SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express Review
No-hassle 2% cash back flat rate
Lucrative welcome offer: get 10% cash back for first four months
Add up to nine additional authorized users for free
Lower than average annual fee of $99
Includes travel insurance
- $99 annual fee
- Welcome offer: Earn 10% cash back (up to $400) in your first 4 months
- Rewards: Earn 2% cash back on all of your purchases
- Other perks: travel insurance, entertainment access, referral bonus
- Minimum Income Eligibility Requirement: N/A
- Recommended credit score: Good to Excellent
- Interest on Purchases: 19.99% | Interest on Cash Advances: 21.99%
- This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own
About the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express
The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express is a cash back card that earns a solid 2% back on everything you buy, regardless of spending category. Although some other cards offer higher earn rates in specific categories, this card’s rate is much higher than the typical 0.5% -1% base rate—in fact, it’s the best flat-rate cash back card in Canada. This means you have the opportunity to reap excellent rewards across the board without the hassle of keeping track of spending categories. Even better, there is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
Let’s imagine that in a year you spend $12,000 on groceries, $1,200 on gas or transit, and $6,000 on everything else. With most cards, figuring out the value would involve parsing several tiers of rewards and adding up the totals. The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express makes it easy. All you need to do is calculate 2% of your total. In this example, you’d earn $384 in cash back. As far as redemptions go, your accumulated cash rewards are credited to your credit card account once annually.
The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express has a lower-than-average annual fee of $99 and lets you add up to nine authorized users for free, which is an effective way to capitalize on your cash back potential. The welcome offer really sweetens the deal with an eye-popping 10% cash back across the board for the first four months (up to a maximum of $400 cash back). This card offers a few extras including a good travel insurance package and American Express Invites privileges.
Card Features & Benefits
This straightforward card offers a lucrative cash back rate and a few notable extras.
- Affordable annual fee: It costs only $99 per year
- Strong cash back rate: Earn 2% cash back on every single purchase—with no cap on your maximum earnings.
- Unmissable welcome bonus: Earn 10% cash back for the first four months (up to a maximum reward of $400)
- Extra earning potential: Add up to nine authorized users to your account to boost your rewards quickly
Pros and Cons
The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express offers a simple, straightforward way to earn cash back rewards. Its 2% flat rate means you never have to worry about spending categories or do math on the fly, plus it comes with a small but useful suite of extras and carries a below-average annual fee of $99. The welcome bonus of 10% cash back for four months makes it a hard deal to pass by.
That said, if you want all the bells and whistles, this card will fall short. There aren’t any perks like hotel credits or extras like mobile device insurance. And, although there are no caps to the amount you can earn, you have to wait for your rebates to be deposited once per year rather than on-demand. Finally, like all American Express cards, this one will be accepted at fewer places than Visa or Mastercard, a wrinkle that could throw a wrench in your earning plans, particularly if you shop at Costco or Loblaws.
- Stellar welcome bonus — get 10% cash back for first four months (up to a reward of $400)
- Below average annual fee — $99
- More earning potential — add up to nine authorized users for free
- Earn from referrals — get $100 back for every approved user you sign up, up to $1500
- Good travel insurance — includes 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, and hotel motel burglary
- American Express Invites
- Rebates arrive annually
- No mobile device insurance
- Not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard
The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express doesn’t have many extras, but the ones it does carry are worth a look.
- Travel insurance: The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express includes a travel insurance package that rivals some other cards with much higher annual fees.
- Referrals: When you refer friends or family to sign up for the card you earn bonuses. For each approval you’ll get $100, up to $1,500.
- American Express Invites: These benefits include Front of The Line so you can access presale tickets to major live events, and Amex Offers for discounts.
How It Compares
When it comes to cash back credit cards, consumers generally consider the earn rates versus annual fees, plus whatever benefits the cards might offer. The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express lets you earn 2% across the board but it does charge $99 annually. In other words, you won’t make back the annual fee until you’ve spent $5,000. Check out the chart below to see how the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express compares to some other popular cash back cards.
|Card||Cash Back||Welcome Bonus||Annual Fee||Learn More|
|SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express||2% on everything||10% cash back for the first 4 months||$99||Visit Site|
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||2% cash back in up to 3 categories of your choosing; 1% on everything else||N/A||$0||Visit Site|
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card gets you 2% cash back in up to three spending categories—for free. At sign-up, you’ll get to choose two accelerated categories plus a third if you set up an automatic monthly reimbursement to a Tangerine account. The categories you can choose from include groceries, gas, restaurants, recurring bills, home improvement, and entertainment. You’ll get 2% cash back in your selected categories and 0.5% on everything else. At first blush, this doesn’t seem to come close to the 2% across the board from the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express but consider this: With the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, you can change your spending categories on your next statement. This means that with a bit of planning, you can get 2% back on virtually anything, though certainly not without some measure of hassle. So is avoiding the annual fee worth it?
Using the example above of spending $12,000 on groceries, $1,200 on gas or transit, and $6,000 on everything else annually, the American Express card would net you $384. If you had your spending categories set to groceries, gas, and, say, drug store, the Tangerine-branded Mastercard would let you earn around $294 which doesn’t compare—until you factor in the $99 annual fee. After that expense, the cards are very similar. That said, the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express has an incredible welcome bonus of 10% back for the first 4 months (up to a $400 rebate), while the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has no welcome bonus.
While neither card is super strong on perks and benefits, the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express does include travel insurance. However, it’s worth noting that American Express is not as widely accepted as Mastercard, particularly at grocers like Costco and Loblaws.
Cash back cards balance earn rates and perks with the annual fee. The SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express is unique because it offers a no-hassle 2% flat rate across spending categories, for a below-average annual fee of $99. For those who want a simple and easy card that gets them money back without a premium annual fee, the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express is a good option.
However, if your focus is on maximizing money without putting any money out, there are no-fee cards like the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card that will get you 2% back in some categories. For those who don’t want to pay an annual fee, this is a solid card that features on our list of best cash back credit cards. Ultimately, your choice will come down to preference and spending habits.
This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.