American Express has been unbelievably generous this summer. We’re seeing record-breaking signup bonuses on the Platinum, Bonvoy, Aeroplan, and Business Platinum cards, grocery credits left and right, and the return of one of our favourite everyday promotions.
Now, with travel set to take off, they’re offering a new Discover Canada credit. You’ll get $50 back when you spend $250 at eligible hotels in Canada this summer, up to $200 per card. This promotion is only available to a limited number of participants, so make sure you register immediately!
Discover Canada: Spend $250, Get $50
The offer is pretty straightforward: after you register, you’ll get a $50 statement credit after you’ve made a $250 purchase at an eligible hotel merchant in Canada.
There are actually four separate offers separated by province, one each for Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. You have to register for each one separately.
Each credit will work at any hotel in the province, large or small, luxury or budget, chain or independent, big city or small town. No matter your travel style, it’s an easy discount on your stay.
If you have a variety of cross-country travel planned this year (as I imagine many of us do, with international travel still a bit unpredictable), you could potentially earn up to $200 in credits on each card with these offers.
While you’d need to have a pretty full travel schedule to make the most of this promotion, it’s a sparkling offer for anyone who’s able to maximize it. It’s a lot harder to find outsized value for hotel stays than it is for flights, and a 20% discount is nothing to scoff at.
Also, because the credit is applied on the Amex side, it’ll apply to the final amount charged. That means you can combine it with other promotional rates offered by the property, and as long as the bill is over $250, you’ll get the $50 rebate.
The credits are valid for hotel stays until October 31, 2021. That refers to the transaction date of your expense, so if you have a postpaid room charged upon checkout, it should work for any stay that ends before that date.
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The Fine Print
It’s important to note that this is truly a hotel credit, not an all-round travel credit.
Any hotel in the respective province is eligible for the credit, but the fine print stipulates that it has to be a hotel. Alternative types of accommodation like Airbnb won’t count, nor will packages:
Camping, timeshares, short-term rentals, banquets, events, and vacation packages are NOT included.
Also, you’ll have to book directly with the hotel. Going through a third-party such as Expedia won’t work – Amex won’t be able to determine if your booking was for a hotel or for, say, a flight, so they likely won’t issue you a credit in that case:
You must pay the eligible hotel directly using your registered Card, including by phone, through their mobile application or online through the hotel site (e.g. upon booking a hotel stay or upon check-in or check-out), to be eligible for this offer … Hotel rooms paid in advance to a travel agent or travel website are NOT included. You will NOT earn a statement credit if you prepay for your hotel stay with a third party, such as an online travel agent, travel website, online home stays website or prepay the hotel as part of a vacation package.
On the bright side, when you pay at the hotel, you might have more leeway on what constitutes an eligible expense. Although the terms and conditions exclude some types of purchases…
Offer valid on room rate and room charges only. All other purchases are excluded. All gift card purchases are excluded.
…we’ve often seen the same thing at grocery stores. Anything you buy from the merchant will look the same to the payment processor – all they see is the merchant itself.
Even if you don’t have imminent domestic travel plans, or if you’ve already booked or are staying at other types of accommodation, you might be able to snag some future travel at a discount from your favourite local Marriott hotel’s front desk.
(Do note, however, that restaurants within hotels might be coded differently. If you’re hoping to use those expenses to reach the $250 threshold to trigger the $50 credit, it would be best to bill your meal to the room and pay upon checkout, although there’s still no guarantee that those transactions would be processed together with the room rate.)
How to Register Your Card
If you have a card issued by American Express, you’ll be able to find these offers on your dashboard when you log in online. They’ll appear as four separate offers, one for each participating province. Each offer is only available for the first 20,000 cards registered.
Unfortunately, this promotion appears to be targeted, and not all cardholders will receive these offers. Hopefully you’ll find them on at least one of your accounts – and it does seem like the offers are making appearances on a wide variety of Amex’s products, including the Platinum Card, Business Platinum Card, Cobalt Card, and more.
If you have a card issued by Scotiabank that uses the American Express payment system, you can visit this link to register your card for Discover Canada – as well as other Amex Offers, including Shop Small. Sadly, you can’t register an Amex-issued card via that link, so you’re out of luck if you weren’t targeted already.
The Scotiabank registration link is is available for the first 25,000 cards that register for each offer.
Since the Scotiabank offers aren’t targeted, however, you can register as many cards as you have, including the red-hot Scotiabank Gold American Express Card and any supplementary cards you’ve added to your account.
Once you’re registered, there’s no rush to book, so you can take your time sorting out your travel plans.
The Summer of Amex rolls on, with tasty new offers to earn a $50 statement credit on hotel stays in each of British Columbia, Calgary, Ontario, and Quebec, up to $200 in statement credits per card.
American Express must be reading our “Summer Travel in Canada” series. I can’t think of a more fitting credit to help stimulate our domestic tourism sector, with demand for travel already skyrocketing as we discover our own backyards for another season.
Make sure you register for these offers as soon as possible before the limited number of spots are fully taken, and complete transactions at hotels through October 31, 2021 to get your credits.