Aeroplan is one of Canada’s oldest loyalty rewards programs. It allows you to redeem your miles for flights with Air Canada, or with any other Star Alliance member airline.
In addition to this, you can redeem your miles for hotel bookings, car rentals, and even make charitable donations with them. With more than 150 retail, financial and travel partners, it’s very easy to earn miles quickly with Aeroplan.
The interesting thing about the Aeroplan program and certain other travel rewards programs is that these miles don’t have a constant value. The value of Aeroplan miles depends on the destination you want to fly to, as well as the time of year. And so, it’s not so much about the number of miles you earn, but more about how you choose to redeem them.
When it comes to the number of Aeroplan miles you can earn, it’s useful to compare the different credit cards affiliated with the Aeroplan program in order to see which one can offer you the most, given your spending habits. For this purpose, we recommend using our Aeroplan miles calculator to make sure you’re not missing out on any miles you could potentially be earning. However, this article is about how best to maximize the value of your Aeroplan miles.
Now that we’ve established that the value of an Aeroplan mile varies depending on several factors, the question becomes how to make the most of them. Here are several tips and rules of thumb that you can keep in mind when redeeming them:
Compare your redemption value with the benchmark value—We’ve calculated the average dollar value of an Aeroplan mile to be $0.012. Whenever possible, compare the redemption value per mile of your desired reward with this number, or with any other benchmark of your choosing, and only redeem your miles if the value is equal to or greater than this benchmark.
Look out for flights to the most valuable regions—Aeroplan charges a fixed number of miles based on the region of the world that you intend to fly to, and as such, certain flight zones offer more value than others. Be sure to take into account the seasonality and the travel class when redeeming your miles.
Compare airlines and surcharges—A major benefit of the Aeroplan program’s partnership with the Star Alliance is the fact that you’re not limited to a single airline when redeeming your points for a flight. Although each individual airline has its own redemption terms, you still have the freedom to compare the different airlines in order to pay the least amount of taxes and fees (which cannot be paid for with Aeroplan miles). For instance, some airlines include a fuel surcharge with their tickets, while others do not.
Consider booking market fare—Aeroplan offers two types of flight rewards: fixed mileage and market fare. As its name suggests, fixed mileage flight rewards offer flights at fixed mileage levels and a fixed number of seats on Star Alliance member flights are offered exclusively to Aeroplan members. Market fare flight rewards offers Aeroplan members access to all unsold seats on flights. However, the mileage levels vary based on market fares at the time of booking. In certain cases, redeeming market fare flight rewards can offer greater value for your Aeroplan miles than a fixed mileage flight.
Avoid other redemption options—Aeroplan miles can be redeemed for other rewards including hotel bookings, car rentals, and gift cards. Our research has shown that redeeming your Aeroplan miles for non-flight rewards offers a seriously low value per mile. We recommend staying the course and holding out for that getaway you’ve been racking up your miles for.
There are several credit cards on the market that are affiliated with the Aeroplan program and allow you to earn miles with them. However, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is considered to be one of the best Aeroplan credit cards out there, as well as one of the overall best credit cards in Canada. Here are a few reasons why:
- Sign up before September 2, 2016 and get the $120 annual fee rebated in the first year
- Earn miles twice by also presenting your Aeroplan membership card when shopping at partner brands
- Exclusive Air Canada benefits include a complimentary first checked bag, priority check-in, and priority boarding
- Complimentary Visa Infinite Concierge service available 24/7
- Extensive suite of travel insurance includes trip interruption/cancellation insurance, travel medical insurance, and lost/delayed baggage insurance