If you are like us, you have had to cancel flights lately, sadly. Recently, we purchased Air Canada tickets for a return trip and canceled the flights choosing to convert the value of the ticket into Aeroplan points. In this post, we share why we chose to do this and some tips for you to decide if you should do the same.

Flying over Utah on Air Canada’s 737-MAX

The situation:

The price paid for an Economy – Flex fare was $408.59. It involved 2 segments and would have generated ~ 4,200 Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQMs).

Upon canceling, we had the options to:

  • Keeping a cash ticket valid for about one year
  • Converting the cash value of the ticket into Aeroplan points with a small bonus

The analysis:

The flights purchased were a really good deal and much below the average cost for this route. On average, when booking a flex fare for this route 1-6 months in advance, you can expect to pay about $500-$850. If you used Aeroplan points to purchase the same ticket, the amount of points can vary. A quick glance at current dates showed availability on this route for between 6,100-38,800 points per segment (depending on the fare type). 

The decision:

We decided to convert the ticket to Aeroplan points. Here are the pros and cons to doing this:

Pros: 

  • Expiry of points: As long as you keep your Aeroplan account active, points do not expire. They can lose value but they do not expire.
  • Transferrability: In the new Aeroplan program, points are transferable and can be shared among family members. Credits with airlines are not transferable; the person who booked the ticket must use it (there are some exceptions but very rare).
  • Flexibility: Having lots of Aeroplan points is an asset for travelers. Although more points are required, the ability to redeem for Latitude awards provides a lot of additional flexibility with your future plans. Elite members can also apply e-credits for upgrades on Latitude rewards.
  • Cost of flights: You will get the best value if you apply the points to expensive short-haul flights that are within 0-500 points, i.e a return Standard ticket from YVR-PDX usually costs around $400-$600 or 12,000 Points. Using this scenario, you could almost get two return tickets to Portland and back to Vancouver using the points refunded. Buying those two tickets would cost about $800 and so you are getting double the value from canceling the ticket and converting it to points.
  • Non-flight rewards: If you do not want to travel, you can use the points for other items, like goods and services with Aeroplan’s vast partner network. Some of these rewards are not very good value in our opinion but everyone’s circumstances are different.

Cons:

  • Processing time: Air Canada is slow to complete the transaction; it can take up to 6 weeks for your points to show up in your account.
  • Flight availability: Aeroplan can be tricky at times to find what you are looking for flight wise and to maximize usage of points. You need to be flexible with what you want to book.
  • Earning elite status: You do not earn points for rewards tickets and so if you are chasing status, this is not a good option for you is each mile or segment flown counts. You also don’t get to collect further miles for the flying being done, although in the case of short flights it may not be worth many miles. 

Summary:

Converting a cash ticket into Aeroplan points has pros and cons and the value derived is subject to each situation and person’s circumstances. Hopefully, this post helps you to figure out which option is best for you! 

Do you have any questions? Which option do you think is better?

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