American Express

One Canadian Reader’s Quest for a Metal Amex Platinum Card (Spoiler: He Got It)

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This is a guest post by MilesTalk reader Ian L. Paterson – an entrepreneur and the CEO of a cybersecurity company based in New York and Victoria, BC. He gives away his best startup secrets at ianlpaterson.com


I’ve wanted a metal credit card for years.

There’s the beautiful magenta Amex card (Editor’s Note: The Plum Card from American Express) which rewards you for playing early. Those sleek Chase Sapphire cards. The once-in-a-lifetime carbon fiber yellow Amex from Pharrell’s charity dinner event…

None of them are available to Canadians.

Getting my hands on a stainless steel credit card has been an ongoing quest of mine for a while. In Canada, the only options for a metal card are for super high net-worth individuals, either with the Amex Centurion card or the RBC Private Banking Visa Infinite card. Neither option is available for someone who’s still grinding away in their career. #startuplife

The metal Amex Platinum card available to US customers just isn;’t an option here…

Can a Canadian Get a US Amex Card?

The idea of applying for, and getting, a US card has been around for a while, but the hassle of going through the process always seemed high. You needed to get an ITIN, which involved passport photocopies, calling the IRS, and a lot of other hoops to jump through.

For me, I actually had an old ITIN number from the early 2000s when I owned and operated a boutique photography studio. Back then, stock photography was all the rage, and I made literally tens of cents selling photos on platforms like iStock Photo, now owned by Getty.

As I’m finding myself spending a significant amount of time in the US as part of my career, I finally bit the bullet and went through the application process.

Here’s how that process went:

– I called American Express and asked for the global transfers team.

– I was told I needed to apply and get the card first, then talk to global transfers.

– I went through the application process with an agent on the phone. When asked for my social security number, I was told I could use it, my ITIN, or a passport number instead. Even though I had an old ITIN number, I couldn’t actually locate it, so I went with my passport number instead.

At first, I was rejected. I was told that while I had a credit file, I didn’t have a FICO Score. A call to Equifax – which itself was almost impossible without the SSN needed to talk to a live agent – confirmed that they couldn’t find anything on record other than the application for Amex.

Since I’d applied over the weekend, I had to wait until Monday to call back. Once I did, global transfer’s folks had no problem taking the denied application and pushing it through.

Right away I got the email alert confirming my accepted application. A couple of days later, this showed up:

amex platinum card (US)

The lessons I’ve learned from this experience are:

– The front line staff and new accounts department didn’t seem to know all the ins and outs of global transfer, and I had to make sure I was speaking with the right department.

– You don’t need an ITIN. A passport number will do.

– Whether or not it mattered, I have a very old credit file with Amex Canada and spend a lot on it each month


Ian L. Paterson is an entrepreneur and CEO of a cybersecurity company based in New York and Victoria, BC. He gives away his best startup secrets at ianlpaterson.com / Twitter: @ianlpaterson

Are you a Canadian that has been lusting after a US-only credit card?

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

You can find credit cards (sorry, US-only!) that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

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