Aeroplan members will soon earn and redeem with Virgin Australia

Jan 7, 2021

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Air Canada has really been on a roll over the last year. After adding a handful of partners, including Etihad and South America’s Azul, the airline unveiled a new and improved loyalty program. Now, just last month, it detailed plans to add Chase as a transfer partner later in 2021.

This week, Aeroplan shared plans to add another new partner, too. As of Jan. 19, 2021, members will be able to earn and redeem points on flights operated by Virgin Australia, which has undergone some especially dramatic changes during the pandemic.

Previously, Aeroplan members could earn miles on codeshare flights operated by Virgin Australia, but this expanded partnership adds the rest of the carrier’s flights to the mix. Points will be issued based on distance flown, breaking down as:

  • Business class (J): 150%
  • Business class (C, D, I): 125%
  • Economy (Y, B, H, K, L): 100%
  • Economy (E, N, V, Q, T, S, G): 50%
  • Economy (M): 25%

Meanwhile, Aeroplan members will also be able to earn Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) and Status Qualifying Segments (SQS) for Virgin Australia flights within Australia, along with Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) for domestic VA flights ticketed by Air Canada.

Personally, I’m most excited about the potential redemption opportunities, since Aeroplan is an instant transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One — and, as I mentioned, soon Chase as well — making it easy for travelers to boost their balance.

Members will be able to bundle Star Alliance flights with Virgin Australia connections at the same redemption rate. Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada.

With this new partnership, you’ll be able to pair Star Alliance flights to Australia with Virgin Australia connections within the region as part of one itinerary, flying Air Canada or United Airlines from North America and connecting onward within Australia once you arrive.

United’s offering widespread business-class award space on its nonstop from Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD) at the moment, so you could book that flight through Aeroplan along with a connection to Melbourne (MEL) for 85,000 points, or add a Sydney stopover for just 5,000 more points.

With cash fares as low as $60 and an Air Canada booking fee added to awards, some redemptions exclusively within Australia may have limited appeal. Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada.

Note, however, that Air Canada applies a $39 CAD ($31 USD) booking fee to all partner awards, so you’ll always want to do a bit of math — if you’re looking to redeem Aeroplan miles for travel exclusively within Australia, it may make more sense to pay cash.

Featured photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images.

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