TD, CIBC and American Express continue their fight to offer the strongest Aeroplan credit card program in the country. Our analysis shows that of the Aeroplan credit card options, the American Express Gold Rewards card (hybrid) and the new TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite cards, are currently the best Aeroplan offerings in the marketplace today.
TD Aeroplan currently has an unprecedented 30,000 point sign-up bonus, no annual fee in the first year, plus earn double Aeroplan miles on gas, grocery, drugstore and aircanada.com purchases for the first 90 days – that’s 3 miles instead of 1.5 miles for every $1 spent (TD’s offer is available exclusively on GreedyRates.ca until May 27th, 2016 – you won’t find it in branches).
Below is a quick comparison of the sign-up bonus, annual fee, point accumulation and insurance coverages offered by each Aeroplan credit card currently in the market. Although not officially an Aeroplan credit card, we included the Amex Gold rewards card because you’re able to transfer its Amex points 1:1 to Aeroplan, giving cardholders significant flexiblity to book through Aeroplan or Amex at their option.
|TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum||American Express Aeroplan Plus||CIBC Aerogold||CIBC Aerogold Infinite||TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite||American Express AeroplanPlus Gold||American Express Gold Rewards
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege||American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum|
|Annual Fee||$89||$60||$120||$120||$0 1st Yr $120 After||$120||$0 1st Yr $150 After||$399||$499|
|Signing Bonus Points||10,000||5,000||15,000||15,000||30,000||15,000||25,000||55,000||40,000|
|Basic Rewards||.66 pt : $1||1 pt : $1||1 pt : $1||1 pt : $1||1 pt : $1||1 pt : $1||1 pt : $1||1.25 pt : $1||1.25 pt : $1|
|Accelerated Rewards||1 pt : $1 (gas, grocery, drugstore)||1 pt : $1||1.5 pt : $1 (gas, grocery, drugstore)||1.5 pt : $1 (gas, grocery, drugstore)||3 pt : $1 limited time 1st 90 days promo (gas, grocery, drugstore & Air Canada) 1.5 pt : $1 (gas, grocery, drugstore & Air Canada)||1.25 pt : $1 on spend > $10K||2 pt : $1 (gas, grocery, drugstore & travel)||1.5 pt : $1 (gas, grocery, drugstore)||1.5 pt : $1 on spend > $25K|
|Insurance||Auto Rental||Travel Accident||Auto Rental, Travel Accident, Flight Delay, Baggage||Auto Rental, Travel Accident, Flight Delay, Baggage, Trip Interruption, Out of Province Travel Medical||Auto Rental,
Out of Province Travel Medical
|Auto Rental, Travel Accident, Flight Delay, Baggage, Hotel/Motel Burglary||Auto Rental, Travel Accident, Flight Delay, Baggage, Trip Interruption, Out of Province Travel Medical, Hotel/Motel Burglary||Auto Rental, Trip Cancellation, Out of Province Travel Medical||Auto Rental, Trip Cancellation, Travel Accident, Flight Delay, Baggage, Trip Interruption, Out of Province Travel Medical, Hotel Motel Burglary|
|Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
What the above chart clearly shows, is that the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card and the Amex Gold Rewards card have the heftiest up-front bonuses of 30,000 & 25,000 points each among the infinite cards, and both have attractive first year annual fee waivers.
TD’s current Aeroplan Infinite offer gives you 10,000 miles on activation, another 15,000 miles if you keep your card open and in good standing for 90 days – no minimum spend is required, and another 5,000 miles if you add an authorized user. Plus earn double Aeroplan miles on gas, grocery, drugstore and aircanada.com purchases for the first 90 days – that’s 3 miles instead of 1.5 miles for every $1 spent! The offer is available for a limited time until May 27, 2016
Amex requires $1,500 spend in the first 90 days to be eligible for its 25,000 welcome bonus points.
We think the combination of a high welcome bonus and no cost in the first year make great opportunities to jump start your Aeroplan miles at virtually no cost. You’re getting a round-trip, coach class ticket to anywhere within North America for free. That’s a great opportunity. Get both cards and you have two free tickets, with no annual fee.
Because the American Express Gold Rewards card allows users to transfer its points 1:1 to Aeroplan points, it effectively offers 2 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, drugstore and travel, and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. CIBC only offers 1.5 points on gas, groceries and drugstore, which is 25% less than the Gold Rewards earn rate, and they only offer 1 point per $1 spent on travel (TD offers 1.5 points on online Air Canada bookings). The Gold Rewards card gives 2 points per $1 spent on all travel expenses (flights, hotels, cruises, car rental, taxis, etc…), which not only makes it a great travel redemption card, but also a great travel earn card!
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and Amex Gold Rewards cards also offer the highest welcome bonuses of 30,000 & 25,000 points to start, while the CIBC card only offers 15,000 points currently. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and Amex Gold Rewards card also waive the first year annual fee, a value of $120-$150, making it virtually risk free to try-out. It also makes the 30,000 and 25,000 point sign-up bonuses free. CIBC is now charging the first year annual fee, although they have been making annual fee waiver offers to select applicants. Lastly, with an insurance package that is as good or better than the competition, we think the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and Amex Gold Rewards Card have the best value among any Aeroplan credit cards currently being offered in Canada.
Aside from the economic value of the Gold Rewards card, what really distinguishes it from the other Aeroplan cards, is that if you can’t find the flight you’re looking for with Air Canada, you can transfer your Amex points to Avios 1:1, or use them as Amex points for ANY travel expense, making it the most flexible option among the Aeroplan credit cards. CIBC used to allow cardholders to transfer points from Aventura to Aeroplan, but has discontinued that point exchange program unfortunately. We love the flexibility, and with Aeroplan’s black-out dates, we think it’s a very valuable one.
There are several nice value added features on the TD Aeroplan cards as well: free chacked bag, priority check-in, priority boarding and 1 free Maple Lounge pass per year on Aeroplan flights operated by Air Canada. Plus, up to 35% fewer miles needed for Market Fare Flight Rewards as an Aeroplan Distinction member. Also, get faster access to Distinction status, Aeroplan’s recognition program that offers a range of Distinction benefits such as exclusive flight rewards, bonus mile offers and privileges.
All in all, we think the American Express Gold Rewards Card and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Cards are the two best Aeroplan credit card offers in Canada right now. They come with a 25,000 and 30,000 mile sign-up bonus respecitvely, and no annual fee in the first year. Given the no annual fee promo, we would recommend getting both cards, and jump starting your Aeroplan Miles with up to 55,000 points – enough to fly business class return to anywhere in North America!
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