Definitive Guide: Aeroplan Premium Credit Cards

flat-lay-hat-notebook-arrangement-with-aeroplan-premium-credit-cards-td-cibc-amex

For many years, the American Express Platinum card was known as the premium credit card in the Canadian credit card landscape. While it largely still is, it’s lost some allure for Canadians in recent years compared to Aeroplan premium credit cards. 

After all, I recently canceled my American Express Platinum card, but plan to keep my American Express Aeroplan Reserve Business card for the long term. Why did I make these decisions? 

Let me tell you all about it in my guide to Aeroplan premium credit cards below.

What is an Aeroplan Premium Credit Card?

Aeroplan Premium credit cards have an annual fee of $599 and earn Aeroplan points when you make purchases on the card. These are separate from American Express cards like the Platinum and Gold that earn Membership Rewards points which transfer to Aeroplan.

The cards are easily identifiable as they have Aeroplan branding, are some of the only metal credit cards in Canada, and have a striking black design. While they are not the elusive and exclusive Centurion card, they still look imposing!

canadian aeroplan premium credit cards on table

The card has four different flavors; they share many of the same characteristics, but there are some differences. As they are cobranded with Air Canada’s loyalty program, many benefits will be tailored to frequent flyers on Air Canada. Currently, there are two Visa and two American Express cards that would be considered Aeroplan premium credit cards in Canada. 

In the sections below, we will dissect all of the fine details to showcase the value of these cards and to determine if they are a good fit for your wallet and lifestyle.

Premium Visa Aeroplan Credit Cards

There are two premium Visa Aeroplan credit cards in Canada: the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card and the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders a variety of Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and Maple Leaf lounge access.

Check out our TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card review for more details.

BONUS
85,000 Aeroplan
MINSPEND
$15,000
NET VALUE
$1,186+
ANNUAL FEE
$599
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY
Jun 3, 2024
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and Maple Leaf lounge access.

BONUS
90,000 Aeroplan
MINSPEND
$25,000
NET VALUE
$1,291+
ANNUAL FEE
$599
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Both of these cards are more versatile, as their acceptance is higher worldwide than the American Express cards. However, it is important to note that they do come with a gatekeeping mechanism in the form of income requirements.

Both cards require you to have a personal income of $150,000 or a household income of $200,000. These cards have some of the highest income requirements in Canada. That said, they usually only ask for verbal confirmation when initiating a TD product switch or CIBC product switch to the Visa Infinite Privilege cards over the phone. As an aside, the minimum credit limit on these cards is $10,000.

While both premium Visa Aeroplan credit cards have a high annual fee of $599, they are also both packed with benefits, which I’ll glance over here and assign value to in a later section to determine if these credit cards are worth it. 

The benefits you can access on the premium Visa Aeroplan credit cards include the below; I’ve italicized any benefits that are specific to the Visa cards below:

  • Unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge Access with a guest
  • Free Checked Bag when Flying Air Canada for cardholder and eight companions on the same reservation
  • Priority Zone 2 Boarding on Air Canada for cardholder and eight companions on the same reservation
  • Priority Air Canada Check-In Line
  • Priority Air Canada Baggage handling
  • Priority on Air Canada Stand By Waitlist
  • Priority on eUpgrade waitlists
  • Earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles and 1 Status Qualifying Segment after $5,000 in purchases
  • Aeroplan Elite Status Members can Roll Over 200,000 SQM to the next status year
  • Aeroplan Elite Status Members can Roll Over 50 expiring eUpgrade credits
  • Worldwide Companion Pass after $25,000 spent
  • Avis Presidents Club Status
  • $100 NEXUS credit every four years (CIBC only offers $50)
  • Extensive Travel Insurances
  • Six lounge passes provided by Visa Airport Companion
  • Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge
  •  Priority security access at Billy Bishop (YTZ), Vancouver (YVR), Ottawa (YOW) and Montreal (YUL)
  • Access to the Visa Luxury Hotels Collection
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Wine Country Program
  • Sandman Hotels RSVP Rewards Diamond Status

I will cover all of the general benefits that apply to both cards in one large section, but let’s discuss the benefits that are unique to the TD & CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege cards.

Visa Airport Companion Lounge Access

Through the Visa Airport Companion program, cardholders are eligible to receive complimentary membership to the Dragonpass lounge program, in addition to six complimentary airport lounge passes.

dragonpass-lounge-logo-featured-image

This is the benefit most travelers will use in full. One advantage to these passes is you can use them all at once, as long as the lounge you want to enter participates in the program and has capacity. Six people can enter the lounge simultaneously if you’re traveling with family. 

In comparison, the Maple Leaf Lounge access is only for two people at a time. I value these lounge passes about the same as a Maple Leaf Lounge visit ($10 per pass).

Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge

While I have never used the Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge service, it works similarly to the American Express Platinum Concierge service. The concierge can suggest things to do in a city, make dinner reservations, or help find an item you need. 

Personally, I find the hold times for concierges can be long and take longer than making a dinner reservation on OpenTable yourself. If you’ve had great experiences with Visa Concierge, let me know in the comments!

Priority Security at Select Airports

Access to priority security lines at Billy Bishop (YTZ), Vancouver (YVR), Ottawa (YOW), and Montreal (YUL) has come in handy for me when I let my NEXUS membership lapse.

If you’re not a NEXUS member, you should become one, as it’s free when you charge the membership fee to one of these cards. If you are waiting for your NEXUS membership or are simply not interested in signing up, you can expect to save quite a bit of time with the priority security access perk on these cards.

Visa Infinite Wine & Hotels

To begin with the wine collection, when visiting Sonoma, Kelowna, or Niagara wine regions this becomes quite a lucrative benefit. When my Player Two and I lived in Toronto, we often ventured down to Niagara and enjoyed many free tastings and discounts thanks to this perk. If wine is your thing, this benefit can be worth at least $100!

To address the hotel collection, it is an interesting perk, but not one that will apply to many points and miles maximizers. The idea behind the perk is that you will receive complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, welcome gifts, hotel spa and dining credits, and other goodies. 

The trade-off is paying an often-inflated rate compared to booking directly with the hotel. In some cases, it makes sense, but often, it will take effort to use all the benefits to fruition. Needless to say, the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program is far superior.

Sandman Hotels Status

Usually, when maximizers like me hear the words “Free Elite Status,” we get excited! But I was not super jazzed when I was granted Sandman Diamond, as I didn’t know when I would use it. Some perks include late checkout, space, room upgrades, extra points, and a breakfast box.

During my travels for work, I stayed at a few Sandman locations and accumulated points even though we were staying on a group rate, which was a pleasant surprise. By the end of the summer, I earned about $150 in Sandman credit, which was $60 more than my colleagues who did not have status. The breakfast boxes were pretty sad, but it was better than nothing!

Premium American Express Aeroplan Credit Cards

American Express is not a company known to be outdone by the competition, and they certainly are not in this case. Having two Aeroplan premium credit cards in their lineup does put them in a strange position, though, as they have created two products that closely rival their own Platinum and Business Platinum cards.
There are two premium American Express Aeroplan credit cards in Canada: the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card and the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and complimentary Maple Leaf airport lounge access.

In 2024, we awarded this card as the Best Air Canada Aeroplan Credit Card.

Check out our American Express Aeroplan Reserve card review for more details.

BONUS
85,000 Aeroplan
MINSPEND
$10,000
NET VALUE
$1,186+
ANNUAL FEE
$599
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card

The American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and complimentary Maple Leaf airport lounge access.

BONUS
90,000 Aeroplan
MINSPEND
$14,000
NET VALUE
$1,291+
ANNUAL FEE
$599
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

The biggest win for these cards is that they have no minimum income requirement which is huge when comparing them to the high income requirements on the TD and CIBC cards. As long as you can stomach the $599 annual fee and have good credit, you can get the card without any funny business. 

Both premium American Express Aeroplan credit cards have the majority of the same benefits as the TD and CIBC cards. I’ve italicized any benefits that are specific to the American Express cards below:

  • Unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge Access with a Guest
  • Free Checked Bag when Flying Air Canada for cardholder and eight companions on the same reservation
  • Priority Zone 2 Boarding on Air Canada for cardholder and eight companions on the same reservation
  • Priority Air Canada Check-In Line
  •  Priority Air Canada Baggage handling
  • Priority on Air Canada Stand By Waitlist
  • Priority for eUpgrades after submitting a request
  • Earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles and 1 Status Qualifying Segment after spending $5,000 (Status Boost)
  • Aeroplan Elite Status Members can Roll Over 200,000 SQM to the next status year
  • Aeroplan Elite Status Members can Roll Over 50 expiring eUpgrade credits
  • Worldwide Companion Pass after $25,000 spent
  • $100 NEXUS credit every four years
  • Extensive Travel Insurances
  • Avis Presidents Club Status
  • Priority Pass Membership (Users still need to pay for visits)
  • Priority security access at Toronto Pearson (YYZ)
  • Access to American Express Experiences
  • Access to American Express Offers
  • Referral opportunities to earn more points

Compared to the Visa Infinite Privilege cards, it may feel like the premium American Express Aeroplan cards are geared toward residents of Toronto. It’s a bit disappointing as I would like to see Amex diversify its offering to appeal to a larger audience.

The Priority Pass membership is pretty useless as this version still requires cardholders to pay $32 USD each time they access a lounge as opposed to benefits on other credit cards where this lounge access is free. The priority security benefit is also less helpful than the Visa version, as it’s only valid at Toronto Pearson (YYZ).

American Express Experiences

Feel free to peruse the offering of events that are within the American Express Experiences program, but currently, most are centered in Toronto. If you happen to be a resident of Toronto and attend the Budweiser stage for concerts, you get a private entrance, which I’m sure is handy. But if you live in any other part of the country, it’s a bit of a useless benefit.

American Express Offers

This is where the scales begin to shift back in Amex’s favor. American Express Offers can be incredibly useful and compensate for a card’s annual fee. Recently, we’ve seen $120 Disney Plus credits, $150 Instacart credits, and various lucrative travel credits for Marriott and United Airlines. 

These can go a long way to offsetting the expensive annual fee, and I find a good amount of Amex offers to be easily usable.

Referral Bonus Opportunities

American Express has one of the most generous credit card referral programs and I am very grateful as It’s allowed me to rack up hundreds of thousands of points through referrals in my household, never mind through miles and points curious colleagues.

ultimate guide to credit card referrals featured image

Based on the current referral bonuses, each referral to the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card earns 10,000 Aeroplan points (worth a minimum of $200) and each referral to the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card earns 20,000 Aeroplan points (worth a minimum of $400).

Are Aeroplan Premium Credit Cards Worth It?

As with many things in this hobby, it depends. To be sure it’s worth it for you, I’ve done my best to assign dollar values to each benefit so you can make a calculated decision.

Unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge Access

Unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge access for the cardholder and one guest is a popular perk and one of the main attractions to sign up for and hold these premium credit cards. Contrary to some grizzled travelers, Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafes are improving significantly (including the newer Aspire Air Canada Café at Toronto Billy Bishop Airport), and I enjoy visiting them. 

While they are not yet at the level of the American Express Centurion lounges, it’s easy to get at least $20 of value from a visit between the food and drink offerings (plus a slightly more comfortable place to relax). If you enjoy a local craft beer or a sparkling wine during your visit, add a few more dollars of value.

air canada maple leaf lounge beer on tap

If you visit 10 Air Canada Maple Leaf lounges annually, you could consider this perk to be worth around $200 in value.

Free Checked Bag when Flying Air Canada

While the free checked bag when flying on Air Canada is one of the best ways to save on Air Canada baggage fees, this is a benefit I struggle to assign true value to as this perk isn’t exclusive to Aeroplan premium credit cards. If you have a “core” Aeroplan card such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, this benefit is also included and similarly, can be extended up to eight individuals traveling on the same itinerary as the cardholder.

As an aside, Flex fares come with a free checked bag, so if you pay the $50-$90 premium to collect more points from flying, this benefit becomes less valuable. Between Aeroplan credit cards, holding Aeroplan Elite status, or purchasing the correct fare type, it should be relatively easy to avoid these fees.

air canada standard vs flex fare benefits

Since baggage fees within North America are typically $30 for the first checked bag, multiply that value by the number of flights you expect to take where you will be checking baggage to determine the true value of this benefit.

Priority Zone 2 Boarding

I won’t lie; I didn’t think much of the priority zone 2 boarding benefit when I got my first Aeroplan premium credit card. However, once you have the chance to put it into practice, it can be a game changer. 

Guaranteeing overhead bin space and not feeling rushed to stow things away has become a considerable luxury when I fly in economy. I now get this perk from Aeroplan Elite status, but this is one of my favorite features of these cards before status kicks in. I would probably pay $10 per flight to have this service if Air Canada sold it (thank goodness they don’t). 

Assuming ten flights per year, we have another benefit that can be valued at around $100.

Priority Air Canada Check-In Line

This is a very hit-or-miss benefit. Sometimes, the “Priority” check-in line is longer than using a check-in kiosk and self-dropping my bags. If it saves you some time, I would be happy with the perk, but I don’t think this can have any tangible value.

air canada premium economy priority check-in line

Simply put, take advantage of the priority check in line if it looks like it will save you time, else check in the quickest way available and enjoy more time in the lounge before your flight.

Priority Baggage Handling

In theory, priority baggage handling should save a ton of time. But after flying 50 segments each of the last two years with Air Canada, I can confidently say it’s random. 

Sometimes my bag is first out, sometimes it’s the last bag out on the carousel. I will say that Air Canada has *yet* to lose one of my bags since the staff started putting on the orange tags if you consider that a benefit

air canada star alliance priority bag tags

While it’s nice when the bag comes out first, assigning value to this perk is impossible.

Priority Standby

Priority standby is a funny benefit, but it can have real value. This benefit refers to a rare situation where you’re standing by for a flight and have the same status as another person standing by for a flight. In this instance, to break the tie between who gets the seat, Air Canada will award it to the Aeroplan premium credit card holder.

 In my eyes, this is a benefit that only an elite-status member would use, as I’ve only seen a meaningful impact on standby chances when I broke the Aeroplan 50K status threshold. I would not assign any value to this unless you’re among the Aeroplan Elite status ranks.

If you are an elite status member, and it does get you on the flight you need to be on, the perk can be invaluable. But that’s a rare situation.

eUpgrade Priority

If you don’t know what an Air Canada eUpgrade is, you should read our article on them before paying too much attention to this perk. 

The benefit is the same as Priority Standby but refers to an upgrade in seating class rather than getting a seat on the flight. It can be valuable depending on the routes you fly and how many elites are based out of your hub. For example, the YVR-YYZ route is packed with Super Elites that will beat out everyone for upgrades regardless of a Premium Credit Card. 

If you have elite status and notice a difference in your eUps clearing after you get the card, that’s a benefit only you can assign value to.

Status Boost Feature

This is a feature that I love and have used to immense value. If you haven’t read my article on Aeroplan Everyday Status Qualification, I would recommend it as I detail how I bought a car on my credit card and earned 12 status qualifying segments (SQS). The feature allows you to earn 1,000 status qualifying miles (SQM) and 1 SQS for every $5,000 you spend on the card. This can be a status maker for those who see their flying patterns change.

air canada aeroplan status bag tags

Whether you pay taxes with a bill payment service or spend a lot, it can completely change your travel experience. I know of a Super Elite who uses his tax bill to bank years of Super Elite, which to him are invaluable when he retires, and work will stop paying for his flights. The value will vary by individual, but I can see at least $100-$300 of value here for anyone chasing status.

Rollover Status Qualifying Miles for Elites

The rollover cap of 200,000 SQMs is hilariously high, but kudos to Aeroplan for allowing its members to shoot for the moon. Essentially, this feature will enable you to take any SQMs you don’t need to qualify for status in the current year and get a head start next year.

air canada super elite status in app

I can see another $100-$300 of value for status chasers as those are miles they won’t have to pay for the following year.

Rolling Over eUpgrades

As you can see by this point, this card has several benefits targeted at frequent Air Canada flyers. The rollover eUpgrades are my second favorite feature to the Status Boost feature as eUpgrades can have some crazy value. Having them last longer is a huge plus, I’ve used them to fly 5 hours in Air Canada Signature Class for only 14,000 points and six eUpgrades.

air canada signature class overhead seat view

As an Aeroplan premium credit card holder, you can roll over 50 expiring eUpgrades simultaneously. If an eUpgrade has already been rolled over once, it won’t roll over again. 

The use case determines the value here, but each eUpgrade has a value of $10-$60, depending on how you use it. Rolling over 40 eUpgrades could be worth $400 if you use all of them before their final expiry.

Air Canada Worldwide Companion Pass

I wrote an entire article about the Air Canada Worldwide Companion Pass, so I’ll keep it brief here. While it takes $25,000 in spend during an anniversary year to earn, there is value to be had if you can reach that threshold.

If you fly during peak times (Holiday Season, Summer Vacation), you’ll probably get $400-$800 value from the pass.

Avis Presidents Club Status

I love Avis Presidents Club status, and it’s made me reasonably loyal to Avis. Nine times out of ten, I’ve already been upgraded when I approach the counter to pick up my rental. And, as Presidents Club status is an invite-only tier, it means something to the employees working the desk. If Avis allowed me to buy status for $100 every year, I probably would (but again, thank goodness they don’t.)

Depending on where you pick up your car, you may even have an option to select an upgraded car on the Avis app. I often reserve small sedans; most memorably, I was able to choose an Audi Q3 (much more expensive than a Ford Focus) on the app and drive away, only showing my license to the exit gate agent.

NEXUS Credit

The NEXUS membership or renewal credit on these cards is the best way to obtain a NEXUS membership for free. NEXUS membership costs $50 USD for a five-year membership, and the price is the same for renewals. NEXUS is the best way to improve your security clearing experience in North America and when returning to Canada, and any serious traveler should have a membership.

nexus program logo

Be careful; these are not the only credit cards in Canada that offer this credit. if you already have NEXUS or used the credit on another card, then the benefit is worth $0.

Extensive Travel Insurance

All four Aeroplan premium credit cards have massive amounts of insurance. One of the best parts of holding these cards long-term is that even if you book many flights on Aeroplan points (as most of us do), you’re still covered. 

It’s a level of security that I love. If my flight is delayed or canceled overnight, I book a reasonable hotel near the airport, collect elite nights and points, and then submit my claim. Unfortunately, in Canada, we’re pretty barren for general travel insurance policies, so these credit cards are a great way to provide some easy security. 

If you never use the insurance, the only value you put on this perk is the peace of mind from knowing you’re covered.

Conclusion

Aeroplan premium credit cards are loaded with features and (rightfully so) come with a loaded price tag. The cards are designed for point maximizers or Air Canada frequent flyers, but that doesn’t mean you have to be one to love the card! 

I plan to keep at least one of these premium cards in my wallet each year; so far, I’ve taken the approach of rotating the flavors with a welcome bonus to offset that hefty annual fee. Even after I’ve exhausted the welcome bonuses, I still think these cards are worth their price tag if you’re a frequent flyer of Air Canada.

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.

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9 comments on “Definitive Guide: Aeroplan Premium Credit Cards

  1. Wondering if there any cards (premium or otherwise) that would allow (non-Nexus holding) travellers faster clearance at Pearson customs upon return from international travel? We are travelling as a group of six and only three of us have a Nexus card. ….

    Reply
    • Hi Paige,

      Great question! Nexus is the only mechanism available to speed up immigration into Canada. Assuming your international trip is a long one, you’ll probably have some checked bags. Those with Nexus can breeze through and wait for checked bags, while those without take longer to process. Even if everyone had Nexus, you would end up waiting for those checked bags 🙂

      Or, if you’re looking for creative Christmas gifts, you can always pay for your travel companions’ application fees. They’ll surely think of you every time they skip by a long line at the airport!

      Reply
  2. I have the Amex Aeroplan Teserve, but I’ve considered swhing to CIBC’s Privilege, mainly for the insurance and lounge perks. However, in your article it states the CIBC Visa has MLL access for you and a guest, but according to everything else I’ve seven, that perk is only available until December 31, 2024.

    So two questions. 1) which is it? Lifetime access or until December, 2024. 2) If it’s the latter, what happens after that?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Lance,

      Thanks for the comment, and I respect your attention to detail!

      That part of the terms and conditions must have been an addition, as I don’t recall seeing it before. It’s strange that CIBC and TD include the 2024 expiry date for a guest, but Amex does not. From the official wording on Air Canada’s website pertaining to Maple Leaf Lounge access, I believe that TD and CIBC cards WILL lose access at the end of 2024. Hard to know if the Reserve card will too.

      I would grab the CIBC version before the end of the year so you get to enjoy lounge access for 2 for a full 12 months.

      Reply
  3. Are there any data points already on the repeated bonuses for the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards?
    I’ve seen one post claiming that it is 24-month period, but it was only once and not confirmed.

    Reply
    • Hi Stephen,

      So far I have gotten bonuses on all fresh applications. Product switching may vary, but with the current Aeroplan terms and conditions I would only apply for one Premium card ($599) every 12 months.

      Reply
        • Currently there is no official rule regarding how soon you can get another welcome bonus on an Aeroplan card. The Aeroplan terms and conditions state that getting multiple sign up bonuses in a short period of time, in the same tier, may result in disciplinary action. Tiers are defined by annual fee, $0-$89, $120-$149, $599.

          The T&C’s are purposefully vague to allow Aeroplan to pursue action against the most egregious offenders. But, getting a new card every year, to try out the features and bank’s customer service is normal consumer behaviour. If you signed up for the TD, CIBC, and Amex $599 cards in 3 months you would likely be in violation of the T&C’s.

          Reply
          • And remember, all American Express cards are once-in-a-lifetime bonus!

            There are rare examples where you can get the bonus on an Amex again. For example, there have been upgrade offers from Cobalt to Gold that include a bonus, even if you’ve had the Gold or currently have the Gold.