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The Aeroplan® Credit Card, Air Canada’s U.S.-issued credit card, is a little more than half a year old. And the more I think about what they’ve built, the more I appreciate it.
It’s a strong-earning credit card, which earns valuable points, and is one of the better-integrated cards into a frequent flyer program out there. What’s more it pairs with the newly-relaunched Aeroplan program which is hugely underappreciated as a tool for U.S. frequent flyers.
- Initial bonus: earn up to 100,000 points: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus 40,000 points after you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.
- Top off your Aeroplan account with transfers: It’s easy to get Aeroplan points, so you aren’t just earning with this card. Aeroplan is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Capital One, and Bilt so you can pool your points in one place for great awards.
- About 10,000 more points for refundable awards, special club access. Book a transpacific or transatlantic award on Air Canada and for additional points that makes your award refundable you also can access Air Canada’s incredible Signature Suite lounges. These are business lounges not open to upgrading passengers or regular award passengers to keep them exclusive, and they offer some of the best lounge dining in the world. Here’s their Toronto lounge and their Vancouver lounge. The card makes points easier to come by, so the buy up for this exclusive opportunity isn’t such a hurdle.
- Star Alliance awards. Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance, so you can use your miles for travel on member airlines like Lufthansa, Swiss, Asiana, ANA and Turkish. What’s more Air Canada Aeroplan doesn’t add fuel surcharges to awards any longer, and their awards are often cheaper than United’s – for instance East Coast to Europe in business class on Lufthansa costs 60,000 miles one way versus 73,000 – 77,000 through United.
- Combine Star Alliance and other partner airlines into a single award. Air Canada has a plethora of airline partners outside of Star Alliance that you can redeem your miles with. One of my favorites is Etihad. And you can actually include both Star Alliance airlines and other partner airlines in the same award ticket, almost always bookable on their website.
- Stopovers on awards While many programs have eliminated stopovers – the ability to spend time in a connecting city along your journey – Aeroplan maintains them for generally just an extra 5000 miles each. And you aren’t limited to just one!
- Competitive product. Air Canada itself has more flights to the U.S. than any other airline. For cities they serve without non-stop long haul international flights, it’s generally just as convenient to connect on Air Canada to Europe or Asia than it is on a U.S. airline. They have a broad route network and they’ve even going to have the first non-stop flight from North America to Bangkok in a decade.
The airline’s service isn’t going to be confused with the better Asian carriers, but their service and seat are competitive with American Airlines and Air France, and in my opinion better than United or Lufthansa.
- Benefits flying Air Canada. Naturally cardmembers receive the sort of priority that you’d expect, like free first checked bag (for the cardmember and up to 8 others people on same reservation).
- Elite Status. The card also comes with the first tier of elite status (25K level) through December 2023. (You can keep that status with $15,000 in annual spend.)
Spending $50,000 on the card bumps you up an elite level – to 35,000 mile status based on spend alone if you aren’t already at that level or higher. However a member earning that level of elite status or higher with Air Canada outside of the card who spends $50,000 on the card in a calendar year gets a one-level bump up starting at the beginning of the next calendar year. An Aeroplan 75K member who spends $50,000 on the card becomes Super Elite in the next calendar year.
- Super Elite is arguably the best published top tier elite status in the world.
Air Canada’s Super Elites have concierge service at the airport. Air Canada has agents in 44 airports who can help with ticketing, connections, baggage and meal issues, and who can handle travel and other requests beyond Air Canada.
- Rewards for incremental spend at every level. The card does a lot to encourage spending, from earning 3x points per dollar spent on grocery stores, dining at restaurants, and Air Canada – to getting you to stretch your spend a bit with 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month (this starts to get really rewarding when the spend is in a 3x category). Then they encourage you to spend $15,000 for elite status, and $50,000 to achieve a higher level of status. And they have the ultimate reward for putting $1 million on the card in a year.
- The most valuable award in the world for the heaviest spenders. Spending $1 million in a qualifying year earns a ‘Global Companion Pass’ allowing a second person to travel free even on partner airlines and even in first class on an unlimited number of redemptions. As of a couple of months ago a number of people were already on track to reach the million dollars in spend, and a few quite close.
Etihad First Class
- Family points pooling Aeroplan will allow up to 8 people to share their miles at no cost. Everyone in the family pool will benefit from access to better availability at lower award prices if anyone in the unit is an elite or Air Canada credit card customer (or both). You can join family pooling and still redeem your miles for anyone you wish.
So family members can get the Aeroplan® Credit Card and the points they earn can be pooled for you to spend.
- Elite status for a day vouchers Those earning 50,000 mile elite status get ‘status passes’ as a choice benefit which let the member grant the benefits of status for a day, and this applies to everyone on the same reservation for their full journey. They’re making it easy for their most important customers to take care of the people most important to them when they travel. And spend on the Aeroplan® Credit Card helps you earn this choice benefit.
- 50% off award redemption vouchers Priority Rewards are earned by elite members offering 50% discounts on redemption prices for one passenger. Members can earn up to 11 of these per year. Each Priority Reward can be used on a single itinerary, so one-way, roundtrip, or multi-city.
Priority vouchers are earned based on status-qualifying dollars, at the 4000; 7000; 10,000; 15,000 thresholds and then at each 5000 increment up to 50,000 qualifying dollars. What those vouchers can be used for depends on the member’s status at the time they cross the earning threshold:
The best thing? There’s an airline frequent flyer program that takes loyalty marketing seriously, that’s working to add value in creative ways, rather than focusing all energy worried that some member somewhere might benefit from the program.
There’s always something to stretch for and more rewards to acquire. The miles are really valuable and easy to use. And the program no longer even adds surcharges onto redemptions.
The Aeroplan® Credit Card is integrated really well into Aeroplan, helping you earn both miles and status, rewards and recognition. And they’re close enough that Americans can really take advantage of it, which is why the new U.S. co-brand from Chase makes so much sense.
In fact the only thing that’s keeping me from getting it (right now) is that I am over ‘5/24’, I have had more than 4 new cards in the past two years, and need to fall under that threshold in order to have a shot.
@Gary- Was hoping Chase came out with a Aeroplan Business Card!
Maybe it’s good now, but I flew Air Canada transatlantic once, 25 years ago. Worst transatlantic flight I have ever had, and I flew TWA transatlantic. I don’t recall all of my flights, but I remember that one. French Canadian crew who were rude to every English speaker on the flight, horrible food, bad baggage service, horrible seats in economy, all both ways – a most unpleasant experience. I’ve avoided flying them ever since, though I’ve sent the kids on them, but they have always gotten rerouted in odd ways every time they fly them, because someone had a cold in Montreal/Toronto or something. Not Air Canada’s fault, but Kid1 managed to smash her duty free on the way through Toronto customs because they were hurrying to catch a connection on a late arriving flight – the airline is just cursed in our family.
Not sure I want to chance fate, no matter how good they supposedly are now.
Sounds interesting if the Canada mask mandate is ever pulled. I just will not fly an airline where I am forced to wear a mask.
All those good things completely out of reach due to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Shouldn’t it be possible for Chase to process exceptions to the 5/24 lock-out rule when one is applying for a brand-new co-branded card like this? You’d think Aeroplan and Air Canada would be in favor of Chase making room for such exceptions.
Mask to keep you safe
Really shameful that you continue to plug a card for an airline that is in a complete state of meltdown without any acknowledgment that it’s nearly impossible to redeem Aeroplan for anything decent, the fact there is no call center that picks up the phone, and the horrendous change and cancel fees per person per direction.
Why don’t you cover the 38% on time record or the fact they have thousands of bags piled up. And a phone line that doesnt pick up.
I was looking at trying to do an awards redemption to Europe. Being an AV Geek I was shooting for the Lufthansa 747 or an A380, so I was targeting US cities where they fly. The fees/taxes for a Lufthansa redemption round trip to FRA using Aeroplan were in the $500-$700 range, plus a fairly large number of points. Nothing for months really showed up anywhere in what I would consider a reasonable option using Aeroplan.
I had better luck with Avianca points at around 65,000 points, except they have pretty hefty change fees. With Lufthansa only releasing business/first availability close to departure I wanted a confirmed seat with the goal of changing when/if a business or first became available.
The other option was Singapore A380 out of JFK. It had TONS of business availability, $50 in taxes and fees, and about 85,000K… Plus $75 to change if a Business/First on Lufthansa ended up. Worst case I had business on Singapore’s A380. I think we can all agree, that Singapore Business on their A380 is hard to describe by any metric as a bad option.
On top of all of that, because I transferred all the points to Singapore from my Amex, I was upgraded to Star Alliance Gold on Singapore. This means domestic lounge access if I’m flying United in the next 12 months.
I’m several days late here but agree with Gary that I find it more than worth it to spend a few thousand miles more to have flexibility (which I’ve put to use many times). I haven’t had the chance to try the premium dining though, but Air Canada has become my favorite airline in this hemisphere. Grabbed a $1800-ish biz class RT from west coast to Paris. Leaving this coming Wednesday. Happy Bastille Day in be France!
Ah so this is why there is no coverage about ACs 30% on time performance and lack of a functional website and call center.
And the fact Aeroplan redemptions have do many rules and horrendous change/cancel fees.
I guess those facts may discourage people from clicking the money making links…
Air Canada SUX.
Air Canada is partially ran and owned by Trudeau’s Shitlibs. COVID agenda, LGBT123 agenda, zero improvements for workers in the field, lots of pandering to placate activist shareholders, discounts to loyal customers is MEH
Disappointing and overrated. Reasonable redemption prices promised but not delivered.
Everything priced as business class is with a mixed itinerary that shows an Air Canada short haul segment in business class, but otherwise is economy and costing hundreds of thousands of points.
More farce than value…
What about keeping the points from expiring? It’s supposed to work by transferring points from a partner but my wife transferred back in June from Amex and Aeroplan still showing the points as set to expire on 9/29.
Mask doesn’t stop a virus
It’s also the cheapest card that I know of that offers a Precheck/Global Entry (and NEXUS) reimbursement, with only a $95 annual fee. Chase adding this card was the impetus to have them reimburse the $50 NEXUS fee across all their premium cards (e.g. Sapphire Reserve). Before that, for whatever odd reason, despite it being cheaper and charged by the same Department of Homeland Security as the $100 Global Entry fee, they did not reimburse any NEXUS application fees. I believe they remain the only US card provider that reimburses those fees. NEXUS includes all benefits of Global Entry, plus similar benefits in Canada, at half the price.
Why didn’t you mention the unique pyb feature on this card? It’s what sets it apart for sure!
Thanks a bunch for helping to nudge me in this direction. I’m in the process of padding my United Travel Bank account in anticipation of multiple trips to Europe in 2023 and 2024. The lower redemption rates, absence of fuel surcharges and solid connections from the U.S. go a long way with me. By the by, did you include linked images with Point 11? It shows placeholders.
@Gary- When does Air Canada for travel on its own flights release saver award seat? Thanks!
I was looking at booking an award ticket using Aeroplan miles from BOM -> DXB and don’t see any availability for months. However, if I try to book BOM -> LHR – there are flights available that transit DXB. Some kind of a glitch?
In ten years I have never found an Aeroplan award that made any sense. Even Avianca has better awards though rare.
I don’t get all the complaints re: Aeroplan. I’ve found it to be one of the best programs for redemptions. I always spend the extra few miles to have free change/cancellation and premium lounge access. Man, someone bitching about a flight 25 years ago needs help. And of course we have a MAGAmoron or two just to post idiocy. Give it a rest folks. I much prefer Aeroplan over AAdvantage where I can rarely find a decent redemption. Plus I’m now SA Gold in addition to OneWorld Emerald.
As a United loyalist who’s been dabbling, I’m pretty convinced that ACs secret play with the Chase card is to segment Aeroplan into a program that’s better than MileagePlus for Americans, without giving too much away to locked-in Canadians.
They’ve basically created a program where, if you have a U.S. address, you enter in at a meaningful elite status from zero, and can also progress easily. It’s really tempting to jump ship from United for overseas flights.
Put it this way: I’ve had more AirCanada eUpgrades clear in the last year than United PointsPlus upgrades by a mile. The eUpgrades came free with the card’s status, the PointsPlus I had to slog my way to platinum for the privilege of not clearing.
Gary, the award tickets aren’t refundable without an extra $10k? It go you just mean no change/redeposit fee.