Chase adds Air Canada as transfer partner, launches credit card waitlist with 10,000-point bonus
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Welcome to Chase Ultimate Rewards, Aeroplan.
Later this year, Chase will also become the exclusive issuer for a new Air Canada cobranded card in the U.S. Interested applicants can join a waitlist and earn 10,000 Aeroplan points in addition to the sign-up bonus upon card approval.
This all comes on the heels of a completely revamped Aeroplan loyalty program Air Canada introduced in late 2020. From the elimination of fuel surcharges to generous stopover rules and some new sweet spots, there were plenty of updates to be excited about.
The addition of Aeroplan to the Ultimate Rewards portfolio is big news for Chase cardholders, but one that was expected since it was first announced last December. This is the first new Ultimate Rewards transfer partner since Chase added Emirates Skywards in 2019.
In a somewhat surprising move, Chase is allowing the transfer of Ultimate Rewards points to Aeroplan before launching a cobranded credit card. However, a waitlist of potential cardholders is unique and will help the issuer gauge interest for the card itself before they release the final details to the public.
In the meantime, here is more about today’s announcement.
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Aeroplan is now a Chase transfer partner
Air Canada’s Aeroplan is a powerful program with the ability to redeem points on more than 40 airlines, including Star Alliance carriers like United and Lufthansa, as well as non-Star Alliance partners such as Etihad and Cathay Pacific.
Last year, Air Canada took full control of Aeroplan and introduced a revamped award chart, debuted new redemption options and eliminated hefty carrier-imposed surcharges, among many other positive (and a few negative) changes.
Now, eligible Chase cardmembers can transfer their Ultimate Reward points to Aeroplan, which makes the program even more versatile. You need to have at least one of the following three cards that earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points to take advantage of this partnership.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Notably, the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s 100,000-point bonus is the best publicly available offer in the card’s 12-year run. And as mentioned, Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio now, in increments of 1,000 points. That means you can earn 100,000 Aeroplan points from just this one sign-up bonus.
In addition to the transferable Ultimate Rewards-earning cards above, there are a few other Chase cards you might want to take note of. Those include:
- Chase Freedom (no longer available to new applicants)
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
While the points these cards earn can’t be transferred to Ultimate Rewards’ airline or hotel partners on their own, if you also carry one of the cards that does earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points, you can combine the points you earn across all cards into a single account and transfer from there.
Why Aeroplan is an exciting new Chase transfer partner
The addition of Air Canada’s Aeroplan to Ultimate Rewards is exciting for both existing and prospective Chase Ultimate Rewards cardholders. Aeroplan has long been a favorite among award travelers, and the program’s late 2020 revamp included a number of customer-friendly enhancements.
According to TPG’s latest valuations, a single Aeroplan point is worth 1.5 cents. But there are a number of sweet spots where you can get way more value than that.
This is particularly true of long-haul premium-cabin awards. For instance, it’ll cost 60,000 Aeroplan points for a business-class seat on United between New York and London. Cash fares for business class on this one-way route can easily exceed $2,000. In this one example, you can get more than 3 cents in value per point.
While United and Singapore Airlines both are Star Alliance partners with Air Canada — and existing Chase transfer partners — there are unique features to Aeroplan that are worth mentioning, and reasons to transfer to Aeroplan instead of the others.
For starters, Aeroplan has a published award chart while United MileagePlus has shifted completely to dynamic pricing. Aeroplan’s sheer quantity of partners is also outstanding, with over 40 airline partners to choose from. Most award flights can be booked on Air Canada’s easy-to-use website, too, which takes the hassle out of redeeming your points.
Arguably the most exciting reason for award enthusiasts to opt for Aeroplan instead of other programs is the elimination of carrier-imposed surcharges along with the addition of generous stopover and open-jaw rules. For example, awards on Lufthansa previously could incur hundreds of dollars in surcharges, which negated many of the benefits of booking an award ticket. Now, you’ll pay standard taxes and fees on all tickets booked through Aeroplan, in addition to a reasonable $39 Canadian dollars ($31) partner award fee, when applicable.
When it comes to stopovers, Aeroplan is also a standout, with the ability to add a single stopover to a one-way ticket and two stopovers to a round-trip ticket, with each costing just 5,000 extra points. This functionality to build them into your itinerary is even possible on the Aeroplan website, without the need to call in.
How Chase fits into other Aeroplan transfer options
Aeroplan already partners with several transferable points programs, letting you instantly top up your account when you’re ready to book an award.
You can transfer points to Aeroplan with the following programs:
Amex points can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio, in 1,000-point increments. It’s easy to quickly earn Amex Membership Rewards points from a variety of cards including The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card.
Capital One miles can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 2:1.5 ratio with the ability to earn miles on cards such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. Popular Marriott cards include the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
How Chase compares to these transfer partners
Similar to Amex, Chase offers a simple (and rewarding) 1:1 transfer basis to Aeroplan. Capital One and Marriott should only be used in a pinch since their conversion rates are lower.
However, if you don’t have enough points from one transfer program to redeem with Aeroplan, you can mix and match from different programs, and adding Chase into that mix makes Aeroplan much more interesting overall. As with all transfer partners, the standard rule of thumb is to only transfer when you have a specific redemption in mind. That’s because once you transfer to a partner, such as Aeroplan, there’s no going back — your points will be with that partner for good.
New US Aeroplan credit card: Waitlist for 10,000 points
The news today isn’t all about Ultimate Rewards, though. Slated for a launch in late 2021, Air Canada and Chase will team up for a cobranded Mastercard available to U.S. residents.
Consumers who join the card’s waitlist by Nov. 8 can earn an additional 10,000 Aeroplan points in addition to the yet-to-be-announced sign-up bonus, upon card approval. Air Canada’s landing page terms state that the card application must be received by Feb. 15, 2022. That likely means we can expect a card launch in the fourth quarter of 2021.
There is no commitment to applying for the card upon joining the waitlist, and applicants will earn the waitlist bonus up to eight weeks after approval.
The information for the Aeroplan 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.
This isn’t the first time an Air Canada credit card will be available in the U.S.; a card issued by TD Bank was last offered in 2019. However, it does mark a significant new product launch, and one that will give U.S.-based customers yet another Star Alliance option for accruing frequent flyer miles.
With the addition of Aeroplan, Chase now has 14 airline and hotel transfer partners through the Ultimate Rewards program. This news also couldn’t be more timely since Canada is opening to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens starting on Aug. 9.
Another transfer partner strengthens the value proposition of Ultimate Rewards points and Chase credit cards as a whole. The fact that this particular transfer partner is Aeroplan, with the myriad redemption options that opens up, makes Chase’s loyalty program that much more compelling.
Aside from the new transfer option, time will tell how lucrative Air Canada’s U.S. cobranded credit card will be. But the opportunity to earn a 10,000-point bonus just for being on the waitlist and having your application approved eventually is a generous incentive for simply adding your name to the queue, whether you end up applying or not.
Featured photo by Joel Serre/Shutterstock.
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