Air Canada is deadset on making its Aeroplan mileage program a go-to for U.S.-based travelers. The airline overhauled that program with a lot of upsides last year and became the latest Chase transfer partner earlier this year. And now it’s angling for a spot in your wallet, too.
Chase and Air Canada finally unveiled their new co-branded credit card for the U.S. market: The Aeroplan® Credit Card. The folks from Chase and the airline have said they designed this card to appeal to everyone from the diehard Air Canada fans to dual citizens to points and miles aficionados who see the immense value in redeeming Aeroplan miles for travel on Star Alliance airlines.
And they succeeded. From a huge welcome bonus to some great bonus categories and perks far beyond the usual “free bags when you fly Air Canada,” this is an exciting new travel credit card – even if you never plan to set foot on an Air Canada plane.
Read more on how to maximize Aeroplan points – and why you may want to earn them!
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card
A Huge (And Unusual) Bonus of Up to 100K Points
Air Canada is kicking off this new card with a flashy new bonus. They’re just doing it differently.
You’ll earn two flight reward certificates worth up to 50,000 points apiece after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership. That’s much different than the usual lump sum of points most travel credit cards offer.
“Think of them as a 50,000-point coupon that you can apply toward any Aeroplan redemption,” Aeroplan vice president Scott O’Leary said in a preview Wednesday.
You can use a certificate in tandem with some additional Aeroplan points – for example, using one 50,000-point certificate and an additional 15,000 points to book a 65,000-point award ticket. But booking a cheaper award won’t get you any points back – you’d forfeit the remainder of the value.
And you can’t combine the two certificates towards the same ticket – only one can be used per passenger. So, for example, you couldn’t use both certificates to book yourself a Lufthansa First Class seat from Chicago to Frankfurt, which costs 100,000 Aeroplan points.
But you can redeem two certificates separately on one-way awards, or even apply a certificate to two passengers separately. And on the bright side, these certificates don’t expire so long as you keep the card open.
Travelers who signed up for the waitlist for this card will also get an additional 10,000 bonus points 10 free eUpgrades to use on Air Canada flights.
Keep Earning with Bonus Categories
The earning potential goes beyond that initial welcome bonus. In fact, the bonus earning categories on the new Chase Aeroplan card are better than almost any card on the market. You’ll earn:
- 3x points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
- 3x points per dollar at grocery stores (excluding wholesalers like Costco as well as big-box stores like Target or Walmart)
- 3x points per dollar on all Air Canada purchases
- 1x points per dollar on all other purchases
The 3x return on groceries and restaurants is incredibly compelling if you want to keep piling up Aeroplan points. In fact, that’s better than what you’ll get on any other Chase card – including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or even the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Beyond that, there’s some incentive to continue swiping your Aeroplan card each month. You’ll earn 500 additional bonus points for every $2,000 you spend each calendar month – capped at 1,500 bonus points a month on $6,000 in monthly spend.
$95 Annual Fee
The Aeroplan World Elite Mastercard from Chase comes with just a $95 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year.
Free Status, Then Level Up
Just for opening the card, you’ll get Air Canada’s entry-level 25K status for the year you open it and the entire following year. The airline said those who get the Chase Aeroplan Card now will have status through December 2023. You can continue re-upping that status by spending $15,000 a year on the card.
Air Canada 25K Status isn’t worth a ton: You get priority check-in and boarding, eUgrades to use on Air Canada flights, free baggage, two annual lounge passes, and a few other perks. Still, this is a potentially easy path to airline status if flying Air Canada is in your future.
But Air Canada is making it even more lucrative for heavy spenders. By spending $50,000 a year on the card, you can level up to the next status. For cardholders who get their status automatically, that would vault you from Air Canada 25K to 35K status. If you’re flying Air Canada frequently and already have status, it could push you even higher like to Air Canada 50K status, which unlocks Star Alliance Gold perks like lounge access and a host of other worthwhile benefits.
There are even better benefits to unlock if you can spend a small fortune on your Air Canada card each year, like earning a “Global +1” Pass to get 100% of your points back when booking any and all award tickets for a companion for up to two year … after spending $1 million a year on your card.
Yes, that’s not for everyone. I’m certain;y not spending $1 million a year on a credit card – or anywhere, for that matter. But Air Canada and Chase have designed this card in a creative way to incentivize cardholders to keep swiping their cards, with rewards that build the more you spend.
Free PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS
There’s a growing list of travel credit cards that will cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The new Aeroplan card will do that too – with a sweetener.
The Aeroplan World Elite Mastercard‘s $100 credit for trusted traveler programs will also work towards NEXUS, which is essentially the Canadian version of Global Entry. It’s the first travel rewards credit card to offer a credit towards NEXUS enrollment.
Either way, the credit will cover up to $100 once every four years.
Beyond these headline items, the Aeroplan World Elite Mastercard carries a host of other benefits that add up.
- First free checked bag for you and up to eight additional companions booked on the same reservation for any Air Canada flight.
- Travel insurance policies like trip delay, baggage delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption coverage, and more.
- It’s a World Elite Mastercard product, which opens up even more benefits like cell phone insurance, earning free Lyft credits, discounts on Postmates deliveries, and more. See all the World Elite Mastercard benefits.
- No foreign transaction fees
Pay Yourself Back?
Aeroplan is planning to do something really novel. It’s co-opting the new Chase Pay Yourself Back benefit.
Sometime in 2022, cardholders will be able to use their Aeroplan points towards any travel expense – not just through Aeroplan. Using the Pay Yourself Back framework, you can redeem Aeroplan points toward travel with any airline, hotel chain, etc.
Once it launches, every Aeroplan point will be worth 1.25 cents toward travel this way. That’s the same value you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
What to Make of This New Card
We have to give Air Canada some credit here. They’ve managed to put together a truly unique travel credit card – and one that should appeal even to U.S. travelers who have no plans to fly Air Canada.
Aeroplan points are incredibly valuable whether you’re booking Air Canada or one of its 40-plus airline partners in the Star Alliance. Whether you’re looking to fly United shorthaul in the U.S. from just 12,000 points roundtrip, short hops from the West Coast to Hawaii for 25,000 points roundtrip, or business class to Europe or Asia for 75,000 points or less each way, there are some great sweet spots.
That means those two 50,000-point award certificates you earn as a welcome bonus can go a long way, like booking a seat in EVA Air business class by forking over just another 25,000 points.
Aeroplan no longer passes on exorbitant award surcharges, keeping cash costs when redeeming points low. Plus, Aeroplan has some unique features like the ability to pool points with family members or add a stopover to any award ticket for just 5,000 additional points.
The array of additional perks on this card beyond the usual free baggage benefit is impressive. But there’s a lot here to love for travelers who can rack up a lot of spending on their credit cards, too. In short, it’s a solid card that could appeal to almost anyone who loves Aeroplan points – whether they’re flying a few times a year or a true road warrior with a hefty budget.
One thing to keep in mind is that this card will almost certainly fall under the Chase 5/24 rule. If you have opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months from any bank (not just Chase cards), it’s unlikely you could get approved for this new Chase credit card.
The new Aeroplan Chase credit card has officially hit the scene, and it’s turning heads.
Don’t let the Air Canada branding fool you. Thanks to the value and versatility of Aeroplan points, there’s a lot to like about this card even if you never set foot on an Air Canada plane.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card