Everything you need to know about the Air Canada card’s 50K flight certificates
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While Air Canada and the Aeroplan loyalty program are headquartered north of the border, there are many reasons why U.S. travelers should pay attention.
Open to U.S. applicants, the card is a compelling product with a variety of standout benefits, including automatic elite status, generous earning rates for everyday spending and a sign-up bonus worth up to 100,000 points.
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But those 100,000 points aren’t dispensed in a traditional lump sum format. Instead, the sign-up bonus on this $95-per-year card is two Welcome Flight Rewards worth up to 50,000 points each when you spend $4,000 on purchases with the card in the first three months. Essentially, these are certificates that can be applied toward mileage redemptions.
Here’s everything that you need to know about these Aeroplan 50,000-point flight certificates — including how to maximize them.
Aeroplan Flight Reward Certificate basics
While 100,000 Aeroplan points are worth $1,500, according to TPG’s latest valuations, the points are awarded in a unique format once you hit minimum spending requirements.
Cardholders receive two “Flight Reward Certificates,” valued at up to 50,000 Aeroplan points each.
According to Aeroplan executives, Air Canada took inspiration from the hotel industry and benefits like the World of Hyatt Credit Card‘s annual free night certificate, which is worth up to 15,000 points, when deciding to create these rewards. However, unlike many hotel reward certificates, they offer more flexibility, including the ability to “top up” an award that requires more than 50,000 points. They can also be used for awards on not just Air Canada, but on its partners as well.
How each 50,000-point certificate works
- Certificates can be applied toward a single passenger Aeroplan redemption, including on Air Canada or over 45 Star Alliance and non-alliance partners.
- They can be redeemed in any cabin and for any redemption amount, including economy, premium economy, business class or even first class.
- Each reward has the ability to be topped up with extra points, if needed.
- Example: If you had a 65,000-point itinerary, you could apply a 50,000 Welcome Flight Reward and then use points from your Aeroplan account for the remaining 15,000-point difference.
- Certificates can be redeemed for an itinerary that requires fewer than 50,000 points, but the unused amount will not be refunded.
- Example: If you had a 40,000-point itinerary, you could apply a 50,000-point Welcome Flight Reward, but you will lose the 10,000-point difference.
- The certificates don’t expire as long as you have the card.
While you cannot use two rewards for one redemption for a single passenger (i.e., stack them for a single award of up to 100,000 points), you can use the reward for any type of redemption: one-way, round-trip, around the world, etc.
Overview of Air Canada card benefits
Besides the welcome bonus, there are several ongoing perks on the Aeroplan card that make it worth keeping for the long haul.
- Automatic entry-level Aeroplan 25K status for the remainder of the current calendar year and the following one. However, even if you apply in December 2021, you’ll earn status through 2023 automatically (as if you applied in January 2022).
- After that, to retain status, a cardholder must spend $15,000 on purchases with the card per year.
- Spend $50,000 on purchases in a calendar year with the card and existing status holders earn a one-level status boost to 35K status or higher for the following year.
- 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on grocery store purchases, dining (including delivery services) and purchases made directly with Air Canada.
- A 500-point bonus for every $2,000 spent on the card per month, up to 1,500 bonus points per month.
- An up-to-$100 statement credit toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus every four years (as reimbursement for the application fee charged to the card).
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
- Baggage delay insurance.
- Trip delay reimbursement.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver.
- Roadside assistance.
- World Elite Mastercard benefits.
Pay Yourself Back (coming soon)
- For any travel purchase, Aeroplan points can be redeemed at a rate of 1.25 cents per point (up to 50,000 points per year) via Chase Pay Yourself Back.
How to make the most of your Aeroplan 50,000-point rewards
To truly maximize these 50,000-point flight rewards, you should try to find award redemptions that are 50,000 points or more (but not much more). That way, you can redeem them for their full value.
With any redemption of fewer than 50,000 points, the extra points not necessary will not be refunded to you, which means missing out on some of their value. On the other hand, tickets that cost more than 50,000 points will require you to top up with extra points from your Aeroplan account, so you might not want to go too far out of pocket with expensive flight awards. Also keep in mind that each 50,000-point award can only be applied for one passenger, so you couldn’t use one to, say, book yourself and a friend two tickets on the same itinerary. On the plus side, these certificates can be used for either one-way or round-trip travel, which lends them a layer of flexibility.
Not sure how you’d use the flight reward certificates from the Aeroplan card? Here are several sample sweet spots.
East Coast to continental Europe one-way in business class
Points required: About 60,000 Aeroplan points (top-up of around 10,000 points required)
Generally, when traveling from the continental U.S. to Europe on one of Air Canada’s partners, you’ll pay 60,000 to 70,000 points for business class, depending on the distance flown.
In the example above, New York-JFK to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), on Lufthansa is 60,000 Aeroplan points (under 4,000 miles in distance) and a modest 47 Canadian dollars ($31) in taxes and fees. While you’ll need to top up your account slightly, you’ll be able to get maximum value out of your 50,000-point certificate.
Seattle to Tokyo in business class on ANA
Points required: 55,000 Aeroplan points (top-up of 5,000 points required)
Air Canada partner awards between North America and Asia cost between 55,000 and 105,000 points in business, depending on the total distance. Take, for instance, a flight from Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo (HND) operated by ANA. This route is just under 5,000 miles in distance, so a business-class ticket would cost 55,000 points. In this case, you’ll need a 5,000-point top-up.
Round-trip U.S. transcontinental in United Polaris
Points required: 50,000 Aeroplan points
Another option would be to book transcontinental business-class flights on United, especially on routes like Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX), typically operated by wide-body aircraft (and sometimes equipped with United’s newest Polaris seats). That’s because Aeroplan doesn’t charge a premium for these routes.
Transcontinental business-class awards operated by United continue to cost just 25,000 points each way. However, the issue may be finding saver availability with United.
How to get extra Aeroplan points
If you need to top up your redemption with points from your Aeroplan account, there are many ways to do so by leveraging transfer partners.
In August, Aeroplan was added to the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel transfer partner roster. That means you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio (1 Ultimate Rewards point is equal to 1 Aeroplan point).
Here is the full list of transferable points programs that let you instantly top up your Aeroplan account when you’re ready to book an award, along with their conversion ratios:
- American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1.
- Capital One miles: 1:1.
- Marriott Bonvoy: 3:1 (with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred).
While a bonus of 100,000 points would offer more flexibility, the two 50,000-point flight certificates that come with the Aeroplan card are still pretty useful, and perhaps even better than they sound at first. They don’t expire as long as you have the card, so you don’t have to worry about using them within a set time frame. You also have the ability to top up points up to any amount on awards that you book with the certificates, which makes them pretty versatile, as does the fact that you can use them for awards with any of Air Canada’s 45-plus partners and not just the airline itself. If you plan to book travel with any of them in the near future, these certificates can certainly come in handy and save you a lot of money.
Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images.
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