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Thursday, August 13, 2020

A closer look at the new Air Canada Aeroplan credit cards

 

On Tuesday we brought you details of the entire new Air Canada Aeroplan program that will be officially launching on November 8. In that first post we provided some detail on what the entire suite of Aeroplan co-brand credit cards will be offering but wanted to provide further information on each issuer's card offerings here in a separate blog post. 

Air Canada and the card issuers have broken down the cards into three levels for personal cards and two levels for small business cards.

Here are the Aeroplan benefits chart for the three levels of personal cards:

 

And the benefits for the two levels of business cards:

Those charts only show the Aeroplan benefits however the cards themselves have more to them so let's take a look at all the details:

Personal Cards

There are three levels of personal cards: your basic or entry level cards, mid-level hero cards (your mainstay cards) and premium cards. TD and CIBC who both invested money into buying Aeroplan back from Aimia will issues cards in all three levels while American Express will offer two personal cards. 

The cards and their new offerings come November are as follows:

The Mainstay Cards

All of these core cards will come with the following:

  • Preferred Pricing - Holders of these cards will receive discounts when redeeming miles for Aeroplan reward flights
  • First Checked Bag Free - Cardholders will receive their first checked bag free for themselves and up to 8 other travellers on the same reservation. This benefit works on both paid and award flights on Air Canada.
  • Elite Status Earning - These cards earn 1,000 SQM (Status Qualifying Miles) and 1 SQS (Status Qualifying Segment) for every $10,000 spent on the card(s)

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
This is THE card that has been and will continue as the primary Air Canada Aeroplan card in the market. You notice right away that annual fees are being increased from $120 per year to $139 per year for the primary card and to $75 from $50 for additional cards. TD All-Inclusive Account holders will continue to receive a full rebate of the Annual Fee for this card. The increase in annual fee is not a welcome site however you do have to take into account the additional benefits the card will be getting over the current version like first checked bag free on all Air Canada flights, additional insurance, elite mileage earning, You'll also want to note however that additional cards are more expensive now but they also come with more benefits.

The earn rates change slightly on the card as of the November 8 date, the card will now earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada (any Air Canada purchase, prior to this it was only for Aircanada.com purchases) It will continue to earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for grocery and gas station purchases but it does lose the 1.5 points for drug store purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on the card. 

Here are some of the new benefits for this card: 

  • Each Cardholder on the Account will receive a rebate of up to $100 CAD for a NEXUS™ application and/or renewal fee. 
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance coverage up to $2,500 per occurrence for each Cardholder on the Account and eligible family members travelling with the Cardholder. 
  • Mobile Device Insurance coverage up to $1,000 for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage, or mechanical breakdown.

Some of the other insurance benefits on this card have been updated for the better including Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay, Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Lost/Delayed Baggage. 

Learn more about the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card here


CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
First thing you'll notice is that the long time name 'Aerogold' has gone the way of the Dodo. Outside of that the changes to the card are very similar to the TD card. Like it's TD counterpart the primary card annual fee is being increased to $139 from $120 however this card's additional card fees will remain at $50 each. I suspect the main reason this card doesn't see the additional card increase is that it doesn't get the NEXUS benefit and doesn't see as many insurance benefit enhancements like the TD card.

The earn rates change slightly on the card as of the November 8 date, the card will now earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada (any Air Canada purchase, prior to this it was only for Aircanada.com purchases) It will continue to earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for grocery and gas station purchases but it does lose the 1.5 points for drug store purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on the card. 

Here are some of the new benefits for this card: 

  • New Mobile Device (up to $1,000)
  • Hotel Burglary (up to $2,500) 
  • enhanced Trip Cancellation (up to $1,500) insurance

Learn more about the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card here.

 

American Express Aeroplan Card
This card replaces the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card as Amex simplifies their Aeroplan portfolio come November. You'll also notice a name change like CIBC, the Plus being dropped from AeroplanPlus in the nomenclature. American Express has also chosen not to reveal all the details on this revamped card until a later date. We know it will have the benefits listed above that all the mainstay cards get like First Checked Bag free, Preferred Reward Pricing etc. We will have to wait to see what the annual fee will be, what the earn rates are and what changes will happen on the insurance and benefits side.

The Premium Cards

All of these premium cards will come with the following:

  • Preferred Pricing - Holders of these cards will receive discounts when redeeming miles for Aeroplan reward flights
  • First Checked Bag Free - Cardholders will receive their first checked bag free for themselves and up to 8 other travellers on the same reservation. This benefit works on both paid and award flights on Air Canada.
  • Elite Status Earning - These cards earn 1,000 SQM (Status Qualifying Miles) and 1 SQS (Status Qualifying Segment) for every $5,000 spent on the card(s)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge Access - These cards offer complimentary access for the cardholder (Primary and additional) plus one guest to Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafés in North America.
  • Priority Airport Services - These cards offer priority check-in, priority boarding, and priority baggage handling
  • Annual Worldwide Companion Pass - This pass is provided when cardholders reach $25,000 in spending annually on their cards. The pass can be used for travel to anywhere Air Canada flies with companion paying only $99 for flights in Canada & Continental U.S., $299 for Hawaii, Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, $499 for Africa, Europe, Middle East and South America, $599 for Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Taxes and fees are extra on top of those amounts
  • Rollover Status Miles - Primary Cardholders who also hold Aeroplan Elite Status can roll over up to 200,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) beyond the status level for which they’ve qualified, from the prior qualification year to qualify for status the next year.
  • Rollover eUpgrade Credits - Primary Cardholders who also hold Aeroplan Elite Status and requalify for the next year, can roll over up to 50 unused eUpgrade credits, to be used during the following status year.

 

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege*
Again we start off with annual fees being increased on this card. You'll see the fees go from $399 per year to $599 per year for the primary card and to $199 from $99 for additional cards. The increase in annual fee is quite big however you do have to take into account the additional benefits the card will be getting over the current version like lounge access, first checked bag free on all Air Canada flights, additional insurance, elite rollover and more. You'll also want to note that additional cards are more expensive now but they also come with more benefits.

The earn rates change slightly on the card as of the November 8 date, the card will now earn 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada which is a 0.5 points boost. It will now earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for Gas, Grocery, Travel and Dining purchases - with travel and dining being two new accelerators. It does lose the 1.5 points for drug store purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on the card. 

Here are some of the new benefits for this card: 

  • Each Cardholder on the Account will receive a rebate of up to $100 CAD for a NEXUS™ application and/or renewal fee. 
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance coverage up to $2,500 per occurrence for each Cardholder on the Account and eligible family members travelling with the Cardholder. 
  • Mobile Device Insurance coverage up to $1,500 for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage, or mechanical breakdown.

Some of the other insurance benefits on this card have been updated for the better including Travel Medical Insurance, Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay, Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Lost/Delayed Baggage.

The regular Visa Infinite Privileges such as complimentary Priority Pass membership with 6 annual visits, Priority Security Lanes at select Canadian airports, Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge, Visa Luxury Hotel Collection, Dining & Wine Country programs, and Entertainment and Sports benefits are all still included with this card.

Learn more about the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card here

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
Also gone is the long time name 'Aerogold' as the card is simply rebranded as the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card. Once again the changes to the card are very similar to the TD card. Like it's TD counterpart the primary card annual fee is being increased to $599 from $399 however this card's additional card fees will only jump to $149 from $99. The main reason this card doesn't see the additional card increase is that it's NEXUS benefit isn't as valuable as it is only available for the primary card and it appears, based on CIBC's terms the one guest you can bring in to Maple Leaf lounges is only good for the first year of having the card.

The earn rates are the same as the TD version of this card and will be 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada which is a 0.5 points boost. Then it will earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for Gas, Grocery, Travel and Dining purchases - with travel and dining being two new accelerators. It does lose the 1.5 points for drug store purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on the card.

Here are some of the new benefits for this card: 

  • New Mobile Device (up to $1,500)
  • Hotel Burglary (up to $2,500) 
  • enhanced Trip Cancellation (up to $2,500) insurance

Learn more about the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card here.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
This card replaces the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum and old Reserve Cards. You'll also notice a name change like CIBC, the Plus being dropped from AeroplanPlus in the nomenclature. American Express has also chosen not to reveal all the details on this revamped card until a later date. We know it will have the benefits listed above that all the premium cards get like First Checked Bag free, Preferred Reward Pricing etc. We will have to wait to see what the annual fee will be, what the earn rates are and what changes will happen on the insurance and benefits side.

The Basic/Entry Level Cards

All of these basic cards will come with the following:

  • Preferred Pricing - Holders of these cards will receive discounts when redeeming miles for Aeroplan reward flights

 

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Platinum* Credit Card
This card sees the least amount of changes within the portfolio of TD cards. The annual fee for the Primary Card will remain at $89 while additional cards go up slightly from $35 to $39. TD All-Inclusive Account holders will continue to receive a full rebate of the Annual Fee for this card.

The earn rates change ever so slightly on the card as of the November 8 date, the card will now earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent for grocery and gas station purchases as well as Air Canada purchases. The latter is a new addition to the card. It does lose the 1 point per dollar for drug store purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1 Aeroplan point per $1.50 spent on the card. 

Here are some of the new benefits for this card:

  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance coverage up to $2,500 per occurrence for each Cardholder on the Account and eligible family members travelling with the Cardholder. 
  • Mobile Device Insurance coverage up to $1,000 for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage, or mechanical breakdown.

Some of the other insurance benefits on this card have been updated for the better including Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay and Lost/Delayed Baggage.

Learn more about the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Platinum* Credit Card here

 

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card
This card will be one of only two no fee Aeroplan co-brand credit cards. The other is essentially the same card as this but for students.  As mentioned this card will have no fee for both the Primary and Additional cardholders. This is a $39 discount from the current iteration of this card the CIBC Aerogold Platinum Visa. Should you have this card and the annual fee is charged between August 24 and November 7 CIBC will providing a refund of the full annual fee.

The earn rates get a little better on this card as it will now earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent for grocery and gas station purchases as well as Air Canada purchases. All other purchases which all continue to earn 1 Aeroplan point per $1.50 spent on the card. 

Here are some of the new benefits for this card:

  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance coverage up to $2,500 per occurrence for each Cardholder on the Account and eligible family members travelling with the Cardholder. 
  • Mobile Device Insurance coverage up to $1,000 for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage, or mechanical breakdown.

Some of the other insurance benefits on this card have been updated for the better including Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay and Lost/Delayed Baggage.

Learn more about the CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card here

Learn about the CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card for Students here.


Business Cards

There are two levels of business cards that will be offered for the Aeroplan program. TD will only be offering one main level card to begin with, while CIBC has two base cards which both fall into the same category. American Express will be offering a higher end card that hasn't been revealed just yet.

The main TD and CIBC cards will come with the following:

  • Preferred Pricing - Holders of these cards will receive discounts when redeeming miles for Aeroplan reward flights
  • First Checked Bag Free - Cardholders will receive their first checked bag free for themselves and up to 8 other travellers on the same reservation. This benefit works on both paid and award flights on Air Canada.
  • Maple Leaf Lounge Passes - 1 Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Guest Pass for every $10,000 you spend, up to 4 passes per year
  • Elite Status Earning - These cards earn 1,000 SQM (Status Qualifying Miles) and 1 SQS (Status Qualifying Segment) for every $5,000 spent on the card(s)

TD® Aeroplan® Visa* Business Card
The annual fees on this card will remain at $149 per year for the Primary Card and $49 per year for all additional cards. The earn rates change for the better on the card as of the November 8 date, the card will now earn 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada which is a 0.5 points boost. It will now earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on Travel, Dining and Select Business Categories: shipping, Internet, cable and phone services. It does lose the 1.5 points for gas station purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on the card. 

Here are some of the new benefits for this card: 

  • Each Cardholder on the Account will receive a rebate of up to $100 CAD for a NEXUS™ application and/or renewal fee. 
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance coverage up to $2,500 per occurrence for each Cardholder on the Account and eligible family members travelling with the Cardholder. 
  • Mobile Device Insurance coverage up to $1,000 for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage, or mechanical breakdown.
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance and Trip Interruption Insurance: For Trip  Cancellation, up to $1,500 for each insured person (maximum $5,000 for all those insured on same covered trip) and for Trip Interruption, up to $5,000 for each insured person (maximum $25,000 for all those insured on same covered trip).

Some of the other insurance benefits on this card have been updated for the better including Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay,and Lost/Delayed Baggage.

Learn more about the  TD® Aeroplan® Visa Business Card here.

 

CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Business Card
The earn rates change for the better on the card as of the November 8 date, the card will now earn 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada which is a 0.5 points boost. It will now earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on Travel, Dining and Select Business Categories: shipping, Internet, cable and phone services. It does lose the 1.5 points for gas station purchases which will now categorize as all other purchases which all continue to earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on the card.

The CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Business Plus Card is essentially tha same as above but has annual fees of $120 for the primary cardholder and $50 for each additional cardholder.

Learn more about the CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Business Card here

The new American Express Business Reserve card will come with the following:

  • Preferred Pricing - Holders of these cards will receive discounts when redeeming miles for Aeroplan reward flights
  • First Checked Bag Free - Cardholders will receive their first checked bag free for themselves and up to 8 other travellers on the same reservation. This benefit works on both paid and award flights on Air Canada.
  • Elite Status Earning - These cards earn 1,000 SQM (Status Qualifying Miles) and 1 SQS (Status Qualifying Segment) for every $5,000 spent on the card(s)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge Access - These cards offer complimentary access for the cardholder (Primary and additional) plus one guest to Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafés in North America.
  • Priority Airport Services - These cards offer priority check-in, priority boarding, and priority baggage handling
  • Annual Worldwide Companion Pass - This pass is provided when cardholders reach $25,000 in spending annually on their cards. The pass can be used for travel to anywhere Air Canada flies with companion paying only $99 for flights in Canada & Continental U.S., $299 for Hawaii, Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, $499 for Africa, Europe, Middle East and South America, $599 for Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Taxes and fees are extra on top of those amounts
  • Rollover Status Miles - Primary Cardholders who also hold Aeroplan Elite Status can roll over up to 200,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) beyond the status level for which they’ve qualified, from the prior qualification year to qualify for status the next year.
  • Rollover eUpgrade Credits - Primary Cardholders who also hold Aeroplan Elite Status and requalify for the next year, can roll over up to 50 unused eUpgrade credits, to be used during the following status year.

What we don't know yet are the annual fees, earn rates and insurance/other benefits the card will come with. American Express will also issue corporate cards for large business. 

Summary

 As you can see there will continue to be a lot of credit card options for the Air Canada Aeroplan program and the updates to all the cards are for the most part are better. Yes most of the cards are more expensive now but they also offer more benefits that can offset that increase in price. Consumers will have to run the numbers to see if paying those increased annual fees make sense for them especially seeing that the mainstay cards actually lose out on the mileage boost at drug stores but had no other category added to make up for it. 

You can aso see that they have really gone after the Air Canada Elite Members with the high end premium cards as Air Canada did let us know that only a small percentage of elites actually carry an Aeroplan co-branded credit card. By adding the rollover benefits and being able earn some elite status miles & segments Air Canada is hoping that a greater percentage of their elite members will choose to add a co-brand credit card to their wallets.  

Another welcome change to the portfolio of cards is the base level CIBC card becoming a no fee option. This is one area Aeroplan had not tackled as all their cards involved annual fees, by having this card move to a no annual fee card the program becomes a viable option to those just getting started in the world of credit and loyalty rewards. 

One thing we don't know just yet are what the new welcome bonus offers will be on these cards. Will they offer first year free on the mainstay cards right from the onset to encourage a larger uptake on the cards or will they go the other direction in hopes that they will get quality applications and consumers who aren't just going after the welcome points. Personally I think it will be the latter, offer a bigger bonus and maybe dangle some other carrot as well but charge the annual fee. We'll just have to wait and see what happens though!

Overall the entire suite of Aeroplan cards is pretty impressive and cover almost the entire range of the market. All that's left is an ultra premium card which just may be something that will be offered by the program sometime in the future. 

What do you think of the suite of new Air Canada Aeroplan credit cards?


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