You really don’t need to spend your hard earned cash to be able to fly business class as a Canadian. Even though we don’t have a large array of credit cards in comparison to our neighbours down south, it is still possible to take advantage of the current air point offerings to the likes of companies like American Express and banks such as TD who still have some pretty decent travel rewards programs available.
I started my digital nomad life in 2017 and have been able to take two business flights from Canada to Asia for under $1000, with the majority of those points achieved from welcome points offered upon signing up.
Collecting Aeroplan Welcome Points
The first thing you’ll want to do if you already haven’t is to sign up for the available Canadian credit cards that offer welcome bonus points which usually involves spending a minimum amount usually between $1500 to $3000.
Also note that most travel reward credit cards require a minimum annual income of around $60,000 (this may vary, so please check upon application).
Because I spend quite a bit on expenses for my online businesses, it’s not too difficult to meet these requirements. However, even if you’re not, you can likely find a way to spend this money – in the end, that business class flight will make up for it. At least if you’re a frequent traveler or are planning a yearly long haul flight with your hubby.
How Many Aeroplan Points can I get from a Canadian Credit Card?
My primary Aeroplan cards over the past couple of years have been the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and the American Express Gold . They both offer welcome points ranging from 20K-30K, which is decent since it was around 75K points (taxes & fees which is variable) to get me from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Vancouver.
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite currently offers 20K welcome points plus 15K if you spend more than $10K in your first year.
Keep in mind that if you use the credit card(s) for your expenses, you’ll be able to collect points which are often 1pt:$1 or more as well.
Aeroplan Credit Card Yearly Fees
- TD Aeroplan Infinite (Canadian) – First year free for primary holder $120 after
- Amex Gold – $150 yearly fee
- CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite – $120 (first year rebatable)
I don’t typically go for the cards that require more than the standard $120 yearly fee. There are cards out there that will charge a significantly larger amount ($400 and higher), but for my situation (and for the average Canadian) we’ll keep those credit cards out of the picture.
Credit Card Churn to Collect Travel Rewards
What some people do and have done is what we call card “churning” where you collect your welcome points then later cancel the card before you have to pay the yearly fee. Most cards have responded to this and may actually charge you upfront or impose incentive to stick around beyond that year.
How to Book Your Business Class Flight (using Aeroplan)
You have two options: call by phone or book online.
The two times that I flew business class, I booked online as it was easy to do. However, it used to be possible to book what is called a mini RTW (round-the-world) trip where you could actually spend more time in a layover destination so you could have a series of mini holidays. So instead of going from point A to B and back to A in one go, you could do A-B-C-A and potentially get more bang out of your points.
One resource that may be useful is to check out the Flyertalk forum, where travelers share their experience with various reward redemptions, flight routes, and more. Keep in mind that this forum isn’t solely for Canadians, however, Aeroplan points can sometimes be used for “partner” airlines.
Flexibility of Aeroplan Flight Bookings
One of the benefits of booking your flights through Aeroplan is that they often allow you to change or cancel your flight as long as it’s a couple days before flight time. Of course if you’re rebooking to a different date or changing the destination, you’ll have to pay the difference, but you still have the assurance that your points won’t just disappear if something suddenly comes up.
If you’re booking over the phone, the agent may help you find a more suitable or preferential route to your destination. As I mentioned earlier about the mini RTW, this is usually done by phone since the agents may be able to more easily explore the options available to you.
I think taking advantage of the travel rewards programs currently available to Canadians is a great way to not have to spend thousands of dollars (regular prices seen in photo below) to take business class flights.