SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express Review

Last Updated on November 29, 2022

Rewards Canada's review of the best cash back card in Canada




The SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express recently regained the crown as the best cash back credit card in Canada. Thanks to some positive changes in October 2022 the card took back first place from the American Express Cobalt® Card. The card is one of the few remaining in the Canadian market that earns no less than 2% back on everyday spending and above that it also offers 4% cash back in select categories. It is these earn rates combined with its welcome bonus and insurance benefits that make this the best overall cash back card in Canada.

The review of the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express is broken down into the following sections:

Overview

The SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express® hit the market on September 2nd, 2014 and marked the issuer's first foray in the Cash Back market with a credit card product rather than a charge card product. Prior to the launch of the SimplyCash and SimplyCash Preferred cards, American Express briefly brought back their Gold Cash Rewards card but it didn't fair too well so it pulled from the market.

Costs & Sign up Features

The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express has a monthly fee $9.99 which works out $119.88. This is roughly the same as most of the premium cash back credit cards it competes against although of late one of those competitors have bumped their fee up to $139 per year so we wouldn't be surprised if others followed suit. Additional cards, also known as supplementary cards, are free with this card - compare this to its direct competitors which charge between $30 and $50 per year for additional cards.

Right now the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express has an increased welcome bonus offer where in your first 10 months you can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months. These $40 statement credits are over and above the 2% to 4% cash back you'll receive on your spending.

Earning

The card earns cash back at a base earn rate and also has accelerated category multipliers. The earn rates are as follows:

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada
  • 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually - $30,000 in spending)
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases

To see where you can earn these multipliers be sure to check out our American Express Cobalt™ Card Confirmed Multiplier Locations as many of those merchants will be the same for the SimplyCash Preferred Card.

When you combine these earn rates and welcome bonus you could earn around $530 in cash back in your first year (based on $10,000 of annual spending split across various categories) to $1,630 cash back (based on $50,000 of annual spending split across various categories) and then each year after that you could see $150 to $1,230+. No other cards provide that amount of cash back, not even the Cobalt Card which comes in at $240 to $1,280+ in year one and $140 to $1,180+ every year after that.

Recommended Reading:
Canada's Top Cash Back Credit Cards
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Redeeming

The beauty of cash back credit cards is the simplicity in redemption - no worries about calculating value in travel or merchandise rewards. The cash back rewards are right there in front of you, no guess work involved and for many cash is king. With the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express the cash back reward is issued as a annual statement credit each September. Nice and easy.

Features and Benefits

American Express Experiences

As with all American Express Cards the card comes with American Express Experiences which includes Front Of The Line® Advance Access, Front Of The Line® Reserved Tickets, Front Of The Line® E-Updates, Special Offers & Experiences for all Cardmembers and Social Access for all Cardmembers.

Amex Offers

Just like all American Express Cards, the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express receives Amex Offers. These exclusive limited time offers sent out to cardmembers to receive statement credits for using their card at select merchants. Depending on your shopping habits these offers alone can provide enough savings in a year to cover the annual fee on the card if not more! You can learn more about this feature in Rewards Canada's Guide to American Express Canada 'Amex Offers'

Insurance

The SimplyCash Preferred Card comes with a strong insurance package for a cash back card that includes the following:

  • Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance (up to 15 days for hose under age 65)
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance
  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Purchase Protection Plan
  • Buyer's Assurance Protection Plan
  • Mobile Device Insurance




What is good about this card

The accelerated earn rates of 4% on gas and groceries are amazing. This is the best card for earning on gas station purchases, no other card rewards you with 4% on gas purchases. The good thing as well is the majority of gas station brands accept American Express - even Canco Petroleum in small towns across Western Canada accept it. And groceries - well outside of Loblaw family of grocery stores you are golden with this card.

The base earn rate of 2%. There are not many cards left in Canada that have this high of base earn rate. The majority of premium cards in Canada offer returns that start under 1% to 1.5% for non-accelerated earn rate spending so the SimplyCash Preferred Card has them beat in this regard.

The additional cards having no fees! The direct competitors to this card all charge $30 to $50 per additional card per year.

The sign up bonus is another strong point, you can earn up to $400 extra dollars over and above your cash back earnings in the first 10 months with the card.

Unlike its competitors which require $60,000 to $80,000 personal income or $100,000 to $150,000 in household income, this card has no minimum income requirements. That's not saying everyone gets approved as they still look at things like your credit rating, employment etc. but at least you don't have to worry about making that much money to apply.

What is not so good about this card

As many of you know American Express has lower acceptance than Visa or Mastercard so there will be occasions where you cannot use this card to pay for items. Depending on where you live or travel, American Express does state that they are accepted at roughly between 80 and 90% of locations that take the other two brands of cards. That being said don't skip this card simply for this reason. You will be better off and earn more cash back by having this card and putting 50% of your spending on it and another non-Amex cash back card in your wallet for your other 50% spending instead of just putting 100% on the latter.

The awarding of the cash back only being once per year. We gripe on this fact for this card and the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card as they are last two major hold outs awarding cash back annually. Most cash back cards in Canada have moved to allowing members to redeem cash back whenever they like when their balance hits a certain minimum. Those minimums can range from $1 to $25. Some other cards in the market will award cash back on a monthly basis. Still, if you are willing to hold off on getting your cash back reward once per year this card will reward you handsomely thanks to its great earn rates.

Even though the card has a strong insurance package for a cash back card some consumers may find the duration of Out of Province Emergency Medical Coverage and lack of trip cancellation/interruption insurance a reason to get a travel card instead of this card.

Who should get this card

  • Consumers who spend a lot at gas stations (we're looking at you road warriors!)
  • Consumers who spend a lot at non-Loblaws grocery stores and prefer cash back over travel rewards
  • Consumers who spend a lot at merchants that accept American Express that don't fall into accelerated earn categories on other credit cards from Amex or other issuers (this is the 2% base earn rate)
  • Consumers who want an American Express cash back card to supplement their non-Amex travel rewards or cash back rewards cards.

Conclusion

The SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express is by far the best true cash back rewards card in Canada. There is no matching its earn rates and welcome bonus. Combine this with a good suite of insurance benefits and you have an excellent card to have in your wallet - either as your primary daily driver or as a secondary card to others in your wallet.

Latest card details:



SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express

Card Type: Credit   
Monthly Fee: $9.99 ($119.88 annually) Additional Card Fee: $0
Annual interest rate 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 24.99% - 26.99%

In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months
• Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases
• Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually) and 2% cash back on all other purchases
• Access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences
• Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply

Apply Now


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