Air Canada’s Aeroplan Credit Card Is Worth It For US Travelers
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It might seem like a strange recommendation to get an Air Canada branded credit card if you live in the US or have no plans to visit Canada. But listen to us.
The current introductory bonus on Air Canada flights Aeroplan® Credit Card is a big one, especially for a card with a $95 annual fee. Currently, new cardholders can earn 70,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Air Canada’s loyalty program, Aeroplan, has more rewards partners than any other loyalty program in the world – currently 45 and counting – serving more than 1,300 global destinations. To get an idea of the lucrative redemption possibilities this offers you, the welcome bonus of 70,000 points is enough for a return economy class ticket from New York to Lisbon, Portugal, on the TAP Portugal partner or a one-way business class. Not bad!
In addition, the card gives triple points in popular spending categories such as groceries and dining, offers Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus statement credit (every four years) and provides a number of free travel insurance. When you fly with Air Canada, you get one free checked bag and Aeroplan 25,000 Elite status with your credit card.
Here’s everything you need to know about the benefit-packed Chase Aeroplan Credit Card and why it’s worth getting now, whether or not you plan to visit or reside in Canada anytime soon.
A valuable welcome offer
The current introductory bonus on Air Canada flights Aeroplan credit card allows new cardholders to earn 70,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
If used wisely, 70,000 Aeroplan points can go a long way. As a founding member of Star Alliance, Aeroplan has access to rewards inventory from 26 alliance members, including Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and more. Add independent partnerships with nearly 20 other carriers, including Etihad Airways and Oman Air, and you have the most comprehensive search engine of any airline program in the world, offering award seats on over 45 airlines.
To give a few simple best-case-scenario examples, short-haul flights (less than 500 miles) within North America, such as Boston to Montreal or New York to Toronto, can cost as little as 6,000 Aeroplan points per trip in economy class with Air Canada. A one-way ticket from Boston to Zurich, Switzerland on Swiss can cost 35,000 points in economy class or 60,000 points in business class. And a round-trip business class ticket on COPA Airlines from Miami, Florida to San Jose, Costa Rica generates 40,000 Aeroplan points and only 20,000 in economy class.
Points enthusiasts will appreciate Aeroplan’s stopover feature which allows for an extended layover en route to a final destination, subject to award availability. When flying from Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica on COPA, for example, it’s possible to add an extended layover in Panama City for an additional 5,000 points. This can be achieved by using Aeroplan’s new Multi-City/Beta search tool launched in September 2022, available directly on the homepage.
In other good news, the number of points required for an Aeroplan redemption is often much lower than that of the MileagePlus loyalty program through United Airlines. On top of that, cardholders can enjoy preferential rates on airline rewards (read: fewer points). On the other hand, it’s not always easy to know exactly how many Aeroplan points you’ll need for your flight: Aeroplan’s somewhat complicated rewards chart is based on geography, distance flown and dynamic pricing . It’s worth familiarizing yourself with Aeroplan’s search engine and playing around with the dates to find the best prices.
Easily top up your Aeroplan balance
Those with Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One Points can transfer credit card points to the Aeroplan program at a 1:1 ratio. This makes it easy to combine points spent on your Aeroplan Card with points earned on other general travel credit cards, collectively amassing enough for coveted business class tickets to far-flung locations, if you don’t have the only Aeroplan card.
Plus, Aeroplan allows members to pool and share points among up to eight family members, making it even easier to collect enough miles for your dream award tickets.
Earn lots of points
Besides the introductory bonus, the Aeroplan Card is full of opportunities to earn extra points on daily spending. The card win rates are as follows:
- Earn three points per dollar spent at groceries
- Earn three points per dollar on meals, including eligible takeout and delivery services
- Earn three points per dollar spent directly with Air Canada
- Earn one point per dollar on all other purchases
But the gains don’t stop there. Another outstanding feature of this credit card is the ability to earn bonus points when you reach spending thresholds each month. Earn 500 bonus points for every $2,000 spent in a calendar month (up to a maximum of 1,500 points per calendar month, or a total of $18,000 per year).
Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus statement credit
A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit (every four years) is common among credit cards with high annual fees, but is atypical for a card with a $95 annual fee. However, the Aeroplan credit card goes beyond a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit by allowing cardholders to also use the credit for Nexus, an expedited screening program for car travel between Canada and the United States (and which allows members to use Global Entry kiosks and get TSA PreCheck—yes, that’s a three-for-one).
Some credit cards offer free travel insurance to cardholders that comes into play when loading the trip onto the card. These advantages are more typical of high annual fee credit cards, but, surprisingly, the $95 annual fee Aeroplan card comes with plenty of travel insurance. These include:
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
- Baggage Delay Insurance
- Travel Delay Reimbursement
- Collision Damage Waiver for Rental Vehicles
As with all insurance matters, there are many stipulations regarding what is covered, how much is covered, and when coverage applies.
Air Canada is committed to achieving net zero emissions for all of its global operations by 2050. With this in mind, carbon offsets will be purchased (and paid by Air Canada) when Aeroplan cardholders (and their companions on the same booking) will travel with Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada Rouge on an Aeroplan Flight Reward. This will help reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions associated with flying. There is no cap on the number of carbon offsets Air Canada will provide under this program.
Benefits on Air Canada
We’ve discussed why this card makes sense for those who don’t even fly with Air Canada, but for those who do, the card is an even smarter choice. On Air Canada flights, the primary cardholder can expect one free checked bag for themselves and up to eight travel companions on the same itinerary.
Cardholders also earn automatic Elite status, Aeroplan 25K Elite status, in the calendar year in which card membership is obtained, plus the entire following calendar year. This provides benefits such as priority check-in, early boarding and upgrades on Air Canada flights. After the initial term, cardholders can maintain Aeroplan 25K status with $15,000 spent on the account in a calendar year. Those who spend $50,000 in a calendar year can earn Elite Up status by one level up to 35K status or higher based on their current Elite status.
Take away food
With a welcome bonus of 70,000 points, an excellent points earning structure, incredible redemption opportunities, Global Entry credit and its travel insurance suite, the Aeroplan credit card is a smart choice for all travelers, even those who don’t plan to set foot in Canada or on an Air Canada plane.
Although the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time and may have changed or may no longer be available.