Top five 2018 Aeroplan (and points convertible to Aeroplan) Cards in Canada

Aeroplan card

Despite all it’s recent woes, Aeroplan is still Canada’s most popular airline rewards program. Currently there are more than a dozen Canadian cards that offer Aeroplan rewards (or rewards that can convert to Aeroplan). But one size does not fit all when it comes to rewards cards. Figuring out which card option is the best for you can be an overwhelming task.

To keep it simple for you, BoomerTraveller has analyzed the key information of all cards available in Canada. Here we recommend only the five best personal travel cards for collecting Aeroplan points.

A few points to consider before choosing a card:

  • The best way to get points fast is not to get a card and keep it for life, but to “churn” your cards, collecting the sign-up bonuses.
  • Some cards have higher earn rates on certain types of spending (like gas or groceries). A card that gets you more than 1 point per $1 on all spending is better.
  • Unless you are fixated on a particular airline, hotel or lounge brand, the greater the flexibility you have in using the points and the broader the program partnerships, the better the card. This means cards with points that convert to Aeroplan may be a better deal than cards that just give Aeroplan points directly.
  • Most of the cost of an annual fee is for the perks (like points, lounges, and insurance). A high fee usually comes with lots of perks. If you don’t use the perks, then the fee might be wasted.
  • BoomerTraveller tends to prefer American Express cards because they give the biggest welcome bonus and, compared to the big five banks, are a delight to deal with.
  • BoomerTraveller is not a fan of credit cards that require you to use their travel services as they are generally more expensive and reduce options.
  • The big orange and white elephant in the room is what will happen to Aeroplan when they part ways with Air Canada in 2020. Well, the future is uncertain. It always is. Aeroplan remains the most popular airline reward program in Canada. That being said, points are meant to be used, so if you are hoarding points for a rainy day, our advice is to use them.
  • Use the detailed Aeroplan Reward Chart. Knowing in advance how many points you need for the trip you want will help simplify your choice. Figure out how many points you need for the trip you want, then go get the points. Use them on a great trip. Rinse and repeat. Frequently.

BEST TRAVEL CARD FOR THE FREQUENT TRAVELLER, BEST TRAVEL PERKS, BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE AND MORE

AMERICAN EXPRESS THE PLATINUM CARD (This is a referral)
Annual Fee: $699 (effectively $299 if you use the Annual Travel Credit correctly – see below)
Minimum Spend: $3000 first three months
Welcome Bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points if you use this link (otherwise only 50,000 points)
Earn: 1.25 points per $1 spent
Personal Income: $0
Travel Perks:

  • $200 CAD Travel Credit each calendar year; renews every January (that’s $200 in 2018, $200 in 2019 = $400 in your first 12 months if you plan it right)
  • Convert points at 1:1 or better to a large number of points programs
  • Airport Lounge: over 1000 airport lounges worldwide
  • discounted companion tickets, complimentary upgrades, special airfares
  • Special benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Gold status with Club Carlson Rezidor Hotels; Hilton Donors; Starwood Preferred Guest, and selected car rental programs
  • …and many other perks!

Why Boomer Traveller Recommends This Card:
The Platinum Card is simply the best travel card, offering the most perks for frequent flyers in the Canadian travel market. See BoomerTraveller’s detailed review here.

BEST TRAVEL CARD FOR THE NO-FRILLS OCCASIONAL TRAVELLER

AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD REWARDS CARD (This is not a referral)
Annual Fee: $150
Minimum Spend: $1500 first three months
Welcome Bonus: 25,000 Membership Rewards points (converts 1:1 to Areoplan)
Earn: 2 points per $1 on eligible travel and everyday purchases; 1 point per $1 everywhere else; 1 additional point per $1 you charge on eligible purchases made with American Express Travel
Personal Income: $0
Travel Perks:

  • American Express Membership Rewards points are the most flexible travel point currencies available to Canadians
  • A $75 USD hotel credit for amenities such as dining, spa or other leisure facilities charged to the room
  • Hertz Car Rental Benefit
  • Travel Insurance : Emergency Medical Insurance out of province/country (15 days coverage for each trip, under the age of 65); Trip Interruption Insurance; Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance; Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance; Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance, Flight Delay Insurance; $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance

Why Boomer Traveller Recommends This Card:
This is a largely no frills card that gives flexible travel points with a better than average earn rate and a 25,000 point sign up bonus – great for churning.

BEST CARD FOR MAXIMUM TRAVEL FLEXIBILITY AND HOTELS

STARWOOD PREFERRED GUEST CREDIT CARD FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS (This is a referral)
Annual Fee: $120
Minimum Spend: $1500 first three months
Welcome Bonus: 20,000 SPG Starpoints (currently converts to 25,000 Aeroplan points)
Earn: 1 Starpoint for every $1 in purchases; and 2 Starpoints per $1 of eligible purchases at SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels until July 31, 2018; Receive a free weekend night award when you reach $40,000 in purchases each year
Personal Income: $0
Travel Perks:

  • No blackout dates on more than 150 airlines (including a 1:1.25 conversion to Aeroplan)
  • Transfer Starpoints to frequent flyer miles with ~30 airlines, usually on a 1:1 basis or better
  • No blackout dates at more than 1,300 hotels/resorts in over 100 countries – SPG has the largest network of hotels in the world
  • Automatic upgrade to Starwood Gold Preferred Guest membership when you reach 30,000 in purchases each year
  • Insurance: Travel Emergency Assistance; $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance; Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance; Flight Delay Insurance; Lost or Stolen Bag Insurance; Hotel / Motel Burglary Insurance

Why BoomerTraveller Recommends This Card
The SPG Credit Card from American Express has one of the best welcome bonuses in the business: 20,000 SPG Starpoints (enough for 5 nights in a category 2 hotel)
See detailed review here.

BEST CARD FOR MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE ACCESS

AMERICAN EXPRESS AEROPLANPLUS PLATINUM CARD (This is not a referral)
Annual Fee: $499
Minimum Spend: $3,000 in the first three months
Welcome Bonus: 40,000 Aeroplan Miles
Earn: 1.25 Aeroplan Miles per $1 up to $25,000 annually; 1.5 miles per $1 over $25,000 annually
Personal Income: $0
Travel Perks:

  • Annual Partner Ticket – once a year you can redeem 15,000 Aeroplan Miles for a short haul roundtrip Fixed Milage Flight Reward in Economy and receive a second Partner ticket for the same itinerary
  • Airport Lounge Access: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Priority Pass Membership
  • Air Canada Priority Check-In
  • Complimentary valet service at Pearson Airport
  • Free Leaders Club membership from The Leading Hotels of the World
  • Travel Insurance: Emergency Medical Insurance out of province/country (first 15 days under the age of 65); Trip Cancellation Insurance; Trip Interruption Insurance; $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance; Travel Emergency Assistance; Flight Delay Insurance; Baggage Delay Insurance; Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance; Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance; Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance

Why BoomerTraveller Recommends This Card
This card is more expensive than all the other cards recommended (note the American Express Platinum Card which has an annual fee of $699 really only costs $299 if the Annual Travel Credit is correctly used.) However this one does give great lounge access including the Maple Leaf Lounge, which is useful in some cities like Ottawa, which only has Porter and Maple Leaf lounges. You also get an annual Partner ticket, which can seriously offset the fee.

BEST VISA AEROPLAN CARD

CIBC AEROGOLD VISA INFINITE PRIVILEGE (This is not a referral)
Annual Fee: $399
Minimum Spend: $1,000 first three months
Welcome Bonus: 25,000 Aeroplan Miles / up to 50,000 Aeroplan Miles if you’re a new cardholder
Earn: 1.5 miles per $1 spent on eligible purchases; 1.25 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases; bonus miles with partners
Minimum Income: $200,000
Travel Perks:

  • Air Canada perks: increased base Aeroplan earning rate of 1.25 miles per $1 spend, free checked bags, complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge passes, priority check-in & boarding, and a 50% discounted business class companion ticket yearly.
  • Lounge Access: 4 annual passes to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge; 6 annual Priroity Pass passes
  • Visa Infinite Perks: Concierge, Hotel perks (e.g., upgrades, best rate guarantee, free wi-fi, breakfast late checkout); airport parking and valet services; Fairmont President’s Club Elevated Status
  • Aeroplan Airline Partner transfer options
  • Insurance: Out-of-Province Emergency Travel Medical Insurance (31 days 64 or younger; 10 days 65 or older); Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance; Flight Delay and Baggage Insurance; Auto Rental Collision and Loss Damage Insurance; Common Carrier; Accident Insurance; Hotel and Motel Burglary Insurance

Why BoomerTraveller Recommends This Card
This is a solid travel card with a good earn rate, insurance that remembers the over-65 crowd, and comes from a Canadian Bank instead of American Express.

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