases made by supplementary cardholders earn 2% as well. The cash back goes to the primary cardholder. Therefore, these free supplementary AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Cards are quick and easy ways to earn more cash back. This is part of the reason the card’s cash back is so strong.

AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card insurances

If you read Hardbacon’s credit card reviews, you know that we take insurance seriously. The reason is that it is a protection that really differentiates one credit card from another. Plus, it makes for responsible travel planning.

Travel insurance

Most, but not all, credit cards come with some form of travel insurance. The AMEX SimplyCash Preferred card has some of the hallmarks of American Express’s legendary travel insurance coverage. The only thing to remember is that you are covered if you book your travel with your AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card.

Chubb Life Insurance Company of Canada is the underwriter. If you use your AMEX SimplyCash Preferred card to book tickets for your spouse, dependent children under 23 years-old, they are also insured. The same goes for the spouse and children of the supplementary cardholder; the children need to be under 23 years-old as well. 

When you book your travel with your AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card, you get out of province or country emergency medical coverage. That means that you are covered anywhere in Canada outside your home province or territory as well as when you leave Canada. Coverage is for a maximum of $5,000,000 CAN for eligible expenses. However, there are limitations for people over 65 years of age. Also, your trip cannot exceed 15 consecutive days. 

That said, always read the fine print of your credit card insurance documents. If you are not comfortable with the coverage or are excluded, you can get your own travel insurance. Insurance is important!

Flight delay and baggage delay insurances

There is always a flight delay horror story in the news. It is nice to have some protections to reimburse you for unplanned meal expenses or hotel stays. The AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card has protections. You can get up to $500 for things you buy because of delays or if you are denied boarding for more than 4 hours. If your bags are missing for more than 6 hours, you can claim some expenses as well. You are also covered for lost or stolen checked baggage. 

However, you have to be reasonable about it. If the airline offers you an alternate flight or another way to your destination, take it. The insurance might not pay if you refused the workaround. Plus your expenses have to be reasonable. 

Travel accident insurance

You are potentially covered for up to $100,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance if there is an accident because of a common carrier. A common carrier is mass transit like a plane, train, ship or bus. Of course, you have to first buy those common carrier tickets with your AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card.

Hotel burglary insurance

Let’s say you made it to your hotel. If you charge your room or rooms to your AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card, you are covered if you are robbed. Of course, the limit is $500 and you cannot claim any stolen cash. Not every credit card has this type of protection, so score another point for this card.

Car rental theft and damage insurance

Now, a lot of credit cards have car rental insurance. Usually it is for a car whose maximum manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $65,000. That means that if you are shopping for a new car, the sticker price would be $65,000. 

American Express knows that you like privileges. That is why any rental car you pay for with your AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card can have a maximum MSRP of $85,000. Rentals need to be for 48 days or less. You also need to decline the rental provider’sCollision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or similar offer.

Other AMEX SimplyCash Preferred insurances

I alluded to this before. A lot of credit cards offer purchase protection and extended product warranty insurance for items you buy with the card. The AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card is no exception. AMEX also gives you fraud protection. If unauthorized charges appear on your card, and you took measures to protect your personal identification number (PIN), you are not liable for those purchases.

The standard benefits of American Express cards

American Express is about luxury, perks, and benefits that are not tied to any loyalty specific loyalty program. Why? The reason is that AMEX developed its own benefits programs that include American Express Experiences. You get all of them with the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card. The Experiences lineup includes:

  • Front of the Line Presales for events
  • Front of the Line Reserved tickets
  • Entertainment with American Express Experiences
  • Dining with American Express Experiences
  • Retail with American Express Experiences
  • Wellness with American Express Experiences
  • Onsite benefits with American Express Experiences like lounges, priority bars, etc.

The Plan It American Express Installment Program

The AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card is eligible for the Plan It American Express Installment Program. This is a buy now, pay later (BNPL) program and all of the major credit cards are moving to offering this payment flexibility. It is a payment management program for those purchases that you know will take longer to pay off.

First, you repay balances over time, in equal installments, subject to the conditions. There is a fee to pay on every installment payment.  However, the total monthly installment fees payable over the repayment period are less than the interest you would have paid if it took you the same amount of time to pay off the debt outside the Plan It Program. The company does a good job explaining the math and the benefits.

Should you get the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card?

Overall, the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card is a very good card. It is exceptionally easy to understand. The card rewards you with 2% cash back on all your net purchases. It has a referral system that lets you earn cash back when you refer a friend. There is nothing complicated to remember, like category maximums, schedules, or points calculation. 

However, there are only two things that you need to remember about this cash back credit card. First, cash back is not sent in the form of a cheque. It is deposited on your credit card account once a year. Think of it the same way you think of your tax refund if you are lucky enough to get one. It comes once a year and you still like it. Second, American Express cards are not accepted everywhere. Most merchants worldwide accept AMEX cards so this is more of a potential inconvenience. A simple solution is to have a great VISA or Mastercard credit card in case the merchant doesn’t accept AMEX.

American Express SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card Review

Overall, the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card is a very good card. It is exceptionally easy to understand. The card rewards you with 2% cash back on all your net purchases. It has a referral system that lets you earn cash back when you refer a friend. There is nothing complicated to remember, like category maximums, schedules, or points calculation. 

Heidi Unrau

American Express SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card Rating

Benefits and perks of the AMEX SimplyCash Preferred Credit Card

10% cash back on up to $4,000 spent in the first 4 months, maximum $400 total cash back
2% cash back after the 10% Welcome Offer ends
Unlimited cash back potential
$99 annual fee
9 supplementary cards with no annual fee
Emergency travel medical insurance
Travel insurances
Purchase protections and extended warranty protection
Referral program that can earn you up to $1,500
American Express Experiences program
Access to 24/7 support
The American Express App
Exclusive offers
Plan It American Express Installment Program eligibility

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