Should You Get a Visa or American Express Aeroplan Credit Card? I Say Both.

Thanks to generous bonuses and promotions, signing up for a Visa or American Express Aeroplan credit card is a quick way to top up your Aeroplan account. If you are thinking about signing up for a card, you may be questioning which one to go with. I say both.

With smart spending and staying within your means, signing up for multiple cards is a great way to earn points fast. It can take you from a return trip in economy class to a multiple stop business class trip with little effort. Still, many are hesitant to take advantage of these offers. With that in mind, I will answer some of the common questions I receive about signing up for a Visa or American Express Aeroplan credit card just for the points. Also, by utilizing current promotions, I will also show you just how many points you can earn and what it will cost you out of pocket.

Why You Should Take Advantage of Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Since the current travel situation is pretty bleak, I am looking beyond and planning for trips in 2021. Along with that planning is ensuring I have enough Aeroplan points to fly in business class on multiple trips. By far the fastest and easiest way to do that is through credit card sign up bonuses. I have been mildly credit card churning for years now and it has helped me book some incredible trips.

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Despite sharing the benefits on this site and promoting Aeroplan as my reward account of choice, I still have many followers and friends unconvinced.  Now I get that managing multiple credit cards is not for everyone, however, I can’t stress enough how easy this is if you have a little common sense. Spend within your means and pay off the balance each month. That’s it. I have friends that use debit cards for all purchases and I just shake my head when I see it. What do you have against free champagne at 35,000 feet?

Still, signing up for credit cards just for the bonus offers comes with some stigmas. Let’s address those first.

Will Signing Up For Multiple Credit Cards Affect My Credit Score?

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

If you think you are in any way stealing from a credit card company, you only have to look at the minimum spends 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 is 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 business 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.

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 a business American Express Aeroplan 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.

How Do You Manage Multiple Aeroplan Credit Cards?

As mentioned, I mildly churn credit cards. There are individuals that signup for every little offer and carry multiple cards at once. After they hit their spend limit, they cancel the card and move on to the next one. I take a less aggressive approach and only maintain 2-3 cards at one time. I do this for a few reasons:

  1. It helps me funnel all my bills to one card at a time, ensuring I get to the minimum spend.
  2. It keeps my Aeroplan balance in check. Less hoarding and more earning and burning.
  3. Even though it is a small hit to my credit, it keeps the record checks down.

Managing Minimum Spend Limits

I will typically sign up for a card if there is a great bonus offer and the first year’s fee is waived. Once done, I plan out how I will hit the minimum spend limit. First, I transfer all my automatic payments to that card (cell, internet, hydro etc…).

Next, I put all grocery purchases and day to day spending on it. Most cards come with a multiplier for these categories so it earns you more points faster.

Lastly, I keep a list of big purchases I plan to make throughout the year and space them out accordingly. This meant waiting on my new laptop purchase until I opened up my AMEX Business Platinum card. This helped me hit the aggressive $7,000 spend limit easier. Spacing out these purchases also helps manage my finances better. Less impulse spending and more time to save up.

Also, I should note that I never pay interest on my credit cards. Ever. I pay off the monthly balance as to avoid the high-interest rates that come with credit cards. As long as you pay off the months balance, you pay no interest. If I do not have the funds that month, I use my low-interest line of credit to pay off that months bill. I try to avoid this but it happens from time to time and means paying 2% interest instead of 20%. If you own any sort of equity, I suggest opening a LOC with your bank to have this flexibility.

What Aeroplan Credit Cards Offer the Best Signup Bonuses?

I recently shared a post on how I was able to accumulate over 180,000 Aeroplan points in four months.  75,0000 Aeroplan points came from three credit card signups. This included both Visa Aeroplan credit cards and an American Express Aeroplan credit card:

  • CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite (20,000 points)
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege (50,000)
  • AMEX Business Platinum Card (5,000 points*)

*The AMEX Platinum Business Card actually gets you 75,000 AMEX points through a referral program and is by far the best deal out there. The reason I only put this down as 5,000 is that is all I ended up transferring over (AMEX to Aeroplan is 1:1). I did this as it is still unclear where Aeroplan is going in 2020. This way I can covert the rest to a different rewards program and not hoard in one account. Again, earn and burn.

Factoring that in, these three cards alone can get you 145,000 in bonus points. On top of that, you will earn 1-2x points on every purchase. You can see how this adds up quickly.

Getting to 150K Aeroplan Points Through Credit Card Signups – A Case Study

To put this all into practice here is a break down on taking advantage of current credit card offers in Canada. This will show you how quickly you can accumulate points and how much it will cost you out of pocket. For context, 150K points are enough for a round trip in business class from North America to almost all corners of the planet:

Note: I will update this section each month with the latest offers. As such, signup bonus totals will vary.

Visa Aeroplan Credit Cards

Visa Aeroplan credit cards are offered through both TD and CIBC in Canada. As of posting this, here are the best offers:

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite – 30,000 Points

  • 15,000 Aeroplan points after first purchase
  • 15,000 Aeroplan points after spending $1,000 a month for 3 months. (split into 3 x 5,000 installments)
  • $0 annual fee for the first year. $120 after that.
  • 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on aircanada.com and day to day purchases – grocery, gas, drugstore. 1 point per dollar on everything else.
  • Offer valid until May 31, 2020
  • Total points with minimum spend: 33,000 + multiplier points after 3 months
  • Full details

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite – 35,000 Points

  • 20,000 Aeroplan points after first purchase
  • 15,000 Aeroplan points after spending $10,000 over 12-months. (split into 3 x 5,000 installments)
  • $0 annual fee for the first year. $120 after that.
  • 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on aircanada.com and day to day purchases – grocery, gas, drugstore. 1 point per dollar on everything else.
  • Free $120 AirCanada gift card!
  • Total points with minimum spend: 45,000 + multiplier points after 12 months
  • Full details

American Express Aeroplan Credit Cards

American Express offers both Aeroplan credit cards and membership reward (MR) cards. Again, MR points can quickly be converted to Aeroplan points 1:1. American Express Aeroplan credit cards often come with bigger signup bonuses. The tradeoff is that they also come with larger spending limits and annual fees. Still, the fees are worth it in my opinion as a business class trip is worth a heck of a lot more.

That said, American Express has recently slashed its products signup bonuses from 70K to just 25K for its Platinum and Gold cards. As such, I would hold off on signing up for those until better offers come by. Instead, the American Express Aeroplan credit card is a better offer for now:

American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum

  • 40,000 Aeroplan points after a minimum spend of $3,000 in 3-months.
  • $499 annual fee
  • 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on aircanada.com and day to day purchases – grocery, gas, drugstore. 1 point per dollar on everything else.
  • Free companion ticket when redeeming 15,000 short-haul flight
  • Lounge access
  • Total points with minimum spend: 43,000 + multiplier points after 3 months
  • Full details

Case Study Totals

Breaking down the above cards:

  • Total Aeroplan Points Before Multiplier – 121,000
  • Cost – $14,000 minimum spend + $499 Amex annual fee = $14,499
  • Perks include $120 credit towards Air Canada, companion ticket on short-haul points redemption, lounge access.

Factoring in that your minimum spend will include groceries and gas, you will earn another few thousand just on the 1.5 multipliers. Pairing that with smart spending through the Aeroplan eStore, it’s easy to add additional points to make up the difference to 150K.

The current offerings are not the best and I am assuming it is because of the current pandemic. Be sure to check back as I will be updating this section monthly with the latest offers. There should be plenty once Air Canada’s direction for Aeroplan is made clear in June or July!


What say you?
Thoughts on the Visa and American Express Aeroplan Credit Card?
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Should You Get a Visa or American Express Aeroplan Credit Card? I Say Both.
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