Aeroplan's Offering Reduced Short-Haul Awards with Its Latest Promotion
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Although Air Canada's frequent flyer program, Aeroplan, saw a significant devaluation last year, there are still plenty of redemptions that can give you good value. And with the program's most recent promotion (you'll need to log in to your Aeroplan account to see the details), you may be able to find a deal on short-haul awards within North America.
In order to take advantage of these reduced short-haul Market Fare awards, you'll need to book by August 31, 2016, for travel between September 7, 2016 and February 14, 2017. Although this promotion is with Air Canada's Aeroplan, the short-haul awards extend to many US cities.
Here's a full list of what's included in this promotion:
Keep in mind that Aeroplan has two different award classes — Market Fare and Fixed Mileage. Fixed Mileage awards are those included on the carrier's award chart that stay the same when available, and Market Fares vary based on fares at the time of booking. So note that this promotion is only good for Market Fares.
With these short-haul awards with Aeroplan, you're best off with booking a Fixed Mileage award, as they require the fewest amount of miles, however, if there's no availability and you don't have flexible travel dates, Market Fare awards could be well worth the redemption.
In his most recent valuations, TPG values Aeroplan miles at 1.5 cents apiece. Below, we've broken down the same routing with multiple fares with both the Market Fare and Fixed Mileage and during the promotion dates and outside to see if this promotion is a good deal.
Fixed Mileage (Within Promotion Period)
Fixed Mileage awards within the promotion are the same as they would be at any other time — 15,000 miles round-trip, worth $225. However, with these Fixed Mileage redemptions, the additional surcharges are quite steep — with this sample fare, you're looking at a cash co-pay of 243 CAD (~$185). This is probably as inexpensive of an award as you'll get. So as long as you have flexible travel plans, you should be able to take advantage of this award.
Market Fare with Fixed Mileage Available on the Same Dates (Within Promotion Period)
This sample Market Fare is from within the promotion, so theoretically you're getting a reduced fare as compared to the normal Market Fare rates. This fare is for 28,200 miles, worth about $423. Note that this fare is on dates when there are Fixed Mileage awards available at the same time, so you're better off taking advantage of that at just 15,000 miles round-trip. Note that the surcharges decreased somewhat drastically with this sample fare — just 84 CAD (~$64).
Market Fare with No Fixed Mileage Availability on the Same Dates (Within Promotion Period)
This sample Market Fare is from within the promotion, so theoretically you're getting discounted award redemptions. At 32,700 miles for this round-trip ticket, worth about $491, you're not getting the best value. And as you'll see below, this isn't that large of a discount given that it's within the promotion dates. Also note that the surcharges on this fare are higher than they were when there was Fixed Mileage availability — 137 CAD (~$105).
Market Fare with No Fixed Mileage Availability on the Same Dates (Outside Promotion Period)
Finally, this last sample Market Fare is in March 2017 (outside the promotion dates) and with no Fixed Milage availability on the same dates. The award redemption costs 33,600 miles, worth about $504, which is more than it was during the promotion, but not by all that much. Also note that the surcharges went down to 80 CAD (~$61), so the miles you're saving by booking within the promotion could easily be made up for in the cash you're spending on the surcharges.
Aeroplan still has some decent redemptions even after the program's devaluation last year. And while this promotion could give you some savings, from our search we didn't see all that big of a difference in the redemptions with the promotion versus those at other points throughout the year. Of course, it's best to look for yourself, as you could find a sweet spot within this sale.
Keep in mind that you can transfer points to Aeroplan from American Express Membership Rewards, which are earned with cards like the Amex Premier Rewards Gold. In addition, through August 15, 2016, you can earn up to 55,000 bonus Aeroplan miles when you transfer hotel loyalty points to Aeroplan.