American Express just released a new credit card: The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card (this is not a referral). It has an $899 annual fee, and a 50,000 Aeroplan Point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Frankly, it’s a terrible offer.
What you get
Aside from the ridiculous annual fee and the sign up bonus, you get a $200 travel credit annually. Unlike the American Express Platinum Card, where you get a $200 travel credit every calendar year, which can mean a $400 travel credit in your first year of owning the card, this card issues the travel credit on your card anniversary date. This means only one $200 travel credit in your first year, and every year thereafter.
With the card, you will get an annual Aeroplan partner ticket, that you can use for a North American redemption. Your partner’s points cost will be waived, but you will still be responsible for paying their taxes and surcharges.
You will get unlimited access to any Maple Leaf Lounge anywhere in the world when travelling on Air Canada or any Star Alliance carrier. You will not get access if you’re travelling on a non-Star Alliance carrier. Guests will not be complimentary, and will be subject to an entry fee.
You will also get a Priority Pass card, which grants unlimited access to affiliated lounges all over the world. You do not have to be travelling on any particular airline to access these lounges. Guests will be charged $27 to accompany you.
Now, one of the most offensive benefits: you get your first bag free when travelling on Air Canada, up to a maximum of five times a year. WHAT. THE. HELL. This is a $899 card, and they can only offer a free bag five times a year!?
Now, this is my favourite benefit. The card is offering “Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass – The Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass lets you experience ultimate convenience and flexibility with eight prepaid, one-way flight credits within Air Canada’s North American network.”
Ok, does it come with the Flight Pass, because that would be awesome. Let’s look at the footnote. What does it say? “Basic American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Cardmembers may purchase one Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass – Business Class (J booking class) and one Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass – Flex Class (H booking class) (each referred to as a Flight Pass) annually based on Cardmembership anniversary date.”
Wow. So, for spending $899 on the card, I get the privilege of buying something? To be fair, we don’t know what the price of the flight pass will be. Perhaps it will be a stunning price, like $100, which would make this card worthwhile. However, the American Express page does not advertise what the price will be, and therefore, I have to assume until I know otherwise that it’s not a good enough price to publish, so probably a bad deal.
You will also get Premium Check In with Air Canada, Priority Access to the Aeroplan contact line, and the usual insurance and warranty benefits.
I’m absolutely flabbergasted. This is the most expensive publicly available credit card in Canada. The sign up bonus sucks – 50,000 Aeroplan points sucks in comparison to the 60,000 offered with the American Express Platinum Card, or the 25,000 offered for free from a number of other cards.
The Maple Leaf Lounge benefit, and the Priority Pass benefit, is OK, but for the price is absolutely not worth it unless you would otherwise be spending the full amount on a priority pass and Air Canada Maple Leaf club membership, which frankly would be stupid since you can get similar benefits from other credit cards, or you don’t have status in which case spending that amount of money doesn’t make sense for your infrequent travels.
The $200 travel credit is given annually, which sucks compared to the $200 credit given per calendar year on Amex’s cheaper Platinum card.
The five free checked bags per year is insulting. For the cost, I would expect all my bags to be free, not just the first checked one, and certainly for every trip in a year (actually, for this cost, I expect a lot more “benefits” for my package). This benefit should either be made unlimited, or entirely dropped, because as it is, it’s insulting and not really value-added.
Regarding the Flight Pass, this could either make the card worthwhile, or just be utter nonsense. For some reason, American Express thinks it is wise to not state how much this special Flight Pass would cost – you can only find out once you get the card. I called Amex and Air Canada to see if anybody had a clue, and guess what, nobody did. If it turns out that the cost is amazingly cheap, that might justify the annual fee and I will change the post. However, by not advertising the cost, I suspect it’s barely a discount. Further, the footnote states that the eligible booking classes are ‘J’ and ‘H,’ which are expensive booking classes.
Should you get this card? Absolutely not. This is one of the worst cards I’ve seen in Canada, and I’m really disappointed in American Express which has historically offered excellent products. It is obscenely priced for the benefits, and they are offering some offensive “benefits” to boot. Go for the American Express Platinum card (this is a referral) which is cheaper and offers significantly more.