How Do the New Aeroplan Credit Cards Compare? Ricky September 7, 2020

How Do the New Aeroplan Credit Cards Compare?

The new Aeroplan credit cards by TD, CIBC, and American Express will be launching in conjunction with the new Aeroplan program on November 8, 2020.

Current cardholders will have been informed about their upcoming card transitions, while prospective cardholders will be carefully assessing the value proposition of each card to decide whether they’re interested in signing up coming November 8. 

While the credit cards by all three issuers are mostly similar to each other, there are a few notable differences in the products across each customer segment that aren’t necessarily apparent at first glance.

In this article, inspired by the work of my friend Jean-Maximilien from Milesopedia, I’ve put together a few comparison charts for the TD, CIBC, and American Express Aeroplan credit cards to help you decide which issuer’s product is the best fit for you in any given customer segment.

In This Post

Entry-Level Aeroplan Credit Cards

We’ll begin with the entry-level (or “silver”) Aeroplan credit cards, which come with the most affordable fees but are also the most stripped-down in terms of perks and benefits. TD and CIBC will each issue one card in this segment:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card

The comparison chart is as follows. As in previous comparison charts, any clear winner in a category is highlighted in green.

TD Aeroplan
Visa Platinum

CIBC Aeroplan
Visa Card

Key information

Annual fee

$89

$0

Supplementary card
(with perks)

$39

$0

Supplementary card
(without perks)

Income requirement

$0

$0

Earning rates

Air Canada
Air Canada Vacations

1 point per $

1 point per $

Gas

1 point per $

1 point per $

Groceries

1 point per $

1 point per $

All other purchases

1 point per $1.5

1 point per $1.5

Benefits

Preferred pricing

No expiry of Aeroplan points

Insurance

Emergency medical

Trip cancellation

Trip interruption

Flight/trip delay

$500 on a 4-hour delay

Delayed baggage

$1,000
(per person)

Lost or stolen baggage

$1,000
(per person)

Common carrier accident

$500,000

$100,000

Hotel/motel burglary

$2,500

Auto rental collision/loss damage waiver

MSRP up to $65,000
Rental period up to 48 days

MSRP up to $65,000
Rental period up to 48 days

Mobile device

$1,000

Purchase security

90 days

90 days

Extended warranty

One additional year

One additional year

While TD has kept its entry-level product under the Visa Platinum banner, thereby commanding a light annual fee of $89 with a supplementary card fee, CIBC has instead chosen to issue a no-annual-fee Aeroplan credit card instead. This makes the CIBC Visa Aeroplan Card the only no-annual-fee Aeroplan co-branded card on the market. 

The earning rates and limited set of Aeroplan benefits are uniform between the two products. So what justifies the TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum’s higher annual fee?

Well, it offers a decent set of insurance benefits, including flight/trip delay, delayed and lost baggage, hotel/motel burglary insurance, and mobile device insurance, all of which are not offered by the CIBC Visa Aeroplan Card. However, as entry-level products, neither card offers the coverage that tends to matter the most to travellers: emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation, and trip interruption.

Overall, both the TD and CIBC cards do a good job of serving different subsegments of the market: TD provides some light travel insurance in exchange for a small annual fee, while CIBC caters towards Canadians who’d prefer not to pay any annual fee while still earning Aeroplan points on their spending. 

Core Aeroplan Credit Cards

The core (or “grey”) Aeroplan credit cards are geared towards the average Canadian traveller. TD, CIBC, and American Express will each issue one card in this segment:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite
  • American Express Aeroplan Card

The comparison chart is as follows.

TD Aeroplan
Visa Infinite

CIBC Aeroplan
Visa Infinite

American Express Aeroplan Card

Key information

Annual fee

$139

$139

$120

Supplementary card
(with perks)

$75

$50

$50

Supplementary card
(without perks)

$0

Income requirement

$60,000 annual /
$100,000 household

$60,000 annual /
$100,000 household

$0

Earning rates

Air Canada
Air Canada Vacations

1 point per $

1 point per $

2 points per $

Gas

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

1 point per $

Groceries

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

1 point per $

Dining & food delivery

1 point per $

1 point per $

1.5 points per $

All other purchases

1 point per $

1 point per $

1 point per $

Benefits

Preferred pricing

No expiry of Aeroplan points

Free first checked bag

Shared benefits with supplementary cardholders

1,000 SQM + 1 SQS per $10,000 spent

$100 NEXUS credit

Insurance

Emergency medical

$1,000,000
Age 0–64: 21 days
Age 65+: 4 days

$5,000,000
Age 0–64: 15 days
Age 65+: 3 days

Trip cancellation

$1,500
(per person)
$5,000
(combined)

$1,500
(per person)
$5,000
(combined)

Trip interruption

$5,000
(per person)
$25,000
(combined)

$2,000
(per person)

Flight/trip delay

$500 on a
4-hour delay

$500 on a
4-hour delay

$500 on a
4-hour delay
(aggregate, combined)

Delayed baggage

$1,000
(per person)

$500
(per person)
$1,000
(combined)

Lost or stolen baggage

$1,000
(per person)

$500
(per person)
$1,000
(combined)

$500
(combined)

Common carrier accident

$500,000

$500,000

$500,000

Hotel/motel burglary

$2,500

$2,500

$500

Auto rental collision/loss damage waiver

MSRP up to $65,000
Rental period up to 48 days

MSRP up to $65,000
Rental period up to 48 days

MSRP up to $85,000
Rental period up to 48 days

Mobile device

$1,000

$1,000

Purchase security

90 days

90 days

90 days, up to $1,000

Extended warranty

One additional year

One additional year

One additional year

As you can see, this segment of the market is where the trade-offs between the three issuers start to become more apparent.

The American Express Aeroplan Card comes with the cheaper annual fee at $120 instead of $139. Along with CIBC’s product, its supplementary card fee for shared perks is also lower, while it’s unique among the three issuers for offering a no-fee supplementary card that simply lets you earn points faster.

In terms of earning rates, American Express’s offering is stronger in the Air Canada and dining categories, while TD and CIBC’s products offer a stronger return on spending on gas and groceries. You’ll want to think about which set of bonus categories is more valuable to you based on your own spending profile.

The three cards’ benefits are virtually identical, with the only exception being the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite’s $100 NEXUS credit, which isn’t offered by either of the other two cards. 

Finally, the insurance packages generally follow an order of descending strength as you read the chart from left to right, with a few exceptions:

  • The American Express card provides car rental collision/loss damage waiver on more valuable car rentals
  • CIBC’s emergency travel insurance has a higher maximum claim amount than TD’s ($5MM vs. $1MM), although I’d personally place a higher value on TD’s longer coverage period instead

Notably, American Express has chosen not to include any emergency travel insurance on the core card, which definitely counts against it in this three-way comparison.

In my view, TD’s offering is the strongest here, justifying its slightly higher annual fees for the primary and supplementary cardholders. American Express’s differentiated higher earning rates may justify its weaknesses for some individuals, while there’s relatively little to set CIBC’s product apart. 

Premium Aeroplan Credit Cards

The premium (or “black”) Aeroplan credit cards are geared towards frequent Air Canada travellers that also tend to fall in the higher income and wealth brackets. TD, CIBC, and American Express will each issue one card in this segment:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
  • American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

The comparison chart is as follows.

TD Aeroplan
Visa Infinite Privilege

CIBC Aeroplan
Visa Infinite Privilege

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

Key information

Annual fee

$599

$599

$599

Supplementary card
(with perks)

$199

$149

$199

Supplementary card
(without perks)

$0

Income requirement

$200,000 personal / household

$200,000 personal / household

$0

Earning rates

Air Canada
Air Canada Vacations

2 point per $

2 point per $

3 points per $

Other travel

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

1 point per $

Gas

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

1 point per $

Groceries

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

1 point per $

Dining & food delivery

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

2 points per $

All other purchases

1.25 points per $

1.25 points per $

1 point per $

Benefits

Preferred pricing

No expiry of Aeroplan points

Free first checked bag

Shared benefits with supplementary cardholders

1,000 SQM + 1 SQS per $5,000 spent

$100 NEXUS credit

Maple Leaf Lounge access within North America


(with one free guest until Nov 2021)

Priority Pass
lounge access


Annual membership with six free visits


Annual membership with six free visits


Annual membership only

Air Canada priority airport services

Annual Worldwide Companion Pass upon $25,000 spend

Rollover SQM and eUpgrades

Priority benefits at select airports

YVR, YUL, YOW, YTZ

YVR, YUL, YOW, YTZ

YYZ

Insurance

Emergency medical

$5,000,000
Age 0–64: 31 days
Age 65+: 4 days

$5,000,000
Age 0–64: 31 days
Age 65+: 10 days

$5,000,000
Age 0–64: 15 days

Trip cancellation

$2,500
(per person)
$5,000
(combined)

$2,500
(per person)
$10,000
(combined)

$1,500
(per person)
$3,000
(combined)

Trip interruption

$5,000
(per person)
$25,000
(combined)

$5,000
(per person)
$25,000
(combined)

$1,500
(per person)
$6,000
(combined)

Flight/trip delay

$1,000 on a
4-hour delay

$500 on a
4-hour delay

$1,000 on a
4-hour delay
(aggregate, combined)

Delayed baggage

$1,000
(per person)

$500
(per person)
$1,000
(combined)

Lost or stolen baggage

$2,500
(per person)

$1,000
(per person)
$2,500
(combined)

$1,000
(combined)

Common carrier accident

$500,000

$500,000

$500,000

Hotel/motel burglary

$2,500

$2,500

$1,000

Auto rental collision/loss damage waiver

MSRP up to $85,000
Rental period up to 48 days

MSRP up to $85,000
Rental period up to 48 days

MSRP up to $85,000
Rental period up to 48 days

Mobile device

$1,500

$1,500

Purchase security

120 days

180 days

90 days, up to $1,000

Extended warranty

Two additional years

Two additional years

One additional year

In the premium segment, all three cards’ fee structures are identical, and American Express has the major advantage of having no income requirement for their Aeroplan Reserve Card, compared to TD and CIBC’s more onerous $200,000 income threshold as Visa Infinite Privilege products.

Like the core segment, American Express has differentiated itself from TD and CIBC in terms of the earning rates, offering a stronger return on Air Canada and dining, but a weaker return on other travel spending, gas, groceries, and the “all other purchases” catch-all category.

(Has American Express differentiated itself enough? I personally don’t think so, since I do think that the TD and CIBC’s earning structure will be more favourable for the average cardholder.)

The cards’ benefits are mostly uniform, with a few areas in which TD and CIBC excel. Compared to American Express, these two issuers will offer a $100 NEXUS credit and six complimentary Priority Pass visits per year; moreover, CIBC is the only issuer that has indicated they will allow one free guest to accompany the cardholder into Maple Leaf Lounges until November 7, 2021. 

Also note that the Visa Infinite Privilege cards come with priority airport benefits at Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto Billy Bishop, whereas the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card delivers similar priority benefits at Toronto Pearson. If you tend to frequent one of these airports, you’d naturally place more weight on different products accordingly.

Finally, insurance. Here, CIBC and TD are more evenly matched, with the former’s 10-day emergency medical insurance for travellers aged 65+ and 180-day purchase protection benefit setting itself apart. Both are generally stronger than American Express’s insurance proposition by quite a clear margin.

Among the trio of premium cards, it’s pretty clear that TD and CIBC’s Visa Infinite Privilege cards are generally stronger than what American Express is putting out, in exchange for a very high $200,000 income threshold.

A natural point of comparison for the premium Aeroplan credit cards would be the American Express Platinum Cardyou can find our detailed comparison here.

Core Small Business Aeroplan Credit Cards

The core small business (or “colourful”) Aeroplan credit cards are geared towards small business owners who aren’t necessarily frequent flyers with Air Canada, but would still like to earn Aeroplan points on their business spending. TD and CIBC will each issue one card in this segment:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business Card

(Note that American Express’s small business credit card is in the “premium business” category all on its own; a more apt comparison for that card would therefore be against the American Express Business Platinum Card, which we shall investigate in a future article.)

The comparison chart is as follows.

TD Aeroplan
Visa Business

CIBC Aeroplan
Visa Business

Key information

Annual fee

$149

$180

Supplementary card
(with perks)

$49

$50

Supplementary card
(without perks)

Income requirement

$0

$35,000 personal

Earning rates

Air Canada
Air Canada Vacations

2 points per $

2 points per $

Other travel

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

Shipping, internet,
cable, phone

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

Dining

1.5 points per $

1.5 points per $

All other purchases

1 point per $

1 point per $

Benefits

Preferred pricing

No expiry of Aeroplan points

Free first checked bag

Shared benefits with supplementary cardholders

1,000 SQM + 1 SQS per $5,000 spent

$100 NEXUS credit

1 Maple Leaf Lounge guest pass per $10,000 spent
(up to 4 per year)

Insurance

Emergency medical

$2,000,000
Age 0–64: 15 days
Age 65+ 4 days

Trip cancellation

$1,500
(per person)
$5,000
(combined)

$1,000
(per person)
$5,000
(combined)

Trip interruption

$5,000
(per person)
$25,000
(combined)

$2,000
(per person)

Flight/trip delay

$500 on a 4-hour delay

$500 on a 4-hour delay

Delayed baggage

$1,000
(per person)

$500
(per person)
$1,000
(combined)

Lost or stolen baggage

$1,000
(per person)

$500
(per person)
$1,000
(combined)

Common carrier accident

$500,000

$500,000

Hotel/motel burglary

$2,500

Auto rental collision/loss damage waiver

MSRP up to $65,000
Rental period up to 48 days

MSRP up to $65,000
Rental period up to 48 days

Mobile device

$1,000

Purchase security

90 days

90 days

Extended warranty

One additional year

One additional year

This comparison results in a very clear victory for TD’s small business product over CIBC’s, and I’m almost a little bit surprised by that.

The TD card has the lower annual fee for both primary and supplementary cardholders, a lower income requirement, a $100 NEXUS credit, and a significantly more comprehensive insurance package. It certainly feels like TD went the full distance to boost the value proposition of its small business Aeroplan card as part of this relaunch, whereas CIBC just kind of treated theirs as an afterthought.

Short of CIBC offering a much stronger welcome bonus or making big improvements to their card, there will be no reason for small business owners to choose CIBC’s product over TD’s. 

Conclusion

While the new TD, CIBC, and American Express Aeroplan credit cards are largely in line with each other, there are several small but important differences worth noting within each customer segment. Do let me know if you think I’ve missed anything in the comparison charts above. 

In my view, TD’s cards are the strongest overall, and that perhaps reflects their larger slice of the pie in terms of the new Aeroplan co-brand contract compared to the other issuers.

As the most independent-minded issuer of the three, American Express has chosen to differentiate its offerings in many ways; however, as I had mentioned when their cards were first announced, the jury is out as to whether they’ve differentiated themselves enough, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see American Express spruce up their products a little more prior to the November 8 launch.

Top Offers

HSBC World Elite MasterCard

100,000 HSBC Rewards points
20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon approval +
80,000 HSBC Rewards points upon spending $5,000 in the first 180 days

  • 6x points on travel purchases; 3x points on other purchases
  • Points transfer to British Airways Avios, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and Singapore KrisFlyer
  • $100 Travel Enhancement Credit
  • Total offer worth $600+

Offer lasts until December 28, 2020. Offer for non-Quebec residents only; Quebec residents are eligible for a different offer.

Signup bonus
100,000 HSBC Rewards points
Annual fee
$0 for the first year, then $149
22 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Roger

    Do you think current Aeroplan credit card holders should cancel their card so that they can get sign-up bonuses as new users?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Well, if someone wants to earn signup bonuses, they won’t be eligible for them as current cardholders.

      1. Avatar
        Roger

        Thanks for your reply.
        What I meant to ask was: do you think the current cards and the rebranded cards will be treated as different products in terms of sign-up bonus eligibility? and do you think the bonus will be so good that they justify going through the hassle?

  2. Avatar
    Rod

    There are articles on the fee is going to increase to $120 so it’d better if the cards can cover the new fee entirely. Also I believe if you have a TD unlimited bank account, the TD Aeroplan infinite annual fee is waived which is a nice perk.

    1. Avatar
      Rod

      **Nexus fee to $120

  3. Avatar
    Allan

    Hi Ricky,

    On your Visa Infinite Comparison chart, it lists Air Canada and Air Canada Vacation category as 1 point per $, I believe it should be 1.5 points.

  4. Avatar
    William

    With priority airport service in Vancouver is using Vancouver Airport Authority FasTrack. Is that same as having Nexus and using the Nexus entrance?

  5. Avatar
    Leah

    I think CIBCs supplementary card fee for the Privilege is $149

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Gotchu

  6. Avatar
    Holly

    Hi Ricky, thanks for sharing all this amazing, compiled information for us! I currently have the TD Core card FYF and don’t plan to keep it after the year. With the new rules kicking in in November, do you know if existing customers who are still in their first year are eligible for the NEXUS credit? Thanks!

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes, you should be eligible to use the $100 NEXUS credit as soon as the November 8 transition happens.

  7. Avatar
    Goldy

    Amex does seem to be trying to make inroads on any of their Aeroplan cards. I don’t see the incentive to change cards from the present card. Unless the welcome bonus makes up for it.
    Hoping Amex surprises us at the end. Otherwise TD business is the way to go.

  8. Avatar
    les dorgo

    CIBC has 2 different business aeroplan credit cards. you did not do proper comparison.

  9. Avatar
    aaron ma

    I wish American Express would have the 1.25 on all other purchases. I feel’s the points are too similar to the Platinum and Gold Amex which I also carried. I really hope they would change it down the road. Need to think really hard now if I wanted to get the new card. I prefer the older reserve card with the $899 price tag more.

    1. Avatar
      John

      The 1.0x earning is a really raw deal from American Express, especially considering the previous American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum card had a 1.25x earning rate that *increased* to 1.5x after $25,000 spend. Amex just isn’t trying this time around — or maybe they are just desperate to shore up their Amex Platinum card business which has been haemorrhaging customers during the pandemic.

  10. Avatar
    John

    Do you think Amex will amp up the Platinum card with a refreshed welcome offer and/or other features? That might make it more attractive for many people, compared to the above cards.

  11. Avatar
    YYCguy

    Sorry, I checked the TD card again – maybe security is the thing you get, but that’s not very useful if you’re a NEXUS card holder anyway. P.S. TD Premium gives you a guest in the lounge too.

      1. Avatar
        John

        Many many blogs have this wrong, and I do think it’s misleading to hide the fee in the footnote. Makes you wonder what other published and unpublished surprises are in store for us.

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Yes, it’s disingenuous how they’ve marketed it as “You can even bring a guest!” Let’s hope the positive surprises outnumber the negative.

  12. Avatar
    YYCguy

    Ricky, what are the “priority” benefits at YYZ / YUL/ YVR you would get you don’t get elsewhere with priority services in general? I think with the premium cards you’re already getting priority check in, baggage, security and zone 2?

Ricky

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have an Account? Click here to Login