Which Aeroplan Credit Card is REALLY Best?

The best Aeroplan credit cards

Air Canada just dropped a big bombshell by announcing that they are clipping Aeroplan's wings by removing it as their official rewards program in 2020.

Aeroplan was in fact an invention of Air Canada themselves but was first spun off as a separate company and then completely sold to Amia in 2008. Since then, they've walked hand in hand and have been practically indistinguishable from one another. That's about to change... but is it a good or bad thing for Aeroplan collectors?

There are no guarantees, but what is guaranteed is that this will create increased competition as Aeroplan works hard to keep the loyalty of its members and Air Canada wrestles to take them away. That fight is going to spill over into the credit card arena as well and you can expect sign up bonuses and perks to take off as we get closer to that date.

Through all of this, Aeroplan is committing to keeping your miles safe and allowing you to continue redeeming them for flights on Air Canada even after the 2020 deadline. What could change is the cost in miles for doing so. I expect the cost will increase substantially, so if you want to fly Air Canada or Star Alliance, you should try and redeem most of your miles before 2020.

Even though Air Canada flight rewards will likely become less desirable, that doesn't necessarily mean that Aeroplan will become less valuable overall. They will be working hard to find a good alternatives to Air Canada that won't get them universally panned by the critics and create a ton of bad press for them.

It's time to strap in, because this is going to be a bumpy and exciting ride!

Aeroplan Credit Cards Compared and Ranked for 2017

Who has the best Aeroplan branded credit card? Is it TD, CIBC, or American Express?

You might be surprised to find out that the top card for earning Aeroplan miles doesn't even have Aeroplan in its name. That's because there are several cards that allow you to earn points that can be transferred to Aeroplan miles that actually boosts the value of your rewards!

In all, 14 different Aeroplan credit cards have been compared and ranked in the table below from best to worst.

Please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.

  Credit Card
Apply American Express Gold Rewards1
Apply CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
Apply The Platinum Card1
Apply CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
Apply The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express1
Apply American Express 
AeroplanPlus Platinum
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus Gold
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus
Apply CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
Apply MBNA Best Western MasterCard1
Overall Score Rewards on $25,000 Spend2,3 Rewards on $100K Spend2,4 Sign Up Bonus Value5 Annual Fee First Year Free? Insurance Score Perks Score
5.0 $881 $3,975 $750 $150 Yes 3.5 2.4
4.54 $599 $3,595 $750
$1500*
$399 No 5.0 2.4
4.49 $599 $3,595 $750 $399 No 5.0 2.3
4.09 $752 $3,368 $450 $120 No 4.0 1.4
4.00 $239 $3,051 $1,500 $699 No 4.5 5.0
3.94 $752 $3,368 $450 $120 No 3.5 1.5
3.90 $818 $3,630 $750 $120 No 2.5 1.6
3.73 $439 $3,814 $1,200 $499 No 4.5 2.0
3.12 $743 $3,555 $450 $120 No 2.5 0.4
2.47 $39 $2,851 $1,500 $899 No 4.5 3.1
1.67 $492 $2,236 $300 $89 No 2.5 0.2
1.49 $690 $2,940 $150 $60 No 0.0 0.0
0.68 $461 $1,961 $150 $39 No 0.5 0.3
0.00 $139 $556 $111 $0 Yes 2.5 0.6

(+/-) Footnotes:

* Limited time promotion ending soon.
1. 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.
2. The rewards dollar values shown are calculated by splitting spending sensibly across spending categories like groceries, gas, drugstore, travel, bills, and everyday spending. All points are converted to Aeroplan miles when determining reward value. All spending bonuses, tiers, limits, and caps are taken into account. Sign up bonuses are NOT included in these numbers, so that will be an extra perk for you. Finally, the annual fee is deducted from the rewards values shown giving you the true value of the rewards left in your pocket for the year.
3. $25,000 in annual spending works out to $2,083 in monthly spending which is achievable for a typical Canadian family funneling most of their spending through credit.
4. $100,000 in annual spending works out to $8,333 in monthly spending which is too high for most families. I have included these numbers to better evaluate cards and give an advantage to those that don't have spending caps or limits. It also allows cards that have a good tier system to shine at higher spending levels.
5. The sign up bonus is a lump sum of points or miles you get when first opening a new credit card. It is often given when you make your first purchase, spend a reasonable amount of money on the card within the first X months, keep the card open for X months, or some combination of those. The criteria to qualify for the sign up bonus are usually very reasonable.

The Top 5 Credit Cards In Detail

1) American Express Gold Rewards1

Amex Gold gives you the highest mile earning potential on daily essentials like gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases at 2 miles per dollar spent. No competitor even comes close to that, and it offers 2 miles per dollar on travel purchases as well. The others? Simply not possible! Travel purchases are treated like any other normal purchase with them.

You also have the flexibility of purchasing any sort of travel you want with your American Express Membership Rewards points if you opt not to convert them to Aeroplan miles. No seat restrictions, no black out dates, no specific travel agency you have to deal with. Simply book the travel on your credit card and pay for it with your points using their online interface. It only takes a few seconds to do.

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 points/miles per dollar spent on all gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases.
  • 25,000 bonus points/miles for signing up which are essentially free because the annual fee is waived the first year.
  • 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.
  • No minimum income to meet - most comparable cards require $60,000 or more.
  • Your first year is free with the $150 annual fee waived.

Apply Now

2) CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege

The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege comes with a nice suite of Air Canada specific perks. It starts with an increased base Aeroplan earning rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent and continues with free checked bags, complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge passes, priority check-in & boarding, and a 50% discounted business class companion ticket yearly.

The problem is the $200,000 minimum income needed to qualify and the $399 annual fee. I'd say the fee is worth it for frequent Air Canada travellers, but that income will be hard to hit for many. If you have a good credit history but a lower income, you could give it a try anyway - they might just accept you. Otherwise, you could start with a lower end CIBC card, build a good history and spend a lot of money with them, and then call in to see if you can work your way up.

Why You Want It:

  • Higher base rewards accrual rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases.
  • A good sign up bonus of 25,000 50,000* miles.
  • Air Canada perks without needing frequent flyer status including:
    • 50% discounted business class companion fare annually.
    • 4 annual Maple Leaf Lounge passes.
    • First check bag free.
    • Priority check-in.
    • Priority boarding.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership for global lounge access including 6 passes yearly.
  • The best travel insurance package with 11 types of insurance, 7 of which are as good or better than all other cards.
  • Personal concierge service to make you feel like a rock star!

3) TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege

This card is almost identical to the CIBC Privilege that is ranked #2. It offers identical rewards and Aeroplan perks and the other perks and insurance coverage are nearly identical too. The CIBC alternative does a little better with its purchase protection, emergency medical, and hotel burglary coverage whereas this one is stronger with flight delay and baggage insurance.

The choice really comes down to TD vs. CIBC. If you prefer TD over CIBC, then feel free to choose this one - you aren't missing out on anything important.

4) TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

If you like the sound of the above Privilege cards but the $200,000 minimum 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:

  • Provides many features of the Infinite Privilege cards without the high minimum income and annual fee.
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases.
  • Exclusive Air Canada perks without needing frequent flyer status including:
    • 1 annual Maple Leaf Lounge pass.
    • First check bag free on reward flights.
    • Priority check-in on reward flights.
    • Priority boarding on reward flights.
  • Top insurance package for cards under $150 in annual fees including trip cancellation, trip interruption, and emergency medical.
  • Travel insurance coverage applies on Aeroplan reward flights as well as paid flights (rare).
  • Personal concierge service to make you feel like a rock star!
  • A good sign up bonus of 15,000.

Apply Now

5) The Platinum Card

The Platinum Card offers the most perks of any Canadian credit card, but also comes with the highest annual fee of $699. That fee can be worth it though, especially in the first year because of the 50,000 point bonus that can get you 2 flights anywhere in Canada or the Continental USA when you convert your points to Aeroplan miles. That's worth about $1,500 right there.

Then, if you're a frequent traveler, the other perks that come with the card can more than compensate for the ridiculous annual fee.

Why You Want It:

  • You get a $200 annual travel credit you can use on any travel booking.
  • Unlimited visits, food, and drinks at airport lounges worldwide.
  • Automatic upper status in several hotel rewards programs.
  • VIP treatment at several Canadian airports.
  • Discounts and companion flights on select airlines.
  • Upgrades and freebies at hundreds of hotels.
  • Much much more.

Click over to the Amex site if you want to see all the features and perks that come with the card.

Apply Now

What's Important To You?

There is never one size fits all when it comes to credit cards so the top-ranked one might not suit your needs. I've highlighted which ones are best according to popular features to help you make an informed decision.

Earning The Most Miles

After deducting the annual fee, the American Express Gold Rewards1 is going to net you the most rewards at normal spending levels. The double spending bonus on gas, groceries, drugstore, and travel purchases in unmatched and covers all of the most popular spending categories, especially for an avid traveler.

If you have a lot of everyday spending that doesn't fall into the 4 bonus categories offered by the Amex Gold, then The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express1 is what you want. You get the option of converting your points to miles in over 30 airline rewards programs (mostly 1:1) and for every 20,000 points converted they will give you an extra 5,000 bonus miles. That works out to 1.25 Aeroplan miles per $1 spent on ALL purchases with a reasonable $120 annual fee.

Getting The Biggest Bonus For Signing Up

The Platinum Card1 has the biggest bonus at 50,000 points which can be converted to 50,000 miles. It also comes with the top heavy annual fee of $699. With that $699 fee you get a $200 travel credit that can be used on any travel. If you sign up mid-year, you can also have a chance to use a second $200 travel credit in the new year before your 2nd annual fee triggers, essentially reducing the annual fee to $299 in the first year which is quite reasonable for 50,000 miles.

In terms of value, the American Express Gold Rewards1 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.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is also worth considering because they often raise the sign up bonus to 25,000 miles from the usual 15K and sometimes waive the first year annual fee is either waived or reduced by 50%.

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 with a higher annual fee almost always makes up for the added cost 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 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.

The MBNA Best Western MasterCard1 is another option because you can convert your points to Aeroplan and it has no annual fee at all. Unfortunately the conversion rate is really poor and strips away most of your reward value.

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 90-180 days of owning it, you can get a full repair or reimbursement of the purchase price. Need medical insurance? Good cards offer from 15-31 days of travel medical absolutely free which could easily cost you hundreds per trip. With more than 15 types of insurance available, the potential savings certainly don't end there!

The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege really outshines the rest of the competition on this front with 11 types of insurance coverage and having the best coverage across 7 of those 11 types. This is a major accomplishment because typically the winner has 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 and with a lower minimum income, then the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite has relatively good coverage with 10 types of insurance with 3 of those being best. Its annual fee is paltry $120 in comparison.

Best Perks Overall

If you want big perks, you need to pay big bucks because The Platinum Card1 completely destroys the competition when it comes to perks.

We're talking access to lounges in almost any airport world-wide, $200 in free travel of your choosing annually, exclusive events held only for Platinum cardholders, free upgrades and companion tickets on some airlines, the best free lounge access of any Canadian card, 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 travel, entertainment booking, and purchasing need (within reason), and many more.

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

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 choice for Air Canada specific perks. It offers Air Canada priority check-in & boarding, 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 American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve is also worth considering if you can stomach the $899 annual fee. It has the added benefit of unlimited access to the Maple Leaf Lounge and Priority Pass Lounges worldwide but lacks priority boarding and limits you to 5 complimentary checked bags per year. Another big plus is that it gives you a 100% free partner ticket in economy class when you redeem up to 25,000 Aeroplan miles. You also get the option to purchase up to 2 Air Canada Privilege Flight Passes annually, when help you save money on flights and earn Aeroplan status miles.

Low Minimum Income

If you don't have the necessary income but still want a top card, then the American Express Gold Rewards1 is the obvious choice because it has no minimum income requirement. Honestly, any option from American Express will work because they recently removed the minimum income requirements from ALL their cards, including their most premium ones.

Aeroplan Miles Are Still Valuable

You can choose to be either optimistic or pessimistic about the upcoming changes to Aeroplan in 2020 ... but one thing is for certain: this change will create more competition in the Canadian rewards scene.

Competition usually means increased value for consumers, particularly when it comes to lucrative new customer promotions and bonuses. Aeroplan will be fighting hard to remain relevant and they won't be able to do that by replacing Air Canada flight redemptions with a mediocre alternative.

What will really happen still remains to be seen, but until then you can still redeem your miles as you always have done for Air Canada flights. There will be slightly increased competition now on the best routes, so make sure you book early and check often!

Disclosure: You should know that HowToSaveMoney.ca receives a referral fee for some credit cards listed; however, our unbiased algorithm dictates the results of our credit card rankings. You can trust that our rankings are strictly independent of compensation; here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Comments

Gordp
Gordp's picture

I have the TD Visa infinite, I would rate it OK, the issue is when I travel over seas TD declines my purchases. It happened to me last year when I went to Italy and again recently in Brazil. What good is a travel card that you can't travel with? They gave me a number to call and register my travel plans with. They ignored my notices of travel and locked my card. When I got home I had a message on my Vmail saying we noticed a suspicious purchase and froze your card.

So I didn't get the Aeroplan points for those trips and was embarrassed by the payment declined messages.

I am looking for a new card, one that understands I travel. Any advice?

July 15, 2016 @ 5:23 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

The way I combat this problem is by carrying multiple cards so I always have a backup. Have a fee-based card as your primary card and then at least 2 more as backups. I like to have 1 MasterCard, 1 Visa, and 1 Amex. I'd consider getting the MBNA Smart Cash World MasterCard and the Amex SimplyCash as backups to your TD Visa.

Also, the more you travel with the TD Visa, the more those types of purchases will look "normal" to their fraud alert system and you most likely won't get your account frozen nearly as often if at all.

July 15, 2016 @ 8:00 pm
John
John's picture

I'm actually curious why no one ever recommended me this website, this have such a nice, useful info on nearly every card and money saving tips !

Thanks stephen

August 26, 2016 @ 4:26 pm
MM
MM's picture

So much for travel alerts. TD VISA told me I don't need to alert them with travel plans anymore since they have such a good security system. Well, I would have preferred if they froze my card with odd purchases and I could at least contact them. I had fraudulent 2 charges to Air Canada and 1 to Ethiopian Airlines and if they had even looked at my credit history, it would have been readily apparent that I would never book 3 flights in one day and especially the Ethiopian Airlines should have been an alert. I didn't even get a phone call and I was the one who identified the fraud by checking my VISA transactions online when I got home. Needless to say this has caused significant aggravation. All they said was sorry and they it is a busy time of the year !!!!

This is a great website for information.

December 26, 2016 @ 8:47 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Personally I prefer them to be a little looser with their security checks to make sure my card isn't frozen when I'm trying to use it - I find that to be the most inconvenient thing. Of course, getting fraudulent charges reversed is also very frustrating. It's a very fine line they need to walk.

January 02, 2017 @ 10:28 am
Julie
Julie's picture

Thanks for the great summary, it helped a lot. I am wondering if you can give me some info regarding RFID technology. Do these cards have RFID capability and if so do I really need to purchase an RFID blocking purse/sleeve/wallet?

Thanks in advance :)

Julie

January 08, 2017 @ 3:20 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's one area I haven't kept up with - I have heard about the RFID blocking technology. The cards certainly have some wireless capability because of tap and pay. How much of a security risk it is - I'm not sure. Whatever the case, the credit card companies have your back with their fraud protection guarantees.

January 10, 2017 @ 1:06 pm
Bob
Bob 's picture

Hi Stephen,

FYI...My wife & I just applied for the CIBC Infinite Aerogold Regular (15000 Aeroplan Points after first purchase) and the first year free!

February 17, 2017 @ 10:23 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for sharing Bob - hope you're enjoying it!

May 30, 2017 @ 4:51 pm
Larry
Larry's picture

How come I can't find an AEROPLAN MasterCard
Does one exist

April 22, 2017 @ 6:07 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That card is rarer than Bigfoot my friend - sorry.

May 30, 2017 @ 4:52 pm
Rick
Rick's picture

Hi

I was one of the those who were transferred over from CIBC's Aeroplan card to TD and all that I got from TD was a single time use of an Air Canada lounge. I see from your rankings that if you were to apply and get a TD Infinite Aeroplan card today you get an annual Air Canada lounge pass. Anyway to get this from TD when you are already using their card?

Rick

May 30, 2017 @ 3:11 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I really would have thought that would be automatic Rick. I'd just call up the customer service on the back of the card and tell them you haven't been receiving your annual lounge pass. They should be able to fix it up for you. Please report back if they say you aren't entitled to it.

May 30, 2017 @ 4:50 pm
Anu
Anu's picture

They don't send the lounge passes anymore. As long as you are traveling on a awards ticket you need to show your boarding pass and your TDvisa card for the lounge staff and they will let you in

May 31, 2017 @ 4:27 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for clarifying Anu!

June 04, 2017 @ 10:38 pm
John
John's picture

Interesting that I have not heard a thing from Aeroplan/Air Canada or TD bank (my card holder) on this change so appreciate your article?
I would consider switching to the Amex Express Gold but have resisted Amex in the past as have read that many retailers do not honour it (business user fees too high?). Are you aware of problems with Amex?

May 31, 2017 @ 12:16 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's really the only problem I am aware of with Amex, other than that they have a stellar reputation from everything I've heard and from my own experience as a cardholder.

June 04, 2017 @ 10:38 pm
John Eff
John Eff's picture

Hi Stephen,

I think we are all feeling like this isn't going to turn out well for us.

One of my big concerns is that there will be a big rush to redeem for flights and therefore availability will be WAY WORSE than it usually is (which is already pretty bad). I submitted this concern to Air Canada's Q's and A's but they have not published it, making me even more concerned. Availability has been a constant complaint from Aeroplan members. How does it not get much worse?

I think we all have to put a lot of pressure on Air Canada and Aeroplan to make sure our voices are heard. Any ideas?

I, for one, find it unacceptable and unethical for Air Canada to found this program, sell it, and then basically abandon it. I feel that all Aeroplan miles currently accumulated should be honoured with the same rules for a much longer time period.

And I will NEVER get another credit card tied to one airline again.

Thanks for listening and thanks for all your good work.

June 01, 2017 @ 7:19 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I too am concerned about reward availability. It has improved in recent years actually, at least from my own personal experience but I don't see how this can do anything but make it worse until 2020. Will it be worse than it was during the worst time, I can't really say.

I think we need to wait and hear a few more details before we make too much of a ruckus - but there will be lots of people complaining about it, including myself if they don't give us some decent alternatives to Air Canada as it is today.

June 04, 2017 @ 10:41 pm
bob
bob's picture

I currently have the Amex gold card. With the one year renewal date coming up I would like to cancel and get a different Amex card. Should I be transferring my points before I cancel the card or can I some how transfer them to my new card??

June 14, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

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