Credit Card Review – SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash Review

There’s a new player among the ever-popular cash back category, as American Express makes a competitive foray into the market with two daily spending-focused options. The SimplyCash cards come with an intro bonus and rewards structure that rivals market leaders, but a few key differences (think greater flexibility and plusher perks) make it a unique option. Available in both a no-fee and Preferred version, consumers can choose between pure cash earnings, or pay a fee for additional features.

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SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

Read on for our breakdown of both.

Card Details

SimplyCash Preferred Details

NOTE: Only the Preferred version of the SimplyCash has an annual fee.

What’s Included With Both Cards?

SimplyCash-Chart

  • Both cards offer a 5% cash back-earning Welcome Rate for the first six months. This earning rate is applicable to all purchase types with the Preferred card, and applies to gas, grocery and restaurant purchases with the no-fee version.

  • No cap on cash back earnings once Welcome Rate period expires

  • Includes Travel Accident and Car Rental insurance

  • Shopping Coverage with Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan and Purchase Protection

  • Access to American Express Front Of the Line entertainment perks

  • American Express 24/7 helpline and Emergency Card Replacement

  • Fraud Protection Guarantee

Earning Rate: Good

During the Welcome Rate period, both iterations of the SimplyCash card offer one of the highest reward earning rates on the market, and include insurance and customer service features not usually offered in the cash back category. One such Preferred feature – rewards are earned on all purchases, and are not limited to a retailer or category. With 5% cash back for the first six months and a rewards cap of $400, these cards directly rival the likes of the Smart Cash, which also offers 5% for a six-month period. However, this earning rate becomes a bit anemic after the intro period; the Preferred card will earn 1.50% on the dollar to a $100,000 annual maximum, and 1.25% after that. There is no cap on potential earnings after the initial six-month period.

Preferred: How much earned over a 2-year period: $412*

No-fee cardholders will enjoy the same 5% earning rate for the first six months, but earnings are capped at $250. Post-Welcome Rate, earnings drop to 1.25 per cent per dollar, with no cap.

The no-fee version is also restricted to eligible retailers such as gas and grocery stores, and cardholders can also earn cash dining out at restaurants (bars, lounges and pubs not included).

No-Fee: How much earned over a 2-year period: $475**

* assuming $1,000 spent monthly, no balance carried, and annual fee of $79 paid twice. Calculated at a rate of 5% for six months, and 1.50% for 18 months.

** assuming $1,000 spent monthly at eligible retailers with no balance carried.Calculated at a rate of 5% for six months, and 1.25% for 18 months.

Point Redemption: Average

Cash Back is awarded on an annual basis, and applied as a credit directly to your credit card balance.

This is a less flexible model than provided by similar cards on the market, which award monthly, or provide actual cash payouts on a regular basis.

Insurance Features: Great

Cash back card features tend to be on the utilitarian side, forgoing plush perks to focus on earning potential. This is an area where American Express, which has a reputation for pushing the customer service envelope, stands out with travel insurance and purchase protection options.

Fee: The SimplyCash Preferred offers a wide suite of travel insurance options that rival those of a travel-specific rewards card:

  • Full Travel Medical coverage (out-of-country and province) for those under 65 for the first 15 consecutive days of travel.

  • A $100,000 Travel Accident policy

  • Flight Delay coverage of up to $500

  • Hotel / Motel Burglary coverage up to $500

  • Lost or Stolen Baggage up to $500

  • Car Rental Theft or Damage policy

No Fee:

  • Car Rental Theft or Damage policy

  • A $100,000 Travel Accident policy

So… Which One Should I Choose?

It’s these insurance features that likely validate the $79 annual fee the Preferred card is saddled with, making it a good hybrid option for those who travel often. For pure cash rewards, however, greater value is provided over time by the no-fee option, assuming all purchases are made at eligible retailers.

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