The AMEX Cards you didn't know existed

May 27, 2021

Everyone in the credit card game already knows that Amex has some of the best cards with high rewards categories and multiple transfer partners. Amex also usually partners with a bank in each country to expand the range of Amex cards, in Canada that bank is ScotiaBank. The cards most people are not aware of are the American Express International Currency Card (ICC).

The Amex ICC cards are available in USD and Euro variants both with Basic, Green, Gold, and Platinum cards. Though the cards don't have that good of an earning rate compared to Canadian and American cards but are on par or better than the EU cards. The Basic cards do not earn rewards so I won't cover them.

Amex ICC Platinum Card

Annual Fee: US$550/€550

Earn Rate: 1 Point per US$/€ spent

Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 MR Points when you spend $5,000 US/EUR in the first 3 months

Lounge Access: Unlimited Priority Pass, Plaza Premium Lounge, Eurostar lounges, Delta Sky Club, Amex Lounges and The Centurion

Hotel Status: Hilton Honors Gold, MeliaRewards Gold, Radisson Reward Gold , and Marriott Bonvoy Gold

Cruise Benefits: a minimum of US$300 credits on AmaWaterways, Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises & Crystal Yacht Cruises, Holland America Line, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea

The ICC Platinum Card also has access to Fine Hotels & Resorts, The Hotel Collection, and The Vacation Collection. Along with International Airlines Program that gives you up to 20% off on International First, Business, and Premium Economy class tickets booked through your Platinum Travel Service on Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Qantas, Etihad, Emirates, British Airways, Air Europa, and American Airlines.

Amex ICC Gold Card

Annual Fee: US$300/€300

Earn Rate: 1 Point per US$/€ spent

The Gold and Green card are similar except the Gold card has a concierge service and better insurance.

Amex ICC Green Card

Annual Fee: US$100/€100

Earn Rate: 1 Point per US$/€ spent

To get the ICC cards you need to be an egsisting AMEX client.

Again compared to the Canadian and American earn rates they are low but if you look at the Amex Platinum form most of the EU earn only 1 point per € and have worse transfer rates than Candian and ICC transfer rates. The ICC cards have an fx fee, when buying in another currency that is not the Euro for the Euro card or USD for the USD card, so if you spend a lot in Euro or USD these cards could make a lot of sense. If you have access to US credit cards it makes less sense as the US cards will have better rates and similar transfer partners. Because most Candian credit cards (except some Scotiabank travel cards) have an fx fee of around 2.5% when spending in other currencies that are not CAD. If you spend more than $4000 Canadian Dollars in Euros or USD the Green Card would save you money as you would not need to pay the fx fee.

Even if you don't spend $4000 CAD in USD or Euro you still might want to get this card as it opens many new transfer partners that are not available in Canada. There is another lesser know Amex program called American Express International Transfer that allows you to transfer your Candian MR points to any other MR programs from other countries including the ICC cards at the current currency exchange rate.

On the day of writing the CAD/USD rate is 0.83 and the CAD/EUR is 0.68. The first table has the Air Line and Hotel transfer partners for the Candian and ICC MR programs starting with 10,000 points. Table two will have the number of points you will have if you transferred 10,000 Candian MR Points to the ICC MR for both US and Euro cards.

Table 1:

Trasfer Partner Candian Rate Candian Points ICC Rate ICC Points
Air Canada 1:1 10,000 N/A N/A
British Airways 1:1 10,000 3:2 6,667
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:0.75 7,500 1:1 10,000
Asia Miles 1:0.75 7,500 1:1 10,000
Delta SkyMiles 1:0.75 7,500 3:2 6,667
Etihad Guest 1:0.75 7,500 3:2 6,667
Finnair Plus N/A N/A 1:1 10,000
Malaysia Airlines - Enrich N/A N/A 1:1 10,000
Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer N/A N/A 1:1 10,000
Emirates Skywards N/A N/A 3:2 6,667
Flying Blue N/A N/A 3:2 6,667
Iberia Plus N/A N/A 3:2 6,667
Qatar Airways - Privilege Club N/A N/A 3:2 6,667
SAS EuroBonus N/A N/A 3:2 6,667
Virgin Atlantic - Flying Club N/A N/A 3:2 6,667
Marriot Bonvoy 1:1.2 12,000 1:1 10,000
Hilton Honors 1:1 10,000 4:5 12,500
Jumeirah One N/A N/A 4:1 2,500
Radisson Rewards N/A N/A 2:3 15,000

Table 2:

Trasfer Partner Candian Points ICC Euro Points ICC USD Points
Air Canada 10,000 N/A N/A
British Airways 10,000 4,530 5,520
Alitalia MilleMiglia 7,500 6,795 8,280
Asia Miles 7,500 6,795 8,280
Delta SkyMiles 7,500 4,530 5,520
Etihad Guest 7,500 4,530 5,520
Finnair Plus N/A 4,530 8,280
Malaysia Airlines - Enrich N/A 6,795 8,280
Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer N/A 6,795 8,280
Emirates Skywards N/A 4,530 5,520
Flying Blue N/A 4,530 5,520
Iberia Plus N/A 4,530 5,520
Qatar Airways - Privilege Club N/A 4,530 5,520
SAS EuroBonus N/A 4,530 5,520
Virgin Atlantic - Flying Club N/A 4,530 5,520
Marriot Bonvoy 12,000 6,795 8,280
Hilton Honors 10,000 10,375 8,500
Jumeirah One N/A 1,700 2,070
Radisson Rewards N/A 10,190 12,420

Because you are transferring points at the current currency exchange rate the numbers in table 2 will be different when you calculate. We can see that you would get more points transferring to USD than to the Euro Card because the USD is closer to 1 CAD than the Euro if at some point the Canadian dollar was more expensive than the USD or Euro you would get more than one point for every Candian point. Never the less there are still great opportunities if you want Aisa Miles or Alitalia MilleMiglia you would have more miles by transferring them to the ICC card, and for the rest of the options provided by the Canadian MR program use those. What this also brings is the option to earn points in many different programs that are not easily available in Canada.

NOTE: I would not recommend transferring points to Iberia through the ICC card because you can transfer them from British Airways at a rate of 1:1.

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