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Air Canada announced a brand new credit card for U.S. travelers: the Aeroplan® Credit Card. This card launched on Dec. 2, 2021 and offers a wide range of perks for a $95 annual fee.
So is the Aeroplan® Credit Card worth it — particularly for U.S.-based travelers? Let's walk through some examples to see if the Aeroplan® Credit Card is right for your situation.
The Aeroplan® Credit Card annual fee is worth it if you …
Fly Air Canada
If you periodically fly on Air Canada, the Aeroplan® Credit Card is likely worth its annual fee. Cardholders earn 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on all Air Canada purchases charged to the Aeroplan® Credit Card. Then, when it comes to redeeming those Aeroplan points, primary cardholders get discounted redemption rates for award flights on Air Canada.
Primary cardholders get a free checked bag when flying on Air Canada — including for up to eight other passengers on the same itinerary.
Perhaps best of all, you'll get Aeroplan 25K elite status for the remainder of the calendar year in which you sign up for the Aeroplan® Credit Card plus the entire next calendar year. After that, you'll have to spend $15,000 per year to maintain this elite status for future years. This intro-level elite status is enough to get you priority check-in, early boarding, upgrades and more when flying on Air Canada.
Fly United or other Star Alliance airlines
Even if you don't fly on Air Canada that often, the Aeroplan® Credit Card may be worth its annual fee by using perks on partner airlines like United.
Aeroplan 25K elite status grants members Star Alliance Silver status, which comes with basic perks like priority airport standby and priority reservation waitlisting. Plus, you can redeem Aeroplan points for award travel on 45 partner airlines.
» Learn more: Sweet spots of the Air Canada Aeroplan program
Spend heavily on dining and groceries
Aeroplan® Credit Card earns 3 points per dollar spent in three bonus categories: groceries, dining (at restaurants, takeout and food delivery services) and Air Canada purchases.
NerdWallet's base value for Aeroplan points is 1.9 cents per point. That means earning 3 points per dollar in these categories yields a return of 5.7% on your spending — a solid return, especially for a credit card with just a $95 annual fee.
Even better, if you spend $2,000 or more on your Aeroplan® Credit Card in a calendar month, you'll earn another 500 bonus points (up to 1,500 bonus points per calendar month). And by spending $15,000 in a calendar year, you'll maintain the 25K elite status. Between these perks — and additional spending bonuses — high spenders can really rack up the rewards.
» Learn more: The smart traveler’s guide to Air Canada Aeroplan
Want to sign up for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS
Even though the Aeroplan® Credit Card charges a $95 annual fee, you can get up to a $100 statement credit from a single card perk. By charging a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS application fee to your Aeroplan® Credit Card, you'll receive a statement credit of up to $100.
Also, most credit cards that offer a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credit are premium credit cards. That makes the $95 annual fee Aeroplan® Credit Card stand out on the list.
» Learn more: How to get TSA PreCheck for free
Want to use your Aeroplan points to pay for other travel purchases
In May 2020, Chase launched "Pay Yourself Back" to give grounded travelers a way to redeem their Ultimate Rewards® points to offset qualifying purchases at an elevated rate. Soon, Chase will expand Pay Yourself Back to its first co-branded credit card: the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
Cardholders of the Aeroplan® Credit Card will be able to redeem up to 50,000 Aeroplan points per year to offset travel purchases on any airline, hotel, car rental or other travel purchase at a redemption rate of 1.25 cents. That's not a bad redemption rate.
However, keep in mind that NerdWallet found the base redemption rate for Aeroplan points is 1.9 cents per point, so this option certainly isn't maxing each point's potential value.
Value offsetting the carbon emissions on your flight
One of the unique perks of the Aeroplan® Credit Card is automatic carbon offsets anytime the cardmember travels on Air Canada (or its subsidiaries) using Aeroplan points or reward certificates. If you'd otherwise purchase carbon offsets, getting the Aeroplan® Credit Card could cut down on your out-of-pocket cost.
The Aeroplan® Credit Card annual fee is not worth it if you …
Don't fly Air Canada, United or other Star Alliance partners
Many of the valuable perks of the Aeroplan® Credit Card are only available when you fly on Air Canada, United or other Star Alliance partners. So, you probably want to skip getting the card if you don't travel to Canada often or if United isn't the best choice from your home airport.
Already have certain other Chase credit cards
For current Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders, the Aeroplan® Credit Card may not provide enough additional value to justify the annual fee.
You can already earn 5 Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards® portal or 3 Ultimate Rewards® points on all other travel and dining purchases. Chase Ultimate Rewards® can be transferred to Air Canada at a 1:1 ratio, so if you only need Air Canada points occasionally, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a good alternative.
Plus, you already get perks like airport lounges through Priority Pass, a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit and the ability to redeem points through Pay Yourself Back.
Want flexibility to fly on an even wider variety of airlines
Aeroplan boasts that it's the "industry's most globally connected program with more than 45 partner airlines." Indeed, that's an impressive number of airline partners. However, you can get access to an even broader set of airline partners by earning transferable bank points instead.
For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer to 11 airline partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan. Each of these airline loyalty programs offers access to dozens of airline partners. That means you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards® to access award flights on at least Aeroplan's 45 partner airlines, plus even more through Chase's other airline partners.
If you're weighing the cost of the Aeroplan® Credit Card ...
Consider your travel preferences. If you fly Air Canada — even periodically — the wide-ranging perks could mean the Aeroplan® Credit Card is worth its annual fee. You'll earn bonus points when making Air Canada purchases and get preferred pricing when redeeming points for flights on Air Canada. Even better, Air Canada will offset carbon emissions when you redeem Aeroplan points for Air Canada flights.
However, you should factor in which perks you already have through other credit cards. The Aeroplan® Credit Card may not be worth its annual fee if you already have lounge access, application fee credits and other perks through cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or other premium travel cards.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card