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AMEX vs. CIBC vs. TD Aeroplan Gold/Infinite Cards

I previously asked everyone to submit their choice of credit card comparison posts. Feel free to continually add more suggestions to the comment section in that post.  One of the request was to compare some of the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards. 

Today, we start with the comparison between the more popular co-branded Aeroplan cards: American Express AeroplanPlus Gold, CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card and TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card. Including business versions, there are over 10 different types of co-branded Aeroplan cards. So I will focus on comparing similar level cards and then you can cross reference them in the future.

For now, let’s start with the highlights of each respective cards and then provided my thoughts on some of the key factors.

American Express AeroplanPlus Gold

  • $120 annual fee
  • 2 free supplementary cardholders, $50 for any additional ones
  • Earn 15,000 sign up bonus Aeroplan miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 1,000 Aeroplan miles for each approved referral (up to 15,000 per calendar year)
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all purchases on the first $10,000 purchases annually
  • Earn 1.25 mile for every additional $1 on purchases over $10,000 annually

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • $50 for supplementary cardholders (up to a maximum of 3)
  • Earn 15,000 sign up bonus miles after the first purchase
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent at participating CIBC Bonus Rewards restaurants, hotels, inns and spas
  • Earn 1.5 mile for every $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores and at aircanada.com (excluding Air Canada Vacation packages)
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive 1 Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Pass each year when traveling on an Aeroplan flight reward
  • Receive complimentary first checked bag on an Aeroplan reward flight operated by Air Canada
  • Priority check-in and priority boarding on an Aeroplan reward flight operated by Air Canada

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • $50 annual fee for an authorized user
  • Earn 15,000 sign up bonus Aeroplan miles after your first purchase
  • Earn 1.5 mile for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore and aircanada.com purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 1 annual Maple Leaf Lounge guest pass when travelling on an Aeroplan flight reward operated by Air Canada
  • Receive complimentary first checked bag on an Aeroplan reward flight operated by Air Canada
  • Priority check-in and priority boarding on an Aeroplan reward flight operated by Air Canada

Annual Fees

All credit cards have a standard $120 annual fee. The only difference is that the AMEX card gives 5 free supplementary cardholders. AMEX hasn’t given any first year fee waived promotions in a while and I do not see it coming back any time soon. While the TD and CIBC cards frequently have first year fee waived promotions.

CIBC is generally a little more quiet about their offers, where they allow first year fee waived if you sign up within the branch. TD has more system wide first year fee waived promotions if you click their specific links.

However, if we are only comparing the standard offer, minus promotions, the edge goes to AMEX. I would only use promotional offers as a tie-breaker, as you will see in the following factor.

Winner: AMEX AeroplanPlus

Sign Up Bonuses

They all offer 15,000 sign up bonus miles. However, AMEX has a $500 spending requirement, while CIBC and TD only requires a first purchase. Lately, TD has the highest chance of offering a higher than normal sign up bonus. You may find 20,000, 25,000 or even 30,000 sign up bonuses. It’s been a while since CIBC offered a 20,000 sign up bonus. As for AMEX, I doubt we will see high bonus offers any time soon.

Let’s not do a tie. With all else equal, I’m going to give the edge to TD with the promotions as a tie breaker.

Winner: TD Aeroplan

Churn-ability

AMEX now has a once in a lifetime sign up bonus, so they would be in last place. TD would be in second place, because they have a clear 6 months waiting period rule; whereby, you need to wait 6 months in between receiving your sign up bonus.

CIBC has a little more loose wording. However, they do have a blanket statement: “Offer may be revoked if you appear to be manipulating or abusing it, or are engaged in any suspicious or fraudulent activity, as determined by CIBC in its sole discretion. Offer may be withdrawn or changed without notice at any time.” So I would not go crazy in between sign ups with them anyway, but they are still the winner.

Winner: CIBC Aerogold

Referral Bonuses

There is no debate here. AMEX is the only one that offers a 1,000 referral bonus (upon approval) when referring family and friends, up to a maximize of 15 referrals (or 15,000 bonus miles) per calendar year. Long gone are the days when it was 10,000 bonus miles per referral. But it is still better than CIBC and TD who have yet to offer this bonus.

Winner: AMEX AeroplanPlus

Earning Ratios

They all offer 1 mile per dollar spent on all purchases. There are additional multiplier bonuses. AMEX offers 1.25 mile per dollar after your first $10,000 in spending per calendar year. While CIBC and TD both equally offer 1.5 mile for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore and aircanada.com purchases. However, CIBC gets the edge because it offers 3 miles for every $1 spent at participating CIBC Bonus Rewards restaurants, hotels, inns and spas.

Winner: CIBC Aerogold

Air Canada Lounge Access / Priority Boarding / Free Checked Bag

AMEX does not offer any of these perks. While CIBC and TD have virtually the exact same offers.

Both offer complimentary first checked bag and 1 free lounge pass to a Maple Leaf Lounge per calendar year on a combo Air Canada and Aeroplan reward flight. They also offerPriority check-in and priority boarding on an Aeroplan reward flight operated by Air Canada.

So much for finding a tie-breaker. Feel free to share one with me if you can see one!

Winners: CIBC and TD

Retention Bonuses

Based on my research, this is a hit and miss. Generally, if you are already a TD client, you can probably negotiate a better retention bonus, which actually works against them in terms of who’s the best for this factor. Same goes for CIBC. Seeing as American Express has a once in a lifetime sign up bonus limit, I would give them the benefit of the doubt. Also, since they do not have a banking side, you can’t already be a client with them with other non credit card products. As a result, I would give the edge to American Express here. I would really like to think that you have your best chance with them.

Winner: AMEX AeroplanPlus

Conclusion

If you thinking about winning the miles and points game, then higher sign up bonuses and first year fee waived promotions are what you want to aim for. As a result, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card would be my current pick. Let’s see the competition heat up between the three!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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