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 member of this card family, the AeroplanPlus® Gold Card, or a comparison between the two cards here.
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, 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 Bonus||40,000 Aeroplan miles|
|Additional card|| • $199 for additional AeroplanPlus® Platinum cards|
• $50 for additional AeroplanPlus® Gold cards.
|Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On Partner Brands|| • 2.25 miles or more for the first $25,000 charged to the card|
• 2.50 miles or more for every 1$ above $25,000 charged to the card
|Miles Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Purchases|| • 1.25 miles for the first $25,000 charged to the card|
• 1.50 miles for every additional dollar
|American Express Invites||✔|
|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 with an account in good standing|
|Type of Card||Charge card (not a credit card)|
|APR on any unpaid balance|| • 30% on purchases|
• 30% 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
At 40,000 miles, the AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card’s welcome bonus is simply HUGE! But 40,000 miles doesn’t mean very much if you don’t know how much each mile is worth.
As with all loyalty rewards programs, Aeroplan miles 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 3x 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 American Express Platinum Card that can give you up to 3x on eligible dining 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 AeroplanPlus 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.
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 peek at the one of the highest earn 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
• Asiana Airlines
• Austrian Airlines
• Avianca Brazil
• Bearskin Airlines
• Brussels Airlines
|• Canadian North|
• Cathay Dragon
• Cathay Pacific
• COPA Airlines
• Croatia Airlines
• Ethiopian Airlines
• Eva Air
• First Air
• Juneyao Airlines
• LOT Polish Airlines
|• Olympic Air |
• Scandinavian Airlines
• Shenzhen Airlines
• Singapore Airlines
• South African Airways
• Star Alliance
• TAP Air Portugal
• Thai Airways
• Turkish Airlines
• United Airlines
| • Le Club Accorhotels|
• Ac Hotels by Marriott®
• Adagio Access
• Aloft Hotels
• Americinn® by Wyndham
• Ascend Collection®
• Banyan Tree
• Baymont® by Wyndham
• Best Western International
• Cambria Suites®
• Candlewood Suites®
• Chelsea Hot • el, Toronto
• Choice Hotels®
• Coast Hotels
• Comfort Inn®
• Comfort Suites®
• Cordis Hotels and Resorts
• Conrad Hotels and Resorts™
• Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
• Courtyard by Marriott®
• Crowne Plaza®
• Days Inn® by Wyndham
• Delta Hotels and Resorts
• Dazzler® by Wyndham
• Dolce Hotels and Resorts® by Wyndham
• Doubletree by Hilton(Tm)
• Eaton Hk
• Econo Lodge®
• Element Hotels
• Embassy Suites Hotels®
• Esplendor® • Boutique Hotels by Wyndham
• Even® Hotels
• Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®
• Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
• Four Points by Sheraton
• Gaylord Hotels®
• Gouverneur Hotels
• Grand Mercure
• Hampton by Hilton™
• Hawthorn Suites® by Wyndham
|• Hilton Hotels & Resorts®|
• Canopy by Hilton™
• Curio – a Collection by Hilton™
• Hilton Garden Inn™
• Hilton Grand Vacations™
• Hilton Honors™
• Holiday Inn Express®
• Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts
• Home2 Suites by Hilton™
• Homewood Suites by Hilton™
• Hotel Indigo™
• Howard Johnson
• Hualuxe® Hotels & Resorts
• Ibis Styles
• Intercontinental® Hotels and Resorts
• Jw Marriott®
• Kerry Hotels
• Kimpton® Hotels and Restaurants
• The Langham Hotels and Resorts
• La Quinta® by Wyndham
• Le Meridien Mainstay Suites®
• Mama Shelter
• Marriott Autograph Collection®
• Marriott Edition®
• Marriott Executive Apartments®
• Marriott Hotels®
• Marriott Bonvoy™
• Marriott Vacation Club®
• Microtel® by Wyndham
• 21c Museum Hotel
• Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts
• Park Inn® by Radisson
• Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts
• Parkroyal Hotels & Resorts
|• Radisson Blu®|
• Radisson Red®
• Ramada® by Wyndham
• Regent Hotels®
• Renaissance® Hotels
• Residence Inn by Marriott®
• Rodeway Inn®
• The Sebel
• Shangri-la Hotels and Resorts
• Sheraton Hotels and Resorts
• Sleep Inn®
• Sofitel Hotels & Resorts
• Sofitel Legend
• Splash Beach Resort, Mai Khao, Phuket
• Springhill Suites by Marriott®
• Staybridge Suites® by Holiday Inn
• St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
• Suburban Extended Stay Hotel®
• Super 8® by Wyndham
• Thalassa Sea & Spa
• The Luxury Collection
• Towneplace Suites by Marriott®
• Trademark Collection® by Wyndham
• Traders Hotels
• Travelodge® by Wyndham
• Tryp® by Wyndham
• Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts™
• Westin Hotels & Resorts
• W Hotels
• Wingate® by Wyndham
• Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
| • Avis|
• Payless® Car Rental
|Parking||• Aéroports De Montréal|
• Park & Jet Calgary
• Park’n Fly
• Vancouver International Airport Parking
| • Aircanada.com|
• Home Hardware
| • Aeroplan Estore|
• Apple Store Canada
• Banana Republic
• Bass Pro Shops
• Club Monaco
• Dell Canada
• Gap Canada
• Hudson’s Bay
| • Lands’ End|
• Microsoft Store
• National Geographic
• Norton by Symantec
• Old Navy
• Rakuten Kobo
• Rosetta Stone
• Shop Disney
• Sierra Trading Post
| • The Body Shop|
• Toms Canada
• Under Armour
• Yves Rocher
Above: Complete list of Aeroplan’s partner brands
More Platinum Benefits
This is where things start to get interesting on the long run. If you read our post on the AeroplanPlus® Gold Card, you’ll see that it’s only worth it for the first year, because it lacks the long-lasting benefits to counterbalance the annual fee.
The AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card includes all of the benefits the other mentioned cards have (only better, i.e. better bonus, better earn rates, better coverage, etc.). However, it includes some benefits that are only available for Platinum Cardholders.
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.
- 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 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.
Airport Lounge Access
Relax before you fly with unlimited access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge™ where available, in major airports across Canada and key international locations. Plus, receive complimentary membership in Priority Pass™– one of the world’s largest independent airport lounge programs.
- 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 those in Paris, Frankfurt 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.
Above: Calgary International Airport Maple Leaf Lounge
Or enjoy a glass of wine while reading in a phone-free zone in the Maple Leaf Lounge at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in Paris.
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 1,200 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.
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.
If you want to learn more, you can read our post on American Express Travel Insurance where you’ll find all the details about how to use your coverage, the other insurance options Amex offers and how to make claims.
American Express Card Eligibility
Since the 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:
| • Huge welcome bonus|
• Complimentary partner ticket
• Excellent miles earning rate
• Awesome travel insurance coverage
• Air Canada Priority Check-in
• Unlimited access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges
• Standard Priority Pass membership to access over 700 airport lounges worldwide
• Complimentary valet service and Priority Security Lane at Terminals 1 and 3 of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport
| • Very high annual fee|
• High APR on purchases and cash withdrawals
• You’ll only see the benefits if you travel at least once a year
• Charge 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:
- 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 Fee||Benefits(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||$499||55,000 miles + $500||$1,050(net win of $551)||$2,700(net win of $2,201)||$1,875(net win of $1,376)|
|Long Term||$499||15,000 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 AeroplanPlus 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 especially 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 25,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points welcome bonus you can transfer to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate. Plus, you can receive an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after six months of Cardmembership. You can earn up to 35,000 points in the first six months. Using them wisely, these miles alone will be worth $700 – $1,050.
But the Platinum Card isn’t the best choice just for the welcome bonus. The points earning rate is also the best one around. You can get 2x points on travel purchases and even 3x at eligible dinning in Canada. This flexibility makes it a lot easier to access great earning rates most of the time, and all that without having to charge the card with more than $25,000 to do so. Give your Aeroplan number on selected purchases on a partner brand, and you’ll crank it up even more (refer to the “Miles Earning Rate” section for more details).
It’s easier to access a higher points earning rate with the Platinum card than with any of the Aeroplan cards!
Add in long lasting benefits like $200 in travel credit and complimentary access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across the globe (valued at almost $500 a year) and you’ll see why you definitely need this card if you like to travel.
The American Express Gold Rewards Card
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 (miles) than with the Amex Marriott Bonvoy™ Card. This card is an Aeroplan winner at a modest fee.
The Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card
Even though we don’t really recommend doing so, you can transfer your 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ welcome bonus points to Aeroplan Miles at a 3:1 rate, and even earn an extra 15,000 Bonvoy points when doing so. If you transfer those as well, you would get 25,000 Aeroplan miles just for signing up to the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express card, which are worth around $625. All this for a card that’ll only cost you $120 a year, and gives you great long lasting benefits like one free night a year at a five stars hotel.
With the American Express Marriott Bonvoy™ card, you can get the same welcome bonus as with the Gold Rewards Card + much better benefits, for an even lower fee.
These miles are enough for a long-haul round trip in economy class or a one-way flight in business class.
The only downside to using the Marriott Bonvoy™ Card as a means to earn Aeroplan miles is the earning rate. The best rate you can get is 5x points on participating Marriott Bonvoy™ properties, which when transferred to miles at the 1:3 ratio translates into 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.
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:
- Only redeem your miles for flights
- Use your miles for domestic flights with Air Canada
- When flying international, choose airlines that don’t impose fuel surcharge fees
- Fly in Business class, not Economy class
These tips will help you to get the highest possible value for every Aeroplan 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.