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Wealth and Wants

Chase, Air Canada unveil intriguing new credit card

Find out why you might sign up even if you don’t visit Canada

Summary

With a solid rewards program and dozens of partners to redeem them with, the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card could be a great choice for anyone.

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It sounds surprising, but many Americans would benefit from signing up for the new, Chase Aeroplan Credit Card, even if they don’t tend to visit Canada much (if at all). That’s because it offers a wide variety of opportunities to earn points on everyday expenses.

When it comes to redeeming these points, Aeroplan has dozens of enticing partners. There are nearly 50 in all, including Star Alliance members such as United Airlines, Avianca, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and many others (within and even outside of the Star Alliance). It would be very hard to think of a major destination you can’t reach via these partnerships.

Even better, Aeroplan doesn’t charge the pesky fuel surcharges that some airlines assess on award tickets. And stopovers cost just 5,000 points, potentially allowing you to plan a trip within a trip.

Ask Ted a question.

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How to earn and burn points with the card

Cardholders earn 3 points per dollar spent with Air Canada, at grocery stores and on dining, takeout and eligible food delivery services. They get 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. And they get 500 bonus points for every $2,000 they spend in a calendar month (up to 1,500 points per month).

Our sister site The Points Guy values Aeroplan points at 1.5 cents apiece. At that valuation, if you have this new card, you’re essentially getting 4.5% back on every dollar you spend with Air Canada and on food.

Your precise valuation will depend on how you use your points. The Aeroplan award chart includes many partner-based sweet spots that require fewer points for a free flight than flying on Air Canada itself. For example, you could nab a business-class seat on one of Air Canada’s partners for just 60,000 points (each way) between many North American and European destinations. Or, if you’re traveling from many parts of North America to much of Asia, business-class tickets go for 75,000 miles in each direction.

It could be possible to get 6, 7, 8 or more cents per point in value on certain itineraries, especially on what can be very expensive, long-haul international first- and business-class seats. Maximizing your points to that extent usually requires some flexibility with your travel plans and some extra know-how.

For cardholders who want to keep it simpler, this card will participate in Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program beginning in early 2022. Cardholders will be able to get 1.25 cents per point in value to offset a wide variety of travel purchases, including any airline, hotel or car rental charges. This will be capped at 50,000 points per year (worth $625).

Other perks

This card doesn’t have a traditional sign-up bonus. Instead, it offers two Welcome Flight Reward Certificates worth up to 50,000 points apiece after spending $4,000 in your first three months. You can apply these toward air travel, and if you max them out, they’re worth up to $1,500 using that 1.5 cents per point estimated valuation (and again, you might be able to top that with some sleuthing).

New cardholders also automatically receive Aeroplan 25K Elite Status (the program’s lowest elite status level) for the remainder of their first calendar year with the card, plus the following calendar year. As an added bonus, if you sign up in December 2021, your status will be valid through 2023.

These 25K benefits include priority check-in on Air Canada flights, early boarding, seat upgrades, two single-use Maple Leaf Lounge access passes and more. If you spend at least $15,000 in a calendar year, your 25K status will be extended through the next year.

After spending $50,000 in a calendar year, existing status holders are boosted to the next elite status level (35K, 50K, 75K or Super Elite). Laying out $100,000 in a calendar year unlocks further perks such as 50% off Priority Rewards. And at the $1 million mark, cardholders obtain free companion travel for the remainder of that year and the entire subsequent year.

The Chase Aeroplan Card does not charge foreign transaction fees. Cardholders get a free first checked bag on all Air Canada flights for themselves and up to eight travel companions.

The card also includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver and roadside assistance, plus a set of World Elite Mastercard benefits (such as complimentary 24/7 concierge service, access to Mastercard Priceless Experiences and exclusive offers from popular brands for services like ridesharing, food delivery and online shopping).

Finally, cardholders get up to a $100 credit every four years to offset a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS membership. The annual fee is $95.

Who should consider signing up for this card

Frequent Air Canada travelers will certainly get a lot of value from this new offering. But I’d argue the potential audience is much wider than that. During a launch briefing, executives described it as “an un-co-brand co-brand card” – meaning that it isn’t nearly as dependent on a single airline as most airline-branded credit cards.

Because Aeroplan has so many transfer partners and such a desirable partner award chart, someone looking to fly just about anywhere could find a lot to like in this card. In some respects, its closest competition could be seen as mid-tier transferable points cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the American Express® Green Card*.

If you spend a lot on groceries, the Aeroplan card might be even better, since it gives 3 points per dollar on all grocery spending. The Sapphire Preferred only gives 3 points per dollar on online grocery orders and the Amex Green only gives 1 point per dollar on groceries. Of course, the Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Green have other advantages such as elevated rewards on most travel purchases.

It’s also important to remember that travel credit card enthusiasts tend to have many different credit cards. The Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and Capital One miles programs all represent great potential value, but why stop there?

Bottom line

Savvy travelers could benefit from getting the new Chase Aeroplan Card for the sign-up bonus and the everyday value such as generous grocery and dining rewards and the opportunity to get at least 1.25 cents per point toward a wide variety of travel experiences. Plus, if you fly Air Canada or its partners regularly, you could get a lot more value than that.

Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at ted.rossman@creditcards.com and I’d be happy to help.

*All information about the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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