Aeroplan and AIR MILES.

They’re 2 of Canada’s leading travel rewards program. And with good reason – they provide high value rewards that leave you feeling great.

And with some great programs come some great credit cards.

Both programs offer top credit cards to fit in your wallet – our favourites are the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* and the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card.

But which one is better?

We’re here to go through both cards and see how they stack up.

Related: Credit Card Faceoff: Amex Cobalt Vs Scotia Gold Amex

Summary of the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard and TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Here’s an overall summary of both cards, compared side-by-side in various categories.

BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
Welcome Bonus Up to 3,000 AIR MILES (terms) Up to 40,000 Aeroplan miles (terms)
Earn Rates 1 mile per $10 * 1.5 miles per $1 on gas, groceries, drugstores, and aircanada.com purchases
* 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
Annual Fee $120, first year free $120, first year free
Insurance Coverage 14 types 11 types
Lounge Access Membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences & 2 free passes 1 free pass to Maple Leaf lounges when travelling on Aeroplan rewards tickets
Outstanding Feature 15% discount on the number of miles needed for flights within North America VIP status on Aeroplan rewards flights operated by Air Canada
Apply Now Apply Now Apply Now

Plus up to $300 travel bonus.
Ends October 25th.

Earning miles

Let’s start by focusing on the thing that probably matters most in a credit card – the rewards. After all, it’s all about where can your miles can take you with these programs.

Before we start, let’s quickly review the value of 1 mile for each program.

For Aeroplan, here are the best ways to use your miles:

  • Flights – 2.5 cents per mile (CPM)
  • Air Canada gift cards – 1 CPM
  • Air Canada vacation packages – 0.83 CPM
  • Hotels – 0.73 CPM
  • Car rentals – 0.64 CPM

And these are the best AIR MILES redemption options:

  • Concerts – 21.6 CPM
  • Flights – 17.2 CPM*
  • Car rentals – 16.2 CPM
  • Attractions – 13.4 CPM
  • Hotels – 12.3 CPM

*AIR MILES gives you an average value of 17.2 cents per mile on flights. But when you include the 15% miles discount the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* includes on flights within Canada & the U.S., it increases to 20.2 cents per mile.

For our numbers below, we’ll stick with the flight options of 2.5 and 20.2 cents respectively.

Want to learn more about what you can use your miles for? Our Aeroplan and AIR MILES guides will tell you everything you need to know about redeeming your rewards.

The welcome bonuses

Like most top travel cards, you’ll get a big welcome bonus just by opening an account and completing some spending.

For the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* you can earn up to 3,000 AIR MILES:

  • 1,000 miles after your first purchase, and
  • 2,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

At our 20.2 cents per mile value, the bonus is worth up to $606.

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card has a total bonus worth up to 40,000 miles:

  • 15,000 miles after your first purchase,
  • 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user, and
  • 2x the miles in the first 3 months, until 20,000 miles are earned.

While it seems great, it’s not as good as it seems. The authorized user fee is $50 to get those 5,000 miles.

And, the double miles in the first 3 months includes what you’d normally earn anyway. So, this part of the bonus maxes out at an additional 10,000 miles.

Based on a typical $2,000 per month spend, the total sign up bonus is worth 22,120 miles (not including adding an authorized user). That’s worth up to $553.

One added bonus both cards have? The first year is free, letting you try out both cards for no annual fee.

Earning on everyday spending

Now let’s shift to your everyday purchases.

The BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* keeps it simple. Earn 1 mile for every $10 you spend. No caps, tiers, or categories to worry about.

Based on our average value, that’s a return of 2.02%.

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card kicks things up a notch though:

  • 1.5 miles per $1 on gas, groceries, drugstores, and aircanada.com purchases (up to $80,000 spent annually), and
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

With our typical value of 2.5 cents each, you’re getting a return from between 2.5 to 3.75%.

Other great benefits

Both these cards also offer some great perks beyond just earning rewards.

BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* benefits

The offers a handful of benefits to save miles and make travelling more comfortable.

15% fewer miles on U.S. and Canadian flights

The best feature is requiring 15% fewer miles when redeeming for flights within Canada and the U.S.

Not only does it increase the value of the miles earned with the card, the added value applies to every mile you earn through any method..

Say you redeem for a flight that would normally need 3,000 miles. Instead, you get it for 2,550. Those 450 miles you saved for a future redemption are worth $77.40 at our typical 17.2 cent mile valuation.

Airport lounge access

You’ll also get some free airport lounge access.

The card includes a membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey, with 2 free passes. Additional visits afterwards will cost $32 USD.

Mastercard World Elite benefits

And finally, it includes all the Mastercard World Elite benefits. Some of these include:

  • Priceless cities,
  • World Elite concierge service, and
  • Cirque du Soleil benefits.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite benefits

If you want to make your rewards travel even sweeter, the may be the card for you.

Air Canada benefits

Every time you fly on an Aeroplan rewards ticket, you’ll get VIP status on Air Canada operated flights. This will get you:

  • first free checked bag,
  • priority check-in,
  • priority boarding, and
  • Maple Leaf lounge access (once per year).

Visa Infinite benefits

And as a Visa Infinite card, you’ll get all the great Visa Infinite benefits, including:

  • Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel collection,
  • Visa Infinite dining series, and
  • Visa Infinite concierge.

Credit card insurance coverage

Lastly, we’ll go over the insurance coverage of each card. Credit card insurance is something that you hope to never use, but it’s always nice to have just in case.

Both cards provide some extensive coverage.

The BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* offers a total of 14 (out of 16) coverages available on Canadian credit cards.

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card offers 11 different coverages.

Our verdict

Clearly, we have 2 great cards on our hands, with both offering great rewards and benefits.

But if we had to make a choice, we’d go with the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card.

The biggest reason why? It just flat out offers more rewards. The return is simply more than anything the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* can muster. And getting great benefits on every flight is just icing on the cake.

But if you’re a big AIR MILES collector, the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* may be better for you. You can increase the value of every single mile you earn, and get a boost in getting and maintaining Onyx status. These 2 points alone could easily make the annual fee pay for itself.

Related: How I Earned 11,172 AIR MILES In 1 Year

A more personal verdict

But sometimes numbers can’t tell the whole story.

I’ve actually had the chance to use both cards and personally found the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* to be the better card for me.

I generally prefer the AIR MILES program simply because it’s much easier to accumulate rewards. Besides using a credit card, the only way to get large amounts of Aeroplan miles is by flying, since they don’t have many retail partners to help add to your Aeroplan bank.

As someone who collects between 5,000 – 6,000 miles per year, this card helps me make the most of them. And having them all in one program means it’s easier to make larger redemptions.

And lastly, the 15% discount is a huge saver. Without it, I wouldn’t have had enough miles for the last set of rewards flights I booked. It’s possible the deal I got may not have been there.

With that said, the Air Canada perks the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card has certainly made my last Aeroplan rewards flight more enjoyable, particularly seeing the rather large check-in line in Toronto I was able to bypass.

Truth be told, you really can’t go wrong with either card. It’s all in your personal rewards preference.

The final word

What are your thoughts on these cards?

Is there one you prefer?

Let us know in the comments below.