Deciding on the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada can be incredibly tricky since the offers are constantly changing. That said, when you look at the earn rates, benefits, and type of card, you can start to narrow down your choices.
But why get an Aeroplan credit card when there are so many other travel credit cards available? Well, Aeroplan is the loyalty program for Air Canada, which happens to be the country’s number one airline. For many Canadians, Air Canada is their top choice when it comes to airlines. The more Aeroplan points you collect, the quicker it is for you to get free flight rewards. Here are the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada.
|Credit card||Welcome bonus||Annual fee|
|American Express Aeroplan Card||Up to 50,000 points||$120|
|American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card||Up to 90,000 Aeroplan Points||$599|
|American Express Platinum Card||Up to 85,000 Membership Rewards Points||$699|
|American Express Gold Rewards Card||Up to 55,000 Membership Rewards Points||$250|
|CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card||Up to 45,000 Aeroplan Points||$139 - FYF|
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card||Up to 50,000 Aeroplan Points||$139 - FYF|
|American Express Cobalt Card||Up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points||$12.99 per month|
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 a great mid-tier Aeroplan card even though it lacks many perks. To start off, the welcome bonus usually fluctuates between points only or points and a Buddy Pass. When the offer is points only, it’s around 50,000 – 60,000 Aeroplan points. The points and Buddy Pass combo usually gets you 40,000 points.
A Buddy Pass can be valuable since it allows you to purchase a round-trip Economy Class seat on Air Canada flights to anywhere in North America with a $0 base fare. The only “catch” is that the primary cardholder must be travelling too on a full fare ticket.
The card has a decent earn rate of 2 points per $1 spent on Air Canada and Air Canada vacations purchases, 1.5 points per $1 spent on dining and food delivery in Canada, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. In addition, you get your first checked bag free and preferred pricing on Aeroplan redemptions. When comparing the best Aeroplan credit cards, always look at the earn rate and included insurance. The differences may be small, but they can make a huge difference depending on your needs.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
- $599 annual fee
- Earn 60,000 points when spending $6,000 within 3 months
- Earn 5,000 points per month when spending $1,000 each month for 6 months
- Earn 3 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on Air Canada, 2 points on dining and food delivery, and 1.25 points on all other purchases
- Unlimited free access to Maple Leaf Lounges in North America for you and a guest
- Free first checked bag, priority check-in and boarding on Air Canada
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is great for people who frequently fly with Air Canada. The earn rate of 3 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on Air Canada purchases is significant if you’re usually paying cash for your tickets. Additionally, the primary cardholder and guests travelling on the same itinerary get their first checked bag free (8 maximum). You also get priority boarding and unlimited access for you and a guest at Maple Leaf lounges in North America. Clearly, this is card is aimed at Air Canada’s most loyal customers.
What also makes this card appealing is the welcome bonus. In the past, it’s ranged from 90,000 – 120,000 points. Occasionally, a Buddy Pass may be included. That’s pretty significant. To give you some perspective, I value one Aeroplan point at 2 cents, so that means the welcome bonuses have been worth between $1,800 and $2,400. That’s significantly more than the $599 annual fee.
American Express Platinum Card
- $699 annual fee
- Earn 65,000 Membership Rewards points when spending $6,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 20,000 points when making any purchase in months 14 – 17
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining, 2 points on travel, and 1 point on all other purchases
- $200 annual travel credit
- Unlimited airport lounge access
- Hotel status upgrades
When considering the best Aeroplan credit cards, sometimes it comes down to which credit card offers you the highest welcome offer. Quite often, it’ll be the American Express Platinum Card. Although you won’t earn Aeroplan points directly, the American Express Membership Rewards points that you do earn can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. When you consider the fact that this card typically has a welcome bonus of between 70,000 – 105,000 points when you use a referral link, it’s no surprise that this card has become so popular.
You could also argue that the earn rate of 3X points on eligible dining, 2X points on travel, and 1X points on all other purchases is the best of this list. Plus, you get a Nexus rebate and comprehensive travel insurance.
What also makes this card great is that it’s geared towards travellers. You get unlimited lounge access, which is why this is one of the best credit cards with lounge access. You also get hotel status upgrades (such as Marriott Bonvoy), and a great travel insurance package. Overall, I’d say the American Express Platinum Card is best for people who travel frequently with multiple airlines but still want the ability to use their points with Aeroplan when they want.
American Express Gold Rewards Card
- $250 annual fee
- Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards points when spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 10,000 points when making nay purchase in months 14 – 17
- Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel purchases
- Earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- $100 Annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Membership + 4 annual Plaza Premium passes
The American Express Gold Rewards Card recently went through a refresh which was a rare case where all the changes were positive. Although the annual fee went up to $250, you now get a $100 annual travel credit and 4 free Plaza Premium lounge passes. Overall, that means you’re getting more value for the card at the same net annual fee.
So why does this card make my list of the best Aeroplan credit cards? Well, similar to the American Express Platinum Card, you earn Amex Membership Rewards points with the Gold Rewards Card. That means you can transfer your points to Aeroplan as needed. More importantly, the Gold Rewards Card has had some really generous welcome bonuses as of late. I’m talking about 50,000 – 65,000 points when you use a referral link. That’s pretty generous for a card where the annual fee nets out to just $150 a year.
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- $139 annual fee – First year free
- 10,000 Aeroplan points after your first purchase
- 35,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 in the first 4 months
- 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases
- 1 Aeroplan point on all other purchases
- First bag checked free on Air Canada flights
With the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, you usually get welcome bonus Aeroplan points and an Air Canada Buddy Pass. When you purchase a full fare price, you can use the buddy pass for a second ticket where you’d only pay taxes third-party fees. This is an easy way to save hundreds of dollars if someone is travelling with you on the same itinerary.
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card is arguably the best mid-tier Aeroplan credit card for everyday users. The earn rate on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases is 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent. All other purchases get you 1 point per $1 spent. You also get free checked bags and some travel insurance coverage which can save you a fair amount if you’re a frequent traveller.
Note that there is a CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card which has no annual fee, but comes with limited benefits.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- $139 annual fee – First year free
- Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points after your first purchase
- Earn 20,000 additional Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
- 20,000 Aeroplan points on your card anniversary when spending $7,500 in the first year
- Earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases
- Earn 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- First bag checked free on Air Canada flights
Even if you don’t bank with TD, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card usually waives the annual fee for the first year. In addition, the primary cardholder and up to 8 travelling companions on the same itinerary get their first checked baggage free. Plus, you get a NECUS application fee rebate every 48 months.
Note that Visa Infinite Cards have a personal income of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000 for you to qualify.
American Express Cobalt Card
- $12.99 Monthly fee ($155.88 yearly)
- 2,500 monthly Membership Rewards points after charging $500 in purchases each month for a year (30,000 points total)
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
The American Express Cobalt Card is another Amex card that earns you Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. What really makes this card appealing is the increased earn rate of 5 points per $1 spent on dining, which includes food delivery purchases. If you spend a lot on food, this is the card to get. That said, the other category multipliers are generous too since you’ll get 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services, 2 points per $1 spent on daily transit, and 1 point on other purchases.
What is Aeroplan?
Aeroplan is the loyalty program for Air Canada which is Canada’s #1 airline. Since Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, you’re able to use your Aeroplan points (formerly Aeroplan miles) on 45+ airline partners. Besides flights, you can also use your Aeroplan miles for hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, gift cards and merchandise. There’s no doubt that Aeroplan is one of the best travel rewards programs in Canada.
As you spend and fly more with Air Canada, you’ll start to gain Aeroplan elite status. This can be highly beneficial since you’ll get perks such as lounge access, priority boarding, eUpgrade credits and more.
Check out my Aeroplan Rewards guide for all the details on how to earn and redeem your Aeroplan points.
How to redeem Aeroplan points
Most people will use their Aeroplan points for flight redemptions which are done right on aircanada.com. When you search for flights, you’ll see an option to see the price by cash or points. Selecting points will show you how many points and taxes you need to pay for the route. Note that these prices are for one-way flights, so you need to add in the return flight for an accurate cost.
Hotel and car rental redemptions are done via the dedicated travel portal on aircanada.com. If you want to use your points for gift cards or merchandise, you would use the eStore, which is also located on aircanada.com.
How to earn additional Aeroplan points
Besides earning Aeroplan program points via credit card spending, there are a few other ways you can collect points.
- Eligible Air Canada purchases
- Through the Aeroplan estore
- With Aeroplan partners such as LCBO and starbucks
- Participating online retailers (must go through the estore)
- Car rentals and hotel bookings made through aircanada.com
How much are Aeroplan points worth?
Since every Aeroplan redemption is different, the value of Aeroplan points varies. That said, I’ve personally searched hundreds of flights and have come up with the following valuations:
- Economy flight – 2 cents per point
- Business flight – 3.8 cents per point
In other words, when you’re thinking about making a redemption, if you can get a higher value than what I’ve established above, then you’re getting a good value. If falls below that base value, you’re better off using cash.
To find out the exact value of your Aeroplan Miles, you would use the following formula:
(Ticket price – taxes/fees on redemption) X 100 / points required for a redemption = Cost per point
For example, let’s say you’re flying from Toronto to Los Angeles. The cash fare is $650. Redeeming the flight on Aeroplan will cost you 25,000 Aeroplan Miles and $125 in taxes. To calculate the value of this redemption, you’d use the following formula:
($650 – $120) X 100 / 25,000 = 2.12 cents per point
Since this redemption value is higher than the base value of 2 cents per point, you’re getting a good value.
How to maximize the value of your Aeroplan points
- Go for bonuses – The welcome offers will always be the quickest way to earn Aeroplan points
- Aim high – You should use your points for redemptions that are worth more than the established base value
- Fly business – Business seats have a much higher value for your points than economy
- Shop at partners – Aeroplan has retailer partners and an eStore where you can earn additional points
- Study the chart – The Aeroplan rewards chart is based on zones and distance. There are a few sweet spots that require fewer points
Do Aeroplan points expire?
Yes, Aeroplan points will expire if there’s no account activity in 18 consecutive months. The easiest way to ensure they don’t expire is to earn, redeem, donate or transfer your Aeroplan points sometime during those 18 months. Don’t forget that Aeroplan has an eStore where you can shop with hundreds of merchants and earn Aeroplan points. Also, if you’re part of an Aeroplan Family Sharing Plan, your calendar resets if anyone makes a redemption.
Aeroplan credit card tiers
There are 10+ Aeroplan credit cards, but they can be broken down into three tiers:
- Entry – Low or no annual fee, no airline benefits
- Core – Annual fee around $139 (usually waived for the first year), some airline benefits
- Premium – $599 annual fee, premium airline and travel benefits
As you can see, the higher the tier, the better benefits you get. Of course, the higher the tier, the higher the annual fee and income requirement. Also note that you can have more than one Aeroplan credit card at a time.
Are Aeroplan credit cards worth it?
If your goal is to fly for cheap, then getting an Aeroplan credit card is worth it. Not only will you be able to earn Aeroplan points on eligible purchases, but you can also take advantage of the incredible welcome bonuses. For example, if you signed up for three of the best Aeroplan credit cards, you could easily earn 250,000+ Aeroplan bonus points from the welcome offers. That’s enough for a round-trip business class flight to just about anywhere in the world.
The other obvious reason to get an Aeroplan credit card is to take advantage of the free checked bags. Normally, checking a bag will cost you $30 – $60, each way depending on where you’re flying to. That would easily offset the annual fee. If you get one of the premium cards, you’ll get enhanced benefits such as Maple Leaf Lounge access, priority check-in and boarding, and even preferred pricing on Aeroplan redemptions.
How to choose the best Aeroplan credit card
With so many Aeroplan credit cards available, it may not be easy to choose the perfect one for you. Look at the following factors and picking the best Aeroplan credit card will be easy.
- Sign up bonus – For people getting their first Aeroplan credit card, the sign up bonus can be important. The welcome bonus will often give you enough Aeroplan points for a free flight, so that’s a good enough incentive to apply right away.
- Annual fee – The best Aeroplan credit cards all have an annual fee, but some people don’t like the idea of paying a yearly fee for their credit card. Remember, as long as you’re getting more value and rewards out of your card than what you pay for your annual fee, you’re coming out ahead
- Earn rate – Aeroplan credit cards have different earn rates so it would make sense to choose a card that gives you the most Aeroplan Miles based on your spending
- What your future travel plans are – If you plan on using Aeroplan Miles in the future, you should choose your credit cards accordingly. A card that offers your 25,000 Aeroplan Miles is great for flights within North America, but if you want to go international, you may want to apply for more than one card.
- Additional benefits – Besides the ability to earn Aeroplan points, you’ll also want to see what other benefits come with the card. Airport lounge access, travel insurance and hotel status are important to some people. Using your Aeroplan Miles for free flights may happen only once a year, but you can always use your benefits.
Aeroplan vs. Air Miles
Quite often people what’s the difference between Aeroplan and Air Miles. Heck, some people assumed they were the same program, but they’re not. While both are popular programs in Canada, Aeroplan is exclusive to Air Canada and its partners, while Air Miles allows you to redeem your miles on just about any airline. You might already think that Air Miles is the better program, but it’s not that simple.
Air Miles uses a redemption chart based on where you’re flying from, where you’re flying to and the season. That means getting good value for your points can be tricky. In addition, earning Air Miles can be hard. Yes, there are quite a few Air Miles credit cards, and they have plenty of partners, but the earn rate is not nearly as good as Aeroplan.
That said, Air Miles gives you the option to earn cash miles which can be redeemed for store credit directly with merchants. This is a handy feature, but if you want that kind of reward, you’re likely better off with one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.
I personally favour Aeroplan over Air Miles as I find them to be more flexible.
Getting one of the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada makes sense if you like to travel as it can save you a fair amount of money. Even if you don’t travel that often, using an Aeroplan credit card can still be a good idea since you can save your points over time and make a redemption when you do decide to take a trip. That said, like any loyalty program, Aeroplan can devalue its points at any time, so don’t hold onto your points for too long. If you can make a redemption that’s worth it, do it.