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Last updated on December 9th, 2023

The post-pandemic travel era has increased the cost of flights globally. 

Canada is no exception.

If you enjoy traveling within Canada or internationally, you may be wondering if the American Express Aeroplan Card is worth it, especially with its $120 annual fee.

Travel credit cards are nothing new in Canada. I personally have the AMEX Aeroplan Card, which I will review in the post to help you decide if it’s right for you.

5 Important Facts About the AMEX Aeroplan Card

  1. It’s not a credit card; it’s a charge card without a preset spending limit. This means you have to pay the entire balance by the payment due date or be subject to a 30% interest rate and negatively affect your credit score in Canada.
  2. The welcome bonus of 40,000 Aeroplan points is enough for a round-trip economy flight from Toronto to New York City, sometimes even from Canada to Europe, depending on fare rates with points.
  3. The Air Canada baggage fee for your first checked bag is waived when you register your AMEX Aeroplan Card on the Air Canada Aeroplan website.
  4. Only basic travel insurance is included; missing are trip interruption, trip cancellation, lost or stolen baggage, and emergency travel medical insurance.
  5. Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge access is not included.

Note: You’ll need the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card for the missing benefits for 4 and 5.

American Express Aeroplan Card

Annual Fee: $120

Earn 2x Aeroplan Points at Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 1.5x for food delivery and dining in Canada, and 1x on everything else

Welcome bonus of 40,000 Aeroplan Points

What I Like ✅

  • Welcome bonus of 40,000 points is good enough for a round-trip flight in North America
  • Helps Canadians earn more Aeroplan Points faster for free flights
  • Includes first free checked bag

What I Don’t Like ❌

  • Emergency travel medical insurance is not included
  • Not all merchants accept AMEX, such as Fortinos
  • Hard to justify the $120 annual fee after the welcome bonus if you don’t fly often with Air Canada

Aeroplan Loyalty Program Overview

Aeroplan allows travelers to earn points on Air Canada flights and their partners. Points can be redeemed for free flights, merchandise, or gift certificates.

The Aeroplan Loyalty Program is free for anyone to join but mainly targets Canada and the United States — Air Canada’s primary customer base.

How to Earn Aeroplan Points

Aeroplan Points are earned on actual miles flown with Air Canada and its partner airlines through the Star Alliance network.

Interestingly, points are earned by miles instead of kilometers (yes, I used the American standard spelling) even though Air Canada is obviously a Canadian company.

Unfortunately, a significant downside of earning Aeroplan Points by miles flown is it’s set at a rate dependent on your fare class: anywhere from 10% to 150%. This is a poor travel loyalty program for budget travelers.

The good news is there are other ways to earn Aeroplan points outside of flying with Air Canada.

Other Ways to Earn Aeroplan Points


Since flights and hotel stays complement each other, booking hotels through the Aeroplan website allows you to earn points at top hotels worldwide, including Marriott, Best Western, and IHG.

It’s also a great way to double-dip on points since you have to book on the respective hotel’s website through the Aeroplan website link.

For example, you can earn Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy Points simultaneously.

Car Rentals

Car rental prices have increased in Canada and the US since the pandemic.

If you’re planning a road trip or flying to YYC and renting a car to visit Banff or Jasper National Park, rent through Avis or Budget to earn Aeroplan points. Both get you 2 points for every dollar spent.

Vacation Packages

If you enjoy all-inclusive vacations at a resort or on a cruise and are looking to save some money at the same time, then reserving your trip through Air Canada Vacations can pay off. They also offer ski and snowboard packages with a free checked bag.

There’s one caveat: you only earn Aeroplan Points on the flight portion through Air Canada Vacations, which is a bummer. However, ACV does provide bonus points on packages, often ranging from 1000 to 3000 points.

Depending on the airfares and hotel rates, booking your flights and hotels separately may be better to save money or earn points (double-dip) through Aeroplan and a hotel’s loyalty program.

Aeroplan eStore Shopping

If online shopping is your jam, you should maximize your Aeroplan points by shopping through its eStore. There are over 150 online merchants, including Amazon and Sephora.

You earn 1 Aeroplan Point per dollar spent at the minimum.

The Aeroplan eStore offers many promotions where you can often earn 2x to 10x the points. So, if you’re a frequent shopper of Lululemon or planning to make a large Apple product purchase, do it through the eStore to maximize Aeroplan bonus points.

And the best way to earn Aeroplan points is with an AMEX Aeroplan Card. You can practically earn points on every purchase.

American Express Aeroplan Card Review

If you want to take advantage of Air Canada’s Aeroplan Loyalty Program, the most economical method is to get the American Express Aeroplan Card.

The co-branded charge card allows you to earn Aeroplan Points faster, allowing you to fly free more often. You earn 2 Aeroplan Points for every dollar spent with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 1.5x points for dining and food delivery in Canada, and 1x for everything else.

The AMEX Aeroplan Card’s welcome offer of 40,000 points within the first 17 months of card usage is spectacular. The welcome bonus points are enough for a free economy round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver during high season.


Free Checked Baggage

With many airlines charging a checked baggage fee for basic airfare, including Air Canada, receive a complimentary first free checked bag with your AMEX Aeroplan Card. This benefit saves you $50 to $100 per flight and you can share it with up to eight friends on the same reservation.

Travel Insurance

These travel insurance coverages are included when you fully charge a trip to your AMEX Aeroplan Card, even if it’s not an Air Canada flight:

  • Flight delay insurance up to $500
  • Baggage delay insurance up to $500
  • Hotel burglary insurance up to $500
  • Travel accident insurance with death and dismemberment up to $500,000
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance up to $85,000

Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan

Receive an extra year of extended warrant when you fully charge products to your AMEX Aeroplan Card.

Purchase Protection Plan

Eligible items are insured up to $1000 for 90 days from purchase from theft and accidental damage when you fully charge them to your card.

Is the American Express Aeroplan Card Worth It?

Yes and no. There are a few critical points to check if the American Express Aeroplan Card is worth it.

Get the AMEX Aeroplan Card if:

  • you live in Canada for at least six months per year
  • are a budget traveler
  • charge most of your expenses to your credit card

Avoid the AMEX Aeroplan Card if:

  • you’re a Canadian living outside of Canada
  • you don’t fly with Air Canada often
  • often fly for business

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card Review

With the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card, you earn points at the following rates:

  • 3x points on Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations purchases
  • 2x points on dining and food delivery in Canada
  • 1.25x points on everything else

The faster points accumulation is one thing, but at a whopping $599 annual fee, the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card doesn’t look attractive.

There have to be some amazing benefits with an annual like that, right?

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card Benefits

The AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card has similar benefits to its regular counterpart, plus higher coverage amounts and additional benefits.

The most notable difference between the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card and the AMEX Aeroplan Card is the higher accumulation rate of points.

But here are the main benefits of the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card:

  • 90,000 Aeroplan welcome points
  • $100 NEXUS credit every four years
  • $99 annual Priority Pass membership fee is waived
  • Annual companion pass when you charge $25,000 to your card every year
  • You and up to eight companions receive priority check-in, priority boarding, and priority baggage handling when flying with Air Canada
  • Toronto Pearson complimentary valet parking and priority security lane access
  • Free Access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to eight friends
  • Complimentary upgrade to Avis President’s Club
  • Out-of-province/country emergency medical insurance for the first 15 consecutive days of travel
  • Trip cancellation insurance up to $1500 per person to a maximum of $3000 for all insured persons
  • Trip interruption insurance up to $1500 per person to a maximum of $6000 for all insured persons
  • Flight delay insurance up to $100
  • Baggage delay insurance up to $1000
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance while in transit up to $1000
  • Hotel burglary insurance up to $1000
  • Travel accident insurance with death and dismemberment up to $500,000
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance up to $85,000
  • Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Purchase Protection Plan

These are some amazing benefits, so it seems.

But is the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card worth the $599 annual fee?

You can practically buy a round-trip short-haul flight for $599. I did a quick search for a round-trip flight from Toronto (YYZ) to New York (EWR) with Air Canada during the high season, and it was easy to find flights for less than $599, taxes included.

However, the 90,000 Aeroplan welcome points are worth $2,700, according to American Express. But our calculations indicate the 90,000 points are realistically worth $2,070 (2.3 cents per point). You be the judge.

Of course, after the Aeroplan welcome points, it may be hard to justify the $599 annual fee unless you’re a baller.

On top of the annual fee, the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card companion pass doesn’t add much value since it’s only limited to economy fares. Most travelers with this card will be business travelers or frequent flyers who prefer traveling premium economy or business class.

The good news about the free companion pass is you get to buy the initial economy fare at a fixed rate of up to $599, depending on the destination. This is great if you’re flying with someone during high season, for example, from Canada to Europe, where round-trip economy fares can reach $2,000. All taxes and surcharges are still your responsibility.

Maple Leaf Lounge Access

Unwinding in a lounge with appetizers and a drink makes airline travel that much more comfortable, especially if you’re flying a long-haul flight in economy.

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is a premium lounge, so you’re not receiving poor service and amenities. They even include showers. The regular entry fee is anywhere from $49 to $79, depending on your fare type, starting from Flex Economy. Business class passengers flying on Air Canada and Star Alliance partners receive complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge access.

The downside is you can’t buy access to the Maple Leafe Lounge for the two lowest fare types with Air Canada: Basic and Standard. This is where the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card’s lounge access is an awesome benefit if you fly a few times a year.

However, there are only 23 Air Canada Maple Lounges across 17 airports in Canada, the United States, and Europe. If you live near a smaller airport, then the Maple Leaf Lounge Access is not that beneficial with the Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Locations: Calgary, Edmonton, Frankfurt, Halifax, London (LHR), Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, New York/Newark, Ottawa, Regina, San Francisco, Saskatoon, St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Notable airports missing an Air Canada Maple Leafe Lounge: Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Quebec City, Victoria

Get the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card if:

  • you live near a large airport in Canada
  • you usually fly economy with Air Canada for pleasure or business at least four times a year
  • you charge most of your expenses to your credit card
  • you want to redeem Aeroplan Points for business seats

Avoid the AMEX Aeroplan Reserve Card if:

  • you normally buy business-class fares
  • you are a snowbird
  • you don’t live near a large airport in Canada
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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