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Published September 23, 2022

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card Review

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Best for travellers who want a premium credit card with healthy earn rates and exceptional benefits.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve rating: 4.0/5.0 stars

View star rating methodology.

American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card

  • Annual Fee
    $599
  • Interest Rates
    20.99% / 21.99%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.25x-3x Points
  • Intro Offer
    Up to 85,000 Points
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    Comprehensive travel insurance, Air Canada benefits, impressive earn rates and unlimited rewards make the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card a strong choice for frequent travellers.

    Pros
    • Strong earn rates with unlimited rewards.
    • Air Canada airport benefits, like Maple Leaf Lounge access, a free checked bag, Priority Airport Check-In, Priority Boarding for you and up to eight travel companions.


    Cons
    • A high $599 annual fee.
    • The highest earn rate only applies to Air Canada travel purchases, so this card might not be a good fit if you prefer another airline.
  • Product Details
    • New American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Cardmembers can earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points:
    • Earn 55,000 Aeroplan points after spending $6,000 in net purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
    • Plus, you can also earn 5,000 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $1,000 in purchases on your Card for the first 6 months of Cardmembership. That could add up to 30,000 Aeroplan points.
    • New Cardmembers: Earn up to $2,700 in value within your first year. Spend applies to bonus point offers valued at up to $1,700.
    • New Cardmembers: Receive up to $100 CAD in statement credits every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
    • Standard Earn Rate: Earn 3X the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada®* and Air Canada Vacations®*.
    • Standard Earn Rate: Earn 2X the points on eligible Dining and Food Delivery purchases in Canada.
    • Earn 2X the points on eligible purchases with Rocky Mountaineer®**. Plus, you could receive a Complimentary Hotel Room Category Upgrade, on the first and last night, and a Complimentary Upgrade from SilverLeaf to GoldLeaf class of service when you book directly with Rocky Mountaineer using your Aeroplan Reserve Card.
    • Standard Earn Rate: Earn 1.25X the points on everything else.
    • Get through the airport quicker with Air Canada Priority Check-In, Air Canada Priority Boarding and Air Canada Priority Baggage Handling.
    • Receive one Annual Worldwide Companion Pass when you spend $25,000 in net purchases prior to your Card anniversary date; your Pass entitles you to buy an accompanying Air Canada economy class ticket for a companion at a fixed base fare from $99 to a maximum of $599 CAD (plus taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges).
    • Enjoy access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges™* and Air Canada Café™ in North America for you and a guest, with a same day ticket on a departing Air Canada or Star Alliance flight.
    • Enjoy your eligible first checked bag free for up to 9 people travelling on the same reservation on Air Canada flights.
    • Roll over any unallocated Aeroplan Elite™* Status Qualifying Miles and unused eUpgrade Credits to the following year to enjoy during your travels.
    • American Express® Experiences opens doors for you to access a number of special events, including special dining experiences, VIP parties, advance film screenings and more.
    • Get more from your travel experience at Toronto Pearson International Airport with:
    • Access to Pearson Priority Security Lane.
    • Complimentary valet service at the Express Park and Daily Park.
    • 15% discount on parking rates at the Express Park and Daily Park.
    • 15% discount on Car Care Services.
    • Get access to more than 1,200 Priority Pass™ airport lounges and enjoy an oasis of comfort before your flight, regardless of your airline or cabin class.
    • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card pros and cons

Pros:

  • Elevated earn rates on Air Canada purchases.
  • Priority boarding privileges and access to airport lounges.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance coverage.

Cons:

  • A higher-than-average annual fee.
  • Low earn rates on everyday purchases and non-Air Canada flights.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card Full Review

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is a premium credit card that allows cardmembers to earn Aeroplan points with each purchase. Air Canada’s Aeroplan is one of the country’s most popular loyalty programs for travel rewards. Points can be redeemed for a variety of items, including flights, hotel stays, car rentals and merchandise.

Benefits of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

In addition to generating Aeroplan points that can make travel more affordable, the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card offers some sweet travel perks, including: a free checked bag and priority check-in services for you and up to eight travelling companions; access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges; and complimentary valet service at the Express Park and Daily Park at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Cardmembers are also covered by a robust suite of travel protection benefits. The insurance provided, which includes lost baggage, emergency medical, trip cancellation and hotel burglary coverage, should provide peace of mind while you’re on the road — or in the air.

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card also grants cardmembers access to American Express Experiences, a collection of special dining, shopping and wellness events, and American Express Front Of The Line, which helps cardmembers score presale and reserved tickets for concerts or the next big game.

Drawbacks of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

A drawback of any American Express card is that they aren’t as readily accepted by retailers as Visa and Mastercard.

The card’s annual fee — $599 for the initial card, $199 for each additional card — may be too high for some. It’s possible for the card’s benefits to outweigh the cost, but taking full advantage of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card’s benefits will require frequent travelling, which may not align with everyone’s lifestyle.

The 3s the Aeroplan Points earn rate on Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations purchases is a great plus, but it only applies if you book travel directly through the airline. Book through a third-party and those extra points won’t be awarded.

Is American Express reliable and secure?

With American Express being one of the world’s biggest credit card issuers, their products typically provide a secure way of making purchases in person and online.

If someone steals your credit card information or makes fraudulent purchases with your card, American Express’s Fraud Protection Guarantee ensures you won’t be held responsible for any of the charges.

There have been minor security scares involving American Express customer information in recent years that were either the result of security breaches at third-party sites storing American Express customer data or the work of disgruntled former employees.

American Express customer satisfaction ratings

American Express ranks fourth (and above industry average) in customer satisfaction with credit card issuers, according to J.D. Power’s 2022 Canada Credit Card Satisfaction Study, a survey of 6,478 cardholders in Canada [1]. Card issuers were rated on their benefits and services, communication, card terms, customer support and rewards. The credit card issuers with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the survey were Tangerine Bank and Canadian Tire.

American Express had a Trustpilot rating of 1.7 out of a possible 5 stars, based on more than 2,500 reviews, at the time of this writing.

American Express had a Better Business Bureau rating of 1.07 out of a possible 5 stars, based on nearly 300 reviews, at the time of this writing.

American Express had a Customer Service Scoreboard rating of 36.52 out of a possible 200, based on over 300 ratings, at the time of this writing.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card details and eligibility

Who qualifies for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card?

To apply for the American Express Aeroplan Card, you must:

  • Be a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file.
  • Be the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

Approximate credit score needed for approval

Canadian credit card issuers rarely disclose required credit scores, which makes it hard to know your chances of approval when comparing credit cards. It also means any score suggestion we make would be our best guess — which may not be accurate and could result in card application rejections. We don’t want that.

Suggesting that you’d need a “good” or “excellent” score would also be confusing because the meaning of those terms can vary depending on the rating system card issuers use.

Instead, we’ll tell you what we do know: higher scores have better chances of approval — that’s true no matter what type of credit you’re applying for. Visit our “What Credit Score is Needed for a Credit Card?” page to learn more.

» MORE: How to Check Your Credit Score 

Income requirements

There is no publicly available minimum income requirement for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Who should get the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card?

Because of the perks involved, including airport lounge access, priority boarding and 3x the Aeroplan points on Air Canada purchases, the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is best suited for frequent travellers who will be able to squeeze enough value from the card to offset its steep annual fee.

How to know if the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is right for you

If you can handle the annual fee, deciding whether the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is right for you comes down to the benefits. If you’re the kind of traveller who would make use of travel perks like airport lounge access and priority boarding, or who regularly flies out of Toronto Pearson Airport, where some of the benefits are concentrated, you’ll likely get your money’s worth — and then some.

» MORE: Best Aeroplan Rewards Cards in Canada

Value of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card’s welcome offer: $2,600+

In the first year, cardmembers can earn up to $2,600 or more in value, including:

  • Up to 85,000 bonus Aeroplan points (worth up to $1,700).
  • Free first checked bags for two people flying round drip in the first year ($120).
  • Unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge access in North America ($550 annually).
  • Complimentary guest access to Maple Leaf Lounge in North America ($50)
  • Priority Pass Membership ($99 USD annually)
  • Usage of the statement credit benefit for the NEXUS Card in the first year (up to $100 every four years).
  • Complimentary valet service at Toronto Pearson International Airport ($15).
  • Discounted car care and parking at Toronto Pearson International Airport ($12.90).

Is the American Express Aeroplan Card Reserve worth it?

If you regularly take to the skies, getting your money’s worth out of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card won’t take long.

Take a few flights with a travelling companion, for example, and you could save hundreds of dollars on checked bags and lounge access. And if you’re a regular Air Canada traveller, the increased earn rate on direct purchases with the airline can really boost your Aeroplan point totals.

The Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card’s included insurance coverage is expansive, too, and can be invaluable if something goes awry the next time you’re on the road.

Point value breakdown

NerdWallet searched more than 75 flights in 2021 and 2022 to determine the average value for Air Canada flights.

  • Based on our analysis, the average value of 1 Aeroplan point is 2.23 cents.

More specifically, you can expect to get:

  • Around 1.69 cents in value per Aeroplan point for economy class awards on Air Canada.
  • Around 2.81 cents in value per Aeroplan point for business class awards on Air Canada flights.

How to apply for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

The application process for the American Express Aeroplan Card is fairly straightforward:

  1. Visit the American Express CA home page.
  2. Select the card you wish to apply for.
  3. Read the product information, then read and agree to the card’s requirements.
  4. Provide your personal information, including your name, address and date of birth. Entering your Social Insurance Number is optional but encouraged.
  5. Enter your employment and income details.
  6. Confirm your information.
  7. Read and agree to the terms and conditions.
  8. Submit your application.

How to maximize the Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card’s benefits

To get the most out of your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card:

  • Hit all the spending targets in the first six months to ensure you receive your full bonus of 85,000 Aeroplan points.
  • Use the card to make your “eats and drinks” purchases to earn two points for every dollar.
  • When booking travel with Air Canada using your card, deal directly with the airline and not a third-party booking site. You’ll earn three points for every dollar spent directly with Air Canada.
  • Make use of the money-saving perks: free airline lounge access, free first checked bags and the annual worldwide companion pass.

Alternatives to the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

If Aeroplan points don’t appeal as a reward, numerous card alternatives exist, including travel reward cards, cash-back cards, cards with no annual fees and more.

Reasons you might want a different card

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card provides an excellent suite of benefits, but not everyone will be comfortable paying the high annual fee. And if you don’t dine out often, you may not get much value from the card’s elevated earn rates on restaurant and food delivery purchases.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card vs American Express Gold Rewards Card

The American Express Gold Rewards Card has a lower annual fee but shares several comparable benefits with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

 American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

American Express Gold Rewards Card
Annual fee$599 for first card.
$199 for each additional card.
$250 for first card
$50 dollars for each additional card.
(One free additional card included.)
Elevated earn ratesAir Canada purchases (3x).
Eligible dining and food delivery purchases (2x).
All other eligible purchases (1.25x).
Eligible flight, hotel, car rental and cruise purchases (2x).
Eligible gas, grocery and drugstore purchases in Canada (2x).
All other eligible purchases (1x).
Airport lounge accessUnlimited Maple Leaf Lounge access in North America.
Complimentary guest access to Maple Leaf Lounge in North America.
Complimentary membership in Priority Pass.
Four complimentary visits to Plaza Premium Lounges each year.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card facts

Card Type

The American Express Aeroplan Card is a premium travel rewards credit card. It earns Aeroplan points that can be redeemed for discounted travel purchases while providing high-end travel perks, like airport lounge access and priority boarding service.

Interest Rate

Regular APR

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card charges a regular APR of 19.99% for purchases and 21.99% for funds advances, but those rates increase if you miss multiple payments. Miss two payments and you’ll pay a rate of 23.99% for the next 12 billing periods; miss three or more and your interest rate will rise to 26.99%.

Purchase APR

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card’s purchase APR, also known as the regular APR, is 19.99% as of September 2022.

Balance Transfer Intro APR

American Express does not post a balance transfer APR for the Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Fees

Annual Fee

$599 for the primary card and $199 for each additional card.

Balance Transfer Fee

Up to 3% of the amount of each balance transfer.

Cash Advance Fee

$2.75 per transaction. A 21.99% interest rate is charged on cash advances.

Foreign Transaction Fees

2.5% for each foreign currency conversion.

Reward Earn Rates

  • 3x the Aeroplan points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations.
  • 2x the Aeroplan points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases.
  • 1.25x the Aeroplan points on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-up bonus

  • Earn 55,000 Aeroplan points after spending $6,000 in net purchases within the first six months of membership.
  • Earn 30,000 Aeroplan points by spending $1,000 in each of the first six months of membership.

Rewards & Benefits

Main Reward

The most significant rewards offered by the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card are premium travel perks, including airport lounge access, priority boarding and free valet services at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Other Perks

  • Free first checked bag for cardmembers and up to eight travelling companions.
  • A comprehensive suite of travel insurance.
  • Exclusive offers on shopping, dining, travel and more.

Insurance Coverage

Travel Insurance

  • Out-of-province/country emergency medical insurance: Up to $5 million for eligible expenses incurred by an insured person under the age of 65 for the first 15 days of a covered trip.
  • Trip cancellation insurance: Up to $1,500 per insured person, per trip, to a maximum of $3,000, if a trip booked with your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is cancelled for a covered reason.
  • Trip interruption insurance: Up to $1,500 per insured person per trip, to a maximum of $6,000, if a trip booked with your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is interrupted or delayed for a covered reason.
  • Flight delay insurance: Up to $1,000 for accommodation, food and sundry expenses when delayed or denied boarding for four hours or more, and no alternate transportation is made available. Flight must be fully charged to your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
  • Baggage delay insurance: Up to $1,000 for essential purchases if checked baggage is delayed for six or more hours. Flight must be fully charged to your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
  • Hotel burglary insurance: Up to $1,000 in coverage against the loss of certain personal items if an accommodation booked with your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is burglarized.
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance: Up to $1,000 per trip for all insured persons for checked or carry-on baggage. Flight must be fully charged to your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 in common carrier accidental death and dismemberment insurance for tickets paid for using the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Extended Warranty

Purchasing eligible items with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card automatically extends the manufacturer’s original warranty by up to one year.

Purchase Protection

Eligible items can be insured against accidental damage or theft for 90 days from the date of purchase, up to a total of $1,000 per occurrence.

Mobile Device Protection

There is no mobile device protection offered by the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Rental Car Theft & Damage

Coverage for theft, loss and damage of a rental car with an MSRP of up to $85,000 on rentals of 48 days or less, when it’s charged to your American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Rating Methodology

NerdWallet Canada rates credit cards according to overall consumer value and their suitability for specific kinds of consumers. Factors in our evaluation include annual and other fees, rewards rates, the earning structure (for example, flat-rate rewards versus bonus categories), redemption options, bonus offers for new cardholders, introductory and ongoing APRs, and other noteworthy features such as airline or hotel perks or the ability to transfer points.

  • Frequently asked questions about American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

    • Does the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card have lounge access?

      Of the three Aeroplan cards offered by American Express in Canada, two provide access to airport lounges: the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card and the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card.

    • What is the annual fee for the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card?

      The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card’s annual fee is $599. Additional cards cost $199 each. Additional cardmembers must be at least 13 years old.

Article Sources

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