I Got Rid of My Visa Aerogold Card

by Mike Holman

After thirteen years a long and bitter friendship came to an end recently when I finally cancelled my Visa Aerogold credit card. For those who aren’t familiar with this card, it is a rewards card that gets Aeroplan points which can be used to buy airplane flights.

Why cancel?

Mainly because it’s just not worth it anymore. The annual fee for this card is $120 and when I added my wife to the account (so she could get a card too) the fee went up to $170 which broke this camel’s back! I have redeemed a number of flights using points in the past but when I look at the annual fees, the charges for booking flights and the amount that I charge each year on the card, it doesn’t seem to be worth it. The other big aggravation with Aeroplan is that you have to book a long time in advance if you want a reasonable flight. I can remember trying to book a flight from Toronto to Calgary a few years ago and my only options involved a two day flight with two stops which is ridiculous for a four hour journey.

A new card?

When I called Visa to cancel the card, the customer service rep told me about their “Dividend” card which has a cash back reward and no fees. At the end of each year you get 0.25% on the first $1500 charged, 0.5% on the next $1500 and then 1% on everything over $3000 which seemed like a reasonable reward system. And there are no fees! The interest rate on the card is 19.5% but since I haven’t paid credit card interest in over ten years, that is of no concern to me.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 NeverStopBuying.com

I just got Aerogold in Oct 2007, and has already wanted (and tried) to cancel it
It’s quite annoying, how they won’t let me cancel with full refund despite them saying so during signup, or they’ve halted my card without contacting me, forcing me to use other cards for big $ purchases

In comparison, I am a happy AMEX user, be Aeroplan Plus, or 2% Cashback

In new year, I am staying with my 2% AMEX card and hopefully break > $6250 soon to get 2% all the way afterwards

2 FourPillars

NSB – why do you want to cancel your Aerogold card?

Mike

3 LiseBise

Congratulations. I dropped my Visa Avion nearly a year ago now. The fees just don’t seem worth it.

I have to say though that I always got my free flights when I wanted them.

I now have a plain regular no-fee. I must look into the dividend option.

4 FourPillars

Hi Lise – I’ve heard from friends that Avion is a much better rewards program because it’s much easier to book flight compared to Aeroplan.

Mike

5 Cindy W

Another alternative to AMEX Cashback is Citi’s Enrich MasterCard: no annual fee and 1% cashback starting from the first dollar.

Instead of cashback, I opted for Citi’s Platinum Driver’s Edge MC, which also has no annual fee, 2% bonus towards car purchase/lease, and with the added benefit of being a platinum card (price protection, extended warranty, travel accident insurance, CDW on car rental, free supplementary card, among other things).

6 FourPillars

Cindy, the Citi card sounds like a good option. I mainly went with the dividend card because of convenience but I will keep that card in mind for the future.

Mike

7 Mr. Cheap

I’ve been really happy with my AMEX blue card (which does some sort of graduated percent rebate at the end of the year). Hard to beat cash.

8 FourPillars

Hard to beat cash.

Amen to that!

9 Mr. Cheap

Happy new year Mike! And everyone on 4P and in the Canadian blogosphere!!!

10 WoolyWoman

I have a Dividends card with a low limit- $1000. I use it mainly for work items now, and obviously nothing big, but I earned $10 in rewards in the 6 months since I switched. Overall happy to have some cash back from a credit card!

11 telly

I used to be an Aeroplan Gold Visa holder as well and have moved to the TD Gold Elite (dividend no tiers). The fee is $99 (+ $19 for a 2nd car) but includes autoclub membership so we were able to cancel CAA (we have older vehicles) so it was a wash.

If you put a lot on your credit card (and of course pay off your balance each month), it’s great. We’re looking at a $400 dividend cheque coming up as we pay almost all our bills & expenses via the Visa.

12 FourPillars

Hi Telly, that sounds like a good card for you. In our case we don’t charge that much anymore plus we have roadside service on our car for another three or four years.

Mike

13 telly

Yeah, the dividend cheque reminds us of how spend-y we’ve been over the past year! :(

14 schultzter

I worked for a small company where we used our personal cards for business expenses, so having an AeroGold card was really nice and the annual fee was worth it for the insurance and the amount of points I racked up.

Once my company got big enough we were issued corporate cards and I switched to an AeroClassic ($20/year).

But I always found that the CIBC cards wore out quickly and the readers had trouble with them. Some cashiers know how to enter the number manually, most just swipe a few times and then look at you like it’s your fault.

I also had a few issues around the holidays one year when we took a vacation and every transaction I tried to do was refused and then CIBC would call on my mobile to make sure it was really me making the transaction (which is initially comforting but really annoying after fifth time).

Around that time I ended up with a Visa card from RBC that was free so I started using that to escape the calls from CIBC at every purchase. Later I found that the card also collected RBC points and had better insurance than the AeroClassic. I just kept using it and eventually cancelled the AeroClassic.

Also, the RBC card had e-statements which the AeroClassic did not.

15 SavingMentor

Glad to hear you cancelled the Aeroplan card Mike. I agree with you on its many problems. I still sign up for Aeroplan affiliated accounts and cards every now and then for a short while just to get the sign up bonuses. I think I’ve had most of them except the top level Amex.

However, I’m not sure I agree with your choice of a replacement. Have you checked out my Best Credit Cards In Canada article. I do a detailed analysis of nearly all the best cards available to Canadians. There are a couple of good newcomers I haven’t added to it yet, but there are still lots of great cards there that are better than the CIBC Dividend.

You must have heard of the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard right? That gives you 1% cash back on everything with no tiers, no annual fee, and platinum insurance benefits to boot. Then you get the added bonus of 3% cash back on gas and grocers (there is a monthly cap on this). You even get 5% on gas/groceries during the first 6 months.

The Capital One Aspire World is also a good choice if you are interested in travel or you just want cash back. It has a $120 annual fee (free secondary cards) but you also get an ANNUAL 10,000 point bonus which is equivalent to about $100 in free travel so you really only end up paying $20/yr.

If you redeem for travel you get up to a 2% return. If you just want cash, then you get a guaranteed 1.5% return. The insurance benefits it has are the best in Canada too. It offers 17 different types of insurance I believe.

MBNA also just launched an interesting new card that has an $89 fee that gives you 2% cash back on all purchases. It’s called the MBNA Worldpoints World MasterCard. It has World level benefits and you’ll knock down that annual fee quickly if you put all your spending on it.

There are other great choices out there too, so I’d give your choice of a new card a second thought.

16 Mike Holman

@SM – Yes, I plan to check out your credit card comparison.

I’m definitely aware of some of the better options out there (ie MNBA Smart Cash). The problem is that when I cancelled the Aeroplan card, I just didn’t have time to look for a new card. When I called to cancel the Aeroplan cc, the rep mentioned the dividend card and I decided to get it and then later on look for something better.

Four years later, here I am. :)

Thanks for all your info – it will be quite helpful.

17 My University Money

My parents have this card and are basically sticking with it for the same reasons that you were. I’ve tried to convince them of the benefits of the Capital One World Travel card (just look at the sign-up bonus alone!), but they don’t want to listen to their “know-it-all” son (ok… guilty as charged) haha. Convenience is a powerful motivator (or disincentive).

18 Doctor Stock

I ditched mine too and went with a straight dividend card that pays me cash… I’m way ahead since the taxes on travel are over half the costs.

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