Air Canada credit cards: Up to 150,000 bonus points from a single welcome offer

Jul 23, 2021

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Global travel demand is rising again and easing travel restrictions hint at a possible return to normalcy.

Even Canada, one of the countries with the strictest travel bans directed at Americans, will soon reopen its doors to U.S. travelers for the first time in 16 months. Beginning Aug. 9, 2021, Americans who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days or more will be welcome to fly to the Great White North (the U.S. has extended the closure of land borders through Aug. 21).

While the destinations and activity options will likely remain limited for some time to come, now might be the time to consider your travel strategy and whether Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent-flyer program fits in.

In summer 2020, Air Canada announced a complete revamp of its loyalty program, Aeroplan. TPG covered the news from nearly every angle – including the incredible new stopover rules, the most innovative changes, family points sharing and much more.

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Aeroplan also launched a few interesting new cobranded American Express credit cards for their Canada-based customers (you must be a resident to apply) – and they are currently offering incredibly high welcome bonuses. Here’s what you need to know about these intriguing Aeroplan credit cards.

The information for the American Express Aeroplan cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

In This Post

American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card

Let’s start with the most premium card, the perks-rich American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card. 

Current intro bonus: New cardmembers can earn up to 150,000 bonus points. Here’s how:

  • 70,000 bonus points after you spend CA$6,000 ($4,777) on purchases within the first six months of card membership
  • 5,000 bonus points each monthly billing period you spend at least CA$1,000 ($796) on your card for the first six months of card membership (max 30,000 points)
  • 10x points for eligible “eat and drinks” purchases in Canada for the first six months of card membership (max 50,000 points)
  • Terms apply

TPG valuations peg Aeroplan points’ value at 1.5 cents (USD) each toward flights, on average. If you earn the full bonus, you’re looking at $2,250 in travel with this bonus – and significantly more if you know how to maximize Aeroplan points.

Earning rate:

  • 3x points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations
  • 2x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada
  • 1.25x points on everything else

Annual fee: CA$599 ($477)

Ongoing benefits: These key perks are what you need to examine to decide if that hefty annual fee is worth paying year after year:

  • Airport lounge access: Access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafés in North America when flying the same day on Air Canada or Star Alliance partners (guests can enter for a fee). Access to Priority Pass lounges with guests (both cardmembers and guests must pay a usage fee).
  • Priority airport services: Priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation when flying Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, or Air Canada Express.
  • Annual Worldwide Companion Pass: Spend CA$25,000 ($19,903) in net purchases during a cardmember year and you’ll receive a companion pass valid for a second ticket on the same reservation and the same flights in economy on Air Canada. Depending where in the world you end up flying, the base fare will cost between CA$99 ($79) and CA$599 ($477), plus taxes, fees and surcharges.
  • Free checked bags: First checked bag free for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation when travel originates on an Air Canada flight.
  • Priority access to standby and eUpgrades: The cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation are eligible for priority airport standby and a higher priority for upgrade requests to a premium cabin on flights marketed and operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express.
  • Elite status benefits: Earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) and 1 Status Qualifying Segment (SQSs) for every CA$5,000 ($3,981) in eligible net purchases. You can even roll over up to 200,000 unused SQMs and up to 50 eUpgrade Credits from the prior year.
  • Expedited security lane: When you’re traveling from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), you can use the Pearson Priority Security lane during peak operating hours (temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19).
  • 15% discount on parking: With Express Park and Daily Park Toronto Pearson International Airport.
  • Terms apply, enrollment required for select benefits.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at LaGuardia (Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy)
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at LaGuardia. (Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy)

American Express® Aeroplan®* Card

The American Express® Aeroplan®* Card is a less fancy member of the Aeroplan cards family. It will likely suit more budgets, though. The information for the Amex Aeroplan card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Current intro bonus: Earn up to 75,000 points. This is how it breaks down:

  • 44,000 bonus points after spending CA$3,000 ($2,388) on purchases within the first six months of account opening
  • 1,000 bonus points for each billing period in which you spend CA$500 ($398) on purchases for the first six months of card membership (max 6,000 points)
  • 5x points on eligible “eat and drinks” purchases in Canada for the first six months of card membership (max 25,000 points)

Again, TPG valuations estimate that Aeroplan points are worth 1.5 cents (USD) each on average. Earn the full bonus and you should expect travel rewards worth around $1,125 in travel.

Earning rate:

  • 2x points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations
  • 1.5x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada
  • 1x points on everything else

Annual fee: CA$120 ($96)

Ongoing benefits: A CA$120 ($96) annual fee is easier to justify than CA$599 ($477) – but this card has fewer benefits, as well. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Free checked bags: First checked bag for free for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation on Air Canada flights.
  • Elite status benefits: 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) and 1 Status Qualifying Segment (SQSs) for every CA$10,000 ($7,961) in eligible net purchases.

Related: Credit cards that offer free checked bags

Those are the major travel-related benefits. The reason you might want to get this card, though, is for that bonus opportunity and if you tend to check bags when you fly.

American Express® Aeroplan®* Business Reserve Card

This is a premium card similar to the Amex Aeroplan Reserve. However, a smaller audience will qualify for this card as it’s targeted at small business owners.

Bonus: New cardmembers can earn up to 150,000 bonus points. This is how:

  • 70,000 bonus points after you spend CA$10,000 ($7,961) on purchases within the first six months of account opening
  • 5,000 bonus points each month you spend at least CA$2,000 ($1,592) on your card for the first six months of cardmembership (max 30,000 points)
  • 10x points for eligible gas and “eat and drinks” purchases in Canada for the first six months of cardmembership (max 50,000 points)
  • Terms apply

Like the Aeroplan Reserve personal card, this full bonus equates to $2,250 in travel, per TPG valuations. Use them wisely, like for a roundtrip business class flight to Europe, and you could save significantly more.

Business class in an Air Canada Boeing 777-300. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Business class in an Air Canada Boeing 777-300. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Earning rate:

  • 3x points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations
  • 2x points on eligible hotels and car rentals
  • 1x points on everything else

Annual fee: CA$599 ($477)

Ongoing benefits: Here’s what you’ll get for that hefty annual fee. These key perks are what you need to examine to decide if the fee is worth paying year after year:

  • Airport lounge access: Access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges in North America for the cardholder (guests for a fee) when flying Air Canada or Star Alliance partners. Access to Priority Pass lounges along with guests (both cardmembers and guests must pay a usage fee).
  • Priority airport services: Priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation when flying Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, or Air Canada Express.
  • Annual Worldwide Companion Pass: Spend CA$25,000 ($19,903) in net purchases during a cardmember year and you’ll receive a companion pass valid for a second ticket on the same reservation and the same flights in economy on Air Canada. Depending where in the world you end up flying, the base fare will cost between CA$99 ($79) and CA$599 ($477), plus taxes, fees and surcharges.
  • Free checked bags: First checked bag free for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation when travel originates on an Air Canada flight.
  • Priority access to standby and eUpgrades: The cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation are eligible for priority airport standby and a higher priority for upgrade requests to a premium cabin on flights marketed and operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express.
  • Elite status benefits: Earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) and 1 Status Qualifying Segment (SQSs) for every CA$5,000 ($3,981) in eligible net purchases. You can roll over up to 200,000 unused SQMs and 50 eUpgrade Credits per year.
  • Expedited security lane: When you’re traveling from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), you can use the Pearson Priority Security lane during peak operating hours (temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19).
  • 15% discount on parking at Toronto airport (YYZ).
  • Complimentary valet: Only at Toronto (YYZ) at the Express Park and Daily Park
  • Parking and valet discount: 15% off parking and complimentary valet service with Express Park and Daily Park Toronto Pearson International Airport.
  • Terms apply, enrollment required for select benefits.

Bottom line

These three Aeroplan credit cards are limited by the fact that they are only for Canadian residents. That makes sense since most of their ongoing perks only benefit flyers based in Canada and Toronto, in particular. However, the massive welcome offers on two of the cards make those of us south of the border a bit jealous. If you collect Aeroplan points, these offers are well worth considering since the program fields several desirable sweet spots in its award chart.

Don’t forget, though, even if you’re not based in Canada, you might still be able to rack up a lot of Aeroplan points because the program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. So if you carry a credit card that earns those, you can convert your Amex points into Aeroplan points on a 1:1 basis and still leverage its award chart that way.

Featured photo courtesy of Air Canada.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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