In 2020, Air Canada "remodeled" its Aeroplan loyalty program. This created some changes that could be beneficial for you when booking an Award Ticket. Let's dive right into this program!
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Getting Started With Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada—and is the country's flag carrier. Its headquarters is in Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec. Air Canada is a member of the largest airline alliance in the world—the Star Alliance.
Star Alliance airline partners:
Air New Zealand
South African Airways
Getting started with Aeroplan is a simple process that can be done online. When you create your account, be sure to enter your name and date of birth exactly as they appear on your government-issued ID. (E.g. driver's license, passport, etc.)
After you create your account, you will receive an email from Aeroplan with your Aeroplan number. You will need this number when logging into your account, booking an Award Ticket, or earning miles while flying on Air Canada or other partner airlines.
Aeroplan's Flight Reward Chart is divided up into 4 geographical zones: North America, Atlantic, Pacific, and South America.
You are charged by Aeroplan for an Award Ticket based on the geographical zone, distance flown between your departure point and destination—including any stops, and whether you are flying Air Canada metal or a partner airline.
Aeroplan has 10 distance-based Award Charts. One of the sweet spots are on short routes of 500 miles or less. Let's look at the Award Chart within North America.
Aeroplan charges as little as 6,000 points one-way on flights between 0-500 miles or 10,000 points on flights between 501-1,500 miles within North America. This creates some interesting possibilities! More on this a little later.
Aeroplan has a nice stopover policy. For just 5,000 Aeroplan points, you can add a stopover to your Aeroplan award itinerary. However, you are not allowed to add a stopover within the United States or Canada. In addition, you will need to call Aeroplan and feed them your Award Flight details to add a stopover—you can not do it online.
With Award Travel flexibility is the key to get outsized value out of your Aeroplan points. You may need to be a little more flexible with your departure/ arrival dates & times.
Credit Cards to Earn Aeroplan Points
There are several ways to amass a plethora of Aeroplan points that can be redeemed for an Award Ticket. Air Canada Aeroplan is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Capital One, and Marriott. The transfer ratio—except for Marriott—is 1:1. Marriott's transfer ratio is 3:1. This is great news and makes it easy to accumulate Aeroplan points!
Chase, in my opinion, offers some of the best credit card products, and they have a robust transfer partner program. Any Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning credit card can be used to accumulate points that can subsequently be transferred to Air Canada Aeroplan—provided you have one of the following Chase credit cards to complete the transfer: Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Ink Business Preferred®.
In my opinion, the best credit card to get started within Award Travel is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The current welcome bonus is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards®! You can apply for this card here! If you would like to learn more about this credit card, please see the following post: Chase Sapphire Preferred—The Best Credit Card Just Got Better!
Capital One recently upped their game with most of their transfer partners. Capital One is now a 1:1 point transfer partner of Air Canada Aeroplan! Capital One credit cards that earn transferable miles include: Venture X Rewards; Venture Rewards; and VentureOne Rewards. The Venture Rewards has a 60,000 welcome bonus with only a $3,000 minimum spend within the first 3 months. In addition, it earns 2X unlimited on all non-category purchases making this a great card to accumulate miles on categories that don't typically earn good rewards. You can apply for this card here! If you would like to learn more about this credit card, please see the following post: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card—Simple But Powerful!
Air Canada Aeroplan also offers a co-branded credit card through Chase—the Aeroplan® Card—that directly earns Aeroplan points. However, learn more about the value of selecting a Flexible Points Credit Card in the following post: Flexible Points Credit Cards vs. Co-Branded Credit Cards—Don't Make This Mistake!
American Express also has excellent cards that earn Membership Rewards® Points that can be transferred to Air Canada Aeroplan: The Platinum Card®; American Express® Gold Card; Amex EveryDay® Credit Card; Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card; American Express® Green Card; and Blue from American Express®. They also have many business products. American Express also offers transfer bonuses to Air Canada Aeroplan periodically; the last one was a 20% bonus.
Marriott has several co-branded credit cards through Chase and American Express. These include: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card; Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card; Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card; and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.
Strategically Working to Increase Your Aeroplan Points
There are several strategies you can use to increase your supply of Aeroplan points. This includes opening multiple credit cards—those that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points, American Express Membership Rewards® Points, Capital One Miles, Marriott points, or Aeroplan points.
Families can work together in "two-player mode." This is a way for two individuals to work together to increase their credit card rewards which can then be redeemed for Award Travel. To learn more about this strategy, please see the following post: Getting Approved for a Credit Card While Unemployed—Why You Don't Want to Miss Out!
Taking advantage of Air Canada Aeroplan's eStore and other promotions offered by Air Canada Aeroplan are some additional ways to increase your points. It does create a little extra work to sign-up and access the links but it becomes second nature with practice. This is also known as reward stacking. To learn more about this practice, see the following post: How to Win Points—With Your Spouse and Your Credit Card!
Let the Award Booking Begin!
Let's assume that you applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and received the 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® Points welcome bonus—along with the points earned by meeting the minimum spend amount—and are ready to book your first Award Ticket! Your origin is Washington D.C., United States (IAD). Your destination is Montreal, Canada (YUL). Your date of departure is Saturday, January 14, 2023, and your date of return is Friday, January 20, 2023. Let us determine how many miles are between IAD and YUL:
Great Circle Mapper shows the distance between IAD and YUL is 489 miles. Aeroplan has an Award Chart with a 0-500 miles range within North America. Both Air Canada and United Airlines are Star Alliance members and transfer partners of Chase. Let's compare Aeroplan's Award Flight price versus what United MileagePlus® would charge for this same exact itinerary. We will start with United MileagePlus®.
Redeeming this flight through United MileagePlus® and booking on United metal will cost 12,500 United miles + USD 5.60 in fees.
Next, the return flight through United MileagePlus® and booking on United metal will cost 10,900 United miles + USD 58.55 in fees.
Now, let's compare this same exact flight—but book it through Air Canada Aeroplan. Redeeming this flight will cost 6,000 Aeroplan points + USD 36.91.
Next, booking the return flight through Air Canada Aeroplan will cost 6,000 Aeroplan points + USD 89.53.
Let's now do the math. United MileagePlus® will charge its members 23,400 United miles + USD 64.15 in fees. Air Canada Aeroplan will charge its members 12,000 Aeroplan points + USD 126.44 in fees. For fewer than 11,000 points, you can fly the exact round trip itinerary by transferring your points to Air Canada Aeroplan versus United MileagePlus®! It is worth paying ~USD 62 more to save over 11,000 points!
"Spending a little extra time to understand Aeroplan's Award Charts can lead to saving thousands of your points."
In this instance, United MileagePlus® charges its members more to fly on its own metal than Aeroplan charges its members to fly on United metal! This example demonstrates the power of leveraging your miles & points. To learn more about this topic, see the following post: An Easy Example of How to Leverage Your Miles & Points for an Award Ticket.
The aforementioned example illustrates how a family of five can fly round trip from Washington D.C. to Montreal, Canada by transferring 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® Points to Air Canada Aeroplan! The 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® Points welcome bonus is available with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You can apply for this card here!
When credit cards are used responsibly and intelligently, tremendous value can be had—especially when used for Award Travel. With loyalty programs constantly devaluing their miles & points, an "earn and burn" approach is one that you want to adopt—especially when you can redeem an Award Ticket for outsized value.
The key ingredients to being successful at Award Travel involve (1) strategically earning miles & points and (2) redeeming those miles & points for outsized value. You can learn more about this topic and receive assistance to get started by contacting a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant. You can also learn more at the following post: Why Should I Consider Using a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant?
Are you unsure of what credit card you should select? At AwardYourMiles, we have created various tools designed to help you in the Award Travel space. This includes our Miles & Points Calculator and our Credit Card Selector Calculator. The Miles & Points Calculator determines the value of the selected credit card in your first and second year of use based on your spending habits. The Credit Card Selector Calculator will provide you with the first-year value of all our credit cards contained within our database based on your spending habits. Try it out for FREE!
Be sure to research your destination to learn about any COVID-19 restrictions or travel entry requirements. Our COVID-19 Resources will help you in this regard; simply enter the state or the country you plan on visiting and dynamic links that contain COVID-19 guidance and other travel advisories will automatically populate.
In addition, many destinations are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Depending on where you would like to travel to, you may be required to present some form of digital proof of vaccination. However, because standards and requirements vary from country to country, and even from state to state within the United States, it may require some forethought on your part to obtain digital proof. Learn some useful tips in the following post: COVID-19 Vaccination—How to Create a Digital Record.
It is also a good idea to consider your options when it comes to travel insurance. It is prudent to be prepared for the unexpected. You can learn more in the following post: An Easy Guide to Travel Insurance for Your Next Vacation.
Are you considering traveling internationally? Be sure to consider the following post: International Travel—Five Things You Should Research First!
More to Come!
The Air Canada Aeroplan loyalty program is but one of many other frequent-flyer programs. In fact, there are many ways to strategically leverage your existing points with other programs. Learn about another program—United MileagePlus®—in the following post: United MileagePlus—How to Book an Award Ticket. You can also learn about American AAdvantage® in the following post: American AAdvantage Miles—Hot to Book an Award Ticket. We also have an extensive review of Turkish Miles&Smiles; you can learn about this program in the following post: Turkish Miles&Smiles—How to Book an Award Ticket. You can also learn more about Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in the following post: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club—How to Gook an Award Ticket. We have also reviewed British Airways Executive Club in the following post: British Airways Executive Club—How to Book an Award Ticket. We will review additional loyalty programs in the future!