The ticking divorce between Air Canada and Aeroplan on June 2020 is two years away and Esso just announced that Aeroplan members can no longer collect miles from their 1,800+ gas stations effective May 31st.
Now the question we all have is:
Are Aeroplan credit cards still worth considering?
The good news is this coming change is sure to create increased competition as Aeroplan works hard to keep the loyalty of its members and Air Canada fights to take them away – competition does breed excellance, afterall.
Aeroplan has also stated a plan to allow redemption “with multiple airlines” past the dreaded date. Which means that you should be able to redeem your miles for flights on Air Canada past the deadline.
(However, it’s still best to try to redeem your miles before 2020 as the points required for flights after that date will likely rise.)
Sure, Aeroplan’s wings may have been clipped, but if their recent announcement of a new partnership with Amazon.ca is any indication ‒ then they’re not going down without a fight.
It’ll be interesting to see what other partners they gain in the next two years.
Aeroplan Credit Cards Compared and Ranked for 2018
Who has the best Aeroplan branded credit card? Is it TD, CIBC, or American Express?
We even include credit cards without the Aeroplan brand as long as you’re able to transfer the points you earn to Aeroplan miles.
15 different Aeroplan credit cards have been compared and ranked in the table below from best to worst.
Also, please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.
|Apply||American Express Gold Rewards1|
|Apply||CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege|
|Apply||TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege|
|Apply||TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite|
|Apply||CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite|
|The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express1|
|Apply||The Platinum Card1|
|Apply||American Express AeroplanPlus Gold|
|Apply||American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve|
|Apply||TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum|
|Apply||American Express AeroplanPlus|
|Apply||CIBC Aero Platinum Student Visa|
|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|
* 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
For another year, the American Express Gold Rewards card comes out on top as the best Aeroplan credit card on the Canadian market.
Curious why? Well, for starters, the Amex Gold gives you the highest earning potential on daily essentials like gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases, as well as travel purchases – 2 points per dollar spent. Those points can then be converted 1:1 to Aeroplan miles. The competition doesn’t even come close to that.
With this card you also have the flexibility of purchasing any sort of travel you want with your American Express Membership Rewards points and you’re not limited to only traveling through Aeroplan. With the fate of Aeroplan after 2020 up in the air, this is a nice added feature.
Plus, Amex Gold makes travel pretty easy-peasy – no seat restrictions, no blackout dates, and no specific travel agency you have to deal with. Just book the travel on your credit card and pay for it with your points using their online interface.
Why You Want It:
- 2 points/miles per dollar spent on all gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases.
- Up to 25,000 sign up bonus points/miles.
- Best return on spending for any Canadian Aeroplan credit card – 3.43%
- Add 1 extra cardholder at no cost and earn more points fast ($50 savings).
- The option to transfer points to other rewards programs at good conversion rates or redeem directly for any travel purchase you charge to the card.
- Use the American Express Fixed Points Travel Program to book most flights on most airlines at a significantly reduced points cost.
- One of the best insurance packages available for cards in the $120-$150 annual fee range. Includes travel accident, emergency medical, trip interruption, flight and baggage delay, hotel burglary and more.
- No minimum income requirement – comparable cards often require $60K income or more.
2) CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege has one of the best sign up bonuses right now and comes with a nice suite of Air Canada specific perks like:
- increased Aeroplan earn rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent,
- free checked bags,
- complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge passes,
- priority check-in & boarding, and…
- a 50% discounted business class companion ticket yearly.
The biggest downside is the $200,000 minimum income needed to qualify and the $399 annual fee – this card definitely isn’t for everyone. If you’re a frequent Air Canada traveler, the fee could definitely be worth it, however, that income requirement will be hard to hit for many.
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.
- One of the best sign up bonuses of 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, and
- priority boarding.
- Complimentary Priority Pass membership for global lounge access including 6 passes yearly.
- The best travel insurance package with 11 types of insurance.
- Personal 24/7 concierge service.
3) TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
Almost identical to the CIBC Privilege, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card has the same return on spending, annual fee ($399), high income requirement ($200K), perks, and a very similar insurance package. Where the CIBC card comes out ahead is that it includes one extra insurance (Hotel Burglary) and double the sign up bonus.
The choice really comes down to your preference between TD or CIBC.
4) TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
If you find yourself dreaming of applying for either of the above Infinite Privilege cards, but the $200K income requirement and the $399 annual fee are too rich ‒ then the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is the toned down version with $120 annual fee and $60K personal income requirement.
The Aeroplan specific perks have fewer quantities and tighter restrictions, the insurance isn't quite as good (though still among the best), and the mile accrual rates are less but still good.
Why You Want It:
- 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases.
- 15,000 sign up bonus.
- 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, and
- priority boarding on reward flights.
- Above average insurance package (for cards with less than $150 in annual fees) including travel accident, trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical, flight and baggage delay, and more.
- A rare feature where travel insurance coverage applies on Aeroplan reward flights as well as full-fare flights.
- Personal concierge service.
5) CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
Once again, this card is very similar to its TD counterpart, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite. They have the same annual fee ($120), the same earn rate, and the same sign up bonus (15,000 points). This card also includes priority check-in, 1 checked bag, and priority boarding when you use your Aeroplan miles to book flights, and also comes with 1 annual visit to the Maple Leaf lounge.
While both cards include all the same insurance, the TD card is a little better in three categories: emergency medical, baggage delay, and lost or stolen baggage.
With so many similarities between these two cards, the right card comes down to your personal preference: CIBC or TD.
What's Important To You?
Taking into account specific features that are more important to you, I've highlighted which ones are best per category.
Earning The Most Miles
If your main concern is raking in those miles, the American Express Gold Rewards1 is going to net you the most rewards at normal spending levels, even after deducting the annual fee. The 2 miles on gas, groceries, drugstore, and travel purchases is hard to beat.
If you have a lot of everyday spending that doesn't fall into the 4 bonus categories offered by the Amex Gold, then The SPG Amex Credit Card1 is what you want. This card gives you the option of converting your points to miles in over 30 airline rewards programs (mostly 1:1). Even better than that, for every 20,000 points you convert, they will give you an extra 5,000 bonus miles. If you’re doing the math, that works out to 1.25 Aeroplan miles for every $1 spent on ALL purchases (not just select categories) 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, however, comes with one of the highest annual fees – $699. With that $699 fee you get a $200 travel credit that can be used on any travel. Added bonus: If you sign up mid-year, you could 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.
Cheapest Annual Fee
Unless your monthly spend is less than $1,500, a card with a lower annual fee doesn't always make a lot of sense. Depending on your monthly spend, the value of the rewards you will receive for using a card with a higher annual fee should make up for the added cost ‒ especially when you take advantage of the card’s premium perks.
But if you want an Aeroplan miles credit card with an affordable annual fee, then the American Express AeroplanPlus is a good deal. At $60 per year, it still offers a good earning potential at 1 mile per dollar spent on all purchases with no caps.
And, if you’re looking for a card with no annual fee at all, you could always consider the MBNA Best Western Mastercard1. You can convert your points to Aeroplan, but the catch is that the conversion rate is quite poor and dilutes 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. If you’re renting a car, some credit cards allow you to decline the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), saving you up to $20 per day. Some credit card insurance packages will even cover you 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. Or what happens if you’re traveling and in need of emergency medical insurance? Good cards offer from 15-31 days of travel medical which could easily save you hundreds of dollars (should you ever need to use it). With 16 types of insurance available, the potential savings add up.
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege really outshines the competition, not only by having 11 types of insurance coverage, but also by coming out on top in 7 of those 11 types. The $399 could still be a lot to pay annually.
If you looking for something a little more budget friendly and with a lower minimum income, then the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite has pretty solid insurance coverage and an annual fee of $120. Not only does it come with 10 types of insurance, but it even comes out on top in 3 of those categories.
Best Perks Overall
If you’re looking for a card with the best perks, then you’ll need to pay big bucks because The Platinum Card1 completely destroys the competition when it comes to perks.
This impressive card includes:
- 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 much more.
All that to say, if you’re looking for a card that will have you traveling around the globe like a rockstar – this card cannot be beat.
Low Minimum Income
Despite being the #1 card on the list, the American Express Gold Rewards1 surprisingly has no minimum income requirement. In fact, American Express has removed the minimum income requirement from all of their cards, even their MOST premium ones.
Aeroplan’s Next Move?
It will be interesting to see what the future has in store, but until then you can still redeem your miles as you always have done for Air Canada flights.
With many Aeroplan members rushing to redeem their rewards before 2020, there will most likely be increased competition now on the best routes, so make sure you book early and check often.