Aeroplan buy-miles promo: earn up to 75% bonus miles, Altitude Qualifying Dollars
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Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information needed to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earning strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route networks. But we are sharing this information to provide value for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.
Air Canada has done a pretty excellent job of helping its members during the global coronavirus outbreak. It was one of the first major airlines to extend elite status through 2021 and has given its members a plethora of ways to continue earning elite status while grounded through the outbreak.
Now the airline is back with more good news: a mileage sale. Through 11:59 pm Eastern on July 12, Aeroplan will sell miles with up to a 75% bonus and award Altitude Qualifying Dollars for all miles purchased. The mileage bonus varies by account.
There are a couple of things to be aware of with this sale, though. But first, let’s answer the question on all of our minds: Should you buy miles in the middle of the global coronavirus outbreak?
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Should you buy Aeroplan miles now?
Regardless of how good a mileage purchase deal is, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you purchase airline miles in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak.
The first is Air Canada’s financial position. Airlines around the world are in a tough place financially — passenger loads are at historic lows, fleets are being reorganized and some airlines have already filed for bankruptcy. Air Canada is no exception to this rule and it’s already announced that it will retire its 767 fleet and put its Rouge subsidiary “into hibernation” for three years after the outbreak is contained.
While we’re confident that Air Canada will survive the coronavirus travel downturn, there’s no way to guarantee this. This means that your Aeroplan miles could be deemed worthless if the airline goes belly up, making your mileage purchase an absolute loss.
In addition, we only recommend buying miles if you have an immediate use for them. Since it’s not safe to travel now, this means you’re buying miles for an award flight departing in late 2020 or the beginning of 2021 at the earliest. Even then, we can’t guarantee that travel will be back to normal by this time, so you should be aware of Air Canada’s change and cancellation policies before you buy miles to book a ticket.
Finally, you should also be aware of issues that have been ravaging Aeroplan in recent months. Air Canada recently reacquired the Aeroplan loyalty program and has been reworking much of its online booking platform. This has made its website extremely unreliable and — in some cases — has made online bookings impossible for some members. In turn, it’s phone lines have been slammed, resulting in extremely long hold times. Keep this in mind as you may have issues actually redeeming the miles you purchase.
Related: How to maximize Aeroplan miles
A closer look at the promotion
Aeroplan is offering a targeted bonus of up to 75% bonus miles for miles purchased through this promotion. You can view your targeted bonus by heading to the Aeroplan buy miles page and logging into your account.
The author of this article was targeted for the 75% bonus, but could only get this bonus when purchasing at least 250,000 miles (437,500 miles with the bonus). This cost $7,500 Canadian Dollars, which converts to $5,538.04 at the time of writing this article. This brings the cent per point cost to 1.26 cents per point when purchasing at the highest level.
Other purchase levels include:
- Buy 2,000-50,000 miles and get 25% bonus miles
- Buy 60,000-170,000 miles and get 40% bonus miles
- Buy 180,000-240,000 miles and get 60% bonus miles
- Buy 250,000+ miles and get 75% bonus miles
In addition, all members earn 100% Altitude Qualifying Miles (up to $5,000) on miles purchased through this promotion. This can help Aeroplan members achieve status or upgrade to the next highest tier, though they’d still need to earn Altitude Qualifying Miles by flying. Do note that existing Aeroplan elite members have already had their elite status extended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Aeroplan usually limits its members to purchasing 250,000 miles per transaction and 500,000 miles per year. As discussed in the intro, the program has doubled the number of miles members can buy this year to 1,000,000 miles and increased the transaction limit to 350,000 miles. Bonus miles do not count towards this limit.
Is this a good deal?
TPG values Aeroplan miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this promotion lets targeted travelers purchase miles at a solid discount. Aeroplan has a standard award chart for international awards too, so you’ll get the best value by using your miles to book first- and business-class award tickets on Star Alliance carriers like United, SWISS and Turkish Airlines.
For example, you can book a round-trip business-class ticket from Chicago (ORD) to Istanbul (IST) on Turkish Airlines for just 115,000 Aeroplan miles and $47.71 in taxes. This flight usually costs around $3,800, so you’re saving just over $1,862 by purchasing miles at 1.26 cents each to book the same ticket. Just note that you won’t earn redeemable or status-qualifying miles on an award flight.
Do note that Aeroplan adds fuel surcharges to award tickets on Air Canada, Asiana, Austrian, Lufthansa and Thai. These can be substantial, so you’ll want to avoid booking tickets on these carriers if possible.
Earn Aeroplan miles with American Express
You can also transfer miles from American Express Membership Rewards to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio, so consider doing this if you already have Membership Rewards on hand and want to book an Aeroplan award ticket. Here’s a look at some of our favorite cards for earning Membership Rewards points (terms apply):
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- American Express® Gold Card – Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening
- American Express® Green Card – Earn 30,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
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.
Aeroplan is also a Capital One transfer partner, but the ratio is 2 Capital One miles to 1.5 Aeroplan miles.
Earn points and miles on your purchase
Aeroplan charges mileage purchases in Canadian dollars, so you’ll want to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to a 3% to 5% fee on your purchase, which can quickly diminish the value of the sale.
In addition, mileage purchases are processed by Points.com, so you won’t earn extra with a credit card that gives bonus miles on travel and airfare purchases. With that in mind, we recommend you use a card that awards more than 1 point per dollar spent on everyday spending.
One card that fits both of these categories is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, that offers 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Featured photo courtesy of Air Canada.
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