How to earn miles with the new Aeroplan program
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With so many positive changes, we’re eagerly awaiting Air Canada’s launch of the new Aeroplan in November 2020. The program is set to launch a slew of new features, like stopovers, lower fees and family sharing.
If you’re looking to bulk up your Aeroplan miles balance before the new program launches, then you’l
l be happy to know that you have a handful of different options. From transferrable points to non-travel partners, there are a ton of different ways to earn Aeroplan miles on your everyday purchases.
Today, I’ll show you all of the existing and new ways to earn Aeroplan miles — many of which don’t require traveling.
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Earn Aeroplan miles by flying Air Canada
At its core, Aeroplan is an airline loyalty program. Naturally, this means that you can earn miles when you fly with Air Canada and its partners.
Let’s start with the bad news: Aeroplan will soon award miles based on the fare type. As you’d expect, more expensive tickets in premium cabins earn more miles than cheaper tickets. Here is a look at how many miles per dollar (before tax) each fare type earns:
- Basic economy: 2 miles per Canadian dollar spent
- Standard, Flex/Comfort and Latitude economy: 3 miles per Canadian dollar spent
- Premium economy: 3 miles per Canadian dollar spent
- Business class: 3 miles per Canadian dollar spent
Additionally, you’ll earn bonus miles on your Air Canada award tickets if you have Air Canada Altitude elite status. The higher your status, the more miles you’ll earn. This is how many bonus miles each tier earns:
- Altitude 25K: 1x bonus miles
- Altitude 35K: 1x bonus miles
- Altitude 50K: 2x bonus miles
- Altitude 75K: 3x bonus miles
- Super Elite: 4x bonus miles
These miles are earned on the fare sans any taxes. This means that a $305 flight on Air Canada would earn 915 Aeroplan miles when booked in Standard economy or higher. If you have Altitude 25K status, this number jumps to 1,220 miles with your 1x miles bonus.
Earn Aeroplan miles by flying partner airlines
You’ll still earn Aeroplan miles based on the length of your flight on partner airlines. This includes Star Alliance partners and non-alliance partners like Azul and Etihad Airways. Additionally, Air Canada tickets will continue to earn miles this way until the new Aeroplan launches on Nov. 8, 2020.
The number of Aeroplan miles you’ll earn per mile flown is based on your fare class. Typically, you’ll earn more miles for higher-end fare tickets in premium cabins, so basic economy earns less than premium economy or business class. Earn rates also vary based on the airline you’re actually flying with.
You can view how many miles you’ll earn by pulling up your partner airlines’ page on the Aeroplan website. Head to the “earning” tab and you’ll see a list of fare classes with a percentage listed to the right. This percentage is the number of miles you’ll earn based on the distance flown.
Let’s use Etihad Airways as an example. You earn 125% miles flown for W fare business class tickets, so a flight from New York-JFK to Hong Kong (HKG) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) earns 13,257 miles as the flight is 10,060 miles in length.
Earn Aeroplan miles with a cobranded credit card
Aeroplan has a trio of cobranded credit cards for Canadians and partners with two major transferable points currencies here in the U.S. and Canada. This makes it easy to earn Aeroplan miles on your everyday purchases, putting you closer to your next vacation with each swipe.
Air Canada teased three cobranded credit cards alongside the new Aeroplan. Each of these cards has a different set of benefits and — presumably — category bonuses and annual fees. Unfortunately, they’re only available to Canadians for the time being, but we’re hopeful that Air Canada will launch a U.S. credit card soon.
The names of these cards haven’t been announced yet, but you can see a quick overview of the new personal and business credit cards on the Air Canada website.
The highest-end card has some interesting perks, like Maple Leaf lounge access and the ability to earn Status Qualifying Points and Segments when you hit certain spend tiers. That said, it will likely have a high annual fee, so only frequent Air Canada flyers should consider the card.
The entry-level card, on the other hand, has no benefits beyond earning miles. This may be an OK bet for your first travel credit card if the welcome bonus is high, but you may want to consider a transferable points card instead.
Those with existing Aeroplan credit cards will be automatically upgraded to one of these cards on Nov. 8, 2020, when the new Aeroplan launches.
U.S. Aeroplan credit cards are coming soon
Though Air Canada credit cards will only be available to Canadians at launch, Aeroplan has confirmed to TPG that U.S. credit cards are coming soon. We’ll update this article when we have more information.
Transfer points from American Express and Capital One
Both American and Canadian American Express cardholders can transfer their Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers can be made in 1,000 point increments and generally process instantly, so don’t transfer points until you’re ready to book an award ticket.
Need Membership Rewards points? Here’s a look at the best U.S. American Express cards for earning these points:
- American Express® Green Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 3x points on dining, travel and transit, 1x points on all other purchases, ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).
- American Express® Gold Card: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Earn 4x points on dining; 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x points); 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines; 1x points on all other purchases, ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: 60,000 points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months of account opening. Earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, starting Jan. 1, 2021), 5x hotels booked through Amex Travel, and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts; 1x on all other purchases, ($550 annual fee; see rates and fees).
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Americans with a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card can also transfer points to Aeroplan. These transfers also process instantly, but at a 2:1.5 ratio. This means that 1,000 Capital One miles equals 750 Aeroplan miles. Here’s a look at the card’s current offer:
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: For a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening. Or still earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 2x miles per dollar on purchases and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every four years. $95 annual fee.
We recommend getting an American Express card due to the higher category bonuses and a better transfer ratio. That said, you may want to pick up a Capital One Venture card for non-bonus spending and access to other Capital One transfer partners.
Pool miles with your family
Next we have Aeroplan’s upcoming new Family Sharing feature. While this isn’t a way to earn Aeroplan miles per se, it does let you consolidate them. In short, you can link up to eight family member’s Aeroplan accounts (including yours) to a pool. You can then share these miles for award redemptions.
This is helpful if your family has an assortment of Aeroplan accounts with low balances. Combined, you may have enough for an award ticket that you can use to subsidize future family travel.
Those based in the U.S. may want to credit their family’s United flights to Aeroplan. If you only travel a few times per year, your family’s miles balance will go further in a combined balance. Do your own research and see if Aeroplan’s United earning rate works well for your family.
Buy Aeroplan miles
One of the fastest ways to earn Aeroplan miles is by buying them. You can usually purchase Aeroplan miles at a rate of $0.03 CAD per point. The airline frequently discounts these miles though, so you may be able to buy them at a lower price.
Canadians are subject to paying sales tax on these purchases. Thankfully, Americans are exempt. That said, you will be charged in Canadian Dollars and the purchase won’t code as travel. So pay with a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which earns 2x miles on purchases and doesn’t impose foreign transaction fees.
Earn miles by shopping and dining
There are other ways to earn Aeroplan miles too. For example, Aeroplan has a partnership with Uber Eats that lets you earn miles on food delivery, which is a rising expense for many of us during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a look at all of the other ways to earn Aeroplan miles.
Use the Aeroplan shopping portal
You can earn Aeroplan miles when you click through the Aeroplan eStore before you make a purchase online. There are a number of popular merchants through which you can earn at least one mile per dollar spend by clicking through the portal.
The number of miles per you’ll earn depends on the merchant you shop through. At the time of writing, you can earn 2x miles per dollar on the Adidas website and 1x mile per dollar at Bose.
Some of these merchants are restricted to Canada while others are available worldwide. Make sure to check your merchant for info before you make a purchase. Consider using another shopping portal if your merchant of choice isn’t offering Aeroplan miles on purchases made outside of Canada.
Using the portal is simple. Just head to the Aeroplan eStore, log in and find the merchant you’d like to shop with. Then, click the “shop now” button and make your purchase as usual — the miles will appear in your Aeroplan account within 6-8 weeks, but some may credit sooner.
Earn with other retail partners
Aeroplan is adding in-store shopping partners you can earn miles with. We’re awaiting more information, but the new Aeroplan website teases UPS and Here’s How as the initial partners. There’s no word yet on if these will be available outside of the U.S.
Earn when you order food delivery with Uber Eats
Though it’s technically on the eStore, we want to highlight Uber Eats separately. You can earn 2x Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on Uber Eats food delivery purchases made in the U.S. and Canada. Just head to the eStore before you order delivery, log-in and click through the link. In my experience, the miles post within a week of ordering.
Earn with travel partners
You can earn Aeroplan miles when booking other types of travel too. Here’s a look at earning miles when you book hotels, rental cars and vacation packages.
Earn when you rent a car
On the rental car side, Aeroplan has partnerships with three major car rental companies. Members can earn Aeroplan miles when renting and can score a discount of up to 25% with select partners — here’s a look:
- Avis: Earn 500 miles and save up to 25% per rental
- Budget: Earn 500 miles and save up to 25% per rental
- Payless: Earn 50 miles per rental at participating locations
Earn when you park at the airport
Additionally, you can earn bonus miles when you pay for airport parking at major Canadian airports. The number of miles depends on the airport, but parking at Vancouver (YVR) earns 250 miles regardless of how long you park.
Earn when you book vacation packages
Air Canada Vacations is a package booking service offered by the airline. You can use it to book packages that include flights, hotel and rental cars and earn bonus Aeroplan miles at the same time.
Select Air Canada Vacation packages also earn miles. These are noted when you search on the Air Canada website, but not all packages are eligible. For example, the airline is currently offering 7,000 bonus miles on packages in Mexico.
Earn Aeroplan miles on hotel stays and transfers
You have a couple of options when it comes to earning Aeroplan miles with hotels. Many major hotel chains — for example, Marriott and Wyndham — let you earn Aeroplan miles in lieu of hotel points. The number of miles depends on where you stay and how much you spend. Always compare the value of the Aeroplan miles you’d earn to the hotel points you’d earn to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Alternatively, you can transfer existing hotel points to Aeroplan. The transfer ratio depends on the hotel you’re transferring from, with the best being a 3:1 from Marriott Bonvoy. Plus, you’ll get a 5,000 Aeroplan point bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy miles to Aeroplan.
Other hotel programs transfer to Aeroplan at the following rates:
- Accor Live Limitless – 4,000:2,000
- Choice Privileges – 5,000:1,000
- World of Hyatt – 2.5:1
- Wyndham Rewards – 6,000:1,200
- IHG Rewards Club – 10,000:2,000
- Radisson Rewards – 2,000:200
We don’t usually recommend transferring hotel points to Aeroplan. It can be a good option for topping up for a very specific award, but you’ll generally get more value by using your miles for hotel stays.
Earn miles when you book with RocketMiles
Additionally, you can book hotels through RocketMiles and earn miles on your stay. The number of miles you’ll earn largely depends on the cost of your hotel, so run a search to be sure.
Just note that you usually won’t earn hotel points or be able to use hotel elite status benefits when you book with RocketMiles. We recommend using the service to book boutique and independent hotels where you wouldn’t otherwise earn miles.
There’s no shortage of ways to earn Aeroplan miles. When you use these methods in-tandem, you’ll quickly earn enough miles to book amazing award tickets and maybe even earn Altitude 25K elite status at the same time.
We recommend starting with transferable points credit cards. This way, you have the option to redeem your points with Aeroplan or any of the program’s other transfer partners. This keeps your options open so you can always get on the flights you want, regardless of the airline.
Feature photo by JL IMAGES/Shutterstock
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