Aeroplan Credit Card Review: Big Incentives for Big Spenders

The card offers a generous bonus and valuable Air Canada-specific perks, and is rewarding in many spending categories
May 20, 2022

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

Loyal Air Canada customers who can spend enough to make use of the card’s airline-specific benefits will get the most value out of the card.

Jump to: Full Review
Aeroplan Credit Card
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
16.74%-23.74% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on Chase's website

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Bonus categories

  • Automatic elite status

  • Free checked bag

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • Limited redemptions

Alternate Pick: Flexible redemption options
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Transfer points to Aeroplan and many more partners

Earn bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories like dinning and groceries. Points can be redeemed for travel booked through Chase or can be transferred, at a one-to-one ratio, to a number of domestic and international airline and hotel partners. The card charges an annual fee of $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

16.74%-23.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

12.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

If your travels often take you to the Great White North, then Air Canada’s co-branded card, the Aeroplan® Credit Card, might be able to make your journeys easier.

The card, issued by Chase, rewards holders for purchases made with the airline and for some common everyday categories as well. It also offers a lucrative sign-up bonus plus attractive benefits like automatic elite status and rewards discounts.

However, earning and retaining many of the card’s richest Air Canada-specific perks requires a lot of spending that can be difficult for most to meet. If you’re not a loyal Air Canada customer, you might be better off with a more flexible general travel rewards credit card.

Aeroplan® Credit Card: Key Features

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: Earn a Welcome Flight Reward worth up to 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 + up to 51,000 points through 10x total points on travel and dining.

Rewards: 

  • 3 points per dollar spent on groceries.

  • 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services).

  • 3 points per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Air Canada.

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • 500 bonus points for every $2,000 spent in a month (up to a maximum of 1,500 points per month).

NerdWallet values Air Canada points at about 1.9 cents, although the value can vary based on redemption options. Points can be redeemed for flights with Air Canada or one its 45 airline partners, which include those across the Star Alliance network. Additional redemption options include car rentals, hotels, Air Canada vacation packages, upgrades, merchandise and more.

Nerdy tip: Beginning in 2022, holders of this card will be eligible for Chase's Pay Yourself Back benefits, which will allow customers to use their Aeroplan points toward travel purchases, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises and more. With this feature, points can be redeemed at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, up to 50,000 points per year.

APR: The ongoing APR is 16.74%-23.74% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Other benefits:

  • Automatic 25K status in the first year, which gives you perks like priority check-in, priority boarding and upgrades.

  • Earn a one-level status boost to 35K Status or higher when you spend $50,000 or more on your card in one year.

  • Receive exclusive redemption benefits including 50% reward discounts and companion benefits when you hit spending thresholds of $100,000 or more in a year.

  • First checked bag is free on Air Canada flights for you and up to nine other passengers on the same reservation.

  • $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS statement credit every four years.

  • Travel protection benefits, including rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and roadside assistance.

  • Carbon Offsets: Aeroplan will buy carbon offsets to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions when you pay for an Air Canada flight using an Aeroplan flight reward.

  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, including complimentary 24/7 concierge service.

Nerdy tip: Chase added Aeroplan as a transfer partner in August 2021. This means that if you have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you can transfer your points, at a 1:1 ratio, to the Aeroplan loyalty program.

Benefits of the Aeroplan® Credit Card

Generous sign-up bonus

On top of elite status for newcomers, the Aeroplan® Credit Card also features the following sign-up bonus: Earn a Welcome Flight Reward worth up to 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 + up to 51,000 points through 10x total points on travel and dining. You have six months from account opening to meet the spending threshold.

You'll need to spend $5,100 on travel or dining in the first six months to snag the full sign-up bonus. But if you do, you'll earn a total of 101,000 miles. At a NerdWallet valuation of 1.9 cents per Aeroplan point, that's worth $1919.

Rewards for other spending

While many airline cards typically reward you for brand-specific purchases only, the Aeroplan® Credit Card pays holders for more than just travel-related spending. In addition to earning bonus points for purchases made with Air Canada, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on groceries and at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services). Because your rewards-earning isn't tied to Air Canada or to travel-specific spending for that matter, you can rack up points with the card more easily.

In addition to these ongoing rewards, cardholders have the ability to pile on even more bonus points. You can earn an additional 500 points for every $2,000 that you spend each month, up to a maximum of 1,500 points. For most, maxing out this offer by spending $6,000 a month would be difficult to do, even if you exclusively use the Aeroplan® Credit Card.

Automatic elite status for new cardholders

New account openers will also automatically get Aeroplan 25K Elite Status, the entry-level tier in Air Canada’s loyalty program. You’ll have this status for the rest of the first calendar year of cardholding and for the consecutive year as well.

To maintain 25K status, you’ll have to spend at least $15,000 each calendar year. Not many airline cards allow holders the opportunity to spend toward status.

The 25K status comes with attractive perks on Air Canada flights, including early boarding, priority check-in and upgrades, 50% discount on preferred seats and more.

Boost status and benefits through credit card spending

In addition to the $15,000 yearly spend requirement to maintain Aeroplan 25K status, there are other lucrative benefits for meeting additional spending thresholds with your card:

  • Earn a one-level status boost from your existing status for the next year, when you spend $50,00 in a calendar year.

  • Receive exclusive redemption benefits including 50% reward discounts and companion benefits when you hit spending thresholds of $100,000 or more in a year.

Earning these benefits requires a hefty amount of spending that can be difficult for most to meet. But the perks that come with hitting the spending thresholds can be particularly valuable for loyal Air Canada customers. Plus, because you’ll earn bonus rewards for more than just Air Canada purchases, it can be easier to rack up your spending with the card.

Free checked bags

When you use your card to pay for an Air Canada flight, you’ll get one free checked bag for you and up to eight additional people in your reservation. This is one of the more generous free-baggage policies among airline cards that offer it and can provide generous savings — particularly if you’re traveling with a large party. Air Canada typically charges $30 Canadian dollars (about $23 in U.S. dollars as of December 2021) for a first checked bag for economy class travel.

Drawbacks and alternatives 

Other cards can offer more flexibility

Points earned from the Aeroplan® Credit Card can be redeemed for flights across multiple airlines, including those in the Star Alliance network. But United Airlines is the only domestic airline in the Alliance; all other airlines are internationally based. And while you’ll be able to also redeem your Aeroplan rewards for any travel purchase with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature, the number of points you can redeem per year is capped at 50,000.

Additionally, most of the card’s benefits like elite status, a free checked bag and reward discounts are tied to Air Canada.

A general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, that isn’t tied to one airline or network can offer greater redemptions and benefits flexibility. Rewards earned with the card can be redeemed for a variety of options including for travel booked through Chase at the rate of 1.25 cents per point. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to a number of domestic and international airline and hotel travel partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan. The card charges an annual fee of $95.

Aeroplan also partners with American Express. You can transfer Membership Rewards earned from several cards, like the American Express® Gold Card and the The Platinum Card® from American Express, to Aeroplan at a 1:1 rate.

Keep in mind, though, that such general travel cards typically don't come with airline-specific perks. For more options, check out NerdWallet's list of best credit card offers.

High spending requirements for companion benefits

If it’s a free ride for a companion that you’re after, you’ll have to spend at least $100,000 per year on the Aeroplan® Credit Card. Other airline credit cards offer companion benefits for far less.

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card for instance, offers an annual companion certificate, which you’ll get every year when you renew your card and which doesn’t come with any spending requirements. (Note, however, that the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card does charge a more premium annual fee of $250.) Terms apply (see rates and fees).

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has an annual fee of $75 and comes with an annual companion benefit. You’ll pay $99, plus taxes and fees starting at $22, for a companion to fly with you (no matter how much your fare costs) once per year that you hold the card.

Should you get the Aeroplan® Credit Card?

The Aeroplan® Credit Card stands apart from most other airline cards by offering rewards for everyday purchases, which not many other similar cards do. But its richest benefits are tied to Air Canada and require a great deal of spending. To this end, the card is ideal for Air Canada loyalists who can spend enough to take advantage of the card’s brand-specific perks. Not sure this card is for you? See our picks for best credit cards here.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page.

on Chase's website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.