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Receiving a free checked bag with an Air Canada Aeroplan credit card is a sweet deal. You save at least $42 on baggage fees per person, but is it really free? The terms and conditions contain some hidden caveats that you will need to know if you collect Aeroplan Points, are trying to obtain Aeroplan Elite Status, or want to fly with more than one checked bag.

In this guide, I explain how the Air Canada free checked bag credit cards are a real downer.


The Free Checked Bag is Only Free on Some Fares

Air Canada Basic and Standard fares don't include a first free checked bag: YYZ-MIA

Depending on if your route is domestic, US, or international, the basic and standard fares may already include a first free checked bag.

Note the term: first free checked bag.

This means that if your fare already includes a first free checked bag, then you can’t bring a second free checked bag by having an Aeroplan co-branded credit as stated in the terms and conditions. This also applies if you already have complimentary checked baggage with an Air Canada Elite Status.

Now, you may say to yourself that you usually fly within North America on a basic fare that doesn’t include checked luggage. The free checked bag with an Air Canada credit card is definitely an awesome perk in this scenario. However, with a basic fare, you don’t earn SQM, SQS, or SQD to qualify for Elite Status.

In other words, you can’t really have the first free checked bag and try to qualify for Elite Status at the same time. Even with standard fares that sometimes include a free checked bag on international flights, you only earn 50% of the SQM.

The real power of the first free checked bag with an Aeroplan credit card is that you and up to eight passengers can receive it. Thus, for families and friends flying on the same Air Canada itinerary on a budget, this is a sweet deal.

Earning Aeroplan Points

The basic and standard fares only earn you 25% and 50% of the Aeroplan Points, respectively. Personally, stick to the lower fares even if it’s earning you only 25% of the points because the money saved on the checked bag, lower fares, and the points earned through your Aeroplan credit card will justify the savings.

If you primarily signed up for an Aeroplan credit card for the free checked bag and sign-up bonus, you shouldn’t purchase the higher fare for extra points or try to reach Elite Status.

Leveling Up to Elite Status

Air Canada SQM, SQS, and SQS requirements for Elite Status

As mentioned earlier, if you’re trying to reach Elite Status or already have it, then the first free check bag with an Air Canada credit card isn’t going to help your case. With the minimum required spend of $3,000 plus the SQM or SQS on Air Canada flights for 25K Elite Status, you’re going to have to spend money. The only way around this is by earning 100,000 EDQ points to reach 25K through credit card spend. However, this will also require a lot of annual CC spending.

Air Canada SQM, SQS, and SQD earning rate eligibility based on fare type.

Aeroplan Credit Cards with a Free Checked Bag

Below are personal Air Canada credit cards that come with a free checked bag and allow you to earn Aeroplan Points faster. Some of these cards also have a business version of them.

Air Canada Free Checked Bag CC Annual Fee Welcome Aeroplan Bonus Points Learn More
AMEX Aeroplan $120 40,000
AMEX Aeroplan Reserve $599 85,000
AMEX Aeroplan Business Reserve $599 90,000
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite $139 50,000
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege $599 80,000
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business Plus $120 60,000
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business $180 60,000
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite $139 50,000
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege $599 85,000
TD Aeroplan Visa Business $149 60,000
Chase Aeroplan $95 USD 60,000

How to Claim the Air Canada First Free Checked Bag with Your Aeroplan Credit Card

You’ll first need to ensure your Aeroplan credit card is linked to your Air Canada account. You can do this by signing in to Air Canada’s website, clicking on the top-right corner where it displays your name and points balance, and then going to my profile. Scroll down to the payment section and add your Aeroplan credit card details.

When you book an Air Canada fare that doesn’t include free checked luggage, you won’t have the option to add your first free bag while reserving your flight until you check in for your flight.

When you check in for your Air Canada flight within 24 hours of departure online, via the app, or at the airport kiosk, you’ll be presented with the option of selecting how many checked bags you have. Select one checked bag, and the amount will show $0 if your Aeroplan credit card is linked properly.

The first free bag with your Aeroplan credit card only applies to flights booked on Air Canada’s website and with flights starting with Air Canada Metal. If you have a connecting flight that starts with a partner airline, then the first fee bag with your Aeroplan credit card will not be offered during check-in.

Final Thoughts

If your main purpose in obtaining an Aeroplan credit card is to receive the first free bag, then it’s only worth it if you’re a budget traveler and plan to fly basic fares with Air Canada. The sign-up bonus for most of these cards also allows you to redeem business-class fares almost immediately. Remember that you can’t use an Air Canada credit card to double-dip and get two free checked bags with the lower basic and standard fares.

Vincent Croos
About the Author: Vincent Croos

Hola Parceros,

I’m the founder of Aperlust. I enjoy web development and SEO and am into snowboarding and linguistics. In my spare time, you can find me destroying my opponents in chess across the globe.

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