With travels on Star Alliance
Aeroplan is Air Canada‘s loyalty program.
The airline is a member of Star Alliance, which includes 27 airlines worldwide.
It is therefore possible to earn Aeroplan miles while traveling on board:
- of Air Canada
- or one of Star Alliance’s member airlines
Star Alliance member Airlines
Star Alliance has 27 member airlines:
All airfares have dozens of different booking classes.
You will earn miles based on:
- the booking class of your ticket
- airline used
To find out how many Aeroplan Miles you will earn with your flight, go to this page provided by Aeroplan.
With purchases from partners
Aeroplan has more than 150 partners.
Miles earning rate will be different for each partner. Here are some examples:
- Costco.ca: 1 mile / $
- Home Hardware: 1 mile / $2
- UPS Store: 1 mile / $
With eStore retailers
Aeroplan has an online shopping portal called eStore,with more than 170 partners.
By going through this portal before shopping, you will get 1 mile/ $. This is called “the basic offer.”
Then, during promotions, comes “the multiplier” from partner stores.
The multiplier of partner stores
Aeroplan’s partner stores regularly offer mile earning promotions through a multiplier.
For example, if it is indicated that you will earn 5x the miles, it means that:
- you will get 1 mile / $ (basic offer)
- you will get 4 miles / $ (special offer with the multiplier)
That’s 5 miles / $.
That’s why Aeroplan says 5x the miles.
With credit cards welcome bonuses
Aeroplan has 3 financial partner institutions offering a lot of Aeroplan credit cards:
- American Express
Each of these cards will have a welcome bonus when you apply for it. This is a great way to earn many Aeroplan miles quickly!
Aeroplan and American Express
American Express has 4 Aeroplan cards:
Our choice will be the American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card because it offers unique benefits if you frequently travel with Air Canada such as:
- priority check-in
- priority boarding
- access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges
Also, American Express has 4 cards within its Membership Rewards program. You can convert those points in Aeroplan miles with a 1:1 ratio :
Our choice will be the American Express® Gold Rewards Card because it has an earning rate of 2 membership rewards points / $ (i.e. 2 Aeroplan miles / $) for:
- grocery stores
- gas stations
With purchases made on credit cards
To earn Aeroplan miles faster, it’s best to use your Aeroplan credit card (see the choices above) as often as possible!
The mileage accumulation rate will often depend on the issuer and the type of card:
- 1 Aeroplan mile / $ for most credit cards like American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card
- 1.25 aeroplan mile / $ for high-end credit cards like American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card
Also, depending on the categories of purchases,it is possible to earn more Aeroplan miles.
With hotel points conversion
With most hotel loyalty programs (Marriott Bonvoy, Best Western Rewards…), you can convert hotel points into Aeroplan miles.
This is a nice way to get Aeroplan miles! Especially during conversion promotions offered by Aeroplan.
For example, Marriott Bonvoy points can be converted into Aeroplan miles.
By maximizing both programs, and converting during a promotional period (such as the one offering 30% more miles), it is possible to do this:
60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
25,000 Aeroplan miles
32,500 Aeroplan miles
With conversion of Membership Rewards Select points
Using Marriott Bonvoy for Aeroplan miles is also a way to convert Membership Rewards Select points from American Express Cobalt™ Card into Aeroplan miles!
So if you have American Express Cobalt™ Card and would like to get Aeroplan miles, here’s the way to go during a promotional period:
50,000 Select membership rewards
60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
25,000 Aeroplan miles
32,500 Aeroplan miles
For free flights
The best use of Aeroplan miles will be to book flights. This is called “flight reward“.
You still need to know the tips and tricks to use Aeroplan Miles correctly:
- Fixed mileage flight rewards
- Market fare flight rewards
- Traveling with children
- Modifying and canceling flight rewards
- The flight rewards availability
- Multi-city flight rewards
- Carrier surcharges
- Airlines without surcharge
- Traveling from the United States
- flight rewards
- Short-haul flights: the best deal
- The companion voucher
Fixed mileage flight rewards
With the Rewards chart, you will exactly know the number of Aeroplan miles required for a round trip to a destination. This is called “Fixed mileage flight rewards”
It is possible to book a one-way ticket (the fare is 50% compared to the round-trip ticket).
When searching for flights on Aeroplan, tickets available at the fixed mileage will appear under the left tab:
Here is the list of countries by region:
Market fare flight rewards
There are also” market fare flight rewards .”
These are additional flight rewards available for flights operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge.
These flight rewards will therefore have a variable fare:
- the more the flight is in demand, the more expensive it will be
- on the contrary, in the event of low demand, rewards may be less expensive than fixed mileage
When searching for flights on Aeroplan, tickets available at market rates will appear under the right tab :
Traveling with children
There are“Infant Flight Rewards(children under 2 years of age AND traveling on the adult’s knees).
The required fare will be the same in all travel areas:
- Economy Class – $50 or 5,000 Aeroplan Miles
- Economy Privilege Class – $75 or 7,500 Aeroplan miles
- Business class – $100 or 10,000 Aeroplan miles
- First class – $125 or 12,500 Aeroplan miles
Modifying and canceling a flight reward
With Aeroplan, you can modify or cancel a flight reward up to 2 hours before the flight schedule time.
To modify an itinerary,the fee will be:
- $100 / direction / ticket (plus mileage difference) – maximum $200 fee
- $75 / direction / ticket (plus mileage difference) – maximum $150 fee for Diamond status members
- Free for Air Canada Super Elite 100K members
To cancel a reward ticket, miles used will be re-credited to the account and the fee will be:
- $125 / ticket if cancellation is made on aeroplan.com
- $150 / ticket if cancellation is made by phone
- Free for Air Canada Super Elite 100K members
The flight rewards availability
Flight rewards will be displayed on Aeroplan from 355 days prior to the flight departure (e.g. Air Canada).
However, for some airlines, tickets will only be displayed 300 days before the flight (Swiss for example).
In exceptional cases, it may even be as short as 14 days before the flight’s departure (Lufthansa First Class). This is for last-minute booking lovers !
It is possible to book a ticket up to 2 hours before the flight’s departure.
Multi-city flight rewards
With Aeroplan, you can book multi-stop flights on the same flight reward ticket.
So, you could visit another destination during the same trip for the same fare.
Like Montreal – San Francisco – Vancouver – Montreal for the price of a round-trip ticket Montreal – San Francisco – Montreal!
But you could make a much longer trip around the world like: Montreal – Zurich – Singapore – Montreal and visit 2 continents like Europe and Asia for the same price as a round trip from Montreal to Singapore!
On Aeroplan, when you reserve a reward flight, a fee is added to the mileage amount.
This fee includes:
- airport taxes
- a possible “surcharge” from the carrier
The carrier surcharge was introduced by some airlines such as Air Canada and Lufthansa when the price of oil peaked.
Since then, this surcharge has not been removed and is a way for airlines to earn money.
However, by cleverly searching for its airline rewards it is possible to avoid them: some airlines do not charge any surcharges!
Here is the example of 2 flights to the same destination:
The first with Lufthansa (including a $265 Carrier surcharge).
The second with Swiss (having no carrier surcharge):
The difference is major: almost $300! And it’s JUST a one-way ticket!
Airlines without surcharge
In order to avoid carrier surcharge, it will be necessary to know the airlines that don’t charge this on reward tickets.
Here are the airlines NOT charging surcharge
Traveling from the United States
Another way to drastically lower the cost of an Aeroplan flight reward is to travel from the United States.
For example, from Plattsburgh (PBG) and Burlington (BTV) airports, served by United Airlines.
Only $7.40 in taxes for this flight between Burlington and Los Angeles!
Flight rewards in premium cabin
Aeroplan’s great advantage over competitors such as AIR MILES is that it offers the possibility to fly in premium cabins:
- upper economy class
- business class
- first class
This is called “low-cost luxury.” A round-trip ticket between Canada and Asia often costs more than $5,000 in business class.
Now, with Aeroplan miles, these kind of tickets are accessible!
A flight reward in business class, is not just a more comfortable seat. It’s mostly:
- a bed to sleep in
- a better meal
- Improved service at the airport and in-flight
- a much higher baggage allowance
- Priority baggage delivery
- access to airline airport lounges (better than other lounges)
A flight reward in business class is usually 1.5 to 2x higher in miles than a flight reward in economy class.
Short-haul flights: the best deal
Another excellent use of Aeroplan miles: to book short-haul flight rewards
These are “proximity” destinations, as defined by this table:
These Air Canada-operated flights will cost 7,500 miles one-way or 15,000 miles roundtrip.
This type of airfare can be expensive and the use of miles is particularly recommended!
For example, a one-way ticket between Montreal (YUL) and Boston (BOS) costs only 7,500 Aeroplan miles!
The companion ticket
2 Aeroplan-affiliated credit cards offer an annual reward flight ticket for a travel companion:
- The American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card: a 15,000 miles reward flight ticket
- The American Express® AeroplanPlus® Reserve Card:a 25,000 miles reward flight ticket
There are several free and paid tools to find reward tickets on Aeroplan.
If Expertflyer will suit advanced users, Award.Flights is easier to access and free of charge.
With this Chrome Extension, you can search Aeroplan website automatically based on your queries.
For gift cards
It is possible to redeem aeroplan miles for gift cards. It is not a recommended use, but it does exist.
The cost in miles will vary depending on the gift card’s issuer and promotions.
For car rentals
Aeroplan miles can be redeemed for car rentals.
Here’s an example of a week-long car rental in Vancouver.
For holiday packages
With Aeroplan, you can redeem miles for vacation/all-inclusive packages offered by Air Canada Vacations.
Here’s the value you could get from your Aeroplan miles this way:
Aeroplan miles can also be redeemed for hotel nights.
For merchandise and activities
Aeroplan Miles can be redeemed for merchandise and activities within Aeroplan’s rewards catalogue.
Many products or activities are suggested. Once again, the value of the Aeroplan mile will vary depending on each product.
Managing your miles
You know how to earn and use your Aeroplan miles.
Now let’s see how to manage them… every day!
The value of miles
The value of a Aeroplan Mile will depend on how you use it. However, there is agreement that 1 Aeroplan mile = 1.7 cents.
You could get a much higher value with multi-city flight rewards or flights in premium cabins (business class/first class).
This means that the welcome bonus for American Express® AeroplanPlus® Platinum Card is worth about $700!
The expiration of miles
Aeroplan miles expire after 12 months of Aeroplan inactivity. To generate an activity, nothing could be simpler:
Claiming missing miles
Have you traveled on Air Canada or a Star Alliance without indicating your membership number? Or did you forget to use your Aeroplan membership number with a partner?
It is possible to make a claim of missing miles up to 6 months after the transaction.
This will require completing the claim form available on the missing miles page.
It is possible – but very expensive – to transfer miles from one Aeroplan member to another Aeroplan member: 2 cents/mile!
Aeroplan has 3 levels of status:
To obtain one of these status, it is necessary to earn aeroplan miles (by traveling or through purchases on credit card).
However, those activities do not count for the status:
- Aeroplan miles earned through credit card welcome bonuses
- Aeroplan miles earned with Membership rewards points or hotel points conversion
Main status perks:
- 20 to 35% discount on Market fare flight rewards
- 2x to 3x bonus miles for purchases made through Aeroplan eStore
- Priority access to the Aeroplan Contact Center
Aeroplan is Canada’s leading frequent flyer program for travellers because of Air Canada.
It will be a must-go program for:
- those who want to travel to North America or the other side of the world
- those who like to travel in the comfort offered by premium cabins (business class, first class)
- those who want to get the most value on their travel through multi-city reward tickets
Note that a new program will come into effect from July 2020. Aeroplan miles will be transferred to this new program at a value of 1:1.
This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.