How to earn points with the new Aeroplan program
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With so many positive changes, Air Canada’s launch of the new Aeroplan is one of the most exciting points and miles developments of 2020. The program is set to launch a slew of new features, like stopovers, lower fees and family sharing. These put Aeroplan back in the limelight as one of the best airline loyalty programs on the market.
If you’re looking to bulk up your Aeroplan points balance before the new program launches, then you’ll 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 points on your everyday purchases.
Today, I’ll show you all of the existing and new ways to earn Aeroplan points — many of which don’t require traveling.
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Earn Aeroplan points by flying Air Canada
At its core, Aeroplan is an airline loyalty program. Naturally, this means that you can earn points when you fly with Air Canada and its partners.
Let’s start with the bad news: Aeroplan now awards award points based on the fare type. As you’d expect, more expensive tickets in premium cabins earn more points than cheaper tickets. Here is a look at how many points per dollar (before tax) each fare type earns:
- Basic economy: 2 points per Canadian dollar spent
- Standard, Flex/Comfort and Latitude economy: 3 points per Canadian dollar spent
- Premium economy: 3 points per Canadian dollar spent
- Business class: 3 points per Canadian dollar spent
Additionally, you’ll earn bonus points on your Air Canada award tickets if you have Air Canada Altitude elite status. The higher your status, the more points you’ll earn. This is how many bonus points each tier earns:
- Altitude 25K: 1x bonus points
- Altitude 35K: 1x bonus points
- Altitude 50K: 2x bonus points
- Altitude 75K: 3x bonus points
- Super Elite: 4x bonus points
These points are earned on the fare sans any taxes. This means that a $305 flight on Air Canada would earn 915 Aeroplan points when booked in Standard economy or higher. If you have Altitude 25K status, this number jumps to 1,220 points with your 1x bonus.
Earn Aeroplan points by flying partner airlines
You’ll still earn Aeroplan points based on the length of your flight on partner airlines. This includes Star Alliance partners and non-alliance partners like Azul and Etihad Airways.
The number of Aeroplan points you’ll earn per mile flown is based on your fare class. Typically, you’ll earn more points 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 points 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 points you’ll earn based on the distance flown.
Let’s use Etihad Airways as an example. You earn 125% points 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 points, as the flight is 10,060 miles in length.
Earn Aeroplan points with a cobranded credit card
Aeroplan recently launched a new suite 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 points on your everyday purchases, putting you closer to your next vacation with each swipe.
Aeroplan has a whopping nine cobranded credit cards available to Canadians. Three cards are issued by TD Bank, two by American Express and three by CIBC bank. Additionally, each issuer offers a business credit card, giving business owners an easy way to earn bonus miles on their everyday business expenses.
One of the most interesting Aeroplan cards is the American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card. This high-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. The card also includes a sizeable welcome bonus that can bring massive value. That said, it also has a $599 (CAD) annual fee, so make sure you can use the benefits before you apply for the card.
The information for the American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve 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.
The entry-level CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card, on the other hand, has no benefits beyond earning points and a free checked bag. 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.
U.S. Aeroplan credit cards are coming soon
While no Aeroplan cobranded cards are available to Americans right now, they’re on their way.
Chase and Aeroplan recently announced a partnership to bring cobranded Aeroplan cards to U.S. residents. Details are scarce, but we’ll let you know when the cards are available. We also expect Chase to add Aeroplan as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner around the time these cards launch
Transfer points from American Express and miles from 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 at restaurants, 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 at restaurants; 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: 75,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first six 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 miles 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 points. Here’s a look at the card’s current offer:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 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 points with your family
Next, we have Aeroplan’s upcoming new Family Sharing feature. While this isn’t a way to earn Aeroplan points 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 points 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 points 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 points
One of the fastest ways to earn Aeroplan points is by buying them. You can usually purchase Aeroplan points at a rate of $0.03 CAD per point. The airline frequently discounts these points 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 points by shopping and dining
There are other ways to earn Aeroplan points too. For example, Aeroplan has a partnership with Uber Eats that lets you earn points 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 points.
Use the Aeroplan shopping portal
You can earn Aeroplan points when you click through the Aeroplan eStore before you make a purchase online. There are several popular merchants through which you can earn at least one mile per dollar spend by clicking through the portal.
The number of points you’ll earn depends on the merchant you shop through. At the time of writing, you can earn 2x points 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 points 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 points 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 points 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 points 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, points post within a week of ordering.
Earn with travel partners
You can earn Aeroplan points when booking other types of travel too. Here’s a look at earning points 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 points when renting and can score a discount of up to 25% with select partners — here’s a look:
- Avis: Earn 500 points and save up to 25% per rental
- Budget: Earn 500 points and save up to 25% per rental
- Payless: Earn 50 points per rental at participating locations
Earn when you park at the airport
Additionally, you can earn bonus points when you pay for airport parking at major Canadian airports. The number of points depends on the airport, but parking at Vancouver (YVR) earns 250 points regardless of how long you park. Unfortunately, American airports aren’t eligible for earning at this time.
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 points at the same time.
Select Air Canada Vacation packages also earn points. 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 points on packages in Mexico.
Earn Aeroplan points on hotel stays and transfers
You have a couple of options when it comes to earning Aeroplan points with hotels. Many major hotel chains — for example, Marriott and Wyndham — let you earn Aeroplan points in lieu of hotel points. The number of points depends on where you stay and how much you spend. Always compare the value of the Aeroplan points 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 points 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 particular award, but you’ll generally get more value by using your points for hotel stays.
Earn points when you book with RocketMiles
Additionally, you can book hotels through RocketMiles and earn points on your stay. The number of points 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 receive 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 points.
There’s no shortage of ways to earn Aeroplan points. When you use these methods in-tandem, you’ll quickly earn enough points 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 Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy
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