The American Express® AeroplanPlus Reserve Card: A Review

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.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card, one of the best travel cards for Canadians

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:

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:

PROS CONS
Huge 50,000 miles welcome bonus
$200 annual travel credit
Annual Complimentary partner ticket worth up to 25,000 miles
Amex Concierge
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
Annual Fee $899
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:

Features Explained

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
• ANA
• Asiana Airlines
• Austrian Airlines
• Avianca
• Avianca Brazil
• Bearskin Airlines
• Brussels Airlines
• Canadian North
• Cathay Dragon
• Cathay Pacific
• COPA Airlines
• Croatia Airlines
• Egyptair
• Ethiopian Airlines
• EuroWings
• Eva Air
• First Air
• GOL
• Juneyao Airlines
• LOT Polish Airlines
• Lufthansa
• Olympic Air
• Scandinavian Airlines
• Shenzhen Airlines
• Singapore Airlines
• South African Airways
• Star Alliance
• Swiss
• TAP Air Portugal
• Thai Airways
• Turkish Airlines
• United Airlines
Hotels
and
Lodgings
• Le Club Accorhotels
• Ac Hotels by Marriott®
• Adagio
• Adagio Access
• Aloft Hotels
• Americinn® by Wyndham
• Angsana
• Ascend Collection®
• Banyan Tree
• Baymont® by Wyndham
• Best Western International
• Cambria Suites®
• Candlewood Suites®
• Cassia
• Chelsea Hot • el, Toronto
• Choice Hotels®
• Clarion
• 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
• 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®
• Mercure
• Mgallery
• Microtel® by Wyndham
• 21c Museum Hotel
• Novotel
• Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts
• Park Inn® by Radisson
• Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts
• Parkroyal Hotels & Resorts
• Pullman
• Quality®
• Radisson®
• Radisson Blu®
• Radisson Red®
• Raffles
• Ramada® by Wyndham
• Regent Hotels®
• Renaissance® Hotels
• Residence Inn by Marriott®
• Rixos
• Rocketmiles
• 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
• Swissotel
• 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
Car
Rental
• Avis
• Budget
• Hertz
• Payless® Car Rental
   
Parking • Aéroports De Montréal
• Park & Jet Calgary
• Park’n Fly
• Vancouver International Airport Parking 
   
Online
Retailers
• Aircanada.com
• Home Hardware
• Costco
• Magellan’s
   
Aeroplan
e-store
Partners
• Aeroplan Estore
• Aldo
• Amazon.ca
• Apple Store Canada
• Banana Republic
• Bass Pro Shops
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bogs
• Chapters.indigo.ca
• Clearly
• Club Monaco
• Crocs
• Dell Canada
• Ebay.ca
• Footlocker
• Gap Canada
• Hudson’s Bay
• Indochino
• Lands’ End
• L.l.bean
• Luisaviaroma
• Macy’s
• Microsoft Store
• National Geographic
• Norton by Symantec
• Old Navy
• Rakuten Kobo
• Revolveclothing.com
• Roots
• Rosetta Stone
• Saks.com
• Sephora
• Shoes.com
• Shop Disney
• Sierra Trading Post
• Strawberrynet
• The Body Shop
• Toms Canada
• Tsc
• Under Armour
• Weightwatchers.ca
• Well.ca
• Yves Rocher
• Nordstrom

Above: Complete list of Aeroplan’s partner brands

Eligibility

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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.

Hitting the Pacific surf in Hawaii, thanks to the AeroplanPlus Reserve card's welcome bonus
Go surfing in Hawaii

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.

Booking a round trip from Vancouver to Hawaii in economy class with Aeroplan
Round trip to Hawaii booked with Aeroplan

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

Booking a round trip from Vancouver to Hawaii in economy class in cash with Air Canada
Round-trip to Hawaii booked with Air Canada, in cash

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.

Enjoying the night scenery in Paris, thanks to the AeroplanPlus Reserve card's welcome bonus
Paris, at night

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.

Booking a round trip from Vancouver to Paris in economy class with Aeroplan
Round-trip to Paris with Aeroplan

If you were to book the flight directly with United Airlines, the total cost would be $864, as you can see up ahead.

Booking a round trip from Vancouver to Paris in economy class, in cash, with United Airlines
Same itinerary, same flights, booked directly with United Airlines, in cash.

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.

Booking a round trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles in business class with Aeroplan
Round-trip ticket to LA in business class, booked with Aeroplan

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:

Booking part of a round trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles in business class, in cash with Air Canada
Part of the round-trip with Air Canada
Booking part of a round-trip ticket from Vancouver to Los Angeles in economy class, in cash with United Airlines
Part of the trip with United Airlines

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.

Accesint The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at the Calgary International Airport, thanks to the AeroplanPlus Reserve card
The Maple Leaf Lounge at Calgary International Airport (YYC)

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.

Above: Quito International Airposrt’s award-winning “Sala VIP Internacional” lounge.

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.

Additional Benefits

  • 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:

Travel Credit $200
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
Total Benefits $1,602
Annual Fee ($899)
Total Profit $703
Additional Benefits Yes

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.

Sign up to the Amex Platinum Card today.

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.

Sign up Gold Rewards Card now

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.

Sign up now to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card

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.

FAQs

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.

The American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card: A Review

This post is about the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card, one of a family of American Express Aeroplan cards. You can read our separate posts on the other three members of this card family, the AeroplanPlus Card, the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card and the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. You can also read our post on the comparison of the four American Express Aeroplan cards, where you’ll find all the information you need to choose which one is right for you.

Gold card

The American Express Aeroplan Gold Card, also known as the AeroplanPlus Gold card, is the second member of the AeroplanPlus cards family, a series of credit and charge cards that earn Aeroplan miles that go straight to your Aeroplan balance without having to convert your reward points.

Aeroplan was originally Air Canada’s loyalty rewards program, but it spun off into a separate company. As of today, it counts almost 200 partner brands with which you can earn and redeem your miles for travel, lodgings, car rental and much, much more.

If you’re looking for a travel rewards card that won’t reward you just for traveling, but for your everyday spending as well, the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card could be a good choice for you. It offers a great miles earning rate on any purchase whatsoever, but you can quickly multiply your rewards by taking advantage of Aeroplan’s partner brands. Couple that with a fairly decent welcome bonus, extensive travel insurance coverage and all the perks that come with joining the American Express cardholders family, and you’ll see yourself traveling for less in no time flat.

Of course, as always, things aren’t as simple as they seem at first sight. Making a conscious decision when choosing the right card for your lifestyle means weighing the pros and cons of every option, and that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this post. We’ll show you what all the small letters and footnotes mean and we’ll teach you how to do the math and reach your own conclusions regarding this card. We’ll also give you our own professional advice on when this card is the best option for you, and when it’s best to let it pass.

To help you navigate this post, I’ve broken it down in the following sections:

Basic Features & Benefits

Here are the main features and benefits you’ll get with the Amex AeroplanPlus Gold card:

Welcome Bonus15,000 Aeroplan miles (after you charge $1,500 in purchases to it in the first 3 months)
Annual Fee$120
Additional card2 free additional cards (worth $100)After that, every additional card will cost $50 a year (up to 9 additional cards)
Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On Partner Brands2+ miles for the first $10,000 charged to the card (1 for the card and 1+ for the partner brand)2.25+ miles for every 1$ above $10,000 charged to the card (1.25 for the card and 1+ for the partner brand purchase)
Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Purchases1 mile for the first $10,000 charged to the card After that, boost you earning rate to 1.25 miles for every additional 1$
American Express Invites
Travel Coverage$500,000 Travel Accident InsuranceTravel Emergency AssistanceFlight Delay InsuranceBaggage Delay InsuranceLost or Stolen Baggage InsuranceHotel/Motel Burglary InsuranceCar Rental Theft or Damage InsuranceEmergency Card Replacement
Purchase CoverageBuyer’s Assurance Protection PlanPurchase Protection Plan
EligibilityCanadian residents with an account in good standing
Type of CardCharge card (not a credit card)
APR on any unpaid balance30% purchases30% cash withdrawals

Above: The American Express Aeroplan Gold card’s features and benefits at a glance.

Let’s break it all down:

Welcome Bonus

As with all American Express cards, signing up for the AeroplanPlus Gold card for the first time can earn you a welcome bonus. Notice I wrote “can” and not “will” earn you the welcome bonus. This is because you have to use your card, and charge a minimum of $1,500 to it before the first 3 months of cardmembership in order to receive it. This would mean charging on average $500 a month to your card. If you don’t believe you can manage that, then it’s probably best that you steer clear of this card, because without the welcome bonus things don’t really add up.

Having gotten the elephant out of the room, the Aeroplan Gold card’s welcome bonus of 15,000 miles is decent enough. The bonus alone will cover a one-way ticket in economy class for a long haul domestic flight inside Canada or the US, and you’ll still have 2,500 miles left over. Here’s a pair of examples of recently booked flight rewards to show you what I mean:

D:\Documentos\UpWork\Jordan Bishop\Yore Oyster\Aeroplan Cards Comparison\Example 2 - Vancouver-Montreal Areoplan reward.png
D:\Documentos\UpWork\Jordan Bishop\Yore Oyster\Aeroplan Cards Comparison\Example 2 - Vancouver-Montreal in Cash with air Canada.png

Above: One-way flight from Vancouver to Montreal booked with Aeroplan and the same flight booked with Air Canada

D:\Documentos\UpWork\Jordan Bishop\Yore Oyster\Aeroplan Cards Comparison\Seatle-New York Aeroplan.png
D:\Documentos\UpWork\Jordan Bishop\Yore Oyster\Aeroplan Cards Comparison\Seatle-New York in Cash with United Air.png

Above: One-way flight from Seattle to New York booked in Aeroplan and the same flight booked with United Airlines.

As you can see, any one of those flights is enough to offset the annual fee (read bellow for more details). With those miles, you can fly from Vancouver to Montreal paying only $72 instead of the regular $518 in cash. Compared to the “Regular” AeroplanPlus Card, this card’s bonus is three times bigger for only twice the annual fee, so it’s definitely a better deal.

Having said that, it isn’t the best bonus you can get, not even for a comparable annual fee. Both the Amex Marriott Bonvoy card and the Amex Gold Rewards card can earn you bigger bonuses for the same or slightly higher fees (read on to see how this card compares to other Amex cards).

Annual Fee

The Aeroplan Gold card will cost you $120 a year. This is a manageable sum for most Canadians. However, there are people who simply don’t want to pay a fee for their credit cards, even if the benefits clearly outweigh it. If you’re dead-set on avoiding a fee, then this card is not for you. However, if your more open minded, keep reading and I’ll show you that the fee is actually a really good deal, at least for the first year, when you count in all the benefits that come with the card.

As far as credit card fees go, $120 is somewhere in the middle-low segment. You can find cheaper fees like the $60 fee on the regular Aeroplan card, and there are credit cards that you can even have for free. On the other end, you’ll also find fees up to eight times higher. As a general rule in credit cards, a higher fee implies a lot more benefits. Whether you will be able to take advantage of those benefits depends entirely on your lifestyle and income.

An important benefit with the Aeroplan Gold card is that with the $120 fee, you won’t just receive your own card, but you’ll also get two additional supplementary cards for any two people 13 or more years old. This is a great way to earn miles faster if you have friends or family members who you wish to share your account with. These two cards alone would cost you an extra $50 each, but you’ll get them at no extra cost.

If you feel that you can afford the annual fee and are keen on earning miles, then give it a try today and start building up your Aeroplan balance.

Sign up now!

Miles Earning Rate

The miles earning rate is definitely one of the most important features of the AeroplanPlus Gold card. The card comes with a basic earning rate of 1 mile per $1 spent on any purchase below a total of $10,000 charged to the card. This is the same earning rate you get with the regular AeroplanPlus card. However, if before the year is done you manage to reach a total of $10,000 charged to your card, the earning rate boosts up to 1.25x on every dollar spent thereafter. This is actually a pretty good earning rate for an everyday spending card.

Moreover, if you happen to shop at an Aeroplan partner brand, that’s when things really take off because, if you give your Aeroplan number, you’ll earn extra miles. Since Aeroplan is a loyalty rewards program, it will reward you handsomely for being loyal to its partners. The least you’ll get is an additional mile, apart from the 1x or 1.25x you get from using your AeroplanPlus Gold card. Some partners will give you tons of miles. When you add them all up, in some cases, you could be raking in more than 5x miles on those particular purchases. Considering that an Aeroplan mile is worth, on average, about 2.5 cents, earning 5 miles per every dollar is equivalent to getting more than 10% of you money back, if you spend your miles wisely.

You can earn miles twice with the Aeroplan Gold 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 fly.

Let’s look at a real example to give you a better idea!

If you purchase a round-trip ticket from Toronto to Vancouver in Standard plus class, and pay the $800 fare with your Aeroplan Gold card, you would earn 1,000 miles from the card purchase (assuming you already surpassed the $10,000 mark). If you give your Aeroplan number, you would also receive 1 mile for every mile flown. That’s 4,158 miles! In the end, you would come out with 5,158 miles for spending $800. That’s an astounding 6.45 miles per dollar!

When you pay for Air Canada flights with your AeroplanPlus Gold card, you can easily get more than 6 miles per dollar!

You’ll find the complete list of Aeroplan’s partners in the following table. You can 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
• ANA
• Asiana Airlines
• Austrian Airlines
• Avianca
• Avianca Brazil
• Bearskin Airlines
• Brussels Airlines
• Canadian North
• Cathay Dragon
• Cathay Pacific
• COPA Airlines
• Croatia Airlines
• Egyptair
• Ethiopian Airlines
• EuroWings
• Eva Air
• First Air
• GOL
• Juneyao Airlines
• LOT Polish Airlines
• Lufthansa
• Olympic Air
• Scandinavian Airlines
• Shenzhen Airlines
• Singapore Airlines
• South African Airways
• Star Alliance
• Swiss
• TAP Air Portugal
• Thai Airways
• Turkish Airlines
• United Airlines
Hotels
and
Lodgings
• Le Club Accorhotels
• Ac Hotels by Marriott®
• Adagio
• Adagio Access
• Aloft Hotels
• Americinn® by Wyndham
• Angsana
• Ascend Collection®
• Banyan Tree
• Baymont® by Wyndham
• Best Western International
• Cambria Suites®
• Candlewood Suites®
• Cassia
• Chelsea Hot • el, Toronto
• Choice Hotels®
• Clarion
• 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
• 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®
• Mercure
• Mgallery
• Microtel® by Wyndham
• 21c Museum Hotel
• Novotel
• Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts
• Park Inn® by Radisson
• Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts
• Parkroyal Hotels & Resorts
• Pullman
• Quality®
• Radisson®
• Radisson Blu®
• Radisson Red®
• Raffles
• Ramada® by Wyndham
• Regent Hotels®
• Renaissance® Hotels
• Residence Inn by Marriott®
• Rixos
• Rocketmiles
• 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
• Swissotel
• 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
Car
Rental
• Avis
• Budget
• Hertz
• Payless® Car Rental
   
Parking • Aéroports De Montréal
• Park & Jet Calgary
• Park’n Fly
• Vancouver International Airport Parking 
   
Online
Retailers
• Aircanada.com
• Home Hardware
• Costco
• Magellan’s
   
Aeroplan
e-store
Partners
• Aeroplan Estore
• Aldo
• Amazon.ca
• Apple Store Canada
• Banana Republic
• Bass Pro Shops
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bogs
• Chapters.indigo.ca
• Clearly
• Club Monaco
• Crocs
• Dell Canada
• Ebay.ca
• Footlocker
• Gap Canada
• Hudson’s Bay
• Indochino
• Lands’ End
• L.l.bean
• Luisaviaroma
• Macy’s
• Microsoft Store
• National Geographic
• Norton by Symantec
• Old Navy
• Rakuten Kobo
• Revolveclothing.com
• Roots
• Rosetta Stone
• Saks.com
• Sephora
• Shoes.com
• Shop Disney
• Sierra Trading Post
• Strawberrynet
• The Body Shop
• Toms Canada
• Tsc
• Under Armour
• Weightwatchers.ca
• Well.ca
• Yves Rocher
• Nordstrom

Above: Complete list of Aeroplan’s partner brands

Since you are limited to a specific set of travel related partner brands, it may be difficult to achieve the highest miles earning rate with this card unless you’re traveling, and unless you carefully plan your itinerary. This may become cumbersome, to say the least, so it’s much more probable that you’ll end up accessing the 1x or 1.25x earning rate, most of the time.

Also, if you consider the fact that you can give your Aeroplan number at a partner brand and earn extra miles, regardless of what payment method you use (whether you pay with an AeroplanPlus Gold card or not), it’s definitely wiser to use a card that offers more flexibility and better earning rates for your everyday expenses. The American Express Gold Rewards card is a good choice since it earns you MR points, which you can transfer later to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate. This card gives you the same 1x earning rate on any purchase, but it will give you 2x MR points on eligible travel purchases, which include most of Aeroplan’s partners, as well as others. In that case, you could be looking at 3-7+ miles per $1, which is an almost unrivaled earning rate.

Finally, another positive note on the Aeroplan Gold Card’s rewards is that Amex doesn’t put a cap on the maximum amount of miles you can earn. You can use it all you want and it’ll keep earning you miles.

Travel and Purchase Coverage

Having an insurance policy when you travel will surely help you enjoy the trip more and worry less, even if it is a business trip. As if choosing the best itinerary and planning everything down to a T wasn’t enough on your mind, adding the need to decide on a travel insurance policy among the many options available could also add some unneeded stress to the whole affair.

Signing up to the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card provides an easy way out of this conundrum, as it already comes with very decent set of travel insurance policies that’ll cover you on every trip you take after becoming a member, as long as you purchase all your tickets with the card. These policies include:

$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.

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.

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 renting a room 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 Gold 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 Aeroplan Gold 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.

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.

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 Gold card. You’ll also get the Purchase Protection Plan that covers your purchases against accidental damage and theft.

The insurance coverage of the Aeroplan Gold card clearly leaves the “regular” Aeroplan card well behind, as the latter only offers half the AD&D coverage and the purchase coverage. If you plan on traveling any time soon, adding this card to your wallet could definitely be worth it.

Sign up now!

Eligibility

Since the Amex AeroplanPlus Gold 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 Aeroplan Gold Card is a charge card, not a credit card. This translates into two things:

  1. You’re meant to pay your balance in full every month, or else get a 30% APR on any unpaid balance.
  2. American Express doesn’t impose a minimum income to become eligible, only that you have a Canadian credit file and that your account be in good standing. American Express doesn’t specify exactly what they mean by “account in good standing”, but some say that you need a minimum credit score of 650.

This makes it easy for you to take advantage of the benefits of American Express and Aeroplan, even if you don’t make a lot of money. Couple that with an accessible fee and this card becomes a great choice of a rewards card on a budget.

Sign up today and give it a go.

Overall Pros and Cons

We analyzed all the card’s features and benefits and came up with the following list of pros and cons for the American Express Aeroplan Card:

PROSCONS
Not a particularly high annual feeDecent welcome bonusGood miles earning rateTwo free supplementary Aeroplan Gold cardsNo cap on earnable milesGreat travel and purchase coverageNo minimum income requiredHigh APR on unpaid balanceNo Amex conciergeNo airport lounge accessNo other long term benefits to offset the annual fee

Do The Benefits Justify The Annual Fee?

If you were to sign up and use this card only for the welcome bonus, the benefits would clearly justify the fee for the first year, but not for the long run. As you can see in the following table where I’ve summarized the most important short-term and long-term benefits, the bonus itself is worth on average $375, and the two additional cards are worth another $100. Even if you were to claim your miles in the worst possible way, you’d still come out winning in the end.


Annual FeeBenefits(Welcome Bonus + other benefits)Value in the  Worst Case Scenario:1 cent/mile(balance)Value in the  Worst Case Scenario:4 cents/mile (balance)Average Value:2.5 cents/mile(balance)
First Year$12015,000 miles+ 2 additional cards (worth $100)$150 + $100 (additional cards) = $250(net win of $130)$600 + $100 (additional cards) = $700(net win of $580)$375 + $100 (additional cards) = $475(net win of $355)
Long Term2 additional cards (worth $100)$100(net loss of $20)$100(net loss of $20)$100(net loss of $20)

Above: Comparison of benefits and the annual fee.

On average, the welcome bonus and other benefits will more than triple the annual fee during the first year.

After the first year, things don’t look so bright. Unless you use your card to earn miles and to take advantage of the travel and purchase coverage that come with it, the only real lasting benefits are the two additional cards, which are worth $100. However, even this benefit will be sterile if you don’t use them either.

There are other credit cards like the Amex Marriott Bonvoy and the Amex Platinum card whose benefits will outweigh the annual fee just for having it in your wallet. Benefits like the annual free night at a five stars hotel, or complimentary access to first class airport lounges around the world, are worth much more than the respective annual fees, and are a much smarter choice than this card for the long term.

How Does The AeroplanPlus Gold Card Compare To Other American Express Cards?

As we explained above, the lack of long lasting benefits to help offset the annual fee, even if it is a manageable sum like $120, makes the AeroplanPlus Gold card a bad deal after the first year, unlike other options like the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card, the American Express Platinum card and the American Express Gold Rewards card.

The Marriott Bonvoy America Express card, for example, has the same fee as the Aeroplan Gold card, but its benefits surpass by far the $120. The yearly Free Night Award alone could be worth $300-$500, which more than doubles the annual fee, and that’s without counting all the other long-term benefits that come with it. It is hands down the best credit card option for Canadians today, in our opinion.

Sign up now for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card!

Compared to the regular AeroplanPlus card, it’s a much better deal, even if costs twice as much. However, if you’re looking for the cheapest fee on an American Express card the can reward you miles, than the “regular” AeroplanPlus card is the one for you. The other two members of the AeroplanPlus card family let you rake a lot more benefits, but they also come with heavy annual fees of $500 and more.

If you want to learn more about this card family, you can read our full comparison of the four American Express AeroplanPlus cards here.

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, nor even the best cards for the task. Other Amex card options will give you much better welcome bonuses, better 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 card for earning Aeroplan miles 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. Give your Aeroplan number on selected purchases on a partner brand, and you could crank it up to more than 4x (read 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.

Sign up to the Amex Platinum Card

The American Express Gold Rewards Card

This is also a better alternative to earn Aeroplan miles. This card comes with a 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. You’ll also receive $100 in hotel credit and many other benefits that’ll make this a smart choice, year after year.

You could get the same bonus for less money and many more benefits with 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 everyday purchases, and 1x on all other purchases, which is a much easier and more flexible way to earn points (read miles) than the Marriott Bonvoy card. This card is an Aeroplan winner at a modest fee.

Sign up now to the Gold Rewards card

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 could be getting as much as 25,000 Aeroplan miles just for signing up to the Marriot 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 a 67% larger welcome bonus + much better benefits, for the exact same fee as the AeroplanPlus Gold card.

These miles are enough for a round trip in economy class or a one-way flight in business class.

Sign up now to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex card

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 5÷3=1.67 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 Aeroplan Gold card is the one for you, applying is as simple as clicking in 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.

Sign up to the Amex AeroplanPlus Gold Card now!

FAQs

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 #3: 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 the equivalent to 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 Another 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 Platinum 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 American Express 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 Gold card’s bonus you have to reach a minimum of $1,500 in purchases (any purchase) charged to your new card in the first 90 days of cardmembership. This isn’t too hard to do for most Canadians, but it may still take a bit of time.

After you hit that goal, American Express can take up to 8 weeks to transfer the bonus to your Aeroplan account.

As a consequence, we estimate that the soonest you could be getting your bonus would be in about 12 weeks (or three months) after signing up, considering you manage to charge the $1,500 to your card in less than a month.

Be very careful not to sign up any later than 12 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.

The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card

This review covers the benefits, costs and little-known tricks of the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card. You can read our separate posts on the other three members of this card family, the regular AeroplanPlus Card, the AeroplanPlus Gold Card and the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. You can also 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.

All amounts are in Canadian dollars, unless specified otherwise.

Resultado de imagen para american express aeroplan platinum card
The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.

The AeroplanPlus Platinum card is one of American Express’ best Aeroplan miles earning cards for your everyday purchases. It’s a travel card that comes with a huge 40,000 miles welcome bonus, and long lasting benefits like an excellent miles earning rate, travel and purchase insurance coverage for every trip, a complimentary partner ticket for a short-haul round-trip flight every year, and more. All these benefits will more than likely help you overlook the high annual fee. The welcome bonus alone easily makes this card a winning deal for the first year because it can be worth over $1,000, as you’ll learn in this post.

Get pampered at Pearson Airport thanks to complimentary valet service and save time with Pearson Priority Security Lane and Air Canada Priority Check-in. Travel with style with unlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge wherever available, as well as with a Priority Pass membership to access some of the most amazing airport lounges across the globe.

In the following post, I’ll show you all the numbers to help you make sense of all of the Aeroplan Platinum card’s benefits, so you can decide for yourself if this card is the right fit for you. If you do decide to sign up, or if you’re already a cardholder, you’ll find out how to get the best out of your card and turn the high annual fee into a smart investment.

To help you navigate this post, I’ve broken it down in the following sections:

Basic Features & Benefits

The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum 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 Bonus40,000 Aeroplan miles
Annual Fee$499
Additional card$199 for additional AeroplanPlus Platinum cards.$50 for additional AeroplanPlus Gold cards.
Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On Partner Brands2.25 miles or more for the first $25,000 charged to the card2.50 miles or more for every 1$ above $25,000 charged to the card
Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Purchases1.25 miles for the first $25,000 charged to the card1.50 miles for every additional dollar
American Express Invites
Travel Coverage$5,000,000 Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)
Trip Cancellation InsuranceTrip Interruption Insurance$500,000 Travel Accident InsuranceTravel Emergency AssistanceFlight Delay InsuranceBaggage Delay InsuranceLost or Stolen Baggage InsuranceHotel/Motel Burglary InsuranceCar Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
Purchase CoverageBuyer’s Assurance Protection PlanPurchase Protection Plan
EligibilityCanadian citizens or residents with an account in good standing
Type of CardCharge card (not a credit card)
APR on any unpaid balance30% on purchases30% on cash withdrawals

Above: The American Express Aeroplan Platinum card’s features and benefits at a glance.

Ok! Now, let’s take a closer look at all these benefits separately so I can show you how much they’ll really be worth to you:

The Welcome Bonus

The AeroplanPlus Platinum card’s welcome bonus is simply HUGE! The only card that offers a higher bonus is the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card, but that one will cost you an extra $400 (almost twice) and its bonus is only 25% bigger than the Platinum’s. However, you may be wondering exactly how big a 40,000 miles bonus really is. To answer that, you need to know how much each mile is worth.

As with all loyalty rewards programs, Aeroplan miles (what Aeroplan calls its reward points) are redeemable for a variety of different rewards. Depending on how you decide to spend them, you can get different values for every mile. If you follow our advice on how to get the most out of your every mile in this post (or in the FAQ section at the end of this one), you could get as much as 4 cents or more for every mile. This means that the 40,000 miles could be worth as much as $1,600.

That’s over three times the annual fee!

Getting that sort of value isn’t hard, and is very realistic, provided that you have flexible travel dates. It would seem obvious to try to squeeze out as much as possible from every mile, but if you don’t want to stress yourself out with maximizing your return on the $499 investment, it’s incredibly easy to get an average value of 2,5 cents per mile, which still traduces to $1,000 -twice the annual fee. Heck, even if, for some strange reason, you decided to make an effort and get the least amount of value, you would almost come out even in the end, without counting all the other benefits.

Let’s take a look at some of the great things you could do with the 40,000 miles:

Two roundtrip tickets from Toronto to Miami for only $71 CAD each!

Get away from the cold for a while and take a partner with you. You could visit the cosmopolitan city of Miami and bask in the sun in some of Florida’s best beaches.

Resultado de imagen para miami
Fly roundtrip from Toronto to Miami for just $71 with the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.

As you can see from the next image, each round-trip ticket costs 22,800 miles + $71 CAD for taxes and fees. Therefore, both tickets will cost a total of 45,600 miles + $142. That’s a little over the 40,000 miles of the welcome bonus, but don’t worry, the extra miles will already be in your account by the time you receive the bonus.

Why?

Well, it’s actually very simple: In order to get the bonus, you have to charge a minimum of $3,000 of purchases to your card in the first three months of cardmembership. If you spend that money wisely (i.e. shopping at an Aeroplan partner brand and getting more than 2.25 cents per mile, for example), those $3,000 will turn into more than 6,750 miles, giving you more than enough to cover the extra 5,600 miles needed to afford the whole trip.

In the following image, you can see the same itinerary booked directly with Air Canada. In that case, each round-trip ticket would cost $367 for a total of $734 for both you and your partner. Since you’re still paying $142 for taxes and fees, the miles in the welcome bonus are saving you $734 – $142 = $592.

That was quite an easy to plan itinerary, and with it, you come out winning almost $100 after subtracting the annual fee. This particular trip will only get you roughly 1.30 cents per mile, which is actually a very poor valuation for your miles (but it’s a great destination).

Here’s another example of recently booked flight reward that could get you a heck of a lot more for you bonus:

Three one-way, long-haul tickets from Vancouver to Montreal

If you plan to cross the country with a pair of friends or family members, you should really consider signing up to the AeroplanPlus platinum card. As you can see from the snapshot below, each Economy class fare would be $519 if booked with Air Canada. That sums up to a total of $1,557 for three tickets. That’s not exactly pocket change.

D:\Documentos\UpWork\Jordan Bishop\Yore Oyster\Aeroplan Cards Comparison\Example 2 - Vancouver-Montreal in Cash with air Canada.png
One-way flight from Vancouver to Montreal booked with cash on Air Canada.

If, on the other hand, you use your welcome bonus, you would only be paying 12,500 miles + $73 for taxes and fees for each ticket (see image below). In other words, all three tickets would cost 37,500 miles + $219.

D:\Documentos\UpWork\Jordan Bishop\Yore Oyster\Aeroplan Cards Comparison\Example 2 - Vancouver-Montreal Areoplan reward.png
The exact same one-way flight from Vancouver to Montreal booked using Aeroplan points from your American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.

Have you done the math already?

Numbers don’t lie… You’re saving $1,557 – $219 = $1,338.

Since a penny saved is a penny earned, that means you come out winning almost $840, after counting in the annual fee. That’s just for signing up and getting the bonus, AND you’ll still have, in the absolute worst of cases, 6,250 miles left over (that’s the 2,500 miles left form the welcome bonus itself + the miles earned from charging $3,000 to the card at its worst possible earning rate of 1.25 miles/$).

Convinced? Sign up now and start saving money on flights.

The Annual Fee

The annual fee is the ugly side of the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card. You don’t need me to tell you so… $499 is a lot of money, and not everyone has the budget for it. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a low budget card, this is not the one for you. However, when you stop to consider the benefits you can get out of signing up, the $499 start looking more like an investment than like a non-refundable fee.

Either way, this is obviously not a card you want to sign up to just to, keep it in your wallet. You have to use it at least as much as to get the welcome bonus, in order for it to make sense to sign up. So, if you do plan to sign up, remember to have the $499 at your disposal and to be able to manage the average $1,000 of monthly purchases needed to reach the minimum before the first three months. In other words,

Make sure you’ll be able to get the welcome bonus before you sign up!

If the fee and the minimum purchase are manageable for you, and if you intend to travel at least once in the following year, then I definitely recommend you get it now.

American Express gives you options regarding additional cards. You can choose between additional Aeroplan Platinum cards or Aeroplan Gold cards. In the first case, each card would cost you $200 per year, and would include the benefits of the Platinum Card regarding insurance coverage and miles earning rates.

You can also opt for an additional Gold card instead, which is much cheaper ($50 a year) but won’t include all the benefits that come with the Platinum card, only the ones available for the AeroplanPlus Gold card. Amongst other things, the earning rate will be lower (1x for any purchase) and you don’t get the same coverage or travel benefits.

Miles Earning Rate

The platinum card comes with the highest miles earning rate (per every dollar on any purchase) of the American Express AeroplanPlus card family. You start off at a rate of 1.25 miles per dollar for the first $25,000 in purchases, and after that, the rate boosts to 1.5x. To give you some perspective, with the gold card you’d have to charge $10,000 to be able to actually get 1.25 miles per dollar; before that, you would be getting a rate of 1x. That means that by choosing the Aeroplan Platinum card instead of the Aeroplan Gold card, you will have an extra 2,500 miles in your account by the time you reach the $10,000 mark.

Once you boost your earning rate to 1.5x, there’s simply no competition.

You could say that other cards can give you better rates like the Reserve Card, which can get you 2x miles per dollar, or the Amex Platinum Card that can give you up to 3x on eligible dinning in Canada. The difference is that in those cases, you only get the highest rate for very specific eligible purchases, and only 1x for the rest, whereas the 1.5x rate mentioned here is for any purchase whatsoever.

That’s a thumbs-up for the Aeroplan Platinum card.

Of course, you only get that after you actually spend $25,000, which is not a meager sum. The basic 1.25x earning rate is really not so bad, but if you really want to ramp up your earning rate without having to spend a fortune to do so, the best way is to access the increased earning rates that Aeroplan’s partners offer.

Here’s how:

After signing up for your AeroplanPlus Platinum card, you also need to sign up to Aeroplan itself. That’s where your miles will actually be stored when you earn them, and that’s where you have to go to redeem them. Whenever you decide to shop at an Aeroplan partner brand, you can give your Aeroplan number (this is your Aeroplan account number, which is not the same as the AeroplanPlus card number) and you’ll earn miles for your purchase.

Notice I never said that you have to pay with your AeroplanPlus Platinum card, just that you have to give your Aeroplan number. What payment method you use doesn’t matter. If you do use your Aeroplan Platinum card, then you will ALSO earn miles with it. This means that

You can ear miles twice with the Aeroplan Platinum card if you shop at a partner brand, once for the card purchase and once for the Aeroplan partner!

In fact, you could even earn miles a third time on the same purchase, if you decide to shop at the partner brand through the Aeroplan.com e-store.

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).

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 Aeroplan Gold card, you would earn 1,200 miles from the card purchase (assuming you already accessed the 1.5x earning rate). 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 5,356 miles for an $800 purchase.

That’s an astounding 6.70 miles per dollar!

Valued at an average 2.5 cents per mile, those 6.70 miles are equal to 16.75 cents.

Conclusion: When you pay for Air Canada flights with your AeroplanPlus Platinum card, you can easily get almost 7 miles per dollar and save almost 17% 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.

You’ll find the complete list of Aeroplan’s partners in the following table. You can 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
• ANA
• Asiana Airlines
• Austrian Airlines
• Avianca
• Avianca Brazil
• Bearskin Airlines
• Brussels Airlines
• Canadian North
• Cathay Dragon
• Cathay Pacific
• COPA Airlines
• Croatia Airlines
• Egyptair
• Ethiopian Airlines
• EuroWings
• Eva Air
• First Air
• GOL
• Juneyao Airlines
• LOT Polish Airlines
• Lufthansa
• Olympic Air
• Scandinavian Airlines
• Shenzhen Airlines
• Singapore Airlines
• South African Airways
• Star Alliance
• Swiss
• TAP Air Portugal
• Thai Airways
• Turkish Airlines
• United Airlines
Hotels
and
Lodgings
• Le Club Accorhotels
• Ac Hotels by Marriott®
• Adagio
• Adagio Access
• Aloft Hotels
• Americinn® by Wyndham
• Angsana
• Ascend Collection®
• Banyan Tree
• Baymont® by Wyndham
• Best Western International
• Cambria Suites®
• Candlewood Suites®
• Cassia
• Chelsea Hot • el, Toronto
• Choice Hotels®
• Clarion
• 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
• 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®
• Mercure
• Mgallery
• Microtel® by Wyndham
• 21c Museum Hotel
• Novotel
• Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts
• Park Inn® by Radisson
• Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts
• Parkroyal Hotels & Resorts
• Pullman
• Quality®
• Radisson®
• Radisson Blu®
• Radisson Red®
• Raffles
• Ramada® by Wyndham
• Regent Hotels®
• Renaissance® Hotels
• Residence Inn by Marriott®
• Rixos
• Rocketmiles
• 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
• Swissotel
• 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
Car
Rental
• Avis
• Budget
• Hertz
• Payless® Car Rental
   
Parking • Aéroports De Montréal
• Park & Jet Calgary
• Park’n Fly
• Vancouver International Airport Parking 
   
Online
Retailers
• Aircanada.com
• Home Hardware
• Costco
• Magellan’s
   
Aeroplan
e-store
Partners
• Aeroplan Estore
• Aldo
• Amazon.ca
• Apple Store Canada
• Banana Republic
• Bass Pro Shops
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bogs
• Chapters.indigo.ca
• Clearly
• Club Monaco
• Crocs
• Dell Canada
• Ebay.ca
• Footlocker
• Gap Canada
• Hudson’s Bay
• Indochino
• Lands’ End
• L.l.bean
• Luisaviaroma
• Macy’s
• Microsoft Store
• National Geographic
• Norton by Symantec
• Old Navy
• Rakuten Kobo
• Revolveclothing.com
• Roots
• Rosetta Stone
• Saks.com
• Sephora
• Shoes.com
• Shop Disney
• Sierra Trading Post
• Strawberrynet
• The Body Shop
• Toms Canada
• Tsc
• Under Armour
• Weightwatchers.ca
• Well.ca
• Yves Rocher
• Nordstrom

Above: Complete list of Aeroplan’s partner brands

More Platinum Benefits

This is where things start to get interesting on the long run. If you read our posts on the AeroplanPlus Gold and Regular AeroplanPlus cards, you’ll see that those are only worth it for the first year, because they lack long lasting benefits to counterweigh the annual fee.

The AeroplanPlus Platinum card includes all of the benefits the other mentioned cards have (only better, i.e. better bonus, better earning rate, better coverage, etc.). However, it includes some benefits that are only available for Platinum cardholders (and Reserve cardholders as well).

These benefits include:

  • An Annual Complimentary Partner Ticket

This is a benefit you’ll love! Once a year, if you redeem 15,000 miles for a short-haul round trip ticket, fixed mileage flight reward ticket in economy class, you can get a second ticket for the exact same itinerary, free of charge. 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; it’s not redeemable for cash either.

All and all, it’s still a great excuse to take a quick weekend trip, at least once a year.

  • Unlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge

With the Aeroplan Platinum card, you can relax before your flight at any of the 17 stylish Maple Leaf Lounges across Canada and all other Maple Leaf Lounges available worldwide like in Paris, Frankfort and London, to name a few.

For example, you could sit back and drink a good cup of coffee at the Calgary International Airport Maple Leaf Lounge.

Related image

Above: Calgary International Airport Maple Leaf Lounge

Or enjoy a cup of wine while reading in a cell free zone in the Charles de Gaulle Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

Image result for charles de gaulle maple leaf lounge

Above: CDG Maple Leaf Lounge

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.

There’s nothing to it. All you have to do is present your AeroplanPlus Platinum card at the entrance, along with a confirmed Air Canada (or a partner airline) departing ticket for the same day, and you’re in.

The complimentary access to the lounge only applies to you as the main cardholder and to any additional Platinum cardholders as well (that’s probably why they charge a fee for it). But don’t worry about having to leave your kids or your friends in the hall while you sit back and relax. You can bring guests with you for a fee that ranges from $20 to $30 per guest.

  • Priority Pass Membership

In the case in which your itinerary doesn’t include departure from an airport with a Maple Leaf Lounge, you can still access over 700 lounges around the world thanks to the Priority Pass membership you can get with your AeroplanPlus Platinum card.

You can see that by owning this card, there’s a high probability that you will be able to enjoy the benefits of a lounge wherever you go.

Two important facts deserve mentioning:

The first one is that the Priority Pass membership doesn’t come with the card right off the bat. You have to apply for it (which implies the possibility of being rejected) and, if you’re approved, they waive the membership fee.

Second, unlike the case with the Maple Leaf Lounges, the Priority Pass membership isn’t unlimited. You’ll get the Standard membership that grants you access to all its lounges, but not free of charge. You have to pay an entrance fee for yourself and any guests you bring with you.

  • Air Canada Priority Check-ins

The Aeroplan Platinum 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.

  • Special treatment at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

If you’re flying from Pearson International Airport, having an Aeroplan Platinum card will get you pampered as soon as 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 Platinum 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

  • Emergency Medical Insurance (I’ll get back to that in a minute in the next section)

Apart from all the insurance policies included with the AeroplanPlus Gold Card, the Platinum comes with a $5,000,000 medical insurance policy that covers you when you’re out of your state or province. Get more details up ahead.

Travel and Purchase Coverage

The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum 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 Gold card and adds more benefits like Trip Cancelation Insurance , Trip Interruption Insurance and Emergency Medical Insurance.

Keep reading to find out more about the travel coverage that comes with the Aeroplan Platinum 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 Cancelation 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 cancelation, 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 Platinum 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 Aeroplan Platinum 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.

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.

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 Platinum 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.

If feeling safe while you travel essential, than the AeroplanPlus Platinum card is definitely a great choice.

Sign up now!

American Express Card Eligibility

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 Aeroplan Platinum Card is a charge card, not a credit card. This translates into two things:

  • 1st: you’re meant to pay your balance in full every month, or else get a 30% APR on any unpaid balance.
  • 2nd: American Express doesn’t impose a minimum income to become eligible, only that you have a Canadian credit file and that your account be in good standing. American Express doesn’t specify exactly what they mean by “account in good standing”, but some say that you need a minimum credit score of 650.

This makes it easy for you to be eligible and take advantage of the benefits of American Express and Aeroplan, even if you don’t make a lot of money. Couple that with an accessible fee and this card becomes a great choice of a rewards card on a budget.

Sign up today and give it a go.

Overall Pros and Cons

We’ve analyzed all of the card’s features and benefits, and came up with the following list of pros and cons for the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card:

PROSCONS
Huge welcome bonusComplimentary partner ticketExcellent miles earning rateAwesome travel insurance coverageAir Canada Priority Check-inUnlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf LoungesStandard Priority Pass membership to access over 700 airport lounges worldwideComplimentary valet service and Priority Security Lane at Terminals 1 and 3 of Toronto’s Pearson International AirportVery high annual feeHigh APR on purchases and cash withdrawalsYou’ll only see the benefits if you travel at least once a yearCharge card, not a credit card

Do the benefits justify the annual fee?

Yes, they do.

As I showed you with the two examples of how you could use your welcome bonus, the 40,000 miles alone are more than enough to offset the high annual fee, and you’ll come out well ahead if you maximize your miles’ value. And that’s without even counting the value of any of the other benefits.

Let’s count those in:

  • The complimentary short-haul, round-trip annual partner ticket is worth 15,000 miles
  • The annual Maple Leaf Club Canada membership that grants you access to the Maple Leaf Lounges and includes Air Canada’s priority check-in is worth $337.5.
  • The Standard annual Priority Pass membership costs $99 USD. To access any lounge, you would normally have to pay an additional entrance fee of $32 for yourself and for any guest you decide to bring with you. However, besides waiving the membership fee, the lounge access fee is also reduced to $27 USD, so you also save an extra $5 per person per visit. So, if you were to travel alone only once, you would be saving $104 USD, which is equivalent to $139 Canadian dollars.
  • The valet fee at Pearson Airport is worth $25
  • The worth of the full insurance coverage is hard to estimate, but it could very easily surpass a couple of hundred dollars per trip, especially if you travel with your family and rent a car.

In the end, the long-term benefits will add up to a minimum of 15,000 miles + roughly around $500, not counting the insurance.

In the following table, I summarize all this information and show you what you can get out of signing up for the Aeroplan Platinum card:


Annual FeeBenefits(Welcome Bonus + other benefits)Value in the  Worst Case Scenario:1 cent/mile(balance)Value in the  Best Case Scenario:4 cents/mile (balance)Average Value:2.5 cents/mile(balance)
First Year$49955,000 miles + $500$1,050(net win of $551)$2,700(net win of $2,201)$1,875(net win of $1,376)
Long Term15,000 miles + $500$650(net win of $151)$1,100(net win of $601)$875(net win of $376)

Above: Comparison of benefits and the annual fee for the Aeroplan Platinum card.

Conclusion: These numbers speak for themselves. There’s no way to turn signing up to the Aeroplan Platinum card into a bad deal. You’ll come out winning every time, but specially during the first year, when you could be getting an average of $1,875 in value for the $499 fee.

For the first year, the bonus and the partner tickets are benefits that anyone can take advantage of, and that turns the $499 fee into a bargain, regardless of your lifestyle.

After the first year though, the benefits will only justify the annual fee if you are a frequent flyer, and your lifestyle allows you to pamper yourself with lounge access and the like.

Think of it this way: You wouldn’t pay over three hundred dollars for a Maple Leaf Club membership and another hundred for a Priority Pass membership if you weren’t going to use them, would you? In that case, the $499 fee isn’t really saving you any money on those memberships, because you wouldn’t buy them either way.

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!

Three other credit cards for building 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.

Sign up to the Amex Platinum Card today.

The American Express Gold Rewards card

This is also a better alternative to earn Aeroplan miles. 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 Marriot Bonvoy card. This card is an Aeroplan winner at a modest fee.

Sign up now to the Gold Rewards card

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 Marriot 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.

Sign up now to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex card

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 5÷3=1.67 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 Aeroplan Platinum card is the one for you, applying is as simple as clicking in 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.

Sign up to the Amex AeroplanPlus Platinum card now!

FAQs

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 #3: 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.

The American Express AeroplanPlus Card: A Review

This post is about the Regular American Express AeroplanPlus Card. You can read our separate posts on the other three members of this card family: the AeroplanPlus Gold Card, the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card and the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. You can also read our post on the comparison of all four Aeroplan cards here, where you’ll find all the information you need to choose the one that’s right for you.

https://icm.aexp-static.com/Internet/internationalcardshop/en_ca/images/cards/AeroplanPlus_Card.png

The American Express Aeroplan Card, also known as the AeroplanPlus Card, is a loyalty rewards card that earns miles per every dollar of card purchase, and adds them directly to your Aeroplan balance, without the need to convert your reward points.

It’s a great and easy way for you, as a Canadian or a resident of Canada, to build up your Aeroplan balance, and take advantage of Air Canada’s loyalty program to gain access to the more than 1,300 destinations that the mentioned airline and the Star Alliance offer, at a fraction of the price. Simply put, it’s a great way to save money, fly cheaper and enjoy life abroad without any hassle.

Read on to learn all you need to know about the regular AeroplanPlus card, what its most important features and benefits are, and how these benefits counterweight the annual fee. To help you navigate through this post, I’ve broken it down in the following sections:

Basic Features & Benefits

The “Regular” American Express Aeroplan card is the most basic of all four members of the family. Consequently, you would expect things like not-too-great benefits but at a low annual fee, and that’s pretty much what it offers.

Here are the main features and benefits you’ll find with the Amex AeroplanPlus card:

Welcome Bonus5,000 miles (after charging $500 in purchases to the card)
Annual Fee$60
Additional card$20
Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On Partner Brands2+  miles (1 for the card purchase and 1 or more for the partner brand)
Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Purchases1 mile
American Express Invites
Travel Coverage$250,000 Travel Accidents InsuranceTravel Emergency Medical Assistance
Purchase CoverageBuyer’s Assurance Protection PlanPurchase Protection Plan
EligibilityCanadian residents with an account in good standing
Type of CardCharge card (not a credit card)
APR30% purchases30% cash withdrawals

Let’s break it all down:

Welcome Bonus

When you think about signing up for an American Express card for the first time, you immediately look at the welcome bonus because American Express has always been generous in that department. This bonus alone is usually enough to offset the annual fee, and this is not the exception, as you’ll soon discover (read on). The only downside is that you’ll only get it once, for obvious reasons.

If you look at the welcome bonus on the American Express Aeroplan card, which is 5,000 miles, you could think that it’s not so bad. However, when you consider that the best way to spend your miles is in flights, and that the minimum any flight will cost is 12,500 miles, you’ll quickly realize that you won’t be able to do much with the welcome bonus until you use your card a lot.

To give you an idea, in the best of cases you would need to charge a minimum of $3,750 worth of purchases at one of the 150 partner brands, or $7,500 in any other purchases to earn the extra 7,500 miles needed to be able to afford the cheapest fixed-mileage flight reward.

Even so, the bonus does give you a good head start to be able to redeem your first flight reward so, as always, a bonus is still a bonus.

Annual Fee

Annual fee is another big issue when you consider signing up to a credit card, especially if you’re considering it for the long term. The $60 fee on the American Express Aeroplan card is accessible for most Canadians, and, at least for the first year, is a good deal. This is because the welcome bonus, along with the other benefits, will outweigh the $60 and let you come out winning in the end (keep reading for more details).

This happens to be the second lowest annual fee of any Aeroplan miles rewards card, anywhere,

So, if you’re looking for the lowest fee on an Aeroplan card that’ll give you some of the great benefits that come with American Express credit cards, the AeroplanPlus card is the one for you.

Want to give it a try?

Miles Earning Rate

As we mentioned above, with the Amex AeroplanPlus card you’ll earn miles per every $1 in purchases, that’ll go directly to your Aeroplan balance. When signing up to the AeroplanPlus card, you’ll also sign up (if you’re not already a member) for an Aeroplan account, and you’ll receive your own Aeroplan number (which is not the same as the AeroplanPlus card number). If you give your Aeroplan number when shopping at any one of the 150 Aeroplan partner brands, you’ll immediately earn additional miles per every $1 in that purchase.

What does all this mean?

You’ll earn miles twice if you use your AeroplanPlus card at a partner brand.

That’s once for the AeroplanPlus Card purchase at the card’s normal earning rate of 1x, and once for the partner brand, at Aeroplan’s earning rate (which is usually more than 1 mile per $1 in purchase). In the end, you’ll get 2+ miles per $1 in purchases at a partner brand, which is a fantastic earnings rate.

You’ll find the complete list of Aeroplan’s partners in the following table. For details regarding miles earning rates, promotions and more visit Aeroplan’s partners list here.

Airlines
AIR CANADAADRIA AIRWAYSAEGEAN AIRLINESAIR CHINAAIR CREEBECAIR INDIAAIR NEW ZEALANDANAASIANA AIRLINESAUSTRIAN AIRLINESAVIANCAAVIANCA BRAZILBEARSKIN AIRLINESBRUSSELS AIRLINES

CANADIAN NORTHCATHAY DRAGONCATHAY PACIFICCOPA AIRLINESCROATIA AIRLINESEGYPTAIRETHIOPIAN AIRLINESEUROWINGSEVA AIRFIRST AIRGOLJUNEYAO AIRLINESLOT POLISH AIRLINESLUFTHANSA

OLYMPIC AIRSCANDINAVIAN AIRLINESSHENZHEN AIRLINESSINGAPORE AIRLINESSOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYSSTAR ALLIANCESWISSTAP AIR PORTUGALTHAI AIRWAYSTURKISH AIRLINESUNITED AIRLINES
Hotels and Lodgings
LE CLUB ACCORHOTELSAC HOTELS BY MARRIOTT®ADAGIOADAGIO ACCESSALOFT HOTELSAMERICINN® BY WYNDHAMANGSANAASCEND COLLECTION®BANYAN TREEBaymont® by WyndhamBEST WESTERN INTERNATIONALCAMBRIA SUITES®CANDLEWOOD SUITES®CASSIACHELSEA HOTEL, TORONTOCHOICE HOTELS®CLARIONCOAST HOTELSCOMFORT INN®COMFORT SUITES®CORDIS HOTELS AND RESORTSCONRAD HOTELS AND RESORTS™COUNTRY INN & SUITES BY RADISSONCOURTYARD BY MARRIOTT®CROWNE PLAZA®Days Inn® by WyndhamDELTA HOTELS AND RESORTSDAZZLER® BY WYNDHAMDOLCE HOTELS AND RESORTS® BY WYNDHAMDOUBLETREE BY HILTON(TM)EATON HKEcono Lodge®ELEMENT HOTELSEMBASSY SUITES HOTELS®ESPLENDOR® BOUTIQUE HOTELS BY WYNDHAMEVEN® HOTELSFAIRFIELD INN & SUITES BY MARRIOTT®FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTSFOUR POINTS BY SHERATONGAYLORD HOTELS®GOUVERNEUR HOTELSGRAND MERCUREHAMPTON 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 RESORTSHOME2 SUITES BY HILTON™HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON™HOTEL INDIGO™HOWARD JOHNSONHUALUXE® HOTELS & RESORTSIBISIBIS STYLESINTERCONTINENTAL®HOTELS AND RESORTSJW Marriott®KERRY HOTELSKIMPTON® HOTELS AND RESTAURANTSTHE LANGHAM HOTELS AND RESORTSLA QUINTA® BY WYNDHAMLE MERIDIENMAINSTAY SUITES®MAMA SHELTERMARRIOTT AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION®MARRIOTT EDITION®Marriott Executive Apartments®MARRIOTT HOTELS®MARRIOTT BONVOY™MARRIOTT VACATION CLUB®MERCUREMGALLERYMICROTEL® BY WYNDHAM21C MUSEUM HOTELNOVOTELPAN PACIFIC HOTELS & RESORTSPARK INN® BY RADISSONPARK PLAZA® HOTELS & RESORTSPARKROYAL HOTELS & RESORTSPULLMANQUALITY®RADISSON®

RADISSON BLU®RADISSON RED®RAFFLESRAMADA® BY WYNDHAMREGENT HOTELS®Renaissance® HotelsRESIDENCE INN BY MARRIOTT®RIXOSROCKETMILESRODEWAY INN®THE SEBELSHANGRI-LA HOTELS AND RESORTSSHERATON HOTELS AND RESORTSSLEEP INN®SOFITEL HOTELS & RESORTSSOFITEL LEGENDSPLASH BEACH RESORT, MAI KHAO, PHUKETSpringHill Suites by Marriott®STAYBRIDGE SUITES® BY HOLIDAY INNST. REGIS HOTELS & RESORTSSUBURBAN EXTENDED STAY HOTEL®SUPER 8® BY WYNDHAMSWISSOTELTHALASSA SEA & SPATHE LUXURY COLLECTIONTownePlace Suites by Marriott®TRADEMARK COLLECTION® BY WYNDHAMTRADERS HOTELSTRAVELODGE® BY WYNDHAMTRYP® BY WYNDHAMWALDORF ASTORIA HOTELS & RESORTS™WESTIN HOTELS & RESORTSW HOTELSWINGATE® BY WYNDHAMWYNDHAM HOTELS AND RESORTS
Car Rental
AVISBUDGETPAYLESS® CAR RENTAL


Parking
AÉROPORTS DE MONTRÉALPARK & JET CALGARYPARK’N FLYVANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT PARKING


Other Partners and Online Retailers

Aircanada.comHOME HARDWARECOSTCOMagellan’s



Partner Online retailers Accessed exclusively through the online Aeroplan e-store
AEROPLAN ESTOREALDOAMAZON.CAAPPLE STORE CANADABANANA REPUBLICBASS PRO SHOPSBLOOMINGDALE’SBOGSCHAPTERS.INDIGO.CACLEARLYCLUB MONACOCROCSDELL CANADAEBAY.CAFOOTLOCKERGAP CANADAHUDSON’S BAYINDOCHINO

LANDS’ ENDL.L.BEANLUISAVIAROMAMACY’SMICROSOFT STORENATIONAL GEOGRAPHICNORTON BY SYMANTECOLD NAVYRAKUTEN KOBOREVOLVECLOTHING.COMROOTSROSETTA STONESAKS.COMSEPHORASHOES.COMSHOP DISNEYSIERRA TRADING POSTSTRAWBERRYNET

THE BODY SHOPTOMS CANADATSCUNDER ARMOURWEIGHTWATCHERS.CAWELL.CAYVES ROCHERNORDSTROM

Above: A complete list of Aeroplan’s partner brands

Since you are limited to a specific set of travel related partner brands, it may be difficult to achieve the highest miles earning rate with this card unless you’re traveling, and unless you carefully plan your itinerary. This may become cumbersome, to say the least, so it’s much more probable that you’ll end up accessing the 1x earning rate, most of the time.

Also, if you consider the fact that you can give your Aeroplan number at a partner brand and earn extra miles, regardless of what payment method you use (whether you pay with an AeroplanPlus card or not), it’s definitely wiser to use a card that offers more flexibility at the same 1x rate. There are a couple of options listed at the end of this post, but if miles earning rate is what you value the most, we recommend the American Express Gold Rewards card that earns you MR points, which you can transfer later to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate. This card gives you the same 1x earning rate on any purchase, but it will give you 2x MR points per $1 on eligible travel purchases, which include most of Aeroplan’s partners. In that case, you could be getting 3+ miles per $1, which is an almost unrivaled earning rate.

Travel, Purchase & Insurance Coverage

There is no way to travel absolutely risk-free, so having an insurance policy to back you up definitely helps take your mind off any unexpected dangers. Choosing the right travel insurance policy can be a daunting task, with so many options out there. However, if you’re looking for the cheapest travel insurance, you’ll discover that it’ll be difficult to find even the most basic one, for less than $30 per trip! (This is only a rough estimate, as the actual price depends on coverage, insurance company, age, gender, origin, destination, carrier and duration).

The AeroplanPlus Card comes with the standard American Express travel and purchase coverage, as do all of its cards. This includes a $250,000 travel accident insurance policy (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), and that all the tickets where paid for, in full, with the AeroplanPlus card.

This card also comes with 24/7 Travel Emergency Assistance, which gives you access to legal and medical assessment over the phone during your trip.

All this is could be a good deal, for $60 a year, particularly if you travel more than once in that period of time. The downside is that it will only cover you during the actual trip (while you’re on the road, in the air or on the sea) but not while you’re at your destination (for example, if you’re at your hotel and have an accident, this policy won’t cover it).

Of course, if you’re a young and bold Canadian planning a to go backpacking around Europe on a budget next summer, chances are you’ll do without any extra insurance, so having this coverage is more than a plus.

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 card. You’ll also get the Purchase Protection Plan that insures your purchases against accidental damage and theft. All this adds up simply for being a part of the American Express cardholders family.

Eligibility

We’re talking about American Express cards for Canadians here, so the first condition to be eligible is to be a Canadian resident.

The American Express Aeroplan Card is a charge card, not a credit card. This translates into two things:

  1. You’re meant to pay your balance in full every month, or else get a 30% APR on any unpaid balance.
  2. American Express doesn’t impose a minimum income to become eligible, only that you have a Canadian credit file and that your account is in good standing.

This makes it easier for you to take advantage of the benefits of Aeroplan, even if you don’t make a lot of money. Couple that with the low annual fee and this card becomes a great choice of a rewards card on a budget.

Overall Pros and Cons

We analyzed all the card’s features and benefits and came up with the following list of pros and cons for the American Express Aeroplan Card:

Pros

  • One of the lowest annual fees of any Aeroplan miles rewards card
  • No cap on earnable miles. Use it all you want and you’ll never stop earning miles.
  • No minimum income requirements to become eligible

Cons

  • Small welcome bonus (5,000 miles)
  • Not the best miles earning rate when compared with other options
  • No other travel benefits like airport lounge access or priority check-ins

These pros and cons are really self-explanatory, but I will elaborate a bit on the second item in the pros list. Some cards actually give you a great points earning rate, but put a cap on the maximum amount of points you can earn. This means you’ll earn points faster and get more for your buck, but you won’t be able to earn all the points you want. You won’t have this limitation with the AeroplanPlus Card.

Of course, if you did have the income to cap out another rewards card, you’d probably still choose that card because, chances are, it’ll give you a lot more benefits than this one.

Do the benefits justify the annual fee?

For the first year, definitely.

It sound silly to ask this about such a low annual fee, but we’re here to help you save money, not lose it (not even a little), so we’ll be as thorough as ever.

The following table shows how the card’s benefits balance the annual fee for the first year if you redeem them in the, worst and best way possible, as well as in an average way. We estimate that an Aeroplan mile is worth a little under 1 cent in the worst case, over 4 cents in the best of cases, but on average, you’ll get around 2.5 cents per mile.


Annual FeeBenefits(Welcome Bonus * other benefits)Value in the  Worst Case Scenario:1 cent/mile(balance)Value in the  Worst Case Scenario:4 cents/mile (balance)Average Value:2.5 cents/mile(balance)
First Year$605,000 miles$50 (net loss of $10)$200(net win of $140)$125(net win of $65)

As you can see, even though the welcome bonus isn’t very useful all by itself, it still helps make paying the annual fee a good deal. At an average value of 2.5 cents per mile, the 5,000 miles bonus will be worth about $125. In other words,

“The card will pay for itself twice over within the first year of cardmembership, and that’s without counting any of the other benefits.”

If you add the travel and purchase coverage and Amex Invites, you’ll have no problems keeping well within green numbers, even if you only use it to reach the minimum of $500 to get the bonus, so it turns out to be a good investment.

For the second year onward, since you won’t get the bonus any more, the fee surpasses the value of the only long lasting benefits this card has to offer. In that case, the only way to justify the annual fee would be to use it a lot to earn points and save money, but that’s true for any rewards card.

How does the AeroplanPlus card compare to other American Express cards?

This card only has the basic benefits that Amex offers its Canadian cardmembers. Amex Invites and Front of the Line are common benefits across all American Express cards, and so are its purchase coverage plans.

If we compare this card with other Amex rewards cards, it comes out short every time. Comparing it with the other AeroplanPlus cards, you would probably choose this one only if you were dead set on the lowest possible annual fee. The AeroplanPlus Gold card, for example, will more than triple your benefits at only double the annual fee. Looking at the AeroplanPlus Platinum and Reserve Cards, even though the annual fees are really high ($499 and $899 respectively) their welcome bonuses are huge compared with the Regular card, or with any other Amex card for that matter.

The lack of long lasting benefits to help offset the annual fee, even if it is small, makes the regular AeroplanPlus card a rather lame deal after the first year, unlike other options like the Marriott Bonvoy America Express card, the American Express Platinum card or the American Express Gold Rewards card.

The long lasting benefits that come with the Marriott Bonvoy America Express card, for example, surpass by far the incredibly modest fee of just $120. The yearly Free Night Award alone could be worth $300-$500, which more than doubles the annual fee, and that’s without counting all the other long-term benefits that come with it. It is hands down the best credit card option for Canadians today, in our opinion.

Three other cards for building your Aeroplan balance

Even though the AeroplanPlus card would seem like the obvious choice if you want to earn Aeroplan miles, it actually isn’t the only one, nor even the best card for the task. Other Amex card options (besides the other cards in the AeroplanPlus family) will give you much better welcome bonuses, better miles earning rates and much better long lasting benefits than this card:

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 MR points welcome bonus you can transfer to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate. Using them wisely, these miles can be worth over $1,250.

But the Platinum Card isn’t the best card for earning Aeroplan miles 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. Give your Aeroplan number on selected purchases on a partner brand, and you could crank it up to more than 4x.

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

This is also a better alternative to earn Aeroplan miles. This card comes with a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points that are transferable to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate, and will only cost you $150 a year. You’ll also receive $100 in hotel credit and many other benefits that’ll make this a smart choice year after year.

You could get the same bonus for less money and many more benefits with the Marriott Bonvoy card, but the Gold Rewards card has a much better points earning rate, if you plan on transfer the points to Aeroplan miles. You could get 2x points on travel and everyday purchases, and 1x on all other purchases, which is a much easier and more flexible way to earn points (read miles) than the Marriott Bonvoy card. This card is an Aeroplan winner at a moderate fee.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Even though we don’t really recommend doing so, you can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy’s 50,000 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 could be getting as much as 25,000 Aeroplan miles just for signing up to the Marriot 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 Marriott Bonvoy card, you can get 5 times the welcome bonus + other great benefits, for only twice the AeroplanPlus card’s annual fee.

These miles are enough for a round trip in economy class or a one-way flight in business class.

How to Apply

If the fees on the other cards are too steep for you and you prefer the regular American Express Aeroplan card instead, applying is as simple as clicking in the button below and filling out the application form. All you need to be eligible is to be an adult Canadian resident with an account in good standing.

FAQs

How much are my Aeroplan miles 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 these tips:

Tip #1: Only redeem your miles for flights

Tip #2: Use your miles for domestic flights with Air Canada

Tip #3: 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 the equivalent to 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 on your card).

How long do I have to wait to get my welcome bonus?

This is very important question if you’re planning to sign up for the card and 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 bonus you have to reach a minimum of $500 in purchases (any purchase) charged to your new card in the first 90 days of cardmembership. This isn’t too hard to do for most Canadians, but it may still take a bit of time.

After you hit that goal, American Express can take up to 8 weeks to transfer the bonus to your Aeroplan account.

As a consequence, we estimate that the soonest you could be getting your bonus would be in about 12 weeks (or 3 months) after signing up, considering you manage to charge the $500 to your card in less than a month.

Be very careful not to sign up any later than 12 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.

Air Canada is assuming the 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 to 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 used to.

What does that mean?

There’s no better time to take advantage of this offer than now.

The American Express Platinum Canada: A Review

“Worldwide lounge access, a $200 annual travel credit, platinum hotel memberships, extra insurance, a metal card and I get 50,000 points on top of all that? Are you serious???”

That was my reaction when a friend first told me about the American Express Platinum Card for Canadians.

Needless to say, I was more than a little intrigued…

And now that it’s been over 4 years since I’ve had my own Platinum Card, I can’t tout it highly enough.

Are you ready to learn why?

This American Express Platinum review is broken down into the following 10 sections:

#1 The Basics & Benefits

Welcome Bonus Points50,000
Points Earned Per $1 Spent On Dining3
Points Earned Per $1 Spent On Travel2
Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Card Purchases1
Companion Tickets
Fine Hotels & Resorts Exclusive Benefits
Hotel Elite Statuses
Amex Platinum Concierge
American Express Invites
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
Annual Fee$699

The card also comes with additional American Express benefits that come with all of their cards. These include Front Of The Line, which offers cardholders advanced access/tickets to concerts, sporting events and shows across Canada.

#2 Three More Special Amex Platinum Canada Benefits

Special Benefit #1: Worldwide Airport Lounge Access

On top of the 50,000 Membership Rewards points that come with your Amex Platinum Card, you also receive a Priority Pass Prestige membership, which holds a value of $429 USD per year. Your Priority Pass membership gets you into more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world without paying a dime. All of the lounges have free food (some offer full meals, while others have an array of snacks), drinks (many, though not all, offer alcoholic drinks as well), and many include additional amenities like nap rooms, showers, libraries, printing, and games rooms.

My Priority Pass is definitely the American Express Platinum benefit that I use the most, and it’s completely changed the way that I travel. I seriously can’t imagine flying anywhere without stopping in the lounge first now.

Where can you use your Canadian Platinum lounge benefit in Canada? How about the 24-hour SkyTeam Lounge in Vancouver (YVR)?

American Express Platinum Card for Canadians
The SkyTeam Lounge at Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Or the National Bank Lounge in Montreal (YUL)?

American Express Platinum Card for Canadians
You get free access to the National Bank World MasterCard Lounge at Montreal International Airport (YUL) thanks to your Canadian Platinum lounge benefit

Toronto (YYZ) has a whopping seven Priority Pass lounges—and you’ll be able to access all of them for free.

You’re stepping up your travel game already.

Special Benefit #2: $200 Annual Travel Credit

This is exactly what it sounds like: $200 for you to use on travel, every single year. In the past 3 years alone, I’ve used my $200 travel credit on a flight to Asia, a flight to South America, and a flight to Europe.

The Amex Platinum Card comes with a $200 annual travel credit you can use anywhere in the world!

Pro Tip: Use your $200 annual travel credit on the first hotel or flight booking you make with your Platinum Card. You don’t want to forget to use it!

Special Benefit #3: Hotel Elite Statuses

Your Amex Platinum also upgrades your statuses with a handful of hotel chains. This means you get special benefits: exclusive discounts, early check-in and late check-out, complimentary breakfasts and more.

These are the sort of status upgrades you can expect with your Amex Platinum Card:

#3 How To Turn 50,000 Points Into 65,000 Points

The 50,000 welcome bonus points that come with the American Express Platinum are great, but if you know what you’re doing, you can actually turn them into 65,000 pretty simply.

How? At least once per year, American Express offers a 30% transfer bonus when you transfer your points to a program like British Airways Avios or Aeroplan. Just by transferring your points smartly, 50,000 Membership Rewards points all of a sudden become 65,000 Avios points.

You just gained another 15,000 points—worth at least $300 if you use them at a value of 2 cents per point or above—just for being in the loop.

Here are 3 realistic scenarios of the value you can achieve with the Amex Platinum:

Very EasyVery EasyModerate Difficulty
Redemption TypeCash (against statement balance)FlightsFlights with creativity
Redemption Value Per Point1 cent2 cents3 cents
Total Value Of 65,000 Points$650$1,300$1,950
Less: Annual Fee($699)($699)($699)
Plus: $200 Annual Travel Credit$200$200$200
Profit From Points-$50$600$1,250
Additional BenefitsYesYesYes

Most of you will find yourselves in columns 2 or 3 in the $801-$1,451 profit range, since you can just read our other blog posts like how to get cheap flights to Asia and how to get cheap flights to Europe to find tons of flights that get you 2-3 cents per point of value.

But if you’re ambitious and want to push your points even further, it’s completely possible to surpass what’s listed above with a value of 3 cents per point or more. Just send us an emailand we’ll help you sift through your options to ensure you get a great bang for your buck.

#4 How To Use Your 65,000 Points

Case Study #1: Visiting Asia

Suppose you want to take a trip to Hong Kong to visit family or friends. The Amex Platinum is your perfect companion, since one of the easiest, best ways to use your 65,000 Avios points is on direct flights to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific.

Since Cathay Pacific is a premium airline, these flights normally cost at least $1,000 from Vancouver, and even more from Toronto. You won’t be paying anywhere close to that.

Roundtrip flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong cost just 60,000 Avios points + $90 in taxes and fees. Roundtrip flights from Toronto to Hong Kong cost 70,000 Avios points + $100, though you can pay a little bit more in cash (~$50) and drop the points down to 65,000 if you want.

American Express Platinum Card for Canadians
How does a $90 roundtrip flight to Hong Kong sound? It’s yours with the Amex Platinum for Canadians.

Of course, Hong Kong isn’t your only option. Tokyo is a bit closer than Hong Kong, so flights between Vancouver and Tokyo are just 50,000 points.

Are you getting excited yet?

Case Study #2: Going Round-The-World

Let’s suppose you want to go around the world using your Platinum card.

No problem.

If you’re in Vancouver, you can fly from Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver (or the opposite direction) for 74,700 points + $742 in taxes and fees.

Yes, 74,700 is a bit more than 65,000, but don’t worry—you’ll earn the extra 10,000 points (and more!) after a few months of using the card.

Toronto works just the same.

Flying from Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto (or the opposite direction) costs just 74,500 points + $761 in taxes and fees.

Did you ever imagine you could fly around the world for $750?

That’s the power of the Platinum Card.

RoutePoints NeededTaxes & Fees
Roundtrip: Toronto to Hong Kong70,000$100
Roundtrip: Vancouver to Hong Kong60,000$90
Round-the-world: Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto74,500$761
Round-the-world: Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver74,700$742

These round-the-world trips offer a value of well over 4 cents per point, meaning the $699 fee you paid just saved you several thousand dollars on flights.

#5 Is The Amex Platinum Canada Worth The $699 Annual Fee?

Absolutely.

Here’s the magic in the $699 annual fee: it’s impossible not to make money by having this card, even after paying the fee.

Huh? Sounds confusing, right?

Here’s how it works.

If you use your 50,000 points in the worst way possible, they’re worth $700 to you. Why? Because American Express allows you to apply your points against your statement balance at a value of one cent per point, which means 50,000 points = $500. Add in your $200 travel credit for 2019 and you’re at $700.

It’s impossible not to make money with the Amex Platinum Card.

And that’s not even considering the other benefits you get from the card. The travel/emergency/baggage insurance and additional purchase insurance (for theft/damage of your items), the worldwide airport lounge access, the premium hotel memberships, and everything else you see hereeverything else you see here are all just cherries on top.

So even if you use your points in the worst way you could—by applying them to your statement balance as a cash equivalent—you still come out way, way ahead.

But if you use them in the ways we’ve suggested in sections #3 and #4 above, you can reasonably expect to save $800 or more after accounting for the annual fee.

#6 Travel Insurance

The Platinum Card also comes with an impressive travel insurance policy. Here’s what it includes:

BenefitDescriptionCoverage Limit
Travel Accident InsuranceYou, your spouse and your children are covered in the case of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling$500,000
Car Rental Theft and Damage InsuranceDamage or theft of your rental car$85,000
Flight Delay InsuranceHotel, motel, restaurant expenses and other sundry items when your flight is delayed$500
Baggage Delay InsuranceReasonable and necessary emergency purchases when your baggage is delayed$500
Lost or Stolen Baggage InsuranceLoss or damage to your luggage or personal effects while in transit.$500
Hotel/Motel Burglary InsuranceLoss of most personal items if your hotel/ motel is burglarized.$500
Travel Emergency AssistanceMedical & legal referrals by phone 24/7N/A

Every American Express card also comes with two other insurance benefits:

  1. Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on your purchases and will repair/replace faulty or damaged items up to $10,000.
  2. Purchase Protection Plan insures your purchases against accidental physical damage and theft for the 90 days after purchase, up to $1,000.

Fraud protection, global emergency card replacement and 24/7 express customer service are included with every American Express card, too.

#7 The Amex Business Platinum Card

This entire review has been about the Amex Platinum Card, though there’s also an American Express Business Platinum Card for Canadians, too. There are a few key differences between the two cards:

  • 40,000 welcome bonus points for the Business Platinum Card (10,000 less)
  • $499 annual fee for the Business Platinum Card ($200 less)
  • No $200 annual travel credit for the Business Platinum card

Since the Platinum Card’s higher annual fee is offset by its $200 annual travel credit, the biggest difference between the two is that you get 10,000 fewer welcome bonus points with the Business Platinum Card.

#8 Three Less Expensive Cards To Consider

Even though we’ve clearly shown how you can save thousands of dollars with the Platinum Card, the $699 annual fee still rubs some people the wrong way.

So here are a few less expensive, high-value cards you can consider instead:

#1 The Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card

Released in March 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card is the best travel credit card available in Canada right now. It comes with an incredible 60,000 welcome bonus points at an annual fee of just $120. You also receive a free hotel night every year after the first year with the card, which you’re able to use at some of the swankiest hotels in the world. While this current offer lasts, we can’t recommend the Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card highly enough.

#2 The Amex Cobalt Card

The Amex Cobalt Card is the best everyday spending card available right now. Why? Because you can get up to 10% cashback on your spending when you use the Cobalt Card at coffee shops, restaurants, bars and grocery stores coffee anywhere in Canada.

#3 The Amex Gold Rewards Card

You can think of the Gold Rewards Card as the classic American Express card. It comes with 25,000 welcome bonus points, which is enough for a roundtrip flight anywhere in North America. With its $150 annual fee, the Gold Rewards Card has offered good value for years, though the current offer on the new Marriott Bonvoy™ Card provides better value right now.

#9 How To Apply For The American Express Platinum Card

Applying is as simple as clicking the button below, taking 3 minutes to fill in the application form, and waiting a few days for your card to arrive!

It’s important to take action now, though—the welcome points bonus used to be 75,000 on this card, but Amex has reduced it several times over the past few years. Grab yours while this sweet offer is still available.

#10 FAQs

What Is The New American Express Platinum Metal Card Like?

Honestly—it’s pretty cool!

If you didn’t already know, the American Express Platinum is now made of metal. It has a significant heft to it, weighing in at 19 grams (for reference, a typical plastic credit card weighs 5 grams). It’s sure to impress your friends when you “accidentally” drop it on the table as you pay.

All new Platinum cardholders now receive the metal card, so that’s a nice bonus on top of all the other benefits we’ve talked about above. Existing cardholders can also request to have their old plastic card exchanged for a metal card at any time.

How Can I Sign Up With An American Express Platinum Referral?

To get the best available welcome points bonus, which is currently 50,000 points, sign up here. After you’ve signed up, you can refer your own friends to the American Express Platinum for a referral bonus of 15,000 points.

Choosing The Best American Express Aeroplan Card For You

American Express’ Aeroplan credit cards offer four different options for four different types of travelers. We recommend the AeroplanPlus Gold card for most Canadians, given its low ($120) annual fee and generous 15,000 welcome points bonus, which is enough for a one-way flight anywhere in North America. 

Whether you’re starting fresh with Aeroplan or looking for a boost for an upcoming trip, the AeroplanPlus Gold card is an excellent choice.

Say you’re a travel savvy Canadian resident looking for credit card options that’ll get you around the world on a budget and you happened to stumble into the Aeroplan credit card. You immediately start wondering what it’s all about; what are its pros and cons, its upsides and downsides, and, in general, how they compare with other American Express credit cards for Canadians.

The name itself, Aeroplan, catches your attention right away and tells you that this is a card for travelers (even if you never heard of it before, the word is a bit of a giveaway), but you ask yourself:

How will it help me travel?

In the following post, I’ll clear everything out for you. We’ll do the math and crunch down all the numbers so you can make an educated decision when choosing the right card for your lifestyle: the one that’ll get you the highest amount of benefits for the least amount of money.

We’ll cover everything from the basics of Aeroplan and Aeroplan miles, to the more interesting and specific aspects of the four American Express Aeroplan card options (the Standard, Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards)

At the end of the post, we’ll also give you our professional advice on which card is best in which scenario, all this to help you make sense of it all. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be weighing the ups and downs like a pro, and you’ll have learned how to make the best of every option.

To help you navigate through this post, I’ve broken it down in the following sections:

What Is Aeroplan?

Aeroplan was originally Air Canada’s mileage rewards loyalty program. It was later spun off as an entirely separate company from Air Canada in 2008, continuing to function as the airline’s exclusive loyalty program, but at the same time partnering with other Star Alliance airlines and different travel brands, including hotels, car rentals and consumer goods.

As of today, the company provides its customers the best benefits when flying with Air Canada. However, thanks to is many partners, it also provides plenty of flexibility, allowing travelers to set up itineraries with other airlines that cover over 1,300 different destinations in more than 90 countries worldwide.

What Are Aeroplan Miles?

If you have ever owned a rewards credit card or are familiar in any way to loyalty programs, you probably already guessed what Aeroplan miles are: They are the “points” or “credits” you earn for every purchase at any of Aeroplan’s partners. In other words, “Aeroplan Miles” are what Aeroplan calls its loyalty reward points.

There are different ways to earn Aeroplan Miles. However, the most obvious way is to fly on a partner airline or to shop at a partner brand, in short, to be loyal to Aeroplan and all its partners (that’s why they call them loyalty programs).

Another great way to earn miles is to use any of the American Express Aeroplan cards, or even other American Express cards like the Gold Rewards card or the Marriott Bonvoy™ card, but we’ll get back to that in a minute. Read on to find out how to maximize your miles, and how to spend them to get the most out of this very popular loyalty program.

The American Express AeroplanPlus Cards

American Express partnered with Aeroplan a little while ago to bring forth the Aeroplan Credit Card, also called AeroplanPlus card. This card’s most important feature is the fact that it rewards Aeroplan miles for every dollar spent on any purchase, that go directly to your Aeroplan balance, whether or not you’re purchasing at an Aeroplan partner brand.

If you do decide to shop at a partner brand or pay for flights on partner airlines with your American Express Aeroplan Card, you can still give your Aeroplan number to earn miles in the regular way. If you haven’t put two and two together yet, this means that

…you can earn miles twice on the same purchase if you pay at a partner brand with your Aeroplan credit card, once for using your card, and once for shopping at the partner brand.

Add in Aeroplan’s occasional short time offers that can boost mileage-earning rates to as high as 8 times the normal rate, and you could be earning well over 10 miles for every dollar spent. That’s an almost unrivaled earning rate!

As it happens with so many Amex cards, there are different types of American Express Aeroplan Cards:

  • The AeroplanPlus Card (which we’ll refer to as the “Standard” card)
  • The AeroplanPlus Gold Card
  • The AeroplanPlus Platinum Card
  • The AeroplanPlus Reserve Card

Read on to find out the key features of these four cards, their most important pros and cons, and, in general, how they compare in different aspects with each other, and with the other American Express cards we recommend. However, before we dive into the differences that set these cards apart, let’s take a look at the common features they share:

Common Features Across The American Express Aeroplan Card Family

Below you’ll find a list of the main features that all four AeroplanPlus cards share.

  • Earn miles for every dollar in any purchase whatsoever.
  • Earn miles twice with every purchase on partner brands (as explained above).
  • Earn miles and rewards faster with additional cards.
  • Access to American Express’ Front of The Line program, which gives you access to tickets for great events, even before they are sold publicly.
  • Emergency card replacement.
  • Travel insurance coverage.
  • Online account management.
  • 24/7 customer service

You’ll find that many of the perks on the above list come with other Amex cards as well, not just with Aeroplan cards, so they’ll be more of a plus that comes with choosing American Express. To see the real tiers, we have to look at each one of the Aeroplan Cards separately.

Aeroplan Credit Cards Comparison

In the table below, you’ll find a summary of the most important characteristics of each of the four American Express Aeroplan Cards:

 StandardGoldPlatinumReserve
Annual Fee$60$120$499$899
Additional Cards$202 for free, $50 for each additional card.$199$299
Welcome Bonus (Miles)5,000 (after spending $500)15,000 (after spending $1,500)40,000 (after spending $3,000)50,000 (after spending $3,000)
Aeroplan Miles Earning Rate1 mile per $1 in purchases1 mile per $1 under $10,000 purchases. 1.25 miles per $1 over $10,000 in purchases1.25 miles per $1 under $25,000 purchases. 1.5 miles per $1 over $25,000 in purchases1.25 miles per $1
Complimentary Partner Ticket1 per year (short-haul, up to 15,000 Aeroplan miles)1 per year (long-haul, up to 25,000 Aeroplan miles)
Travel Credit$200 per year
Priority Pass Airport Lounge Membership
Amex Concierge
Aeroplan Priority Booking

Let’s start squeezing out the info on the table above and see how these cards compare in the most important aspects you should take into consideration when choosing the right card for you:

#1 Card Type

There are basically two types of Amex cards: Credit cards and Charge cards.

Only the Reserve card is an actual credit card, the rest are charge cards.

A charge card – like the Standard, Gold and Platinum cards – is a card that you have to pay in full every month, or else you will get a high annual interest rate of 30% applied to any unpaid balance. The APR on the Reserve card, on the other hand, is only 19.99% for purchases.

That’s a thumbs-up for the Reserve! However, there are more important things to take into account, in particular if you have a good credit history and always pay your credit cards on time.

#2 Annual Fee

You can see right away that there’s a huge difference in the annual fees for each card. Even the Standard card, with its not-too-steep $60 fee, isn’t really cheap, especially considering that there are other Amex cards that’ll give you a lot more benefits for a comparable fee.

If you’re looking for a card with a mid-range fee, you might be tempted to choose the Aeroplan Gold card that goes for $120 a year. However, you’ll get a much better bargain with other options like the American Express Gold Rewards card that’ll cost you $150, but with which you will get $100 in hotel credit and an additional card, for free, that’s worth an extra $50, so the card will pay for itself in no time. You can also transfer your reward points to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate, so you can still earn your beloved miles and trade them in for flight rewards, later on.

The annual fees for the Platinum and Reserve cards are almost prohibitive, but you’ll learn further down this post that the benefits help offset then, at least for the first year. For a long-term credit card, the numbers really don’t add up, in our opinion.

#3 Welcome Bonus Comparison

Before comparing the welcome bonuses let’s get an important fact out of the way:

…you have to reach a minimum of purchases charged to your card in order to get the welcome bonus. This means that you won’t have the welcome bonus miles available right away, and it may take a couple of days for the miles to be available in your Aeroplan account even after you do become eligible for the bonus.

This is not an actual downside to the Aeroplan cards because it happens with all other cards as well. Having said that, the Aeroplan card that offers the best bonus to minimum purchase ratio is the Reserve card, which will get you a 50,000 miles bonus after you charge $3,000 to it. The runner up, the Aeroplan Platinum card will get you 10,000 miles less for the same $3,000 of purchases.

However, when you consider that the fee on the Reserve card is 80% higher than the Platinum Card fee (the $400 difference is 80% of $500), but the bonus is only 25% higher, it gets you thinking…

….maybe the Platinum is a better deal than the Reserve.

Don’t decide just yet, there are other things we haven’t factored in.

#4 Miles Earning Rates

This is a very important aspect of the different cards, especially if you’re considering a card for the long term. The Standard AeroplanPlus card will get you only 1 mile per $1 spent on any purchase, no matter how often you use your card. You can double that if you give your Aeroplan number at a partner brand, but that’s also true for all other American Express Aeroplan Cards as well.

With the Gold Aeroplan card, you’ll start off at the same 1x rate on the first $10,000 in purchases, but Amex boosts your earning rate to 1.25x on every $1 above those $10,000.

Amex’s AeroplanPlus Reserve Card will give you a 1.25x rate, right off the bat, no matter how often you use it, and a 2x rate on a rather short list of eligible Air Canada purchases.

The winner in this category is….

The Platinum Aeroplan card, which starts off at 1.25 miles per $1 of purchases on the first $25,000, then boosts you up to 1.5 miles per $1 above $25,000, on all purchases.

#5 Complimentary Partner Ticket, Travel Credit And Other Perks

Both the Gold and the Reserve cards offer a complimentary partner ticket once every calendar year. The Gold card for a short haul (worth up to 15,000 Aeroplan miles), and the Reserve card for either a short or a long haul ticket (the latter worth up to 25,000 miles). This is an added, long lasting bonus (unlike the welcome bonus that you’ll only get once), which will help offset the high annual fees of both cards after your first year. The Reserve card also offers $200 in travel credit every calendar year that’ll further help thwart the $900 fee.

Other benefits like Priority Pass Airport Lounge access, Aeroplan Priority booking, Amex Concierge, travel insurance and more, only keep adding value to a card that, all of a sudden, doesn’t look that bad, even for $900 a year.

Crunching The Numbers

Now that we’re crystal-clear on how much your Aeroplan miles are worth, and how many miles you can expect to earn with your Aeroplan Credit Cards, let’s do the math and see what the best options are.

We’ll play a little game of worst-case/best-case scenario and calculate how much cash your miles would save you if you spent them in both the worst and the best ways possible. Remember that, in the worst of cases, you would get roughly 1 cent (or $0.01) per mile (it’s actually 0.7 cents, but we’ll round it up make numbers easier to follow), and in the best of cases you would be getting about 4 cents (or $0.04) per mile.

I’m going to break it down in two: the benefits during the first year of card-membership (the short-term benefits) and the benefits after the first year (long-term benefits)

CardAnnual feeWelcome Bonus + extra earned milesWorst Case Scenario:
Miles x $0.01
Best Case Scenario:
Miles x $0.04
Average:
Miles x $0.025
Standard$605,000 Miles$50 (net loss of $10)$200 (net win of $140)$125 (net win of $65)
Gold$12015,000 miles$150 (net win of $30)$600 (net win of $480)$375 (net win of $255)
Platinum$50040,000 + 15,000 (complimentary ticket)= 55,000 miles$550 (net win of $50)$2,200 (net win of $1,700)$1,375 (net win of $875)
Reserve$90050,000 + 25,000 (complimentary ticket) = 75,000 miles$750 + $200 (travel credit) = $950 (net win of $50)$3,000+$200 (travel credit) = $3,200 (net win of $2,300)$1,875 + $200 (travel credit) = $2,075 (net win of $1,175)

Notice I also added an average value of 2.5 cents per mile, which is the most likely value an average cardmember will get.

For the long term, neither the Standard nor the Gold cards offer miles bonuses or travel credits, so the only benefits you’ll receive will come entirely from the use you give them. If you use them enough, you’ll obviously be able to accumulate enough miles to offset the annual fee and come out wining in the end, but they won’t pay themselves as they do during the first year.

The Platinum and Reserve cards will give you long lasting benefits that include partner tickets and travel credit (the latter only for the Reserve card):

CardAnnual feeLong term benefitsWorst Case Scenario: miles x $0.01 (balance)Best Case Scenario: miles x $0.04 (balance)Average: miles x $0.025 (balance)
Gold$1202 additional cards (worth $100)$100 (net loss of $20)$100 (net loss of $20)$100 (net loss of $20)
Platinum$50015,000 (complimentary ticket)$150 (net loss of $350)$600 (net win of $100)$375 (net loss of $125)
Reserve$90025,000 (complimentary ticket)$250 + $200 (travel credit) = $450 (net loss of $450)$1,000+$200 (travel credit) = $1,200 (net win of $300)$625 + 200 (travel credit) = $825 (net loss of $75)

Just looking at the colors in both tables tells you all you need to know. During the first year, the welcome bonuses on all four cards are more than enough to counterweight the annual fees, even if you redeem your miles in an average way. Among the four cards, the Reserve card is the one that’ll get you the highest amount of savings, easily surpassing $1,000, even after accounting for the $900 fee.

After the first year though, things look a little different. The Platinum and Reserve cards can still pay for themselves with the value of the complimentary partner ticket and the travel credit, but only if you take great care in spending your miles wisely (following our recommendations in this post).

On the other hand, if you redeem your miles carelessly and don’t do the math, you’ll end up losing well over $100 a year, just for having any one of these cards in your wallet.

How To Earn Aeroplan Miles

Earning Aeroplan Miles is easy—all you have to do is follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Sign up for a free Aeroplan card. It takes less than 5 minutes and everyone is accepted.

Step 2: Start earning points by doing any of the following:

  • Give your Aeroplan number whenever purchasing products or services at a partner brand.
  • Apply for an American Express Aeroplan Card and use it to receive a great welcome bonus, as well as one or more miles for every dollar spent on purchases (wait for iiiiit…).
  • Transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate.
  • Transfer Marriott Bonvoy™ points to Aeroplan miles at a 3:1 rate.

These are the most important and effective ways to earn Aeroplan miles. Aeroplan occasionally offers bargains and deals through their partners that increase your mileage-earning rate, but those promotions are usually of short lived so we won’t cover them here.

How Much Are Aeroplan Miles Really Worth?

Before we dive into the American Express Aeroplan Cards, it is essential to be able to estimate how much your miles are really worth, in order to get a clear view of the benefits you’ll receive by signing up to any of the four AeroplanPlus cards.

Aeroplan miles vary in value based on how you use them.

If you’ve read any of our other posts, you may already have an idea as to how to estimate the worth of reward points (or miles in this case). It all boils down to how you redeem them. As mentioned above, Aeroplan offers different ways to spend your miles including flight rewards, car rental, hotel bookings and purchasing different products and services.

Read on to learn the best and the worst ways in which you can use your Aeroplan miles in order to estimate how much they’re worth, while at the same time learning the math behind those estimates.

Flight Rewards: What Aeroplan Miles Are “Supposed” To Be Used For

The best way to redeem miles in Aeroplan is to trade them in for flight rewards, which means paying for flights with miles instead of cash. You could spend hours trying to find good deals that’ll give you more for your miles, but I’ll show you the most important tips that’ll turn you into an Aeroplan flight-hacking guru in no time.

Tip #1: Use your miles for domestic flights, and fly Air Canada whenever possible.

It was only to be expected that the best benefits of using Aeroplan miles should come from trading them in for flights on Air Canada, the company that gave birth to Aeroplan in the first place. However, things aren’t as simple as they seem, as this only applies to domestic flights.

Why?

Because Air Canada imposes fuel surcharges on flights paid with Aeroplan miles, which can add up to several hundreds of dollars for international flights, but which are more manageable for domestic flights.

To give you a clearer view of what I mean, let me start by showing you the following international round trip flight from Toronto to Prague on Air Canada, advertised by Aeroplan as a “Great deal” on their landing page:

Aeroplan Toronto to Prague

Example 1: Aeroplan Flight Reward round trip from Toronto to Prague on Air Canada

As you can see, the round trip will cost you 61,800 miles + $597.26 for taxes, fees and surcharges. That means that, besides spending a very large amount of miles, you still have to pay almost $300 in cash for each fare of the round trip!

The same round trip, on the same fight, paid in cash, booked with Air Canada directly would cost $1,066, as shown below.

Air Canada Toronto to Prague

Same flight as above, booked directly with Air Canada runs for $1,066

Ok, let’s crunch some numbers, it’s a lot easier than you think: If you were to use your miles, you would be spending 61,800 miles but you would also have to spend an additional $597.26 in cash. If you were to pay cash only, it would cost you $1,066.28.

This means that the 61,800 miles are saving you the difference of $469, in other words, that

61,800 miles = 1,066 – 597 = $469

At this rate, you would be getting roughly 0.8 cents per mile (all you have to do is divide the worth in cash by the number of miles to get the amount of dollars per mile, than multiply by 100 to get cents).

-Ok, this number alone may not tell you much yet, but you’ll soon find out that you can do way better than that.-

Now let’s take a look at a domestic, long-haul one-way Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Montreal.

Aeroplan Vancouver to Montreal

Example 2: Aeroplan fixed miles Flight Reward one-way trip from Vancouver to Montreal

Air Canada Vancouver to Montreal

Same flight as above, booked directly with Air Canada runs for $519

To compare these numbers with the above example, since this is a one-way trip, we should multiply everything here times 2. Notice the huge difference in the number of miles (12,500 x 2 = 25,000 compared to 61,800) and in surcharge fees ($73 x 2 =$146 compared to $597), even though the actual price in cash is almost the same ($518 x 2 = $1036 compared to $1,066). This combination boosts the value of your miles.

Using the same logic as before, the 12,500 miles are saving you $518 – 73 = $445, which means you’re getting 3.6 cents per mile.

That’s close to 5 times more than what you would get from a “good deal” on an international Air Canada flight! (I can’t imagine what a bad deal would look like)

Flying domestic on other partner airlines also gives you a good rate, but not as good as an Air Canada flight of equal distance (see summary table a little further down)

Tip #2: Spend your miles on international flights that don’t impose fuel surcharges.

You can see clearly that the problem with Air Canada’s international flights is the surcharge fee.

But, does that mean that you’re limited to using your miles only for domestic flights, if you want to get a good exchange rate?

No, it doesn’t. There are a number of Aeroplan partner airlines that don’t add fuel surcharge fees on international flights, even if you’re paying your ticket with miles. The following list includes some of the best ones

  1. United Airlines
  2. Swiss Airlines
  3. Turkish Airlines
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Air New Zealand
  6. Eva Airways (SE Asia)
  7. Air China

You’ll usually have to pay more miles with these airlines than you would with Air Canada for the same flight plan, but you save hundreds of dollars on fuel surcharges, so you come out wining in the end.

Let me illustrate this with another example, a one-way trip from Toronto to Singapore flying Eva Air. As you can see bellow, this example illustrates two very important differences with the international Air Canada flights: It costs more miles (remember that the 61,800 miles were for the round trip) but only a small fraction of the cash in fees.

Aeroplan Toronto to Singapore

Example 3: Aeroplan one-way Market Fare Flight Reward from Toronto to Singapore

Eva Air Toronto to Singapore

Same flight as above, booked directly with Eva Air runs for $747

With Eva Air, flying from Canada to Singapore can cost you as little as $54 plus 45,000 miles (that’s even better than my previously posted Asia to North America flight for $75 ), instead of the regular price of $747. This gives you a value of 1.5 cents per mile. That’s almost twice as good as flying international with Air Canada (though not as good as flying domestic).

Tip #3: Use your miles for business class flights.

If you like traveling with style and comfort and you can’t suffer economy-class flights, but you still want to save money while you’re at it, then the best way to spend your miles is definitely flying in business class. As you’ll see from our example below, the cost in miles is twice what you would be spending for the economy-class ticket, but the price in cash is more than double whilst the surcharge is not. This combination gets you more value per mile.

Aeroplan Vancouver to Montreal in Business Class

Example 4: Aeroplan Flight Reward for a one-way trip from Vancouver to Montreal in business class.

Air Canada Vancouver to Montreal in Business Class

Same trip, same flight in business class booked with Air Canada paid in cash.

In this case, you get 4.1 cents per mile. The same applies when flying business class on the other examples, but I’m sure you get the idea.

The following table summarizes everything I’ve explained so far. In it, you’ll find real examples of the value you can get out of your miles by redeeming them for different flight rewards, including the examples already shown above:

Flight PlanAirlineCost (Booked with the Airline)Cost (Booked with Aeroplan)You Save:Estimated Value (¢ per mile)
From:To:
Aeroplan Miles+Taxes, fees and surcharges
Toronto (round trip)Prague (round trip)Air Canada$ 1,06661,800+$ 597$ 4690.8
VancouverMontrealAir Canada$ 51912,500+$ 73$ 4463.6
TorontoSingaporeEva Air$ 74745,000+$ 54$ 6931.5
VancouverMontrealAir Canada (Business class)$ 1,14225,000+$ 112$ 1,0304.1
SeattleNew YorkUnited$ 26512,500+$ 7,5$ 257.52.1
VancouverNew YorkAir Canada and United$ 53212,500+$ 125$ 4073.3
VancouverNew YorkAir Canada$ 59443,100+$ 81$ 5131.2

Summary of the estimated value of Aeroplan miles redeemed for different flight rewards. Unless specified otherwise, all flights are in economy class.

The absolute best value comes from flying domestic on Air Canada in business class. After that comes the same flight in economy class. Flying United inside the US is a great way to save both miles and cash, as the said airline doesn’t impose surcharges on its domestic flights.

Using Your Aeroplan Miles For Hotel Bookings

Another way to redeem your miles is to use them to pay for your hotels. The following is a short list of lodging options in Rome, which you can pay for in full with Aeroplan miles.

Aeroplan Hotel Rewards in Rome

Example of some partner hotels in Rome you can pay in full with your miles.

This is but a short list of the many available options. The first one, marked as a “Great deal”, normally costs $2.400, but you can pay 259,850 miles instead. In other words

259,850 miles = $2.400

This sums up to 0.92 cents per mile, so it’s really not a good deal, especially considering the insane amount of miles you would be spending. With that amount of miles, you could travel around the world and still have miles left over in the end.

Using Your Aeroplan Miles For Other Purchases

You can also trade in your miles for car rentals, vacations packages and purchases with Aeroplan partner brands, but you’ll never reach even an acceptable value for your miles. In fact, probably the worst way to spend them is to trade them in for a gift card at a partner brand. A $500 gift card will cost you 70,000 miles, giving you an appalling value of 0.7 cents per mile.

The Bottom Line

In the worst-case scenario, you’ll get a little under a cent per mile. On the other hand, if you spend like a pro, you can easily get away with 4+ cents per mile.

Now that you know how much your miles are worth, let’s go back to the American Express Aeroplan Credit Cards!

In Summary

If you really want to get an Aeroplan card, we recommend getting the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. The first year is a net win for you -the 50,000 miles bonus + 25,000 miles complimentary partner ticket + $200 travel credit combined are worth about $2,000 in the first year alone.

If you’re looking for a card that offers lounge access and the Amex Concierge, definitely go for the American Express Platinum instead.

For a card you should keep year after year, we’ve done the number crunching and firmly believe that the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card is the best card for most Canadians. It offers an exceptional welcome bonus of 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points, and gives you lasting benefits like a free hotel night every year, which you can use at some of the most spectacular hotels in the world.

If you’re really keen on building your Aeroplan balance though, we can suggest a couple of alternatives:

  • Transfer your Marriott Bonvoy™ points to Aeroplan miles.
  • Get the American Express Gold Rewards card that has a fee of only $150, gives you a welcome bonus of 25,000 MR points, a $100 hotel credit, a great MR points earning rate and, best of all, you can transfer all your points to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate.

How To Find Cheap Flights To Europe From Canada – $75 Or Less

The American Express Gold Rewards Card for Canadians is an excellent travel card for travelers looking to get some cheap flights to Europe with a low annual fee. It comes with a welcome bonus of 25,000 points—which we value between $500 and $750—plus an impressive travel insurance policy, $100 in hotel credit, and much more.

With an annual fee of just $150, this card pays for itself several times over, even for infrequent travelers. This post will show you exactly how to use the American Express Gold Rewards Card to get your next flight to Europe for $75 or less.

The Request:

Feb 10-24, Toronto to Europe
Destinations are flexible
Arrival/departure cities must be different


As you learned in our How to Fly from Asia to North America (and vice versa) for $75 post, you can save up to 90% off the cost of your flights by using Aeroplan points if you use them correctly. So today, thanks to Sarah, you’re going to learn how to use your Aeroplan points to their absolute fullest when flying to or from Europe.

The first step is in knowing the best airlines to fly with. These are the top 7 airlines you’ll want to fly with when redeeming your Aeroplan points:

  1. United Airlines
  2. Swiss Airlines
  3. Turkish Airlines
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Air New Zealand
  6. Eva Airways (Southeast Asia)
  7. Air China

As you can see, two of the top seven airlines are based in Europe – Turkish Airlines and Swiss Airlines – which means that their hub cities, Zurich and Istanbul, are great places to start looking. United Airlines services Europe extremely well, too, so the cities that United serves heavily will also be good targets.

A quick search shows that our logic is spot on: Sarah can get to either Zurich or Istanbul for $50.

Here Are 10+ Cheap Flights To Europe From Canada

Flying from Toronto to Zurich, Switzerland using Aeroplan miles
Flying from Toronto to Istanbul, Turkey using Aeroplan miles

But Sarah wants more than just two options, so here are two more that work just as well:

Flying from Toronto to Rome, Italy using Aeroplan miles
Flying from Toronto to Berlin, Germany using Aeroplan miles

What if Sarah was leaving from Vancouver or Montreal instead of Toronto? No problem.

Flying from Vancouver to Paris, France using Aeroplan miles
Flying from Montreal to Copenhagen, Denmark using Aeroplan miles

Or what if Sarah wanted to fly from New York to Oslo for $35, or San Francisco to Madrid for an amazing $15?! You got it.

Flying from New York to Oslo, Norway using Aeroplan miles
Flying from San Francisco to Madrid, Spain using Aeroplan miles

Okay, so we know that we can easily meet Sarah’s needs of getting her to Europe on her ideal date, and she’s got 10+ great options of cities to choose from. Finding cheap flights to Europe using Aeroplan is a breeze!

But what about her flight home? As it turns out, getting home is just as easy.

Flying from Milan, Italy to Toronto using Aeroplan miles
Flying from Barcelona, Spain to Montreal using Aeroplan miles
Flying from Dublin, Ireland to Vancouver using Aeroplan miles

Just like flying to/from Asia, it’s easy to get to/from Europe for next-to-nothing. But we’ve skipped over the most crucial part: how Sarah got her Aeroplan points in the first place. So here it is: the dead-simple two-step process that Sarah followed to a tee to save over $700 on her trip.

STEP 1 OF 2: GET YOUR POINTS

In November, Sarah got herself an American Express Gold Rewards Card, which gave her a whopping 25,000 points, more than enough to get her to Europe. Her card arrived in 2 days.

STEP 2 OF 2: USE YOUR POINTS

That same day, Sarah got an Aeroplan Card. You’re going to transfer your American Express points into Aeroplan points in order to take the flights above, so you’ll need one of these. Fill out their 60-second online form and you’re all set – everyone gets approved automatically.

And that’s it.

Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too, until I helped dozens of people like Sarah follow these exact steps and get on flights like the ones above. Not all great things have to come at high prices.

The Germany Limitation

There are just two hiccups you’ll come across when booking your flights to/from Europe, and they’re both easily avoidable. The Germany Limitation comes as a result of the majority of Aeroplan flights in and out of Germany being operated by Lufthansa, which matches Air Canada as the worst airline for redeeming your Aeroplan miles, so you need to change the airlines you fly with. But doing that within Germany is a bit tricky, just like Thailand proved to be in our deep look at flying from Asia to North America for $75, so our recommendation is the exact same – get out of Germany. Even when I did find a Frankfurt to Toronto flight with United Airlines, the German government-imposed fees added nearly $100 extra on to what the flight should’ve costed. Here’s a breakdown of those taxes and fees.

The German government adds a lot of taxes and fees on to what should be a very cheap flight to Europe.

Given how small European countries are and the ease of flying between them – starting from the major cities in Germany, you can fly internationally in multiple directions for under $20 – there’s no real need to fly to Canada directly from Germany. Do yourself a favour and add on a day or two in a nearby city like Amsterdam, Zurich, or Paris; not only will it add colour to your trip, the cost of your flights will drop significantly. That’s what you call a win-win. Here’s a breakdown of the taxes and fees when departing from Zurich instead, a full $75 cheaper.

The taxes and fees on Swiss Airlines are much less.

The UK Limitation

The second hiccup is the Air Passenger Duty applied to flights departing the UK for North America – and it’s a big one – but you have two options for avoiding it. You could take the same approach as with Germany above and just leave the UK before you start your return journey, or you could book a flight that has European connections built-in. Switzerland is nearby so you could jump on a Swiss Airlines flight with a connection in Geneva or Zurich, or find a United Airlines flight that stops in Paris or Madrid. However you do it, just don’t fly directly back from the UK, or you’ll be hit with a fee like the $145.50 one below.

The UK Air Passenger Duty fee is no fun

Bonus: Hacking Istanbul

There are a few sweet spots that only those of us really deep in our Aeroplan knowledge know about, and one of them is Istanbul.

When I run a search for Istanbul, things look good at first: since you’re flying with Turkish Airlines – one of the top 7 airlines listed above – you don’t pay any fuel surcharge, which is why the price is so low. But upon a closer look, there’s a problem: the Aeroplan points required for that flight, which are 30,000 for the rest of Europe, now sits at 37,500. That 25% jump is substantial, but luckily for you, you won’t be paying it.

Instead, you’re going to skip a leg.

Let’s open up another search tab and look back at one of our previous destinations: Rome. The search results look like any others, but there’s something highly interesting hidden within them: the Turkish Airlines flights from Toronto to Rome have a stop in Istanbul!

Toronto to Rome

You’ve probably put things together by now: The best way to get to Istanbul is not by buying a ticket to Istanbul; instead, it’s by buying this ticket to Rome and getting out in Istanbul.

Anyone else feel like this after reading that?

But we need to be very clear about something: this method of purchasing a multi-segment flight and skipping the end of it is not viewed positively in the airlines’ eyes. Last year, United Airlines and Orbitz.com, one of the world’s largest online travel agencies, collectively sued a website that was making it easier for travelers to find these types of tickets. So if you’re going to do it, do yourself a favour and don’t flaunt it.

Something else to consider: you should not check luggage when skipping a flight segment. While it is sometimes possible to check your luggage to an intermediate destination, it’s not a sure thing, and assuming you don’t want your luggage to end up in Rome while you’re exploring Istanbul, it’s better to just avoid checking bags altogether. Luckily, at the time of this writing, Turkish Airlines allows one piece of carry-on cabin baggage up to 8kg plus an additional personal item, which is enough for most people.


So what’s the point of all this?

Two things.

First, to give you the knowledge you need to make smart, informed decisions about finding cheap flights to Europe, and back to Canada as well. If you’ve been trying to buy cheap flights to Europe, or anywhere else, without this type of knowledge, you’ve probably been over-paying by a substantial amount. That stops now.

And second, to show you that flying doesn’t need to be expensive. With the right tools in place, you can cut your flight costs by 50% or more. Invest 5 minutes to save $500-$1,000 on your travels today.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably like its sister post How to Fly from Asia to North America (and vice versa) for $75, or our new post on the best American Express Aeroplan cards.

How To Fly From Asia To North America For $75

Flying from Asia to Canada can be expensive—but it doesn’t have to be. If you have the right knowledge and tools, you can do it for less than $75. This post will give you the knowledge and the tools you need to do it yourself—all in 10 minutes or less. Getting yourself an American Express Gold Rewards Card is the first step.

The American Express Gold Rewards Card for Canadians is an excellent travel card for Canadians looking for a high-impact card with a low annual fee. It comes with a welcome bonus of 25,000 points—which we value at between $500-$750—plus an impressive travel insurance policy, $100 in hotel credit, and much more. With an annual fee of just $150, this card pays for itself several times over in just a single trip to Asia.

I need to come home.

Not because I’m homesick. No, it’s because I have flights booked that are taking me to LA, San Francisco, Vegas, Toronto and more, all scheduled for the next couple of weeks.

So I’m going to book my flights in the next 60 minutes. And while I do it, I’m going to document exactly how I do it. Here’s my situation:

I need to get from Asia to Los Angeles, where I’ll be visiting a few friends. I have unfinished business in both Guangzhou, China and Singapore, so I’d like to leave Asia from one of those two cities.

Oh ya – I want to do it as cheaply as possible.

Luckily, I have a secret: I know how to drop the cost of these Asia to North America flights by 90%.

Yes, that’s right, I’m going to pay 10% of what the passengers on my left and right paid.

How will I do it? I’m going to use 37,500 Aeroplan points, which are an exceptionally valuable tool when used in the right way.

And right now, in the next five minutes, I’m going to show you both a) how to get them, and b) how to use them the right way.

This Is How Flight Experts Find Flights

First, you need to know which are the best airlines for using your Aeroplan points with:

  1. United Airlines
  2. Swiss Airlines
  3. Turkish Airlines
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Air New Zealand
  6. Eva Airways (SE Asia)
  7. Air China

Why are they the best? Because they don’t make you pay the fuel surcharge, which is a fee several hundred dollars in magnitude on international flights. In other words, these airlines are a lot cheaper to fly with.

And when I open up the Guide, something jumps out at me right away. Three of the top seven airlines on the list, my personal favourites, are based in Asia: Singapore Airlines, Air China, and EVA Airways. That tells me something even more important: their hub cities, Singapore, Beijing, and Taipei will definitely offer some great prices to North America.

Just thirty seconds into my search process, my decision is made for me: I’m leaving from Singapore.

A quick search on the Aeroplan website confirms it: I can get from Singapore to LA for $73.80 CAD. I’ll book it right now.

(5-minute pause while Jordan books his ticket)

Singapore to LA for under $75!

Okay, I’ve booked the Singapore-LA flight for $73.80. But now I’m curious – what are the prices like from those other two cities? As expected, they’re exceptionally cheap, just like my Singapore flight:

Beijing to LA
Taipei to LA

Okay, that all makes sense – the Guide basically gave that one away. But what if I just wanted to go to LA directly from Chiang Mai?

Good question. And I’d tell you that’s a bad move.

Why? Well, the entire key here is that the most important factor in booking your flights with Aeroplan is the airline, which is why the first thing I did when thinking about my flights was determine which airlines are based where in Asia. So in keeping with that thought process, we need to think about which airlines are based in Chiang Mai. The answer?

ZERO

Not a single one. In that case, we need to look to other airlines based in the same country or region. Here in Thailand we’ve got Thai Airways which, without surprise, dominates traffic in and out of Chiang Mai.

But there’s a problem: Thai Airways isn’t anywhere on our list of good airlines to fly with. In fact, on a global scale, it’s one of the worst for Aeroplan flights. I avoid them at all costs when booking with Aeroplan, and you should too. From a practical perspective, Thailand is a bad place to fly into or out of.

That sounds harsh, but when you see all of the other options you have, it ceases to matter. Here are just a few amazing flights from cities all over Asia that I found in a couple minutes of searching:

Guangzhou, China to LA
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to LA
Bali, Indonesia to LA
Tokyo, Japan to LA

There’s actually something exciting here for you if you need to reach Thailand: you can visit another Asian city and still pay less than you would by flying into or out of Thailand. Bonus!

Also, do you notice anything about the above examples? That’s right, we’re also using United Airlines. United is another favourite from Page 7 of the Guide, so any flights you can take with them are going to be cheap as well. Just like I did with the Singapore to LA flight, combining one of Singapore Airlines, Air China, or EVA Airways with United Airlines is a fantastic, replicable way of getting from Asia to North America.

So that’s that; my flight is booked, and there’s a myriad of other options for anyone else leaving from Asia as well.

But some of you are thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me, I’m not going to LA!” Take a look at these next two flights. Yes, this strategy works to anywhere in North America.

Hong Kong to Toronto, one of the rare times we advocate using Air Canada for Aeroplan redemptions
Singapore to Vancouver

Okay, maybe this is all a bit overwhelming. After all, you just want to get from A to B as cheaply as possible, right?

Exactly. So here’s the 80/20, or how to get the most value from this post. (Canadians only )

STEP 1 OF 2: GET YOUR POINTS

Your ticket to 25,000 points (and a $75 flight to Asia) is in the American Express Gold Rewards Card. Just take 3 minutes to fill out this form, and you’ll have your Gold Rewards Card in your hands within a week.

STEP 2 OF 2: USE YOUR POINTS

As soon as you close that tab, get yourself an Aeroplan Card. You’re going to transfer your American Express points into Aeroplan points in order to take the flights above, so you’ll need one of these. Fill out their 60-second online form and you’re all set – everyone gets approved automatically.

And that’s it! You’ll be enjoying authentic dim sum in no time.

If you want to show your friends how much of a flight hacker you are, share this post with them. Or if you’re not quite there yet and still need some clarification, we’re easy to reach via email, and we deal with these sort of problems every single day. I’d love to help you explore the world in a deeper, more meaningful way in 2019 and beyond.

Oh, and let us know if you got any value out of this post – depending on the response it receives, we may create similar posts for reaching the other continents, like this one to EuropeYes, you can fly to any continent in the world for under $100 (except Antarctica – we haven’t quite cracked that one yet). Help us help you by sharing this post and giving us your feedback!

How To Use British Airways Avios In Canada

I’ve been using British Airways’ Avios program for a long, long time, yet there’s a good reason why I’ve never written about it.

Simply put, it’s because Yore Oyster is about delivering concise, actionable material to Canadian travelers when they need it. Rather than trying to teach you everything, we’d rather just give you the tools to do the things that have a real, positive impact on your life starting today.

How to Fly from Europe to Canada (or vice versa) for $75

But there’s also a reason why I am choosing to write about Avios now: it’s the perfect complement to Aeroplan. And as you’ve probably seen through our posts How to Fly from Asia to North America (and vice versa) for $75 and How to Fly from Canada to Europe (and vice versa) for $75, Aeroplan is extremely powerful when used correctly. So starting today, with the addition of Avios to your toolkit, you’ll be flying more smartly and more cheaply than 99% of the other people who step onto the same plane.

If you don’t want to spend hundreds of hours reading and learning every intricacy, but would rather have 95% of the information you need to get a cheap flight right now, this post is for you.

Using British Airways Avios In Canada

What is Avios?

British Airways’ Avios is a points program that works just like Aeroplan: you gather points on your credit card or by flying, and then you redeem them for flights in the future. So from a very high level, the two programs are doing very similar things – helping you fly more cheaply – but when you get into the details, you start to notice their differences.

Avios has one of the widest-reaching airline partner networks out there, which is a fancy way of saying this: no matter where you are in the world, there’s a very good chance that you can buy a flight with Avios points instead of cash. I’ve personally used it for flights between Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay, within South Africa, between Thailand and Hong Kong, and a lot of other places. It just works.

And there’s another neat feature that Avios has that most other programs don’t: you can choose between different cash and points splits when you pay for your flight. For example, on this direct Toronto to London flight, you can choose any of the following payment options:

Avios gives you a lot more flexibility than Aeroplan

To choose which option you’d like to pay, it just comes down to how much you value your points. I generally opt for paying more cash so that I can keep my points for another flight in the future, but if you’d rather just pay the minimum amount of cash, that’s totally fine too.

In short, Avios gives you options. And when you’re traveling and don’t always have your next step planned to a tee, options are a very, very valuable thing.

Okay, so where is Avios most valuable?

That’s a tough question: if you’re only flying within North America, finding a great way to use Avios in Australia isn’t very useful to you. But if we do step back for a minute and look at things from a global level, three particular areas stand out.

Region 1: Within South America

I spent a few months in South America this year, and I noticed something very peculiar about the flights: while domestic flights in nearly every country were super cheap – $30 for the 650-km flight from Bogota to Cartagena in Colombia, or $90 for the monstrous 2,100-km trip from São Paulo to Recife in Brazil – international flights were extremely expensive.

For example, Quito, Ecuador is a similar distance from Bogota as Cartagena, but a flight to Quito regularly sits at 10x the price of one to Cartagena. And from São Paulo? Buenos Aires is 500 km closer than Recife, but you won’t find a flight for less than double the price. So trust me when I tell you: you need Avios in South America.

Lucky for you, Avios has two major partners in South America – LAN in Chile and TAM in Brazil – who dominate air traffic in South America. And this plays into a very straightforward strategy when in South America: buy domestic flights with cash, and buy international flights with Avios.

When I was there, I applied this strategy ruthlessly. Even when I needed to book a flight just a few days in advance, there was almost always a seat available for me, and I saved at least $200-300 on each flight that I otherwise would’ve had to shell out. In fact, I never booked a flight more than two weeks in advance, and I made it on all of the 10+ flights that I wanted, saving over $2,000 in the process. The Avios flights became so cheap that I stopped looking at ground transportation altogether; that’s the sign of a strong program.

Region 2: Intercontinental Flights to/from South America

This is a sweet spot in the Avios program that few very people know about, but using Avios to fly between South America and any of Australia, North America, or Europe is extremelycheap. Let’s look at a few examples.

First, an amazing direct flight from New York to Rio de Janeiro that costs you just $8. No, that is not a typo, $8! This flight runs daily so availability is extremely easy to get, and the same flight at the same prices works from other cities like Miami, too.

New York to Rio de Janeiro for $8

Santiago-Sydney is the only direct flight between South America and Australia, but thanks to Avios’ wide reach, you can get on it. A cash ticket for this highly sought-after flight will run you about $2,000 one-way if you buy it within the recommended purchase window, which is about 2-3 months before you fly. But with Avios? It’s just $73 + 50,000 points.

Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia for 50,000 points and $73

Buenos Aires-London is another behemoth of a direct flight, and this one you’ll actually be flying with British Airways. Again, cash tickets normally go in the range of $1,000+ for a one-way ticket (and much more if you want to be on this direct British Airways flight instead of one through the US with 1-2 stops), but here you’re only paying $344 and 22,750 points.

Buenos Aires to London for just $350

Avios is starting to look pretty good, isn’t it?

Region 3: North America to Asia

There are so many ways to use your Avios points here, but I’ll talk about just one: Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a sweet spot because it’s the home of Cathay Pacific, an Avios partner airline, and Cathay flies direct to several North American hubs like Vancouver, Toronto, and New York. So if you’re going to Hong Kong, or really anywhere in Asia, this is the way to do it. (Note: If you want another surefire way of getting to/from Asia, see our post How to Fly from Asia to North America (and vice versa) for $75).

Vancouver to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific CX889 or CX837 for $65 and 30,000 Avios points
Toronto to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific CX829 or CX825 for $70 and 35,000 Avios points
New York to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific CX845 or CX899 or CX841 for $70 and 35,000 Avios points

Those are just two really good ways of using your Avios points, but there are plenty of other ways that you can make them work for you. For example: need to buy a last-minute flight between Toronto and New York departing tomorrow? Cash ticket prices will be through the roof, so Avios is the perfect solution, since last-minute tickets purchased with points are the exact same price as if you bought the ticket months in advance.

You might’ve noticed something else in our examples: flights with Avios are much, much more direct that Aeroplan flights. In fact, it’s tough to find any of those intercontinental flights (with the exception of Vancouver to Hong Kong) without at least one connection if you’re using Aeroplan. That’s another win for your new friend, Avios. Time is money, and Avios is saving you both.

Wait – if I’m not going to South America or Asia, is Avios a waste of time?

Good question, but definitely not. Avios is fantastic for flights within North America (you can use your Avios points on any American Airlines flight), Europe (British Airways and Iberia Airlines), and a lot of other regions as well. I could give a thousand more examples of how to use your Avios points effectively, but instead I’m going to let you discover them on your own.


This post is just an introduction to Avios, so I won’t go any deeper right now, but hopefully you can see how valuable Avios is as a #2 program. By leveraging the strengths of Aeroplanand Avios together, all of a sudden you go from playing by the airlines’ rules (not fun) to making your own rules (very fun. This is how you become the passenger who paid the least amount for their ticket, every time.

In the next few weeks, we’re going to be releasing a brand new map tool that will tell you the best way of buying flights all around the world. You won’t have to play the guessing game of “Am I getting a good deal or not?” any longer – in a few seconds, you’ll know exactly how to buy your next flight with confidence.

Before we launch that, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the Avios program so that you aren’t left behind when it goes live. Here’s the quickest way to do it (and how to get twoToronto-London roundtrip flights at the same time):

The 80/20, or how to get the most value from this post: (Canadians only)

STEP 1 OF 2: GET YOUR POINTS

Your ticket to 25,000 Avios points is in the American Express Gold Rewards Card, which gives you 25,000 American Express points.

All you need to do is spend 3 minutes filling out this form, and you’ll receive your card in a week.

STEP 2 OF 2: USE YOUR POINTS

As soon as you finish your application, join Avios. The application takes two minutes and everyone is approved, plus you’ll get access to their search tool, so you can start searching for your ideal flights while you wait to receive your card from Step 1.

Once you’ve spent 4 minutes on the two steps above, you’re set. Add 20,000 points of your own to the 25,000 points coming your way with the card and you’ll have enough for any of the following flights:

  • Roundtrip New York to Brazil
  • Roundtrip Toronto to London twice (technically this will cost you 52,000 points, but who’s counting)
  • The South American Rally: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Montevideo, Uruguay, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile to Lima, Peru to Bogota, Colombia, to São Paulo, Brazil – yes you can do ALL of these flights and still have Avios left over!
  • An absolutely crazy itinerary connecting eleven countries across Europe. This one deserves a blog post unto its own.

I hope this marks the beginning of a prosperous new friendship: you and British Airways Avios!

For more destination-specific information on redeeming points, see our other similar posts on Asia and Europe.

The Amex Cobalt Card: A Review

The American Express Cobalt card has been receiving a lot of attention since its fall 2017 launch, and with good reason: it’s an extremely compelling offer. $10/month for a card that gets you 5x the points on food and drink purchases in Canada and 2x the points on travel purchases anywhere in the world is an excellent deal.

But of course, as we’ve come to expect from American Express through their other offers—like the Platinum Card, the Business Platinum Card and the Business Gold Rewards Card—there’s much more to the Cobalt than meets the eye. Once you learn the ins and outs of this card, I’ll be surprised if you aren’t applying for one of your own by the end of this post.

If you don’t want to read this entire post, here’s the gist:

We recommend applying for both the Amex Cobalt Card and the Amex Platinum Card to maximize both your travel options and your statement savings.

The question is…why?

The Amex Cobalt card is the first and only American Express card to offer a monthly fee in lieu of an annual fee. It’s marketed at millennials and near-millennials, so if you fit either of these, you’ll definitely want to give the Cobalt card a closer look.

American Express Cobalt Card for Canadians
Where will you use your new American Express Cobalt card?

Normally, I recommend using your American Express points on flights, since you can get exceptional deals like these that we mention in our post on the Platinum Card:

Roundtrip Toronto to Hong Kong
70,000 points
$100 total taxes/fees
Roundtrip Vancouver to Hong Kong
60,000 points
$90 total taxes/fees
Round-the-world Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto
74,500 points
$761 total taxes/fees
Round-the-world Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver
74,700 points
$742 total taxes/fees

But the difference with the Cobalt card is that you use a different points system when spending your points on flights. American Express has introduced a new tier of points called Membership Rewards (MR) Select, which are usable for just about everything that the other MR points (which you receive with the PlatinumBusiness Platinum and Business Gold Rewards cards) are, including hotel stays and travel purchases, but you can’t transfer them to loyalty programs like Aeroplan or Avios. So rather than valuing these MR Select points at two or three cents per point, I suggest a value of one cent per point, since that’s what you can redeem them for directly against your American Express statement.

So the Amex Cobalt comes with both good and bad. The bad is the change I just described: the method for redeeming your MR Select points for flights is a bit different, so many of our strategies for flying from Asia to North America for $75 or from Canada to Europe for $50 are less relevant.

But the good is really, really good: once you know how, you can save 10% on your monthly spending using the Cobalt card.

Save 10% on your spending with the American Express Cobalt

If you apply for the American Express Cobalt card today, you’ll receive 2,500 MR Select points for every month of the first year that you charge $500 to the card.

On top of that, you also earn 5x points for every dollar you spend on food and drinks, and American Express is generous with their definition of food and drinks:

Restaurant, quick service restaurant, coffee shop and drinking establishments in Canada, stand-alone grocery stores in Canada, delivery of food and groceries in Canada…

In other words: you earn 5x the points at all restaurants, bars, cafés, grocery stores, and food delivery services (UberEATS etc.), making the magic $500 monthly threshold fairly easy to hit for most of us (about $120/week in food). And when you do…

You’ll save 10% on that month’s spending.

Here’s the math to show what I mean:

2,500 bonus points for spending $500/month

+ 2,500 points (5x points on $500 spent on food/drinks)

= 5,000 points earned per month

When you apply those points at the one cent per point valuation I mentioned above (which is as simple as applying them against your American Express statement, nothing more), you get $50 back on your $500 of spending. That’s a savings of 10%!

Here’s how it looked when I applied 4,000 of my MR Select points against two flights I’d recently redeemed my regular MR points for on Aeroplan:

American Express Cobalt Card for Canadians
Redeeming American Express Cobalt MR Select Points For Purchases At A Valuation Of One Cent Per Point

Of course, it’s not a problem if you don’t spend $500 per month on food and drinks. Let’s imagine that one month you only spend $300 on food and drinks and the other $200 on something else:

2,500 bonus points for spending $500/month

+ 1,500 points (5x points on $300 spent on food/drinks)

+ 200 points (1x points on $200 spent on other items)

= 4,200 points earned per month

In this case, you end up with 4,200 points, worth $42, for a savings of 8.4%. This trend continues: the more you spend on food and drinks, the higher your monthly savings will be.

While we’re at it, let’s look at some of the other benefits of the Cobalt card:

Emergency travel medical insuranceExtended purchase insuranceFlight delay insurance
Hotel burglary insuranceLost/stolen baggage insuranceCar rental damage/theft insurance
Plus much more…

What About Foreign Currency Exchange?

While you earn 2x the points on travel purchases like flights and hotels, you still pay a currency exchange fee with the Cobalt card, which normally adds about 2% to the purchase price. 2% isn’t huge, but if you spend $5,000 over the course of a month-long Europe trip, that’s an extra $100 you’ve thrown away in currency exchange fees. Instead, I recommend picking up the N26 Black card, which leverages TransferWise’s technology to offer zero currency exchange fees and free ATM withdrawals around the world. Since getting my N26 Black two years ago, it’s been my go-to travel card, and I absolutely love it.

Did you know: Cobalt cardmembers receive regular perks such as bonus reward offers and access to great events

Boosting Your Points With Fixed Points Flight Rewards

The one cent per point valuation I’ve suggested above is extremely easy to achieve: all you need to do is apply your points against the spending on your American Express statement, nothing more. However, American Express’ Fixed Points Flight Rewards offer value that’s up to twice as good. Here’s how to capitalize on that.

The table below shows the redemption costs for various destinations around the world using the Fixed Points system. As you can see at the very top, you can redeem 15,000 points to offset $300 (value of 2 cents per point) on short-haul routes like those between Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and New York, as well as between Vancouver and Calgary. Longer flights offer a slightly lower valuation (1.5-1.75 cents per point), though if you choose your routes wisely, they can still save you hundreds of dollars more than what you’re already saving by applying your MR Select points directly against your American Express statement.

At the end of the day, you really can’t lose.

American Express Cobalt Card for Canadians
Redeeming Amex Cobalt MR Select Points For Amex Fixed Points Flight Rewards At A Valuation Of Two Cents Per Point

The Bottom Line

Once you add in all of the other benefits, this card is an excellent choice. Add it to your arsenal of the Platinum Card, the Business Platinum Card and the Business Gold Rewards Card, and you’re laughing.

So…will you take advantage of the Cobalt card or let it pass you by?