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 miles 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 miles 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 miles 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
PLEASE NOTE THE AEROPLAN CARDS ARE BEING REVAMPED CHECK BACK ON SHORTLY FOR THE NEW CARD DETAILS
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card and the
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Cards 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, not to mention the TD card offers a higher sign up bonus.
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 Miles with the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card and the
American Express® AeroplanPlus Reserve Card with some accelerated options for certain categories. For example, Gas, Grocery and Drug Store purchases should be on the TD Card as those will earn 1.5 Aeroplan Miles per eligible dollar spent while Air Canada purchases should be put on the American Express card since it earns 2 Aeroplan Miles per dollar on those purchases.
Related: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan miles?
Now on to the actual benefits portion and why these cards make sense as part of the Ultimate Air Canada Credit Card portfolio
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.
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.
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