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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
It’s always good news when a credit card lets you transfer your rewards to airline miles, like the recent announcement on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. And for a limited time, new applicants can earn 75,000 Capital One miles after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening.
In today’s post, I want to show you the best ways to redeem your 75,000 Capital One miles with Aeroplan, the frequent flyer program for Air Canada.
How Transfers to Aeroplan Work
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card offers 2x miles on all purchases, and your miles can still be redeemed for one cent each as statement credits towards any airfare, hotel or rental car purchase. But now, you have the option to transfer those rewards to 12 different frequent flyer programs, including Aeroplan. For most programs, the transfer ratio is 2:1.5, meaning that for every two Capital One miles you transfer, you’ll receive 1.5 airline miles.
So if you transfer your 75,000 Capital One miles, you can receive 56,250 Aeroplan miles. However, you will also have spent $5,000 to get the bonus, and earned another 10,000 Capital One miles. So at a minimum, you could have 63,750 Aeroplan miles to play with.
How the Aeroplan Program Works
Thankfully, Aeroplan has a relatively simple frequent flyer programs with a nice, clear award chart. Aeroplan is also one of the 28 members of the Star Alliance, which includes United, Lufthansa, Singapore, Swiss, and Turkish Airlines. It has several non-alliance partners including Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon of Hong Kong, Juneyao Airlines of China and GOL of Brazil. Finally, Aeroplan includes several smaller, regional carriers that serve the Canadian arctic including Air Creebec, Calm Air and Canadian North. For more information, read my post on How to Book Award Flights with Air Canada Aeroplan.
To find the out how many miles a flight will cost, you can review their round-trip award chart, noting that one-way flights are offered for half the number of miles. However, you also have to realize that Aeroplan imposes expensive fuel surcharges on international Air Canada flights and those operated by many of it’s partners. These partners have no fuel surcharges:
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- EVA Airlines
- Egypt Air
- Juneyao Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
These airlines have low or limited fuel surcharges:
- Cathay Pacific / Cathay Dragon
- LOT Polish
- Thai Airways
It’s also worth noting that Aeroplan has one of the best infant lap child award policies. You can add a lap child to an award for:
- Economy Class – $50 or 5,000 miles
- Premium Economy Class – $75 or 7,500 miles
- Business Class – $100 or 10,000 miles
- First Class – $125 or 12,500 miles
This is in sharp contrast to most carriers which charge 10% of an adult fare to add an infant lap child to an award ticket. For more information, read Eric Rosen’s post on How to Plan Award Travel With an Infant or Lap Child.
The Best Way to Redeem These Miles
According to TPG’s latest valuations, Aeroplan miles are worth 1.5 each. So 56,250 miles are worth $843.75 and 63,750 miles are worth $956.25. But as is with most frequent flyer programs, savvy award travelers can realize even more value. Here are some examples:
1. Two tickets to the Canadian Arctic
What’s crazy about Aeroplan is that you can redeem your miles on it’s small partners that service the vast expanse of rural Canada, the second largest country in the world. And the price for these exotic awards is still just 25,000 miles round-trip to and from any destination in the Us (excluding Hawaii) and Canada. For some ideas, take a look at the route maps for Canadian North, Air Creebec, and Calm Air.
Although many of these routes appear to serve the residents of remote communities, I can only imagine all of the outdoor activities you could access. For example, Resolute, Nunavut Canada is home to just 229 people, less than the capacity of many airliners, and offers polar bear viewing, sledding, wind boarding (snowboarding with a parasail) and arctic exploration. It even made my list of the 10 Most Remote Destinations You Can Fly to Using Points And Miles.
2. At Least Three Short-Haul Flights on Air Canada
The Aeroplan award chart offers short-haul awards on flights operated by Air Canada for just 15,000 miles, round-trip. Their definition of short-haul covers flights from Toronto and Montreal as well as New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edwards Island to as far south as Washington-Dulles. And while these flights are relatively short, they can be very expensive if you have to pay out of pocket.
3. South America
Round-trip flights to northern South America are just 50,000 Aeroplan miles and this region includes Colombia, Ecuador (including the Galapagos), Guyana and Venezuela. For 60,000 miles, you can book an award to anywhere in southern South America, round-trip.
4. Europe 1
Unlike every other frequent flyer program, Aeroplan divides Europe into two halves, with award flights to “Europe 1” requiring only 60,000 miles, round-trip. Europe 1 includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain (Including the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean but not including the Canary Islands off of the coast of Africa), Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Personally, I find it strange that you can travel as far as Italy, but closer destinations like Poland and Iceland are in “Europe 2” and cost an additional 15,000 miles.
5. A Flight to or From Europe in Business Class
Let’s say that you’ve found a fantastic deal on a transatlantic flight on one of the ultra-low cost carriers but the return flight is wickedly expensive. With access to these Aeroplan miles, maybe you’d buy your return flight home, but splurge on a one-way business class award to Europe, where you can sleep in a lie-flat bed. Or, perhaps you’re okay sleeping in economy class on the way over, and want to be pampered all day on the return, while bringing home some souvenirs in your free checked bags as well. A one-way, business class award to Europe 1 is 55,000 miles and an award to or from Europe 2 is just 57,500 miles.
6. Two Award Flights Within the US and Canada With a Stopover
Aeroplan is one one of the last frequent flyer programs that still allows a free stopover. For awards within the US and Canada, you can have a single stopover. So if you want to visit Denver for a few days on you way from San Diego to Montreal, feel free to do so for just 25,000 miles per ticket, round-trip.
What are your favorite Aeroplan awards for 75,000 Capital One Venture miles?