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.
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
|Credit Card||Welcome Bonus||Annual Fee|
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card (VIEW)||15,000 Miles (OFFER ENDED)||$120 (rebated for first year)|
|American Express Gold Rewards Card (VIEW)||25,000 Miles||$150|
|American Express Platinum Card (VIEW)||25,000 Miles||$699|
|CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite (VIEW)||20,000 Miles||$120|
|CIBC Aero Platinum Visa (VIEW)||5,000 Miles||$39|
|TD Aeroplan Visa Privilege (VIEW)||25,000 Miles||$399|
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card – Our top pick
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 15,000 Aeroplan miles just for making your first purchase, which is enough to book one round-trip short-haul flights to select cities in Canada and the US. The card’s $120 annual fee is also waived for the first year.
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
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 25,000 American Express Membership points, which you can transfer into 25,000 Aeroplan miles. In order to get the bonus, you’ll need to be a first-time AMEX cardholder and spend $1,500 on the card in your first three months.
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 $150 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 additional benefits at over 600 participating hotels including complimentary room upgrades and up to $100 in free credits that you can use on hotel facilities. You’ll want to read up on the card’s terms to learn how and where you can access this benefit. Lastly, you can get early access to concert and event tickets through AMEX’s Front Of The Line program.
Important final notes
The American Express Gold is what’s known as a charge card. That means it has no pre-set spending limit, so you have greater flexibility to make very large purchases without being confined by a traditional credit limit. However, it also means that you’ll be required to pay a far heftier interest rate in the event you do carry a balance as this card’s APR on purchases is 30% as opposed to the standard 19.99%. Simply put, this card is the right fit if you’re sure you can pay off your statement in full each and every month, and never carry a balance.
American Express Platinum Card
Another non-branded Aeroplan card to make our list, the 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 50,000 AMEX points bonus after you charge $3,000 on the card in the first three months and an additional 10,000 bonus after six months, which you can convert into 60,000 Aeroplan miles. 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 per dollar spent on dining, 2 points per dollar on travel, and 1 point per dollar on everything else – 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 American Express Platinum 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 American Express Platinum 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. If you’re looking for more information straight from the source, Aeroplan published an FAQ on the subject here.
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.
- The Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada for 2019
- [FAQ] Canada’s Top Loyalty Programs – Your Questions Answered
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Credit Card Review