Now that Air Canada has acquired the Aeroplan loyalty program—and announced that it will be replacing Aeroplan with something new in 2020—we know that Aeroplan-affiliated credit card offerings will be changing in the future, too.
In the meantime, Air Canada has promised it will be business as usual when it comes to earning and redeeming Aeroplan rewards points, and for frequent flyers of Air Canada and Star Alliance partners, there are some lucrative rewards credit card offers to consider right now. We’ve selected the best Aeroplan credit cards based on our analysis of fees, points accumulation, redemption structures and flexibility to help get you to your next vacation faster.
The best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada
- Best overall Aeroplan cards: TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite; CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
- Best for transferable rewards: American Express Gold Rewards
- Best premium credit card for Aeroplan users: American Express Platinum
- Best entry-level Aeroplan credit card: CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
- About the program: Quick Aeroplan FAQ
Best overall Aeroplan credit cards
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite*
This card offers one of the largest and easiest to achieve sign-up incentives in the market today. On sign-up, users will get 15,000 Aeroplan miles just for making their first purchase, which is enough to reserve a short-haul round trip flight. (Note there’s an annual income requirement of $60,000.) You’ll also have the annual fee for yourself and one additional cardholder waived for the first year.
Cardholders receive Visa Infinite protection, including travel insurance, car rental discounts and access to Visa Infinite events across Canada.
- Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
- Welcome bonus: 15,000 Aeroplan miles when you make your first purchase
- Rewards earn rate: 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on groceries and gas, at drugstores and on purchases at aircanada.com; other eligible purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent
- Additional rewards: Your Aeroplan miles don’t expire as long as you’re a TD Aeroplan cardholder; one annual One-Time Guest Pass to the Maple Leaf Lounge, first checked bag free, priority check-in, and priority boarding when travelling on a reward ticket
Get more details about the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite*
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
CIBC’s Aerogold Visa Infinite is similar to TD’s offering, down to the earn rate (it even has the same $60,000 annual income requirement).
What really makes this card worthy of consideration is its welcome offer. New cardholders will get 15,000 miles for making their first purchase, followed by 5,000 miles if you spend at least $4,000 per month within your first three months. Plus, if you have a Premium Banking Bundle with CIBC, you can get the card included without the additional $120 annual year cost. Cardholders who travel out-of-province are protected against trip interruption and cancellation insurance, coverage for collision or damage when they rent a car, and also receive medical insurance.
- Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
- Welcome bonus: 10,000 Aeroplan miles on first purchase, plus an additional 5,000 miles if you put at least $5,000 in purchases within your first four months
- Rewards earn rate: 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on grocery, gas, drugstores, and purchases at aircanada.com; other eligible purchases earn 1 mile per $1
- Additional rewards: Access to priority check-in and priority boarding with your Aeroplan Flight Reward when travelling with Air Canada; complimentary first checked bag with your Aeroplan flight reward when travelling with Air Canada; one Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Pass each year to access Maple Leaf Lounges with your Aeroplan flight reward when travelling with Air Canada.
Best for transferable rewards
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Unlike TD’s offering, the American Express Gold Rewards Card earns you American Express Membership Rewards points, which you can then transfer 1:1 to Aeroplan miles for flight redemptions on Air Canada and Star Alliance partners. This attracts people who want flexibility around where to redeem their points and who also understand that Amex is accepted less widely than some other cards.
Those who do choose to use this Amex card can take advantage of its higher earn rate, since it offers up to 2 Membership Rewards on everyday purchases. It’s worth noting the American Express Gold Rewards is a charge card, which means that unlike other credit cards, you’ll need to pay off its balance in full every month.
- Annual fee: $150
- Welcome bonus: 25,000 Membership Rewards (must spend $1,500 within the first 3 months)
- Rewards earn rate: 2 points for every dollar on eligible travel, gas, grocery and pharmacy purchases, 1 point for every dollar on everything else
- Additional rewards: Front of the Line access for concerts and other ticketed events; up to $100 USD hotel credit on qualifying hotel amenities charged to the room, such as dining, spa services and golf; comprehensive American Express travel insurance and purchase protection plan
Note: this is a charge card, so you’re required to pay off your balance in full every month.
Best premium credit card for Aeroplan users
American Express Platinum Card
This is American Express’ premium offering, ringing in at a hefty $699 annual fee. Like the Gold card, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points one-to-one to Aeroplan, but comes with Priority Pass and Centurion Lounge access, alongside a generous $200 annual travel credit (essentially reducing your annual fee to $499), hotel upgrades, and a 50,000 point sign-up bonus if you spend $2,000 in the first three months of membership. The American Express Platinum is a charge card, which means you’ll need to pay off its balance in full every month, unlike the Aeroplan Visa cards on this list.
- Annual fee: $699
- Welcome bonus: 25,000 Membership Rewards (must spend $2,000 within the first 3 months)
- Rewards earn rate: 3 points per dollar on eligible dining, 2 points for dollar on eligible travel, 1 point for every dollar on everything else
- Additional rewards: Front of the Line access for concerts and other ticketed events; Priority Pass and Centurion Lounge access; $200 annual travel credit; hotel membership upgrades; comprehensive American Express travel insurance and purchase protection plan
Note: this is a charge card, so you’re required to pay off your balance in full with this card every month.
Best entry-level Aeroplan credit card
CIBC Aero Platinum Visa Card
The appeal of CIBC’s Aero Platinum Visa Card is its $39 annual fee. It’s a great way to step into the Aeroplan game and start racking miles through credit card spend.
It comes with a conservative 5,000 Aeroplan Mile welcome bonus, but for those sensitive to spending on expensive annual fees, this could be a way to earn on everyday spending.
- Annual fee: $39
- Rewards earn rate: 1 mile per every $1.50 charged on the card
- Welcome bonus: 5,000 Aeroplan miles (on first purchase)
- Additional rewards: Purchase protection, auto rental collision, damage insurance, earn additional miles when presenting an Aeroplan number or membership card at participating retailers
Canada’s best Aeroplan credit cards
|Credit Card||Sign-Up Bonus||Annual Fee|
|1||CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite||20,000 Aeroplan miles||$120 (free for first year)|
|2||TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite||15,000 Aeroplan miles||$120 (free for first year)|
|3||American Express Gold Rewards Card||25,000 Membership Rewards points / Aeroplan miles||$150|
|4||American Express Platinum Card||25,000 Membership Rewards points / Aeroplan miles||$699|
|5||CIBC Aero Platinum Visa Card||5,000 Aeroplan miles||$39|
Should I collect Aeroplan miles? Frequently asked questions about Aeroplan:
How many Aeroplan miles do you need for a flight?
You need at least 15,000 miles to redeem for short-haul flight. Short-haul flights are typically to adjacent provinces and/or states, which include cities like Montreal, New York and Ottawa from Toronto. The number of miles you need for redemption increase as you go further from your departure city (i.e. 60,000 for a European flight, or 75,000 for a return trip to Asia).
The Aeroplan miles chart below shows how many miles you’d need to redeem for a flight for different parts of the world.
View the full Aeroplan miles chart here.
How much are Aeroplan miles worth?
Unfortunately, Aeroplan miles don’t have a fixed value (see the chart above for how it can vary); however, you can get better value depending on the destination. For example, if you’re flying to a destination with lower airport fees (many Asian countries are known for that), you can get a better overall Aeroplan mileage value per retail dollar.
A good formula to keep in mind is Value of 1 Aeroplan mile = (The Price of Ticket – Fees) ÷ miles needed to redeem
Generally, if the result of this equation is more than 1.2 cents per Aeroplan mile, you’re looking at a good deal. For example, if you were to fly round-trip from Toronto to Los Angeles from August 25 to September 1, you’d need to redeem 25,000 Aeroplan miles. Since the price of a ticket is currently around $616 plus $156 in fees, in this scenario, the value of 1 mile would be 1.85 cents, based on the following equation ($616 – $156) ÷ 25,000.*
Business class flights are also known to offer better value as their retail value is much higher, but you’ll need to rack up more miles to redeem for those rewards.
How you can earn Aeroplan miles faster
Many retailers partner with Aeroplan, offering the ability to earn twice–once with the credit card and once with your membership card. So a good tip is to scan your Aeroplan cards for miles as well as for charging at the register. Plus you can take advantage of Aeroplan’s e-store to make purchases and earn additional bonus miles from popular online retailers like Amazon.
*According to Google Flights as of this article’s publication date.
Upcoming changes to Aeroplan’s co-branded credit cards
Aeroplan collectors have been waiting on details of the updated Aeroplan program with much anticipation, and we’re pleased to be able to announce a launch date. As of Nov. 8, 2020, the new program under Air Canada will be live. Here’s what you need to know.
Not surprisingly, there will be new co-branded credit cards released to coincide with the launch so those interested in the program should keep an eye out. For current holders of co-branded cards, there’s nothing to worry about. You can continue to collect Aeroplan miles as usual. After the launch, you will receive a new co-branded card. Your account will automatically be transitioned into the new program. Best yet, all the miles you’ve collected will be honoured on a one-to-one basis once the new program launches.
New perks and benefits coming
The updated co-branded credit cards will be different on the outside and in, with a host of improvements and benefits, including:
- When booking flights on Aeroplan points, you will no longer have to pay surcharge fees.
- For most Aeroplan card holders, the first checked bag will be free, and the same for up to eight companions on Air Canada flights—a savings of about $30 savings per bag on domestic flights or travel to the U.S. (Aeroplan cardholders exempt.)
- Visa Aeroplan Infinite cards from TD and CIBC will include additional valuable insurance coverage on mobile devices and hotel/motel burglary protection.
- You will no longer have to worry about points expiring. Under the new Aeroplan program, points for Aeroplan credit cardholders never expire.
- Visa Aeroplan Infinite cardholders will find it far easier to achieve Aeroplan Elite Status. In the new program, cardholders can earn Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) and Status Qualifying Segments (SQS) on everyday credit card purchases.
- Visa Aeroplan Infinite cardholders who are frequent travellers to the U.S. will enjoy the perk of $50 to $100 in waivers on Nexus applications and renewals
- Cardholders will have access to “preferred” pricing. Look out for better deals when redeeming points on Air Canada flights during high season/peak travel periods.
Earn rates and annual fees
Under the new program, the earn rates will remain mostly the same. For TD and CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite cardholders, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar at drug stores instead of the current 1.5 miles per dollar, but rates on other purchases will remain the same.
The Aeroplan Visa Infinite cards’ annual fee will increase from $120 to $139. This jump of $19 per year is a slight drawback, but the increased perks, specifically the removal of surcharge fees, should make it completely worthwhile.
The details about welcome bonuses have yet to be released, but potential applicants should be able to learn more soon.
MORE ON CANADA’S BEST CREDIT CARDS:
- Overall Best Credit Cards in Canada
- Best Travel Credit Cards
- Best Travel Insurance Credit Cards
- Best Air Miles Credit Cards
- Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards
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