When it comes to getting high value travel rewards, Aeroplan is one of the best programs available in Canada.
To get even more out of the program, do your wallet a favour and get yourself a top Aeroplan card ‒ so you can earn miles on every purchase AND redeem them sooner.
Thankfully, the Aeroplan program has plenty of great cards to choose from. Today, we’ll review the top 2 side by side – the
Both cards have their pros and cons. And while we do have one ranked better than the other, which card is really better also depends on you.
So here’s everything these 2 cards have to offer, and you can be the judge of which is the best.
Summary of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and American Express Gold Rewards cards
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite||American Express Gold Rewards|
|Welcome Bonus||* 15,000 miles after your first purchase
* 5 bonus miles per $1 spent in the first 3 months (terms)
* Offer ends March 2, 2020
|* 25,000 points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months (terms)|
|Earn Rates||* 1.5 miles per $1 on gas, groceries, drugstores, and aircanada.com
* 1 mile per $1 on everything else
|* 2 points per $1 on gas, groceries, drugstores, and travel
* 1 mile per $1 on everything else
|Travel Point Value||* Up to 2.5 cents on Aeroplan rewards flights
* 1 cent for Air Canada gift cards
* 0.73 cents for hotels
* 0.64 cents for car rentals
|* Up to 2.5 cents on Aeroplan rewards flights
* 1.75 cents for Fixed Points Travel Program
* 1.16 cents when transferred to Marriott Bonvoy
* 1 cent for travel booked any way
|Annual Fee||$120, first year free||$150|
|Insurance Coverages||10 types||10 types|
|Apply Now||Apply Now|
Ends January 31, 2020.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite overview
Our top rated Aeroplan-branded card, the
And when you redeem your miles for flights on Air Canada, you’ll get some great benefits to make your free flight even sweeter.
American Express Gold Rewards card overview
Our overall top rated Aeroplan card is the
So, in addition to having the full suite of Aeroplan redemption options, you can redeem within the Amex program as well if you find something interesting.
Earn rates in detail
Let’s start with the basic earn rates.
- 2 points per $1 on gas, groceries, drugstores, and eligible travel, and
- 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
“Eligible travel” in this case includes flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more.
- 1.5 miles per $1 on gas, groceries, drugstores, and aircanada.com purchases (up to $80,000 annually), and
- 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.
So as you can see, the TD card earns fewer miles.
But how many miles would you be missing out on over the course of a year?
Here’s how they stack up side by side, based on a typical $2,000 monthly spend, including $100 per month on aircanada.com purchases.
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite||Amex Gold Rewards|
|Monthly spend||Earn Rate||Miles Earned Annually||Earn Rate||Miles Earned Annually|
|Gas, Groceries, Drugstores||$650||1.5 miles per $1||11,700||2 points per $1||15,600|
|aircanada.com||$100||1.5 miles per $1||1,800||2 points per $1||2,400|
|Other Travel||$100||1 mile per $1||1,200||2 points per $1||2,400|
|Other Purchases||$1,150||1 mile per $1||13,800||1 point per $1||13,800|
|Total Miles Earned||28,500||34,200|
Based on these numbers, the
We can’t forget about those welcome bonuses. And they’re vastly different in how they’re earned.
It’s more complicated with the
- 15,000 miles after your first purchase, and
- 5 bonus miles per $1 spent in the first 3 months, up to 15,000 miles earned.
Based on the spending above, the welcome bonus is worth 22,120 miles.
But it does waive the annual fee for the first year, making it easier to try it out.
Now that you know what you could earn for miles, what can you use them for? Here’s a brief overview of both Aeroplan and Membership rewards.
Aeroplan program overview
When redeeming miles in Aeroplan, your best value is redeeming for flights within Canada and to the U.S – with an average mile value of 2.5 cents.
Why only here?
Unless you’re on the right airline, taxes and fees are very high on Air Canada and many other partner airlines. On flights to Europe for example, you could easily stand to pay more than half of the actual cost just in taxes and fees on economy class flights. Most flights to Europe result in a mile value of less than 1 cent, with only somewhat better value for the rest of the world.
Unless you’re redeeming for a business class seat (which offer great value no matter where you’re travelling), sticking to flights in Canada or to the U.S. gives the best value possible.
But that’s not the only way to redeem your miles for travel. Here are some other options you can use as well:
- Air Canada gift cards – 1 cent per mile (CPM),
- Air Canada vacation packages – 0.83 CPM,
- hotels – 0.73 CPM, and
- car rentals – 0.64 CPM.
Amex Membership rewards overview
If you have the
Here are a few other ways you can redeem for travel with your Gold Rewards card:
- transfer to 5 other airlines (varying transfer ratios and value by airline),
- Fixed Points Travel Program – 1.75 cents per point (CPP),
- transfer to Marriott Bonvoy – 1.16 cents per point, and
- redeem for any travel – 1 CPP.
At the end of the day, you’ll get more options, and are guaranteed a value of at least 1 cent per point, no matter what you end up deciding to book.
When it comes to perks, both cards have plenty to offer.
In the case of the
- priority check-in,
- free first checked bag,
- priority boarding, and
- Maple Leaf lounge access (once per year).
These are great benefits that can save you money, and make your travelling life easier.
Purchase and travel insurance
When it comes to insurance, they’re very similar cards.
Both have 10 types of insurance, but the amounts for the
One other advantage it has? The insurance of the TD card covers you on Aeroplan rewards tickets.
Finally, we can’t talk about about Amex cards without talking about the elephant in the room – acceptance.
Much is made about Amex acceptance, but it’s really not that bad.
That being said, there are 2 large merchants in Canada that don’t accept Amex cards:
- Loblaws banner stores, which includes Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Atlantic Superstore, and No frills to name a few (but excludes Shoppers Drug Mart), as well as
- Costco ‒ but they don’t accept Visa cards either (only online).
So if you shop frequently at these stores, it’s good to have a no-fee card that pairs well with your Amex. (Like the
As long as you have a no-fee Mastercard, the
But if you’re a frequent shopper at Loblaws stores, or find the Air Canada benefits appealing, then the
My personal experience
I’ve personally had both cards and used them to their full potential. I have a preference for the
I booked a trip to Europe using points, and the Aeroplan value just wasn’t there. Instead, I was able to use my points to pay for the flights of my choosing with my Amex (and earned miles while flying as well).
But the benefits the
I currently still have this card though, but that’s because I have the TD All-Inclusive account, and not paying the annual fee makes it a better card for me.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these cards.
What are your thoughts on these cards?
Do you have a preference for which one you prefer?
Let us know in the comments below.