Whether it’s soaking up the adventure of going somewhere new or just visiting family, we all have a purpose for flying. And we all want to enjoy our travels as much as we can.

But sometimes airport experiences can be frustrating, stressful – especially when you’re always standing in long lines while checking in, going through security, and boarding. Not to mention busy airports aren’t exactly quiet places that allow you to relax prior to jumping on the aircraft.

That being said, many airlines – including Air Canada and WestJet – offer priority services that let you skip the long lines and give you access to airport lounges so you can better enjoy your airport experience.

These services are usually only offered to frequent flyers or status-holders with the airline, or if you purchase expensive economy or business class fares.

But that’s where credit cards come in.

Some Aeroplan-branded credit cards offer these benefits when flying with Air Canada.

Credit Card Priority Check-In Priority Boarding Lounge Access Priority Screening (on any airline)
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite (only offers services on rewards tickets) Yes Yes Yes – once per year to Maple Leaf Lounges No
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Yes Yes Yes – 4 times per year at Maple Leaf lounges (on rewards tickets only), a membership and 6 passes to Priority Pass lounges Yes – Montreal, Ottawa & Vancouver
Amex AeroplanPlus Platinum Yes No Yes – unlimited access to all Maple Leaf and Priority Pass lounges Yes – Toronto
Amex AeroplanPlus Reserve Yes No Yes – unlimited access to all Maple Leaf and Priority Pass lounges Yes – Toronto

Please note: To access Maple Leaf lounges, you have to be flying with Air Canada. Priority Pass can be used on any airline.

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Why you want these perks

So, why do you want access to these services? Here’s a quick guide to each one and what makes them so great.

Priority check-in

If you’re the kind of person who checks in online and just brings a carry-on bag, priority check-in might not have as much value for you.

But for everyone else, there are two things this service provides:

  • a dedicated line for checking in, and
  • agents that’ll assist you in getting your boarding passes and tag your checked bags.

Most larger airports have machines for this now – you’d be required to check in yourself, print off your boarding passes and luggage tags, and apply those luggage tags to your own suitcase before standing in line to drop off your bag.

With priority check-in, you have someone else handle this for you.

My personal example

I was travelling from Toronto with my 1.5-year-old son and encountered a really long check-in line.

Luckily, I was travelling on an Aeroplan rewards ticket (I had the ). Because of this, I was able to go through the priority check-in line where there was only one person in front of me. I also didn’t have to deal with a machine to get my luggage tags.

It was a quick and painless bag drop, especially compared to waiting in a 20+ minute line with a toddler in tow. Plus, I got the satisfaction of not having to swipe my card to pay for my bag either.

Priority security screening

The benefit of priority security screening is being able to stand in a much shorter line (or have no line at all) and get through your security screening faster.

Unfortunately, with credit cards, you can’t get this benefit at every airport. American Express credit cards only provide priority screening at the Toronto airport, while Visa Infinite Privilege cards have Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

Status with an airline or travelling in business class will get you this privilege in many large airports around the world.

Lounge access

Want to sit in comfortable chairs and enjoy some free food and drinks in a quiet, relaxing environment? Airport lounge access will do just that.

Plus, you won’t have to listen to constant flight announcements that you don’t need to worry about.

Airport lounge refreshments

Airport lounge free drinks

Free airport lounge food

Priority boarding

The last priority service offered by these cards, priority boarding, will allow you front-of-the-line access to board the plane whenever you choose, rather than waiting in a long line up.

You can get on the plane sooner, find an easy spot to stash your carry-on, and pick your entertainment for your flight.

Credit cards that offer priority airport services

Did any of these services pique your interest? The cheapest way to get access is with the following premium credit cards.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

The is the card with the lowest annual fee on our list, and it comes with all the benefits mentioned above, except priority security screening.

This card will also give you one free checked bag on your rewards flight.

The catch? You only get them while travelling on an Aeroplan rewards flight, and you only get 1 Maple Leaf lounge pass per year.

If you want to enjoy some Air Canada perks without breaking the bank on annual fees, this is a card to consider.

Get the full details here:

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege

The difference between the and the ? The latter will offer you every single one of the benefits we mentioned on any Air Canada flight.

You’ll get:

  • unlimited priority check-in and boarding,
  • 6 Priority Pass passes per year,
  • 4 Maple Leaf Lounge passes per year on award flights,
  • free checked bags on all Air Canada flights,
  • a 50% rebate on the base airfare for one ticket when you buy two, and
  • priority security and parking discounts at Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver Airports.

If you’re flying on an Aeroplan rewards flight, you’ll get 4 passes per year to access the Maple Leaf lounge.

This card does come with a steeper income requirement of $200,000 household and an annual fee of $399 for the primary cardholder ($99 for authorized users). But, if you qualify, it’ll offer the most Air Canada benefits.

Get the full details here:

American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum

Leading off the Amex cards is the .

While it doesn’t provide priority boarding, it makes up for it by providing unlimited access to all Maple Leaf lounges and priority check-in anytime you fly with Air Canada.

This card also offers VIP benefits at Toronto-Pearson airport:

  • free valet parking,
  • discounted parking rates, and
  • priority security screening, no matter which airline you fly with.

It also comes with a rewards companion voucher – book a short-haul Fixed Mileage Aeroplan flight for 2, and get the 2nd ticket for just the taxes and fees, helping you stretch out your Aeroplan miles.

Although it comes with an annual fee of $499, it also has no income requirements, so more Canadians will be able to qualify.

Get the full details here:

American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve

The last card that offers Air Canada VIP services, the , packs a punch.

Like the Platinum version, it doesn’t give you priority boarding, just priority check-in, and the same services at Toronto-Pearson.

You’ll be able to visit all Maple Leaf and Priority Pass lounges, get 5 first free checked bags on Air Canada flights, and get a $200 annual travel credit that can be used towards any travel purchased at American Express Travel.

This card also offers a much better rewards companion voucher. You can get a long-haul Fixed Mileage Flight for two using 25,000 Aeroplan miles plus the taxes and fees for both tickets.

However, this card comes with a steep annual fee of $899. Be sure to take advantage of everything this card has to offer make it worth your while.

Get the full details here:

4 VIP credit cards to choose from

So there you have it. 4 credit cards that will give you VIP treatment with Air Canada, on top of some other awesome travelling perks.

Do you have (or have you had) these credit cards?

Did you make use of these benefits?

We’d love for you to share your story in the comments below.