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Aeroplan Credit Card Comparison

Overview

This page offers a comparison of various credit cards which collect Aeroplan miles.  The listing was obtained from Aeroplan website listing of their methods to Earn Miles.  We focused on credit cards only.  There were three types:

  1. TD Aeroplan VISA
  2. American Express
  3. CIBC VISA

Considerations

There are a few factors when looking at these cards:

  1. How quickly they earn Aeroplan miles.
  2. The annual fee.
  3. Extra incentives on the cards.
  4. Bonus miles given when signing up.

This article focuses primarily on the first 2 items (the earning rate and the annual fee) and also gives some consideration to #3, the incentives on the card.  In our opinion, #4 (the bonus miles) are interesting, but do not weigh in on the long term since the bonus miles are just in the first few months of signing up.

Comparison of Aeroplan Credit Cards

Overview of the Cards

The most relevant information is the below table.  This lists out earning rates, extra features, and the annual fees.

Aeroplan Credit Cards - 2016

CardAnnual FeeSupplementary CardsInterest RateRulesExtrasBonus
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite$120
$50
19.99%1.5/$1 at eligible locations
1/$1 everywhere else
First checked bag covered on Air Canada flights for primary card holder.
One Lounge access a year.
Travel insurance with Medical
Up to 30,000 bonus miles
TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum$89
$0
19.99%1/$1 at eligible locations
1/$1.5 everywhere else
Travel insurance with OPTION for medical
Up to 20,000 miles.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege$399
$019.99%1.5/$1 at eligible locations
1.25/$1 everywhere else
First checked bag covered on Air Canada flights for primary card holder.
6 Lounge passes a year.
Travel insurance with Medical.
Lots of other extras.
Up to 55,000 miles.
American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve
$899
$299
19.99%2/$1 on eligible Air Canada purchases
1.25/$1 everywhere else
$200 annual travel credit
Lounge access
Free first checked bag on Air Canada flights
Travel insurance with medical
60,000 miles
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum
$499
$199
19.99%1.25/$1 up to $25k a year
1.5/$1 after $25k a year
Lounge access
Travel insurance with medical
50,000 miles
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold
$120
$0
19.99%1/$1 up to $10k a year
1.25/$1 after $10k a year
Travel insurance
15,000 miles
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege
$399
$99
19.99%1.5/$1 on gas/grocery/drugstore/aircanada.com
1.25/$1 everywhere else
Lounge access
Travel insurance with medical
Complimentary checked bag with Air Canada
25,000 miles
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
$120
$50
19.99%1.5/$1 at gas/grocery/drugstore/aircanada.com
1/$1 everywhere else
Lounge access
Travel insurance with medical
Complimentary checked bag with Air Canada
15,000 miles
CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
$39
$0
19.99%1/$1.5

Sources:

Assumptions

Some of these cards have varying rates of earning Aeroplan miles.  For example, the TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum earns 1 Aeroplan mile for every dollar spent at grocery, gas, or drugstores.  Everywhere it only earns 1 Aeroplan mile for every $1.50 spent.

For our purposes, we will assume the worst case earning rate of each card.  There are a couple of American Express cards that increase their rate of earnings after certain annual spend thresholds are met and these were factored into the figures here.

We should also place a value on a single Aeroplan Mile as well.  The example used recently was a flight from Calgary, AB to Victoria, BC.  It was 15,000 Aeroplan Miles to book the flight with an additional $150 in taxes.  A similar flight on the same airline’s website was $323.  This is a savings of around $179.  $179 divided by 15,000 Aeroplan Miles equates to 1.2 cents/Aeroplan Mile.  We will use this for valuation purposes further on.

Please Note: The value of 1.2 cents is an estimate based on air fare within North America.  Other rewards of vastly different values.  You can read more about that in http://thoughtsfrommylife.com/2007/03/collecting-air-miles-and-their-value/.  It is a good exercise to calculate this yourself every time you are booking a flight as it will show you how effective your miles are on each flight you are booking.  Sometimes it is better to just use your cash than use up the miles.

Step 1: Aeroplan Miles Earned

The table below has a number of annual spending amounts on the credit card ranging from $1,000 through $50,000.  It then shows how many Aeroplan Miles would be earned on each card for the worst case scenario.

Aeroplan Miles Credit Cards - Miles Earned Comparison - 2016

CardWorst Case Earning RateMiles for $1,000Miles for $5,000Miles for $10,000Miles for $20,000Miles for $30,000Miles for $50,000
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
1
1000
5000
10000
20000
30000
50000
TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
1.50
667
3333
6667
13333
20000
33333
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
0.8
501250
6250
12500
25000
37500
62500
American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve
0.8
1250
6250
12500
25000
37500
62500
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum
0.8
1250
6250
12500
25000
38750
68750
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold
1
1000
5000
10000
22500
35000
60000
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege
0.8
1250
6250
12500
25000
37500
62500
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
1
1000
5000
10000
20000
30000
50000
CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
1.5
667
3333
6667
13333
20000
33333

Charting this out, we see that the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum definitely earns the most Aeroplan Miles.

Step 2: Aeroplan Miles Value Earned

The value of the Aeroplan Miles earned is shown in the table below.  This is using the Aeroplan Miles earned and multiplying by the estimated value of 1.2 cents an Aeroplan Mile.

Aeroplan Miles Credit Cards - Points Value Comparison - 2016

CardPoints Value for $1,000Points Value for $5,000Points Value for $10,000Points Value for $20,000Points Value for $30,000Points Value for $50,000
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
$12
$60$119$238$357$595
TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
$8
$40$79$159$238$397
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
$15
$74
$149$298$446$744
American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve
$15$74$149$298$446$744
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum
$15
$74
$149
$298$461$818
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold
$12
$60
$119
$268
$417
$714
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege
$15
$74
$149
$298
$446
$744
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
$12
$60
$119
$238
$357
$595
CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
$8
$40
$79
$159
$238
$397

Step 3: Factoring in the Annual Fee

It is very important to consider the annual fee. These can be very steep and when we take that off of the value of the Aeroplan Miles earned, it can leave you with considerably less value in your Aeroplan Miles.

The table below is the same as the above table, except it subtracted the annual fee.  Please note there are values that are negatives now.

Aeroplan Miles Credit Cards - Points Value Subtracting Annual Fee Comparison - 2016

CardPoints Value for $1,000Points Value for $5,000Points Value for $10,000Points Value for $20,000Points Value for $30,000Points Value for $50,000
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
-$108.10
-$60.50
-$1.00
$118.00

$237.00
$475.00
TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum
-$81.07
-$49.33
-$9.67
$69.67
$149.00
$307.67
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
-$384.13
-$324.63
-$250.25
-$101.50
$47.25
$344.75
American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve
-$884.13
-$824.63
-$750.25
-$601.50
-$452.75
-$155.25
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum
-$484.13
-$424.63
-$350.25
-$201.50
-$37.87
$319.13
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold
-$108.10
-$60.50
-$1.00
$147.75
$296.50
$594.00
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege
-$384.13
-$324.63
-$250.25
-$101.50
$47.25
$344.75
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
-$108.10
-$60.50
-$1.00
$118.00
$237.00
$475.00
CIBC Aero Platinum Visa
-$31.07
$0.67
$40.33
$119.67
$199.00
$357.67

So looking at the above chart, the valuations definitely change based on how much you are spending on the credit card throughout the year.  If you are in the lower amounts, then no fee cards may be more appealing.  There is a break even point for the cards with annual fees that doesn’t happen for a bit.

As soon as you get into the $20,000/year and above on your credit card (just under $1,700/month), the American Express Aeroplan Plus Gold card definitely starts earning at the best rate.

Step 4: Factoring in the Extras

When we look at cards with annual fees, they always come with various features that may be of interest.  These features can have a value applied to them as well.

For example, the most expensive cards come with travel insurance features and travel perks like lounge access and first checked bag is free on Air Canada flights booked using the rewards.  One trip in a year could save you hundreds of dollars and easily cover the cost of the annual fee.   A quick quote from RBC’s travel quote website for a family of 4 on a 2 week trip out of the country had quotes around $500 to get trip cancellation, medical, baggage, and travel accident coverage.

Conclusion

There are a few factors to consider for each individual, but some recommendations are:

  • If you are not putting much money through your card and would not travel enough to use the perks, definitely stick to the lower fee cards.
  • If you will use the perks, really take a good look at the higher fee cards and try to figure out how much they would be worth to you each year.
  • If you are uncertain of the perks, but put a lot of money through your card, then the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold is probably the best bet.

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