American Express Aeroplan Card Review

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Are you looking for an American Express Aeroplan Card review? Look no further as I have all the details. Although the American Express Aeroplan Card is the entry-level Aeroplan card for Amex, it’s actually a premium travel credit card. Not only does it come with great Air Canada benefits, but you also get extra perks such as American Express Invites.

While some people may complain that Amex isn’t accepted everywhere, Amex also doesn’t have a formal minimum income requirement which might be appealing to some people. Read my American Express Aeroplan Card review now and find out why this is a great choice if you want to earn Aeroplan points fast

American Express Aeroplan Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • Up to 70,000 Aeroplan points welcome offer
  • Earn 45,000 points when spending $3,000 within 3 months
  • Earn 2,500 points per month when spending $500 for 6 months
  • Earn 5X points for every $1 on eligible eats & drinks purchases in Canada for the first 3 months of Cardmembership (up to 10,000 Aeroplan points)
  • Earn 2 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on Air Canada purchases, 1.5 Aeroplan points on dining and food purchases, and 1 point on all other purchases
  • First bag checked free on Air Canada flights

The American Express Aeroplan Card is Amex’s entry-level card, but it’s quite impressive since it usually comes with a generous welcome bonus. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of welcome offers: points only, and points + Buddy Pass.

With points only offers, there are usually different spending requirements to get the full bonus. For points + Buddy Pass offers, you’ll usually get 10,000 – 20,000 Aeroplan points and an Air Canada Buddy Pass when you meet the minimum spend requirement.

I personally value one Aeroplan point at 2 cents each. That translates to a value of $1,00 when the welcome bonus is worth 50,000 points. The Buddy Pass is also worth a few hundred dollars, so you could easily get more than $1,000 in value in the first year with this card. That’s clearly great for a card with an annual fee of just $120.

The earn rate is 2 points per $1 spent on Air Canada purchases including Air Canada Vacation. 1.5 points per $1 spent on dining and food delivery in Canada. And, 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Overall this is a decent earn rate, especially for people who eat out a lot.

Getting your first checked bag free for up to 8 people travelling on the same reservation with Air Canada is clearly a great benefit. Since checked bags start at $25 each way per person, a family of 4 could save $200 on checked bags for a single flight (assuming everyone checks their bags).

As a cardholder, you also get preferred pricing on flight rewards, which could save you some Aeroplan points.

What is the Air Canada Buddy Pass?

The Air Canada Buddy Pass is a new benefit that comes as part of the welcome bonus for many Aeroplan credits cards. Basically, when the first passenger pays the full fare, they can purchase a second ticket for the same itinerary where you would only have to pay the taxes and third-party fees. There is a base fare of $0. It’s valid for travel anywhere within North America including Hawaii and Mexico with no blackout dates. The Air Canada Buddy Pass can easily save you hundreds of dollars. You can read more about the Air Canada Buddy Pass here.

American Express Aeroplan Card insurance

If you’re still reading my American Express Aeroplan Card review, you’ll want to know about the included insurance. While what you get is pretty good, you need to charge the full purchase to your card for it to be valid. For example, if you want to take advantage of travel insurance, you’d have to pay for your flights and hotels with your American Express Aeroplan Card. Here’s how all the included insurance works.

Travel insurance

  • Flight/trip delay – up to $500 / 4 hours
  • Delayed and lost baggage – up to $500 total
  • Hotel/motel burglary – $500
  • Auto rental collision / loss damage – 48 consecutive days / $85,000
  • Common carrier travel accident – $500,000

The American Express Aeroplan Card travel insurance is surprisingly weak for a premium travel credit card. You get no travel medical, trip cancellation, or trip interruption insurance at all. This is honestly a bit shocking.

The auto rental insurance is better than other comparable cards, but that shouldn’t be a deciding factor. If you’re going to get this card, make sure you have your own travel insurance policy. Having travel medical insurance whenever you leave Canada is a must in my opinion.

Purchase insurance 

  • Buyer’s assurance – Double, up to one additional year
  • Purchase protection – 90 days / Up to $1,000 per occurrence

The included purchase insurance is often forgotten by cardholders, but it’s incredibly useful. Buyer’s assurance is the same thing as extended warranty. There have been more than a few times where I’ve claimed this insurance. The key thing is to hang onto your receipts. Hopefully, you never have to use purchase protection, but if your new purchases ever get damaged, lost, or stolen within 90 days, you could get them replaced.

American Express Aeroplan Card pros and cons

It’s pretty clear that the American Express Aeroplan Card is excellent. It’s easily one of the best Aeroplan credit cards. While it may be tempting to apply for this card right away, you should take a look at both the advantages and disadvantages of the card so you can make a more informed decision.

American Express Aeroplan Card pros

  • Excellent welcome bonus – The sign up bonus has always been decent.
  • Free Air Canada benefits – Free checked bags and preferred pricing on Aeroplan redemptios.
  • Flexible redemptions – When booking a flight on Air Canada with your points, there are no blackout dates, and every seat is available.

American Express Aeroplan Card cons

  • Annual fee – Although reasonable, similar cards usually rebate the first year.
  • Limited to Aeroplan – You can only use your points through Aeroplan.
  • Limited travel insurance – There’s no travel medical, trip cancellation, or trip interruption included.

How does the American Express Aeroplan Card compare to others?

The closest competition the American Express Aeroplan Card has is the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card. The annual fee with TD is a touch higher at $139, but it’s usually rebated for the first year, so it can be very appealing. Generally speaking, the welcome bonuses are often similar. You’ll usually get a lump sum of points + a Buddy Pass. Remember, you can convert your Buddy Pass to Aeroplan points, so you can earn a lot of Aeroplan points without much work.

Besides the annual fee and welcome bonus, consumers should pay attention to the earn rates. With TD, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Air Canada purchases including Air Canada Vacation, 1.5 points per $1 spent on gas and groceries, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. The difference here is the 1.5X multiplier. As a reminder, Amex gives you 1.5 points per $1 spent on dining and food delivery in Canada.

When it comes to travel insurance, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card also gives you a full suite of travel insurance which includes travel medical, trip cancellation, and trip interruption. TD even pays you out more for all the included insurance compared to American Express with the exception of auto rental insurance.

Which card you go with should depend on what the current welcome offer is, what categories you spend the most money on, and what additional perks you’re looking for.

Final thoughts

Although there are arguably better Aeroplan credit cards, my American Express Aeroplan Card review is still positive. The welcome bonus is a quick way to earn Aeroplan points, you get a decent earn rate, and free checked bags can be valuable. If you want to travel for less, then this is a card to consider.

American Express Aeroplan Card Review

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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