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 a mid-tier 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 an excellent choice if you want to earn Aeroplan points fast.

American Express Aeroplan Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • 30,000 Aeroplan points when spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 20,000 additional points when spending $1,000 in month 13
  • Earn 2 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on Air Canada purchases, 1.5 Aeroplan points on dining & food delivery, and 1 point on everything else
  • First bag checked free on Air Canada flights

Welcome bonus and earn rate

The American Express Aeroplan Card is a mid-tier Aeroplan credit card that has an annual fee of $120. The welcome bonus is normally worth about 40,000 to 50,000 Aeroplan points, but there have been times where an increased offer has been made available to the public. It’s worth noting that this card used to have an offer where you would get points and an Air Canada Buddy Pass, but that hasn’t been available for years.

Current or former cardmembers with this card are not eligible for the welcome bonus

The earn rate for the American Express Aeroplan Card is 2 points per dollar purchases spent on Air Canada purchases, including Air Canada Vacation. 1.5 points per dollar spent on dining and food delivery in Canada. And 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. The key thing to pay attention to here is the increased earn rate on dining and food delivery. No other Aeroplan co-branded credit card gives you that high of an earn rate on those categories.

Benefits and perks

As a co-branded Aeroplan credit card, the main perks are related to Air Canada. That said, you also get some travel and purchase benefits that are worth knowing about.

Air Canada benefits

  • Free first checked bag – The primary cardholder and up to eight guests travelling on the same reservation get their first checked bag free when flying with Air Canada.
  • Reach Aeroplan status more easily – You’ll earn 1 Status Qualifying Segment and 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles for every $10,000 you charge to your card.
  • Aeroplan discounts – Cardholders automatically get a small discount on reward flights booked through Aeroplan.

Travel insurance

  • Flight/trip delay – up to $500 / 4 hours
  • Delayed and lost baggage – up to $500 / 6 hours
  • 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 mid-tier 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 comparable cards, but that shouldn’t be a deciding factor. If you’re going to get this card, make sure you have your have travel medical insurance through someone else.

Purchase insurance 

  • Buyer’s assurance – Up to one additional year
  • Purchase protection – 90 days

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

American Express Experiences

American Express cardholders get access to American Express Experiences, which include:

  • Front of the line presales – Enjoy access to presale tickets to some of the most popular concerts, theatre productions and movies.
  • Front of the line reserved tickets – At select venues, American Express, has an exclusive agreement where cardholders can purchase reserved tickets.
  • Entertainment experiences – Exclusive entertainment experiences like movie screenings are available throughout the year.
  • Dining experiences – Cardholders can enjoy special culinary experiences such as tasting menus, private dining, and more when available.

How to redeem your points

In this American Express Aeroplan Card review, I’m going to explain how you can redeem your points. First off, as a co-branded Aeroplan card, you’ll earn Aeroplan points on all your purchases. The points you get and deposited directly into your Aeroplan account when your statement is issued each month.

It’s easy to redeem your Aeroplan points since you can claim any available seat on Air Canada. This included premium economy and business class seats. In addition, Aeroplan has 45+ partners where you can use your points. The number of points required for a flight depends on where you’re flying from, where you’re headed to, the miles flown, and the cabin class selected. You can quickly estimate how many points your redemption will take by looking at the Aeroplan flight reward chart.

While the chart is fair, there’s one major problem with Aeroplan; they use dynamic pricing. That means when there’s high demand, the number of points required for a flight can exceed what’s listed in the chart. This mainly applies to business class seats, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. That said, if you can travel during times when there’s less demand, you can score some great deals.

Generally, it’s not hard to get a value of 2 cents per point with Aeroplan. That makes it more valuable than most other travel rewards programs.

American Express Aeroplan Card eligibility

  • You’re a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • You’re at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside
  • What’s interesting about American Express is that they have no formal income requirement to be approved. That means students and those without a huge income could still qualify for this card.

In addition, like other banks, American Express does not list a minimum credit score requirement. That said, you’ll want your credit score to be at least 660. That puts you in good standing and potentially increases the odds of you being approved.

How does the American Express Aeroplan Card compare to others?

There are a few cards that the American Express Aeroplan Card is comparable too. First, there’s 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 that it can be very appealing. The welcome bonus for both cards is typically about the same and has a similar structure to obtain the total bonus.

Besides the annual fee and welcome bonus, consumers should pay attention to the earn rates. With TD, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on Air Canada purchases, 1.5 points per dollar spent on gas and groceries, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. The difference here is the 1.5X multiplier. As a reminder, Amex gives you 1.5 points per dollar spent on dining and food delivery in Canada. In other words, if you eat out a lot, it’s more beneficial to get the TD card.

The other card that you can compare the American Express Aeroplan Card to is the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card. The welcome bonus is usually about the same, but the CIBC card typically has a lower minimum spend requirement. As for the earn rate, it’s identical to the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card. Just like TD, the CIBC Aeroplan card typically waives the annual fee for the first year. Of all three cards, the CIBC card has arguably the best travel 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

There’s a crowded field when it comes to American Express credit cards, but my American Express Aeroplan Card review is positive. It’s a mid-tier Aeroplan card that’s good for people looking for the following:

  • You want to earn Aeroplan points – A generous welcome bonus and points earned on just about every purchase means you’ll earn a lot of Aeroplan points fast.
  • You want free checked bags on Air Canada – The primary cardholder and up to eight guests travelling on the same itinerary get their first checked bag free.
  • You want access to Amex experiences – As a cardholder, you get exclusive access to events and offers.

Although it’s true that not every merchant accepts American Express, it’s becoming less of an issue these days. Consumers should always look for the best cards for them, so if you want to earn Aeroplan points, while getting some nice travel benefits, then then American Express Aeroplan Card is for you.

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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