Published on March 25th, 2015 | by William Charles18
TD Aeroplan Visa Credit Card Review – 25,000 Aeroplan Mile Sign Up Bonus
This is another post in our Weird Wednesday series where we take a look at credit cards you might not have heard of today. We had hoped to post about a different card today, but we are still awaiting some more details so instead we’re going to look at the TD Aeroplan Visa Credit Card. You can view more cards in this series by clicking here.
Firstly for those not familiar Aeroplan is the rewards program for Air Canada. Let’s have a look at the major points of this credit card:
- Sign up bonus of 25,000 Aeroplan miles when you spend $1,000 or more in purchases in the first three billing cycles
- Annual fee of $95 is waived the first year
- Card earns at the following rates:
- 2x Aeroplan miles per $1 spent on Air Canada purchases
- 1x Aeroplan miles on all other purchases
- Visa Signature Benefits
- EMV Chip
- Issued by TD Bank
The earning rates on this card are not exciting at all, you’d be able to earn at a much higher rate by using a card that earns points which can be transferred to Aeroplan (e.g the SPG cards/AmEx Everyday Preferred for non bonus purchases and the American Express BRG for Aeroplan purchases).
Aeroplan Transfer Partners
Whenever looking at airline co-branded credit cards (or cobranded travel cards in general) it’s always important to keep in mind that it’s possible to transfer points from flexible points programs to these airlines. I find the best resource is the Frequent Miler master spreadsheet. In a couple of seconds we can quickly see that with Aeroplan:
- You can transfer SPG points to Aeroplan (remember if you transfer 20,000 or more at a time you get a bonus of 5,000 points)
- You can transfer American Express Membership points to Aeroplan (they’ve previously offered a transfer bonus, but not since 2011)
- You can transfer Diners Club points to Aeroplan (don’t know of any bonuses)
- You cannot transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to Aeroplan
- You cannot transfer Citi ThankYou points to Aeroplan
Why The Earning Rates Suck
Once you realize that it’s possible to transfer points in from SPG, American Express & Diners Club you’ll realize that putting any spend on this card makes no sense at all. Let’s have a look at three better alternatives.
Non Bonus Purchases
The Aeroplan card earns 1x miles on all other purchases (we’ll call these non bonus purchases). Let’s look at how you can easily beat this:
- AmEx Everyday & AmEx Everyday Preferred. These card earn 1x MR points on all purchases. But it’s possible to receive a bonus of 20%/50% if you meet some transaction requirements:
- AmEx Everyday. If you make 20 or more transactions in a month you’ll earn an additional 20% in points, making this card earn 1.2x points on all purchases. This card has no annual fee (compared to $95 from the Aeroplan card). It also has a 10,000 point sign up bonus and earns 2x points at grocery stores.
- AmEx Everyday Preferred. If you make 30 or more transactions in a month, you’ll earn an additional 50% in points, making this card earn 1.5x points on all purchase. There is an annual fee of $95 and it has a 15,000 point sign up bonus. One of the biggest benefits is that it earns 3x points at grocery stores (4.5x after the bonus).
- American Express SPG cards. Both the personal and business versions of these cards earn 1x points. The advantage to this over the Aeroplan card is that when you transfer 20,000 points to Aeroplan, you receive a 5,000 point bonus. This means the SPG cards earn up to 1.25x on all purchases. The annual fee is also lower ($65).
The TD Aeroplan card earns 2x points on Aeroplan purchases. Considering this is the cobranded credit card, you would think that would be the highest you can earn. You’d be wrong. It’s possible to earn 3x points with American Express Business Rewards Gold Card (now called the Enhanced Business Rewards Gold Card). This card let you pick airlines as a category to earn 3x Membership Rewards points in, 1 more point per $1 spent than the TD bank card. The annual fee is $175 (waived first year) but it is possible to get a sign up bonus of 75,000 points on this card.
Sign Up Bonus
Now that we’ve shown that it doesn’t really make sense to put any spending on this card, let’s have a look at the sign up bonus. The TD Aeroplan card earns 25,000 miles after $1,000 in spend within the first three billing cycles. This is a fairly low sign up bonus for an airline card.
The SPG cards both earn 25,000 SPG points (30,000 Aeroplan miles) and this usually goes up to 30,000 SPG points (35,000 Aeroplan miles) once a year. American Express also offer a ton of cards that have sign up bonuses of more than 25,000 Membership Rewards points.
One of the biggest selling points of this card is that it’s issued by TD Bank and not one of the larger card issuers in the United States. That being said, TD Bank actually has a number of interesting products (TD Easy Rewards & TD Cash Rewards both earn 5x/5% cash back on certain categories for the first six months and their TD First Class earns 3x points on travel & dining).
Unfortunately TD Bank seems to usually pull Experian or Equifax depending on where you live.
According to reader Matt, miles earned from purchases (not the sign up bonus) count as elite qualifying miles. So using this card to get elite status might be an option for some people.
My biggest problem with Aeroplan miles are the fuel surcharges that they impose on their own flights. Fortunately these fuel surcharges aren’t imposed when you use Aeroplan miles to book flights with some their partners. That being said 25,000 miles isn’t enough miles to fly very far (it’s just enough to fly round trip domestic in mainland US & Canada).
If this card had a higher sign up bonus (of let’s say 40,000 or 50,000 miles) then it’d be a lot more attractive and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it. It doesn’t have a sign up bonus that high though, so you’d likely need to transfer points in from a flexible point partner to get any real value out of Aeroplan.
The biggest advantage of this card is the fact that it’s issued by TD Bank and not one of the larger card issuers, if you’ve already applied for all the major cards from other card issuers then this might be a good option. Personally? I’m giving this a miss until they offer an increased sign up bonus.