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The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.
It comes with a hefty annual fee, but if you use the card to its full potential, it is worth the up front annual fee cost!
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card comes with a generous sign-up bonus of up to 65,000 Aeroplan points and a $100 statement credit. It has elevated points earning on Air Canada purchases, dining, and food delivery services, so you earn points quickly. The free lounge access and free checked baggage is the cherry on top!
The difficult part of the Amex Aeroplan Reserve is figuring out whether or not it is worth keeping the card beyond the first year when you don’t get the nice sign-up bonus.
You really have to look at your travel style and needs and decide whether the American Express Aeroplan Reserve is right for your or if you want to transfer to another premium card like the Amex Platinum Canada.
But for the first year, if you have the means to pay the annual fee and meet the minimum spends, the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card is a great option!
We’re going to talk all things American Express Aeroplan Reserve in this post and give you the low down on the card.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
By the end of it, you’ll have a pretty good idea whether or not the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card is the right one for you!
Table of Contents
There are plenty of perks that come along with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card.
It is a premium credit card, so American Express has to make it worth the annual fee!
Some of the top perks of the card are:
- Up to 65,000 Aeroplan points as a sign-up bonus
- $100 statement credit
- Free first check bag for you and up to eight guests on the same reservation
- Priority check-in, boarding, and and baggage handling on Air Canada flights
- Priority access to the stand-by list and eUpgrade list
- Access to Maple Leaf Lounge for you and one guest
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent at Air Canada
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on eligible dining and food delivery services in Canada
- Complimentary valet parking at Pearson International Airport
Yeah. That’s a long list and a lot of perks for one credit card!
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve also comes with Priority Pass lounge access, but it doesn’t come with any lounge visits!
You have to pay $32USD per lounge visit with the level of Priority Pass you get with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve.
So, really, it doesn’t come with Priority Pass lounge access in my eyes! If you want access to airport lounges around the world, the Amex Platinum is you best choice!
Pros and Cons of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
- Amazing sign-up bonus and perks
- Easy to earn a lot of points quickly
- Ability to redeem points on a variety of partner airlines
- Expensive annual fee
- Only get access to Maple Leaf Lounges
- Not every merchant accepts American Express
You earn and redeem Aeroplan points with the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card.
There isn’t the option to transfer your points to a partner program, but Air Canada has a number of partner airlines you can redeem you points with.
No matter what continent you want to travel to, there is a partner airline that will get you there if Air Canada can’t or you want to experience a different airline.
You can redeem your Aeroplan points on other Star Alliance airlines including Turkish Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and more!
You can access some of the best airlines in the world with your Aeroplan points!
Aeroplan points may not seem the most flexible at first glance, but the more you learn about them, the more you see they are very valuable.
Especially for Canadians!
You earn up to 65,000 Aeroplan points with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card.
The sign-up bonus is a little bit unique, and you have to meet multiple minimum spends to get the full sign-up bonus.
Here is how the annual fee on the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card works:
- 35,000 Aeroplan points when you spend at least $3,000 on the card in the first three months
- 5,000 Aeroplan points per month when you spend at least $1,000 per month in the first six months of holding the card
Essentially, you have to spend $1,000 per month for the first six months to get the full 65,000 Aeroplan point sign-up bonus.
The wording is a bit confusing, but it as easy as that!
In addition to the Aeroplan points, you also receive a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first three months of holding the card.
You earn points pretty quickly on the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card!
Here are the points earning categories:
- 3x points on Air Canada purchases
- 2x points on eligible dining and food delivery services in Canada
- 1 point for every other $1 spent
You also have the opportunity to earn points twice when you shop through the Aeroplan webstie.
Aeroplan partners with a number of top retailers in Canada (including Hudson’s Bay and Chapters). If you log into your Aeroplan account and use their Aeroplan link to shop at their partner stores, you earn extra points for doing so!
This is on top of the Aeroplan points you earn by using your credit card!
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Air Canada makes it really easy to redeem your Aeroplan points!
It is all done through the Air Canada website, and it is much easier to navigate since the November 2020 upgrade!
There are a few instances where you may need to call Air Canada to book a redemption ticket. This will happen if you’re booking a really complicated redemption that the computer algorithm can’t quite handle. The average person won’t run into that scenario!
The most important step to redeeming your Aeroplan points is to log into your Aeroplan account before you start searching for flights!
Once you’re logged into your account, you search for flights as you normally would.
The only difference is you need to click the use points button.
This will show you the results for Air Canada flights and partner airline flights. It also shows you the price in points rather than in fiat currency.
It is super easy to use and quite an intuitive system.
I personally think they did a great job on upgrading the online redemption portal and made it much easier for people to use!
Best Way to Redeem Aeroplan Points
I personally think the best way to redeem your Aeroplan points is for flights between the North America zone and Pacfic zone.
You arguably get the best value per point between those zones based on the redemption price and miles flown.
This means you can fly from North America to Southeast Asia, India, East Asia, or Oceania for a fair redemption price!
It also gives you the opportunity to fly with some amazing airlines like Singapore Airlines and ANA!
The cost for long-haul flights within North America is pretty good as well!
If you’re flying over 2,751 miles within North America, it only costs 17,500 to 25,000 in economy no matter how far the flight is.
In comparison, it costs 35,000 Aeroplan points to fly the same distance within the Pacific and Atlantic regions!
My Unpopular Opinion
The travel hacking community is hyper focussed on getting the most value per point and maximizing rewards as much as possible.
I think the human aspect of us is often lost in the conversation.
Without a doubt, I think redeeming your points for any trip you want rather than worrying only about maximizing your points is a better strategy.
There is no sense planning a vacation to the Pacific zone just because it is the best value if visiting the Atlantic zone is your dream vacation.
Heck! I don’t always use my points in the most strategic way and use them for trips I want to take even if I don’t get the ultimate value per point!
My philosophy is to maximize your points within your travel style and the trips you want to take.
Even if it means leaving a little bit of value per point on the table.
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Worst Way to Redeem Aeroplan Points
The worst way to redeem your Aeroplan points is for purchasing merchandise or gift cards!
The value you get per point is very deflated form the value you get when redeeming for flights!
It is in your best interest to wait until you’re going on a trip and redeem your points for a flight.
Of course, if you Aeroplan points are about to expire, it is better to redeem them for merchandise or gift cards. It should be a last resort though!
It is fairly difficult for your Aeroplan points to expire, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
As long as you have an Aeroplan credit card, you points won’t expire!
If you don’t hold an Aeroplan credit card, you points expire when there has been 18 months of inactivity on your account.
As long as you either earn or redeem points within 18 months, they won’t expire!
So save them for a trip!
The annual fee on the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card is a whopping $599!
That is a significant amount of money, so you need to really consider whether you get enough benefits out of the card to make it worth basically $600.
In the first year if you earn the full 65,000 Aeroplan points sign-up bonus, you definitely get the cost of the annual fee back in benefits.
It becomes harder and harder to get enough value out of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card in years two and beyond.
How to Decide Whether You Should Keep the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Past the First Year
You need to do a cost-benefit analysis of how much you’re going to get out of the American Express Aeroplan Reserve to figure out if you should keep in beyond the first year.
Do the math and figure out how much value you get by not paying for checked luggage, accessing Maple Leaf Lounges, and the Aeroplan points you earn on the card.
If the math works out in your favour and you like the card, go ahead and keep it!
If not, cancel it and move onto a different card.
I personally only see this card being valuable past the first year for people who travel extensively in North America (and mostly Canada). And Air Canada loyalists.
I love that American Express doesn’t have minimum income requirements on their cards!
It makes them so much more accessible than most other premium travel credit cards, and I really appreciate that!
You just have to meet these requirements to be eligible for the Amex Aeroplan Reserve:
- Be a resident of Canada
- Have a Canadian credit file
- Be the age of majority in your province
Yup! It is that easy!
The only thing that may get you denied by American Express is your credit score.
American Express has high standards when it comes to credit scores, and for a premium credit card like the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card, you need at least a credit score of 750.
The higher the better!
It takes a while to build up such a strong credit score, but it is worth the effort! It is amazing to be able to access premium credit cards.
Who Should Get the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
I think this card is a good option for people who want to earn a lot of Aeroplan points in a short amount of time.
Th American Express Aeroplan Reserve card is without a doubt the quickest way to be rolling in the Aeroplan points without doing a whole lot to get them.
That being said, I think it is important for people to recognize that people who travel within North America often get the most benefit out of this card.
You get access to lounges within North America, free checked baggage on Air Canada, priority benefits on Air Canada.
If you redeem your points with a partner airline, you lose some of the benefits that come with the card.
It is still a great card- don’t get me wrong!
I just want you to have all the information you need to decide if the Amex Aeroplan Reserve is right for you.
- The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card is great for people who want to earn a lot of Aeroplan points quickly (even if they redeem them on a partner airline)
- The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card is best for people who want to earn a lot of Aeroplan points quickly and travel within North America on Air Canada frequently
Of course, this should go without saying, only get the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card if you can afford the annual fee and meet the minimum spends!
Who Should NOT Get the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Anybody who can’t afford to pay the annual fee, won’t meet the minimum spend, or doesn’t fly that often shouldn’t get the American Express Aeroplan Reserve card.
It is a premium travel credit card, so it is designed for the most serious of travellers.
If you’re a more casual traveller, you may want to look into a less premium Aeroplan credit card.
Additionally, if you don’t travel much within North America, the American Express Aeroplan Reserve probably isn’t the right credit card for you.
The American Express Platinum is a better premium credit card for people who travel outside North America frequently.
Alternative Credit Cards
- American Express Platinum (read review)
- American Express Aeroplan (read review)
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve card is one of the top premium travel credit cards in Canada.
It is a great addition to your wallet if you’re an Aeroplan enthusiast and want to earn points quickly.
The perks that come with the card are pretty nice too!
I do wish there was a better Priority Pass associated with the card, but at least you get access to Maple Leaf Lounges!
I definitely think the average person will benefit from the lower-end American Express Aeroplan card or the CIBC or TD Aeroplan cards.
They have more affordable annual fees and minimum spends.
But if you’re looking to level up and enter the world of premium travel credit cards, the Amex Aeroplan Reserve card is the best option for Canadians who travel within North America on Air Canada on a regular basis.
If you travel outside North America frequently, the American Express Platinum is probably a better option.
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American Express Gold Canada (Earn Points Quickly)
If Air Canada and Aeroplan are your go to airline and loyalty program and you want extra benefits when you fly with them, this card makes an excellent choice. With the best earn rate for Air Canada purchases, amazing benefits and a full suite of insurance coverage this card has you covered.Is American Express Aeroplan Reserve being discontinued? ›
On January 10, 2020, it is no longer possible to apply for two cards that have been withdrawn from the market by American Express: American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Card. American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card.Does Amex Aeroplan Reserve have lounge access? ›
The Amex Aeroplan Reserve card earns Aeroplan points and offers cardholders various Air Canada benefits including priority boarding, free checked baggage, and Maple Leaf lounge access. Check out our American Express Aeroplan Reserve card review for more details.What is the income requirement for American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card? ›
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card does not have a minimum income requirement to be eligible. You'll earn the best available signup bonus of up to 90,000 Aeroplan points if you apply using a referral link. Consider supporting Prince of Travel by applying for the card via our referral link below.What are the disadvantages of Aeroplan? ›
Some drawbacks of the Aeroplan loyalty program
A charge to book with partner airlines:Aeroplan members have to pay around a $30 fee ($39 Canadian dollars) to book flights with one of Air Canada's partners. You can use points to cover that fee.
Yes, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is hard to get because it requires at least good credit for approval. Unless your credit score is 700 or higher and you have a lot of income, it will be difficult for you to get approved for the Delta Reserve Credit Card.