American Express Aeroplan Card Review

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Are you looking for an American Express Aeroplan Card review? Aeroplan has revamped its loyalty program and with it came major changes. While the credit cards didn’t get a complete overhaul, they have been updated and it’s fair to say that all of them are now better. This is obviously great for consumers, but there are three co-branded credit card providers in American Express, TD, and CIBC, so choosing just one may be difficult.

Although the American Express Aeroplan Card is the entry-level Aeroplan card for Amex, it’s actually a premium travel credit card. 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
  • Earn up to 40,000 Aeroplan points as your welcome offer
    • 10,000 Aeroplan points and a Buddy Pass after spending $1,500 in purchases within the first three months of cardmembership
    • Earn 2,500 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in purchases on your card for the first twelve months of cardmembership (30,000 points total)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on dining and food delivery in Canada
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Air Canada Travel Benefits: including eligible Free First Checked Bag (up to 8 people), Status Qualification Boost and Preferred Pricing on flight rewards
  • Some travel insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Access to Amex Invites

The American Express Aeroplan Card is Amex’s entry-level card, but it’s quite impressive with a generous welcome bonus which includes an Air Canada Buddy Pass. Since you can convert the Buddy Pass to 30,000 Aeroplan points, your welcome offer is actually worth up to 70,000 Aeroplan points. However, when you add in the points you’d earn to meet the minimum spend requirement, you could actually walk away with up to 76,000 points.

I personally value one Aeroplan point at 1.5 cents each. That said, it’s not hard to get a value of 2 cents each. That means your welcome bonus could have a real value of $1,520. 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).

The included purchase security covers your purchases from loss, theft or damage for 90 days. You also get double the extended warranty for up to one additional year. You would obviously have to make these purchases with your American Express Aeroplan Card for the benefits to be valid.

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 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 American 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. The welcome bonus and the ability to convert your Buddy Pass to Aeroplan points makes this card a good choice for anyone looking to earn a lot of Aeroplan points fast.

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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