3 Aeroplan sweet spots you can use to maximize your Capital One miles
Air Canada Aeroplan has been one of my favorite airline loyalty programs since it was revamped last year. The program opted to keep a standard award chart rather than moving to dynamic pricing, removed fuel surcharges on partner tickets and even added the ability to book stopovers on one-way tickets for just 5,000 extra points.
Better yet, it's become far easier to earn Aeroplan points than before since Chase Ultimate Rewards added Aeroplan as a transfer partner over the summer — a game-changer for the program. And, earlier this month, Capital One Rewards boosted its Aeroplan transfer ratio from 2:1.5 to 1:1, making transfers from that program a far better deal.
If, like me, you're interested in using Aeroplan to stretch the value of your Capital One miles, I'll show you three excellent Aeroplan redemptions to help you get outsize value. This includes everything from short jaunts from the U.S. to Canada to business-class flights to Europe and beyond.
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Fly to, from and around Canada on the cheap
Aeroplan is Air Canada's loyalty program — so as you might expect, you can use it to get some good deals on flights to and around Canada.
Short-haul flights within North America with distances under 500 miles cost just 6,000 miles each way on partner airlines, but you might find slightly higher or lower pricing on flights operated by Air Canada itself. This is because the airline employs dynamic pricing for its flights, which can often be beneficial.
For example, you can book an economy ticket from New York (LGA) to Montreal (YUL) for just 5,700 points plus $5.60 in taxes and fees on many dates.
Or from Portland, Oregon (PDX), to Vancouver (YVR) for 4,900 points and $5.60 in taxes and fees.
Intra-Canada flights are often priced even cheaper. Flights from Toronto (YYZ) to Montreal (YUL) often price as low as 3,100 points and $33.15 in taxes and fees each way in economy.
Run some test searches and see if you can fit an Aeroplan award ticket into your next Canadian adventure. Chances are, it'll save you points when compared to booking with another Star Alliance program like Singapore KrisFlyer.
Related: 5 small Canadian cities you can use points and miles to visit
Book a European business-class adventure
Star Alliance member airlines include some of Europe's largest carriers, like Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal and others. Transatlantic business-class awards on these carriers start at 60,000 points one-way with minimal taxes and fees.
You'll find the cheapest rates on flights 4,000 miles or less, like Washington Dulles (IAD) to Lisbon, Portuagl (LIS), or Newark (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR). Most flights from the East Coast to Europe fall into this pricing tier since these routes are relatively short for transatlantic flights.
Better yet, you can add a stopover on one-way Aeroplan award tickets for just 5,000 points. For reference, the total cost of your ticket is calculated based on the total distance covered, plus the surcharge. You can use this to book something like Newark (EWR) to Casablanca, Morocco (CMN), with a long stopover in Lisbon for just 65,000 points. This is because the itinerary still clocks in under 4,000 miles one-way.
Just note that you'll need to book awards with stopovers over the phone for the time being. Check out my complete guide to booking stopovers with Aeroplan for more info. Spoiler alert: Aeroplan has some of the most relaxed stopover rules out there, so this benefit can be incredibly valuable.
Related: Book this, not that: Star Alliance award tickets
Fly Etihad to the Middle East, Asia or Africa
Air Canada is a Star Alliance member, but it maintains non-alliance partnerships with a handful of airlines. One of the most intriguing is Etihad Airways — the second-largest carrier in the United Arab Emirates with a hub in Abu Dhabi (AUH). The airline has connecting service to cities all around the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
It also has some of the best first- and business-class products out there. This makes long-haul flights from the U.S. significantly more enjoyable. So if you're using Capital One miles to get to Africa or the Middle East, booking Etihad flights through Aeroplan is an excellent bet.
Award prices are based on the standard Aeroplan chart, so longer flights cost more points. One of the airline's shorter U.S. routes is from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Abu Dhabi (AUH), which clocks in at 6,867 miles flown. This award costs 120,000 points in first class or 85,000 points in business class each way, plus low taxes and fees.
There's no doubt that this is a lot of miles to drop on an award ticket. But, round-trip Etihad first-class flights from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi often cost over $20,000. This redemption makes an otherwise unattainable ticket possible for most of us.
Like award tickets to Europe, you can add stopovers to your Etihad-operated award tickets. You may choose to stopover in Abu Dhabi on your way to Cape Town, South Africa (CPT), Zanzibar, Tanzania (ZNZ) or one of the carrier's various other destinations for just 5,000 extra miles.
Also, note that you can mix carriers on Aeroplan award tickets. So, you could fly to Europe on Lufthansa or another airline, spend a few nights, and then continue to Abu Dhabi on Etihad from one of its European gateways. These awards will cost a hefty sum of points, but it can be worthwhile to experience multiple destinations and premium airline cabins.
Related: How long do Capital One miles transfers take?
Earn Capital One miles with these cards
Capital One currently offers two personal and two business cards that earn transferable Capital One miles. Each has different earning rates, benefits and welcome offers, so study each card carefully and find which best fits your wallet.
Here's a look at current offers:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 within the first three months from account opening
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business: Earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business 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.
Related: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review
Aeroplan is one of Capital One's most useful transfer partners — and it's easy to see why. Whether you use your points for a long weekend in Canada or a business-class adventure in Europe or Africa, you can get an excellent deal by transferring your Capital One miles to Aeroplan.
Of course, Aeroplan isn't the only way to get a great deal from your Capital One miles. You can transfer your points to several other transfer partners for other great redemptions, too. Do your research before you redeem points to ensure you're getting the best deal for your points.
Feature photo by Christian Heinz/Shutterstock.com.