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On Dec. 2, Air Canada launched a brand new credit card for U.S. consumers — and it's clear that the Canadian airline is certainly looking to make a splash. The new Chase-issued Aeroplan® Credit Card is offering a sign-up bonus: Earn 2 Welcome Flight Rewards (worth up to 100,000 total points) after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, as an added perk, new cardholders get Aeroplan elite status for up to two years.
The benefits of this card make it quite enticing, but there are some aspects to keep in mind before signing up. Here are the things to know before getting the Chase Aeroplan® Credit Card.
What to know before getting the Aeroplan® Credit Card
1. The sign-up bonus offers award certificates, not points
The new cardholder offer on the Aeroplan® Credit Card is pretty exciting, providing up to 100,000 points in value. However, you won't earn any actual points from the sign-up bonus. Instead, new Aeroplan® Credit Card holders can earn two Flight Reward Certificates worth 50,000 points each after spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening the card.
This is a sign-up bonus unlike what we've seen on other airline cards, which typically offer bonus miles instead of mileage certificates. We've recently seen similar certificate-based sign-up bonuses offered on hotel credit cards. If you're familiar with those offers, there are two key differences to note about the sign-up bonus on the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
First, these certificates won't expire as long as you have the credit card open. So you can save them to use when you're ready to take a big overseas trip. Also, you can top off these award certificates with Aeroplan points to maximize their value. Say you want to book a 65,000-point award. You can apply a 50,000-point certificate and then make up the 15,000-point difference with a stash of points to book the award.
2. Check your email for a special invite if you signed up for the waitlist
To build excitement when originally announcing the new credit card, Aeroplan gave members the chance to sign up for a waitlist. One of the incentives for doing so: you'd get 10,000 bonus points on top of the sign-up bonus. Aeroplan further sweetened that offer by adding 10 eUpgrade certificates, which can be exchanged for upgrades to premium cabins on any flight operated by Air Canada.
If you signed up for the waitlist, keep an eye on your email for a special link to sign up for the Aeroplan® Credit Card with this enhanced bonus. You’ll need to apply via that link and be approved for the card by Feb. 15, 2022, to get the special offer.
3. You can redeem Aeroplan points on 45 different airlines
Aeroplan is the Air Canada loyalty program, but you're certainly not limited to using your Aeroplan points on Air Canada. In fact, Aeroplan members can redeem points for award travel on 45 different airlines — including United, ANA, Air New Zealand, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Etihad, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, TAP Portugal and many more.
Many sweet spots of the Aeroplan program are on these partner airlines. Some excellent Aeroplan redemption options include:
Award flights within North America on United or Air Canada for just 6,000 points.
Award flights to Hawaii from 12,500 points each way in economy class, or 25,000 points each way in business.
Business class awards to Europe from 60,000 points each way.
Even better, you don't have to worry about paying high out-of-pocket costs on these awards. Aeroplan no longer charges fuel surcharges on any awards.
4. Carefully time when you sign up to maximize elite status
New Aeroplan® Credit Card holders get Aeroplan's introductory 25K elite status level for the remainder of the year in which you sign up plus the following calendar year.
If you apply for the card in January 2022, you'll get 25K elite status perks through Dec. 31, 2023. If that timeline doesn’t work for you, aim to apply as early in a calendar year as possible. If you're nearing the end of a calendar year, you may want to wait until the next year to apply for the Aeroplan® Credit Card to get elite status for even longer.
There is a special exception to promote the card launch, however. Aeroplan is offering cardholders who apply in December 2021 the same elite status benefits through the end of 2023 as if you applied in 2022.
5. The Aeroplan® Credit Card is a World Elite Mastercard
If you have another Chase card, it's likely a Visa-branded credit card, as only a couple of Chase cards operate on the Mastercard payment network. These include the Chase Freedom Flex℠, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and now, the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
Mastercard cards are generally as widely accepted as Visa cards. However, a few merchants won't accept payments by Mastercard. Perhaps the most notable is Costco, which accepts only Visa-branded credit cards in stores.
As a World Elite Mastercard, the Aeroplan® Credit Card comes with perks like cell phone protection, ID theft protection, 24/7 concierge service, complimentary ShopRunner membership, Lyft credits, DoorDash credits and more.
» Learn more: What benefits come with a World Elite Mastercard?
6. The card offers 'exponential' spending incentives
Aeroplan representatives have made it clear that they want to incentivize cardholders to spend on their cards. So Aeroplan and Chase set up several spending incentives for cardholders. These fall into several categories:
Bonus points: You'll earn 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month, up to 1,500 bonus points per month.
Elite status: Spend $15,000 in a year to earn Aeroplan's lowest tier of elite status: 25K. If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year, you'll earn a one-level elite status boost. That means you'll get at least 35K elite status. Frequent flyers with a higher level of elite status will get even higher elite status. So if you earn 50K elite status from flying, you'll be bumped up to 75K.
Award discounts: Cardholders can earn 50% off Priority Rewards when they achieve set spending thresholds ($100,000, $250,000, $500,000 and $750,000). Cardholders that spend at least $1 million in a year earn a Global+1 pass, which cardholders can use to take a designated companion with them on any award for no additional cost.
7. 5/24 restrictions
Chase has an unpublished — but well-known — application restriction known as the 5/24 rule. In short, you're unlikely to be approved for any new Chase credit card if you've opened five or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months.
The Aeroplan® Credit Card just launched, so we can't be sure yet. However, we can assume that the Aeroplan® Credit Card will be subject to these application restrictions.
» Learn more: Chase's 5/24 rule explained
If you're considering the Aeroplan® Credit Card
Even if you don't travel on Air Canada often, the Aeroplan® Credit Card is an appealing card. The sign-up bonus and spending on the card will earn you Aeroplan points that can be redeemed on up to 45 airlines.
The Aeroplan® Credit Card is even more appealing for frequent Air Canada travelers. You'll get 25K elite status as a benefit of signing up for the card. By spending $50,000, you'll get a one-level elite status boost, guaranteeing 35K elite status — or even higher status if you earn elite status from flying. Just be sure you have a slot to apply given Chase credit card line requirements.
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