Air Canada’s Aeroplan program gives you an unsurpassed ability to use your miles on more carriers than any other program in Canada, not to mention providing the most amount of flights within Canada and the United States.
With that said, getting value from Aeroplan takes some legwork and elbow grease, which can be a major cause for frustration for the loyalty program’s users.
Plus, with Air Canada purchasing Aeroplan from Aimia and making it their own program, changes are sure to be on the horizon.
In the meantime, we’re here to let you know the best ways to use Aeroplan, so you know you’ll be getting the best value possible when you redeem your points.
Aeroplan at a glance
|Aeroplan miles value:||High: $0.025 for flights
Low: $0.0064 for car rentals
|Ways to redeem Aeroplan miles:||* Flights – 2.5 cents per mile (CPM)
* Vacation packages – 0.83 CPM
* Hotels – 0.73 CPM
* Car rentals – 0.64 CPM
* Merchandise – 0.83 CPM
* Gift cards – 0.71 CPM
|How to earn Aeroplan miles:||* Aeroplan Loyalty Card
* 21 credit cards
|Who these rewards are good for:||* World Travellers|
|Frequently Asked Questions:||* Level of flexibility? Medium
* Blackout dates? No
* Will I lose my miles if I cancel an award flight? No
* Do rewards expire? No
* Rewards cover taxes and fees? Yes
* Can these rewards be transferred? No
* Is there a way to earn rewards faster? Yes
* How to access Aeroplan login.
* Ways to contact Aeroplan.
Calculating the value of an Aeroplan mile
Like many programs, there are a variety of ways to use your miles, and not just for flights.
We’ll cover all the different redemption options, so you’ll know how to get the best value for your miles.
Redeem Aeroplan miles for flights: 2.5 CPM
If you want the best value for your Aeroplan miles, your best option is to redeem for flights.
While you can use your miles to redeem for flights around the world, the best value you’ll find is by using them right here in Canada, as well as travelling to the United States.
Our valuation for a single Aeroplan mile is 2.5 cents.
Note: If you want to see the flights we surveyed, here’s a link.
Unfortunately, there are locations where your miles won’t be of much value. Travel to Europe offers terrible redemptions, as most carriers charge quite a bit in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges. Redemptions to Asia and Australia are better, but still not great.
However, this excludes business class seats, where there was greater value across the board, no matter where you were travelling.
To get better value for long distance flights, you’ll need to book with a carrier that doesn’t have any fuel surcharges. Some of these carriers include:
- Air China,
- Turkish Airlines,
- Brussels Airlines, and
- Egypt Air.
Sadly, these flights (especially in economy) are very difficult to find.
Our mile valuation average is obtained by booking the same flight 3 different ways:
- a Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards economy,
- Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards business/first class, and
- Market Fare Flight Rewards economy tickets.
They were all based on long-haul Canada and Continental U.S. flights.
The ticket we used as a comparison is a similar standard-fare flight from aircanada.com with seats selected and paid for.
Why a standard fare over a basic one? Basic-fare flights can’t be cancelled or changed, whereas standard-fare flights allow changes and cancellations for a fee. Aeroplan reservations can be changed, are refundable, and gives you seat selection for free. Therefore, we’ve accounted for the cost of selecting seats in our valuation.
Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards
Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards is the standard booking option for rewards flights. It allows you to book either economy, premium economy, business, or first class on any Air Canada or Star Alliance partner airline.
But because there’s only a limited number of seats available on every flight for these redemptions, you’ll have to book well in advance to find availability. And even then, you may find that there are extra flights you’ll have to take or long layovers to get where you’re going.
We looked 5 months in advance for our research, and while it wasn’t hard to find availability, the flights themselves weren’t always the greatest.
This chart from Air Canada will show you the set amount of miles you need to fly somewhere (keeping in mind you’ll need to cover the taxes and fees as well).
Long-haul flights within Canada and the United States provided the best value when travelling in economy class. These flights had an average mile value of 2.1 CPM.
For short-haul tickets and other international redemptions, there was significantly less value.
Unfortunately, shorter flights won’t get you much value since the number of miles you need to redeem doesn’t change regardless of how far you’re flying within a Fixed Mileage zone.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to travel roughly 5 hours by air to get the best value, but it’s certainly not a hard and fast rule.
Here’s a flight we surveyed from Halifax to Vancouver:
|Halifax to Vancouver|
|Aeroplan cost||25,000 miles + $166.19 in taxes and fees|
|Air Canada Price||$806.74|
|Value of 1 mile||2.56 cents|
But, here’s a flight from Montreal to Phoenix, which had a much poorer value:
|Montreal to Phoenix|
|Aeroplan cost||25,000 miles + $204.35 in taxes and fees|
|Air Canada Price||$514.12|
|Value of 1 mile||1.24 cents|
Something to note: The business class redemptions consistently offered great value. So you’ll not only get a great flying experience, but great value as well.
Curious about the best flight value we found?
If you live in Northern Canada, beyond where Air Canada flies, you can redeem your miles for travel on Canadian North, First Air, Bearskin, and Calm Air.
In these areas, 25,000 miles will get you to anywhere in Canada or the Continental United States.
For example, a round trip flight to Iqaluit from Moncton costs 25,000 miles and around $200 to $250 dollars in taxes and fees – Aeroplan needed a response from First Air or Canadian North on availability before we could get the exact amount.
Purchasing this flight through Canadian North costs $2,246.16.
Even if you have to pay $250 in taxes and fees, this gives you an amazing value of 8 cents per mile. This is the best value of any flight we surveyed, regardless of cabin class.
Market Fare Flight Rewards
If you can’t find any redemption options on Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards (or don’t like the schedules available), Market Fare Flight Rewards will give you access to any available seat on Air Canada flights only. The amount of miles you need to pay varies with the cost of the actual fares.
Please note: We only looked at economy fares for Market Fare Flight Rewards.
While this generally provided the worst value at 1.5 CPM, there’s some good news.
For flights within North America, the fuel surcharge is waived, and from the flights we compared, this led to an average savings of $113 per ticket.
Plus, you have access to every seat available on Air Canada flights, so flight schedules were much better.
And, on occasion, there are Market Fare Flight Rewards sales.
3 of the flights we surveyed were on sale, so the number of miles needed was slightly less than the Fixed Mile equivalent trip. Combined with the fewer taxes and fees you had to pay, this resulted in a much better value.
It’s always worth a check on Market Fare Flight Rewards to see what’s being offered. You may score a good deal.
For example, here’s the Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards for a Winnipeg to Houston redemption:
|Winnipeg to Houston – Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards|
|Aeroplan||25,000 miles + $248.99 in taxes and fees|
|Air Canada Price||$546.42|
|Value of 1 mile||1.19 cents|
And here’s the Market Fare equivalent, which had a sale:
|Winnipeg to Houston – Market Fare Flight Rewards|
|Aeroplan||24,900 miles + $72.98 in taxes and fees|
|Air Canada Price||$546.42|
|Value of 1 mile||1.9 cents|
With the lowered taxes and fees on Market Fare Flight Rewards redemptions in North America, it turns a mediocre redemption into one with good value.
Redeem for Air Canada Vacations: 0.83 CPM
If you’re looking to score a vacation package to sunny destinations or take a cruise, you can use your miles to jet away with Air Canada Vacations.
Here are the redemption levels and how much you’ll save:
For almost all redemption options, each mile is worth 0.83 cents. However, redeeming only 1,000 miles for a $50 rebate will give you 5 cents per mile.
Redeem Aeroplan miles for hotels: 0.73 CPM
Beyond flights, there are other ways to use your miles for travel. Hotel accommodations are wide ranging and cover many different chains.
As a plus, there are are no taxes and fees to pay – your miles cover the entire cost of your stay.
Sadly, the good news ends there. We test booked a 2-night weekend stay at hotels in our major cities’ downtown cores, and came to an average value of 0.73 CPM.
Redeem Aeroplan miles for car rentals: 0.64 CPM
Similar to hotels, car rentals can be easily booked and your miles cover the taxes and fees. We test booked 1-day compact car rentals at Canada’s major airports, and our value for one mile was 0.64 cents.
Redeem Aeroplan miles for merchandise: 0.83 CPM
The Aeroplan merchandise catalogue has a wide variety of items you can redeem your miles for.
While the range varied, the average value for one mile is 0.83 cents.
Here’s a sampling of what we looked at.
|Citizen Eco-Drive PROMASTER DIVER Men’s Watch||41,000||$495||1.36|
|Fossil Jacqueline Navy Leather Women’s Watch||17,000||$155||1.03|
|Bose Home Speaker 500||61,500||$499||0.92|
|Broil King Monarch 320 Propane BBQ||65,500||$530||0.91|
|Briggs & Stratton PowerBoss 3500 Portable Generator||94,000||$757||0.91|
|LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate Ready for School Tablet – English||20,000||$130||0.73|
|Apple TV 4K 32GB||35,500||$229||0.73|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S3||126,000||$800||0.72|
|Nikon COOLPIX B500 Compact Digital Camera||47,500||$290||0.69|
|Dell 21.5″ Monitor||29,000||$150||0.58|
|Dewalt 20V Lithium Ion Cordless Drill||39,500||$178||0.51|
*Cost as found on google, with 13% sales tax added.
Redeem Aeroplan miles for gift cards: 0.71 CPM
Looking to redeem for gift cards? Aeroplan has a wide range of selection, with choices anywhere from travel to merchandise available.
Almost all gift cards gave a value of 0.71 CPM, with a few offering a value of 0.74 CPM.
Quantities are limited.
How to earn Aeroplan miles
So, how do you earn Aeroplan miles? There’s two ways:
- by using your collector card, and
- using an Aeroplan-branded credit card.
We’ll give an overview of both.
Aeroplan loyalty card
Using your loyalty card is an easy place to start earning Aeroplan miles on everyday spending.
If you travel frequently, collecting miles on flights and other travel purchases will build up your rewards bank in no time.
How do you collect? On Air Canada, it depends on how far you fly on individual flights. You collect one mile for every actual mile you fly.
You can also get a points multiplier depending on the fare class. Some fares are 0 (you don’t earn any miles) and some can go as high as 150%.
For other travel partners, what you earn depends on the partner. Refer here to check on earn rates for other travel partners.
Using your loyalty card in store
Some retail stores have Aeroplan as their loyalty program, including:
- Home Hardware,
- Costco.ca (on select products),
- UPS Store, and
While you won’t earn a lot of miles this way, every bit helps to add to your mile bank.
If you enjoy shopping online, the Aeroplan e-Store offers a great way to earn miles. Here are just a few of the online shops available:
- Hudson’s Bay,
- Roots, and
- The Source.
The typical earn rate is 1 mile per dollar spent, but it varies by retailer.
Aeroplan credit cards
The fastest way to earn Aeroplan miles (if you’re not a frequent flyer) is by getting an Aeroplan credit card. There’s no shortage of cards available, with a whopping 21 different options to choose from.
If you have an Aeroplan-branded credit card, the miles you earn count towards distinction status. While there are many benefits to distinction status, one of the key advantages is getting a discount on miles for a Market Fare flight.
Related: Best Aeroplan Credit Cards
The best Aeroplan credit card
Looking for the best Aeroplan credit card you can get? The
So why this card? It’s all in the earn rates:
- 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on car rentals and hotels at americanexpress.ca/travel,
- 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, drugstores, and other travel purchases, and
- 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent everywhere else.
Being able to earn up to 3 points per dollar spent in 4 different categories is something no other Aeroplan card comes close to.
Plus, unlike most Aeroplan cards, all American Express cards have no minimum income requirements, putting this card within reach for a lot more Canadians.
The best part? If you decide that Aeroplan isn’t for you, or the possible changes coming to the program in 2020 aren’t to your liking, you have a multitude of other ways to use or transfer your points.
It does come with a slightly steep annual fee of $150, but for the ability to use your points in a myriad of ways makes this card a winner, and one of the top travel rewards cards in Canada.
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
If you’re looking for a credit card that gives you elevated experiences with Air Canada, the
If you apply for this card before June 2, 2019, not only will the $120 annual fee be waived for the first year, but you’ll also get up to 30,000 bonus Aeroplan miles – 15,000 after your first purchase and another 15,000 when you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days.
Plus, you’ll earn even:
- 1.5 miles per $1 spent on gas, groceries, drugstores and aircanada.com purchases, and
- 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else.
Then, when you redeem your rewards for an Aeroplan flight, get some great perks on reward flights:
- first free checked bag,
- priority check in,
- priority boarding, and
- Maple Leaf Lounge access (only once per year).
For an annual fee of $120 for the primary cardholder ($50 for authorized users), as well as income requirements of either $60,000 personal or $100,000 household, TD gives you a lot to like.
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
Or maybe you want a card that gives you even more miles and perks on every Air Canada flight, if so, the
First, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 25,000 miles after you make your first card purchase. Although the earn rate on the gas, groceries, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases is the same as the Visa Infinite version, you’ll get 1.25 miles for every other $1 spent.
And as for Air Canada perks? You’ll enjoy the same benefits you would with the
There’s also a host of Visa Infinite Privilege benefits, including a Priority Pass membership with 6 annual passes, and special benefits at Montreal-Trudeau, Ottawa, and Vancouver airports. Plus, once a year you’ll get 50% off the base air fare of one ticket when you buy a trip in business class for 2 within North America on Air Canada.
It does have an annual fee of $399 for the primary cardholder ($99 for authorized users) and a household income requirement of $200,000, but, it will give you plenty of miles and great benefits while flying as well.
Beyond these cards, here are some other premium options as well, with annual fees ranging from $120 all the way to $899.
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Lower fee Aeroplan cards
If you don’t qualify for Visa Infinite or Infinite Privilege cards, here are a few options with lower income requirements and annual fees under $100.
Bonus alert: If you apply for the
Credit cards with transfer options
In addition to the American Express Gold Rewards card, the following also have the ability to transfer your points to Aeroplan.
The only Aeroplan credit card with no annual fee
If you’re looking for a no fee Aeroplan card, your only option is the
Or, if you have the Capital One Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard (or any other Capital One grandfathered travel card), you can transfer your points at a 2:1.5 ratio.
Student credit card
Looking for a student card that earns Aeroplan? The
Earn 1 mile for every $1.50 spent on your card for an annual fee of $39.
Business credit cards
If you’re looking to earn Aeroplan miles for your business spending, the following cards are either Aeroplan cards, or cards that will allow you to transfer your points to Aeroplan:
Aeroplan questions and answers
Here are some common questions and answers about the Aeroplan program.
How flexible are these rewards?
For flights, there’s some flexibility in that you have the ability to book any available seat on Air Canada for some extra miles. Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards are not very flexible due to the limited number of seats.
Are there blackout dates?
No, there are no blackout dates on rewards flights.
Will I lose my miles if I cancel and award flight?
No, provided you cancel 22 days prior to departure. There’s a $150 fee (plus taxes) to cancel your flights and get your miles back. You’re permitted to cancel your reservation up to 2 hours before departure, but, you only have one year to use the miles towards another flight redemption. There’s a $100 fee to make any changes per direction of travel.
Do these rewards expire?
No, provided you make a transaction on your account once per year.
Can you use points to cover taxes & fees?
For hotels and car rentals, yes. Miles cover taxes and fees.
For all flights, you have the option to use additional miles to cover taxes and fees. A quick survey of several flights revealed that one mile is worth 0.7 – 0.8 cents when used this way,
Can these rewards be transferred?
No, these rewards cannot be transferred to other programs.
Is there a way to earn rewards faster?
Yes, by combining your collector account and an Aeroplan credit card when flying or shopping.
How to access Aeroplan login?
Head over to aeroplan.com, and click on login at the top right corner of the page.
Ways to contact Aeroplan?
Head to this page to see all the ways you can contact Aeroplan.
And there you have it
With flights that span the globe and a multitude of other travel options, Aeroplan has a lot to offer. But getting the most out of the program requires some know-how, and some research.
However, with the future of Aeroplan unsure, we can only hope that the Aeroplan program will continue to provide great redemption values for years to come.
What about you? How have your experiences with Aeroplan been?
Do you have any redemption success stories to share?
Let us know in the comments below.