Air Canada and Chase launched an awesome new partnership this year for those in the United States. In August, Air Canada Aeroplan became a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Air Canada and Chase have now partnered to launch a co-branded credit card, the Aeroplan® Credit Card, which opened to applicants in the past few days. In this post I wanted to take a more detailed look at the card.
Full details: Chase Aeroplan Credit Card
It’s not surprising given the people behind the Aeroplan program, but Air Canada’s new co-branded credit card in the United States is both lucrative and innovative. From a huge welcome bonus, to some generous bonus categories for spending, to valuable perks, this card has a lot to offer. The card also has what might be the coolest credit card perk ever… for those who spend a million dollars per year.
Aeroplan Credit Card $95 annual fee
The Aeroplan Credit Card has an annual fee of $95 per year. There’s no cost to add authorized users to the card, and spending from authorized users can help you rack up points. This annual fee is in line with the annual fees you’ll find on most mid-range airline co-brand credit cards, so that’s quite reasonable.
Aeroplan Credit Card welcome bonus of flight reward certificates
The Aeroplan Credit Card is offering an introductory welcome bonus of two welcome flight reward certificates valid for up to 50,0000 points each (up to 100,000 points total). You can unlock this after spending $4,000 within the first three months. This is a huge welcome bonus, if you ask me, and among the best credit card bonuses out there.
Each certificate can be applied towards a single passenger Aeroplan redemption in any cabin (on Air Canada or a partner airline) and for any redemption amount. In other words, you could book a ticket that costs 65,000 Aeroplan points using one welcome flight reward certificate plus 15,000 Aeroplan points. However, any amount not used will be forfeited (in other words, you wouldn’t want to use a certificate for a ticket costing under 50,000 points).
The certificate will remain valid for as long as your card account is open, but if you close your account you also forfeit the welcome bonus. I appreciate the lack of expiration on that certificate for those who maintain their account.
Aeroplan Credit Card offers up to 3x points, further spending bonuses
The Aeroplan Credit Card has an extremely compelling rewards structure, all with no foreign transaction fees (making it perfect for purchases abroad). The card offers:
- 3x Aeroplan points per dollar spent on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3x Aeroplan points per dollar spent at grocery stores
- 3x Aeroplan points per dollar spent directly with Air Canada
- 1x Aeroplan points per dollar spent on other purchases
It gets better than that, though. The card offers 500 bonus Aeroplan points for every $2,000 spent in a calendar month, up to a maximum of 1,500 Aeroplan points per month. In other words, if you theoretically spent $2,000 per month in a category eligible to earn 3x points, you’d earn a total of 6,500 points, or 3.25x Aeroplan points per dollar spent.
This is the best rewards structure we’ve seen on a co-branded airline credit card, in my opinion. And that’s only the beginning, since spending can also earn you elite status and flight reward discount vouchers.
Aeroplan Credit Card elite status perks with Air Canada
The Aeroplan Credit Card offers elite status to new cardmembers, plus offers the opportunity to maintain status in the long-run with spending. Specifically, the card offers:
- Aeroplan Elite 25K status for the remainder of the first calendar year in which you have the card, plus the following calendar year
- Cardmembers can maintain Aeroplan Elite 25K status by spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year
- Cardmembers can get a one-tier status upgrade when they spend $50,000 on the card in a calendar year; in other words, if you otherwise earn Aeroplan Elite 25K status by spending $15,000 on the card, your status would be upgraded to Aeroplan Elite 35K status, though if you’re an Aeroplan Elite 75K member you could use this boost to earn Super Elite status
Aeroplan Elite 25K or Elite 35K could come in handy if you fly Air Canada with any frequency, as you can receive perks like priority check-in, early boarding, upgrades, and more. Unfortunately this is just Star Alliance Silver status, so it won’t get you as many perks on other airlines as you’d get with Star Alliance Gold status.
I’d say this is great, and if you’re otherwise loyal to Air Canada, it’s cool to be able to get a one-tier status boost all the way up to Super Elite.
Aeroplan Credit Card priority reward vouchers with spending
Here’s where the Aeroplan Credit Card gets really interesting, if you ask me. In addition to solid bonus categories, monthly spending thresholds, and the ability to earn status through credit card spending, big spenders can also earn priority reward vouchers. Each can be used to take a companion with you when redeeming points on a single itinerary (it can be on Air Canada or any partner airline), and you just have to pay the taxes and fees for them.
You can earn these vouchers when spending $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, or $750,000 in a year. The way these can be used depends on your status:
- Aeroplan Elite 25K and Elite 35K members can only use these for economy awards wholly within the United States and Canada
- Aeroplan Elite 50K members can use these for economy and premium economy awards within North America
- Aeroplan Elite 75K members can use these for economy and premium economy awards worldwide
- Aeroplan Super Elite members can use these for economy, premium economy, or business class awards worldwide
Then there’s one more threshold, which is worthy of its own section…
Aeroplan Credit Card million dollar spending reward
The Aeroplan Credit Card offers the ultimate companion pass in the world… if you spend a million dollars on the card in a year. Those who reach that spending threshold receive an award redemption companion voucher that’s valid globally:
- You can take a companion with you on Air Canada or any partner airline in any class an unlimited number of times, and 100% of the points redeemed for them will be reimbursed
- This is valid for the year in which it’s earned, plus the following calendar year
- You have to designate a single companion, as the benefit can only be applied to one person
This is innovative and an unbelievable perk. It goes without saying that this isn’t within reach for a vast majority of us, but for those that spend a lot, this could seriously be worth considering. In fairness, you’d need to not only be a big spender for this to make sense, but you’d also need to be someone who redeems a lot of points for award travel.
Aeroplan Credit Card other benefits & perks
In addition to everything else I’ve outlined, the Aeroplan Credit Card offers the following benefits:
- A free first checked bag on Air Canada flights for the primary cardmember and up to eight other travelers on the same itinerary
- A $100 credit towards Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check, or NEXUS, once every four years
- World Elite Mastercard benefits, plus travel protection for flight delays, baggage, and more
- A carbon offset benefit, whereby Aeroplan will purchase carbon offsets when the cardmember redeems Aeroplan points for Air Canada flights
Coming soon: “Pay Yourself Back” feature
Aeroplan points are incredibly valuable for award redemptions on Star Alliance and other partner airlines, so it’s a great points currency to earn (then again, you can also transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards). There’s another exciting way to redeem Aeroplan points if you have the card.
Coming soon, Chase Aeroplan cardmembers will be able to apply their Aeroplan points towards travel purchases on any airline, hotel, or rental car, at the rate of 1.25 cents per point, up to 50,000 points per year.
That’s a pretty innovative opportunity for those who value Aeroplan points less than I do, since this is basically a way to “cash them out” towards any travel purchase at a solid rate.
My take on the new Aeroplan Credit Card
The Aeroplan Credit Card is easily one of the most well thought out and lucrative co-brand airline credit cards we’ve seen. I’m still trying to figure out how exactly this will fit into my strategy (as if I don’t have enough cards already), but here are a few initial thoughts:
- The welcome bonus is lucrative, given how many incredible partner redemption opportunities there are with Aeroplan
- The bonus categories are generous, especially since there aren’t many Chase cards consistently offering bonus points on groceries
- I love that rather than just offering a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, you can also get a NEXUS credit; I’ve said for years that I wish we’d see that, so it’s great for one credit card to finally offer this
- The ability to earn status with the card is great, though this will mostly be useful if flying with Air Canada, rather than a Star Alliance partner; however, if you already earn status with Aeroplan, the one-tier status upgrade could be very valuable
- The global companion voucher for spending a million dollars on the card is one of the coolest credit card benefits we’ve ever seen; I’ve always been surprised by how low the caps are on some credit card spending thresholds, so it’s fantastic to see a card go all-out like this
I definitely plan on picking up this card soon. I’m not sure how much spending I’ll put on the card — the bonus categories are great, though I don’t want to put too much everyday spending on the card, given the opportunity cost.
The Aeroplan Credit Card has finally launched and is lucrative. The card has a huge welcome bonus worth up to 100,000 Aeroplan points, the card offers 3x points in select categories, plus monthly spending bonuses and further threshold bonuses. The card also offers some valuable perks just for being a cardmember.
Mainly it’s exciting to see a card this innovative. I was expecting some creativity from Aeroplan, and this card delivered. There really is something here for everyone, from small spenders to huge spenders.
What do you make of the new Aeroplan Credit Card?