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Aeroplan is the mile program associated with Air Canada, giving you access to flights with all Star Alliance partners, including United, Lufthansa, Singapore, Thai, and ANA.
It’s an instant point transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, making it easy for you to take advantage of its awards even if you don’t live in Canada.
But now TD Bank, a Canadian owned bank with lots of branches in the U.S., has introduced a card for U.S. residents that earns real Aeroplan miles.
The TD Aeroplan / Air Canada Visa offers:
This set of features is pretty standard for a co-branded airline credit card. Nothing really special here other than you can earn directly into an Aeroplan account.
You also get to work on qualifying for Aeroplan’s Distinction program, which offers better flight award options from Canada and bonuses for frequent card spenders. But note the intro bonus does not count toward Distinction qualification.
Where is Aeroplan useful?
The Achilles Heel of Aeroplan miles is its practice of imposing large fuel surcharges on most award flights across the Atlantic and Pacific, and that eats away at the value of using Aeroplan for flights rather than U.S. based programs like United, Delta, or American which don’t impose those charges on most flights.
But there are exceptions.
The most useful thing you can do with Aeroplan miles is book flights in Business Class to Western Europe on United, Brussels Airways, Scandanavian Airlines, or Swiss Airlines for 90,000 miles roundtrip and no fuel surcharges.
You can also get to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile for 95,000 miles roundtrip.
That compares to 115,000 miles to Europe and 110,000 to Southern South America using United’s own miles.
Though it’s not the absolute cheapest – ANA which is a Membership Reward transfer partner offers flights for 72,000 miles roundtrip with its new award chart in effect next Spring, though they impose fuel surcharges on more carriers (it’s basically United as the only no surcharge option to Europe).
Other airlines with no or very low fuel surcharges with Aeroplan include: Air China, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA Air, Singapore, and Turkish Airlines according to Rewards Canada.
And to just almost everywhere in the world Aeroplan is a little cheaper than United in Business or First Class if you are using those Star Alliance partners that don’t involve surcharges.
That’s because United charges a big premium for awards on Star Alliance partners in Business and First Class to most parts of the world.
Here are some examples:
Here is the full Aeroplan award chart to see how many miles you’ll need. One-way awards are available for half price.
Who should get this card?
This is primarily useful if you’re a former Canadian resident with a decent Aeroplan balance or fly Air Canada frequently. You’re in a position to take advantage of things like the Distinction benefits that give you access to special members only reward flights that depart Canada, and bonuses on Air Canada flights.
You should beware that foreign transaction fees are not waived, so you’ll get hit with them if you try to use the card during visits to Canada, which is a pretty big hole in the total package of this card.
But if you’ve been earning American Express Membership Rewards points and planning to redeem using Aeroplan miles for an award, this could be useful to top up your Aeroplan balance and save your valuable Membership Rewards points for other options.
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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
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