This is a guest post by Bank Guru.
For those people who have had a credit card for more than a few years, it could be time to start thinking about whether the card you currently own offers all of the benefits you want. For more established consumers, an option that is available is a Platinum card. Platinum cards generally offer more benefits over standard “classic” or “Gold” cards, but have correspondingly different restrictions.
These cards also come in either Visa or Mastercard varieties. However, when choosing between Visa and Mastercard, the main difference is often not in whether the card is a Visa or Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard are simply methods of payment. Instead, the difference arises as to which bank or service provider is issuing the card. These groups set the interest rates, penalties and any free offers and benefits the card may offer.
In Canada, since most Visa cards are issued by Canadian banks, and most Mastercards are issued by American banks or other providers (like President’s Choice), there can be major differences due to these differences in the issuers. To keep the comparisons as simple as possible (there is a wealth of choice out there!), we’ll focus on the most popular Visa Platinum cards today, and the Mastercard Platinums in another post. Hopefully this information can help you make an informed decision.
First the good news: at its most basic, Visa Platinum cards, like Visa Gold cards, are largely the same as the Visa Classic card you might already use. All three types will work in the places Visa is accepted, and they all offer zero liability if your card is used for any unauthorized transactions, both online and in stores.
However, the key difference between the Visa Platinum and other cards is that you usually have to accept a minimum amount of credit (which means that this limits the card to people with higher incomes). Visa Platinum also offers you emergency cash and a replacement card if you lose your card. Finally, Platinum cards are more exclusive: there are fewer types of cards available, and not every bank issues them. The following is a list of the major Visa Platinum cards, and how they compare to one another.
If you’re interested in high end cards, here is a review of the Visa Infinite Credit Cards.
TD Platinum Travel Visa
Unlike some of the other options, TD’s only Platinum Visa card is a travel reward card. This card costs $99 a year, and has an interest rate of 19.75%. And there are tougher restrictions: you need to be making at least $35,000 a year to apply for this card, and like any credit application, you’ll need to prove you have great credit to get it.
The travel points work very similarly to other points systems. You get 3 TD travel points for every dollar you spend on the card. Well, how much is that? TD’s current website indicates that you need about 200 TD travel points for any dollar you want to spend on traveling. This means it will take you a long time to wrack up any points, but TD makes up for this by having no restrictions on when and where you can fly.
RBC Platinum VISA
RBC has two Platinum VISAs. The RBC Platinum is the most accessible Visa Platinum card issued by a Canadian bank: you only need to make $15,000 a year to be eligible for the card. The minimum credit limit is also low, at $1,000. RBC’s Platinum Visa also offers the security of chip and PIN technology; however, this is likely coming to all of the VISA cards soon enough. The interest rate for the card is also a fraction lower than TD’s, at 19.5%.
RBC also offers a travel version of the Visa Platinum: RBC Platinum Avion. It’s a tiny bit pricier than the TD Platinum, at $120. You also rack up points more slowly than the TD card: you only get one RBC award point for every dollar. The RBC card is also more restrictive than the TD Card. You can only use it for certain types of flights, and you always have to fly economy. Since there is no precise one-to-one trade from points to dollars, it is hard to gauge how much each point is “worth.” However, if you choose the right flight, it can work out to be about 40-50 points for any flight dollar you want to spend. Taking into account the different rates that you accumulate points, you’ll rack up points about twice as fast as the TD Platinum Visa.
CIBC Platinum Visa
CIBC doesn’t have a travel version for its Platinum cards. You have to get a Gold card for that. The standard CIBC Platinum Visa is essentially identical to the TD Platinum card: no fee, household income of $35,000, minimum credit line of $5,000. The interest rate is marginally lower than TD’s at 19.5%.
The difference for CIBC is they offer a Platinum Dividend card. On top of the benefits of the standard card, these cards offer 2% cash back for every purchase you make. These cards are a bit tricky, though. You have to charge at least $4,000 a year to the card to just cover the $79 cost of the card, and the fact that they pay you the total amount of cash you get back in December – in the middle of the shopping season – means that you could possibly just spend the reward on holiday goodies, and not even notice it.
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