Thursday, October 21, 2021

A closer look at the credit card that Canada voted as the number one overall travel rewards card in Canada


 

The results of Canada's Choice 2021 were revealed earlier this week covering 10 categories of credit cards and loyalty with some surprising and not so surprising results. The first of those we look at was a not so surprising showing by the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card The card took first place in two categories along with it's associated program, Aeroplan, taking top spot in a third category.


One thing is for sure - Canada's thoughts and our own research and opinion here at Rewards Canada aren't far off from each other. Canada ranked the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card as the number one overall travel rewards credit card and the number one airline credit card in Canada. For our own rankings we have the card as third overall and first in the airline category. So they're pretty close!

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card:

As ranked by Rewards Canada in our Top Travel Rewards Credit Card 2021 rankings:
3rd overall & 1st in airline

As ranked by Canada in Rewards Canada's Canada's Choice 2021:
1st overall & 1st in airline

Let's look at some of the reasons why this card ranks so high both by us and by the Canadian population:

Welcome bonus points value

At the time of posting this the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is offering a 25,000 Aeroplan Point welcome bonus along with the annual fee being rebated in the first year for both the primary and up to three additional cardholders. On top of this card also offers a bonus Air Canada Buddy Pass which will cover separately right after this. This current offer is good for applications completed by December 5, 2021.  This offer is not available to residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

Here's how the bonus part of the welcome offer is broken down:

  • Earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase with your new card
  • Earn an additional 15,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 within 90 days of Account opening

As you can see that you can earn the 25,000 points with an easy $1,000 of spending over the course of 90 days. Those 25,000 points are worth no less than $375 in our books as we give Aeroplan points a minimum valuation of 1.5 cents per points. The key word is 'minimum' as you can get a lot more value out of the Aeroplan program. Take for example our most recent Aeroplan Availability Alert, it had a business class redemption on Turkish Airlines that provided value of 2.72 cents per point which bumps this 25,000 points to $680 in value. The value can even go up from there as we've seen 3 cents, 4 cents and higher for redemption awards when redeeming for business class. Here's just one example: 

A one way flight with internationally configured lie flat business class seat on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner between Calgary and Toronto on February 7, 2022:


You can redeem 24,300 points for $1456.35 in value! What does that work out to in cents per point value? 6 cents! So if you apply 6 cents to your 25,000 point welcome bonus you have got yourself $1,500 in value. The crazy thing here is you would actually get more. The above rate of 24,300 Aeroplan points is for a base level Aeroplan member without a co-brand card! Having the TD card in hand would give you Preferred Pricing (see the benefits section below) which provides a further discount on that points amount and conversely an even higher per point value.

Buddy Pass Value

Next up as part of the welcome bonus on the card is the Buddy Pass. Air Canada introduced this new promotional benefit on several of their co-brand card when they relaunched the program in November 2020. The Air Canada Buddy Pass is a companion pass that you can use to get a $0 base fare on any Air Canada, Air Canada Express or Air Canada Rouge flight in North America including Hawaii and Mexico. You'll earn the pass once you hit the $1,000 in 90 days spend requirement on the card (FYI with TD it can take up to 8 weeks after the 90 day period for it to show up in Aeroplan account). The buddy pass is good for travel in economy class (in any economy class - Standard, Flex, Comfort, or Latitude​) so when you buy a ticket you can redeem the pass to have someone fly with you and you only have to pay the taxes and fees on that second ticket. This is where the potential big value comes in, if you are planning on traveling in North America, to Hawaii or Mexico and will be traveling with at least one companion you can enjoy some big savings, especially so if you buy the higher end economy class fare levels.
 
In our credit card welcome bonus valuations we place a $300 value on the Buddy Pass. That again is a minimum amount however. Typically you should be able to get a better value out of the pass. Here's one example of how you can get better value:
 

 The above is screenshot is for flights from Vancouver to Honolulu for Christmas 2021 (Dec 22-29) for two adults. The base fare is $615.99 per person which means the Buddy Pass would save you that much. Add this to the welcome bonus point valuations we list above and the card is providing you with $990 to over $2,100 in value. Have eUpgrade credits thanks to being an Air Canada Aeroplan elite member? You can apply those to both the paid ticket and the $0 Buddy Pass base fare ticket so there is potentially even more added value by being able to upgrade to Premium Economy or even Business Class.

Earning & Benefits

The card itself earns 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent with Air Canada. It also earns 1.5 Aeroplan points for grocery and gas station purchases and all other purchases earn 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on the card. These are decent earning rates, you can do better on other cards but still these are nothing to laugh at if you are redeeming a 6 cents per point!

Recommended reading: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Points?

And the card provides the following benefits:

  • Preferred Pricing - Holders of this card 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 - The cards earn 1,000 SQM (Status Qualifying Miles) and 1 SQS (Status Qualifying Segment) for every $10,000 spent on the card(s)
  • 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.

The card also has Purchase Security/Extended Warranty, Flight Delay, Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Lost/Delayed Baggage. 

Recommended reading: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Review

Wrapping it up

Here at Rewards Canada we rank the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card as one of the best credit cards in Canada and based on the way the votes went a lot of Canada also feels the same way. With a welcome bonus that can provide huge outsized value, to everyday benefits for travelling with Air Canada and more it is no wonder this card took top spot as the best overall card in Canada and the best airline card in Canada as voted on by Canadians.

Click here to learn more about and apply for the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

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