Aeroplan is the loyalty program of Air Canada, the country’s flagship airline which has the most routes going to and from Canada. This makes it one of the most valuable loyalty programs and points currency in Canada, not to mention the fact that you can redeem Aeroplan points for travel on any Star Alliance partner airline as well.
The easiest and fastest way to accrue Aeroplan points is through welcome bonuses and spending from Aeroplan co-branded credit cards, and thus, we recommend that if you are a miles and points enthusiast, you should hold at least one Aeroplan credit card.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the value of Aeroplan credit cards and the best Aeroplan credit cards for Canadians.
The Value of Aeroplan Credit Cards
Aeroplan is one of the largest frequent flyer programs in the world and its points are some of the most valuable in the points and miles game. As mentioned, not only can Aeroplan points be redeemed on flights with Air Canada, but they can also be used for any of Air Canada’s 26 Star Alliance partners. In short, this means you will be able to redeem your Aeroplan points to fly to and from virtually anywhere in the world!
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to fly to collect Aeroplan points. In fact, flying might be the slowest way to collect points towards your next big vacation. Aeroplan has 12 co-branded credit cards that earn Aeroplan points when you spend with them. This means that even if you aren’t flying, you will still earn valuable points just by using a credit card for your everyday purchases.
In addition, these co-branded cards come with generous sign-up offers where, if you meet a minimum spending requirement within a timeframe, you will get a huge chunk of points! Between these sign-up bonuses and spending on these cards, Aeroplan co-branded cards are the easiest and fastest way to collect points!
You might be wondering, “Which card is right for me?” We’re here to answer that! Here are our picks for the best Aeroplan credit cards for every lifestyle and budget!
Best Entry-Level Aeroplan Credit Card
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card
We get it, annual fees can be intimidating and hard to justify at the beginning of your points and miles journey. If you want to start earning Aeroplan points and dip your toes into the ecosystem, our recommendation for the best beginner card is the no annual fee CIBC Aeroplan Visa card.
In fact, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa card is the only no annual fee Aeroplan credit card that is on the market today. You’ll earn points for the following:
- 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on gas, groceries, electric vehicle charging, and Air Canada purchases.
- 0.67 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
While this earning structure is not stellar, it gives you a low barrier to entry into the Aeroplan ecosystem with no annual fee. Where this card shines is that it unlocks Aeroplan Preferred Pricing, which allows you to book flights using fewer Aeroplan points, making your points go further!
Qualifying for this card is also a lot easier than the other credit cards on this list, as it has low minimum income and credit history requirements. If you’re just starting out in your credit journey, new to Canada, a student, or just don’t want to pay fees, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa card is for you!
Best Core Aeroplan Credit Card
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
While the Core Aeroplan cards come with an annual fee, they also come with additional perks and earning structures to back them up. You’ll also see juicy sign-up bonuses at this level, making it a quick and easy way to pad your Aeroplan account with valuable points.
In this category, the two major players are the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card and the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card. Although the earning structures are identical, the stronger choice is the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite because it comes with more perks that can elevate our travel. The increased multipliers on your purchases and many perks on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, compared to the no annual fee option, allow it to pay for itself year after year!
The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various benefits including a free first checked bag on Air Canada and a $100 NEXUS membership credit.
Mar 4, 2024
With the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, you can earn Aeroplan points in the following categories:
- 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on gas and groceries.
- 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
In addition to the Aeroplan Preferred Pricing of the entry-level card, perks of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite include:
- First free checked bag for the cardholder and up to 9 travelers on the same itinerary.
- Strong travel insurance coverage, including travel insurance on award flights redeemed with Aeroplan points.
- $100 Nexus credit.
You can check out our guide to the Best Beginner Travel Credit Cards to see how the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card pays for itself with these perks and how we would use them to elevate our travel experiences.
Best Premium Aeroplan Credit Card
Aeroplan premium credit cards come with all the bells and whistles to elevate your travel experiences. This does come at a cost – they have the highest annual fees of any card we talk about here, but also the highest signup bonuses. While it may be hard for some to justify the high upfront cost, there can be an argument made that a premium card may be worth it to hold, even if it’s only for a short while.
While there were clear winners in the entry-level and core categories, there’s a close race between 2 premium Aeroplan co-branded credit cards. Let’s take a look at each!
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card earns our pick of the best premium Aeroplan co-branded credit cards as it has a slight edge over its competitors.
The Amex Aeroplan Reserve card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and Maple Leaf 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.
The earning rates for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve are strong too. You can earn points in the following spending categories:
- 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on Air Canada purchases.
- 2 Aeroplan points per dollar on dining and food delivery purchases.
- 1.25 Aeroplan points per dollar on all other purchases.
While the perks of each premium Aeroplan card are nearly identical, the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card takes our pick for the following reasons:
- There is no minimum income requirement to apply. This means even if you don’t have a high annual income, you’re still eligible to be approved for the card to enjoy its welcome bonus and its perks.
- Typically it has more reasonable spending requirements to meet to obtain the welcome bonus.
- Better points multipliers for purchase categories.
Finally, the benefits of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card are extensive and designed to let you travel in style. The majority of the benefits are Air Canada specific, including priority check-in and boarding on all Air Canada flights, the first free checked bags for you and up to 8 travel companions, access for you and a guest to Air Canada Maple Leaf lounges in North America and Aeroplan Preferred Pricing. Through the Verified Traveller program, cardholders can also take advantage of a $100 NEXUS credit, to make their time at the airport much more efficient.
For those Toronto-based miles and points enthusiasts who find themselves traveling out of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), you’ll also get access to fast-track security and complimentary valet parking.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
While the American Express Aeroplan Reserve has a slight edge in head-to-head competition, there is an argument to be made that the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card might be the better pick for you based on your needs and travel habits.
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.
Mar 4, 2024
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege has slightly weaker earning rates on spending compared to its American Express cousin:
- Earn 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on Air Canada purchases.
- Earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on dining and food delivery purchases.
Rather, The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card might add more value to your wallet and travel as a premium Aeroplan credit card if any of the following statements apply to you:
- Your most frequent shopping locations do not take American Express. You can check out this tool to see if your stores take American Express.
- You can meet the minimum income requirement ($150,000 individual income or $200,000 household income).
- You do not fly from Toronto Pearson International very often – this card provides fast-track security and free valet at Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto-City Centre (Billy Bishop) airports.
- If you would like access to lounges outside of the Maple Leaf Lounges – you will get 6 complimentary visits to lounges in the DragonPass network (great for overseas travel!).
In recent times, the sign-up bonus for this card has been more straightforward than the Aeroplan Reserve as it does not require adding authorized users to obtain the full bonus. However, it does often have a high spending requirement, making it a bit of a daunting card for those who don’t have methods to meet minimum spending requirements.
As you can see, it is a tight race between the American Express Aeroplan Reserve and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege. The “best” one for you is a subjective question and will depend on your income, spending habits, and lifestyle. Either way, we don’t think there is a bad choice in the premium Aeroplan credit card category!
Best Business Aeroplan Credit Card
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
Similar to our recommendation for the best premium Aeroplan card option, the best Aeroplan co-branded business card is the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card. In most aspects, this card is identical to the personal Aeroplan Reserve Card, except it earns 2 Aeroplan points per dollar on hotel and car rentals, instead of dining and food delivery.
The Amex Aeroplan Business Reserve card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and Maple Leaf lounge access.
While it does come with a high annual fee, we recommend this card because of its strong spending multiplier of 1.25x Aeroplan points per dollar spent on all other purchases. Assuming that you will be putting a large portion of your business spending on this card, this multiplier will add up compared to the standard 1x multiplier on all other Aeroplan co-branded business cards.
In terms of the high annual fee, most business credit card annual fees are tax deductible in Canada if the card is only used for expenses related to your business. As always, consult with your tax professional, but this may be a great way to justify the high annual fee!
How Can I Determine the Best Aeroplan Credit Card for Me?
The best Aeroplan credit card for you will depend on how you answer three main questions.
How often do I fly Air Canada (or partner airlines)?
If you exclusively, or very frequently, fly Air Canada, consider the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card when you are early in your points and miles journey. The card will pay for itself with free Air Canada checked bags and NEXUS credit, coupled with a consistently strong welcome bonus – it’s one of our most recommended beginner travel credit cards.
If you are looking for an elevated or more premium experience with Air Canada, we recommend the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card thanks to the wealth of perks mentioned above.
On the other hand, if you don’t fly with Air Canada very often, we recommend the CIBC Aeroplan Visa card to gain access to Aeroplan Preferred Pricing when you do decide to fly with them, or a different credit card with a flexible points currency (such as American Express Membership Rewards).
Am I willing to pay an annual fee?
If you aren’t willing to pay an annual fee, the only option is the CIBC Aeroplan Visa card. This is because it is the only co-branded Aeroplan card with no annual fee.
If you are willing to pay an annual fee, what is the threshold of the annual fee you are willing to pay? For most people, we believe the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card strikes an excellent balance between annual fees and value returned. You can even receive a credit card annual fee rebate if you hold certain accounts with TD!
How much do I value the additional perks of a premium Aeroplan credit card?
With a premium Aeroplan credit card, you gain access to Maple Leaf Lounges and priority boarding, check-in, and priority security (airport dependent). But the question remains: how much do you value these benefits? You will have to do some rough mental math to answer this question for yourself. Here’s an example calculation that may help you quantify these benefits:
For example, let’s say you typically like to eat when you get to the airport – buying all of the items may cost you $30 (such as coffee, water, and a meal). If you fly with a companion, three times a year and visit a Maple Leaf Lounge, you could rationalize this to “saving” you $180. Combine this with saving time (and stress) with priority security, check-in, and boarding, in addition to sign-up bonus and points earned from spending, it is not surprising that may be able to get enough value from the card to justify the high annual fee.
If you don’t find these additional perks to bring high value to your travel habits, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite will be your best choice. Additionally, if you decide to try out a premium Aeroplan credit card, remember that you can always cancel a credit card, product switch with TD, or product switch with CIBC if you decide that you’re not getting enough value in comparison to the annual fee.
The New (US) Kid On The Block
Chase Aeroplan Card
But wait, there’s more! A US credit card that is co-branded with Aeroplan? How does that make any sense? If you’ve started your US credit card journey, the Chase Aeroplan Mastercard (US) is an interesting option that features unique benefits that aren’t available on its Canadian counterparts.
First of all, the earning categories on the Chase Aeroplan Card are stronger than their Canadian counterparts:
- 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at grocery stores.
- 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on dining, takeout, and delivery services.
- 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on Air Canada purchases.
- 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on everything else.
You will also get Aeroplan 25K status for the rest of the calendar year that you are approved, plus the entire next year. This is the only credit card that gets you any Aeroplan status – weird how it’s a US card that gives this to us right? This is a great alternative to earning Aeroplan 25K status through the Aeroplan Everyday Status Qualification program.
Additionally, you will regain Aeroplan 25K status if you spend $15,000 USD in a calendar year; if you already have Aeroplan status, you can go one level up with $50,000 USD spent.
Further reading: Obtaining US Credit Cards as a Canadian
You’ll also receive an additional 500 bonus Aeroplan points for every $2,000 USD spent in a month (up to 1,500 Aeroplan points per month). Other perks include the first free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions and no foreign transaction fees, making it a great card for international purchases.
If you’re in the US credit card game and fly Air Canada, we think that this card is absolutely worth adding to your wallet.
Aeroplan is arguably the strongest frequent flyer loyalty program in Canada and allows us to unlock great value by redeeming points for flights with Air Canada, and their partner airlines. As always, credit cards are the easiest and fastest ways to earn points and the Aeroplan co-branded cards are some of the best ways to collect Aeroplan points for your next flight redemption.
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