100,000 points and instant status: What to know about Chase’s upcoming Air Canada credit card
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information about the Chase Aeroplan credit card.
Before the end of 2021, Chase will become the exclusive issuer for a new Air Canada cobranded credit card in the U.S.
While the official launch is set for December, several details were accidentally revealed to Air Canada Aeroplan members when the airline sent out an email to select customers temporarily linked to a page with information about the card launch and its earning rates.
TPG reached out to both Chase and Air Canada representatives, who confirmed the accuracy of those details on this forthcoming credit card.
All of this comes on the heels of Air Canada’s Aeroplan becoming a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner in August. That means Ultimate Rewards points earned from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.
Here is what we know so far about the Air Canada credit card — and why you may want to add yourself to the card’s waitlist.
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New details on the Air Canada credit card
This isn’t the first time an Air Canada credit card will be available in the U.S.; a card issued by TD Bank was last offered in 2019. However, it does mark a significant new product launch and one that will give U.S.-based customers yet another Star Alliance option for accruing frequent flyer miles.
Here are a few details that have been officially confirmed by both Chase and Air Canada representatives. This is certainly not a comprehensive list; expect more specifics in the coming weeks.
The new Air Canada credit card will offer two “Welcome Flight Rewards” worth up to 100,000 points combined when you spend $4,000 on purchases with the card in the first three months. These will come in the form of two “Flight Reward Certificates” valued at up to 50,000 Aeroplan points each.
An Air Canada spokesperson provided an example of how these certificates can work in practice, saying via email, “Each of the two 50K Welcome Flight Rewards that make up our ‘up to 100K points’ launch offer can be applied toward a single-passenger Aeroplan redemption in any cabin and for any redemption amount. This means that if you had a 65,000 point itinerary, you could apply a 50K Welcome Flight Reward and simply top up the remaining 15,000 point difference. It also means that if your itinerary is only 45,000 points and you apply a 50K Welcome Flight Reward, the full certificate would be considered used.”
We asked if cardholders could combine the two Flight Reward Certificates for redemptions of 100,000 points or more, but a Chase representative was not able to provide any additional information by publication time. Not being able to do so would represent a real limitation on these certificates. However, the option to “top up” their value by adding points from your Aeroplan account does represent a good level of flexibility. Hopefully, more details will be forthcoming.
This is also the initial launch offer, but perhaps we will see Aeroplan and Chase offer future sign-up bonuses down the line that consist of bundles of bonus points rather than certificates with set value ceilings, which would give cardholders more flexibility in the types of rewards they would be able to book using their Aeroplan bonus.
Upon launch, the Air Canada credit card will accrue a robust 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on groceries, dining (including delivery services) and Air Canada purchases. It will earn 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases. Those are strong earning rates on big everyday expense categories.
Additionally, cardholders will get a 500-point bonus for every $2,000 spent on the card per month, up to 1,500 points per month.
Suppose you were to maximize this bonus by spending $6,000 per month exclusively on the categories of dining, grocery or Air Canada purchases. You’d be earning the equivalent of 3.25 points per dollar spent for a total of 19,500 points.
As for the card’s other benefits, chief among them is the fact that Air Canada cardholders will receive automatic entry-level Aeroplan 25K status for the remainder of the current calendar year and the following one, according to a representative from Chase. So if you opened the card in December 2021, you’d have status that month and through 2022 automatically.
After that, to retain status, a cardholder must spend $15,000 per year.
The strategic play here would be to open the card in 2022 to enjoy status that year and in 2023 before having to worry about meeting a minimum spending requirement.
Achieving 25K status normally requires earning 25,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) or 25 Status Qualifying Segments (SQSs) and, starting in 2022, earning $3,000 Status Qualifying Dollars (SQDs) by spending with the airline. Those with this status enjoy benefits like priority airport check-in, two complimentary checked bags, priority boarding, priority seat selection, two one-time Maple Leaf Lounge passes, eUpgrade credits and more.
Credit card holders, specifically, will get their first checked bag free, along with up to eight companions, when flying on Air Canada, so you won’t have to retain 25K status to continue enjoying some elite-style perks.
Why you may want to sign up for the card Waitlist
Consumers who join the card’s waitlist by Nov. 24 (extended from Nov. 8) can earn an additional 10,000 Aeroplan points in addition to the sign-up bonus, upon card approval.
Plus, you’ll get 10 eUpgrade credits for upgrades to premium cabins. These credits let you upgrade flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada Rouge from economy class to business class, premium economy or Premium Rouge.
For instance, based on availability, 10 eUpgrade credits can get you from economy to business class on a Canadian transcontinental flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Vancouver (YVR), as long as you’re purchasing an “economy flex” ticket.
To qualify for this bonus and the eUpgrade credits, applications must be received by Feb. 15, 2022.
You can join the waitlist here. There is no commitment to applying for the card upon joining the waitlist, and applicants will earn the waitlist bonus and credits up to eight weeks after approval.
The information for the 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.
Aeroplan as a Chase transfer partner
That said, you don’t necessarily need to sign up for Aeroplan’s new credit card in order to stock up on Aeroplan points.
In August, Aeroplan was added to the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel transfer partner roster. That means you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Air Canada’s loyalty program, Aeroplan, at a 1:1 ratio (1 Ultimate Rewards point is equal to 1 Aeroplan point).
Air Canada’s Aeroplan is a powerful program with the ability to redeem points on more than 40 airlines, including Star Alliance carriers like United and Lufthansa, as well as non-Star Alliance partners such as Etihad and Cathay Pacific.
Last year, Air Canada took full control of Aeroplan and introduced a revamped award chart, debuted new redemption options and eliminated hefty carrier-imposed surcharges, among many other positive (and a few negative) changes.
To transfer Chase points, you need to have at least one of the following three cards that earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points to take advantage of this partnership.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
In addition to the transferable Ultimate Rewards-earning cards above, there are a few other Chase cards you might want to take note of. Those include:
- Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants)
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
While the points these cards earn can’t be transferred to Ultimate Rewards’ airline or hotel partners on their own, if you also carry one of the cards that does earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points, you can combine the points you earn across all cards into a single account and transfer from there.
Other Aeroplan transfer options
Aeroplan also partners with several other transferable points programs, letting you instantly top up your account when you’re ready to book an award.
You can transfer points to Aeroplan with the following programs:
Amex points can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments. It’s easy to quickly earn Amex Membership Rewards points from various cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card.
Capital One miles can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio with the ability to earn miles on cards such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business, not to mention the new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000 Aeroplan point bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. Popular Marriott cards include the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
How Chase compares to these transfer partners
Like Amex and Capital One, Chase offers a simple (and rewarding) 1:1 transfer basis to Aeroplan. Marriott should only be used in a pinch since their conversion rate is lower.
However, suppose you don’t have enough points from one transfer program to redeem with Aeroplan. In that case, you can mix and match from different programs. Adding Chase into that mix makes Aeroplan much more interesting overall. As with all transfer partners, the standard rule of thumb is to only transfer when you have a specific redemption in mind. That’s because there’s no going back once you transfer points to a partner, such as Aeroplan — your points will be with that partner for good.
Reasons to focus on Air Canada Aeroplan
The introduction of a new U.S. Aeroplan credit card and the addition of Air Canada’s Aeroplan to Ultimate Rewards are exciting for a number of reasons.
Aeroplan has long been a favorite among award travelers, and the program’s late-2020 revamp included a number of customer-friendly enhancements.
According to TPG’s latest valuations, a single Aeroplan point is worth 1.5 cents. But there are several sweet spots where you can get a lot more value than that.
This is particularly true of long-haul premium-cabin awards. For instance, it’ll cost 60,000 Aeroplan points for a business-class seat on United between New York and London. Cash fares for business class on this one-way route can easily exceed $2,000. In this one example, you can get more than 3 cents in value per point.
While United and Singapore Airlines are both Star Alliance partners with Air Canada — and existing Chase transfer partners — there are unique features to Aeroplan that are worth mentioning and reasons to transfer to Aeroplan instead of the others.
For starters, Aeroplan has a published award chart while United MileagePlus has shifted entirely to dynamic pricing. Aeroplan’s sheer quantity of partners is also outstanding, with more than 40 airline partners to choose from. Most award flights can be booked on Air Canada’s easy-to-use website, too, which takes the hassle out of redeeming your points.
Arguably the most compelling reason for award enthusiasts to opt for Aeroplan instead of other programs is the elimination of carrier-imposed surcharges along with the addition of generous stopover and open-jaw rules.
For example, awards on Lufthansa previously could incur hundreds of dollars in surcharges, which negated many of the benefits of booking an award ticket. Now, you’ll pay standard taxes and fees on all tickets booked through Aeroplan in addition to a reasonable 39 Canadian dollars ($31) partner award fee, when applicable.
When it comes to stopovers, Aeroplan is also a standout, with the ability to add a single stopover to a one-way ticket and two stopovers to a round-trip ticket, which each costs just 5,000 extra points. This functionality to build them into your itinerary without the need to call in is even possible on the Aeroplan website.
We now have a better sense of what Air Canada’s U.S. cobranded credit card will look like. While many details are still missing — including the annual fee, how those flight certificates work in practice and more — this is a solid first glimpse into an intriguing product launch from Chase and another great alternative for stocking up on points with an excellent frequent flyer program.
Moreover, the opportunity to earn a 10,000-point bonus and 10 eUpgrade credits just for being on the waitlist for the card and signing up when it becomes available is a generous incentive for simply adding your name to the queue, whether you end up applying or not.
Featured photo by Joel Serre/Shutterstock.
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