Why the new Aeroplan card is surprisingly a great choice for everyday purchases

Dec 15, 2021

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Aeroplan just launched a brand-new U.S. credit card and for many folks, it’s a game-changer. For an annual fee of just $95, the Aeroplan Credit Card offers several bonus-earning categories, automatic elite status and, best of all, the opportunity to redeem your points for any travel purchase (coming soon), not just Aeroplan awards.

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

Add in the current welcome offer where you’ll receive 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, and you might find that this new card is the perfect addition to your wallet. But where this card might truly excel is using it for everyday purchases.

Here’s why.

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Why the Aeroplan Credit Card is great for everyday purchases

Typically, cobranded airline credit cards are not recommended as go-to cards for your everyday purchases. While they provide some perks during travel with the respective airline and offer some flight-related benefits, they usually aren’t the cards you should be using on a daily basis because of relatively limited bonus-earning opportunities.

However, the Air Canada Credit Card has great earning potential relative to most other airline cards. And in fact, it might just be one of those cards you end up pulling out of your wallet for nearly every purchase you make.

Generous earning rates

The thing that makes the Aeroplan card such a potentially powerful earner is that it accrues 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent not just on Air Canada purchases, but also on grocery store purchases and dining, including takeout and delivery services. With all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent.

Not only that, but for every $2,000 spent on the card per month, you’ll earn a 500-point bonus, up to 1,500 points per month. Of course, this requires $6,000 in spending per month to maximize the bonus, but if you have a lot of expenses, that’ll net you an additional 18,000 points per year.

With Aeroplan points worth 1.5 cents per point, based on TPG’s valuation, this comes out to a 4.5% return on category bonus purchases. And every 500 points you earn with the spending bonus are valued at $7.50.

When comparing this card to many other travel credit cards, you’ll actually find your return to be relatively high. For example, many other airline-specific credit cards — such as with American Airlines, Delta, United, Alaska and Southwest — don’t offer more than 2x points on popular bonus categories such as grocery store purchases and dining (though there are some exceptions).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is another flexible redemption card with a $95 annual fee that earns points you can transfer to Aeroplan, among other options. It earns 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases, plus 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase. Those rates might be more attractive to some, but if groceries make up the lion’s share of your credit card spending, you still might be better off with the Aeroplan card since its bonus earning in that category is not restricted to online purchases.

Related: The best airline credit cards

Earn automatic elite status

New cardmembers will earn Aeroplan 25K elite status through Dec. 31, 2023. While this is useful for those flying Air Canada often, it also confers Star Alliance Silver status, which is great while flying partner airlines, such as United.

After the complimentary status expires, you can also continue to achieve it with your credit card spending. If you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year, you’ll earn the same Aeroplan 25K elite status. However, you can hit an even higher level and unlock valuable perks with more spending … a lot more:

  • Spend $50,000: Existing status holders earn a one-level status boost to 35K status or higher for the next year. That even includes customers who took advantage of a status match opportunity with Destination Canada.
  • Spend $100,000: 50% off Priority Reward voucher for a companion when redeeming points.
  • Spend $250,000: 50% off Priority Reward voucher for a companion when redeeming points.
  • Spend $500,000: 50% off Priority Reward voucher for a companion when redeeming points.
  • Spend $750,000: 50% off Priority Reward voucher for a companion when redeeming points.
  • Spend $1 million: Free companion travel redemptions for the remainder of the year and the following year.

Redeem points for any travel purchase

Part of what makes the Aeroplan card unique is that there will be a vast variety of ways to redeem the points you earn with it, beyond simple flight redemptions That’s why you might want to use it for travel purchases beyond those that earn bonus points.

Specifically, in 2022, Chase will be launching a “Pay Yourself Back” tool for this card, which will allow Aeroplan cardholders to redeem their points for any travel purchase at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. Instead of cashing in your points through the Aeroplan site directly, you’ll be able to make any travel-related purchase with your Aeroplan card and once the charge hits your account, you will be able to redeem your points for that specific purchase.

For example, let’s say you have 50,000 Aeroplan points. Since points are worth 1.25 cents apiece, that’s worth $625 towards any travel purchase. Instead of redeeming those points for a flight on Air Canada or a partner airline, you can put them toward any travel purchase, such as a hotel, airline ticket (including with another carrier) or car rental. All you have to do is pay for your travel purchase with your Aeroplan card and your points can cover — or at least help offset — the charge. And best of all, you’ll still earn points or miles with the respective travel partner when redeeming your points this way.

This is very similar to redeeming points in a flexible manner with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. That card’s Ultimate Rewards are worth the same 1.25 cents per point when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. But the benefit of using your Aeroplan points — versus your Chase Sapphire Preferred Ultimate Rewards points — is that you can book any way you’d like and not be grounded by only the travel options in the portal. This truly gives you the utmost flexibility when redeeming your points for travel.

But there’s one (major) caveat: You’re only able to redeem up to 50,000 Aeroplan points per year with the Pay Yourself Back tool. While that will limit some travelers, the overall versatility of this redemption option should far outweigh its constraints.

Redeem points on Air Canada and many partner flights

Redeeming Aeroplan points for flights with Air Canada and its dozens of airline partners might be one of the other reasons the Aeroplan card becomes a top contender for everyday spending.

Aeroplan is a fan favorite due to its favorable award chart on both Air Canada and partner flights. Some of the more notable partners include Asiana Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Etihad and Azul.

On partner flights, there are also no carrier-imposed surcharges. Aeroplan also allows you to add a stopover for only an additional 5,000 points (one stopover allowed per one-way flight) and you’re charged a reasonable partner booking fee of 39 Canadian dollars ($29) per person.

The loyalty program has a distance-based award chart, so the more flight miles, the more points you’ll need to redeem. However, there are many hidden gems within the program, with some of our favorites listed below.

For example, if you are looking to fly within North America, you can fly for as few as 6,000 points one-way.

(Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada)

This means you can fly between Toronto (YYZ) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) or Newark (EWR), or Boston (BOS) and Washington Dulles (IAD), for just 6,000 miles on partner airline United. With points worth 1.5 cents each, this values the flights at $90 one-way. Or, you might even find that the same route requires fewer miles when flying Air Canada (even less than what the award chart shows) — saving you the booking fee. More often than not, these paid fares are significantly more expensive, making this a great use of your points.

(Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada)

If you’re looking to cross the pond to Europe, there are many opportunities with your Aeroplan points. Again, there’s a separate award chart for flights between North America and the Atlantic zones, which includes all of Europe and Africa, and some of Asia.

Depending on where you are traveling to and from, most likely you’ll pay somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 points for economy, 60,000 and 70,000 points for business, and 90,000 and 100,000 points for first class.

(Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada)

For example, if you want to fly from Newark to Istanbul (IST) on Turkish Airlines, you are looking at redeeming 40,000 points for economy or 70,000 points for business, one-way — as the two destinations are 5,100 flight miles apart.

(Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada)

If you were to pay for this flight with cash, a one-way reservation in economy class would cost almost $900. That’s a redemption value of more than 2.2 cents per point, much higher than the 1.5 cents apiece that TPG values Aeroplan points.

(Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada)

Bottom line

Even though Aeroplan is a transfer partner with flexible programs such as Chase, Capital One and American Express, you now have a new way to earn Aeroplan points directly with the Aeroplan Credit Card. With big bonus categories and strong earning rates, not to mention automatic elite status just for being a cardholder and the opportunity to hit higher tiers and unlock other rewards through spending, this new card might become your new top option for everyday spending.

Apply here for the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card with two Welcome Flight Rewards worth up to 50,000 Aeroplan points each (for a total of up to 100,000 points in value). 

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

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
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • 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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