Are you making the most out of your Aeroplan membership? Hopefully, the answer is yes, but if you aren’t sure, then this article is for you. In this guide to Aeroplan rewards, we’re sharing the best ways to collect and redeem Aeroplan Miles, as well as answer any important questions you may have about the Aeroplan rewards program.
What is the Aeroplan Rewards Program?
The Aeroplan Miles program is a rewards system with a focus on travel with Air Canada, Canada’s #1 airline. You earn Aeroplan points on every dollar that you spend, and your accumulated Miles can be cashed in for travel rewards. With 5 million members and 75 world-class partners, it’s considered Canada’s premier travel loyalty program.
One important thing to know: Air Canada purchased Aeroplan from Aimia, so there will likely be changes to the program in 2020. Right now, we don’t know how that will affect the rewards system.
How to Collect Aeroplan Points
Collecting Aeroplan points is a cinch. Members can earn Miles while shopping or travelling with more than 150 partner brands in the financial, retail, and travel sectors, and/or by using an Aeroplan credit card to make everyday purchases. Let’s look at each approach.
Earning Miles with Aeroplan Retail Partners
One of the easiest ways to earn Aeroplan points is to shop at Aeroplan retail partners. Here’s how it works: when making a purchase at an Aeroplan partner, such as Air Canada or Home Hardware, just swipe your card or provide your membership number and you’ll instantly earn points. However, some partners (like Costco) will only let you earn Aeroplan points when shopping online.
There are plenty of Aeroplan retail partners to choose from, many of which you probably already use on a daily basis:
- Air Canada
- Star Alliance airlines
- Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
- Budget Car Rentals
- AVIS Car Rentals
- The UPS Store
- Home Hardware
- Primus Canada
For everyday purchases, don’t forget to check out the Aeroplan eStore. You can shop and earn Miles for every purchase from over 170 online retailers, including Wayfair.ca, Hudson’s Bay, Saks.com, The Apple Store Canada, Amazon.ca, Sephora, Well.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.ca.
Here’s a handy hack: when you make purchases at Aeroplan-affiliated partners with an Aeroplan credit card, you’ll earn double the Miles on the same purchase. With over 150 partner brands and over 170 online retailers, it’s easy to supercharge your Aeroplan earnings when shopping for everyday items.
Earning Miles with Aeroplan Credit Cards
There are a few Aeroplan credit cards on the market in Canada that will allow you to collect Aeroplan Miles. It’s simple: earn Miles for every dollar spent on your credit card, plus you’ll earn twice the Miles for purchases made at Aeroplan-affiliated partners. We’ve scoured the market and listed the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada. Below is the winner that takes our top spot.
Winner: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
With a generous welcome bonus, excellent earning rate, and VIP travel perks, we’re big fans of the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card. New cardholders who apply by November 7, 2020 can earn up to 25,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles (15,000 Aeroplan Miles when you make the first purchase with your card and another 10,000 Aeroplan Miles when you spend $1,500 within 90 days of Account opening). Plus, the card offers an annual fee rebate for the first year* for both the Primary Cardholder and 1st Additional Cardholder as part of the current promotion. To take advantage of this limited-time offer, you must apply by November 7, 2020.
*To receive the first-year annual fee rebate, you must activate your Card and make your first Purchase on the Account within the first 3 months after Account opening.
Aside from a welcome bonus, cardholders earn points with every dollar spent: 1.5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, groceries, drugstore, and AirCanada.com purchases, and 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else4. Plus, you’ll double your miles when you pay with your credit card and present your Aeroplan Membership Number at Aeroplan retail partners.
You get travel and car insurance included with the card as well as additional VIP perks such as your first checked bag free, priority check-in and boarding with Air Canada flights, and an annual one-time guest pass to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge when making an Aeroplan redemption3. Read our full TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card review.
- Annual Fee: $120 (first year annual fee rebate if you apply by November 7, 2020)
- Minimum Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income
- Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
- Welcome Offer: Welcome bonus of up to 25,000 Aeroplan Miles (Conditions apply. Must apply by November 7, 2020.)
- Other Perks: Travel insurance & priority boarding/check-in on Air Canada flights
- Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
*This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
How to Redeem Aeroplan Miles
You can redeem your Miles for more than 800 rewards and over 200 brands, so options are endless. Your accumulated Miles can be redeemed for travel rewards, such as flights on Air Canada and their partner airlines, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and event tickets. Additionally, there is merchandise available through the Aeroplan program. You can also donate your Miles to select charities or transfer them to another member. It’s up to you!
Redeeming your Aeroplan points is easy and can be done online via the Aeroplan website. You just login to the website and redeem your points for travel, merchandise, or even gift cards.
Aeroplan Points Chart
To redeem Aeroplan Miles for flights, it’s a bit trickier. For starters, the amount of Miles you’ll need depends on various factors (such as destination, time of year, number of layovers, flight class, and so forth). The Aeroplan Miles chart will give you a rough idea of how many points are needed to redeem flight rewards; but to be eligible for the trips listed in the Aeroplan rewards chart, you must have at least 50% of the Miles listed for round-trip flight rewards.
Also, when you use Aeroplan to book a flight, you choose between fixed mileage or market fare flights, which we’ll explain below. This impacts how many Miles are needed to book a flight.
- Fixed Mileage: These tickets are reserved especially for Aeroplan members on Air Canada and their partner airlines. They’re typically offered at lower, set mileage levels, but there’s limited seat availability (which tends to sell out fast). You usually need to book well in advance to score these seats, especially for first-class/business class. See the Aeroplan flight chart below for some example fares:
Route (roundtrip, economy class) Aeroplan Miles Required Ottawa- Orlando 25,000 Vancouver- Mexico 40,000 Calgary- Hawaii 45,000 Montreal- Athens 75,000 Toronto- Bangkok 90,000
- Market fare rewards: With this option, you can cash in your Miles for any available flight, but the Miles needed are based on the current market prices (rather than the special prices reserved for members). So, if the price of the ticket goes up or down, so does the mileage required for the flight. This option has the potential to be more flexible in terms of seats and flight times, but market fare rewards often will cost you 2-3 times as many points as it would require for a fixed mileage flight.
Regardless of fixed mileage vs. market fare rewards, you’ll still need to book via Aeroplan’s website and you can compare the flight options on the site.
The Best Way to Use Aeroplan Miles
Don’t redeem your Aeroplan miles for merchandise or gift cards. It’s just not worth it. Unless you’re not interested in traveling at all and you like to collect merchandise and gift cards. If that’s the case, you likely shouldn’t be collecting Aeroplan miles in the first place.
So, what’s the best way to use your Aeroplan miles?
The best way to use your Aeroplan miles can be summarized as follows:
- Long Haul International flights
- Long Haul International Flights in Business or First Class (very high return on Aeroplan mile investment especially with business or first class)
- Places in Canada that are less frequented and therefore more expensive- usually the cost is high but it is considered a short haul flight (e.g. going to North West Territories or Whitehorse)
- Pick Star Alliance partners (HowtoSaveMoney suggests) and I want to add that not all are created equal. There are some that have almost no taxes and fuel surcharges, which sweetens the redemption deal that much more! You can check out this post from One Mile at a Time to review booking Aeroplan Awards without taxes and fees. Just to recap, these are Star Alliance airlines to look out for:
- Air China
- EVA Air
- US Airways,
- Book early, otherwise you might not be able to get the ticket that you want! With Aeroplan, you are allowed to book up to 365 days ahead in advance.
Specifically, Canadiankm’s (a website on travel hacking) recommends that a business class ticket to Europe is the way to go to get the most bang for your Aeroplan buck. Also, he recommends trip from Hawaii to South America as a great way to get the bang for your Aeroplan dollar.
How to Calculate your Return on Aeroplan Mile Investment (RAMI)
Instead of Return on Investment, RAMI, or return on Aeroplan Mile investment is a good way to gauge whether your redemption is ‘worthy’ of a redemption.
Flight fox recommends that you use a benchmark to compare. In their example, they used a flight from Toronto to Calgary, costing about $494.
$498 (cost of flight) subtract $146 (taxes and fees) divided by 25000 (number of miles required)= $0.014 x 100= 1.4 Cost per Mile
Anything less than this number is not worth it, the higher the number, the better the RAMI and the better use of your sweat and tears and Aeroplan miles.
The higher the RAMI and CPM the better!
So, for my flight to Whitehorse from Vancouver, the average cost is about $550. I paid $100 in taxes and fees, the number of miles required was 15,000. So the CPM is about 3 which is pretty good! So it’s not always true that booking a long haul international flight is the best way to use your Aeroplan miles, I think it is better to calculate the RAMI and CPM.
Aeroplan Miles FAQ
Now that you know how to best collect and redeem your Aeroplan points, here are a few commonly asked questions and the answers.
What is the Aeroplan Points Value?
Aeroplan points do not have a concrete value. It depends on several factors, including what you choose to redeem your points for, as well as the time of year at which you redeem them. As a general rule, you can expect to get the most value from your points when they are used towards booking flights, especially in premium or business class. The generally accepted value of one Aeroplan mile is $0.012 so if you can get better value than that, you’re doing alright.
Can Aeroplan Points Be Transferred?
Aeroplan points can be transferred to another member, but the transfer comes with a hefty fee: 2 cents for every 1 mile transferred. At this rate, it’s not really worth it. Aeroplan members should also be aware that Aeroplan points can’t be transferred to other loyalty programs. However, on the flip side, select loyalty programs do allow you to convert your points into Aeroplan Miles.
Do Aeroplan Miles Expire?
The short answer is: no. As long as you keep collecting and using Aeroplan Miles, they will not expire. However, if your Aeroplan account is inactive for 12 months or longer, then you will lose them.
Do Aeroplan Miles Cover Airport Taxes?
No, you will still need to pay taxes, fees, and surcharges on rewards flights. Your Aeroplan points do not cover these costs.
Are There Blackout Dates?
No, rewards flights do not have blackout dates. That said, there are limited seats available when booking via the fixed mileage option.
Will I Lose my Miles If I Change or Cancel a Rewards Flight?
No, you won’t lose your Miles. You can change a flight reward after you’ve booked, but conditions and charges may apply. Likewise, you can cancel and refund your bookings by calling the Aeroplan Contact Centre or by signing into Aeroplan.com and accessing the “Manage Your Rewards” page.
How Do I Qualify For “Aeroplan Status?”
Aside from the Miles you can earn as a member, you can also reach different status levels (Silver, Black, and Diamond) based on the miles you’ve physically travelled. The three levels include:
- Silver: 25,000 eligible Miles accumulated during a calendar year
- Black: 50,000 eligible Miles accumulated during a calendar year
- Diamond: 100,000 eligible Miles accumulated during a calendar year
Members with Aeroplan status will be able to take advantage of three types of benefits: flight rewards, bonus miles, and other privileges. The higher your status, the greater the benefits you’ll enjoy. For instance, you’ll get reduced mileage levels on Market Fare Flight Rewards
- Silver: get up to 20% off on Market Fare Flight Rewards
- Black: get up to 25% off on Market Fare Flight Rewards
- Diamond: get up to 35% off on Market Fare Flight Rewards
A heads up: you need to qualify for Aeroplan status every year to get these benefits. So that means you need to earn sufficient eligible miles to reach Silver, Black, or Diamond status to enjoy Aeroplan status benefits the following year.
Aeroplan Miles vs. AIRMILES Rewards Program: Which is Better?
Aeroplan Miles and AIRMILES are two different rewards programs in Canada, both of which allow you to cash in your points for flights, merchandise, event tickets, hotels, car rentals, and more. However, there are some big differences between the programs, which you can read about in our article about Aeroplan vs AIR MILES: Which Should You Choose (https://youngandthrifty.ca/aeroplan-vs-airmiles-comparison/)?
Aeroplan is one of Canada’s original rewards program and has gone through many changes and restructuring throughout the years. It’s true that Air Canada has recently purchased Aeroplan and you can expect some changes to the Aeroplan rewards program in the near future. However, in the meantime, this Aeroplan guide will help ensure you get the most out of your Miles and rewards earnings. If you’re not sure if Aeroplan is the right rewards program for you, take a look at The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards in Canada.