This post is about the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. You can read our separate posts on the other three members of this card family, the Amex AeroplanPlus “Regular” Card, the AeroplanPlus Gold Card and the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card. Also, you can read our post on the comparison of the four cards here, where you’ll find all the information you need to choose which one is right for you.
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card is one of the best travel cards for Canadians. It comes with unlimited worldwide Maple Leaf Lounge and Priority Pass lounge access, $200 annual travel credit and a complimentary annual partner ticket worth up to 25,000 Aeroplan miles, along with the Amex Concierge service, all of which makes this card a smart choice year after year.
Add in an impressive 50,000 miles welcome bonus, and you’ll quickly see why this is a strong contender for the best travel card you can get your hands on.
Travel cheap or travel with style. You have to choose one or the other… or, do you?
With the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card, maybe you don’t have to!
I know what you’re thinking… How I could possibly say that, after seeing the card comes with an $899 annual fee?
In this post, I’ll show you that, if you’re a frequent flyer, this credit card will help you save A LOT MORE than the $900 you have to pay for it, just by giving you access to cheaper flights. On top of that, benefits like the Priority Check-in with Air Canada, complimentary valet and Priority Security Lane at Pearson Airport, unlimited worldwide Maple Leaf and Priority Pass Lounge access and the Amex concierge service, will make you feel like a true VIP while you travel.
All this and much more make the AeroplanPlus Reserve card one of the best options for a travel card, even after you’ve run through the amazing welcome bonus of 50,000 Aeroplan miles.
Of course, if you only plan to travel a couple of times during the next year, or if you don’t plan to fly at all, then don’t bother with this card. You’d do best to go for an everyday spending card like the Amex Cobalt Card (if you don’t plan to travel even once), or you could go for a less expensive card that’ll earn you points like the Gold Rewards Card, in case you really want to build up your Aeroplan Balance.
I’ve broken the post down into the following sections for your convenience:
Table of Contents
A Quick Glance at the Overall Pros and Cons of the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card
Here’s a quick glance at the things you’ll love and things you won’t about the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card:
|Huge 50,000 miles welcome bonus|
$200 annual travel credit
Annual Complimentary partner ticket worth up to 25,000 miles
Unlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges worldwide
Awesome travel insurance coverage
|Very high annual fee|
High fee on additional cards
Not the best miles earning rate
You’ll only truly see the benefits if you travel frequently.
AeroplanPlus Reserve’s Basic Features and Benefits
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card is loaded with excellent benefits, as you’ll soon find out. Here is the list of the most relevant and important features and benefits that come with the card:
|Welcome Bonus||50,000 Aeroplan miles|
|Travel Benefits||$200 annual travel credit |
Annual complimentary partner ticket worth up to 25,000 Aeroplan miles
Unlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges
Unlimited access to over 1200 Priority Pass lounges
|Additional card Annual Fee||$299 each|
|Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On Partner Brands||Minimum 2.25 miles on all partners |
Minimum 3 miles on eligible Air Canada purchases
|Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Purchases||1.25 miles|
|American Express Invites||✔|
|American Express Concierge||✔|
|Travel Coverage||$5,000,000 Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)|
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
|Purchase Coverage||Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan|
Purchase Protection Plan
|Eligibility||Canadian citizens or residents|
A valid Canadian Credit file
An account in good standing (credit score of at least 650)
Minimum personal income of $60,000
|Type of Card||Credit Card|
|Applied interest rate||19.99% on purchases |
22.99% on cash advances
Above: The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card’s features and benefits.
Ok! Now, let’s take a closer look at everything separately so I can show you how much they’ll really be worth to you:
The Annual Fee
If you don’t want to pay a fee for your credit card, then you definitely have to look the other way.
The annual fee on the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card is probably one of the first things that stand out. You get a lot of perks with this credit card, but at a cost of $899 a year. Many might find this to be too much and, unless you’re a frequent flyer, it won’t make much sense pay for it. Even the additional cards come with a hefty fee of almost $300. Of course, the fee is a direct indication of the benefits that come with the Reserve card, and after you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll be convinced that it’s actually a pretty sweet deal.
However, as with all credit cards options, whether it’s a good idea to sign up or not is a matter of lifestyle. The AeroplanPlus Reserve card is a great choice for anyone who travels frequently throughout the year, and it will actually turn out to be a great way to make money, provided you have the income necessary to be able to take advantage of all its benefits.
Miles Earning Rate
This card comes with a basic 1.25x earning rate on all purchases, which is really not so bad, seeing that most cards will give you only 1 mile per dollar on any purchase.
The only other card to offer that same basic earning rate on any purchase is the AeroplanPlus Platinum card. One slight drawback the AeroplanPlus Reserve card has compared to the Platinum card is that, in the latter case, you can boost your earning rate to 1.5 miles per dollar on any purchase if you charge more than $25,000 to it during the year. You don’t get that option with the Reserve card.
Most cards also offer an increased earning rate on specific, eligible purchases, and the Reserve card is not the exception, because it’ll double your earning rate on eligible Air Canada purchases. All that is required for an Air Canada purchase to be eligible is that the purchase itself is made directly with Air Canada or with the American Express Travel service.
However, if you really want to ramp up your earning rate, the best way to do so is to access the increased earning rates that Aeroplan’s partners offer, because
“You can earn miles twice with the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card if you shop at a partner brand: once for the card purchase and once for the Aeroplan partner!”
There are over 150 Aeroplan partners, each one of which has its particular rewarding scheme. Air Canada for example, Aeroplan’s main partner, will reward up to 150% of the miles you actually fly (that’s why they called them miles in the first place).
What’s the highest earning rate you could get?
Let me give you a sneak peak at the one of the highest earning rates you can get with the AeroplanPlus Platinum card:
If you purchase a round-trip ticket from Toronto to Vancouver in Standard plus class and pay the $800 fare with your AeroplanPlus Reserve Card, you would earn 1,600 miles from the card purchase (assuming you booked directly with Air Canada or Amex Travel). If you give your Aeroplan number, you would also receive 1 mile for every mile flown. That’s 4,156 miles for the round trip! In the end, you would come out with 5,756 miles for an $800 purchase.
That’s an incredible 7.20 miles per dollar!
Valued at an average 2.5 cents per mile, those 7.20 miles are worth 18 cents.
The bottom line: When you pay for Air Canada flights with your AeroplanPlus Reserve card, you can get more than 7 miles per dollar and save up to 18% of the purchase price!
That’s one of the best-case scenarios, but Aeroplan has over 150 partners for you to choose from so that you’re not limited to using your card with Air Canada if you want a good earning rate.
Aeroplan’s Partner Brands
You’ll find the complete list of Aeroplan’s partners in the following table. You will also find more examples of great rewards like the example shown above, as well as details regarding miles earning rates, promotions and more on Aeroplan’s partners’ list here.
|Airlines||• Air Canada |
• Adria Airways
• Aegean Airlines
• Air China
• Air Creebec
• Air India
• Air New Zealand
• Asiana Airlines
• Austrian Airlines
• Avianca Brazil
• Bearskin Airlines
• Brussels Airlines
|• Canadian North|
• Cathay Dragon
• Cathay Pacific
• COPA Airlines
• Croatia Airlines
• Ethiopian Airlines
• Eva Air
• First Air
• Juneyao Airlines
• LOT Polish Airlines
|• Olympic Air |
• Scandinavian Airlines
• Shenzhen Airlines
• Singapore Airlines
• South African Airways
• Star Alliance
• TAP Air Portugal
• Thai Airways
• Turkish Airlines
• United Airlines
| • Le Club Accorhotels|
• Ac Hotels by Marriott®
• Adagio Access
• Aloft Hotels
• Americinn® by Wyndham
• Ascend Collection®
• Banyan Tree
• Baymont® by Wyndham
• Best Western International
• Cambria Suites®
• Candlewood Suites®
• Chelsea Hot • el, Toronto
• Choice Hotels®
• Coast Hotels
• Comfort Inn®
• Comfort Suites®
• Cordis Hotels and Resorts
• Conrad Hotels and Resorts™
• Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
• Courtyard by Marriott®
• Crowne Plaza®
• Days Inn® by Wyndham
• Delta Hotels and Resorts
• Dazzler® by Wyndham
• Dolce Hotels and Resorts® by Wyndham
• Doubletree by Hilton(Tm)
• Eaton Hk
• Econo Lodge®
• Element Hotels
• Embassy Suites Hotels®
• Esplendor® • Boutique Hotels by Wyndham
• Even® Hotels
• Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®
• Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
• Four Points by Sheraton
• Gaylord Hotels®
• Gouverneur Hotels
• Grand Mercure
• Hampton by Hilton™
• Hawthorn Suites® by Wyndham
|• Hilton Hotels & Resorts®|
• Canopy by Hilton™
• Curio – a Collection by Hilton™
• Hilton Garden Inn™
• Hilton Grand Vacations™
• Hilton Honors™
• Holiday Inn Express®
• Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts
• Home2 Suites by Hilton™
• Homewood Suites by Hilton™
• Hotel Indigo™
• Howard Johnson
• Hualuxe® Hotels & Resorts
• Ibis Styles
• Intercontinental® Hotels and Resorts
• Jw Marriott®
• Kerry Hotels
• Kimpton® Hotels and Restaurants
• The Langham Hotels and Resorts
• La Quinta® by Wyndham
• Le Meridien Mainstay Suites®
• Mama Shelter
• Marriott Autograph Collection®
• Marriott Edition®
• Marriott Executive Apartments®
• Marriott Hotels®
• Marriott Bonvoy™
• Marriott Vacation Club®
• Microtel® by Wyndham
• 21c Museum Hotel
• Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts
• Park Inn® by Radisson
• Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts
• Parkroyal Hotels & Resorts
|• Radisson Blu®|
• Radisson Red®
• Ramada® by Wyndham
• Regent Hotels®
• Renaissance® Hotels
• Residence Inn by Marriott®
• Rodeway Inn®
• The Sebel
• Shangri-la Hotels and Resorts
• Sheraton Hotels and Resorts
• Sleep Inn®
• Sofitel Hotels & Resorts
• Sofitel Legend
• Splash Beach Resort, Mai Khao, Phuket
• Springhill Suites by Marriott®
• Staybridge Suites® by Holiday Inn
• St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
• Suburban Extended Stay Hotel®
• Super 8® by Wyndham
• Thalassa Sea & Spa
• The Luxury Collection
• Towneplace Suites by Marriott®
• Trademark Collection® by Wyndham
• Traders Hotels
• Travelodge® by Wyndham
• Tryp® by Wyndham
• Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts™
• Westin Hotels & Resorts
• W Hotels
• Wingate® by Wyndham
• Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
| • Avis|
• Payless® Car Rental
|Parking||• Aéroports De Montréal|
• Park & Jet Calgary
• Park’n Fly
• Vancouver International Airport Parking
| • Aircanada.com|
• Home Hardware
| • Aeroplan Estore|
• Apple Store Canada
• Banana Republic
• Bass Pro Shops
• Club Monaco
• Dell Canada
• Gap Canada
• Hudson’s Bay
| • Lands’ End|
• Microsoft Store
• National Geographic
• Norton by Symantec
• Old Navy
• Rakuten Kobo
• Rosetta Stone
• Shop Disney
• Sierra Trading Post
| • The Body Shop|
• Toms Canada
• Under Armour
• Yves Rocher
Above: Complete list of Aeroplan’s partner brands
Since the Amex AeroplanPlus Platinum Card is for Canadians only, the first condition to be eligible is to be a Canadian citizen or at least a Canadian resident.
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card is a credit card, so to be eligible you need to have two things:
- A valid Canadian credit file with a good to excellent credit score (most recommend at least 650, others above 700)
- A minimum personal income of $60,000 or more.
By now, you can tell that it’s not as easy to get the Reserve card as it is to get any one of the charge cards American Express Canada has to offer. In those cases, using your credit cards frequently and taking good care not to fall behind on your payments is about enough to be approved.
If you meet the requirements and you like what you’ve seen so far, then give it a go.
The AeroplanPlus Reserve Card’s Perks Explained
Let’s dive deep into everything you can get out of this wonderful credit card.
Benefit #1: The Welcome Bonus
The AeroplanPlus Reserve card comes with one of the biggest welcome bonuses of any card you’ll find, anywhere. The only possible way to get a bigger bonus is by signing up the Amex Platinum Card, which gives you a 50,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus that you can turn into 65,000 Aeroplan miles as we explain in this post.
This bonus is 10,000 miles bigger than the Aeroplan Platinum card’s and you can use it for all sorts of redemptions. Of course, you want to get the most out of your miles, so the best thing you can do is to trade them in for flight rewards.
Let’s take a look at some of the great things you could do with the 50,000 miles:
- A Round-trip from Vancouver to Hawaii for $77!
Whether you want to hit the Pacific surf at the Big Island, see some of the world’s most breath-taking active volcanoes or take a tour and enjoy award-winning Kona coffee straight from its origin, Hawaii is an absolute must in any travelers bucket list.
As you can see from the following snapshots of flight rewards booked on Aeroplan, you could visit this incredible destination for less than 45,000 miles +$77 in taxes and fees.
The same exact flight plan would cost $745 paid in cash with Air Canada directly (see below), so in the end, you would be saving almost $670
The great thing is that you would still have over 5,000 miles left over in the end.
- Round-trip from Vancouver to Paris for only $186
Yet another popular destination at barely a fraction of the price, visit The City of Light and save almost $700 when paying with the miles in your welcome bonus.
As you can see from the two images below, the round trip will cost 60,000 miles + $186 if you pay for it with your Aeroplan miles.
If you were to book the flight directly with United Airlines, the total cost would be $864, as you can see up ahead.
For this trip you have to commit more miles than the welcome bonus alone will give you. However, since you have to spend at least $3,000 in the first three months of cardmembership in order to receive the bonus, if you spend them wisely and take advantage of the increased earning rates that Aeroplan partners will give you, by the time you actually get the bonus you’ll already have the miles in your account.
- Take a weekend trip to LA and go sightseeing in Hollywood for $191
If getting the most value out of your miles is what’s most important to you, then use your bonus on domestic, business-class flights in Canada or within the continental USA, flying with Air Canada. A great example is this round-trip to Los Angeles, California.
Book the exact same flights with the exact same seats in cash, and you’ll end up paying almost $1400, as I show you below:
Those are just three very popular, faraway destinations you can access, at an incredibly low price, just for signing up to the AeroplanPlus Reserve card. There are hundreds of other options to choose from, and if you take our advice on how to get cheap flights with Aeroplan, there’s no telling where you’ll end up with the 50,000 miles bonus.
In addition, sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can even find Market Fare flight rewards to the same destinations but for less miles. Sometimes the difference isn’t too great, and you’ll end up saving 500 or 1,000 miles, but sometimes you can get tickets at almost half the miles of a regular fixed mileage flight reward, saving you tens of thousands of miles.
Benefit #2: An Annual Complimentary Partner Ticket
This is a benefit you’ll love! Once a year, if you redeem 15,000 or 25,000 miles for a short or long haul round trip, fixed mileage flight reward ticket in economy class, you can get a second ticket for the exact same itinerary, for FREE! You would still have to pay for taxes and surcharge fees, but Hey! That’s peanuts compared to the full price of the ticket.
The great thing about this benefit is that you get it annually, so it helps soften the blow of the high annual fee. A couple of things to take into account are that this benefit is not cumulative, which means that if you don’t use it before your anniversary date, you lose it; it’s not transferable, so don’t go thinking you can sell the tickets to get some extra cash; and, for the same reason, it’s not redeemable for cash either.
At an average 2.5 cents per mile, those extra 25,000 miles will be worth $625.
Two things to consider when looking for flights to use this benefit on:
#1 Only round-trip economy class tickets are eligible.
This means you can’t use it on one-way flight rewards, no matter what type of cabin, and you can’t use it or on any business class flight either.
#2 You can only choose fixed mileage flight rewards.
This means it’ll be either a short-haul round-trip ticket for 15,000 miles, or a long-haul round trip ticket for 25,000 miles. You can’t take extra advantage of lower rates on market fare flight rewards.
All and all, it’s still a great excuse to take a quick weekend trip for two, at least once a year.
Benefit #3: Annual $200 Travel Credit
This is another important benefit that will help soften edges on the annual fee. Aside from all the other benefits, you can get back $200, once a year, in the form of travel credit. You can use this credit towards any kind of travel related booking (flights, hotel rental, car rental, etc.) as long as you book through American Express Travel services and you charge the entire booking to your AeroplanPlus Reserve Card.
That’s simple enough, but there are a couple of footnotes that deserve mentioning:
#1 You can only get the travel credit towards a single travel booking of $200 or more
This means that you can’t spread the $200 in more than one travel arrangement. For example, you can’t use $100 of credit towards one trip, and the other $100 towards another. All $200 have to be credited towards the same, single travel booking. Additionally, the booking has to cost a total of at least $200. If you book a flight that costs $199, you won’t be able to use your credit.
#2 If you cancel the booking, you lose the $200 credit.
What this implies is that, after you request American Express to give you the $200 credit towards a particular travel booking, you can’t back down. It’s your decision whether to request the travel credit or not, but once you do, if you cancel your booking, you won’t get the credit back until next year (based on your membership anniversary date).
In summary: if you want to take advantage of the $200 travel credit, don’t ask for it until you’re absolutely sure you’re going to go through with your trip.
Benefit #4: Unlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges worldwide
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card comes straight out of the box with an Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership that grants you full, unlimited access to any of the Maple Leaf Lounges around the world. These include 17 lounges spread across 11 airports within Canada; 3 lounges in the US (Newark, La Guardia and LAX); and 3 other lounges in key international locations: Frankfurt, Heathrow (London) and Charles de Gaulle (France).
For example, you could sit back and drink a good cup of coffee at the Calgary International Airport Maple Leaf Lounge.
This membership is equivalent to the Maple Leaf Club Canada membership plan, which has a value of $375.
In addition to the Maple Leaf Club membership, when you sign up to the AeroplanPlus Reserve card you also become eligible for the full-access, Priority Pass Prestige membership that will grant you access to over 1200 lounges around the world.
A great example of the Priority Pass lounges is the “Sala VIP Internacional” lounge in Quito’s International Airport (Ecuador), which won the 2018 Lounge of the Year Award.
Unlike the Maple Leaf Club membership, the Priority Pass membership doesn’t come with the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card out-of-the-box. You can apply for it as soon as you receive your AeroplanPlus Reserve Card, but whether or not you are accepted depends entirely on Priority Pass Limited. If you’re approved, the US $429 fee (equivalent to around $577) will be waived, and you’ll get the membership free of charge, every year henceforth, as long as you keep your AeroplanPlus Reserve card.
Now, you may be wondering:
OK, they look great and seem really comfy, but what’s all the fuss about Airport Lounges anyway?
In other words…
Why would I want lounge access?
Well, these sleek establishments offer complimentary refreshments (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages), snacks, high-speed Wi-Fi access, cell-free quiet zones, a broad selection of newspaper and magazines, and business centers where you can print, make copies or fax anything you need. Most of them even have showers so you can freshen-up right before you hop on your plane.
Some of the higher-end Priority Pass lounges, like the one at Quito shown above, even have dedicated sleeping areas for long layovers…and massage rooms!
If this isn’t your definition of waiting for your flight with style, than I don’t know what is!
I’m at the airport. How do I get into the lounge?
Both Maple Leaf and Priority Pass lounge access is completely free of charge for the basic cardholder (not for supplementary cardholders), but you can bring guests with you (pending space availability, among other things) for a fee. In the case of Maple Leaf lounges, the fee is $20 per person (except for children under 12 who don’t pay a fee), and in the case of Priority Pass lounges, it’s US$27 each (around CA$36).
The only condition to access any Maple Leaf lounge is that you present your American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve credit card, along with a confirmed, same-day ticket for an Air Canada flight (or select partners).
In the case of the Priority Pass lounges, you have to present the valid Priority Pass card you receive upon approval of your membership, along with a confirmed, same-day airline ticket. In this case, you’re not restricted to Air Canada or its partners; the ticket may be from any airline.
You can see that by owning this card, there’s a high probability that you will be able to enjoy the benefits of a great airport lounge wherever you go.
Try it out – you won’t regret it.
Benefit #5: American Express Concierge
Sometimes planning a trip can be a hassle, so having an expert to back you up and get things sorted out for you is just what you need to be able to really relax and enjoy the ride. Other times, the day-by-day stress, work and other obligations don’t leave enough time to plan something original for that special occasion you’ve been thinking of.
Whether you need to book tickets for a show you want to see, send a gift and you just don’t have the time to look for one, or you need advice on what to do at your city of destination, an American Express concierge will be there to help.
Having the Amex Concierge service is pretty much like having a 24/7 personal assistant, travel planner and lifestyle counselor, all rolled into one.
How Does Amex Concierge Work?
It’s really simple.
Whenever you have a requirement, all you have to do is contact a concierge anytime, from anywhere in the world, by phone or by email, to let him (or her) know what you need. Any one of the more than 5000 lifestyle counselors that work with American Express will answer and will ask a series of questions to get to know you a little better, get to know your likes and dislikes, and what you expect out of the service.
A little while later, he or she will let you know if he or she can do what you ask, and will get to work on it immediately. The service is completely free of charge to AeroplanPlus Reserve cardholders, but there may obviously be charges required to book and pay for tickets, pay for articles, packaging and currier services, etc. In any of those cases, the concierge will call you or write to inform you of the charges, and if you approve them, they will be charged to your AeroplanPlus Reserve Card.
Some tasks you can outsource to an American Express Concierge
The concierge is there to make your life easier. Therefore, knowing what sort of things a concierge will or will not be able to do for you is something you always want to keep in mind, if you are an AeroplanPlus Reserve cardmember. Here is a short list of tasks that a concierge is sure to be able to perform to the highest standards:
- Send a gift when you don’t have time to do so yourself
This is especially helpful for birthdays when you’re far away, special dates like anniversaries and the like, or simply to let someone know that they’re on your mind, regardless of how busy you are.
- Get tickets to events that are already sold out to the general public
You can get your concierge to be on the lookout for tickets to events as soon as they go on sale, so that you don’t miss it. However, for certain big events, American Express reserves a whole block of tickets exclusively for its cardmembers, so even if tickets get sold-out for the general public, your concierge wills still be able to get you in.
- Get reservations at highly coveted restaurants.
It obviously pends on availability, but concierges are usually quite efficient at securing reservations.
- Help plan an itinerary for a trip
You can ask your concierge to research events, good restaurants, spas, to book flights and hotel stays, to rent cars and more, so that everything will be planned out before you arrive.
- Help plan an event
Whether you need to look for available venues or even catering services, the Amex Concierge can help.
- Find special service providers near you and much, much more!
You can get pretty creative with the concierge service. In case of doubt, all you have to do is ask. You’d be surprised of the things they’ll be able to help you with.
Benefit #6: Air Canada Priority Check-in
The AeroplanPlus Reserve Card makes your life easier at the airport by saving you time when checking in. Where available, you can skip the regular check-in line and pass through Air Canada’s priority check-in.
For obvious reasons, this only applies to same day flights that are operated by Air Canada. It also applies whether you paid for your ticket in cash or whether it’s an Aeroplan flight reward.
Benefit #7: VIP Treatment at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
If you’re flying from Pearson International Airport (YYZ), having an AeroplanPlus Reserve card will get you pampered as soon as you arrive.
Start off by getting complimentary valet parking service from terminals 1 and 3 just by flashing your card. You can also get a discount for parking rates and car care if you pay for them with your AeroplanPlus Reserve Card.
Once you’re inside the airport, and once you’ve taken advantage of Air Canada’s priority check-in (if you’re flying Air Canada obviously), you can save more time by bypassing the regular security check line, and going through the Pearson Priority Security Lane during peak hours.
All this will leave you with a lot of leisure time, which you can enjoy at the Maple Leaf Lounge.
Benefit #8: Extensive Travel and Purchase Coverage
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card comes with one of the most extensive travel coverage of any Amex card. It brings in all the policies that come with the Aeroplan Platinum card that include, among other policies, Trip Cancellation Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance and Emergency Medical Insurance.
Keep reading to find out more about the travel coverage that comes with the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card:
- $5,000,000 Travel Emergency Medical Insurance
Nothing eases your mind like having a good medical insurance policy. Many travel cards come with travel accident insurance or similar, but that only covers you while in transit, and not while you’re actually at your destination.
The Travel Emergency Medical Insurance policy is a group policy issued by Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Company, and it will cover you as the basic cardholder, your spouse and any dependent children, as well as any supplementary cardholder, his or her spouse and children, during the first 15 days of your trip. The coverage is for up to $5,000,000 per person under the age of 65, and comes into effect once you leave your Canadian state or province of residence.
- $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
This is an AD&D policy underwritten by the Chubb Life Insurance Company, which covers you, your spouse and your children under the age of 23, as well as any additional cardmember, his or her spouse and children. The only condition is that you are all traveling in the same carrier (plane, ship, train or bus). The only downside is that this policy will only cover you while in transit, and not when you’re at your destination, but that’s what the Travel Emergency Medical Insurance policy is for.
- 24/7 Travel Emergency Assistance
This gives you access to legal and medical assessment over the phone during your trip. This helps a lot, especially if you’re in a country whose laws you’re unfamiliar with.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
Sometimes, trips can get canceled for unforeseeable reasons like accidents. Other times, you may have to cut your trip short and return home. In both of those cases, if you have pre-paid travel arrangements, you could ask for a refund, but companies will seldom refund the whole price, so you’ll end up losing money.
This policy covers you for the non-refundable portions of prepaid trips, in case your trip is canceled before it even starts. If, after you begin your trip, your trip gets interrupted or you miss a connection or similar, the policy will cover non-refundable unused travel arrangements, as well as the most cost effective flight fares either to rejoin your tour, to your point of departure or to your next destination. It also covers pocket money for small daily expenses.
The maximum sum covered is $1,500 per person for a maximum of $3,000 for all insured persons combined in the case of trip cancellation, and a maximum of $6,000 for all insured persons combined in the case of trip interruption.
In the case of out-of-pocket money, the maximum is $100 a day per person, with a cap at $1,000.
- Flight and Baggage Delay Insurance
Flights can be delayed for long periods, and during this time, you may have unplanned expenses like eating at a restaurant or even staying at a hotel. Your baggage not arriving on time can be just as frustrating and can also generate more expenses. Amex’s Flight Delay and Baggage Delay Insurance cover you for up to $500 of these, and other sundry expenses.
- Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
If your baggage disappears altogether, is damaged or stolen while in transit, you’re covered for up to $500.
- Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
This policy covers up to $500 in lost personal items in case your hotel gets burglarized, as long as you paid for the room with your AeroplanPlus Reserve card.
- Car Rental Theft or Damage Insurance
This one is a money-saving jewel. When you rent a car, you’re required to buy a Theft and Damage policy which can cost anywhere from $16 to $23 per day!
To give you an idea, if you were to rent a car for a one-week business trip, this could add up to as much as $161 just for the insurance (not counting the car rental itself). If you pay for the car rental with your AeroplanPlus Reserve card, you can decline the company’s own policy and use your card’s instead, without paying a single dime, therefore saving you the $161. Keep in mind that this insurance policy will cover any rental car with a MSRP of up to $85,000, so don’t go renting a Ferrari.
- Purchase Coverage
Regarding purchase coverage, you’ll get the Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on any purchase paid in full with the AeroplanPlus Reserve card for a maximum of one extra year. You’ll also get the Purchase Protection Plan that covers your purchases against accidental damage and theft, for a maximum of $1,000.
As you can see, if feeling safe while you travel essential to you, than the AeroplanPlus Reserve card is definitely a great choice to consider.
- Complimentary first-checked bag
For both the basic cardmember as well as for any supplementary cardholder, your first standard size and weight bag will be checked-in, free of charge, for any Air Canada flight. You can only use this benefit up to 5 times a year.
- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards membership
This is Hertz’s loyalty rewards program, and it earns you 1 point per dollar. The points can be redeemed for free car rentals.
- Aeroplan Priority Booking
You get priority access to Aeroplan’s Contact Center where you can book your travel arrangements and more.
- Emergency Card Replacement
In case you lose your card or it is stolen while you’re abroad, it’s good to know you can call any time and get a new one sent to you, wherever you are, ASAP.
Do the benefits justify the annual fee?
Definitely, year after year!
You can see that the first year is a no-brainer. The 50,000 miles welcome bonus alone is enough to cover the $899 fee and more, and you still get a bunch of other benefits that make it a winning deal. With a single trip that’ll get you more than 2.5 cents per mile, the 50,000 miles will turn into more than $1,200. Add in the other benefits and you come out well ahead the annual fee.
After the first year, things will still look great, as long as you travel a lot.
Let’s add up all the long-term benefits:
|Complimentary annual round-trip partner ticket, which is worth up to 25,000 miles||$625|
|Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Canada membership||$375|
|Priority Pass Prestige membership||$577|
|Pearson Airport Valet||$25|
In the end, the long-term benefits will get you an extra $700 in value, after counting in the annual fee, and that’s without even counting the value of the full insurance coverage, which is hard to estimate, and the Amex Concierge service, which can also prove to be invaluable to most customers.
The largest part of the benefits comes from the two lounge access memberships, which together are worth more than the annual fee itself. You would only count that as a benefit if you’re a frequent flyer, and you actually use those lounges a lot.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t pay over three hundred dollars for a Maple Leaf Club membership and nearly six hundred more for a Priority Pass membership if you weren’t going to use them, would you? Therefore, if you’re not a frequent flyer, the card wouldn’t really be saving you the $900+ on those memberships, because you don’t really need them anyway. It would make a lot more sense to pay way less for cheaper membership and pay the $20-$30 entrance fee every time you took a flight, if you really want to visit a lounge.
However, if you do want lounge access, and especially if you plan to travel more than once a year, then this card is a great choice for the long term as well!
Alternative ways to build your Aeroplan balance
Even though any of the AeroplanPlus cards would seem like the likely candidates if you want to earn Aeroplan miles, they’re actually not the only choices. There are other Amex card options that will also give you great welcome bonuses, good miles earning rates and much better long lasting benefits.
Here are our personal recommendations of alternative ways to earn miles:
The American Express Platinum Card
One of the best cards for Canadians, the American Express Platinum Card is the absolute best way to bulk up your Aeroplan miles and travel around the world in style. It comes with a heavy annual fee of $699 but also with a whopping 50,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points welcome bonus you can transfer to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate. That’s the biggest welcome bonus you can get! Using them wisely, these miles alone will be worth over $1,250.
But the Platinum Card isn’t the best choice just for the welcome bonus. The points earning rate is also the best one around. You can get 2x points on travel purchases and even 3x at eligible dinning in Canada. This flexibility makes it a lot easier to access great earning rates most of the time, and all that without having to charge the card with more than $25,000 to do so. Give your Aeroplan number on selected purchases on a partner brand, and you’ll crank it up even more (refer to the “Miles Earning Rate” section for more details).
It’s easier to access a higher points earning rate with the Platinum card than with any of the Aeroplan cards!
Add in long lasting benefits like $200 in travel credit and complimentary access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across the globe (valued at almost $500 a year) and you’ll see why you definitely need this card if you like to travel.
The American Express Gold Rewards Card
Another great way to earn Aeroplan miles is using the American Express Gold Rewards Card. This card comes with a very decent welcome bonus of 25,000 MR points that are transferable to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate, and will only cost you $150 a year. That’s a 37.5% smaller bonus compared to the Aeroplan Platinum card, but it’ll cost you 70% less, so it’s a much better deal. You’ll also receive $100 in hotel credit and many other benefits that’ll make this a smarter choice, year after year.
You could get the same bonus for a bit less money and many more benefits with yet another option, the Marriott Bonvoy card, but the Gold Rewards card has a much better points earning rate, if you plan to transfer the points to Aeroplan miles. You could get 2x points on travel and a lot of everyday purchases, which is a much easier and more flexible way to earn points (read miles) than with the Amex Marriott Bonvoy card. This card is an Aeroplan winner at a modest fee.
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
Even though we don’t really recommend doing so, you can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy’s 60,000 points welcome bonus to Aeroplan Miles at a 3:1 rate, and even earn an extra 15,000 Bonvoy points when doing so. If you transfer those as well, you would get 25,000 Aeroplan miles just for signing up to the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card, which are worth around $625. All this for a card that’ll only cost you $120 a year, and gives you great long lasting benefits like one free night a year at a five stars hotel.
With the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card, you can get the same welcome bonus as with the Gold Rewards card + much better benefits, for an even lower fee.
These miles are enough for a long-haul round trip in economy class or a one-way flight in business class.
The only downside to using the Marriott Bonvoy card as a means to earn Aeroplan miles is the earning rate. The best rate you can get is 5x points on participating Marriott Bonvoy properties, which when transferred to miles at the 1:3 ratio translates into miles per dollar. It’s not bad, but you’re limited to Marriott Bonvoy properties alone, and the other mentioned cards will get better rates on more flexible spending. On every other purchase, the Marriott Bonvoy card will match 2 points to a dollar, or 0.67 miles, which is not good at all.
How To Apply
If you decide that the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card is the one for you, applying is as simple as clicking the link below and filling out the application form. It only takes about 5 minutes, and you’ll get a response almost immediately. All you need to be eligible is to be an adult Canadian resident with an account in good standing.
How much are my Aeroplan miles really worth?
You can get anything from 0.7 cents per mile to more than 4 cents per mile, depending on how you redeem them. To get the best value from your miles, just follow our pro tips:
Tip #1: Only redeem your miles for flights
Tip #2: Use your miles for domestic flights with Air Canada
Tip #4: When flying international, choose airlines that don’t impose fuel surcharge fees
Tip #4: Fly in Business class instead of Economy class
These tips probably won’t get you the cheapest possible fares, but they’re sure to get you the highest possible value per every beloved mile.
Is my Aeroplan number the same as my American Express AeroplanPlus card number?
No, it isn’t. Your Aeroplan number is the one you get when you sign up to Aeroplan itself at www.aeroplan.com. It’s actually your Aeroplan account number (where your miles are saved), and it’s the one you should give whenever you’re purchasing at a partner brand in order to earn more miles, regardless of your payment method.
Your AeroplanPlus number, as you may have already guessed, is the actual American Express Aeroplan credit card number (the one printed on your card).
If I already have an American Express AeroplanPlus card, am I still eligible for the welcome bonus if I sign up to a different one?
Yes, you are. The welcome bonus is meant for anyone who signs up for any Amex card for the first time. If you already signed up to the AeroplanPlus Gold card, for example, and claimed its welcome bonus, you can still sign up to any one of the other three AeroplanPlus cards and get its bonus, because they are all different cards.
How long do I have to wait to get my welcome bonus?
This is very important question if you plan to use your bonus to pay for a trip. You won’t get the bonus right away after signing up for the card.
First of all, in order to get the Aeroplan Platinum card’s bonus you have to reach a minimum of $3,000 in purchases (any purchase) charged to your new card in the first 90 days of cardmembership. This could take a while.
After you hit that goal, American Express can take up to 8 weeks to transfer the bonus to your Aeroplan account.
Consequently, we estimate that you could get your bonus in about 16 to 20 weeks (or four to five months) after signing up.
You might get it earlier, but it’s better to play it safe. Be very careful not to sign up any later than 20 weeks prior to your planned trip!
What will happen with my unused miles after Air Canada’s takeover of Aeroplan in 2020?
It’s common knowledge that Air Canada closed a deal to buy-back Aeroplan and turn it into a brand new loyalty rewards program. This has many Aeroplan members worried about what will happen to their unused miles after the sale comes into effect next June 2020. There’s a bit of uncertainty around Aeroplan’s future.
However, Air Canada is assuming liability for all unclaimed miles, so it’s a fact that you won’t lose them. However, many experts agree that Air Canada is bound come up with a way to devalue the miles in order to soften the blow, so it’s likely that after June 2020 your miles won’t be worth as much as they are now.
On the bright side, you don’t have to worry about clearing out your Aeroplan account on any unplanned trip just yet.