Tag Archives: TD Aeroplan

You Can Now (Sort Of) Get a Free Checked Bag on AC and WJ

Both Air Canada and Westjet charge $30 for your first checked bag and $50 for a second one. And just a reminder that Westjet, when this legal rip off fee was first dreamed up and rolled out, stated they wouldn’t be doing that. Well, a few months later – they did…

If you need to check a suitcase, or (like me) bring your golf clubs along) you don’t have a choice. But if you make two flights a year, both airlines now have credit card affiliations that can get you a free checked bag.

Westjet has always had it with the Royal Bank World Elite Mastercard. With Air Canada, it’s on the TD Aeroplan and the CIBC Aerogold card. And now with a number of Amex cards, starting next month! The annual fee for any of these cards is around $100 to $120 a year. However, as you can see online, some will waive the first years’ fee under certain conditions. At two flights a year, you’ll break-even – with three or more flights, you’re ahead, financially. If you do fly enough, check the TD, CIBC, Royal or Amex to see if you have the free bag, or what it’ll cost you to change cards to get something you shouldn’t have to pay for in the first place.

So you’ll excuse me if I’m not a fan of any Westjet or Air Canada government support. They charge a billion plus in legal rip-off fees, are filling the middle seat and still want support. In the U.S. Southwest Airlines still guarantees no middle seat booking and has never charged luggage fees AND they’re profitable!! But that’s another conversation…

If You Have An Aeroplan Credit Card:

After months of fighting, the TD and CIBC have agreed to split up the hugely profitable Aeroplan credit cards. But let’s back up a minute, first.

The top credit card in Canada is the CIBC Aeroplan card which accumulates miles for travel or other rewards. Aeroplan used to be owned by Air Canada. But when they fell on hard times, they sold Aeroplan to Aimia, a loyalty management company in 2008.

Until now, the CIBC card was the only one with Aeroplan.  Then came the American Express card through Scotia. It lets you use points on Air Canada or other airlines. And THAT flexibility is what customers want – kind of like the Royal Avion card. As a result, the CIBC was considering getting away from Aeroplan entirely to start a new card that lets you accumulate miles but redeem them on travel everywhere and with everybody.

Well, last month they agreed to split their portfolio with the TD. Half will stay with CIBC and the other half will get transferred over to a new TD Aeroplan card. If you have one of the cards and are also a CIBC customer it’s likely they’ll keep you. If you don’t have a CIBC banking relationship, get ready for the TD to buy your account.

TD used to be a nobody in the credit card business. In the last three years they’ve gone from the back of the pack to the leader by dollar volume. It’s a win-win for them as they already have another travel card. Plus, they’ve estimated their half of the Aeroplan accounts will make them $160 million net profits starting in 2015. And you thought they had these cards for your benefit…nice try.

For the CIBC it’s a big risk to give up millions of customers. They’ve already announced they’ll spend $50 million in the next year marketing a new travel card. Get ready for a ton of junk mail and a lot of ads. So they’re giving up half of a hugely profitable pot to hope to get all you cardholders back with a more flexible card.

But do you need either one of these cards? Consider this: A cashback card gets  you 1.5% cash rebate. A travel card is a big annual fee and a hope that you’ll redeem. Aeroplan keeps the so-called breakage for non-redeemed miles at 17-21%. And, according to Consumer Report, around 75% of airline miles are never redeemed in the first place. It may be a lot of charging and chasing for very little getting…