Note: The Aeroplan program is changing effective November 8, 2020. Click here for details about the new program and here for information about new co-branded Aeroplan credit cards.
With more than five million active members, Aeroplan is one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs. A particularly good fit for frequent travellers whose airline of choice is Air Canada, Members can earn miles at Aeroplan’s growing network of over 150 retail partners and by using one of the programs’ co-branded credit cards when making everyday purchases.
Racking up miles with an Aeroplan credit card is easy, and while the program may not be the most flexible out there, it does offer great value and plenty of advantages. The ability to book tickets up to two hours before departure and cancel a flight within 24 hours with a full refund are just a few worth mentioning.
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Aeroplan’s partnerships with TD, CIBC, and American Express make the Aeroplan credit card market very competitive. For a thorough comparison of any two (or more) Aeroplan credit cards, and to see your potential returns, be sure to check out our Aeroplan miles calculator. However, here are the best Aeroplan credit cards that we think each of these issuers have to offer:
The best Aeroplan credit cards of 2019
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card – Our top pick
- Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
- Earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, groceries, pharmacies and Air Canada purchases
- Get 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: Earn up to 25,000 Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass†. Plus, first year no annual fee†. Conditions Apply. Must apply by March 6, 2022.
Arguably the most popular of Aeroplan’s co-branded cards – and overall, one of TD’s best credit cards – the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite stands out for its great welcome offer, travel perks, and Air Canada exclusive benefits. It’s for those reasons the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is our pick for the best Aeroplan credit card.
Welcome offer and rewards
As a new cardholder, you’ll earn 10,000 Aeroplan miles just for making your first purchase, then another 15,000 points when you spend $1000 within 90 days of your account opening. The card’s $120 annual fee is also waived for the first year. Offer expires March 6, 2022.
In terms of your everyday earn rate, you’ll get 1.5 miles per dollar on gas, groceries, pharmacies, and Air Canada purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. The value of miles fluctuates considerably based on where you fly, but we’ve calculated the average value of 1 Aeroplan mile to be $0.0120, or the equivalent of roughly 1.2%.
Travel insurance and perks
While you’re away on that getaway that you’ve redeemed your miles for, you can rest easy knowing the card’s comprehensive travel insurance has you covered. These include $1,000,000 in travel emergency coverage, trip interruption/cancellation insurance, common carrier travel accident insurance, and car rental collision/loss damage insurance. Like most annual fee rewards cards, you’ll also get access to concierge services and discounts on car rentals.
Plus, when using your miles to book a flight on Air Canada, you can take advantage of exclusive perks including priority check-in and boarding, a free checked bag, and one-time access to Air Canada Maple Leaf airport lounges (renewed annually).
American Express Gold Rewards Card
- Annual fee: $250
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
- Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores in Canada
- Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases for eligible travel purchases, including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more
- Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else
- Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs
- 1 Free Additional Gold Rewards Card (a $50 value) to help you earn points faster
- Earn 2 points/miles per dollar on gas, groceries, pharmacies and travel
- Get 1 points/miles per dollar for all other purchases
While not an Aeroplan credit card per se, the points you earn on the American Express Gold Rewards Card can be converted into Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 ratio. Since this card offers up to 2 points per dollar on certain purchases, you could stand to earn a higher return on your everyday spending with this AMEX card than on some co-branded Aeroplan cards.
Welcome offer and rewards
This card comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Express Membership points if you spend $3000 on the card in the first three months of ownership. Plus, you can earn an additional 10,000 points when you make a purchase within 14 and 17 months of membership. That's a possible total of 60,000 points (enough for a round-trip flight to almost anywhere in Europe with the AMEX Fixed Travel Points Program).
When it comes to your regular spending, you’ll earn 2 AMEX points for every dollar you spend on gas, groceries, pharmacies and travel (including flight purchases on airlines other than Air Canada). That’s a higher per dollar return offered by some co-branded Aeroplan cards. You’ll get 1 point per dollar for all other purchases.
In terms of rewards transfers, you can convert AMEX points to Aeroplan miles on a 1 to 1 basis in increments of 1,000. Transfers are immediate and can be easily done online on the Aeroplan website or over the phone.
Travel insurance and perks
From trip interruption and car rental coverage to lost/stolen baggage insurance, and more, this card offers the full gamut of travel insurance benefits that you’d expect from a $250 annual fee card. It also provides $5,000,000 in travel emergency medical coverage (which is considerably higher than the typical coverage amount of $1,000,000) as well as hotel/motel burglary insurance.
As an AMEX Gold Rewards cardholder, you’ll also be eligible to receive a $50 CAD statement credit when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your American Express Gold Rewards Card. You'll also have access to an annual $100 CAD travel credit, which you can use once annually towards any single travel booking of $100 or more charged to your Gold Rewards Card through American Express Travel Online. Then, there's the lounge access: you'll receive complimentary membership in Priority PassTM – one of the world’s largest independent airport lounge programs (enrollment is required and entry fees apply) as well as four complimentary visits per calendar year to Plaza Premium Lounges across Canada (entry fees apply once complimentary visits have been used)
The Platinum Card from American Express
- Annual fee: $699
- • Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points:
New Platinum® Cardmembers, earn 80,000 Welcome Bonus points after you charge $6,000 in net purchases to your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership– enough to redeem for a $800 credit towards eligible purchases
- Plus, you can also earn 20,000 points when you make a purchase between 14 and 17 months of Cardmembership – enough to redeem for a $200 credit towards eligible purchases
- Enjoy complimentary benefits that offer an average value of $550 USD at over 1,000 extraordinary properties worldwide when you book Fine Hotels + Resorts
- Gain access to many leading hotel and car rental companies’ loyalty programs, including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Radisson Hotel Group Americas, Hertz and Avis
- Convert your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan miles on a 1:1 basis
- Earn 3 points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada, 2 points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible travel, and 1 point for every $1 in all other card purchases
- Enjoy flexible ways to use your points such as statement credits for any eligible purchase charged to your Card, new travel purchases booked on American Express Travel Online through the Flexible Points Travel Program, and eligible flights through the Fixed Points Travel Program
- Unlimited passes to Priority Pass airport lounges
- As a Charge Card, interest applies in accordance with your Cardmember Agreement, Information Box, and Disclosure statement if the total New Balance is not paid by the Payment Due Date each month. All payments must be received by the Payment Due Date shown on the monthly statement
Another non-branded Aeroplan card to make our list, American Express' Platinum Card is in a category of its own. This card, which lets you transfer AMEX points into Aeroplan miles at a ratio of 1:1, offers some of the most lucrative rewards and benefits of any credit card in the market. So, naturally, it’s also expensive to carry.
Welcome offer and rewards
For an annual fee of $699, you’ll get a massive 80,000 AMEX points bonus after you charge $6,000 on the card in the first three months (which you can redeem for a roundtrip flight to a destination in Europe using the Fixed Points Travel Program towards base fares, up to maximum of $900) and an additional 20,000 bonus points if you make a purchase between 14 and 17 months of Cardmembership (redeemable for a short-haul roundtrip flight to one of the popular routes using the Fixed Points Travel Program towards base fares, up to maximum of $200). You’ll also get a $200 flight credit every single year, which you can redeem for flights on almost any airline, effectively cutting down your annual fee to $499.
This card offers a whopping 3 points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada, 2 points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible travel, and 1 point for every $1 in all other card purchases – which means you rack up points that much faster. Transferring AMEX points to Aeroplan miles is also a breeze and can be done instantly in 1,000 increments.
Travel insurance and perks
The Platinum Card is packed with perks. With this card, you’ll get to access over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide (unlimited passes), skip lines at Toronto Pearson Airport with security bypass and valet car services, upgrade your hotel experience with late check-in and free daily breakfasts at over 1,000 hotels, and more. You’ll also be able to nab tickets to some of the best concerts and events in Canada through AMEX’s Front Of The Line program.
The card’s travel insurance is robust and includes travel medical and accident coverage, rental car damage and theft waiver, lost/delayed baggage insurance, and more.
Important final notes
The Platinum Card is a charge card. So, while you won’t be limited by a hard-credit limit, you will incur a higher interest rate of 30% if you do carry a balance.
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite cards mentioned at the beginning of this article are similar in many ways. They both have an annual fee of $120; they both let you earn 1.5 Aeroplan miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, and on aircanada.com; they both have the exact same suite of travel insurance, the only difference being the extent of the coverage. Finally, they both come with exclusive Air Canada travel benefits, which include priority boarding, priority check-in, and a free complimentary first checked bag.
The main difference between these two cards lies in the fact the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite gives you up to 35,000 bonus miles for signing up (as opposed to TD’s potential 30,000). CIBC’s card also doesn’t waive the annual fee for the first year – a $120 value.
CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
Don’t let its name mislead you, the CIBC Aero Platinum Visa isn’t a high-end card. In fact, it’s one of the most accessible Aeroplan credit cards in Canada with a moderate annual fee of $39 and an income requirement of just $15,000.
Naturally, the card also offers more modest rewards with a welcome offer of 5,000 Aeroplan miles and a flat 1 mile for every $1.50 you spend with no bonus categories. The card’s insurance package is also less robust and has lower coverage amounts, but does include travel accident insurance and rental car damage and loss protection.
TD Aeroplan Visa Privilege
The premium version of TD’s Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, the TD Aeroplan Visa Privilege is tailored to high-income earners who make at least $200,000 as a household annually, and who spend big on travel and love perks.
This card comes with a 40,000 miles welcome bonus – which on its own is enough to redeem for a long-haul return flight from Toronto to destinations like Mexico and select cities in Central America, or one short-haul business class flight. The welcome bonus is unlocked in two ways: first, you’ll get 25,000 miles after your first purchase. You’ll also earn 5 additional miles on all your everyday purchases up to a maximum of 15,000 miles.
After the three month bonus period ends, every dollar you spend on gas, groceries, pharmacies and Air Canada purchases with this card will earn you 1.5 miles. Meanwhile, you’ll get 1.25 miles per dollar on all your other purchases, which is 25% more miles than the standard base rate offered by other Aeroplan credit cards, letting you rack up rewards on your spending even faster.
With a $399 annual fee, you wouldn’t be wrong to expect some high-end perks, and the TD Aeroplan Visa Privilege mostly delivers. This card provides a Priority Pass Membership to airport lounges worldwide with 6 free passes, top-notch insurance coverage benefits, and access to VISA Infinite Privilege benefits.
What about the changes to the Aeroplan program?
It’s time to address the elephant in the room: Air Canada’s buyout of Aeroplan.
As you likely already know, Aeroplan was the subject of numerous headlines last year regarding changes to its airline partners and ownership, leading many to question the future of the program.
The good news is the drama has settled. Air Canada successfully bought back Aeroplan and announced it would honour the value of Aeroplan miles on a 1-to-1 basis once it retains full control of Aeroplan in 2020. So, that means the miles you rack up on your Aeroplan credit card today will maintain their value well into the future and will continue to be redeemable on Air Canada flights even if Aeroplan undergoes a name change or full rebrand.
3 Ways to Maximize Your Aeroplan Miles
Compared to many popular rewards programs that come with other credit cards, Aeroplan points don’t have a consistent value. The number of points you need to earn will vary based on what item you wish to purchase using your miles. When considering flights, you’ll often find that the number of points required varies by both the destination and the time of year. Here we have mapped out what you need to know if you’re looking to maximize the value of your miles.
1. Compare your redemption to the Aeroplan miles to the benchmark
Ratehub.ca has determined that the average value of an Aeroplan mile is approximately $0.012. If you want to maximize the value of your points, make sure to only use points when the redemption value is greater or equal to the benchmark. If you happen to find a flight that gives you less value than $0.012, you should consider paying with cash and saving your miles for another purchase.
2. Redeem the most valuable flights
Since Aeroplan doesn’t offer a consistent point value, you should select flights that offer you the greatest value. There are often more valuable flight regions that you should take advantage of. Ratehub.ca has determined the average value of a mile for specified flight regions. Based on this analysis, if you’re looking to maximize the value of your points, you should redeem your points when flying to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Long-haul flights within Canada and the United States (including Hawaii) also offer a great redemption value.
3. Avoid other redemption options
The Aeroplan program also allows you to redeem your miles for hotels, rental cars, and gift cards. However, you shouldn’t take advantage of these options if you’re looking to maximize point value. In general, you’ll receive the best value when you redeem your miles for flights. For example, let’s look at using your points for an Air Canada gift card. Ratehub.ca has calculated a conversion value of anywhere from $0.0083 to $0.0086 per mile. This is much lower than the benchmark of $0.012. If you’re looking to maximize the value of your points. it’s clear that you should redeem your miles for air travel instead.