American Express just introduced a new Aeroplan co-branded premium credit card called the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. There is a very hefty annual fee that comes with it, so let’s take a look to see why. Below are the highlights of the credit card:
- $899 annual fee
- $299 for supplementary cardholders (maximum of 9)
- Earn 50,000 sign up bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on Air Canada purchases
- Earn 1.25 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
- Receive a $200 Annual Travel Credit
- Receive a Partner Ticket benefit for a short-haul or long-haul flight reward when you redeem up to 25,000 Aeroplan Miles
- Unlimited access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges
- Receive up to 5 complimentary first checked bag annually on flights operated by Air Canada
The $899 annual fee is quite steep, so let’s take a look and see why. First of all, supplementary Cards do not have access to the Annual Partner Ticket Benefit, $200 Annual Travel Credit, Aeroplan Priority Line, and Privilege Flight Pass, which is already a bummer, but expected.
The 50,000 sign up bonus barely covers the first year $899 fee. I value Aeroplan points at 1.8 cent a piece as ideal, which means 50,000 is worth $900. That is assuming you manage to get that much value out of your points. So by the time the second year rolls around, the $899 looks quite scary. So how do we make the $899 worthwhile?
Earning 2 points for every $1 spent on Air Canada purchases is decent. Though that is in line with the American Express Gold Rewards Card, so not too impressive yet. To qualify as an eligible Air Canada purchases means purchases made directly with Air Canada as the merchant or with Amex Canada Inc. (also referred to as American Express Travel Services). This also includes Air Canada Vacations packages purchased directly from Air Canada or from American Express Travel Services.
The 1.25 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases is definitely not outstanding, but definitely better than 1 point for every $1 spent.
The $200 Annual Travel Credit can only be redeemed at time of booking through American Express Travel Services or at americanexpress.ca/travel. Travel booking must be charged to The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. If you can take advantage of this credit, it automatically reduces your annual fee to $699. I would not even bother getting this credit card unless you know you can use this credit.
The Partner Ticket is really the main attraction here. If you can redeem your Aeroplan points for a long-haul round-trip ClassicFlight reward ticket in economy class and receive a Partner Ticket (must be on the same itinerary), you instantly get some good value here. Long-haul flights worth up to 25,000 points for a round-trip can easily be worth $600 or more, depending on when you fly. This is pretty much the deal breaker on whether to get this credit card or not. If you can take advantage of this perk, you will pretty much break even every year.
The unlimited lounge access makes this credit card more worthwhile the more you use it. So be sure to take advantage of all the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges whenever possible. Unfortunately you will have to pay for your guests to enter the lounge with you.
The 5 free checked bags per year saves you $25 x 5 = $125 per year if you can take full advantage of this perk.
Conclusion: The $899 is definitely very high, but I do see a lot of value to be had with this credit card. If you manage to take advantage of as much as the benefits as possible, you can definitely get full value of the $899 fee. This is a great credit card for people who travel on Air Canada at least 5 round-trips per year.