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Canada’s 6 Best Aeroplan Credit Cards for July 2021

Aeroplan is Air Canada’s frequent flyer program and a very popular loyalty program among Canadian travellers. There’s a wide range of credit card options for Aeroplan members looking to boost their points balances and get closer to their next free flight.

Here are our choices for the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada.

Best Aeroplan Credit Cards

Best Aeroplan Credit Card

Until August 3, the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is without question the best Aeroplan credit card in Canada.

It currently has an outrageous welcome bonus, offering 150,000 Aeroplan points. That’s by far the biggest incentive ever on the card, and it’s well worth the $599 annual fee.

Part of the welcome bonus is awarded in the form of 10 points per dollar spent on eats and drinks, so you’ll want to lean heavily on the card for  your everyday spending.

As a premium Aeroplan cardholder, you’ll get the lowest Aeroplan reward ticket prices on Air Canada flights thanks to the preferred pricing benefit, free checked bags on Air Canada flights, priority airport services, unlimited Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge access, and opportunities to spend your way to Aeroplan Elite Status, among other premium benefits.

Also, you’ll get a wide range of American Express perks, including generous rebates throughout the year.

Best Aeroplan Visa Card

If the places you shop don’t take American Express, you can take your pick between TD and CIBC for a premium Aeroplan card.

The two cards are very similar, but the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege has the edge here thanks to a more achievable spending requirement for the full welcome bonus. Plus, you’ll get an Air Canada Buddy Pass with TD’s card, good for a two-for-one cash fare or an additional 30,000 points.

Like the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card, you’ll also get unlimited Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge access. Additionally, your Visa card comes with a Priority Pass membership and six complimentary visits per year. These passes are good for accessing Priority Pass airport lounges, as well as airport restaurants on the Priority Pass network.

Everyday earning rates are a bit different than on the premium Amex card, but your top-tier Aeroplan benefits will be the same.

Best Aeroplan Credit Card for Daily Spending

The limited-time offer on the American Express Aeroplan Card is too good to miss.

You’ll earn 5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on groceries and dining, up to $5,000 spent or 25,000 Aeroplan points. That’s a huge step up from the rate on the Gold Rewards Card, which, at 2 points per dollar spent, is the next-highest grocery rate for Aeroplan points in Canada.

In total, you can earn 75,000 Aeroplan points from the welcome bonus, for a very reasonable annual fee of $120.

This spectacular offer is only on until August 3, so if you’re in the market for a new daily driver, consider getting this card now, and you can always get a different card after you’ve earned the full bonus.

Best Aeroplan Credit Card for Business Owners

The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great choice for entrepreneurs looking to rack up Aeroplan points. It has a welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points (transferable to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio).

The requirements to earn the welcome bonus are simple: spend $10,000 on the card in the first three months. This is much more straightforward than having to juggle ongoing monthly spending requirements. You’ll get the full bonus within a few days of crossing the spending threshold.

For ongoing spending, you’ll earn 1.25 points per dollar spent on all purchases. That’s a strong earning rate for uncategorized transactions, in line with the base earn rate on Aeroplan’s very own co-branded premium cards.

Also, this card has the best refer-a-friend incentive in Canada, worth 20,000 MR points per successful signup. If you have a large network of family, friends, or colleagues who use your link to apply, your rewards can quickly add up!

Best Aeroplan Credit Card for Families

As part of its welcome bonus, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is offering a one-time Air Canada Buddy Pass.

When you buy a cash fare on Air Canada for yourself, you can get a heavily discounted second ticket for a travelling companion: the other passenger pays no base fare, only taxes and fees. You can use the Buddy Pass for any economy ticket within Canada, the United States (including Hawaii), or Mexico, with no fare restrictions or blackout dates.

The Buddy Pass could be especially valuable if you tend to travel when cash prices for airfare are high, such as during school holidays.

If you’d get good value for a two-for-one cash fare, a mid-tier Visa Infinite card is definitely the way to go. This card offers the best bang for your buck, as you’ll get the first year annual fee waived.

The Buddy Pass is available on other Aeroplan cards, too. Compared to CIBC’s nearly identical credit card, TD has the edge here for giving a $100 NEXUS application fee rebate once every four years.

Also, note that you can only earn the Buddy Pass once per card tier (core, premium, and small business), so you may as well prioritize the best card for each tier.

Best No Fee Aeroplan Credit Card

If you’re keen to keep costs down while earning points for flight rewards, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card is your best bet. It’s a good card to get if you’re just beginning to explore the Aeroplan program or award travel in general.

In fact, this is the only Aeroplan credit card with no annual fee. It has a very low barrier to entry, requiring a minimum household income of $15,000.

For students, CIBC also offers the CIBC Aeroplan Visa for Students, with no income requirement, and all of the same features and bonuses.

Not surprisingly, as a no-fee card, this card earns at a lower rate than premium cards, and it has fewer insurance benefits.

Instead, the card’s biggest appeal is the preferred pricing benefit, giving you a slight discount on flight rewards on Air Canada flights. In addition, your Aeroplan points will never expire as long as you remain a cardholder.

Aeroplan Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

When choosing an Aeroplan credit card, you should familiarize yourself with what benefits an Aeroplan credit card can offer, what features to look out for, and how Aeroplan credit cards can fit into an optimized overall credit card strategy.

Why get an Aeroplan credit card?

Aeroplan is one of the most popular frequent flyer programs in Canada, and for good reason: it can be extremely valuable if you know how to use your points effectively.

Points can be redeemed for any seat on any Air Canada flight. Whether you travel domestically, or live in a small town and need to connect through a major hub to fly overseas, you’ll always find a use for your rewards.

But the best value often lies in long-haul travel in premium cabins on Air Canada and its partner airlines. You have access to a wide variety of premium airline products in the Star Alliance network, plus a few others. Also, you can add extra destinations and layovers with the creative routing possibilities allowed by Aeroplan, all for very little extra cost.

With no fuel surcharges on Aeroplan flight rewards on Air Canada or any of their partners, you don’t have to worry about unexpected cash costs arising when you want to book a “free” flight.

There are so many different ways to earn Aeroplan points, including no less than 20 co-branded or transferable rewards cards. It’s an easy loyalty program to quickly build up monstrous balances for aspirational travel redemptions.

With Aeroplan poised to continue adding new retail partners, there will only be more and more ways to earn points on your Aeroplan credit card in the future.

What should you look for in an Aeroplan credit card?

There are two types of credit cards for earning Aeroplan points: co-branded cards (associated with Aeroplan itself) and transferable rewards cards (associated with other rewards programs that can transfer points to Aeroplan).

American Express issues credit cards with a few types of points that are transferable to Aeroplan:

  • Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a ratio of 1:1

  • Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to Aeroplan at an optimal ratio of 2.4:1

  • Membership Rewards Select points can be transferred to Aeroplan (by way of Marriott Bonvoy) at an optimal ratio of 2:1

These cards generally have bigger signup bonuses than Aeroplan co-branded cards, and higher category earn rates on everyday spending as well.

On the other hand, co-branded cards are typically stronger in their Air Canada and Aeroplan benefits. You’ll get perks like free checked bags, preferred pricing on Air Canada flight rewards, priority airport services (including check-in and boarding), and the opportunity to spend your way to Aeroplan Elite Status.

These cards are offered by TD, CIBC, and American Express. Across their portfolios, there are cards at the entry-level, core, premium, and small business tiers.

Perks are the same for each tier, but other factors may vary. Each bank has different welcome bonuses, annual fees, income requirements, and approval criteria.

Luckily, you have several institutions to choose from, and you’ll still enjoy the same cardholder benefits for Aeroplan members regardless of which issuer you go with.

Entry-level

Core

Business

Premium

Points don't expire

Bonus points for Air Canada purchases

Good

Better

Best

Best

Preferred pricing

Good

Better

Better

Best

Elite 25K Status (with annual spending)

Insurance on Aeroplan tickets

Buddy Pass signup bonus

Free checked bag

Earn SQM & SQS by spending

Good

Best

Best

Maple Leaf Lounge access

Priority check-in

Priority boarding

Priority baggage handling

Priority standby

Worldwide Companion Pass (with annual spending)

Rollover SQM & eUpgrades

Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes (with annual spending)

What’s the optimal strategy for Aeroplan credit cards?

If you’re a dedicated traveller who wants to see as much of the world as possible by maximizing your credit cards, Aeroplan credit cards will arguably play the largest role out of any Canadian airline or hotel co-branded card lineup in your credit card portfolio.

Aeroplan points are the single most useful rewards currency for Canadians looking to maximize their international travel, and Aeroplan credit cards allow you to rack up a huge volume of points in a short time, all while enjoying Aeroplan benefits exclusive to credit card holders.

The savvy Aeroplan user will likely find value in either the core or premium series of Aeroplan credit cards, depending on their appetite for rewards and tolerance for annual fees.

The core level of Aeroplan cards already comes with some very impressive welcome bonuses along with First Year Free offers, allowing you to load up on Aeroplan points without paying anything out-of-pocket in the first year. The free first checked bag can also represent hundreds of dollars of savings per year when you travel on Air Canada flights.

In terms of the premium cards, the $599 annual fee can be a tougher pill to swallow, even when you account for the juicier welcome bonuses at this level. The premium credit cards are best-suited to Air Canada frequent flyers who are interested in earning Aeroplan Elite Status, as the cards can offer a major boost towards Elite Status qualification.

Even if you’re only interested in maximizing Aeroplan points for flight rewards, though, you might still look towards the premium Aeroplan credit cards for their 1.25x base earning rate on your daily spending, or perhaps as another source of Aeroplan points in addition to the core cards.

The entry-level Aeroplan credit cards can play a meaningful role, too. TD’s entry-level Aeroplan product routinely puts on a healthy welcome bonus in the range of 15,000–20,000 points with a First Year Free offer, while CIBC’s no-fee card is great for retaining the preferred pricing benefit in perpetuity (a slight discount on Aeroplan flight rewards on Air Canada) even if you happen to be switching up your core or premium cards.

Outside of Aeroplan’s co-branded products, the four major American Express Membership Rewards charge cards will also be valuable sources of earning points, thanks to their generous welcome bonuses and competitive earning rates.

Between these two card families, you should be able to easily earn enough points to cover a few international trips per year, perhaps even in business class or First Class if you take the time to understand how the Aeroplan program works in detail.

Overall, every dedicated points collector and traveller should have their eyes on Aeroplan credit cards, as they represent the best pathway towards using credit cards to elevate your travel experiences here in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions we frequently hear from readers about the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada.

Can I have more than one Aeroplan card?

Yes, you can have Aeroplan cards from TD, CIBC, and American Express all at the same time. You can also have entry-level, core, and premium cards from the same bank at the same time.

Can I earn the welcome points on more than one Aeroplan card?

Yes, the terms of the offer from one bank have no bearing on your eligibility for a points bonus from another.

Can I earn more than one Air Canada Buddy Pass?

You can earn one Buddy Pass for each card tier – core, premium, and small business – regardless of the issuer.

This is the one part of the welcome bonus where earning it from one bank will in fact make you ineligible to earn it again from another bank (on a card in the same tier).

How do I know if my card is properly linked to my Aeroplan profile?

You can check in the Air Canada app to see if it says “Credit Card Holder” on the Aeroplan page. You can also try searching for an Aeroplan flight reward while signed in, and while not signed in, to see if you’re getting preferred pricing on Air Canada flights.

How do I get a free checked bag on Air Canada flights?

As long as your reservation is linked to your Aeroplan number, and you have an active credit card (or supplementary card) linked to the same Aeroplan number, you should automatically receive this benefit when you check-in for your flight.

How do I transfer Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan?

From your American Express online dashboard, click on the green View and Redeem Points button. Above the search box, navigate to Travel > Frequent Traveler Participants. Use the Switch Account button to make sure you’re transferring your points from the proper card.

How do I transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Aeroplan?

Login to the Marriott website and click on Redeem Points at the bottom of the page. Navigate to Use Points / Certificates > Travel > Transfer Points to Miles.

Can I link my Aeroplan account to someone else’s Aeroplan credit card?

Sometimes the banks will allow this, but if you’re collecting points in multi-player mode, you can also use Aeroplan’s Family Sharing feature to pool your points.

Can I transfer my Aeroplan points to another frequent flyer program?

No, once you’ve transferred your Membership Rewards to Aeroplan, you can’t transfer them back.

How can my Aeroplan credit card help me earn Aeroplan Elite Status?

The core, premium, and small business Aeroplan credit cards allow you to earn Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) and Status Qualifying Segments (SQS) for every $5,000 (premium cards) or $10,000 (core and small business cards) that you spend on the card.

These can help you qualify for Aeroplan Elite Status, although you’d still need to complete a Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) requirement separately to qualify for each Elite Status level.

Also, your spending on your Aeroplan credit card can help you reach Aeroplan 25K status via the Everyday Status Qualification benefit by racking up 100,000 Aeroplan points through eligible sources every year. However, credit card signup bonuses wouldn’t count towards Everyday Status Qualification.