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Aeroplan Credit Cards Comparison

Aeroplan is the most popular airline rewards program in Canada and any serious collector should have a matching credit card to earn the maximum possible miles. Figuring out which credit card is top dog though isn't an easy task, especially now that TD has launched their brand new line-up of Aeroplan rewards credit cards.

That's why I've done all the figuring for you by creating an intense comparison spreadsheet analyzing every juicy detail of each card including: miles earned per dollar spent, bonus miles you get for signing up, cost of annual fees as well as fees for secondary cardholders, free insurance benefits, Air Canada specific perks, and all the other little extras each card has to offer.

With that data, I ranked each card as objectively as I could in 5 different categories, which you will find in the table below. Using those rankings, being sure to give double weight to "Miles Earned Per Dollar Spent" and "Annual Fee" categories, I was able to obtain a final overall ranking that is both comprehensive and fair.

The Best Aeroplan Credit Cards

The cards in the table are ordered from best to worst. Also please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.

  Credit Card
Apply American Express Gold Rewards
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
Apply American Express Starwood Preferred Guest
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
Apply American Express Platinum Rewards
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card
Apply CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card
Apply CIBC Aerogold Visa
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus Card
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
Apply Chase Marriott Premier Visa Card
Miles Per Dollar Spent 1 Bonus Miles 2 Annual Fee First Year Free? Extra Cardholders Overall Rating 3 Rewards Rating Bonus Rating Annual Fee Rating 4 Insurance Rating Perks Rating
1.30 25,000 $150 Yes 1 Free
$50 after
5.0 5.0 3.5 4.0 3.5 2.0
1.33 25,000 $399 No $99 4.6 5.0 3.5 1.0 5.0 4.5
1.25 12,500 $120 No $50 4.4 4.0 2.5 3.5 3.0 3.0
1.15 15,000 $120 No $50 4.3 3.0 3.5 3.5 4.0 3.0
1.25 50,000 $699 No $175 or $50 4.2 4.0 5.0 0.0 4.5 5.0
1.25 30,000 $499 No $199 or $50 4.0 4.0 4.0 0.5 4.5 4.0
1.15 20,000 $120 Yes $50 4.0 3.0 3.0 4.0 2.5 2.0
1-1.25 20,000 $120 Yes 2 Free
$50 after
4.0 3.0 3.0 4.5 2.5 1.0
1.15 15,000 $120 Yes $50 3.5 3.0 3.0 4.0 2.0 0.0
1.00 5,000 $60 Yes $20 3.4 2.0 1.0 5.5 1.5 1.0
0.77 10,000 $89 No $35 2.8 1.0 2.0 4.0 3.0 0.0
0.39 1,080 $120 Yes Free 2.2 0.0 0.0 4.5 1.0 2.0

1 Miles Per Dollar Spent was arrived at by combining the accrual rate for normal spending with the accrual rate for spending in bonus categories, typically gas, grocery, and drug store purchases. For the purposes of this calculation, 70% percent was allocated towards normal spending and 30% was allocated towards bonus category spending.
2 In the cases where the credit card in question earns points of another kind than Aeroplan, points are assumed to be converted to Aeroplan miles in the most favorable way possible.
3 The Overall Rating is an average of all the other ratings with the top ranked credit card automatically receiving a ranking of 5.
4 You will notice that one card managed to get a 5.5 out of 5 ranking in this category. That is because I wanted some way to account for both "First Year Free" and "Extra Cardholders" in this ranking. Those cards that waive the annual fee for the first year were given a half-point bonus and those that give at least one extra card for free were given an additional half-point bonus.
5 The 5% cash back is for the first 6 months, then it drops to 2% ongoing.

6 FYI: MBNA is 100% owned by TD Bank.

Want NO annual fee and 5% CASH back on gas and groceries instead?5

Try the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard! 6

What Features Are Important To You?

Even though I've ranked these cards as objectively as I possibly could, giving weight to what are probably the most important factors to the majority of Canadians, there is never one size fits all when it comes to credit cards. If one of the following features stands out to you as being of utmost importance, then you might want to consider a different choice.

1) Earning The Most Miles

If earning miles is all you care about, period, then the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege is probably your best best because it gives you 1.25 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, and drug store purchases with no caps or limits. The annual fee is a bit hefty at $399, but if you are a big spender then earning more miles will pay for the difference quickly.

If you want the most miles you can get with a card that has a reasonable annual fee, then the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card is a great choice because you effectively earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent2 on all purchases for an annual fee of only $120. The card also has massive flexibility in terms of transferring miles to other airline programs so you can get cheaper reward flights, pay less in taxes, or take advantage of free hotel nights. It has no comparison in that regard.

Finally, if you spend a lot of money on gas, grocery, drug store, and travel purchases, then you hands down want the American Express Gold Rewards Card. It is the only card that offers 2 miles earned per dollar spent2 in bonus categories with the next closest being 1.5, meaning 33% more.

2) Getting The Biggest Bonus For Signing Up

The American Express Platinum Rewards Card has exclusive rights to the biggest bonus at 50,000 points which can be converted to 50,000 miles. It also comes with the heftiest annual fee of $699 and high income requirements to qualify.

In terms of value, the American Express Gold Rewards Card wins again because you can get 25,000 miles after conversion to Aeroplan for FREE because the annual fee of $150 is waived for the first year. If you decide the card isn't for you, then you can simply transfer the bonus points to Aeroplan, cancel the card, and keep the points without paying a cent.

The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite is also worth considering because you can get 20,000 miles directly with the first year annual fee of $120 waived.

3) Cheapest Annual Fee

Choosing the card with the cheapest annual fee usually doesn't make a lot of sense because the value of the rewards you will receive for using one of the more expensive cards almost always makes up for more expensive fees if you spend a decent amount of money on the card and use most of the perks.

However, if you really want Aeroplan miles at the cheapest possible price, then the American Express AeroplanPlus card is actually quite a bargain. It still has good earning potential at 1 mile per dollar spent on all purchases with no caps and it will cost you just $60 annually. They even give you the first year free too.

4) Best Insurance Coverage

If you're a frequent traveler, then the insurance coverage offered by a good credit card can easily save you thousands of dollars. Whenever you rent a car you can decline the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) that adds up to $20 per day to the bill. If you drop your brand new iPad within the first 90-120 days of owning it, you can get a full repair or reimbursement of the purchase price. Need medical insurance? Good cards offer from 15-22 days of travel medical absolutely free which could easily cost you hundreds per trip. With more than twelve types of credit card insurance available, the potential savings certainly don't end there!

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege really outshines the rest of the competition on this front, which is a major accomplishment because typically that accolade goes to the card with the highest annual fee. $399 is still a lot to pay annually, but the extra insurance it gives you could pay for all that with just one or two claims.

If you want something more budget friendly, then it's little brother the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite also does a pretty good job when it comes to insurance at only $120 annually.

5) Best Perks Overall

If you want big perks, you need to pay big bucks because the American Express Platinum Rewards Card completely destroys the competition when it comes to perks.

We're talking access to exclusive lounges affiliated with almost any airline world-wide, $200 in free travel of your choosing annually, exclusive events held only for Platinum card holders, tons of free upgrades and companion tickets with almost any airline, automatically upgraded status with several big hotel chains, free valet parking service at YVR, doctors that will pay you house calls in foreign countries, a personal concierge that will take care of your every need (within reason), and many more.

Seriously, this card has so many perks you're going to feel like Mr. Worldwide himself (Pitbull) as you jet set around the globe like a superstar.

6) Best Air Canada Perks

If you're a die-hard Air Canada fan, and you probably are because you're looking at Aeroplan credit cards, then the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege gets another nod as the best card for Air Canada specific perks.

It offers Air Canada Priority Check-In, 4 passes to the Maple Leaf Lounge annually, a 50% off business class companion ticket annually, and your first checked bag is free on all Air Canada flights. Not bad!

The Top 5 Aeroplan Credit Cards In Detail

1) American Express Gold Rewards

Right now, as I'm typing this, this credit card is sitting securely in my wallet exactly where it belongs! It's easy to see why because it gives you the highest mile earning potential on daily essentials like gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases at 2 miles per dollar spent2. No other card even comes close to that, and it offers 2 miles per dollar2 on travel purchases as well. The others? Simply not possible! Travel purchases are treated like any other normal purchase with them.

There's a whole host of other benefits to this one as well as it definitely earned the top spot for a reason!

Why You Want It:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on all gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases2.
  • 25,000 bonus miles2 for signing up which are essentially free because the annual fee is waived the first year.
  • Yup, the $150 annual fee is waived the first year, which is very reasonable for what this card offers anyway.
  • You can add 1 extra cardholder for free and earn more points faster, instead of paying $50+ with the other guys.
  • Added flexibility when redeeming points by transferring to other rewards programs or redeeming them directly for any travel purchase you charge to the card. Tip: Transferring them to Aeroplan or Avios gives you much better value though.
  • Offers the second best insurance package for cards in the $120-$150 annual fee range, including trip interruption and emergency medical which are premium features.

Apply

2) TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege

TD really hit the bullseye when they crafted this new Aeroplan credit card late last year, at least for those people interested in a premium credit card. Not only does it have a lower annual fee than other premium cards, but it also offers the most Aeroplan specific perks and also boasts the most comprehensive insurance package. It's a solid choice for anyone looking for good earning potential along with a lot of premium features.

You'll need to be quite the baller to apply though as they require a minimum of $200,000 in annual household income to qualify. I don't know about you, but I'm not there yet!

Why You Want It:
  • The highest base rewards accrual rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
  • The most comprehensive travel insurance package with 10 types of insurance available and 9 of those being as good or better than all the other cards.
  • A good sign up bonus of 25,000 miles.
  • Priority check-in and boarding on all Air Canada flights.
  • 4 annual Maple Leaf Lounge passes.
  • Complimentary membership in Airport Angel including 6 lounge visits with over 500 lounges to choose from worldwide.
  • 1 annual 50% discount on a business class companion ticket.
  • A limited time 2-for-1 short haul flight reward.
  • The only Visa Infinite Privilege card currently available.
  • Personal concierge service to make you feel like a rock star!

3) American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

I'm a huge fan of the Starwood Preferred Guest hotel rewards program because it is probably the best travel rewards program on the planet. Not only does it allow you to redeem points for hotel nights at very good value, it also allow you to transfer your points 1-to-1 to nearly 30 airline rewards program completely free. If that wasn't enough, most of the time they will give you a 25% mile bonus just for doing a transfer!

Flexibility of SPG alone is reason enough to choose this credit card, but it also gives you a 25,000 mile sign up bonus2 and no annual fee for the first year. You can even earn 12,500 additional miles2 every time you refer a friend.

Why You Want It:

  • The absolutely insane flexibility of the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program.
  • 25,000 bonus miles2 for signing up which are essentially free because the annual fee is waived the first year.
  • 1.25 miles per dollar spent on ALL purchases, which is higher out of any card with an annual fee less than $150 and tied for highest with cards that have annual fees up to $699.
  • 12,500 additional miles2 every time you successfully refer a friend to sign up for the card.
  • A free weekend night at a category 1-4 Starwood property when you spend $40,000 or more per year on the card.
  • Automatic upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status when you spend $30,000 or more per year on the card.
  • A solid insurance package, but it won't win any awards.

Apply

4) TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

If you like the sounds of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card but the $200,000 required household income or the $399 annual fee give you sticker shock, then this is a reasonable substitute. It has a lot of the same features, just toned down a little bit. The Aeroplan specific perks have fewer quantities and tighter restrictions, the insurance isn't quite as good but still among the best, and the mile accrual rates are less but still good.

Why You Want It:

  • Good mileage accrual rate for a reasonable annual fee of $120.
  • The top insurance package for a card with an annual fee under $150 including trip cancellation, trip interruption, and emergency medical.
  • Priority check-in and boarding on Aeroplan reward flights.
  • 1st checked bag is free on Aeroplan reward flights.
  • 1 annual Maple Leaf Lounge passes.
  • Personal concierge service to make you feel like a rock star!

Apply

5) American Express Platinum Rewards

If you want the best of the best in terms of travel perks and customized service, then this card is for you! It comes with all kinds of exclusives including access to the best airport lounges in the world, a direct link to a concierge that will do their best to grant your every request like magical credit card genie, upgraded status and treatment on many different airlines and several hotel chains.

That is really only the tip of the iceberg too. I think only the American Express Centurion (Black) Card would have a list that is more impressive.

Why You Want It:

  • The highest base rewards accrual rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent2.
  • Unquestionably the best travel and entertainment perks of any card. True rock star status!
  • The second most comprehensive travel insurance package with 11 types of insurance available and 4 of those being as good or better than all the other cards.
  • An incredible sign up bonus of 50,000 miles + 15,000 miles for each friend successfully referred2.
  • A $200 annual travel credit that can be spent on any form of travel you can imagine.
  • Access to the most lounges of any card including ALL Canadian lounges for ANY airline, over 600 lounges worldwide thorugh Airport Club Priority Pass, and exclusive access to the American Express Lounge.
  • Free membership in the International Airline Program that gives you free upgrades, companion tickets, and discounts with multiple airlines.
  • Automatic status upgrades in several hotel rewards programs and preferred treatment at over 700 additional hotels and resorts worldwide.
  • Free membership in StandByMD which gives you free doctor house calls in foreign countries.
  • 1 year free PreferredGolf membership that gives you access to some of the top courses in the world.
  • Personal concierge service by American Express, the leader in credit card concierge service.

Apply

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