On June 23, 2021, American Express launched the largest welcome bonuses on its credit cards in history. With borders opening up again and the summer upon us, there has truly never been a better time to get a new travel card.
My Recommendation: To maximize your value, get either the Aeroplan Card (75,000 Aeroplan miles, $120 annual fee) or the Aeroplan Reserve Card (150,000 Aeroplan miles, $599 annual fee), both of which offer at least $1,300 in additional value after subtracting the annual fee.
On June 23, 2021, American Express made major updates to the welcome bonuses on these 7 cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express Card
- American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
- Platinum Card
- American Express Air Miles Reserve Card
- Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card
- American Express Aeroplan Card
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
And trust me when I say that some of the new welcome bonuses are very compelling.
Rather than overwhelm you with information on all 7 cards, though, I’m going to focus on just the two cards that I find most valuable: the American Express Aeroplan Card and the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.
If you’re interested in traveling at any point in the next 2-3 years, this is the post for you.
The American Express Aeroplan Card
The Aeroplan Card comes with a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 Aeroplan miles. That's enough to get you to Asia and back (see the examples below), or multiple trips within the Americas.
If you prefer to think of the value from a cash perspective, Aeroplan points are worth at least 2 cents apiece, and probably more like 2.2 – 2.5 cents apiece after the recent Aeroplan overhaul. This means that the welcome bonus on the Aeroplan Card alone is worth a minimum of $1,500, giving you a 12x return on your $120 annual fee.
If you’re looking to earn even more, you can spring for the Aeroplan Reserve Card or Aeroplan Business Reserve Card, which you can earn up to 150,000 and 100,000 Aeroplan points with, respectively. The Business Reserve Card only makes sense if you’re a business owner, though even then the personal Reserve Card offers better value, so let’s dig into the Reserve Card to see what’s possible there.
Aeroplan Card vs. Aeroplan Reserve Card
When you look at the two cards side-by-side, the main differences between the two are that the Reserve Card offers travel benefits like lounge access (both with Priority Pass and Maple Leaf Lounges) and priority check-in/boarding, which the Aeroplan Card does not. Of course, the additional 75,000 Aeroplan miles is the bigger difference, and it makes this card an excellent value on its own.
Here’s how the two cards stack up:
|American Express Aeroplan®* Card||American Express Aeroplan Reserve®* Card|
|Welcome Bonus||Earn up to 75,000 Aeroplan®* Points|
44,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months
5X the points on eligible eats & drinks purchases in Canada for the first 6 months (maximum 25,000)
1,000 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in purchases on your Card for the first 6 months (maximum 6,000)
|Earn up to 150,000 Aeroplan®* Points|
70,000 when you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months
10X the points on eligible eats & drinks purchases in Canada for the first 6 months (maximum 50,000)
5,000 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $1,000 in purchases on your Card for the first 6 months (maximum 30,000)
|Points Earned Per $1 Spent With Air Canada®* and Air Canada Vacations®*||2||3|
|Points Earned Per $1 Spent On Eligible Dining & Food Delivery In Canada||1.5||2|
|Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Card Purchases||1||1.25|
|Free First Checked Bag For Up To 9 Air Canada Passengers||✔||✔|
|Comprehensive Travel Insurance||✔||✔|
|Worldwide Priority Pass Lounge Access||✔|
|Maple Leaf Lounge Access Within North America||✔|
|Priority Check-In, Boarding, & Baggage Handling On Air Canada Flights||✔|
|Aeroplan Elite Status Benefits||✔|
|Application Deadline||August 3, 2021||August 3, 2021|
|Aeroplan Points Value At 2 Cents Apiece||$1,500||$3,000|
|Profit On Aeroplan Miles||$1,380||$2,400|
|Application Link||APPLY NOW||APPLY NOW|
The official deadline for these offers is August 3, 2021. Given how frequently American Express has changed its offers over the past year, though, we suggest applying as soon as you can. I would not be surprised if American Express moves that date forward by several weeks, because these cards are going to fly off the shelves.
What About No-Fee Cards?
If you're only interested in no-fee cards, you're in luck. We recently published a breakdown of the top Scotiabank credit cards of 2021, and there were a few that stood out. I especially like the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card, which comes with no annual fee for the first year ($120/year thereafter) and an incredible 10% cashback for your first 3 months (up to $200 total cashback). The numbers don’t quite match these new Amex offers, but if you prefer the safety of a no-fee card, this is the best in Canada right now.
- If you don’t mind paying a $599 annual fee to get $3,000 in Aeroplan miles (plus lounge access and a bunch of other benefits), the Aeroplan Reserve Card is the card for you.
- If you prefer a lower annual fee for $1,500 worth of Aeroplan miles, go with the standard Aeroplan Card.
- And if you don’t want to pay any fees at all, go for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card.
These offers are too good to pass up, so make sure you capitalize on them before they disappear. Do yourself a favor and apply today.