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Thursday, January 2, 2014

TD Canada Trust Aeroplan Cards officially released


Happy New Year to all of our readers, subscribers and fans! What better way to start the New Year than with the release of new travel rewards credit cards! Of course we have known about these cards for months and even the rumoured information that was leaked out in early December (see our post here) As we mentioned in that post if the information was correct, which it is, the new TD Aeroplan cards didn't live up to hype that was surrounding them prior to their details being leaked. First, lets take a look at the three consumer TD Aeroplan cards that are available and what they offer then we'll follow up with our thoughts.

TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
Enrollment Bonus: 10,000 miles
Miles Earned: 1 Aeroplan Mile/$1.50
Bonus #1: 1 mile/$1 on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases
Bonus #2: Aeroplan Card and TD Visa can be used together at Aeroplan partner locations
Insurance: Delayed/Lost Baggage, Flight Delay, Collision Loss and Damage Insurance, Common Carrier, Purchase Security & Extended Warranty, Emergency Travel Assistance
Annual Fee: $89 Primary User, $35 Authorized User
Income Requirement: None
Interest Rate: 19.99%
Minimum Credit Limit: $1,500
Exclusive Privileges: None
Air Canada Benefits: None
 
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
Enrollment Bonus: 15,000 miles + a 2 for 1 ClassicFlight Short Haul award if you apply by May 9, 2014
Miles Earned: 1 Aeroplan Mile/$1.00
Bonus #1: 1.5 mile/$1 on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases
Bonus #2: Aeroplan Card and TD Visa can be used together at Aeroplan partner locations
Insurance: 15 Day Travel & Medical Insurance, Trip Cancel/Trip Interrupt, Delayed/Lost Baggage, Flight Delay, Collision Loss and Damage Insurance, Common Carrier (incl. Auto Rental), Purchase Security & Extended Warranty, Emergency Travel Assistance
Annual Fee: $120 Primary User, $50 Authorized User
Income Requirement: $60,000 or $100,000 household
Interest Rate: 19.99%
Minimum Credit Limit: $5,000
Exclusive Privileges: Concierge
Air Canada Benefits: When travelling on Reward flights: One annual one-time use Maple Leaf Lounge access pass, First checked bag free, Priority check-in, Priority boarding

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
Enrollment Bonus: 25,000 miles + a 2 for 1 ClassicFlight Short Haul award if you apply by May 9, 2014
Miles Earned: 1.25 Aeroplan Mile/$1.00
Bonus #1: 1.5 mile/$1 on gas, grocery and drugstore, and Air Canada purchases
Bonus #2: Aeroplan Card and TD Visa can be used together at Aeroplan partner locations
Insurance: 22 Day Travel & Medical Insurance, Trip Cancel/Trip Interrupt, Delayed/Lost Baggage, Flight Delay, Collision Loss and Damage Insurance, Common Carrier (incl. Auto Rental) - (expanded vs. Infinite coverage), Purchase Security & Extended Warranty (expanded vs. Infinite Coverage), Emergency Travel Assistance
Annual Fee: $399 Primary User, $99 Authorized User
Income Requirement: $200,000 household
Interest Rate: 19.99%
Minimum Credit Limit: $10,000
Exclusive Privileges: Privilege Concierge, Global Lounge Service (Airport Angel), Hilton HHonors Diamond Status, Fairmont Hotels Premier Status (with accelerated Platinum offer), Security VIP Fast Lane (Selected Airports), Golf Program, Sports packages (Olympics; FIFA), Music, food and wine experiences
Air Canada Benefits: First checked bag free on Air Canada flights, Priority check-in on Air Canada flights, Priority boarding on Air Canada flights, Four annual one-time use Maple Leaf Lounge access passes (when travelling on Reward flights), 50% discount on companion tickets for eligible Executive Class fares on Air Canada Flights available once per calendar year  

We here at Rewards Canada are a little disappointed with the actual cards, primarily the main Infinite card:

The best of the three which is the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card offers some great travel benefits and is in actuality a very good credit card. What hampers it is a small sign up bonus for an elite level card with higher annual fee and a high income requirement that places this card out of reach of those who could really use the added Air Canada benefits of Priority Check-in and Priority Boarding. Why do we think this? This is card targeted to people who travel semi-frequently and frequently on Air Canada.  And of those people, those who make over $200,000 are more than likely to have or will achieve status with Air Canada and get those benefits anyways via the Altitude program. There are many Canadian's who fall into the $100,000 to $200,000 bracket to whom this card would be better served. However we also see it from Air Canada's point of view, they don't want a whole throng of people getting priority access to check in and boarding making life worse for their Altitude Elite Status members. Ultimately the number of people getting the top card is capacity controlled by the $200,000 income requirement, mind you I believe only a select few of those in the 100K-200K bracket would be willing to pay the $399 annual fee so the income requirement will always be a sticking point with us. While it may seem high, the annual fee is in line with the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum ($499/year) which offers similar if not better benefits (ie. it earns more miles, full time Maple Leaf lounge access and has a standard 2 for 1 short haul ticket etc. although the TD Privilege card includes Business Class!) and would be worth paying for if you don't have status with Air Canada but are traveling enough that priority check-in and boarding will make your life better. A nice benefit that can make this card also worthwhile is the once per calendar year 50% discount on a companion Air Canada business class ticket (if you actually buy J or C class). Other somewhat hidden benefits of the card are Airport Angel membership + 6 free visits (see our Guide to Business Class Lounge Access for more details), Hilton HHonors Diamond Status (this is a pretty good benefit!) and accelerated access to Fairmont Platinum Premier status

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card will be the mainstay card and the primary replacement for the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card and is essentially the same as the latter. The primary difference is a few benefits being offered when flying on an Aeroplan Reward ticket operated by Air Canada like 1st checked bag free, a Maple Leaf lounge pass and priority check in/boarding. This is probably the most disappointing card of the bunch. It isn't anything new, there is nothing exciting about it and like we have mentioned in many reviews and media interviews about its predecessor, the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card, the only reason it took first place in Rewards Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Card - Airline category, was the strength of the Aeroplan program, not the card itself.  More than likely, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card will  take top spot in our Airline Category for 2014, not because the card itself is amazing but because the Aeroplan program offers so much for Canadian's and one of the easiest ways to earn Aeroplan miles is by spending on this card.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum falls somewhere in between the Visa Infinite Card mentioned above and the base model from CIBC, the AeroClassic visa. The TD cards costs more than the AeroClassic but also earn more miles and offers more insurance options than the CIBC card.

Ultimately the new cards are not a huge change from the CIBC cards. Those current CIBC cardholders who are being transferred over the TD won't really notice any changes as most will get the Infinite Card which is essentially the same as their current CIBC Aerogold Infinite. I really wish they had pumped the card up with some high octane fuel and made the Infinite card better but they saved that for the limited amount people who will be going for the Infinite Privilege card. All in all I wish I had more good things to say about these cards but right now personally I'll be sticking to my American Express Gold Rewards Card, Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard plus I'll be adding the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold to my portfolio this month but I may, just may, grab the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card if it is free with my TD All Inclusive Banking plan to replace my TD First Class Visa Infinite which comes free with the plan.

What do you think of the cards? Are you going to jump on one of them and add it to your credit card portfolio? Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts? Let us know by commenting below.

20 comments:

  1. Have been with CIBC Aerogold for many years, interested in what TD had to offer, but this failed my expectations. Am going to downgrade to CIBC Petro Points and switch my primary card business to Amex.

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  2. I have a feeling you won't be the only one Kevin! Your CIBC Petro Points card will earn you 1 to 1.5 Asia Miles if you like that option!

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  3. Great article, Patrick
    Any thoughts or insight on the CIBC Aeroplan Suite of Cards with this new TD card launch?
    Specifically, wondering if CIBC might now be planning to launch an Aeroplan Infinite Privilege Card to compete with the TD one. Also, on the lower end....wondering if the "AeroClassic" card might now be turning into a "Platinum" with a higher annual fee? (Currently $29)

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  4. With the offer of the 2 for 1, I can take my husband and I to New York with the welcome offer so I see this as 30,000 point.

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  5. Not sure if CIBC will jump on the Infinite Privilege, if they do chances are it would be on the Aventura product since they putting forth lots of money in advertising the Aventura program. I don't think it would be smart for CIBC to change the classic to a Platinum. I think the TD Platinum annual fee is too high for those who want an entry level Aeroplan card or have an Aeroplan card as a secondary or tertiary card. The AeroClassic fits that bill nicely.

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  6. This is true, however if you have 'bigger' plans with the Aeroplan miles (ie long haul redemption) then the 2 for 1 benefit is of no use and if you choose to use it then you have to use the 15,000 miles you get for signing up for the card rather than putting it towards a bigger redemption. Still 2 short haul tickets is not a bad deal in the long run.

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  7. Why would you not use it?!!! It is a free trip to NYC, Chicago etc. plus I haven't seen a card that can send me to those destinations with this good of an offer at the $120 card level.

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  8. What is a "short haul"? North America? Could I go to YVR or LAX?

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  9. Have you found out what happens to the points earned in the current Infinate card. Since they are grossly inflated could they be used as Aeroplan points on a one for one basis.

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  10. How can you recommend any Amex card for use in Canada. Out of 10 merchants only 2 accepted the card. They know that Canadians also have a visa or mastercard. Why should they pay the higher commissions that Amex charges merchants. I had trouble even spending opening spend of $1500/3 mos. However I did spend $8000 with Visa and M/C during the period. Greedy Amex.
    Patrick-How can you in clear conscience recommend a card with such a low acceptance. Did you think it through.

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  11. I assume you mean the TD First Class Infinite card. Those remain current as the card continues to be offered by TD

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  12. Amex cards are accepted by roughly 80-90% of Visa and MasterCard merchants. I do know it tends to be actually worse out East. Here in Calgary I rarely find a merchant that does not accept Amex, most do. Those who don't tend to be mom & pop shops. Tha being said Amex is always a sticking point with their acceptance, there is no doubt about that and I do take it into consideration. I actually advise everyone to carry a Visa, a MasterCard and an Amex card to provide the best coverage. But with low requirements to get a bonus (ie the AeroplanPlus Gold and Amex Gold only require $500, that's pretty much one trip to Costco) these are great cards to take advantage of for the bonuses (the AeroplanPlus is 30,000 miles via referral links)

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  13. Short haul is neighbouring provinces or states. You could not go YVR to LAX. See here for the list of Short Haul flights:
    https://www4.aeroplan.com/FlightRewardChart.do#shorthaul

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  14. That's very true and the short haul reward is great especially for those in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. However for those Sask, Manitoba etc. the 'good' locations to fly to are limited.



    Also, going back to the bigger redemption topic, if your reward goal is a flight to Europe at 60,000 Aeroplan Miles and you end up using the 2 for 1 short haul reward since you know it has to be used up by Dec 31 you will need an additional 15,000 miles for that Europe reward. I'm just saying that the 2 for 1 flight is great for a certain percentage Aeroplan members while for others it isn't the deal breaker.

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  15. This card is not very attractive if you can you use Amex cards in your area. Amex is offering 30k bonus miles for signing up Aeroplan gold card through referral. The first year annual fee is also waived. Here is a referral link if you need one:

    https://www.americanexpress.com/canada/en/mgm/mgmeeApplynow.cgi?mgmerCard=aeroPlanGoldCard&CPID=999999371&MGM_URN=AAAAEgATEg4dAw%3D%3D

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  16. I got a letter from CIBC stating they added Maple Leaf lounge one time guess pass, Priority Check in and Complimentary first bag checked for Aeroplan Reward tickets using the CIBC Aerogold Infinite Card. Any comments on that? Are those additions better than what TD is offering?

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  17. No those would be the same as what the TD Visa Infinite has. Looks like CIBC is matching TD to keep customers from defecting to TD

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  18. Given all the sudden changes, will you update your rankings which was last done in June 2013. I don't think we can wait until June 2014. This is significant and there should be a January update. I wonder if I should be changing my card away or not. Am I getting the best possible deal now or what? I am more confused than ever.

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  19. We will be releasing our Top Credit Cards for 2014 earlier this year but don't have a set date yet. Honestly the TD Visa Infinite isn't much different than the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite so you could use that card as a benchmark prior to our new rankings

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