The Value of an Aeroplan Point
The average dollar value of 1 Aeroplan point is
|Dollar value of 1 point||Flexibility of points||Can points cover taxes and fees?|
Aeroplan is one of the most popular airline loyalty programs in Canada with over 5 million active members. Many banks like CIBC and TD offer a variety of different Aeroplan credit cards that'll earn points on all your everyday purchases; so make sure you do your research because the annual net rewards of each card will vary.
- Earn up to 1.5 points per dollar
- Annual fee: $139
How much are your Aeroplan Points worth?
The value of an Aeroplan point when redeemed for travel isn’t consistent and can fluctuate quite considerably based on the Aeroplan Flight Rewards Chart, which splits up the world into four major travel zones: North America, South America, Atlantic, and Pacific.
Your Aeroplan points value can vary based on multiple variables, including:
- Which of the 4 zones you’re travelling within or between
- The distance (in miles) between your city of departure and arrival
- Which type of seat you’re booking (economy, business, or first-class)
- The time of year you’re travelling (high-or-low demand travel seasons)
- Whether you choose to redeem a flight on Air Canada or one of Aeroplan's over two dozen airline partners (including United Airlines, Lufthansa, and more)
- Whether you carry an Aeroplan credit card (cardholders receive better redemption rates versus general loyalty members)
At Ratehub.ca, we ran 35 different travel scenarios involving economy flights departing from Canada to destinations across the globe at various times of the year and determined the average value of 1 Aeroplan point to be $0.0155 or 1.55 cents.
Aeroplan points can also be redeemed for non-travel oriented rewards including retail gift cards and merchandise, however, they'll typically reap lower returns ($0.0071 / 0.71 cents per point on average). Values can fluctuate depending on which gift card or merchandise item you redeem for.
Here is the methodology we used to determine the average value of an Aeroplan point:
- Look up the price of a flight (in cash) from your city of departure to your desired destination
- Use the Aeroplan points filter on the Air Canada website to determine the cost of the same or equivalent flight in points
- Take the price of a flight in cash and divide the dollar amount by the number of points required to book the flight to find the net gain
- Depending on how you redeem your points (for example, if you choose to use a mix of points and cash), you must go through a multi-step process and subtract the amount you’re paying in cash first to determine the net gain (example below)
Calculating Aeroplan points value example
Round-trip flight from Toronto to Los Angeles
|Total cost of flight||Combination of Cash and Points required to book|
$422.52 Total price of the flight in dollars
$122.90 cash needed 23100 Aeroplan points needed
Note: The value of Aeroplan points is directly correlated with the price of flight tickets. With the airline industry facing volality due to COVID-19, Aeroplan points values are even more sensitive to change.
Overall Flexibilty: Medium
|Taxes and fees covered?||Consistent value?||Transferable to/from other rewards programs?|
|Yes, Aeroplan allows you to pay for taxes and fees with your points.||No, the value of your Aeroplan points change with many factors like flight destination and seasonality.||Yes, you can transfer your points with select rewards programs.|
|More than one airline involved in program?||Can the points be used retroactively?||Expiration date on points?|
|Yes, in addition to Air Canada, all airlines under the Star Alliance bracket are included. Popular ones include: United Airlines and Lufthansa.||No, you must use your points at the time of purchase.||If you carry an Aeroplan credit card, points don't have an expiry date. Otherwise, if you are inactive on your Aeroplan account for 18 consecutive months, your Aeroplan points will expire.|
For a travel rewards program owned and operated by a specific airline (Air Canada), Aeroplan does offer some considerable flexibility.
You can redeem points directly for flights on Air Canada as well as on over two dozen Partner Airlines that make up the Star Alliance network. Plus, you can convert your Aeroplan points to other loyalty programs (e.g. American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy).
Here are some more great flexible benefits offered by Aeroplan:
- Stopovers: you can add up to a 24-hour stopover on each one-way flight for an incremental 5,000 points (some exclusions apply, like direct flights within North America). When optimized, this policy means you can create complex and creative routes using stopovers to see other cities along the way or book different arrival and departures cities all while using fewer points.
- Last-minute booking: you can book your ticket up to 2 hours before departure
- Cancellations or changes: for a fee (can range between $25 - $170 depending on your tickets), you have the ability to change or cancel your flight up to 2 hours before departure without losing your points
While relatively flexible for an airline loyalty program, Aeroplan isn’t perfect. You can't redeem points from any airline of your choice or book your rewards flight using third-party travel comparison sites like Google Flights or Expedia. It can also be quite complicated to understand how to calculate and maximize what your points are worth since values can fluctuate based on so many variables (like your travel destination and seasonality). However, it’s this complexity that makes Aeroplan a popular choice among points optimizers, travel hackers, and “left-brain” thinkers, since a well-strategized trip can stretch the value of Aeroplan points and even achieve the ability to book business class flights on a budget.
The Aeroplan program now allows you to use your points to cover taxes and fees. You can either cover the entire expense using only points or use a combination of points and cash. If you choose to use only Aeroplan points to cover the entire cost of the flight, the value of your points may vary.
Best Way to Use Your Aeroplan Points
The value of your Aeroplan points depends on what rewards you redeem for. Some flights offer you very little value for your rewards and if you think you’ll fly in the near future, it’s worth saving your Aeroplan points for more valuable destinations. In this post we will go over several techniques that can be used to maximize the value of your Aeroplan points.
Ratehub.ca’s research shows the average dollar value of an Aeroplan point is $0.0155. Use this as your benchmark and whenever possible only redeem Aeroplan points when the value offered is close to or above the benchmark. Let’s look at an example.
Let's say you're trying to book a flight from Montreal to Paris. Purchasing a direct flight would cost around $867.17 including taxes and fees (at the time this was written). Using Aeroplan would require 66,000 points and an additional $153.17 in cash. Let’s determine the value you would receive if you used points.
Since $0.0108 is below the benchmark of $0.0155, to maximize your return, you might want to wait to redeem your Aeroplan points for another future flight that offers a better return on your points (and pay for the flight to Paris using cash or credit). That being said, using your points in the above scenario will still save you $714, so if you don’t have future travel in your plans, it may be in your best interests to redeem your points, albeit at a lower value.
Under Aeroplan, you can add a 24-hour stopover on each one-way flight for an incremental 5,000 points; allowing you to travel further and stretch the value of your rewards. Strategically using this stopover policy empowers you to create complex multi-stop trips and explore several cities across Europe, Asia, and South America; squeezing in plenty more sightseeing (in an albeit tighter time-frame). It's worth noting this stopover policy does have some restrictions, like the fact stopovers can't be booked for trips within Canada or the US.
As covered in the "Flexibility" tab, you can redeem Aeroplan points for flights on Air Canada as well as over two dozen Star Alliance Partner airlines. The redemption process does vary slightly between the two, and each has its own pros and cons so you'll want to compare your airline options to see which offers the highest return for your points.
Let's run through an example. According to the Aeroplan Rewards Chart:
- On Air Canada: booking a one-way flight from Toronto (YYZ) to New York (LGA) would require anywhere between 6,000 - 10,000 points
- On Partner Airlines: booking the same flight would always require 6,000 points
The crux of the difference between the two options is that the number of points needed to book a flight on Air Canada can actually vary within a pre-defined range. The consequence being you may be required to redeem more or fewer points depending on travel demand and seasonality. On Air Canada, you can also redeem points for any unsold seat available on all flights. That means you won’t have to compromise on your carefully-planned travel itinerary since any seat you can buy can also be redeemed using points.
Meanwhile, on Star Alliance Partner airlines, the number of points needed to redeem for a flight ticket never fluctuates regardless of travel demand or seasonality. The drawback being you’ll need to pay an additional $39 booking fee per seat when redeeming on an airline other than Air Canada. Additionally, each Partner Airline will reserve only a certain number of seats to Aeroplan members, so your seating options could be more limited. If you have a set itinerary, you would have to book in advance or during low-demand seasons when you'll have less competition over the limited number of seats that can be booked using points.
As a general rule of thumb, you'll get more value on a per-point basis when redeeming for business class flights versus economy flights. The reason why comes down to simple math.
While the gap in price between a business and an economy ticket can often be exorbitantly high when purchasing the ticket outright, the equivalent gap in the number of points needed to redeem isn't as big.
As an example, let's look at a round-trip flight between Toronto and Vancouver.
- When buying a flight ticket outright: a business class ticket costs around $2,600 and an economy ticket costs around $520 (a five-times difference)
- When using points: a business class ticket requires around 50,000 points and an economy ticket requires 25,000 points (only a two-times difference)
In general, Ratehub.ca’s research has shown that redeeming Aeroplan points for rewards other than flights offers a low value per point. As always, before opting for this type of redemption, determine the value of your Aeroplan points and compare it to the benchmark.
Let’s look at a few examples where we are considering redeeming points for non-travel rewards.
|Gift Card / Rewards||Value per point|
|Air Canada Gift Card||$0.01|
|Best Buy Gift Card||$0.0071|
|Hudson's Bay Gift Card||$0.0071|
From this analysis we can see the value ranges from $0.01 (exclusively for Air Canada gift cards) to $0.0071 for retail gift cards. As this is lower than Ratehub.ca’s Aeroplan benchmark value of $0.0155, we would try and save the points for more valuable travel rewards.
As a holder of a co-branded Aeroplan credit card, specifically what Aeroplan calls “core cards” like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, you won't only earn more points on your everyday spending but will also have a number of advantages when it comes to booking travel.
For instance, you can get the first bag checked-in for free on Air Canada flights for you and up to eight travel companions on the same booking for most flights within North America. That can add up to $30 in savings (plus taxes and fees) per traveller when flying economy within Canada or to the US.
Second, you’ll get preferred pricing when redeeming Air Canada flights. As covered earlier, the number of Aeroplan points needed to book a flight on Air Canada can fluctuate within a set range. With an Aeroplan credit card, you often can access the lower range of points. That’s positive news because, on average, the fewer points needed to redeem, the better the value you get.
Most Aeroplan credit card holders can also get closer to achieving Aeroplan Elite Status just for using their credit card when making everyday purchases.