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The new Air Canada credit card is worth getting now—even if you have no plans to visit Canada anytime soon.
Designed for U.S. travelers, the Aeroplan Credit Card can be used on 45 different airlines.
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Years in the making, Air Canada’s Aeroplan® Credit Card has finally arrived. Card benefits and the welcome bonus are even better than anticipated. That includes an introductory offer worth up to 100,000 points, plus automatic elite status for the first two calendar years of card membership.
A partnership between Air Canada and Chase, this new credit card offers a strong earnings structure, plenty of premium travel perks like free checked bags, and a Global Entry/TSA/Nexus credit. Yet its annual fee is just $95. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Chase Aeroplan credit card and why it’s worth getting now—even if you have no plans to visit Canada anytime soon.
The Aeroplan Credit Card is Air Canada’s first credit card targeting the U.S. market. Previously, Americans traveling on Canada’s largest airline could attain travel perks like priority boarding and free bags by flying and spending a whole lot on Air Canada to achieve elite status. Now, by simply being a cardholder, Air Canada flyers have access to the likes of free bags, early boarding, huge points-earning opportunities, and all the perks associated with Aeroplan 25K Elite status, which is gifted the calendar year in which your account is opened as well as the following calendar year.
It may sound like an odd suggestion to get an Air Canada–branded credit card if you have zero plans to visit Canada, but hear us out. Air Canada’s frequent flier program Aeroplan has more award partners than any other loyalty program in the world—currently 45 and counting—serving more than 1,300 global destinations. As a Star Alliance founding member, Aeroplan has access to award inventory of all 26 alliance members, including Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and more. Add partnerships with almost another 20 carriers including Etihad Airways and Oman Air, and you have the most comprehensive search results of any airline program in the world.
The Aeroplan credit card’s current introductory bonus is a big one—especially for a card with a $95 annual fee—but it’s different from your typical welcome offer. For a limited time, new cardholders can earn two Welcome Flight Reward certificates, valued up to 50,000 points each, after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months. Together, that’s up to 100,000 total bonus points.
Welcome Flight Reward certificates may not be as straightforward as a traditional use of points for flight awards, but they aren’t hard to use either. Think of them as bills that don’t provide any change. For flight awards that cost more than 50,000 points, use a certificate, and pay the difference with your Aeroplan points. A recent award search for a one-way business-class ticket from Paris to Miami on Air Canada in May 2022 was priced at 76,600 points. After using one certificate (valued at 50,000 points), the balance, 26,600, would be deducted from your Aeroplan balance. On the other hand, if redeeming for the same flight in economy at a cost of 35,000 points, a certificate could be used, but no change would be provided (effectively forfeiting the value of 15,000 points).
Also, part of the card launch, receive Aeroplan 25K Status for the calendar year in which your Chase Aeroplan Card account is opened and for the following calendar year. This elite status grants travel perks aplenty on Air Canada.
Aside from the introductory bonus certificates, the Aeroplan card is replete with opportunities to rack up extra points on everyday spending. The card’s earning rates are as follows:
But the earnings don’t end there. Another standout feature of this credit card is the chance to earn bonus points when reaching spending thresholds each month. Earn 500 bonus points for every $2,000 spent in a calendar month (up to a maximum of 1,500 points per calendar month, or a total of 18,000 per year).
The Aeroplan program’s strongest asset is its power of redemption. Through the most comprehensive reward portal in the loyalty program industry, it’s possible to redeem points on more than 40 airlines with Aeroplan.
That said, it’s not always easy to know exactly how many points you’ll need for your flight: Aeroplan’s somewhat complicated award chart is based on both geography and distance flown. To give some simple best-case scenario examples, short-haul flights (under 500 miles) within North America—for example, Boston to Montreal or New York City to Toronto—can cost just 6,000 Aeroplan points each way in economy. One-way from New York to Frankfurt on Lufthansa or Miami to Paris on Air Canada can cost 35,000 points in economy while Los Angeles to Zurich on Swiss can cost 70,000 points in business class. (Note that the number of points required for an Aeroplan redemption are often far lower than those on the MileagePlus loyalty program through United Airlines.)
If you can’t find your desired travel award through the portal, don’t worry. Simply charge your purchase—on any airline, hotel, or car rental—and apply your Aeroplan points at a rate of US1.25 cents per point through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature. Aeroplan card members can use this redemption tool up to 50,000 points per year (US$625 of value). At press time, this feature is set to go live in the near future but has not been activated yet.
In addition, those with Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Points can transfer credit card points to the Aeroplan program. This makes it easy to combine points from spending on your Aeroplan card with points accrued on other general travel credit cards, collectively amassing enough for coveted business-class tickets to far-flung places. Moreover, Aeroplan allows members to pool and share points among eight family members, making it even simpler to gather sufficient mileage for your dream award tickets.
A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit (every four years) is common among credit cards with high annual fees but is atypical for a card with a $95 annual fee. However, the Aeroplan credit card goes even beyond a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck $100 credit by allowing cardholders to also use the credit toward Nexus, an expedited screening program for car travel between Canada and the United States (and which allows members to use Global Entry kiosks and get TSA PreCheck—yes, that’s a three for one!).
Air Canada has committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050. In this vein, carbon offsets will be purchased (and paid for by Air Canada) when Aeroplan cardholders (and their companions on the same reservation) fly Air Canada, Air Canada Express, and Air Canada Rouge on an Aeroplan flight reward. This will help reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions associated with flying. There’s no cap on the number of carbon offsets Air Canada will provide through this program.
The Aeroplan card comes with plenty of travel perks. On Air Canada flights, the primary card member can expect one free checked bag for him- or herself and up to eight travel companions on the same itinerary.
Upon receiving Aeroplan 25K Elite Status through the credit card, primary cardholders can also enjoy benefits such as priority check-in, early boarding, upgrades, and more on Air Canada flights.
With a welcome offer value of up to 100,000 points, a great points earning structure, and incredible redemption opportunities, the new Aeroplan Credit Card is a smart choice for those who fly Air Canada often and even for those who will never set foot on an Air Canada aircraft.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
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