A Multiplayer Game and US Credit Cards for Canadians

LIke most games, the credit card points game is more fun when played with others. One way to really maximize your earning potential is to get friends and family involved. Today we are going to look at this in depth with American Express. By now you should absolutely see why I say they are the best rewards program in all of Canada. And for all of the Canadians out there that want to broaden their earning power we are going to dive into getting US credit cards. If you’re an American reading this I am going to show you just how lucky you guys are south of the border.

A Multiplayer Game

To maximize earning potential, getting others if possible, to play the game with us is crucial. Ideally your spouse/partner or someone else you trust becomes what is known as P2 or player 2. You of course would be P1. It doesn’t end there though. Bring all of your family and friends into the game if they are financially responsible enough. And you can have P10, 11 and 12 if you’re lucky. Sounds a little confusing, I know, but bear with me.

There are several banks in Canada that offer what’s known as referral programs: Brim, CIBC and AmEx to name a few. If you are a card holder with these lenders you can refer a friend or family member to a card and the lender will give you a kickback (points, miles, statement credits etc.) for every approved referral.

AmEx just happens to be the king of them all. As I have mentioned previously, some of the best AmEx signup/welcome bonuses can only be obtained via a referral link. So getting multiple players involved is the best way to get the maximum bonus offered. In the instance of the AmEx Business Platinum Card, the bonus with a referral link is 75,000 MR points. The public offer without a link for this card is only 50,000 MR points for the same minimum spending requirement. If you want to get started in the game with an AmEx card, send us an email through our contact us form and we would be more than happy to provide you with resources to obtain a referral.

The AmEx referral program groups cards together that are able to refer to other cards in the group. For instance, in the American Express Marriott Bonvoy family the business version can refer to the personal version and vice versa. Each approved referral in this category will earn the referrer 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as well as offer the referred the best welcome bonus available.

Another card to consider for referrals is the Business Platinum Card. The Business Platinum card can refer to both the Business Gold card and the Business Edge card. In each instance the referrer would receive 20,000 points for each approved referral.

In a two player game both P1 and P2 would be able to earn a minimum 128,750 MR points for earning the welcome bonus and daily multipliers for meeting MSR if they focus only on the Business Platinum and the Business Gold cards. P1 would also earn an additional 40,000 MR points for referring P2 to both the Gold and Platinum versions of the card while P2 would earn an additional 20,000 MR points for referring P1 to just one of the cards. For a minimum total of 317,500 MR points for acquiring four credit cards. Redeeming 317,500 MR points at a minimum of $.02 would yield a cash value of $6350!

The AmEx referral train is extensive and once again, Ricky at Prince of Travel has done an excellent job of creating a flow chart of this. Check it out and see just how many points you could rack up in a multiplayer game. One very important point to keep in mind here. If you get involved in this game. Never! I repeat NEVER self refer with AmEx. This used to be a viable strategy, but not anymore. AmEx will shut your accounts down for doing this.

US Credit Cards

Let’s start here with just how lucky our neighbour’s to the south are. While we have the ability to rack up points here in Canada, it is nothing in comparison to what is available in the US. Just a quick search shows a 100,000 MR point welcome bonus on the American Express personal Platinum card in the US. The same card here in Canada has only a 25,000 MR point welcome bonus currently. Sure, we have a nice bonus on the business version of this card at the 75,000 MR we previously talked about but the US version is 85,000 MR points.

Due to the size of the population in the US there are so many more lenders and the amount of credit cards in the US is staggering. It’s something that we will never see here in Canada. American Express is once again at the top of the leader board as far as rewards go, but they are not alone in the US as they are here in Canada. Chase goes toe to toe with AmEx south of the border. Both companies have excellent rewards programs. The caveat with AmEx in the US is that they have a pretty strict rule to only earning a bonus once per lifetime. As with everything in this game though that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get it again. But the US version of the cards certainly won’t be “churnable”.

So if you’re an American living in the US and financially responsible, the game is wide open for you. I, on the other hand, am an American living in Canada and have had no credit history in the US for almost 23 years. So what am I and Canadian citizens with excellent credit to do to hit the US credit card jackpot? Well let’s take a look.

  1. First off you need an actual US mailing address. If you have friends or family in the US that you trust and would be willing to forward your mail to Canada, congratulations, you’re halfway there. If not, you need to find a mail forwarder that won’t be flagged by a credit card company and is willing to forward credit cards. I won’t list any here, they are easy enough to find online. You will be charged a fee for this service and it will vary by forwarding agency. Now go to the US postal services website and add your forwarders address into their address lookup tool. And make sure they are not a commercial mail receiving agency. If they are, look for a different one because credit card companies will label that address as ineligible. Once you have completed this step you’re almost there
  2. The second thing you will need is a US bank account. All of the big 5 Canadian banks have US banking operations. In most instances this is going to be very easy to set up, just make sure not to mistake your USD Canadian bank account as a US bank account, these are 2 different things. Attach your mail forwarder address to your US account so that your statements generate with that address. You Need to do this as the credit card companies may verify your US address via a three way call with you and your bank. This bank account is what you will use to pay your US credit card bills. The big 5 banks in Canada also make it extremely easy to transfer funds between your Canadian and US accounts
  3. Once these two things have been accomplished you are ready to get your first US credit card. American Express has made this easy if you hold one of their cards in Canada. There are two options for this, but I am only going to focus on one of them here. American express works with Nova Credit to use your Canadian credit file to verify your credit worthiness. You don’t need to have US credit history at all. When filling out the application on the AmEx US site you will come to the portion of the application that asks for your Social Security number. In this section click the international card holder box. When you submit your application you will be taken to Nova Credit where all of the questions will be self-explanatory. At this point you will be ready to submit your application and you may be approved instantly on the spot. Or they may want to verify your identity. This may result in you having to provide copies of your passport or verify your address resulting in the three way call I mentioned above. This call will be with you, AmEx and your bank to verify your US mailing address.

Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a ton of points (if you meet your MSR and pay your annual fee.)

Now you have your first US credit card, but the journey is not over. Now you need to build credit history in the US so you can get cards with other lenders. Amex needs something to report to the US credit bureaus, but they can’t do that without a Social Security Number. I’m good as far as that goes but what do Canadians do?

Canadians can apply for what is known as an ITIN or individual taxpayer identification number. I won’t go into detail about that here as there is just way too much information to divulge. If anybody is interested in learning more about ITIN’s, leave a comment below and I will write a single post for you or provide you a link to this information by people who know a lot more about it than I do.


Hopefully you have gained some insight on how to maximize your earning potential here in Canada and dipping your toes into the US game. Both countries open so much more possibility to where we can take this game. Now let’s go rack up those travel rewards.

Previously:Ready to Apply? Some Things to Know

Up Next: Annual fees and Minimum Spending Requirements

Photo by Michael Rivera 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

#milesandpoints #creditcards #travel #travelrewards #budgettravel



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join The List

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter and latest news.