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American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card Review

American Express AeroplanPlus CardIt’s not every day that a Canadian credit card offers enough welcome bonus points for two free flights, let alone a free companion ticket! Then again, it’s not every day that a credit card comes with a $499 annual fee.

But sometimes, paying a lot, just means you’re getting more. That’s exactly what we believe is the case with the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card – you’re getting more.

Get 40,000 Aeroplan miles if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. That’s enough miles for 2 round-trip flights to anywhere within continental North America.

Despite the annual fee, this card gives out oodles of value. From a 40,000 mile welcome bonus, to a free companion ticket, to free unlimited airport lounge access, an upgrade to Fairmont’s Platinum status, and a robust insurance package, we estimate this card spits out $1,350 in value in the first year before you’ve taking into account rewards from spend – a rare opportunity.

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American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Benefits

The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum card offers 1.25 miles on your first $25,000 of spend and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases over $25,000. The earn rate is ok, but frankly, you might be able to do better with the Amex Gold Rewards card which earns 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, pharmacy, and travel and 1 point everywhere else – and then convert those points to Aeroplan 1:1.

The 50,000 mile bonus is superb. What we like about the Amex bonus structure, is that as soon as you meet the minimum spend requirement of $3,000 in the first 3 months, the entire bonus is yours. There’s no requirement for additional cardholders, no additional spend criteria, no fine print.

50,000 Aeroplan miles is a very generous bonus. It gets you a return flight from anywhere in Canada, to any other destination in continental North America. That’s 2 flights from Vancouver to Florida, Toronto to Los Angeles or Montreal to Vancouver and back. Compare it to some of the other best Aeroplan credit card bonuses in Canada to see just how well it ranks.

Here are some of the benefits of this card that really make it standout:

1. Free Companion Ticket: Once per year, get a free companion ticket when you redeem 15,000 Aeroplan miles for a short-haul flight
2. Priority Check-in: Skip the queue with access to Air Canada’s priority check-in on all flights booked with your credit card!
3. Free Unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge Access: Get free access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges. All you have to do is show your credit card and your Air Canada or partner airline ticket and you’re good to go!
4. Free International Lounge Access: Get access to over 700 lounges worldwide with Priority Pass Membership
5. Fairmont President’s Platinum Club Membership: Stay at a Fairmont Hotel for 5 nights and get enrolled in the Fairmont President’s Platinum Club. Membership gets you a free hotel night, complimentary room upgrades, $100 USD in Fairmont dining certificates, and more.
6. Comprehensive Travel Insurance: The card comes with trip cancellation, travel medical, trip interruption, flight delay, baggage delay, lost or stolen baggage, $500,000 travel accident, purchase assurance, extended warranty, car rental insurance.
7.  1.25 Miles Per Dollar Spent: 1.25 miles per $1 of spend on the first $25,000 of spend, 1.5 miles on everything else.
8. Earn Two Times The Miles: Earn Aeroplan miles when you use your credit card and then again when you use your Aeroplan membership card!

Worth It?
Because we estimate each Aeroplan mile to be worth 1.4 cents, the 40,000 mile welcome bonus alone is worth $560, making the $499 annual fee worth it. The free short-haul companion ticket free adds another $150 of value at a minimum. The free lounge access is worth a $99 annual fee and about $25 a visit – a value of about $200 a year, if you travel twice a year.

In addition you’re getting comprehensive travel insurance, Fairmont Hotel benefits, and of course miles on spend. If you happen to spend a lot in categories other than travel, gas, grocery and pharmacy, this card offers the best value.

So for $499 you’re getting $700 (welcome bonus) + $150 (companion ticket) + $200 (lounge access) + $300 (travel insurance)= $1,350 in benefits. We’d say it passes the value score.

Eligibility
The great thing about American Express is that it doesn’t have ANY minimum income requirements, unlike the super-premium Mastercard and Visa credit cards, which require $200,000 of annual income. And, the formerly discouraging requirement that applicants be bankruptcy-free for 7 years, has now (as of July 2017) been reduced to 2 years only.

Better Offers?

Let us know if there’s a better offer in Canada for this card or an alternative. That said, in our opinion this offer is exceptionally strong, and gives more than it takes.

Apply Now!

6 comments

  1. The Air Canada lounge access is only available if you got your flight with aeroplan points. If you don’t have an aeroplan ticket, no lounge access.

    Also, the PriorityPass may give you access, but you still have to pay US$27 per visit per person.

    So in the end, the lounge access “benefits” of this card is garbage.

    • Hey John, thanks so much for leaving your comments. We highly appreciate hearing about the experiences of our readers, whether positive or negative. On that note: let’s address your issues with the Air Canada lounge. First of all, you’re totally correct. Air Canada, like most airline rewards programs, requires that you redeem your points on a flight in order to benefit from the various auxiliary features like lounge access, free baggage, etc. This is an unfortunate truth across the board, but it makes sense, considering that these rewards were designed for those who accrue and redeem points very frequently. If you have other credit cards and cannot focus all of your spending on one rewards system, you might not get the most out of it.

      Additionally, one must understand that airport lounges are not that big. They have limited room, and offer a huge array of free amenities that are otherwise quite expensive for people without access. The priority pass simply makes these benefits more valuable in relation to the cost of entry. Look at it this way: everyone must pay, but you pay less for the same privileges. Some don’t get in at all!

      GreedyRates Staff

    • @John
      When I look at the AC site, and the Maple Leaf Lounge section, there is a drop down “qualifying customers” and it shows (amongst others) “Holders of one of these American Express AeroplanPlus cards: Reserve, Platinum or Corporate Platinum” There seems to be no caveat as to also holding a ticket booked on points.
      Maybe I am reading it wrong, but it looks pretty straightforward?

      • Further info grabbed from the ‘footnotes’ section of Amex APP Plat card below.

        If this is as straightforward as it seems, then the $499/yr fee actually is $nil (fee less the $665/yr chg for unlimited access to ‘all’ MpLf lounges – i do not see any specifics as to which lounges you have access to, so assuming all). If you do not already have access to these lounges, and travel with any frequency, seems like a win-win.

        “Subject to space availability. American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Cardmembers may access the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, where available, upon presentation of their American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card and a confirmed, same-day departing ticket on a flight operated by Air Canada, Air Canada rouge or under the Air Canada express banner. Also applicable on same-day departing Air Canada codeshare or select Air Canada partner airline flights. Not valid in conjunction with an airline employee travel ticket or an airline partner pass travel ticket. For a nominal entry fee, Cardmember is permitted paid guests in the lounge, pending space availability. Access is subject to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge terms and conditions and may not be available due to unforeseen circumstances.”

  2. The information above about the Priority Pass lounge pass is incorrect. Yes you get the $99 pass for free however you must pay $27us per person for each visit. This is as set out in the cards terms on their website.
    (see Footnote #22 on the Amex web page for this card.)

    Also airports, even large airports like ORD and LAX will have one or two applicable lounges but if you aren’t flying out of the particular terminal where the lounge is located, you can’t access the lounge.

    Still a good card for its benefits.

    • Hi Rick, thanks for your great comments. We love to read your observations and opinions on the Greedyrates site as this helps us to educate our other readers. We’ve actually heard similar comments about the Priority Pass, from those who were disappointed that they have to pay when entering the airport lounge. It’s certainly true that it isn’t the best feeling to pay for entry, even to such a nice place. But rest assured that no one gets into the lounge for free, because the services there are expensive. Free food, Wi-Fi, private resting areas, TV, conference rooms and more await those who are able to get in. Many pay much more than $27 for entrance, or simply have no access at all. We think that the value is pretty good, considering that if you want the same benefits from the regular terminal, you must pay as much or more.

      Additionally, you’re correct that you must be on a flight whose gate is in the same terminal as the lounge, but this is not a limitation of the card or the priority pass, but rather the rules of the airport. Even despite these drawbacks, we’re happy you think the card is worthwhile (and we agree!). Thanks again for commenting.

      GreedyRates Staff

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