Our Guide to the Aeroplan Program

Editors Note: The Aeroplan is undergoing a lot of changes due to the merger with Air Canada, and as such, this article will be updated as changes are announced.


What is the value of an aeroplan mile?


Aeroplan is one of the most ubiquitous loyalty programs in Canada. It is the core rewards program for Canada's largest airline, Air Canada, and also, it has one of the largest partner networks in Canada for other opportunities to earn Miles. Aeroplan Miles can be earned from credit cards, through online shopping, and even from transfers from other loyalty programs. Popularity aside, is the Aeroplan program worth it? Check out our guide of the Aeroplan program below:

Value of an Aeroplan Mile

Ways to Earn

Flexibility

Status


Value of an Aeroplan Mile

What is the value of an Aeroplan Mile? As with many other programs, it varies depending on how you redeem your points. There is a multitude of ways to redeem Aeroplan Miles: Flights, Vacation packages & Hotels, Car Rentals, Gift Cards and Merchandise. However, we have determined the best way to get good value for your Aeroplan Miles is to use them to book flights, where they should be worth about 2 cents per Mile. Overall, Aeroplan Miles are valuable when compared with many other loyalty programs that often are only worth 1 cent per point.


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Ways to Earn

With being Canada's leading flight loyalty program, there are countless ways to earn Aeroplan Miles.

Flying with Air Canada and Partners

The most obvious way to earn Aeroplan Miles is of course, by flying with Air Canada. Generally speaking, Aeroplan Mile accumulation is the actual distance between airports flown. However, one important note here is that flight class booked can change this amount dramatically. If you are a budget traveller and always select Basic fare (or you don't book through Air Canada), you won't earn any Aeroplan Miles at all. Standard fares also earn reduced (50%) Aeroplan Miles.

Each Star Alliance partner will provide a different earn rate for Aeroplan and this also varies with fare class, so it is important you look into this depending on your flight plan. That being said, Air Canada being part of the Star Alliance does provide the most Aeroplan earning opportunities possible, as it is the largest flight alliance in the world.

Aeroplan-Branded Credit Cards

Aeroplan-branded credit cards are how many Canadians earn the bulk of their Miles. American Express, CIBC, and TD all offer Aeroplan branded cards at a variety of price points. If you are dedicated to earning free flights through the Aeroplan program, I would recommend you look into picking the best Aeroplan card for your needs. Additionally, these cards generally provide travel insurance that covers you even on Aeroplan-redeemed flights. Check out our pick for the best Aeroplan Credit Card in Canada.

Transfer Partners

Aeroplan-branded credit cards are how many Canadians earn the bulk of their Miles. American Express, CIBC, and TD all offer Aeroplan branded cards at a variety of price points. If you are dedicated to earning free flights through the Aeroplan program, I would recommend you look into picking the best Aeroplan card for your needs.

However, Aeroplan Miles can also be earned by transferring from other Loyalty Programs. The two key ones for Canadian consumers to be aware of is American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy Points.

Transferring Membership Rewards points can provide Canadian consumers with an even higher Aeroplan earning rate than the Aeroplan branded cards (notably from the American Express Gold and American Express Platinum Cards) due to the 1:1 transfer rate. However, there is one important caveat: the travel insurance from these cards will only cover flights booked through Membership Rewards, not Aeroplan.

Marriott Bonvoy points can also be transferred to Aeroplan at a 3:1 value to Aeroplan Miles. Although this redemption value isn't great, for every 60,000 points transferred an additional 5,000 bonus Miles are rewarded (so 60,000 Bonvoy points becomes 25,000 Miles). If you prioritize free flights over free hotel rooms, this may be a worthwhile transfer.

Finally, although more uncommon and harder to acquire in Canada, nearly all other hotel points can be converted to Aeroplan, but generally at unfavourable rates. The only point system with an associated credit card is the Best Western Rewards program, which can be converted at a rate of 5:1 Aeroplan Miles.

Travel Partners

There is a wide variety of non-airline travel partners affiliated with Aeroplan. These include hotel chains (notably Fairmont), and rental car agencies. If you are committed to the Aeroplan program, I recommend keeping checking out the Aeroplan website to see the full list of travel partners.

Aeroplan eStore

One of the more surprising ways to earn Aeroplan miles is by making all your purchases through the Aeroplan eStore. The eStore features a variety of retailers including Amazon, Chapters, Dell, The Gap and even Well.ca. If you make large purchases during promotions (such as the Aeroplan Black Friday event) it's possible to quickly earn thousands of Aeroplan Miles on major purchases you make.


Flexibility

On paper, Aeroplan is one of the most flexible loyalty programs out there. With the option to redeem for flight bookings, hotels, vacation rebates, or even gift cards & merch. However, if you care about getting good value out of the program, your options are essentially limited to flights. Specifically, Fixed Mileage Rewards is typically the only redemption that will guarantee reasonable value, and seats are limited so it's important to look in advance.

Flight refunds are more flexible due to changes in Aeroplan last year, but far from perfect. Flights can be refunded for free 24 hours after booking. Flights can be refunded for $125 up to 2 hours before departure (this fee is waived for Altitude Super Elite 100k members).


Check out our top pick for the best Aeroplan Credit Card in Canada.


Status

Up until this year, Aeroplan had a separate status program separate from Air Canada's Altitude. With Aeroplan merging back into Air Canada, program status tiers are being merged. Currently, however, this means it is not possible to gain status tiers solely through the Aeroplan program, only Altitude status by taking flights on Air Canada. We will update this page once the details regarding this merger of status tiers is more clear.


Conclusion

In its current state, Aeroplan is an expansive loyalty program with the support of Air Canada, 3 banks' credit cards, and a wide variety of retail partners. Points can provide good value when redeemed for flights, and it is reasonably flexible if you don't mind flying on Star Alliance flights (which isn't a big sacrifice) and booking in advance. However, it is a program that is currently undergoing major changes, especially regarding its status tiers. We will provide you with all the updates for Aeroplan moving forward as we hear about them. Overall, we recommend Aeroplan for those who care about maximizing free flight rewards, and don't mind putting in some legwork to make redemptions worthwhile.


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