Grow Your Business With The New American Express Business Edge™ Card

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business requires a lot of hard work and commitment. And once you’re established as a small business, the next logical step is to grow.

This is where the all new American Express Business Edge Card comes in. With a unique combination of both short- and long-term benefits and just a $99 annual fee, the Business Edge Card is making a strong case for becoming your go-to card for your business’ everyday expenses.

If you’re a small business owner and you like what the Amex Cobalt™ Card offers for your personal spending, then you’ll love the features that the brand new American Express Business Edge Card will bring for your business. The folks at Amex really nailed it with this new credit card for small businesses, as it combines features similar to the Cobalt Card with other qualities specifically tailored to helping growing small businesses make the most out of their spending.

Here’s a quick outline of this post:

Features And Benefits Of The Business Edge Card

Welcome Bonus Offer30,000 Membership Rewards® (MR) points
Monthly Bonus Offer 1,000 bonus MR points every month you charge a minimum of $3,000 to your card. This could add up to 12,000 points in a year.
Points Earn Rate • 3X on Eats & Drinks
• 3X on Rides & Gas
• 3X on Office Supplies & Electronics
• 1X on everything else
Card TypeCredit Card
Annual Interest Rate • 19.99% on purchases
• 22.99% on funds advances
Annual Fee$99
Additional CardsNo annual fee
Eligibility • You are a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file
• You are the age of majority in the province or territory where you live

Let’s take a closer look at these features and benefits to see how they’ll help you in growing your business.

Bonus Points On The New Business Edge Card

Considering the low annual fee, the welcome bonus offer on the American Express Business Edge Card is definitely one of the best Amex has to offer.

You can earn up to 42,000 bonus MR points in your first year of Cardmembership, split across thirteen separate portions:

  • 30,000 MR points welcome bonus once you charge a minimum of $5,000 to your card during the first three months of Cardmembership.
  • An additional 1,000 MR points for every month you charge $3,000 to your card, totalling 12,000 extra MR points annually.

That brings the grand total to an impressive bonus of 42,000 MR points in your first year of Cardmembership!

Valued at 1 cent per point, which is what you’ll get for using them for a statement credit, these bonus points are worth $420 – a 324% ROI on the annual fee. However, if you get creative and use your points to pay for travel, in some cases you could get up to 2 cents per point, making the 42,000 bonus MR points be worth more than $800! All that for a $99 annual fee and for using your card to pay for any purchase you want.

Of course, if you’re going to use your card to pay for business-related purchases, you’ll want to make sure you get the most out of those purchases. This is where the Business Edge Card really starts to shine!

Points Earn Rates On The American Express Business Edge Card

The Business Edge Card really outshines other Canadian business credit cards when it comes to points earn rates, and even some of the higher-end personal cards as well.

Why?

Because it offers an unbeatable 3X earn rate on the three purchase categories essential to growing small businesses. Here’s some more detail on each of them.

3X On Eats & Drinks

Let’s face it: whether you’re charging everyday expenses like coffee and snacks for your team, or you’re celebrating a big milestone, eats and drinks are something every business, big or small, spends on. Earning 3 MR points for every $1 spent means that you’ll be saving 3-6% (at a valuation of 1-2 cents per point) on those same purchases when you charge them to your new Business Edge Card.

With a 3X earn rate on eats and drinks, you really can’t go wrong with the new American Express Business Edge Card.

This is an exceptional return on your eats and drinks purchases, and means that if you just spend $5,200 per year – $100 per week – on eats and drinks, you’ll earn back $150-300 in MR points.

Do the math for your own business and see how much that 3-6% is worth to you.

(Hint: If you spend more than $64/week on eats and drinks, this benefit alone will pay for the card’s annual fee.)

3X On Rides & Gas

Taxis, rideshare, the occasional limo to impress that investor you’ve been after – any of these expenses will give you 3 MR points per dollar and the same 3-6% return as you get on eats and drinks. If you have your own fleet of company cars, or simply if you use your own car to move around, this 3X earn rate also applies to fuel purchases at Canadian stand-alone gasoline stations.

This is another category that most businesses spend a lot on throughout the year, and another reason why the Business Edge Card is such a great deal. Again, if you charge just $3,300 in transportation and gas charges to your card throughout the year – $64 per week – you’ll earn back your annual fee and more.

3X On Office Supplies & Electronics

What does your growing business look like? Are you opening a new office, expanding your workforce, or developing new products for new markets?

In any of those cases, you’re bound to need new computers, office equipment, company phones, and more. And once that hardware is in place, you’ll also need printer ink, paper, and all the other little things that make an office work.

When you charge your office supplies and electronics expenses to your Business Edge Card, you’ll find yourself with thousands of MR points ready to trade in for great rewards down the road.

Worth Noting: The Cap On The 3X Earn Rates

Just like the 5X earn rate on the Cobalt Card, these 3X earn rates are so lucrative Amex had to put a cap on them. You’ll receive 3X on your first $25,000 in purchases in any of the three 3x earn rate categories mentioned above (i.e. until you earn your first 75,000 MR points on those categories). After that, you’ll earn the regular 1X on every purchase.

How To Use Your Business Edge Card’s Points

Option #1: Redeem your points for a statement credit

The easiest way to use your MR points is to redeem them for a statement credit towards eligible purchases. It’s as simple as:

  1. Logging in to your Membership Rewards account
  2. Choosing to use your points
  3. Selecting statement credit.

You’ll be able to choose from a list of past purchases you want to use your statement credit for, and that’s it!

When redeeming MR points in this way, you’ll receive a $10 credit for every 1,000 MR points you redeem, giving your points a value of 1 cent apiece.

Option #2: Book Travel

You can also use your points to pay for travel bookings including flights, hotel stays, resorts, vacation packages, cruises and car rentals – just book through American Express Travel services and pay for the entire booking with your points. The value you’ll get depends entirely on the destination, dates, airlines etc., but in general, you’ll be able to get at least 1 cent per point, with some trips giving you a value of 2 cents per point or more.

Where will you let your new American Express Business Edge Card take you?

Option #3: Use Your Points For Merchandise And Other Purchases

Another popular way to use your MR points is to pay for purchases on Amazon.ca or other online merchants. You can buy gift cards and merchandise from a wide range of online merchants, or you can use your MR points to pay for dining and entertainment. Paying for merchandise with points usually offers a lower value per point than spending on travel, so we generally recommend using your points on flights to Asia or Europe instead.

Option #4: Transferring Your MR Points To Other Loyalty Programs

Finally, if the flexibility of MR points redemptions aren’t enough for you, you can also transfer them to two hotel loyalty programs: Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy™. Once transferred, you can use your new points to pay for hotels stays and amenities at thousands of properties worldwide.

One thing to note: Points earned with the Business Edge Card cannot be transferred to airline loyalty programs like Avios or Aeroplan. If you’re looking for a business card that can transfer to those programs, we recommend the Business Platinum Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card.

The Bottom Line

The impressive welcome bonus, monthly purchase bonus, low annual fee and exceptional 3X earn rates make the American Express Business Edge™ Card a true stand-out card. We highly recommend it for growing small businesses anywhere in Canada today.

3 Amazing Trips You Can Take With Your American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card

How do I travel cheap without burning a hole through my bank account? 

It’s a very common problem among travel enthusiasts, and American Express has the solution: travel the world for less with the welcome bonus miles that come with the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card! In this post, we’ll look at three trips you can take with your brand new AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.

American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card Features & Benefits

Annual Fee$499
Welcome Bonus40,000 miles when $3,000 is spent in the first 3 months of Cardmembership
+ $150 Air Canada eGift Card when $6,000 spent in the first 6 months
Miles Earn Rate• 1.25 Aeroplan Miles for every $1 of Card purchases up to $25,000 annually
• Then, earn 1.5 miles for every dollar in purchases over $25,000 annually

You can also earn Aeroplan Miles twice when you use your American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card and provide your Aeroplan Number at over 150 Aeroplan Partner brands

New AeroplanPlus Platinum Cardmembers are rewarded with a welcome bonus of a whopping 40,000 Aeroplan miles upon spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. 

If you don’t have an Aeroplan account, you can open one for free. Then link your Aeroplan account to your American Express account so you earn Aeroplan Miles directly on your purchases with the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.

A Brand New Offer: The $150 Air Canada eGift Card

American Express recently added a brand new offer to the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card: a $150 Air Canada eGift Card, usable on flights across Canada and beyond. Since this benefit can be used so widely, this is the next best thing to cash, and essentially lowers the annual fee from $499 to $349 for the first year.

When you factor in all of the other benefits that come with the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card, along with the 40,000 welcome bonus points, there’s an extremely strong case for applying today. 

Is The Annual Fee Worth The Welcome Bonus Miles?

As hefty as $499 sounds, there are ways to compensate for it, especially through traveling. If you are not an avid traveler, you can look into Amex Cards with other benefits, such as the Cobalt Card or the SimplyCash Preferred Card.

What Is The Value Of The 40,000 Miles Welcome Bonus?

The value of your 40,000 welcome bonus miles depends on the flight you end up taking. As you’ll see below, these miles are more than enough to get you an international roundtrip flight. 

On top of that, you’ll still accumulate Aeroplan Miles as you spend the $3,000 to obtain the welcome bonus miles, plus more miles on every purchase you make on the Card in the future.

The miles earning rate for the $3,000 depends on what you buy:

  • Earn 1.25 miles per $1 for purchases within $25,000 annually.
  • Then, earn 1.5 miles per $1 for purchases after $25,000 has surpassed annually.
  • You can also earn Aeroplan Miles twice when you use your American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card and provide your Aeroplan Number at over 150 Aeroplan Partner brands —such as Amazon.ca and dozens of airline and hotel partners

Let’s assume you earn 1.25 miles per $1. That means that if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of holding your Card, you’ll earn an additional 5,250 Aeroplan Miles from your spending. After another 3 months, you’ll receive another 5,250 miles, plus your Air Canada eGift Card worth $150! 

After 3 monthsMiles
Welcome Bonus Miles40,000
Spending Requirement ($3,000)3,750
After 6 months
Spending Requirement ($3,000)3,750
TOTAL47,500

How far can you travel with your miles? Believe it or not, you can travel across continents. 

Here are a few examples of trips you can take using those welcome bonus miles: 

#1 Vancouver to Taipei, Taiwan

Fancy a trip that involves diving into Taiwanese culture and enjoying great food around the clock? Use your Aeroplan miles for a one-way trip from Vancouver to Taipei and still have miles left over.

Your cost? It’s only $95 for the taxes and fees. That’s incredibly cheap for an international long-haul flight from Canada to Asia.

The total number of miles used for this trip is just 37,500 miles. Since you receive 40,000 welcome bonus miles with the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card, plus the 3,750 or so that you earn on your first $3,000 of spending, you’ll have a remaining balance of around 6,250 miles if you book your trip after 3 months of Cardmembership. 

#2 Montreal to Zurich, Switzerland

Another example of a long-haul flight to use your 40,000 welcome bonus miles is a one-way direct flight from Montreal to Zurich. You’ll still have more than 10,000 miles to spare for your next flight, and the cost is just $60 for taxes and fees.

#3 Toronto to Mexico City, Mexico

Is a roundtrip possible with your welcome bonus miles? Absolutely! How about a roundtrip flight from Toronto to Mexico City?

And the cost? A mere $227 in taxes and fees.

Other Benefits Of The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card 

Along with the incredible welcome bonus miles, you’ll also enjoy other perks with your AeroplanPlus Platinum Card. 

If you arrive early for your flight, grab a complimentary cocktail or meal at the Maple Leaf Lounge or the other Priority Pass lounges at airports across Canada. If you’re flying out of Toronto (YYZ), capitalize on the complimentary valet service and priority security lane that comes with your Card.

You can also travel worry-free with the extensive insurance and purchase protection coverage that comes with the Card. This chart captures even more details of the major perks that comes with the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.  

BenefitsDetails
Annual Partner Ticket BenefitBring along a friend with a Partner Ticket™. Once per year, you can redeem 15,000 Aeroplan Miles for a short-haul roundtrip Fixed Mileage Flight Reward™ in economy class and receive a second Partner Ticket for the same itinerary.
Pearson Priority Security LaneYes
Located at the departure levels of Terminal 1 & 3 at Toronto Pearson International Airport 
Complimentary Valet at Pearson AirportYes
Air Canada Priority Check InYes
Airport LoungeAccess to Maple Leaf LoungesTM** & Priority Pass membership
Travel Insurance• $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

If you want even more detail into these features, read our full review of the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card.

In Summary

The AeroplanPlus Platinum Card is a Card designed specifically for travelers. Between the welcome bonus miles and the brand new $150 Air Canada eGift Card, it’s an excellent choice for the frequent flyer. Add in the complimentary short-haul partner ticket benefit and you can save a serious amount of money on air travel by getting this Card.

Where Is American Express Accepted In Canada?

American Express Cards accepted window sign

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are my own. American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of the information on this website.

The question of how widely American Express cards are accepted has been a hot topic for years. That’s why this post takes both a qualitative and a quantitative look at where American Express is accepted in Canada and abroad, and takes a peek at the top benefits on some of their most popular cards, like the American Express Cobalt Card.

For years, many Canadians have believed a few things about American Express Cards:

  1. American Express Cards are for people who love to travel widely and live the good life.
  2. American Express Cards offer plenty of benefits, both at home and abroad, and reward their cardholders generously.

And they’re absolutely right!

But alongside these truths, a false belief has manifested as well: the belief that American Express Cards are not widely accepted in Canada.

In fact, nothing could be more incorrect.

This post will show you why American Express Cards are accepted more widely than you might think in Canada, and why the future is bright for Amex Cardholders.

My Experience With American Express Cards

My personal experience with my American Express Cards in Canada and abroad has been very positive. I’ve been traveling with my Platinum Card® for nearly 5 years now, and it’s accepted virtually everywhere that I go. Generally the only places I find that don’t take my Amex are those places that don’t accept credit cards at all. Even those spots are becoming harder and harder to find.

Where is American Express Accepted in Canada?

Everyday Expenses

I use my American Express® Gold Rewards Card at grocery stores and gas stations all across Canada. I use my American Express Cobalt Card at eligible bars and coffee shops all the time. Just about all of the big names in food and beverage, consumer electronics and apparel gladly accept American Express Cards, and once you understand how much you’re leaving on the table by not using an Amex card, you’ll want to start using yours everywhere, too.

Travel Purchases

If you’ve read any of our posts on the different Amex cards (like the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card or any of the American Express Aeroplan Cards), you’ll know that they excel when it comes to travel purchases. Thousands upon thousands of airlines and travel providers in Canada and abroad accept American Express.

What’s even better, though, is that many of those airlines and travel providers also offer special benefits and bonuses for clients who pay with an Amex card. You’re essentially getting doubly rewarded – once by Amex, and once by the merchant – for using your Amex travel credit card.

Who Accepts American Express In Canada?

It’s tough to find information on how many merchants accept Amex cards at any given time. However, American Express does leave some clues.

For example, on the American Express Canadian website, they mention that more than 96,000 new places in Canada started accepting American Express Cards in 2018. Looking at the main industries involved, that’s 47,000 new service providers, 27,000 new shopping locations, and 16,500 new dining locations.

Breaking these 2018 numbers down by city, you can see that Amex acceptance in the big cities is growing at an extremely fast pace:

Number of new merchants accepting American Express Cards In 2018

Toronto20,000
Montreal10,000
Vancouver9,000
Calgary5,000

American Express also gives this partial list of where Amex cards are accepted in Canada:

Dining• Alice Fazooli’s, Jack Astor’s, Canyon Creek Chophouse, Second City, Loose Change Charlies
• Browns Socialhouse
• Bymark, Fabbrica, North 44°, One Restaurant
• Earls Kitchen & Bar
• Harvey’s, Kelsey’s, Milestone’s, Montana’s, Swiss Chalet, The Second Cup
• McDonald’s
• Moxie’s Classic Grill, Chop Restaurants, Dennys, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Sandman Hotels & Inns, Shark Clubs Of Canada, The Shark Club Of Langley
• Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants
• Pickle Barrel
• The Keg, Hy’s Steakhouses
Health & Essentials• 407 ETR
• 7-Eleven
• Bell, Virigin Mobile, The Source
• Esso
• Grocery Gateway
• London Drugs
• Longos
• Marketplace IGA (BC Only)
• McEwan
• Metro
• Petro-Canada
• Pusateri’s
• Rogers, Fido
• Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Urban Fare, Overwaitea Foods
• Shaw
• Shell Canada
• Sobeys, Foodland, IGA, Commisso’s
• SAQ
• Telus, Koodo Mobile
• Whole Foods Market
Home & Entertainment• Apple
• Best Buy, Future Shop
• Cineplex Entertainment, Famous Players, Alliance Atlantis Cinemas, Galaxy Entertainment
• Clublink
• Crate & Barrel
• Home Depot
• Home Hardware
• Leon’s
• Lowe’s
• Mirvish
• Pottery Barn
• Restoration Hardware
• Sleep Country Canada
• Staples
• The Brick
• Ticketmaster
• Urban Barn
• Visions Electronics
• West Elm
• William Ashley
• Williams Sonoma
Retail• Aldo
• American Eagle Outfitters
• Atmosphere, Coast Mountain Sports, National Sports, Nevada Bob’s Golf, Sport Mart, Sports Experts, Fitness Source, Gen-x Sports Inc, Podium, Rnr Outdoors
• Birks
• Browns
• H&M
• HomeSense
• Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Calendar Club Of Canada
• Lululemon
• Marshall’s
• Reitmans, RW & Co, Smart Set, Thyme Maternity, Addition-Elle, Penningtons
• Roots
• Sporting Life
• The Bay, Home Outfitters
• Victoria’s Secret, Bath And Body Works, Pink, La Senza
• Walmart
• Winners
Travel• Air Canada
• Air Transat, Nolitours
• Avis
• Best Western
• Budget
• Carnival Cruise Lines
• Celebrity Cruises
• Enterprise Rent-A-Car
• Flight Centre
• Hertz
• Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Homewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn Hotels, Embassy Suites Hotels, Doubletree Hotels
• Holiday Inn Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites
• Porter Airlines
• Princess Cruises
• Royal Caribbean Cruises
• Sunwing Tours
• Thrifty
• Westcorp Hotels
• WestJet

What Is American Express Doing To Increase Acceptance In Canada?

Offering Great Benefits

The most important thing American Express does to increase Amex acceptance is offer a great product. The Amex family of cards are some of the top cards in Canada today. The American Express Cobalt Card makes a strong case for being the best credit card in Canada for millennials – its $10/month fee and generous reward scheme have quickly made it a favourite among students and young professionals alike. Business owners rave about the Business Platinum Card® and Marriott Bonvoy Business Cards.

Benefits like welcome bonuses, travel benefits, American Express Invites and purchase, travel and small business insurance make Amex cards appealing to just about everybody. And as more Cardmembers sign up, there’s more demand put upon businesses to start accepting Amex cards, a key driver behind why tens of thousands of Canadian businesses are starting to accept American Express every year.

Finding Amex-Friendly Merchants With American Express Maps

One great way to find American Express merchants is by using Amex Maps. You can think of Amex Maps as Google Maps overlaid with Amex-friendly establishments nearby. Looking for a restaurant or coffee shop near you that accepts Amex? The answer is just a couple of clicks away.

Here’s what Amex Maps looks like in downtown Toronto. As you can see, there are a lot of places on there:

The Bottom Line

Based on statistics by the Canadian Government, there are about 1.2 million businesses in Canada today, and that number grows by about 10,000 businesses every year. Yet with 70,000 new businesses accepting Amex in 2017, and 96,000 more in 2018, the future is clear: it won’t be long before just about every business in Canada accepts American Express cards.

If you want help deciding which American Express card is best for your lifestyle, take our 60-second quiz and we’ll help you out!

How To Use British Airways Avios Points In Canada

I’ve been using British Airways Avios in Canada 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.

Flying to Europe for $75 thanks to American Express and Avios Canada
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 the best way to use Avios as a Canadian 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 Canada redemption flexibility: Cash/Points splits
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 extremely cheap. 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.

Flying from New York to Rio for just $8 thanks to Avios Canada
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.

Intercontinental flight from South America to Australia for only $73 thanks to Avios Canada
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.

South America to Europe for less than half the price when paid with Avios
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. (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).

Canada to Asia for less than $100
Vancouver to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific CX889 or CX837 for $65 and 30,000 Avios points
Canada to Hong Kong for less than $100
Toronto to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific CX829 or CX825 for $70 and 35,000 Avios points
North American East Coast to Hong Kong for less than $100
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 than 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.

Okay, what if I don’t travel as often, do Avios points expire?

This is something you definitely won’t have to worry about! Avios points will stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase or share at least one Avios every 36 months. That’s three whole years to spend them! And remember, you can collect Avios not only flights but also you can rent a car or stay in a hotel or book a holiday. So you have options to both collect and use your points.


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 Aeroplan and 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 single time.

Here’s the quickest way to get two Toronto-London roundtrip flights by using your Avios strategically:

How To Get Started

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 MR points.

Spend 3 minutes today and you’ll receive your card within a week.

STEP 2 OF 2: USE YOUR POINTS

As soon as you finish your application, join Avios. The application takes 2 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 5 minutes on the two steps above, you’re set. Add 25,000 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…coming soon!

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.

How to Find Cheap Flights from Asia to Canada – $75 Or Less

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 – and 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 Cheap 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

Didn’t find the city or reference you needed? No problem! Here’s a list of Cheap Airlines in Southeast Asia

Cheap Airlines In Indonesia

Airlines in Indonesia offer flights to destinations such as India, Saudi Arabia, East Timor, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, Thailand, as well as destinations within Indonesia (like Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Maluku, among others).

Main hub: Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International (Jakarta)

You can also find partner airlines with AirAsia and AirAsia X.

Vietnam

There are only two low-cost airlines in Vietnam but they offer flights to Thailand, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar, and Macau, and even destinations within Vietnam.

Cheap Airlines in Vietnam:

Main hubs: Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon), Noi Bài International Airport (Hanoi)

red and white airplane under clear blue sky

Thailand

Like Vietnam, Thailand also only has two low-cost airlines and those will allow you to travel to: China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, and even Japan. As well as some other marvellous destinations within Thailand, from Krabi to Chiang Rai and beyond.

Cheap Airlines in Thailand:

Main hubs: Don Mueang International Airport (Bangkok), Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok), Chiang Mai International Airport (Chiang Mai), Phuket International Airport (Phuket)

You can also find partner airlines with VietJet, AirAsia, Scoot, and Lion Air.

Singapore

Another country with only two low-cost airlines but that was a bit expected from Singapore, right? Either way, you get lots of destinations to fly to! Such as Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Australia, and Japan, other southeast countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Cheap Airlines in Singapore

Main hub: Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore)

people standing near airplane

Malaysia

AirAsia is a low-cost powerhouse, the amount of destinations you get with them is insane. Here are some of them: The UAE, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, the United States (Hawaii), Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Taiwan, Laos, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Oman, France, Japan, Singapore, and Iran.

Cheap Airlines in Malaysia

Main hubs: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Kuala Lumpur), Penang International Airport (Penang)

Tip: AirAsia has a lot of affiliate airlines and subsidiaries. Just check out this list:

The Philippines

You can hop on a low-cost airplane from the Philippines to Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Macau, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the UAE, and Vietnam!

Cheap Airlines in the Philippines

Main hub: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila)

Tip: You can also find partner airlines with AirAsia.

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

Singapore to Vancouver

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.

Some tips to keep in mind when you travel to Asia…

  • Flights are the cheapest about 120 days from your departure on average, according to CheapAir.com. That being said, you do get a lot of flexibility when booking a flight since the prime booking window, when flights are low and aren’t fluctuating as much, is nearly six months long.
  • Asia has the cheapest fares in the month of June, so you may want to keep that in mind when booking.
  • If you’re traveling domestic (within Asia) you’ll get the best fares on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  •  Do a little research before flying, check if there are any upcoming holidays there that may cause a delay on your flight, especially if you’re traveling on a schedule.

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!

The American Express Platinum Canada: A Review

The American Express Platinum Canada comes with worldwide airport lounge access, a $200 annual travel credit, platinum hotel memberships, travel medical insurance, a sleek metal card and 50,000 Amex MR points—which we value at $1,500—on top of it all.

It’s been one of our top two favourite cards in Canada for years, and offers exceptional value to Canadian travelers. Every Canadian who flies once or more per year should have an American Express Platinum in their wallet.

This American Express Platinum Canada 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 Four More Special American Express Platinum Benefits

Amex Platinum Special Benefit #1: Worldwide Airport Lounge Access (Priority Pass)

On top of the 50,000 Membership Rewards points that come with your Amex Platinum Card (when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months), 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.

Related: The American Express Business Edge™ Card

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 without stopping in the American Express Platinum 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—plus the American Express Lounge at Pearson—and you’ll be able to access all of them for free.

You’re stepping up your travel game already.

Amex Platinum 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!

Amex Platinum 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:

Amex Platinum Special Benefit #4: American Express Front Of The Line

Front of the Line gives American Express Cardmembers exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and reserved seating at concerts, musicals, sporting events and much more.

The best thing about Front of the Line is in the name itself: you get access to tickets at the biggest shows (think Justin Bieber and Beyoncé) before everyone else. These shows are known for selling out in seconds, but with Front of the Line, you’ll always get your ticket. Past performances that Front of the Line has had pre-sale access to include Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Wicked, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Billy Elliot, West Side Story, Imagine Dragons, The Lion King and many more.

Front of the Line always offers great seats close to the action at these events. They also send periodic emails to let you know when artists are coming to town so you never miss a show.

#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 strategically, 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 email and 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 Amex Platinum.

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 here everything 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 Amex Platinum Travel Insurance

The Platinum Card also comes with an impressive American Express travel insurance policy. Here’s what the policy 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 Amex Gold Canada 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.

Is The Amex Platinum Canada The Best Travel Credit Card In Canada?

If not the best, the Amex Platinum is certainly one of the best Canadian credit cards of 2019. While the Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card has recently grabbed a lot of attention for its incredible 50,000 points welcome bonus with just a $120 annual fee, the Platinum Card offers great value-for-money, too.

#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 American Express 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.

What Is The American Express Canada Exchange Rate?

All foreign purchases are made at the American Express foreign currency exchange rate, which tracks the bank rate very closely with small fluctuations above and below that rate. A 2.5% commission is charged on top of that on all foreign purchases regardless of the currency.

How Does American Express Travel Work In Canada?

American Express Travel is Amex’s online travel portal for buying flights, booking hotels and rental cars, and getting support from some of the best travel concierges in the business.

The $200 annual travel credit that comes with your Amex Platinum can be used either directly through the American Express Travel platform or as a statement credit after you’ve made a travel-related purchase with your card.

What Is The Amex Concierge?

The Amex Platinum Concierge is definitely an under-rated benefit of the Platinum Card. It’s totally free for as long as you have the card, and is there to offer you 24/7 assistance with a whole host of things.

Need a table for four at a fully-booked place in Paris or New York? No problem. Looking for the perfect gift for a friend visiting from out of town? Easy.

I mainly use the Platinum Concierge to help me build travel itineraries when I’m visiting a new city, and they’ve done a remarkable job. After a minute or two on the phone getting to know my preferences (Do I like fancy restaurants or low-key joints? Do I prefer museum hopping or getting lost walking around a neighbourhood? etc.), they send back a document of 30+ pages outlining restaurants and bars to check out, cultural attractions, events taking place when I’m there, and a lot more. It takes them 24-48 hours to compile it all, which is extremely quick.

You can request help using email as well, though I find just calling them up is faster (you never have to wait on hold) and easier.

How Good Is The Amex Platinum, Anyway?

If you’re like most Canadians, you’ll love your Amex Platinum Card. It’s numerous perks and benefits make it a great choice for frequent travelers, and if you spend your points wisely, you’ll more than make up for its annual fee.

What’s the first thing you should do when you receive your American Express Platinum Card?

Call the number on the back of your Platinum Card and ask Amex to set you up with these things right away:

  1. Your hotel elite statuses: Hilton Honors Gold Status, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade Membership, Radisson Rewards Gold Status, and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status. Even if you never plan to stay in one of those hotels, it’s good to get these statuses set up, just in case. They’re included with your card, after all.
  2. Priority Pass. Make sure Priority Pass is set up so you get lounge access right away, and if it’s not, get Amex to set it up for you.
  3. Ask if they know when the next Avios or Aeroplan transfer bonus will be. Generally, they won’t disclose this information (and often the customer service reps don’t know it), but it’s worth asking anyway. (If you do find out, look to these posts on redeeming points for flights to/from Asia and redeeming points for flights to/from Europe for suggestions on how to use those extra points.)

If you enjoyed this Amex Platinum Canada review, share it with your friends here.

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.

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.

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:

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
Air Canada eGift Card$150 when you spend a total of $6,000 in purchases the first six months of Cardmembership$200 when you spend a total of $6,000 in purchases the first six months of Cardmembership
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 prohibitively expensive, 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 AeroplanPlus Platinum Card will get you 10,000 miles less for the same $3,000 of purchases.

Related:3 Trips To Take With Your American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card

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.

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.

American Express<sup>®</sup> Aeroplanplus<sup>®</sup> 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, a $150 Air Canada eGift Card when you spend a total of $6,000 in purchases the first six months of Cardmembership, 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.

Related: 3 Trips You Need To Take With Your AeroplanPlus Platinum Card

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
Air Canada eGift Card$150 when you spend $6,000 in the first six months of Cardmembership
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
EligibilityCanadian citizens or residents with an account in good standing
Type of CardCharge 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

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.

  • 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.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 (miles) than with the Amex 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 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.

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.

Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard: Everything you need to know

The Triangle Mastercard is the easiest Canadian credit card to qualify for with worthwhile benefits to enjoy

The Triangle Mastercard: The Canadian Tire Money (CTM) earning credit card for the Canadian Tire's loyalty program

It is the basic credit card amongst the Triangle credit card family introduced by Canadian Tire. Considering that Canadian Tire is a reputable and known brand in Canada, it makes sense for them to expand into the credit card industry.

If you are looking for a simple and practical card, the Triangle Mastercard is a good start. Why? Keep reading to find out!

In this post you’ll find:

Basic Features of Triangle Mastercard

Card TypeCredit Card
Annual fee$0
Annual Interest Rate19.99 – 27.99% 
depending on your income level
Foreign Transaction Fee2.5%
Cash Advance Fee$4 charged when a transaction is posted to your account

Yes – you read it right. $0 annual fee and there are no hidden agendas to it. However, the annual interest rate varies for different income level applicants. A lower income applicant can have a higher annual interest rate of 27.99%. 

More Triangle Mastercard perks to be discussed below!

Key Requirements to Own Triangle Mastercard

It really is pretty simple to qualify for the Triangle Mastercard. Canadian Tire does not have strict requirements to approve applicants, and there is no stated minimum annual income or minimum credit score to apply for this card. Some applicants have been granted ownership to this card even with a less than good credit score.

To give you an idea of how easy it is to be approved, one Triangle Mastercard user was given the green light to own the card, even though he was a bankruptcy discharge less than a month before he applied for it. 

Applicants on-site (at Canadian Tire stores) can potentially be approved within minutes and issued a temp card for on-the-spot purchases.

Canadian Tire Money (CTM)

Canadian Tire Money is the rewards currency for Canadian Tire. At first, CTM was made of popular paper notes of low denominations as cash back of 0.4% of purchases made at Canadian Tire stores. These paper notes were then used as cash value at Canadian Tire stores for future purchases. 

CTM is now paperless. It was first replaced with the Triangle Rewards card and is now known as electronic Canadian Tire Money (eCTM). CTM and eCTM are basically the same thing. Once you receive your Triangle Mastercard, your card gets linked with your CTM ‘e-money’ account to allow points to be jointly accumulated. 

If you don’t have the Triangle Rewards card, not to worry – every Triangle Mastercard holder is automatically enrolled in the Triangle Rewards program giving your Triangle Mastercard the feature to store the eCTM collected.

eCTM does not have an expiry date. It stays with you, even if you don’t use it, for as long as you like.

Your eCTM can’t be transferred to other rewards program. It can only be redeemed at Canadian Tire stores and it can also be used as cash in other participating stores. However, you are able to donate your eCTM to charities or community groups. If you’re interested in making a donation, please visit the CTM Program Website for further details.

Triangle Mastercard Perks 

The major plus of the Triangle Mastercard is the cashback you receive in the form of Canadian Tire Money (CTM). 

CTM Perks Details
Earn back CTM 4% at Canadian Tire & participating stores on the pre-tax amount only.  0.8% for purchases everywhere else. 5¢ back per litre on all fuel types at Gas+ and Husky locations.
Equal Payment Plan 12 or 24 month financing with 0% fee/interest on selected stores for purchases above $200 or $500 respectively 
No Receipt Returns Easy returns without a receipt at selected stores
Others Weekly bonuses and personalized offers

The participating stores alongside Canadian Tire stores to earn 4% CTM are:

  • Sport Chek, 
  • Atmosphere, 
  • Sports Rousseau, 
  • Hockey Experts, 
  • L’Entrepôt du Hockey 
  • participating Mark’s/L’Équipeur and Sports Experts stores

You can redeem your CTM at the above participating stores including Canadian Tire stores as well. The range expanding beyond Canadian Tires allows ample opportunities for a Triangle Mastercard holder to earn CTM which improves the purchase value. 

The Triangle Mastercard’s CTM Earning Rate

This credit card has three distinct earning rates: 4% on Canadian Tire store, 5 cents per liter There is a small clarification that needs to be clear on the 4% CTM earned. This earning rate only applies on the pre-tax amount, not the total amount. This means that the cashback you’ll get on the total purchase will be less than 4%.

For example:

Cost of items XYZ $100
CTM earned $4
Average Sales Tax in Canada13%
Total Cost of items XYZ incl. tax (Cost of items XYZ + 13% of Cost of items XYZ) $113 
Percentage of CTM earned
3.53%

If your purchase cost is $100, you will earn $4 in CTM. Assuming the average sales tax in Canada is 13%, the total purchase is $113. Which means, the $4 earned in CTM is only 3.53% of the total purchase paid. Even so, 3.53% is still pretty decent and its close to 10x of what Canadian Tire offered previously, which was just 0.4%. 

You can earn 0.8% CTM on any other purchases. This includes your mandatory monthly dues such as utility bills. However, the term ‘other purchases’ excludes gas, where you earn 5¢ per liter at any Gas+ and Husky locations. No limit, no catch! What more could you ask for when the card has no annual fee, and when there are no expiry dates for the CTM earned. That just makes it an even better deal. 

Other Ways To Earn CTM

Apart from normal earning rates, there are bonuses as well– e.g. Canadian Tire exclusive e-mail offers, flyer offers, offers available in the app and Triangle Rewards Days. These bonuses can range from 10x-50x the CTM for selected items purchased. These bonuses are in addition to the 4% earned in CTM money at Canadian Tire and participating stores. It doesn’t have to be either/or for all the perks Canadian Tire offers. 

Additional Perks Of The Triangle Mastercard

Two of the distinct features, which are not common with credit cards in general, are the equal payment plan and no receipt policy with the Triangle Mastercard. 

Equal Payment Plan

For purchases between $200-$499, the purchase is deducted from your credit limit and is divided into 12 equal monthly payments. For purchases of $500 onwards, it will be divided into 24 equal monthly payments. 

Provided you meet the payment due dates, you won’t be charged for any additional fees/interests. These plans can be used while purchasing in store or online to your convenience. 

No Receipt Refund

As long as your Triangle Mastercard was used to pay for the purchase, no receipt is required if you need to return an item. The CTM you had earned will automatically be deducted in the same amount.

Triangle Mastercard holders with poor credit report have experienced instant credit limit upgrades to as high as $1000. There are no income-qualification questions asked to qualify for this upgrade. 

Overall… 

The Triangle Mastercard is definitely an easy card to hold on to, especially since there are no additional costs involved to do so. The only way the Triangle Mastercard would pose as an issue would be if your credit dues are not paid on time, considering the interest rate (subject to what interest rate is charged to you). Otherwise, the benefits that comes with the card are worth its while to hold on to. What’s more – the CTM earned has no expiry date, which makes it a no brainer to use this card.

The main rule of thumb to follow as you use this card is to always clear your balance on time and you would have no issues of holding on to this amazing credit card! 

Enjoy the experience while the $0 annual fee lasts.