The most compelling new airline card: Review of the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card

Dec 2, 2021

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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.

Now there’s an all-new credit card option for Aeroplan fans. Chase is now offering a cobranded credit card with Air Canada for U.S. consumers, joining the ranks of United and Southwest.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Aeroplan card 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 up to 101,000 bonus points (after meeting minimum spend requirements) sound appealing to you, keep on reading.

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In This Post

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.

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 Asiana Airlines, Lufthansa, 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.

As many borders reopen (and hopefully remain open), 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 for 2022.

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

Sign-up bonus

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

New applicants will have the opportunity to earn a “Welcome Flight Reward,” which is a certificate worth up to 50,000 Aeroplan points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. New applicants can also earn up to 51,000 Aeroplan points through 10x points on travel and dining purchases within the first six months of account opening. That’s a welcome bonus of up to 101,000 Aeroplan points!

You’ll want to be strategic on how you use the flight certificate, as they’re valid toward a single passenger award ticket. You can top off your certificate with Aeroplan points to score some incredible redemptions that are just outside of the 50,000-point mark.

For instance, if you redeem your reward for a flight that requires 70,000 Aeroplan points, you’ll need to pay up the 20,000-point difference.

However, if you redeem your reward for a flight that requires 35,000 points, your full certificate will be considered used, and you won’t be able to get those 15,000 points in a separate certificate.

TPG values Aeroplan points at 1.5 cents each. Therefore, if you can fully use the certificate to effectively get 50,000 points toward award tickets, the full value of this ticket is $750.

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

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Cardholders will 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

Redeeming with your Aeroplan credit card by following two main approaches. 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). You can read here about some of the best ways to maximize your Aeroplan points, but here’s a sample of what you’d pay for flights from North America to the “Atlantic” zone — which includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East and part of the Indian Subcontinent.

North America to Atlantic Aeroplan Award Chart
(Screenshot from aircanada.com)

For those who get lost trying to optimize their points and miles, Chase Aeroplan cardmembers will soon be able to 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. That’s the best fixed redemption value we’ve seen for travel purchases of any card – and this flexibility is valuable for those who want to offset travel purchases in a lucrative yet seamless way.

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)

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 earning 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)

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. No matter the purchase, you’ll earn 2x Capital One miles, 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 new 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 new credit card is an excellent way to get toward your dream redemption in 2022 and beyond.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

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 after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • 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 up to 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 in the U.S., 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 $80 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 PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • 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
17.24%-26.24% 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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.