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® Card, the AeroplanPlus® Gold Card and the AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card. Also, you can read our post on the comparison of the four cards here, where you’ll find all the information you need to choose which one is right for you.

The Amex AeroplanPlus Reserve Credit Card
The Amex AeroplanPlus Reserve Credit Card

The American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve card is a high-fee, high-reward travel card for Canadians. It comes with Maple Leaf Lounge and Priority Pass airport lounge access, a $200 annual travel credit, a complimentary annual partner ticket worth up to 25,000 Aeroplan miles, and Amex Concierge.

With its impressive 50,000 miles Welcome Bonus and $200 Air Canada eGift Card when you spend a total of $6,000 in the first six months of Cardmembership, it’s easy to see why so many Canadians are signing up for this card.

Travel cheap or travel with style. You have to choose one or the other… or do you?

With the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve card, you may not have to!

I know what you’re thinking: How can you 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 much more than the $899 you have to pay for it by giving you access to cheaper flights. On top of that, benefits like Air Canada Priority Check-in, complimentary valet and Priority Security Lane at Toronto’s Pearson Airport (YYZ), unlimited Maple Leaf and Priority Pass lounge access, and the Amex concierge will make you feel like a true VIP while you travel.

All this and much more make the AeroplanPlus® Reserve card a strong option for a travel card, even after you’ve burned through the 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, you shouldn’t bother with this card. In that case, you’re better off with an everyday spending card like the Amex Cobalt (if you don’t plan to travel even once), or a less expensive card that’ll still earn you Aeroplan miles, like the Gold Rewards Card.

Benefits Summary: Pros & 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:

PROSCONS
• 50,000 Aeroplan miles Welcome Bonus
• $200 Air Canada eGift Card when you spend a total of $6,000 in the first six months of Cardmembership
• $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
• Excellent travel insurance coverage
• $899 annual fee
• High fee on additional cards ($299)
• 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 Bonus50,000 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 per card
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 Purchases1.25 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 CardCredit 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 to see how much these benefits are really be worth to you.

Features Explained

The Annual Fee

If you don’t want to pay a fee for your credit card, this is not the card for you.

The annual fee on the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card is one of the first things that stand out. You get a lot of perks with this card, but it comes 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 to pay for it. Even the additional cards, which you can give to family members or business associates, come with a hefty fee of $299. 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 see why, if you use the card smartly, it can be an excellent 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 can turn out to be a great way to save significant 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 25% more than the 1 mile per dollar you receive on most cards.

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 no exception, doubling your earning rate on eligible Air Canada purchases. An “eligible” Air Canada purchase means you bought your ticket directly with Air Canada, or through the American Express Travel service.

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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 reward scheme. Air Canada, for example, will reward up to 150% of the miles you actually fly.

Insight: If you fly with Air Canada frequently, the AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card is an excellent way to earn free flights much, much faster.

What’s the highest earning rate you can get?

Let me give you a sneak peek at the one of the highest earning rates you can get with the AeroplanPlus® Reserve 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’d 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’d 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!

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card Canada - Flying from Toronto to Vancouver with Air Canada
American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card – Flying from Toronto to Vancouver with Air Canada

Valued at an average of 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, saving up to 18% of the purchase price!

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

AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card Eligibility

Since the Amex AeroplanPlus® Reserve 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 deeper into everything you can get out of this card.

Benefit #1: The Welcome Bonus

The AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card comes with one of the biggest welcome bonuses of any card 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.

This bonus is 10,000 miles bigger than that of the AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card, 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:

#1 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 on any traveler’s bucket list.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - Hit the Pacific surf in Hawaii thanks to the 50,000 welcome points bonus on the Amex AeroplanPlus Reserve Card
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 44,400 miles + $77 in taxes and fees.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - Booking a round-trip from Vancouver to Hawaii in Air Canada 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

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - Booking a roundtrip from Vancouver to Hawaii in economy class in cash with Air Canada costs much more than Aeroplan
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.

#2 Round-trip from Vancouver to Paris for $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.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - Enjoying the night scenery in Paris, thanks to the 50,000 welcome points bonus with the Amex AeroplanPlus Reserve Card
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.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - Booking a round-trip from Vancouver to Paris in Air Canada 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.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - 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. But with all of the spending bonuses working in your favour on the Reserve card, plus the increased earning rates that Aeroplan partners will give you, you can easily earn those extra 10,000 miles in a month or two.

#3 Round-trip from Vancouver to LA for $191 (Business Class!)

If getting the most value out of your miles is what’s most important to you, then use your bonus on business class flights within Canada or the USA. A great example is this round-trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - 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 over $1,300:

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - Flying from Vancouver to Los Angeles with Air Canada in business class
American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card – Flying from Vancouver to Los Angeles with Air Canada in business class

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 Welcome 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’re certain to 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’ll get a second ticket for the exact same itinerary for FREE! You still have to pay for taxes and surcharge fees, but if you’ve followed our advice, that’s peanuts compared to the full price of the ticket.

The great thing about this benefit is that you receive it every single year, and it’s worth a big portion of the $899 annual fee. Just keep in mind that your annual complimentary ticket isn’t cumulative, so if you don’t use it before your anniversary date, you lose it.

At an average value of 2.5 cents per mile, your extra 25,000 miles are $625 – every single year.

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 in 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

The $200 annual travel credit is another important benefit that takes a serious chunk out of the $899 annual fee. 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.

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 across 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 your booking, you lose the $200 credit.

If you use your $200 annual 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. The $200 travel credit renews every year 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

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 access to over 1,200 Priority Pass™ lounges worldwide.

The 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 (EWR), La Guardia (LGA) and Los Angeles (LAX)), and 3 other lounges in key international locations: Frankfurt (FRA), London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).

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

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Calgary International Airport (YYC), 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 receive a Priority Pass Prestige membership, which grants you access to over 1,200 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.

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card - The Sala VIP Internacional lounge is available through your Priority Pass Prestige membership.
Above: Quito International Airposrt’s award-winning “Sala VIP Internacional” lounge, available through your Priority Pass Prestige membership with your American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card.

Unlike the Maple Leaf Club membership, which you’re automatically signed up for with your Reserve Card, you’ll need to quickly apply for your Priority Pass membership separately. The $429 USD fee (about $575 CAD) will be waived, and you’ll get the membership free of charge, every year, for 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, phone-free quiet zones, a broad selection of newspaper and magazines, and business centers where you can print, make copies or fax anything you need. Many 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 in style, 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 for a fee. In the case of Maple Leaf lounges, the fee is $20 per person (children under 12 are free), and in the case of Priority Pass lounges, it’s $32 USD per guest (around $40 CAD). Guests used to be free with Priority Pass Prestige, but unfortunately not anymore.

The only condition to access any Maple Leaf lounge is that you present your AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card, along with a confirmed, same-day ticket for an Air Canada flight (or one of their airline 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 – a ticket from any airline is valid.

I can guarantee you that once you start flying with lounge access, you won’t ever want to go back.

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-to-day stress of 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 5,000 lifestyle counselors that work with American Express will ask you 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, they’ll let you know if they 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, packaging and courier 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.

Sample tasks you can outsource to an American Express Concierge

Your Amex Concierge is there to make your life easier. So, 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’re an AeroplanPlus® Reserve Cardmember. Here’s a short list of tasks that a concierge is sure to be able to perform to the highest standards:

Send a gift

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 sold-out events

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 exclusive restaurants

Just like with tickets to sold-out shows, American Express Concierges have superhuman abilities to secure restaurants at many of the world’s top restaurants. If you call somewhere and they tell you getting a table is impossible, call your concierge and watch the magic happen.

Plan a trip itinerary

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. If you’re a busy person who doesn’t enjoy the nitty-gritty of planning your trip, this benefit alone will be worth getting this card.

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. If you’re in 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. Skip the regular check-in line and pass through Air Canada’s priority check-in.

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 ensure you’re pampered from the moment you arrive.

Start off with 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 taken advantage of Air Canada’s priority check-in, you’ll save more time by bypassing the regular security 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 insurance coverage of any Amex card. It brings in all the policies that come with the AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card, which includes Trip Cancellation Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance, Emergency Medical Insurance and more.

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 the mind like having a good travel 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 as soon as 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).

24/7 Travel Emergency Assistance

This gives you access to legal and medical assistance over the phone during your trip. This can be an exceptionally helpful benefit, especially if you’re in a country whose laws you’re unfamiliar with.

Trip Cancellation and Trip 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 something else, 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 per day per person, with a cap at $1,000.

Flight Delay & Baggage Delay Insurance

Flights can be delayed for long periods, and during this time, you may incur 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 covers 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. If the value of your luggage was more than $500, you can make a claim with the airline itself.

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 $15 to $30 per day!

To give you an idea, if you were to rent a car for a one-week trip, this could add up to about $200 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 rental company’s policy and use your card’s instead, without paying a single dime, saving you the $200. 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, which covers your purchases against accidental damage and theft, for a maximum of $1,000.

As you can see, if feeling safe and secure while you travel is essential to you, the AeroplanPlus® Reserve 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.

Additional Card 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 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’s stolen while you’re abroad, it’s good to know you can call Amex any time and get a new one sent to you, wherever you are, ASAP.

Do The Benefits Justify The $899 Annual Fee?

Depending on how often you travel, the Reserve Card can definitely pay for itself year after year.

You can see that the first year is a no-brainer. The 50,000 Aeroplan miles Welcome Bonus alone (worth $1,250 at a 2.5 cent valuation per mile) more than covers the $899 fee and more, plus you still get a bunch of other benefits that make it a winning deal. 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 frequently. Let’s add up all the long-term benefits:

Annual travel credit $200
Complimentary annual round-trip partner ticket, worth up to 25,000 miles $625
Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Canada membership $375
Priority Pass Prestige membership $575
Toronto Pearson Airport Valet $25
Total Benefits $1,600
Annual Fee ($899)
Total Profit $700
Additional Benefits Yes

In the end, the long-term benefits will get you an extra $700 in value, after accounting for 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 invaluable to many cardholders.

The greatest part of the benefits comes from the two lounge access memberships, which together are worth more than the annual fee itself. Of course, you should only count that as a benefit if you’re a frequent flyer, and you actually use those lounges a lot.

If you fly multiple times per year, the AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card can be a great long-term choice.

Alternative Ways To Build Your Aeroplan Balance

Though any of the AeroplanPlus® cards are great candidates for earning Aeroplan miles, they’re not your only options. There are other Amex cards that also offer great welcome bonuses, good miles earning rates and excellent benefits year after year.

Here are our personal recommendations of alternative ways to earn miles:

#1 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 an annual fee of $699, but also a whopping 50,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points Welcome Bonus you can transfer to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate. Alongside the AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card, 50,000 is the biggest Welcome Bonus you can get, and when you use them wisely, these miles alone will be worth $1,250 or more.

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’ll get 2x points on travel purchases and even 3x at eligible dining in Canada. This flexibility makes it a lot easier to access great earning rates and maximize your rewards. 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 above 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 the $200 annual travel credit and Priority Pass Prestige and you’ll see why every Canadian traveler ought to have this card.

#2 The American Express Gold Rewards Card

Another great way to earn Aeroplan miles is using the American Express Gold Rewards Card. The Gold Card comes with a very decent welcome bonus of 25,000 MR points, are transferable to Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 rate, and only costs $150 a year. That’s a 37.5% smaller bonus compared to the Aeroplan Platinum card, but it costs 70% less, so it’s a much better deal. You’ll also receive $100 annually in hotel credit, and many other benefits that make the Gold Card a smart choice year after year.

You can get the same bonus for a bit 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’ll get 2x points on travel and a lot of everyday purchases, which is a much easier and more flexible way to earn points than with the Marriott Bonvoy™ Card. This card is an Aeroplan winner with a very modest fee.

#3 The Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card

If you transfer your 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points Welcome Bonus to Aeroplan Miles at a 3:1 rate, you’ll earn an extra 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points when doing so. If you transfer those as well, you’ll get 25,000 Aeroplan miles just for signing up to the Marriott Bonvoy™ Card, 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 5-star hotel.

With the American Express Marriott Bonvoy™ Card, you’ll get the same welcome bonus as with the Gold Rewards Card + additional 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 1.67 miles per dollar. It’s not bad, but you’re limited to Marriott Bonvoy™ properties alone, and the other cards we mentioned will get better rates on more flexible spending. On every other purchase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Card will earn 2 points to a dollar, or 0.67 Aeroplan miles, which is not a good earning rate.

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 2 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 Aeroplan mile, depending on how you redeem them.

Remember, maximizing the value of your miles relies upon flying with airlines that don’t impose fuel surcharges. That’s the basis of our posts that explain a $75 flight to Asia and how to get cheap flights to Europe.

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® Card number, as you may have already guessed, is the actual American Express Aeroplan credit card number 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 have 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 AeroplanPlus® 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 will receive your bonus about 10 to 20 weeks (2-5 months) after signing up, depending on how quickly you reach the $3,000 spending requirement.

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.

This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own. We update this information as frequently as possible, but keep in mind that the terms of these cards do change from time to time.

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    1. Hey SP, can you give us some more details of the problem you’re having? Are you on desktop or mobile? We can’t seem to replicate the issue – the link works for us! Thank you.

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