My Tried and Tested Aeroplan Credit Card Churning Strategy

Would you like to build up enough points to take an incredible trip every year? Wondering how to get Aeroplan Points fast? Here’s my sure-fire Aeroplan credit card churning strategy to keep you flying in style for years to come.

With international travel finally making a return, I happily logged into my Aeroplan account to see where I could go next. Turns out, not far.

Dreams of booking a future trip were quickly dashed. My upcoming trip to Africa cleaned out a good chunk of points and, given the state of travel, I neglected to address this over the last two years. With that in mind, I set out a plan to top up my account. This strategy can be replicated each year and is a great way to keep that Aeroplan tank full. Best of all, pretty much anyone can replicate this.

A Bit About Credit Card Churning

Before diving into my Aeroplan credit card churning strategy, let’s look at what it is and what you need to be aware of before signing up for multiple cards.

What is Credit Card Churning?

In order to attract new customers in the competitive credit card space, credit card companies offer attractive signup bonuses. Credit card churning is the method of signing up for these bonus offers and then, once conditions are met, cancelling the card or putting it aside and moving on to another card and another offer. In doing so, you can rack up a lot of points fast and cheap.

Does Credit Card Churning Impact My Credit Score?

A common misconception about signing up for credit cards is that it takes a toll on your credit score. Although your credit score does consider a card’s limit as debt (even if you have a zero balance), your credit score is largely untouched when applying for and opening accounts. In Canada, your credit score is broken into the following:

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Used credit vs. your available credit (30%)
  • Credit history length (15%)
  • Public records (10%)
  • inquiries into your credit file (10%)

Considering the above, as long as you maintain good credit and pay off your bills each month, opening new accounts does little to your score. Not paying your bills on time, however, does. So, if you find managing multiple bills a challenge then opening multiple accounts is not in your best interest. That said, with proper management and smart spending, your credit score will be fine.

Is Signing Up Just to Get Bonus Points Wrong?

This is the other big question I get about signing up for multiple credit cards just to get fat signup bonuses. Is it wrong or are you taking advantage? In short, no.

First-Class flight booked for 65,000 Aeroplan points!

If you think you are in any way stealing from a credit card company, you only have to look at the minimum spending put in place to receive the bonus. Most cards have an initial bonus for signing up but to receive the full value, you have to hit a certain spend limit. This guarantees the credit card company profit through those sales and is calculated as such. The groups that are affected by this are the stores paying the credit fees, although I have a hard time feeling bad about that. Cash transactions were already on the way out before the pandemic. Going forward, touchless transactions will be more popular than ever.

Although I don’t necessarily agree with the high fees credit card companies charge businesses to use their services, these fees are often passed to the customer. As a customer, I enjoy the benefits and convenience that come with credit cards.

Credit Card Spend Limits

As mentioned above, to get the full value out of the sign-up bonus offers, cards typically come with a spending limit. Historically, if a card came with 50,000 bonus points, the first 20,000 would be credited upon first use. The remaining 30,000 would be credited after spending a set amount (ie. $3,000) in a set amount of time (ie. 3 months after activation.)

Now, possibly to combat credit card churning, companies have implemented longer durations to obtain the full amount of points. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, for example, offers 10,000 points up front, 20,000 after spending $1,500 in 90 days, and an additional 20,000 points after spending $7,500 in the first year. This can significantly delay the churning process. That said, you could forgo the additional 20,000 points in favour of another offer. If there is no first-year fee, this would be 30,000 points for free.

Duration Between Card Offers

Another possible effort to combat credit card churning is the increased period between offers a card company will allow. This used to be 3 months however I am now seeing 12 months between product signup with the same brand to be eligible for new offers. Keep this in mind for the plan outlined below.

Aeroplan Credit Cards in Canada

In Canada, TD and CIBC are the only banks to offer Aeroplan branded cards through Visa. American Express has Aeroplan products but also cards with their own point system that can be converted, instantly, to Aeroplan at a 1:1 rate. My Aeroplan credit card churning strategy involves a cycle rotating through these products.

All cards come in different categories but can be summarized into introductory, basic, premium, and business.

Introductory Cards

These introductory cards offer the lowest signup bonus and perks but have low or no annual fees.

Basic Cards

Higher signup bonus points, earning rate, and perks than intro cards but come with a small annual fee. That said, the first year is usally free through regular promotions.

Premium Cards

Premium Aeroplan credit cards have the highest bonus offers and excellent perks such as lounge access and companion passes. This, however, comes with a cost of high annual fees that are rarely waived or offered free through promotion.

Business Cards

These cards are meant for business owners and typically have higher bonus offers and perks. They also have high fees but some products waive the first year or offer statement credits to counter the fee.

Can I Sign up for Business Credit Cards Without Owning a Business?

This one varies by the credit card provider. CIBC and TD require business details and sometimes in-person validation. That said, this is just showing a registered business name which anyone can do as a sole proprietor. Validation for an American Express Business Platinum credit card is even less and applications are done online.

So, it is possible to sign up for business credit cards as long as you have a registered business name. That said, I have a business and apply under it so I only have that experience to speak of. Proceed at your own risk (possible cancellation and voided points) if applying otherwise.

If you’re looking at signing up for a business credit card as an individual, check out this article on applying for business credit cards without a business.

My Aeroplan Credit Card Churning Strategy

So, again, it’s no surprise that credit card sign-up bonuses are the best ways to earn Aeroplan points fast. This has been discussed. What I haven’t shared is my strategy, year-over-year, to keep those points topped up. This has been my typical cycle for the past few years;

  • AMEX Platinum Business Card – Use for year-end purchases then hang on/cancel before annual fee renewal
  • CIBC intro or basic card – Hold in parallel to Amex and pick based on promo at the time. Cancel after spend limit hit.
  • TD premium card – Day-to-day spending to reach spend limit then cancel. *I have held this longer this year for the added eUpgrade perks.
  • CIBC Business Card – Cancel after spend limit hit.
  • TD basic card – Overlap with CIBC Business then next Amex card. Wait for a fee-waived promo, cancel after spend limit hit.
  • Repeat – 2-year cycle

AMEX Platinum Business Card

This is the second cycle I have signed up for the American Express Business Platinum card. Last time it netted me 75,000 points. This year it was up to 100,000!

There was a $10,000 spending limit at the time to get those points however, I keep my large items for year-end and pair this with Black Friday sales and Aeroplan bonus offers. For business owners think of new laptops, cameras, daily spending, home/office renovations, and company cars if applicable. My last Amex spend, for instance, including a down payment on a Tesla for myevtrips.com.

This card does come with a $500 fee but it’s tax-deductible. It also comes with some good perks such as Priority Pass for accessing airport lounges around the globe. With international travel opening up, I am hopeful to get some value out of it by visiting a couple of the Centurion Lounges similar to the one I wrote about in Las Vegas.

If you are interested in this card, the current promo through my referral is for 90,000 Amex points (1:1 to Aeroplan) with a lower spend limit of $6,000 in three months. This is a great deal and, paired with smart spending, a great way to top up your points fast.*

*Note – Amex sometimes implements a “once in a lifetime” clause to its bonus offers. I have not had issues with getting more than one bonus offer but something to keep in mind. I do not see this clause in the current offer. Still, to be safe and avoid potential recouping of points, once you receive your points you can transfer them instantly to a variety of programs including Aeroplan 1:1.

CIBC Intro or Basic Card

Since American Express cards aren’t widely accepted, I tend to carry a Visa alongside it. Depending on the promo at the time, I pick up a CIBC intro or basic card with no annual fee.

TD Premium Card

The TD Aeroplan Infinite Privilege card is arguably the best one out there for bouns points and perks. It’s hefty annual fee of $599 does seem like a lot but the value is there, trust me. The current offer gets you a whopping 105,000 Aeroplan points! On top of that, you get access to Maple Leaf Lounges as well as a worldwide companion pass. If you are only going to hold one card, this is the one.

That said, this is about Aeroplan credit card churning. I have held this one long enough to hit spend limits and then cancelled to allow enough time to pass for the new TD product. In the meantime…

CIBC Business Card

In the past, CIBC business cards came with a 60,000 Aeroplan sign-up bonus offer with a $180 fee. The first year, however, was free in the form of a statement credit. Also, you can cancel if you’re not getting the value from the card before the year is up and pay nothing. On top of that, it came with a companion pass which is essentially a two-for-one ticket. Better yet, in the past, Aeroplan gave you the ability to cash out that pass for an additional 30,000 points.

That said, I have not had a great experience with CIBC staff. They require in-person verification of business documentation and each time I have set this up the staff were disorganized and confused as to what they needed to do. I would only recommend their business products if the deal is worth it. The current CIBC Aeroplan Business card only comes with a 20,000 Aeroplan sign-up bonus and has a fee of $180. This is not great and I wouldn’t recommend based on the hassle and disorganization I have experienced with CIBC in the past.

TD Basic Card

Depending on the gap between the last TD card, most years I have picked up the TD Infinite card. This is the second-best product out there in my opinion. The current offer nets you 50,000 Aeroplan points with no annual fee for the first year. I hang on to this and overlap with the next American Express Business Platinum credit card.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, keeping a portfolio of cards and swapping them out over the years equals big bonus points. Pairing that with manufactured spending and you have a way of keeping your Aeroplan points topped up for an epic trip each year. For reference, my around-the-world business class flights to Africa cost 210,000 points. Under this Aeroplan credit card strategy, I have already earned enough to cover this trip through bonuses and regular accumulation by spending.

Implementing even a portion of this credit card churning strategy gets you some serious points quickly. Based on your comfort level or spending ability, you can also space this plan out to fit your lifestyle best.

As always, if you have questions or need a hand with your own strategy, contact me or leave a comment below!


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