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Aeroplan members can now earn and redeem with Etihad Airways

June 03, 2020
5 min read
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By far, the benefit I value most about frequent flyer programs is that members can earn and redeem miles for flights not only with the program's own airline, but with partner carriers as well. For Air Canada's Aeroplan, that means flights with all 26 Star Alliance member airlines, along with a small number of non-alliance partners, including limited redemption opportunities with Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, GOL and Olympic Air.

Following an unintentional tease last year, Aeroplan confirmed a very exciting new partner on Wednesday. Effective immediately, Aeroplan members can earn and redeem miles for Etihad Airways flights, including Etihad's fantastic first-class product, The Apartment. Etihad Guest members can also earn and redeem miles for Air Canada flights, but that aspect of the partnership isn't nearly as valuable.

Earn miles

When Etihad passengers choose to credit their flights to Aeroplan, they'll earn miles based on the distance flown, combined with a multiplier that varies depending on the class of service and booking class. For example, you'll earn 10 times the number of redeemable miles when booking Etihad's flagship 'The Residence' product as you will with a discounted economy ticket.

Note that miles earned with Etihad Airways do not count toward elite status — these are simply redeemable miles, that you can use for travel, merchandise and other awards. You may also do far better crediting miles to a different partner — American's AAdvantage program, for example — so you'll want to shop around before you add a frequent flyer number to your Etihad booking.

Personally, I recommend heading to wheretocredit.com to compare eligible programs — just be sure to confirm that the earning rate is still valid on your selected partner's site. For example, tickets booked in 'The Residence' earn 400% of the distance flown when crediting to AAdvantage, compared with 250% for Aeroplan.

Redeem miles

While Air Canada is planning to make changes to the program later in 2020, long-haul redemptions will likely remain tied to an award chart, hopefully at similar rates. Currently, you can book one-way flights between the continental U.S. or Canada and the Middle East as follows, including connecting flights on Air Canada:

  • Economy: 40,000
  • Business: 82,500
  • First: 115,000

In some cases, you can save by continuing on to another destination. Etihad flies between Abu Dhabi and The Maldives (MLE), for example, and tacking on a flight to paradise will actually deliver some savings in premium cabins:

  • Economy: 50,000
  • Business: 75,000
  • First: 105,000

To book your flight, I find it best to first confirm award availability on Etihad's website, which offers a handy (and responsive) calendar tool. Flights that list "Guest" availability are available to partners, though the mileage amounts you see here apply only to bookings made through Etihad Guest.

Once you've confirmed "Guest" award availability, search for the same flight on Air Canada's website, or give an agent a call at 1-866-689-8080 to book your award. While some routes don't appear via Aeroplan's web tool, note that call center hold times can be extraordinarily long, so you'll be better off booking online if at all possible.

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While Aeroplan adds fuel surcharges with some partners, you won't pay any extra fees with Etihad awards, saving you a considerable amount of cash.

Redemption levels are roughly in line with American AAdvantage, which also allows Eithad bookings — for example, for a one-way award between the U.S. and the Middle East via AA's program, you'll redeem 40,000 miles for economy, 70,000 for business and the same 115,000 miles for first class.

Boost your account

While you can earn Aeroplan miles when you credit partner flights, the easiest way to boost your balance is by utilizing transferrable credit card points. Currently, you can transfer points to Aeroplan at the following rates:

Amex and Capital One transfers are completed instantly — generally, transfers cannot be reversed, so be sure to confirm award availability before you send your points or miles over to Aeroplan.

Bottom line

Etihad's fantastic first-class product, The Apartment, landed a fourth-place spot on my list of the best luxury suites in the sky, thanks to its unbeatable privacy, loads of personal space, on-demand catering and access to an inflight shower. I'm thrilled to have yet another option to book this product at a competitive rate — and, in this case, with easy-to-earn transferrable points.

An Air Canada spokesperson noted that the carrier is planning to add even more partners, as part of its upcoming relaunch, with more announcements expected in the "coming weeks."

Featured image by Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more