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The Ultimate Air Canada Credit Card Portfolio
Posted: November 9, 2016
Last Update: May 30, 2021

 

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In this feature of Rewards Canada' Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for travelling on Air Canada. This one differs somewhat from our Ultimate Aeroplan Portfolio as this one doesn't look at maximizing the number of Aeroplan Points you earn but rather maximizing the benefits you get for travelling on Air Canada. We have always recommended that you should carry a Visa, a Mastercard and an American Express card in your wallet. The reason why is that there are benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of credit card. We won't go into detail here as you can read all about it in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points but here we outline one card from each brand that will help you make you travel on Air Canada better, easier and more enjoyable all the while earning Aeroplan Points or other points with your purchases. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for an Air Canada portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that will benefit you when you travel on Air Canada. If you are only out for earning Aeroplan Points then this portfolio is not for you, you should check out our Ultimate Aeroplan Portfolio

What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate Air Canada Credit Card Wallet? It is the following three cards

Visa - TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege*

Mastercard - mbna Rewards World Elite Mastercard

American Express - American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card

The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card and the American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card are the obvious choices since they offer the Air Canada benefits while the mbna Rewards World Elite makes the most sense as a Mastercard for the portfolio as there is no Mastercard out there that actually gives you Air Canada benefits, we'll explain this choice later. You could also get the CIBC version of the Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege but seeing that TD is the primary issuer for Aeroplan we go with that card.

Related: The Ultimate Aeroplan Card Portfolio

How to maximize your Air Canada benefits with these cards

As we said, this is not a card portfolio to maximize your Aeroplan mileage earning although the earn on the two actual co-brand cards in this portfolio is nothing to laugh at. You'll earn a minimum of 1.25 Aeroplan Points with the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card and the American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card with some accelerated options for certain categories. For example, Gas and Grocery purchases should be on the TD Card as those will earn 1.5 Aeroplan Points per eligible dollar spent while Air Canada and Dining purchases should be put on the American Express card since it earns 3 and 2 Aeroplan Points respectively per dollar on those purchases.

Related: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Points?

Now on to the actual benefits portion and why these cards make sense as part of the Ultimate Air Canada Credit Card portfolio

Check In
Let's start off with check in. The American Express card offers your first bag free for Air Canada operated flights up to 5 times per year. So you'll want to utilize this benefit first. If you are checking luggage on more flights than that you can use the first bag free benefit from the TD card as it is not limited to 5 flights but rather is good on all flights. Both cards also give you Air Canada priority check-in, so you can skip the longer economy class line up and check in where the business class travellers and elite travellers do.

Security
If you are flying out of Toronto Pearson you'll want to show your Amex card at security as you can jump the CATSA queue and take the priority screening lane. Flying out of Vancouver, Ottawa or Montreal? The TD Visa Infinite Privilege will give you priority screening at those airports.

Lounge Access
Both cards offer some sort of lounge access but the American Express card comes out ahead in this category. Both cards offer up Priority Pass memberships but the American Express card also gives you unlimited access to Air Canada's own Maple Leaf lounges as well as Priority Pass Prestige membership. The TD card gives you Priority Pass Standard membership but also 6 free lounge visit vouchers each year. So when you are travelling with a companion and not access a Maple Leaf lounge you can use the Priority Pass Prestige membership from the Amex card and give your companion one of the vouchers from the TD card. The TD card also provides four free Maple Leaf lounge access passes when you travel on Aeroplan award tickets.

Related: Rewards Canada's Guide to Business Class Lounge Access


Boarding
This is one of the best benefits of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card. You get priority boarding on Air Canada operated flights! You get pushed up to Zone 2, so you are behind the Super Elites and such but you get to board before most of the plane and grab that coveted overhead bin space. But wait you get first bag checked for free so in some cases you don't have to worry about that fight!

Credits and Companion Flight Offers
These are some great benefits from the cards that will save you money and/or Points! First off the TD card offers a once per year 50% discount on a companion business class fare. The fare class must be J,C, or D which are not the heavily discounted business class fares but perhaps your company will pay for your flight and you can then take along a companion at 50% off. It is the American Express Reserve card which offers up the big benefits in this category and are part of the reason this card has the highest annual fee of any publicly available card in Canada. First off, it has a $200 annual travel credit that can be used towards any booking made via American Express Travel, doesn't matter if its a flight, hotel or car rental. Then it has an Annual Partner Ticket Benefit. Once per year, you can redeem up to 25,000 Aeroplan Points for a short-haul or long-haul round-trip Fixed Mileage Flight Reward in economy class and receive a second Partner Ticket for the same itinerary. Thus the card saves you between 15,000 and 25,000 Points on that award itinerary. Finally the Amex card has an Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass benefit. This benefit allows you to buy at a discount, eight prepaid, one-way flight credits within Air Canada’s North American network. All in all if you can take advantage of these benefits you stand to save quite a bit of money on your Air Canada travels.

The Mastercard option
Now you may ask why is the mbna Rewards World Elite Mastercard part of this portfolio. Well there is not one Mastercard card in Canada that gives you benefits for travelling with Air Canada. However in our Ultimate Credit Card series of portfolios the mandate is to provide a wallet that has one Visa card, one American Express Card and one Mastercard. So what do you do if there isn't a Mastercard that provides Air Canada benefits? You pick the best suited one that can help out this portfolio but not cost too much since the other two main cards come with hefty annual fees. Honestly you'll only pull this card out where only Mastercard is accepted (Costco for example) or if there is a promotion that requires you to pay with a Mastercard. On the redemption side, this card is our go to choice for portfolios like this since it gives you 2% back towards any travel purchase or you can choose to get that 1.67% as cash back. Easy as that. Redeeming Aeroplan Points for an award ticket? You could always put the taxes and fees on the mbna card and then redeem your points against that charge.

Related: Which credit cards can be used to cover award ticket taxes, fees and surcharges?

The Ultimate Air Canada Credit Card Portfolio:

Card Card Features

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card

Apply Now
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card

Annual Fee $599 Additional Cards: $199 †
Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on funds advances
$200,000 household annual income

Limited Time Offer

Apply by December 5, 2021 to earn up to $2,400 in value† (assuming you take one round-trip Air Canada flight and add an Additional Cardholder to your account in the first year) as follows:

  • As a new Cardholder, you could earn a bonus Buddy Pass that can score you a second ticket when you book an economy ticket to bring anyone along anywhere Air Canada flies in North America, Including Hawaii and Mexico. On the second ticket, you only pay the taxes and third-party charges. You’ll receive the one-time use pass when you keep your Account open, active and in good standing for 90 days after Account opening, and you have a whole year to use it† (a value of $350†).
  • Earn a welcome bonus of 20,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase with your new card† (a value of $400†).
  • Earn an additional 45,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $1,000 within 90 days of Account opening, up to a total of 65,000 Aeroplan points (a value of $900†).
  • Enroll for NEXUS and once every 48 months get an application fee rebate† (a value of up to $125†, assumes both the Primary Cardholder and Additional Cardholder use the NEXUS Benefit).
  • Share free first checked bags† (a value of $120† for 2 travelers for each round-trip flight, assuming you take one round-trip Air Canada flight in the first year).
  • Get access to Maple Leaf Lounges† (a value of $550†)

  • Earn Aeroplan Points on your everyday purchases
  • Take advantage of an extensive suite of travel insurance.
  • Get access to Priority Airport Services† like Priority Boarding, Priority Baggage Handling, and Priority Airport Standby & Priority Airport Upgrades†.
  • Earn 2 points† for every $1 spent on eligible purchases made direct through Air Canada® purchases (including Air Canada Vacations®)
  • Earn 1.5 points† for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery, travel and dining purchases
  • Earn 1.25 points† for every $1 spent on all other purchases made with your Card
  • Earn points twice when you pay with your Card and provide your Aeroplan number at over 150 Aeroplan partner brands and at 170+ online retailers via the Aeroplan eStore (www.aeroplan.com/estore)

  • Global Airport Lounge Access† : Receive a complimentary Priority Pass™ membership and take advantage of six lounge visits included for each Cardholder per membership year at over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
  • Complimentary Visa Infinite Concierge† : On-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Visa Infinite Concierge can help with any Cardholder request — big or small, to help you get the most out of life whenever you travel, shop and use your Card.
  • Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection†: Receive seven exclusive benefits when you book your stay through the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection featuring over 900 of the world’s most intriguing properties. Enjoy an additional 8th benefit at over 200 properties, exclusively for Visa Infinite Privilege cardholders.

Apply Now

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here .

† Terms and Conditions apply.

Sponsored advertising. The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete and current information on any TD product, please click the Apply Now button.


American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card

Card Type: Credit   
Annual Fee: $599
Additional Card Fee: $199 for each Additional Aeroplan®* Reserve Card to share some of the benefits and earn Aeroplan points faster $0 for each Additional Aeroplan®* Reserve No Fee Card to earn points faster
Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances

  • New American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Cardmembers can earn up to a total of 90,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass:
  • Earn 30,000 Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of Cardmembership
  • Plus, you can also earn 5,000 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $1,000 in purchases on your Card for the first twelve months of Cardmembership. That could add up to 60,000 Aeroplan points
  • With a bonus Buddy Pass, you can bring a friend anywhere Air Canada®* flies in North America. On the second ticket, you only pay the taxes and third-party charges
  • New Cardmembers: Earn up to $2,900 in value within your first year. Spend applies to bonus point offers valued at up to $1,800
  • Advance your Aeroplan Elite™ Status with an American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card. Apply for an American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card by October 1, 2021 and spend at least $10,000 in qualifying net purchases by November 30, 2021 and you’ll earn, step up, or jump start your Aeroplan Elite Status
  • Earn 3X the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada®* and Air Canada Vacations®*
  • Earn 2X the points on eligible Dining and Food Delivery purchases in Canada
  • Earn 1.25X the points on everything else
  • Get through the airport quicker with Air Canada Priority Check-In, Air Canada Priority Boarding and Air Canada Priority Baggage Handling
  • Receive one Annual Worldwide Companion Pass when you spend $25,000 in net purchases prior to your Card anniversary date; your Pass entitles you to buy an accompanying Air Canada economy class ticket for a companion at a fixed base fare from $99 to a maximum of $599 CAD (plus taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges)
  • Enjoy access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf LoungesTM* and Air Canada Cafes in North America, with a same day ticket on a departing Air Canada or Star Alliance flight
  • Enjoy your eligible first checked bag free for up to 9 people travelling on the same reservation on Air Canada flights
  • Roll over any unallocated Aeroplan EliteTM* Status Qualifying Miles and unused eUpgrade Credits to the following year to enjoy during your travels
  • American Express® Experiences opens doors for you to access a number of special events, including special dining experiences, VIP parties, advance film screenings and more
  • Get more from your travel experience at Toronto Pearson International Airport with:
    • Access to Pearson Priority Security Lane
    • Complimentary valet service at the Express Park and Daily Park
    • 15% discount on parking rates at the Express Park and Daily Park
    • 15% discount on Car Care Services
  • Get access to more than 1,200 Priority Pass airport lounges and enjoy an oasis of comfort before your flight, regardless of your airline or cabin class
  • Insurance Coverage: whether you’re shopping nearby or travelling abroad, you can feel confident knowing you can be taken care of
  • American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card is made from precision cut and engraved 13g metal – it’s the perfect companion on your next exceptional journey
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply 

Apply Now


MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®
MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

• 20,000 bonus points†† (approximately $165 in cash back value) after you make $2,000 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
• 10,000 bonus points†† (approximately $80 in cash back value) once enrolled for paperless e-statements within the first 90 days of account opening.
• Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases until $50,000 is spent annually in the applicable category. 1 point for every $1 on all other eligible purchases.
• Each year, you will receive Birthday Bonus Points equal to 10% of the total number of Points the Account earned in the 12 months before the month of your birthday, to a maximum Birthday Bonus each year of 15,000 Points.
• Redeem points for cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, charitable donations, and travel.
• Standard Annual Interest Rates of 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on balance transfers, and 24.99% on cash advances.
• Mobile Device Insurance***
With Mobile Device Insurance, you’ve got up to $1,000 in coverage for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage or mechanical breakdown.
• $120 annual fee. $50 Additional Card Annual Fee for one authorized user (if you have one).
• To qualify, your personal annual income must be greater than $80,000, or your household annual income must be $150,000 or greater.††††
• This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.  For residents of Quebec, please click here.


Apply Now

Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the "Apply Now" button.

‡ These are highlights of the credit card rewards program (the "Program") associated with this credit card account. Points will be awarded on eligible transactions charged to your account as set out in the Program terms and conditions. The account will earn five (5) points per dollar spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases until you spend $50,000 annually (per calendar year) in the applicable category. Other eligible purchases will earn a Base Earn Rate of one (1) point per dollar. Each year, the account will receive Birthday Bonus Points equal to 10% of the total number of Points the account earned in the 12 months before the month of the primary cardholder's birthday, to a maximum Birthday Bonus each year of 15,000 Points. The Birthday Bonus Points will be added to the account before the end of the primary cardholder's birthday month. The redemption rate for Points earned may differ depending on the redemption option chosen. Complete terms and conditions describing Program eligibility, accrual, earn limits, and redemption of Points, and other important conditions will be sent after your account is opened. Please read the terms and conditions carefully upon receipt.

†† To qualify for this offer, an applicant must be approved for the specific credit card account described in the offer. Welcome bonus of 20,000 points will be awarded if $2,000 in eligible Purchases are made on your Account within the first 90 days of account opening that are not subsequently rescinded, the subject of a charge back request(s) or otherwise disputed. In order to obtain a "Paperless Bonus" of 10,000 bonus points, you must enroll in online banking at www.mbna.ca and consent to Paperless Statements for the account within the first 90 days of account opening, and not subsequently rescind such enrollment throughout this period. Please allow 8-10 weeks for the applicable bonus points to be posted to your points account. Limit one-time bonus point offer (no cash value) per new account for each bonus point offer. This offer is not available to residents of Quebec. This promotion is offered by MBNA and may be amended or cancelled at any time without notice.

†††† To be eligible for a World Elite account, your personal annual income must be greater than $80,000, or your household annual income must be $150,000 or greater. Additional account qualification criteria apply as set out in the application.

✪ Balance transfers will be fulfilled in the order listed and are treated as balance transfers in accordance with your Account Agreement. The total value of balance transfers cannot exceed your authorized credit limit. If the value is greater, MBNA may send a partial payment to the named creditor/designated account. THERE WILL BE A TRANSACTION FEE EQUAL TO 1.00 % OF THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF EACH BALANCE TRANSFER INITIATED WITH THIS APPLICATION. A MINIMUM FEE OF $7.50 WILL APPLY TO EACH BALANCE TRANSFER TRANSACTION. A balance transfer may not be used to pay off or down your account balance or any other balances with us (including our affiliates, which would include any member of the TD Bank Group).

***Insurance coverage is underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC) under Group Policy MBNA-0620. To be eligible for Mobile Device Insurance you must use your Account to pay all of your monthly mobile bill payments and any upfront costs or pay at least 75% of the purchase price with your Account when paying the full cost of your mobile device up front. Benefits, features and coverages are subject to conditions, limitations and exclusions that are fully described in the Certificates of Insurance included with your Guide to Coverage. ABIC, its subsidiaries, and affiliates carry on business in Canada under the name of Assurant®. ®Assurant is a registered trademark of Assurant, Inc.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.


Other Card Options:

You have another two options on the American Express side of things. You could go with the one level lower and grab the American Express  AeroplanPlus Platinum Card. It is very similar to the reserve card but limits the partner ticket benefit to short haul only (15,000 Points), has no travel credit or the discounted flight pass option. The second choice is to get The Platinum Card from American Express. It costs less per year in terms of annual fee and gives you a whole slew of benefits for non Air Canada travel. On the Mastercard side you could also look at no fee cash back card options like the Tangerine Card. We recommend you check out our Cash Back Credit Card comparison for other options.

Final thoughts:

As you can see just by getting the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege and the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card you stand to make your Air Canada flying much more enjoyable and stand to save lots of money if you can take advantage of the credits and companion offers provided by the cards. This portfolio is not for everyone as many of you fly whatever airline is cheapest. This portfolio is for someone who will or does fly Air Canada quite a bit and does not have one of the higher Altitude elite status levels. For example, flying between Sudbury and Toronto every few weeks may only get you Prestige status with Air Canada which doesn't provide very many benefits but tacking on this card portfolio you'll be able to fly more like those Super Elites.

Talk to us!

What do you find works best for you for maximizing your benefits on Air Canada? Do you use these three cards exactly as laid out above or do you use a different combination? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

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