Fall 2019 Offers on the TD Aeroplan Cards

Besides American Express cards, the TD Aeroplan series of credit cards represent one of the best ways for Canadians to earn Aeroplan miles easily and quickly. The welcome bonuses on these cards typically move in quarterly cycles, and as of today, a new round of Fall 2019 offers has been introduced on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and the TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card. These offers are valid until December 1, 2019. 

How are the new offers? Well, they’re a bit of a mixed bag, as we’ll see below.


TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite: “40,000 Miles”, But…

The new signup bonus on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is listed as 40,000 Aeroplan miles with a first-year fee waiver. 

 
 

At first glance, that sounds like an incredible record-high welcome bonus, until you examine how exactly the miles are distributed:

  • Earn 15,000 Aeroplan miles upon first purchase

  • Earn 2x Aeroplan miles on eligible purchases in the first three months up to a total of 20,000 Aeroplan miles

  • Earn 5,000 Aeroplan miles upon adding an authorized user to your card

  • Get the $120 annual fee for the primary cardholder waived for the first year

As you can see, the “40,000 miles” are broken down into three components, and only 15,000 miles can be regarded as a sure thing, since they’re distributed upon first purchase.

Then, let’s talk about the 5,000 miles from adding an authorized user. This sounds like an easy enough task, until you realize that the first-year fee waiver only applies to the primary cardholder, and that the $50 annual fee for authorized users will continue to be charged in the first year.

 
 

This portion of the signup bonus is therefore equivalent to an offer to buy Aeroplan miles at 1 cent per point (cpp). Now this isn’t a bad deal by any means, since I personally value Aeroplan miles at around 2.2 cents apiece, and you can definitely extract far more than 1cpp out of your Aeroplan miles if you redeem them wisely.

It’s borderline disingenuous of TD to advertise a first-year fee waiver while also making part of the signup bonus contingent on paying a $50 annual fee. But hey, we’ve seen TD put out similar offers before (in which part of the bonus was dependent on adding an authorized user), so it’s not exactly uncharted territory for them.

What is decidedly more disingenuous, though, is the portion of the offer where you can earn “up to 20,000 Aeroplan miles” by earning double miles on all your purchases during the first three months.

As a reminder, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite usually allows you to earn:

  • 1.5 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on gas, groceries, drugstores, and aircanada.com purchases

  • 1 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

With the 2x “bonus” on this card during the first three months, the earning structure therefore looks like 3 and 2 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on the above categories, respectively. 

Don’t get me wrong, these earning rates are pretty awesome on paper, but remember that you can only earn up to 20,000 miles as part of this 2x bonus. 

In practice, this means that you’ll need to spend either $6,666 on gas, groceries, drugstores and aircanada.com purchases; $10,000 on regular purchases; or some mixed portfolio between the two in order to unlock the full “up to 20,000 miles” portion of the signup bonus. 

 
 

And needless to say, that spending could be much better put towards meeting the minimum spending requirement on a different card with another welcome bonus. 

Therefore, for all intents and purposes, you should think of the welcome bonus on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite as either an offer of 15,000 miles with a first-year fee waiver, or an offer of 20,000 miles with a $50 fee.

Then, if and only if you’ve chosen to apply under those terms (they’re still pretty good deals, after all), you’ll also happen to benefit from a 2x bonus on the earn rates during the first three months. But it isn’t really fair to think about the signup bonus on this card as 40,000 miles, nor is it fair for TD to advertise it as such – at least not in the usual way that we talk about signup bonuses.

A pattern seems to be emerging among the major Canadian credit card issuers, in which they structure part of the welcome bonus in terms of the cardmember’s spending in the first three months. We first saw it with the HSBC World Elite at one point, and now we’re seeing it on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite.

It makes sense for the issuers – the more a new cardholder spends on their card, the more revenue they bring the issuer and the more they deserve to be “rewarded”. But for those of us who like to strategically plan our spending to maximize credit card signup bonuses, it’s definitely a worrying trend. 

Anyway, I’d still recommend that you get the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite under these terms, since a deal of 20,000 Aeroplan miles for a net $50 expense is still very much in your favour.

But it’s definitely a downgrade from the offer of 25,000 miles + First Year Free we saw between June and September (and the 30,000-miles-for-free offer before that), so hopefully things will improve again after December 1.


TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card: An Easy 25,000 Miles

Compared to the personal card, things are looking a little brighter with the TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card. Again, the advertised signup bonus of 45,000 Aeroplan miles + First Year Free is pretty misleading, but once you remove all the noise and zero in on the actual signup bonus itself, you still end up with a pretty decent offer of 25,000 miles for free. 

 
 

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Earn 20,000 Aeroplan miles upon first purchase

  • Earn 2x Aeroplan miles on eligible purchases in the first three months up to a total of 20,000 Aeroplan miles

  • Earn 5,000 Aeroplan miles upon registering for TD’s Card Management Tool for Business

  • Get the annual fee for the primary cardholder waived for the first year

So 20,000 miles upon buying a pack of gum, and another 5,000 miles upon completing a simple task on the TD EasyWeb portal that’s designed to help small businesses track their spending. 

 
 

That’s a cool 25,000 miles for no first-year annual fee – enough for a round-trip flight within North America – which puts the TD Business Aeroplan very much back on the table for the fall, after a killer offer in Spring 2019 was followed by a lacklustre one in Summer 2019.

Again, there’s also that “up to 20,000 Aeroplan miles” part that comes from earning double miles on all your purchases in the first three months, but similar to the personal card, this should be more accurately treated as an additional ancillary perk instead of a part of the signup bonus. 

You can only apply for the TD Business Aeroplan in-branch, but based on the data points from the Spring 2019 promotion, it seems that the card is pretty easy to obtain even if you aren’t a registered business owner. 

While the TD website lists a bunch of documents that you need to bring with you for your in-branch appointment, many people have reported success walking into the branch and getting approved as a sole proprietor without any of those documents. 

 
 

Until December 1, 2019, the offer on the TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card is definitely better than the personal version – you get an additional 5,000 miles without having to pay $50 for an authorized user – so head to your local branch to get those easy 25,000 Aeroplan miles under your belt!


Conclusion

With questions lingering around the future of the Aeroplan program, it seems that TD is very happy to tinker around with the signup bonuses on their Aeroplan-branded credit cards as much as possible in order to see what resonates best with their customers. 

Compared to what was previously on the table, the Fall 2019 offers represent a downgrade on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and an upgrade on the TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card, although both new offers are still very much worth your time. Just take care not to fall for the tricks that TD is playing in advertising signup bonuses of 40,000 and 45,000 miles, respectively. 

If these offers don’t tickle your fancy, keep in mind that the CIBC Aerogold cards, both personal and business, are also putting on increased bonuses at the moment, which can just as easily help you boost your Aeroplan balance.