The 5 Best Star Alliance Credit Cards in Canada

Star Alliance Credit Cards in Canada

Star Alliance is more than just the largest airline alliance globally; it’s also the alliance to which Air Canada belongs. This fact makes Star Alliance credit cards particularly appealing to Canadians. Unlike Australia, which offers a Star Alliance branded credit card, there is no such thing in Canada. However, Canadians looking to travel for free with Star Alliance member airlines are not short of options. The most notable choice are the Aeroplan cards. Aeroplan points are highly flexible, allowing redemption not only with Air Canada but across all airlines within the Star Alliance network. In addition, various Canadian travel cards now offer points that can be converted into rewards with different Star Alliance members.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card: Best for earning points quickly

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The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is an excellent choice for Canadians who want to earn Aeroplan points quickly and enjoy a range of travel benefits. With its attractive rewards program and travel perks, this credit card stands out as a top option for frequent flyers and travel enthusiasts.

One of the most appealing aspects of this card is the generous welcome bonus. New cardholders can earn 10,000 Aeroplan points with their first purchase, and an additional 20,000 Aeroplan points by spending $5,000 within 180 days of account opening. Moreover, there’s an anniversary bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $7,500 within the first 12 months of account opening.

On top of that, the annual fee is waived for the first year if you make a first purchase within the first 3 months of opening your account. If you sign up for NEXUS, you’ll get the application fee rebated to you every 4 years. Finally, enjoy a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions.

These bonuses offer a significant boost to your Aeroplan points balance right from the start. To get them, you must apply and be approved by March 4, 2024.

Another advantage of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is the accelerated points earning potential. Cardholders can earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery, and Air Canada purchases, including Air Canada Vacations. For all other purchases, you can earn 1 point for every $1 spent. Additionally, by providing your Aeroplan number and paying with your card, you can earn points twice at over 150 Aeroplan partner brands and 170+ online retailers via the Aeroplan eStore, allowing you to accumulate points faster.

The card’s annual fee of $139 may seem reasonable, considering the rewards and benefits it offers. Moreover, for those who frequently travel with Air Canada, the savings on baggage fees are an attractive perk. Primary cardholders, additional cardholders, and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation can enjoy their first checked bag free when travelling on an Air Canada flight.

Furthermore, the fact that Aeroplan points do not expire as long as you remain a TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Primary Cardholder in good standing provides peace of mind and flexibility in using your points when it’s most convenient for you.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card presents an enticing proposition for Canadians who want to earn Aeroplan points quickly and enjoy a variety of travel benefits, making it a great choice for frequent flyers and travellers alike. The Aeroplan points can later be converted to the points of any other Star Alliance member, one for one.

American Express Gold Rewards Card: Best for no annual fee

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The American Express Gold Rewards Card is an exceptional choice for individuals seeking to accumulate Membership Rewards points without being burdened by an annual fee. This rewards card for personal use presents an array of benefits that make it highly appealing to savvy travellers and everyday spenders alike.

One of the primary draws of the American Express Gold Rewards Card is its generous Membership Rewards points program. Cardholders have the opportunity to earn these valuable points, which can be converted to Air Canada’s Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio, enhancing the flexibility of their rewards options. Furthermore, the card offers an attractive sign-up bonus, allowing new cardmembers to earn 5,000 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which they spend $1,000 in net purchases, up to a maximum of 60,000 points.

The absence of an annual fee is a standout feature, setting this card apart from many other rewards cards in the market. Not only is the primary cardholder exempt from paying an annual fee, but supplementary cards for spouses or partners can also be acquired at no additional cost. This feature is especially beneficial for those looking to share the rewards and benefits of the card with their loved ones.

For frequent travellers, the American Express Gold Rewards Card offers substantial rewards on eligible purchases. Cardholders can earn 2 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, and on qualifying travel purchases, including flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. Additionally, all other purchases garner 1 point for every $1 spent, encouraging cardholders to maximise their points accumulation on a wide range of expenses.

The Gold Rewards Card is one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada and offers an excellent combination of rewards, benefits, and insurance coverage, all without the burden of an annual fee. This makes it an appealing and cost-effective choice for individuals who want to collect valuable Membership Rewards points while enjoying various perks for their everyday and travel expenses.

American Express The Platinum Card: Best for travel perks

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The American Express Platinum Card is a highly prestigious and sought-after personal rewards card, making it an excellent choice for individuals who want to elevate their travel experiences and collect valuable Membership Rewards points. With a host of exceptional benefits, this card stands out as a top-tier option for frequent travellers.

One of the most compelling features of the American Express Platinum Card is its generous welcome bonus. New card members have the opportunity to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points. First, you get 70,000 points when you spend $10,000 within the first three months of card membership. Then, you get another 30,000 points when you make a purchase between months 14-17 of having the card. This bonus alone can be worth $1,000 in redemption value, providing an enticing incentive to get started.

Earning Membership Rewards points with the Platinum Card is effortless and rewarding. Cardholders earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and food delivery, 2 points per $1 on travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. However, eligible hotel and rental car bookings on the Amex Travel Online portal earn a bonus point, for a total of 3 points per dollar for Amex Travel Online bookings. Moreover, the flexibility to convert these points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio opens up a world of possibilities for maximizing their value.

For those who appreciate luxury travel experiences, the American Express Global Lounge Collection™ is an exceptional benefit. With access to over 1,300 airport lounges in more than 140 countries, Cardmembers can indulge in VIP treatment and relaxation before their flights. This feature alone saves time and enhances the overall travel experience.

Moreover, the 24/7 Platinum Concierge service provides personalized assistance to Cardholders, making travel arrangements, reservations, and recommendations easy and convenient. Whether it’s securing difficult-to-get restaurant reservations or arranging unique travel experiences, the Platinum Concierge is always ready to assist. Furthermore, the card’s perks extend to expedited airport security with the Pearson Priority Security Lane and other premium perks at Toronto Pearson Airport.

The American Express Platinum Card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada and is a compelling choice for travellers who seek the best perks and benefits. From the outstanding welcome bonus to the ability to collect Membership Rewards points on everyday spending, along with access to airport lounges and concierge services, this card offers a comprehensive package that enhances the travel experience and adds genuine value to the Cardmembers’ lifestyle.

American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card: Best for welcome bonus

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The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is a highly attractive option for Canadians seeking to accumulate a substantial number of points as a welcome bonus. This personal travel rewards card offers an array of exclusive benefits and perks, making it a top choice for frequent travellers and those looking to make the most of their everyday purchases.

One of the most compelling features of this card is the generous welcome bonus offer. New Cardmembers can earn up to 90,000 Aeroplan points, which is a significant boost to their points balance right from the start. This is achieved through various tiers of bonuses. Cardholders can earn 5,000 Aeroplan points for each additional Aeroplan Reserve Card added to their account at the time of application, up to a maximum of 2 approved Additional Cards, resulting in an additional 10,000 Aeroplan points. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to earn 7,500 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which they spend $2,000 in net purchases on their Card during the first 6 months of Card Membership, adding up to 45,000 Aeroplan points. Additionally, an extra 35,000 Aeroplan points can be earned when spending $6,000 in net purchases between 13 and 16 months of Card Membership.

While the card comes with a steep annual fee of $599, the potential value of the welcome bonus and the benefits that accompany the card make it worthwhile for frequent travellers and those who can maximise its rewards. Cardholders receive complimentary access to Maple Leaf Lounges in Canada and the United States, allowing for a comfortable and luxurious pre-flight experience. Plus, the Air Canada Annual Companion Pass becomes available to those who spend $25,000 in net purchases before their card’s anniversary date, offering a valuable opportunity to travel with a companion at reduced rates.

Moreover, those looking to earn points even faster can apply for a free additional Aeroplan No Fee Card. Though No Fee Cardholders don’t have access to all the main card’s benefits, they can still earn and redeem Aeroplan points, making it a smart strategy for boosting point accumulation.

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card stands out as an excellent choice for Canadian travellers seeking a substantial welcome bonus and a host of travel benefits. With its attractive point earning potential, airport lounge access, and other exclusive perks, it can significantly enhance the travel experience while offering great value for its annual fee.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card: Best for high-spenders

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card is a top-tier credit card designed to provide exclusive benefits and rewards to high-spending Canadians who love collecting Aeroplan points. It offers a generous points accumulation system that makes it highly advantageous for frequent travellers.

With the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege, cardholders earn 2 points for every $1 spent with Air Canada, making it an ideal choice for those who frequently fly with the airline. Additionally, for every $1 spent on gas, groceries, travel, and dining, they earn 1.5 points, while all other purchases earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent. The card’s rewards are further amplified by earning twice the points when making payments at over 150 Aeroplan partners and more than 170 online retailers via Aeroplan eStore, ensuring that every purchase counts towards building up Aeroplan points.

One of the standout features of this credit card is the range of travel benefits it offers. Cardholders gain access to select Maple Leaf lounges and Air Canada Cafes, enhancing their travel experience with added comfort and convenience. Additionally, they receive six complimentary priority pass lounge visits per year, providing even more options for relaxation during their journeys.

Furthermore, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege cardholders have the opportunity to obtain an annual Worldwide Companion Pass from as low as $99 to a maximum of $599 by spending $25,000 on their card. This companion pass benefit can significantly enhance travel opportunities for the cardholder and a travel partner.

The card also includes benefits such as free first baggage check-in, priority check-in, boarding, and priority baggage handling every time they travel with Air Canada. This perk extends to authorised users and up to eight companions, making it an excellent choice for frequent flyers who often travel with family or friends.

Given the exceptional benefits and rewards offered, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card comes with an annual fee of $599. Additional cards under the same account have an annual fee of $149 each. To be eligible for this credit card, applicants must have a minimum annual income of $150,000 for an individual or $200,000 for a household. They must also be Canadian residents and of the age of majority in their province/territory of residence.

In addition to its travel benefits, the card also comes with various travel and purchase insurance, including out-of-province emergency trip cancellation/interruption insurance, flight delay and baggage insurance, hotel burglary insurance, and car rental collision/loss damage insurance, among others, providing cardholders with added peace of mind during their journeys and everyday activities.

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card is one of the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada and is an excellent choice for Canadian high-spenders who frequently travel and wish to accumulate Aeroplan points rapidly. Its premium travel benefits, rewards system, and comprehensive insurance coverage make it a valuable asset for those seeking an elevated travel experience and the ability to turn their spending into meaningful rewards.

What is Star Alliance?

Star Alliance is the world’s largest airline alliance, bringing together some of the most prominent and reputable airlines from around the globe. Founded on May 14, 1997, with just five member airlines, the alliance has grown to encompass an extensive network of carriers, collaborating to provide seamless travel experiences to passengers worldwide. The founding members were Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Thai Airways International, and United Airlines.

With its headquarters located in Frankfurt, Germany, Star Alliance has become a symbol of international cooperation and a testament to the power of strategic partnerships. The alliance currently boasts over 25 member airlines, including renowned carriers like Singapore Airlines, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Turkish Airlines, and Air New Zealand, among others. This extensive partnership offers travellers access to a comprehensive network of destinations, spanning over 1,300 airports in more than 190 countries, making it easier for passengers to connect seamlessly between different airlines, while enjoying a host of benefits throughout their journey.

Does Star Alliance have a loyalty program?

Star Alliance does not have a loyalty program of its own. However, many of its member airlines offer their own individual loyalty programs to reward frequent flyers. These programs allow travellers to earn points or miles for their flights and redeem them for various benefits, such as free flights, upgrades, lounge access, and other travel-related perks.

One of the prominent member airlines within Star Alliance is Air Canada, which operates a widely known loyalty program called Aeroplan. Aeroplan has been a popular choice for Canadian travellers, offering a range of rewards and benefits tailored to their needs. The program allows members to accumulate Aeroplan points based on the distance flown, travel class, and fare type. Points earned can then be redeemed for flights to numerous destinations, as well as for merchandise, hotel stays, car rentals, and more.

The absence of a loyalty program directly associated with Star Alliance itself is not uncommon among airline alliances. Instead, member airlines prefer to maintain their individual loyalty programs, as it allows them to have more control over their rewards and customer engagement strategies. That being said, Canadians can freely spend their accumulated Aeroplan points on the loyalty programs of any other Star Alliance member, giving customers great flexibility when spending their points.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a globetrotter based in Canada, the world of exclusive travel benefits and privileges awaits you with the best Star Alliance credit cards. These cards are tailor-made for frequent flyers and adventure-seekers, providing unrivalled perks such as airport lounge access, bonus miles, and comprehensive travel insurance.

We highly recommend comparing credit cards to find the one that best suits your needs. Regardless of the card you choose, rest assured that you’ll unlock a world of amazing travel benefits, enhancing your globetrotting adventures and making them even more rewarding and enjoyable. Bon voyage!

Otis De Marie is a journalist with a diverse portfolio covering business, technology, artificial intelligence, and personal finance. After studying creative literature at the Amsterdam International Community School, Otis has contributed to several notable publications including Brussels Morning, The Brussels Times, Hardbacon, and WallStreetWindow.