For us, it is not a matter of if we will travel but when and so, in addition to spending time trying to get refunds for trip cancellations, we have also been monitoring deals that have been popping up now for future travel and also assessing if we should invest them. On May 7, Aeroplan is offering a promo to buy miles at the rate of $0.014CAD with bonuses, making it one of their most generous promotions for the purchase of miles. In this post, we share more information about the recently advertised Aeroplan promotion and our analysis to decide if we will buy any.
The bottom-line up-front:
We have a love hate relationship with Aeroplan; on one hand, we have found it to be an extremely valuable program to earn and redeem points with but in other circumstances, we have had so many issues (we dedicated a post about all the issues we had with Aeroplan). We have done 2 around the world itineraries through Aeroplan and booked countless other rewards that have saved us money but also allowed us to fly in premium business class cabins with airlines like EVA, Turkish, Copa, Thai, Lufthansa, United, Singapore, Asiana, and Air Canada. As we start to look at keeping a diversified points portfolio to maximize travel options when things start back up again, we are definitely enticed by Aeroplan’s latest promo but also slightly hesitant.
According to Gary Leff from View from the Wing:
- 1 cent tranche:The first 10 million miles sold receive a 115% bonus ($0.014 CAD/mile + sales tax or $0.01 USD/mile without tax)
- 1 cent tranche:The next 100 million miles sold receive a 90% bonus ($0.016 CAD/mile + sales tax or $0.011 USD/mile without tax)
- 3 cent tranche:After the first 110 million miles sold they’ll offer a 65% bonus ($0.018 CAD/mile + sales tax or $0.013 USD/mile without tax)
You can buy up to 250,000 miles per transaction, excluding the bonus. If you buy the maximum amount of miles, it would cost $2,500CAD plus any applicable taxes (it appears anyone with a US address and credit card doesn’t pay taxes).
Here are a few examples about how you can cost how much the miles will cost when redeemed for flights.
Based on the current Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart, a one-way business class ticket on a long haul flight within Canada & Continental USA is 25,000 miles + taxes and fees. So for about $250CAD + taxes and fees, you could fly one-way from YVR-Vancouver to YYZ – Toronto or YUL – Montreal (or from eastern Canada to western Canada for a longer flight) in Air Canada’s Signature Class business class product.
We had booked a business class ticket on Air Canada and Avianca to get from YVR – Vancouver to BOG – Bogota (Colombia) with a layover at LAX – Los Angeles for 37,500 Aeroplan miles. Had we paid cash for those tickets, they were going for about $2,602CAD. If we had purchased the miles at the promo rate, it would have cost ~$375CAD for the tickets on this itinerary + the $112CAD in taxes and fees for a total of $487. As you can see, that is indeed good value; less than $500CAD for a one-way ticket from North America to South America in business class, which is cheaper than some economy fares.
For a reward flight to Vietnam on EVA, with a stop in TPE – Taipei, it would cost 77,500 miles + taxes and fees; the cost to buy that many points is $775CAD. Taxes and fees are very low on EVA, making it a steal of a deal. We have been able to book Royal Laurel Class tickets on EVA about 3 times using Aeroplan points.
We also redeemed this amount of points to fly on Turkish Airlines in their new 787 business class product all the way from DPS – Denpasar (Bali) to RAK – Marrakech (Morocco) with a stop in IST – Istanbul for that number of points and $30 in taxes and fees per ticket. This one way itinerary clocks in at 8,568 miles (13,789 kilometres) for about 18 hours of flying.
Link to the current Aeroplan Rewards Chart: https://www.aeroplan.com/use-your-miles/flight-rewards-chart#/.
As mentioned, we are enticed to purchase some Aeroplan miles but we are unsure of how many and if we will because of the following factors.
- Value of the points: Air Canada is set to announce its new loyalty program in 2020 sometime. As these are unprecedented times and Air Canada/Aeroplan has had some good incentives for loyalty during the pandemic, there is no guarantee that there will not be a devaluation of the reward chart. One would like to think they will want to postpone a highly probable devaluation to fixed pricing rewards to market-value fares (meaning the points required is based on the price of the ticket) but it is Air Canada/Aeroplan…the same company who has denied refunds to customers even though they were entitled to them during the pandemic.
- Availability of rewards: As mentioned in other posts recently, there is so much instability with airlines and flight schedules due to grounded fleets. Eventually, things will start-up again but the options and space we may have been used to seeing may not be available for some time. Don’t forget that the longer you hold on to points, the quicker they lose their value. If you plan on using the purchased Aeroplan miles for domestic travel vs international travel, there is higher likelihood of getting to use them sooner but flight prices might be lower for some time, thus reducing the return on investment of the purchased points (it might be cheaper to pay for the ticket than buy points and use them in some cases).
- Elite Status Priority Rewards Benefits: With Air Canada status, you get access to Priority Rewards. With 35K status or above with Air Canada, you get access to more seats on Air Canada flights but not partner airlines. With 100K status, you pretty much get access to any unsold economy, premium economy, and business class seats on Air Canada flights and pay no carrier surcharges. To summarize, if you plan to use the points to fly on Air Canada, you will have more availability than non-elite members. We did find this handy when booking last minute flights with 50K status as no rewards were available otherwise. If you have 100K status with Air Canada and plan to use the points while you still have that status, it is an even greater incentive to purchase points. Source: https://altitude.aircanada.com/status/program-privileges
- Aeroplan Travel at Home: Are you signed up for Aeroplan’s “Travel at Home” promotion to accelerate the achievement of Air Canada Altitude Elite Status? If so, half of the miles you purchase will count towards status. This adds further incentive to purchase miles for those participating in this promotion.
- Sign Up for an American Express Platinum Card through We Leave Today: If you sign-up for an American Express Platinum card through us, you end up getting 70,000 points which you can easily concert to Aeroplan. The annual fee is $699 for the card but one of the perks of the card is a $200 travel credit, which brings down the annual cost to $499. The cost per Aeroplan mile is then even cheaper than the Aeroplan promo; it is $0.007 per mile. The card also has a generous travel insurance policy, provides lounge access for the better than average Centurion Lounges and other lounges, and other benefits. If you are interested, email us at email@example.com.
Everything is uncertain right now, especially when it comes to international travel. We currently have more $ in airline credits and miles than we can think of using in the next 1-2 years which makes it even more difficult for us to justify purchasing these miles. The biggest factor for us is the very probably devaluation of the Aeroplan program when Air Canada unveils its new program. That being said, there will always be deals, if you know how to look, where to find them, and have flexible travel plans. If we did purchase miles, we would limit it to 50,000 each. In other times and circumstances, we would probably try to buy the full maximum of 250,000.
Are you planning to purchase any Aeroplan miles as part of this promotion? What is the best Aeroplan redemption you ever booked?
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