Search
  1. Home
  2. Credit cards
  3. American Express Air Miles Reserve Card Canada Review
Published January 4, 2023

American Express Air Miles Reserve Card Canada Review

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Best for travel enthusiasts seeking a card with flexible redemption options, airport lounge access and insurance coverage.

If you don’t mind an annual fee, travel often and typically use your credit card at the grocery store, gas station, or drugstore, the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card may be a practical choice.

    4.5

    NerdWallet Rating

    Learn more about how we evaluate cards.

    American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Credit Card

    American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Credit Card
    • Annual Fee
      $299
    • Interest Rates
      20.99% / 21.99%
    • Rewards Rate
      0.06x-0.1x Miles
    • Intro Offer
      2,400 Miles
    Our Take
    Why we like it

    If you can handle the annual fee, the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card offers generous and unlimited rewards at grocery stores, gas stations and drug stores — some of the best earn rates for any travel rewards card.

    Pros
    • If you use AIR MILES to book a flight within the AIR MILES Flight Program, you’ll receive up to a maximum of 1,700 AIR MILES Reward Miles towards a Companion Flight for the same itinerary.
    • Insurance includes up to a maximum of $5,000,000 for eligible emergency medical expenses incurred by an insured person under age 65 while travelling outside your Canadian province or territory of residence for the first 15 consecutive days of a covered trip.


    Cons
    • A $299 annual fee is pretty steep, so make sure you’ll take full advantage of the travel perks to realize the card’s full value.

    American Express Air Miles Reserve Card pros and cons

    Pros

    Cons

    American Express Air Miles Reserve Card rewards

    Total value of the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card welcome offer

    New Amex Air Miles Reserve cardholders can earn up to 2,400 Air Miles Bonus Miles by spending at least $3,000 within the first three months of card membership. According to NerdWallet analysis, the average value of 1 Air Miles Reward Mile is worth 11.35 cents. So this card’s intro offer is worth about $272, though the value ultimately depends on how points are redeemed. 

    Point value breakdown

    NerdWallet analyzed 75+ data points to compare the Air Miles redemption values of flights in 2022 to determine a “cent per mile” value for each flight. Based on our analysis, the average value of 1 Air Miles Reward Mile is 11.35 cents.

    More specifically, you can expect to get around:

    Is the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card worth it?

    It depends on your financial situation. Ideally, you want to get more value from your credit card than you pay to carry it. The American Express Air Miles Reserve Card costs $299 annually, so you need to extract at least that much value from the card for it to be worthwhile.

    Beyond its welcome offer, the Amex Air Miles Reserve Card has additional benefits of value. Once per year, cardholders can get up to 1,700 Reward Miles toward a companion flight when redeeming a flight reward — worth about $193, according to NerdWallet analysis. 

    Cardholders also get a complimentary Priority Pass membership, which would otherwise cost $99 to $429 USD annually, plus member visit fees of $27 USD per visit. Cardholders also pay no flight administration fees when they redeem Reward Miles for a flight reward. Flight administration fees vary by airline, but cardholders stand to save money here, too.  

    All in all, these perks could have a total annual value of just over $1,000. And that doesn’t include the insurance coverage that comes with the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card, which could be worth thousands should it ever be put to use.

    American Express Air Miles Reserve Card full review

    The American Express Air Miles Reserve Card is a travel rewards credit card that earns Air Miles Reward Miles. Cardholders earn points for dollars spent on everyday purchases, with higher earn rates on purchases made at the grocery store, gas station, drugstore and with Air Miles partners.

    Benefits of the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card

    This Amex card earns Air Miles and comes with a host of additional travel perks, like a complimentary Priority Pass for airport lounge access, automatic Air Miles Onyx Collector status, insurance coverage and more. Access to the American Express Experiences program, which offers opportunities to enjoy advanced film screenings, food festivals, private shopping experiences, and more, is also included.

    Drawbacks of the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card

    The American Express Air Miles Reserve Card has a $299 annual fee, which may be too steep for some applicants, and its emergency medical insurance doesn’t extend to cardholders 65 and older. Also, the Amex Air Miles Reserve Card it doesn’t offer any free checked bags, and Air Miles has fewer airline partners than some other rewards programs; only 30 to Aeroplan’s 51, for example. 

    Is American Express reliable and secure?

    American Express is one of the largest credit card issuers in the world. As such, their products typically provide a secure way of making purchases in person and online.

    American Express’s Fraud Protection Guarantee ensures you won’t be held responsible for any charges if your card or card information is stolen.

    American Express SafeKey technology helps safeguard your card information when shopping with certain merchants online. SafeKey confirms your identity with various verification protocols to prevent unauthorized use of your American Express credit card.

    American Express customer satisfaction ratings

    American Express ranks third (and above the industry average) in customer satisfaction with credit card issuers, according to J.D. Power’s 2022 Canada Credit Card Satisfaction Study, a survey of 6,478 cardholders in Canada. Card issuers were rated on their benefits and services, communication, card terms, customer support and rewards. The credit card issuers with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the survey were Tangerine Bank and Canadian Tire.

    American Express had a Trustpilot rating of 1.6 out of 5 possible stars based on more than 2,700 customer reviews, at the time of this writing.

    American Express had a 1.08 out of a possible 5 stars, according to more than 300 customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau website, at the time of this writing. American Express is accredited and has an A+ rating from the BBB itself.

    American Express had a Customer Service Scoreboard rating of 36.92 out of a possible 200, based on over 300 ratings, at the time of this writing.

    Amex Air Miles Reserve Card details and eligibility

    Who qualifies for the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card?

    You must be a Canadian resident and at least the age of majority for your province or territory to be eligible for the Amex Air Miles Reserve Card. 

    Approximate credit score needed for approval

    Canadian credit card issuers rarely disclose required credit scores, which makes it hard to know your chances of approval when comparing credit cards. It also means any score suggestion we make would be our best guess — which may not be accurate and could result in card application rejections. We don’t want that. 

    Suggesting that you’d need a “good” or “excellent” score is also confusing, because the meaning of those terms can vary depending on the rating system card issuers use.

    Instead, we’ll tell you what we do know: higher scores have better chances of approval — that’s true no matter what type of credit you’re applying for.

    Want to learn more? Visit our “What Credit Score is Needed for a Credit Card?” page.

    » MORE: How to Check Your Credit Score 

    Income requirements

    American Express doesn’t publicly disclose any annual income requirements for its Amex Air Miles Reserve Card. Applicants must provide their annual income during the application process, which may be a factor during card approval.

    Who should get the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card?

    The American Express Air Miles Reserve Card offers its highest earn rates on travel booked with Air Miles partners, groceries, gas and drugstore purchases: 1 mile for every $10 spent. It also comes with travel insurance and a variety of travel perks, like airport lounge passes, waived flight administration fees, Priority Security Lane access at Pearson airport and more. Travel bugs who frequently spend at the grocery store, pumps or drugstore will be able to maximize this credit card’s rewards program and benefits. 

    How to know if the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card is right for you

    If you travel often and typically use your credit card at the grocery store, gas station, or drugstore, the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card may be a practical choice.

    How to apply for the Amex Air Miles Reserve Card

    You can complete the application for the Amex Air Miles Reserve Card from the American Express website:

    1. Select the Apply Now button from the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card page on the American Express website.
    2. Review the card’s terms and conditions and select Agree and Begin to continue. 
    3. Enter your personal details, including your full name, date of birth, phone number, email address and residential address.
    4. Tell American Express about your finances, including your annual personal income, household income and employment details. 
    5. Choose a four-digit PIN.
    6. Review the information you’ve supplied and submit your application. 

    How to maximize the benefits of the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card

    Get the most from an Amex Air Miles Reserve Card with the following tips:

    Alternatives to the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card

    The Amex Air Miles Reserve Card isn’t the only American Express card with travel rewards. If you’d prefer to earn Aeroplan points, consider one of American Express’ Aeroplan cards. The American Express Cobalt Card, Amex Gold Rewards Card and American Express Platinum Card also earn points that can be redeemed for travel experiences.

    If you aren’t enticed by travel rewards, numerous card alternatives exist, including cash back cards, cards with no annual fees and more.

    Reasons you might want a different card

    The American Express Air Miles Reserve Card comes with an attractive array of perks, but there are a few circumstances where it won’t be ideal:

    American Express Air Miles Reserve Card vs American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

    Both of these American Express credit cards earn travel rewards, but fees, earn rates and card perks vary.

     American Express Air Miles Reserve CardAmerican Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
    Annual fee$299$599
    RewardsEarns Air Miles Reward MilesEarns Air Canada Aeroplan points
    Airline partners3051
    Redemption optionsFlights
    Rental cars
    Hotel stays
    Cruises
    Vacation packages
    Concert tickets
    Merchandise
    Flights
    Hotels
    Car rentals
    Vacation packages
    Merchandise
    Gift cards
    Travel perksAnnual companion flight benefit
    Complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge access
    Waived flight administration fees
    Flight and merchandise discounts.
    $100 NEXUS application fee rebate every 48 months.
    Priority security lane access at Pearson Airport.
    Complimentary valet car service at Pearson Airport.
    Complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge access.
    Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge and Air Canada Cafe access in North America for you and a guest.
    Free checked bags on Air Canada flights.
    Priority check-in, boarding, and baggage handling when you fly with Air Canada.

    American Express Air Miles Reserve Card facts

    American Express Air Miles Reserve Card
    Card TypeAir Miles credit card
    Interest Rates
    Regular/purchase APR20.99%
    Cash advance APR21.99%
    Penalty APR23.99% if you miss two payments within 12 months and 26.99% if you miss three payments within 12 months as of December 2022. This penalty APR will stay in place for 12 billing periods.
    Fees
    Annual fee$299.
    Balance transfer3% of the transaction amount.
    Cash advance$2.75 per transaction.
    Foreign transaction2.5% of the transaction amount.
    Reward Earn Rates
    Signup Bonus or Welcome OfferNew cardholders can receive 2,400 Air Miles Bonus Miles by spending at least $3,000 within the first three months of card membership (limited time offer, terms and conditions apply).
    Rewards and benefitsEarn Air Miles rewards on purchases made with Air Miles partners, at grocery stores, gas stations and drugstores, and other eligible purchases. In addition to Air Miles rewards, cardholders get Automatic Onyx® Collector status; a maximum of 1,700 Miles towards a Companion Flight each year; four complimentary visits per year to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the globe, and more.
    Other perks
    Annual companion flight benefit: Once per year, you can get up to 1,700 Reward Miles towards a companion flight for someone to travel with you on the same itinerary when you redeem your Reward Miles for a flight reward.
    Complimentary Priority Pass membership: Automatically become a Priority Pass member and gain access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
    Waived flight administration fees: Pay no flight administration fees when you redeem your Reward Miles for a flight reward online or through the Air Miles Concierge team.
    Skip the line. Cut down on time spent waiting in line with the Priority Security Lane when you visit Toronto Pearson Airport.
    Automatic Onyx status: Enjoy top-tier Air Miles Onyx Collector status and access flight and merchandise discounts, priority customer support and a complimentary Shell Go+ membership, among other perks.
    Front of the Line perks: Access exclusive ticketing presales for concerts, shows, restaurants and special events.
    American Express Experiences: Gain access to advanced film screenings, food festivals, private shopping experiences, and curated cardholder offers through the American Express Experiences program.
    Amex Priority Lines: Skip the lineups at popular Toronto event venues like the Budweiser Stage and the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
    24/7 customer support: Get in touch with an American Express rep any time of the day or night.
    Installment loans: Take advantage of the American Express Plan It installment loan program to split purchases into smaller monthly payments.
    Insurance coverage
    Extended warrantyUp to one additional year.
    Purchase protection90 days.
    Travel accidentUp to $100,000.
    Travel medicalUp to $5 million per insured person per trip.
    Flight delayUp to $500 for necessary accommodations, restaurant expenses and sundries.
    Baggage delayUp to $500 for essential clothing and sundry items.
    Lost or stolen baggageUp to $500 of coverage per trip for all insured persons.
    Hotel burglaryUp to $500 of coverage for personal items (excluding cash).
    Rental car theft/damageFor up to 48 days.

    Rating Methodology

    NerdWallet Canada rates credit cards according to overall consumer value and their suitability for specific kinds of consumers. Factors in our evaluation methodology include annual and other fees, rewards rates, the earning structure (for example, flat-rate rewards versus bonus categories), redemption options, bonus offers for new cardholders, introductory and ongoing APRs, and other noteworthy features such as airline or hotel perks or the ability to transfer points.

      Frequently asked questions about the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card

      What lounges can I access with the American Express Air Miles Reserve Card?

      Amex Air Miles Reserve Cardmembers get a complimentary Priority Pass membership which grants access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.

      What airlines does American Express partner with?

      As of this writing, American Express partners with 17 airlines, including Air Canada, British Airways, Delta and Emirates Airline.

      DIVE EVEN DEEPER
      7 Best AIR MILES Credit Cards in Canada for 2023

      7 Best AIR MILES Credit Cards in Canada for 2023

      The best AIR MILES credit cards in Canada earn points for the loyalty program on every purchase. AIR MILES Dream Miles have an average value of 10.1 cents per mile.

      A Guide to the Air Miles Rewards Program in Canada

      A Guide to the Air Miles Rewards Program in Canada

      The Air Miles loyalty rewards program is one of Canada’s most popular loyalty reward programs. Earn Air Miles and redeem for travel and more.

      Aeroplan vs. Air Miles: Differences and Alternatives

      Aeroplan vs. Air Miles: Differences and Alternatives

      Whether Aeroplan or Air Miles is better for you depends on how you spend money and plan to redeem points, so understand both programs before choosing a card.

      American Express Front Of The Line and Experiences: What to Know

      American Express Front Of The Line and Experiences: What to Know

      American Express Front Of The Line gives you access to presale tickets and reserved event tickets. It’s just one of several Amex Experiences offered as a cardholder perk.

      Back To Top