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 recent Canadian market is not great – you’d be lucky to get 25k miles with the first year annual fee waived.
We will need to do a LOT of credit card churns if we were to rely 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 60,000 and referral bonuses of 15,000 MR if you have platinum cards, so we will start our “Amex Churn Train” there first (and also have lounge access as early as possible).
A good visual summary of the cards can be found here on post #2.
Another good thing about Amex cards is that there are no income requirements.
A student can apply and get approved for these cards.
STEP 1: Apply for the Amex Personal Platinum Card
With a referral, you get 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. You also earn 1.25 MR per dollar spent. The card comes with $200 in travel credits that is renewed on January 1st of each year.
Yes, the annual fee is $699, but this can effectively be reduced to $299 by converting the $200 travel credits to cash and doing it again when it gets renewed on January 1st.
Read here for more info and a step by step guide on how to do this.
60k miles for $299 is insane value – that’s a earn rate of 0.05c per mile! (most people value Aeroplan miles at 1.5-2c per mile).
[Update September 2018: The travel credit now renews on card anniversary, making it impossible to redeem twice. Thus, I would consider the Annual Fee $499 instead of $299]
You also 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 hotels over $600, which is quite useful for travel plans. This can be combined with Platinum perks, like free dessert platter when booking through the concierge or spa vouchers or room upgrades for platinum card holders, often making these offers a double deal!
Some of the status you get with the Amex Platinum card
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: Refer yourself the Amex Business gold card
Now that we completed the Amex Plat welcome bonus we should have around 63,750 aeroplan miles (60,000 + 3750 from the regular spending).
The next thing to do is to refer yourself the Amex Business Gold card from yourself.
You can refer yourself by sending yourself an invite and selecting the business gold at the bottom of the page (more cards section). 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 (a little harder but not impossible). 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).
Update July 1 2018: I think too many people was churning this card (this card gave the single most points for no annual fees) and Amex has now stopped the first year free offer. The annual fee is now $250, which is a little hard to swallow.
I would use the Canada post offer (no annual fees but you can’t use referrals) to save $250, but lose the 15k points from referral. If you just want the points faster, even with the annual fee it’s still a very good deal – $250 for 55k points (40k for the card + 15k from self referral), as you are paying 0.4c per point.
STEP 3: Apply for the Amex Gold card
We should now have at least 123,750 miles (63,750 + 15,000 from referral, +~5,000 from business gold spending, +40,000 business gold 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. 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 🙂
And there you have it, over 150,000 Aeroplan miles ready for you to do whatever you want with them.
The entire process should take 3 months at minimum (if you are a heavy spender) to 9 months in the worst case. The only annual fees you pay is for the Platinum Card which you can reduce to $299 by converting the travel credits to cash twice – and you get the all the associated platinum card perks which is probably worth a couple hundred dollars as well, depending on how much you can take advantage of it.
Not bad eh?
I’ll cover Alaska Miles on the next page of this guide.