I’ve spoken a lot about the theory, but let’s actually put together a plan we can action on to earn those Aeroplan Miles. Unfortunately, the usual Canadian card market is not great – you’d be lucky to get 25k miles with first year annual fees waived.
We will need to do a LOT of credit card churns if we were to rely only on TD cards to get 150k+ Aeroplan miles. We definitely need a different way…
American Express Cards
Amex cards is the fastest and easiest method to earn Aeroplan points.
Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points transfer 1:1 to Aeroplan (except the Cobalt card’s points), among other hotel and airline partners. Welcome bonuses range from 25,000 to 75,000 and referral bonuses of 25,000 MR if you have the Business Platinum cards, so we will start our “Amex Train” there first (and also have lounge access as early as possible).
A good visual summary of the cards can be found here.
Another thing about Amex cards is that there are no income requirements – a student can apply and get approved for these cards. Lastly, Amex is known to not do a credit check on card applications if this is not your first card with them. This is fantastic as it has no negative impact to your credit score at all no matter how hard you churn their cards!
STEP 1: Apply for the Amex Business Platinum Card
With a referral, you get 75,000 points after spending $7,000 in 3 months. You also earn 1.25 MR per dollar spent. Yes, the annual fee is $499 which is shocking at first glance, but if you think about it, 75k miles for $499 is very good value – that’s a earn rate of 0.67c per mile! (most people value Aeroplan miles at 1.5-2c per mile).
I get that spending 7k in 3 months is quite hard to accomplish for most people, but you can book a refundable hotel to hit the Minimum spend requirement. You can then have up to a year to spend the 7k before you cancel the hotel booking. More details can be read here.
In addition, you get unlimited free airport lounge access for you and a guest, as well as elite status at hotel chains, car rentals, etc. These can help with room upgrades and free gifts when staying in Hilton, SPG, Marriott hotels and more.
Lastly, American express continuously emails special offers to card holders all the time. Last month, I got a free $100 credit if I spent $100 at a fancy steakhouse (basically a free meal) and $200 credit if I booked travel over $600, which is very useful for hotels. This can be combined with other Platinum perks, like free dessert platter when booking through the concierge or spa vouchers / room upgrades for platinum card holders, often making these offers a double deal!
If you don’t have a referral, please consider using my link.
This helps with the website hosting fees and rewards me for putting in the many hours of creating this site for you guys 🙂
STEP 2: Self Refer the Amex Business gold card
Now that we completed the Amex Biz Plat welcome bonus we should have around 83,750 aeroplan miles (75,000 + 8,750 from the spending).
The next thing to do is to send a referral link for yourself to the business gold card. Go to Refer-a-friend on the Amex portal and copy the URL – you can see the Gold Business card on the bottom of the page. You used to get the annual fee waived from a referral, but it got hit by Amex so that is no longer possible 😦
Put yourself as a Sole Proprietor and use your name as the business name. Trust me, it works.
You get 40,000 welcome bonus miles after spending $5,000 in 3 months. The kicker is the referrer (yourself) gets 25,000 for free! Business gold cards also get 2x the points on 3 suppliers – I recommend designating one to Plastiq – it help you reach the minimum spend much easier (I’ll cover this later in this guide).
STEP 3: Apply for the Amex Gold card
We should now have at least 133,750 miles (63,750 + 45,000 business gold spending & bonus + 25,000 referral bonus). This is already enough for a business class round trip to anywhere in Europe!
Amex Gold card via Perkopolis get the annual fee rebated after the minimum spend and 25,000 welcome bonus miles after spending $1,500 in 3 months, for a total of 26,500 miles. Gold cards earn 1MR per dollar spent and 2 on gas, groceries and travel.
If you don’t have the Perkopolis code, just shoot me a email and I will give it to you 🙂
TD & CIBC Promotions
TD and CIBC do regularly run promotions throughout the year – usually 25k-30k Aeroplan miles with the first year free. These are excellent promotions and I recommend you take advantage of it whenever possible – these cards are churnable and a great way to accumulate miles without paying annual fees. For example, you can skip the Amex Business Gold card and just get a TD and CIBC card to save $250.
CIBC currently offers 35k with no annual fees (available in branch only).
And there you have it, over 160,000 Aeroplan miles ready for you to do whatever you want with them with just 3 card applications.
The entire process should take around 2 months at minimum (if you are a heavy spender) to 9 months. The annual fees you pay is $499 for the Business Platinum Card and $250 the Amex Business Gold for a total cost of $750 (not taking into account any value obtained from lounge access and other Amex offers).
For comparison, $750 is the average cost of a pretty heavily discounted economy ticket to Asia, while on the other hand 160k miles is enough for a business round trip to anywhere in the world, including Australia. Not bad eh?