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A compelling and valuable airline card: Review of the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card

Aug. 20, 2022
11 min read
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Chase Aeroplan Credit Card overview

The Chase Aeroplan Credit Card is the first cobranded airline credit card to offer the best of both worlds: award flexibility and valuable airline benefits. With its strong earning rate and incentives to spend on the card beyond earning the sign-up bonus, the Aeroplan credit card is worth considering for many points and miles enthusiasts. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Since Air Canada Aeroplan’s rebrand in November 2020, the carrier has made significant improvements that boosted the value of the loyalty program.

In fact, we crowned Aeroplan as the winner of the best investment in airline loyalty in the 2021 TPG Awards, thanks to its addition of eight new redemption partners, dedication to keeping its award charts and induction into the Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer portfolio.

The Aeroplan card, which launched in December 2021, offers unique benefits we’ve rarely seen on other airline cards, all for a reasonable annual fee of $95 per year. If automatic elite status and a sign-up bonus worth 70,000 bonus points (after meeting minimum spend requirements) sound appealing to you, keep on reading.

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Who is this card for?

Score United Polaris flights across the pond for 60,000 Aeroplan points. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

As this is the first Air Canada cobranded card available to U.S. travelers, you may wonder: Why should I apply for a credit card with a Canadian airline?

We’ll delve more into this concept in the redemption section of this review, but diversifying your points and miles portfolio is crucial to opening up award possibilities from various airlines.

While collecting transferable points (such as Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards) rather than airline miles is usually your best bet, there’s still value to be found in collecting airline miles — especially with a currency as flexible as Air Canada Aeroplan.

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Remember that Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance but it also works with many non-alliance carriers. Not only can you book awards with Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines (for a grand total of two dozen partner airlines), but Air Canada also maintains partnerships with Etihad, Azul and a handful of other international airlines.

Since the carrier publishes award charts, Air Canada Aeroplan makes it easy — and predictable — to know precisely how many points you’ll need for a particular redemption — seemingly a rarity in this day and age. It’s not a bad idea to start accruing Aeroplan points, especially if a dream redemption in international business or first class is on your wish list.

Related: More flexible than ever: Why you should care about Aeroplan even if you never visit Canada

Sign-up bonus

An Air Canada 777-300ER business class seat. (Photo by Christian Heinz/Shutterstock.com)

New applicants have the opportunity to earn 70,000 Aeroplan points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. TPG values Aeroplan points at 1.5 cents each, making this sign-up bonus worth $1,050.

This is the first time since the card launched that the welcome offer has offered just points rather than reward flight certificates. Whilst the points offered with the current bonus are lower than previous bonuses, the fact that they are in the form of points and not certificates makes them more flexible to use.

Benefits and perks

Maple Leaf Lounge seating. (Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

How often do you see a card with a $95 annual fee grant you automatic elite status? With the Air Canada Aeroplan credit card, cardholders will receive automatic Aeroplan 25K status for the remainder of the calendar year in which they open the card and the entire following year. With Aeroplan 25K, elite status members are entitled to the following perks:

After the introductory period, you can retain (or extend) that status — but cardholders are incentivized to spend a lot to do so. Cardholders will need to spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year to maintain 25K status (which is then valid through the end of the following year).

But by spending $50,000 in a calendar year, cardholders can earn a one-level status boost to 35K elite status (or beyond). This could be a great option for high spenders who already earn elite status based on flying, as hitting the $50k threshold could essentially upgrade you to a higher tier.

At the $100,000-plus level, cardholders will start to “unlock unprecedented Aeroplan redemption benefits, including 50% off Priority Rewards and companion benefits,” though these exact perks aren’t clear at this point — and it would require a lot of spending to earn them.

Even if you don’t maintain your elite status beyond the first year, here are all of the other benefits you’ll get from the Aeroplan credit card:

  • First free checked bag on Air Canada flights, along with up to eight companions.
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry, TSA Precheck or NEXUS application, every four years.
  • Travel protections such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, auto rental insurance and roadside assistance.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, including 24/7 concierge service, access to Mastercard Priceless® experiences, everyday discounts and offers and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

This is one of the first cards we’ve seen to reimburse NEXUS applications, allowing pre-screened travelers to expedite security when entering the U.S. and Canada.

Earning points

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Cardholders earn 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at grocery stores, dining, and purchases made directly with Air Canada and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

For every $2,000 you spend on the card each month, you also can receive up to a 500-point bonus — up to 1,500 points per month. These bonus points can really add up if you’re a heavy spender, with the potential of earning up to 18,000 bonus points annually.

Redeeming points

You can redeem your points for flights to over 1,300 destinations through Star Alliance and Air Canada’s airline partners — and for generally fewer points than you’d need than with other loyalty programs.

Even better, Air Canada publishes distance-based award charts with tons of sweet spots to look out for (including Lufthansa first class). For example, you can fly from New York to Tokyo in ANA's "The Room" Business Class for 75,000 points one-way. You can read about some of the best ways to maximize your Aeroplan points.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Do note that from Sept. 1, 2022, Aeroplan's award charts will change. Most long-haul business- and first-class redemptions will cost slightly more, while shorter flights will get slightly cheaper.

For those who get lost trying to optimize their points and miles, Chase Aeroplan cardmembers can also redeem their Aeroplan points toward travel purchases — on any airline, hotel, car rentals and more — at a rate of 1.25 cents each, on up to 50,000 points annually using the Pay Yourself Back tool.

Which cards compete with the Air Canada Aeroplan card?

The Air Canada Aeroplan card comes with a $95 annual fee, which matches the price of other popular travel credit cards that earn transferable rewards. Let’s compare some credit cards of the same caliber and determine if the Aeroplan credit card is the best option for you.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

First up is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This card is more than a decade old and has proved its value time and time again, making it one of our all-time favorite travel credit cards.

While its sign-up bonus is lower (60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.), there’s a case made for flexibility here. That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards points offer the resounding potential for travel rewards:

The second option is where you can get a knockout value from Ultimate Rewards points. If Air Canada Aeroplan is of interest to you, but you don’t necessarily want to be locked into the program with the Aeroplan credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best alternative you’ll find.

For example, you can convert those 60,000 bonus points into Aeroplan points if you want to leverage the airline’s award charts for a redemption of your choice. Or, consider transferring your points to one of Chase’s other loyalty programs, such as Southwest Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers Pay Yourself Back to offset certain purchases at a rate of 1.25 cents each, but the categories are rotating and more niche.

The earn rate on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is slightly better for everyday purchases:

  • Earn 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Earn 3 points per dollar on dining, online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs) and select streaming services.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

If you already carry the trusty Sapphire Preferred, consider whether the Air Canada Aeroplan credit card could be a great addition to supplement your award strategy, since you can top off your balance with Chase’s transfer program.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The other contender worth mentioning is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Also with a $95 annual fee, this card goes head to head with the Air Canada Aeroplan credit card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

If you value simplicity above all, you’ll be thankful for the Venture’s simple earning rate of 2 miles per dollar spent on everything you buy, taking away the stress of remembering bonus categories and strategies to maximize your spending.

You can transfer your Capital One miles to 14 airline and three hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio (except for ALL – Accor Live Limitless at a 2:1 ratio and EVA Infinity MileageLands at a 2:1 ratio). Among these partners, Air Canada Aeroplan also participates in the Capital One miles program. Much like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Venture cardholders can easily transfer over miles to Aeroplan.

Other benefits of the Venture card include an up-to-$100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit and a 75,000-mile sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. TPG values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents each, so that’s an estimated $1,388 in value (valuation not provided by the issuer).

Here again, the flexibility of the card is paramount — as you can use your Capital One miles to cover travel purchases at a fixed value or transfer to a travel partner and potentially get even more value.

Bottom line

The Chase Air Canada Aeroplan Credit Card brings fresh benefits that we haven’t seen on most airline cards before. Even if you’re not a regular flyer of Air Canada — or perhaps have never flown the airline at all — chances are that you’ve flown its Star Alliance partners.

With Aeroplan points as one of the most valuable airline currencies out there, this credit card is an excellent way to get toward your dream redemption in 2022 and beyond.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023