5 ways an airline credit card can upgrade your flying experience

Hyder Owainati
by Hyder Owainati January 8, 2020 / No Comments

This post is sponsored by American Express.

  • If you regularly fly on a particular airline, an airline or co-branded credit card could be a good fit for your wallet.
  • Aside from points or miles, these cards come with airline-specific perks not conventionally offered by credit cards from the big banks.
  • Frequently fly on Air Canada? The American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum comes with airline benefits like priority check-in, an annual partner ticket, and access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges at airports.

Whether it’s for business, pleasure – or a combination of the two – if you’re a regular traveller, there’s a good chance you have a favourite airline. Maybe it’s the on-board meals, the extra legroom, the cheaper prices, or simply that their routes align with the places you visit the most – whatever your reason, you fly on one airline more than any other.

If that rings true, then you should consider an airline or co-branded credit card. These cards are affiliated with specific airlines and offer a host of exclusive perks that can upgrade your travel experience and earn you more miles to help you save along the way.

Below are five benefits you’ll enjoy with an airline credit card, using the country’s largest national carrier – Air Canada – and the American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum as examples.

1.  Discounted or free partner ticket benefits

Travelling with friends and family is more fun than travelling alone, and when you use an airline credit card, you can often bring a partner along for less.

With the American Express® AeroplanPlus Platinum®*, for instance, when you redeem 15,000 Aeroplan miles to book a short-haul economy flight you’ll also get a Partner Ticket to bring someone along.

That can save you the cost of a second ticket when flying to a number of popular destinations out of Toronto like New York, Washington DC, Chicago, or anywhere in Quebec and Ontario. You can take advantage of this Partner Ticket once a year and the best part is it renews every year so you can do it again.

2.  Priority check-in

We’ve all been there – stuck in a huge lineup at the airport wasting precious time just to check-in luggage. Luckily, a number of airline credit cards come with priority check-in privileges.

With the American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum, you’ll breeze past lineups and head straight to Air Canada’s dedicated priority check-in counters – typically exclusive for business and first-class ticket holders. Now, you can enjoy that privilege, too.

3.  Airport perks and “fast-lane” security check

Most airline credit cards come with a bevvy of airport perks. For example, the Amex® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum credit card lets you check in like a VIP at Pearson Airport in Toronto.

The first perk is valet service between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Present your credit card when picking up your car, and they’ll waive the $25 fee automatically. You’ll also receive a 15% discount on parking when you pay with your airline credit card, and a discount on the car cleaning and detailing services offered at Terminal 1.

Finally, once inside the terminal, you can make your trip even smoother by using the Priority Security Lane in Terminal 1 and 3, so during peak hours, you can bypass that long security line. No more inching your way through the slow-moving lines.

4.  Lounge access

Lounge access can mean the difference between a relaxing layover and several stressful hours spent waiting at your gate. Airport lounges are an oasis of calm in a hectic airport, offering free Wi-Fi, complimentary beverages and snacks, and comfortable seating.

The Amex® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card offers lounge access with free unlimited passes to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges – 17 premium lounges located across Canada, the US, and Europe that include buffets, alcohol, and other great amenities. Membership to Priority Pass is also included as a complimentary benefit, which would otherwise set you back $99 USD. Note: No free passes are included with the Priority Pass membership and you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee with every visit to a lounge.

5.  Bonus miles and discounts on flights

Along with the ability to earn frequent flyer miles on all your everyday purchases, most airline cards let you supercharge your rewards when using your credit card to book flights through the affiliated airline. For example, the Amex® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum earns you twice the miles when you make purchases on AirCanada.com. If you’re a frequent flyer, these bonus points quickly add up and help you redeem free flights sooner.

Airline cards and co-branded cards also offer access to regular travel deals – from points bonuses on select flights to discounts on vacation packages – letting you save on airfare throughout the year.

With the Amex® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum, you’ll get regular Aeroplan promotions on everything from flight deals to a rotating list of popular travel destinations. On top of that, when you sign up for the card, you can earn a 40,000 mile bonus if you spend $3,000 within your first three months.

American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card

  • $499 annual fee
  • Earn 1.25 Aeroplan miles per dollar on your initial $25,000 in annual purchases; earn 1.5 miles per dollar thereafter
  • Earn miles twice on Air Canada purchases when you present your Aeroplan membership number.
  • Receive an Annual Partner Ticket
  • Unlimited access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and a complimentary membership to Priority Pass
  • 40,000 bonus Miles when you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • Priority Check-in when flying Air Canada
  • Toronto Pearson airport perks: fast-lane access to the Person Priority Security Lane and complimentary valet services

The final word

An airline credit card might not be for everyone. But if you fly at least once a year and have a preferred airline, these specialized cards can be a great way to help you save on travel and unlock perks usually reserved to elite airline members.

If you want free flights for your partner, airport lounge access, and priority access to security and check-in lines, then a co-branded credit card, like the Amex® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum, is an excellent option. With this co-branded credit card, you can get all of the perks above, a robust rewards system that lets you redeem miles for free flights on Air Canada, plus a lucrative 40,000-mile welcome offer.

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely our own. American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website.


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