Use this Aeroplan points sale to buy business class tickets to Europe for under $1,000
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest promotion.
Air Canada is offering bonuses of up to 85% on Aeroplan points purchased through May 20. Purchasing enough Aeroplan points to trigger the full bonus brings the price down to roughly 1.46 cents per point, which might make this a worthwhile play for some.
The sale applies to points purchased for yourself or points gifted to another Aeroplan member and can be a way to score Star Alliance flights at a discount — including round-trip business-class awards from the U.S. to a reopened Europe for $1,752 before moderate taxes and fees.
That can equate to a steep discount considering round-trip flights on Lufthansa (a Star Alliance partner) from New York-JFK to Frankfurt (FRA), for instance, cost just over $3,500 on almost all dates this August.
But should you buy points and miles now? Here’s what you need to know to answer that question for yourself.
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Should you buy points and miles now?
Before we discuss the new Aeroplan buy points promotion, specifically, you should be aware of the risks of buying points and miles now.
While coronavirus numbers are trending downward in the U.S., the omicron variant is still a concern that’s resulting in tighter COVID restrictions in some locales. Most countries have continued to stay open, but know that you may have to change your plans due to a sudden surge in new cases.
Further, you should only buy points and miles if you have an immediate plan to use them. Hoarding miles leaves you open to unexpected devaluations. This could be due to award chart, award space, partner or pricing changes. These devaluations often come with zero notice from the airline. As such, the only way to avoid these devaluations is to redeem your points and miles immediately.
Also, keep in mind that there are many ways to earn Aeroplan points without buying them. For example, you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Capital One Miles to Aeroplan. Or, you can credit Star Alliance flights to Aeroplan instead of another frequent-flyer program. For instance, you could add your Aeroplan frequent-flyer number to an upcoming United ticket and earn Aeroplan points instead of United MileagePlus miles.
Buying Aeroplan points with an up to 85% bonus
Back to the promo: Air Canada is selling Aeroplan points with bonuses of up to 85% through May 20. You need to purchase at least 70,000 points to get the full 85% bonus, with lesser amounts triggering smaller bonuses. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Buy 5,000 to 19,000 points, get a 50% bonus
- Buy 20,000 to 45,000 points, get a 60% bonus
- Buy 50,000 to 60,000 points, get a 70% bonus
- Buy 70,000 or more points, get a 85% bonus
If you purchased enough points to receive the full 85% bonus, those points would end up costing roughly 1.46 cents apiece (1.89 cents CAD), just below TPG’s valuation of 1.5 cents per point.
All Aeroplan members can buy points at this rate since this is not a targeted deal. Better yet, while Canadian residents are subject to a sales tax on points purchases, U.S.-based Aeroplan members are not.
Although we’ve seen 100% bonuses in the past, this is still an excellent deal for purchasing Aeroplan points.
Using this sale to buy discounted business class tickets
By taking advantage of this sale, you could end up being able to book Star Alliance partner tickets at steep discounts. More specifically, you could score an excellent deal on long-haul business class award flights to Europe, South America, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Air Canada recently revamped Aeroplan to allow members to add stopovers for 5,000 miles each. It also removed fuel surcharges and made various other award chart changes. These alterations were largely positive and make this points sale intriguing for booking certain itineraries.
For example, you can leverage Aeroplan’s stopover policy to book a one-way flight from New York-JFK to Madrid (MAD) via Lisbon (LIS) in TAP Portugal business class for 65,000 points total. You could spend a few days in Lisbon on the way to Spain and enjoy two vacations for slightly more than the points price of one ticket. If you bought enough Aeroplan points to earn the 85% bonus, then the 65,000 for this itinerary would cost $949 plus taxes and fees — quite a bargain.
Instead, you could book a round-trip business class ticket from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Sao Paulo (GRU) in United Polaris business class for 120,000 Aeroplan points and $73 in taxes and fees. If you bought Aeroplan points with the 85% bonus, your total out-of-pocket cost for the trip is $1,825. This is far cheaper than the $8,800+ United charges for the same round-trip ticket in September. Of course, this is assuming you’re able to find saver award availability.
Do your own research and see if there’s an opportunity for you to use this sale to get a discount on future travels. Read our complete guide to earning and redeeming Aeroplan points for more details.
Buy point with these credit cards
If you decide to take advantage of this promotion, your purchase will be processed by Points.com — not Air Canada. Unfortunately, this means you won’t earn bonus rewards for using a card with airline spending as a bonus category.
To earn the most points for your purchase, pay with a credit card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spending, such as:
- The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express: Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1 point per dollar (meaning a 4% return based on TPG valuations). Terms apply.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn 1.5% cash back that can be combined with points from Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card for the equivalent of a 3% return based on TPG valuations.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases, which is a 3.7% return based on TPG valuations.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases, which is a 3.7% return based on TPG valuations.
- Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Earn 3% cash back in the category you choose (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category purchases each quarter, then earn 1%), before bonuses for having assets with Bank of America and affiliates. That means you may be able to get up to 5.25% cash back on online purchases, such as buying miles.
Related: The best credit cards of 2022
Air Canada is selling Aeroplan points with a bonus of up to 80% bonus through May 20, 2022. This could be a convenient way to stake out discounted Star Alliance business class tickets to Europe, South America and beyond. That said, there is risk involved with buying miles now — namely, rising COVID cases due to the omicron variant.
Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.
Feature photo by Christian Heinz/Shutterstock.
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