The Ultimate No Fee Aeroplan Credit Card Portfolio!


Hot on the heels of our Clash of the Credit Cards
where two no annual fee cards that offer Aeroplan points went head to
head we figured it would be perfect timing to also put together the Ultimate No Annual Fee Aeroplan Credit Card portfolio.
In this feature of Rewards Canada’ Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we
look at the ultimate one for earning Aeroplan points all with cards that
don’t charge any annual fees. Since we launched Rewards Canada
back in 2001 we have always recommended that you should carry a Visa, a
Mastercard and an American Express card in your wallet and that’s what
these Ultimate portfolios encompass. The reason why is that there are
benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of
credit card. We won’t go into detail here as you can read all about it
in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points
but in this feature we outline one card from each brand that will help
you build up those Aeroplan points without having to worry about paying
any annual fees. Typically in these portfolios there are various options
that could be utilized however when it comes to no annual fee cards
that you can earn Aeroplan points with, there are only three in total and
each single one just happens to be from each of the individual issuers. You can also find this feature on the main Rewards Canada website

What is Rewards Canada’s Ultimate No Annual Fee Aeroplan Credit Card Wallet? It is the following three cards

American Express – American Express® Green Card

Mastercard – mbna Best Western Mastercard®

Visa – CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card is the obvious
choice in this portfolio since it is the only no fee co-brand card for
Air Canada’s loyalty program. All other co-brand Aeroplan cards in the
market from American Express, CIBC and TD come with annual fees. Hence
you need to look at cards that allow you to convert points to Aeroplan
to complete this portfolio. For American Express that’s the Green Card
(which until recently was known as the Choice Card) and thanks to
changes to it in August of 2021 you can now convert the Membership
Rewards points earned on this card directly to Air Canada Aeroplan. You
no longer have to take the longer less valuable route of converting to
Marriott Bonvoy first and then to Aeroplan. For the Mastercard portion
of the portfolio is a long standing card in our market that actually
fulfills the Mastercard role in several of these portfolios and that’s
the mbna Best Western Mastercard. It earns points in the Best Western
Rewards program which can be converted to Aeroplan.

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

Key benefits of this portfolio

  • No annual fees on any of the cards
  • Preferred pricing on Aeroplan reward flights
  • Earn Aeroplan points for in store purchases at Costco

How to maximize your Aeroplan earning with these cards

Before we jump into maximizing your Aeroplan
earn with these cards let’s look at how their earn rates in Aeroplan
points per dollar spent (we’ll discuss the conversion rates below)

  American Express® Green Card CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card mbna Best Western Mastercard®
Air Canada Purchases 1 point 1 point 0.2 points
Grocery 1 point 1 point 0.2 points
Gas 1 point 1 point 0.2 points
Best Western stays 1 point 0.67 points 1 point
All other spending 1 point 0.67 points 0.2 points

TLDR: Use the Amex Green Card for all
purchases unless Amex isn’t accepted then use the CIBC card. Only use
the Best Western Card at Costco

Right away from the chart you can see that the
card that gives you the best earn rates is the American Express Green
Card. Since the card earns a flat 1 Membership Rewards points per dollar
that equates to 1 Aeroplan point per dollar as MR points convert 1:1 to
Aeroplan. Your second choice of card to pull out would be the CIBC
Aeroplan Visa Card and I would only pull it out for places that don’t
take American Express. So the CIBC card becomes your go to card for
places like the Loblaw family of grocery stores, Wendy’s (if you don’t
use the app) and other retailers that don’t accept American Express.
Since this card earns Aeroplan points directly there is no conversion
rate however it’s earn rates are 1 point per dollar for Air Canada, Gas
and Grocery purchases. All other purchases are 1 Aeroplan point for
every $1.50 spent hence the 0.67 points rate listed in the chart.
Likewise if you are shopping where the place only accepts Mastercard
(which is pretty much only Costco) you would pull out your Best Western
Mastercard for those purchases. You don’t really want to use it anywhere
else since its Aeroplan point earn rate is really low compared to the
other cards. Best Western Rewards points convert to Aeroplan at a rate
of 5 to 1 so it earns a very meager 0.2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent
except on Best Western purchases. Now it does match the Amex card for
Best Western stays but I’d still put any Best Western stays on the Amex
card as there are no direct benefits for using the BW card at a BW
hotel. There is also one additional reason to try to funnel as much
spending onto the Amex Green Card beyond earning the most points and
that’s its other redemption options. In the world of points and miles it
is always good to keep a stash of points in a flexible or hybrid
rewards program which Amex Membership Rewards is. By doing so you are
not limiting yourself to one program (even though we are focusing on
Aeroplan here) as you can redeem for travel via Membership Rewards, use
your points for statement credits and even convert to other airline and
hotel programs. Essentially you’re keeping your options open with the
Amex Green Card.

Additional benefits from the cards in this portfolio:

As these are no fee cards there aren’t a lot of
benefits afforded to them but there is one that we need to highlight.
That benefit is Aeroplan Reward Flight Preferred Pricing. All
Air Canada Aeroplan co-brand credit cards (so the ones the earn Aeroplan
points directly) provide the Aeroplan member with discounted pricing on
flights when redeeming points. The discount can be as high as 15% so
if you are redeeming for a flight that would cost a basic member 50,000
points it could only end up costing you 42,500 points. The discount does
vary but the good news is you simply have to have an Aeroplan co-brand
card to get the discount. The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card fits the bill of
that co-brand card so you can maximize your earn with the American
Express Green Card and extract more value out of each one of those
points thanks to the discount from the CIBC card. The CIBC card also
offers really good car rental CDW insurance coverage so keep that in
mind if you do rent cars. Finally, the mbna Best Western Mastercard
provides you with automatic Gold Elite status in Best Western Rewards.
It doesn’t get you much but it’s better than having nothing. Also if you
spend $10,000 on the BW card they’ll give you Diamond Elite Status
(which again doesn’t do too much)

Earn yourself 24,000 Aeroplan points for free with this portfolio:

All three of these cards do have welcome bonus
offers and since they have no annual fees those bonus points come to you
for free albeit there are some spending requirements. The American
Express Green Card offers 10,000 welcome bonus points when you spend
$1,000 on the card in the first three months. The CIBC Aeroplan Visa
Card also awards 10,000 points but that’s awarded on the first purchase
with no spending requirement. Finally the mbna Best Western Mastercard
offers 20,000 Best Western Rewards points on the first purchase which
translates to 4,000 Aeroplan points. So if you do end up getting
yourself this Ultimate No Annual Fee Aeroplan Credit Card Portfolio
you’ll have a nice little stash of 24,000 points to get you to those
flight rewards sooner. 

Other Card Options:

Normally we’d list other cards here that would
work as well however as mentioned earlier in this piece there are no
other no annual fee Aeroplan card options. These are your only three

Talk to us!

What do you find
works best for you for earning the most Aeroplan points with no fee
cards? Do you use these three cards exactly as laid out above or do you
use a different combination? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!