Aeroplan – What You Need to Know
Today, I will give you an overview of the Aeroplan frequent flyer program. Keep in mind this is just some brief basics on the surface and there is a lot more to know if you really want to fly business class, pay very little, and make the most out of this program. In the section “Travel Miles | Points” I will discuss various hotel and airline rewards programs in the future.
What Is Aeroplan – Aeroplan is the loyalty program created by Air Canada and now owned by Aimia.
Aeroplan Value – There is no definite answer. It totally depends on how knowledgeable you are about the program and how you use it. The Points Guy values Aeroplan at 1.5 cent. Aeroplan sells each mile at 3 cents when you are short and need to buy from Aeroplan. Aimia CEO Rupert Duchesne mentions it can be worth 7 to 8 cents in some cases and nearly 30 cents for a business class trip. This is somewhat true; it all depends how you use it.
Star Alliance – Air Canada is a part of Star Alliance, which has 28 members, including Air Canada. In general, you earn and redeem miles within any airline alliance with any frequent flyer miles belonging to any member of that alliance. For example, you can earn/redeem Aeroplan on Swiss Air or you can earn/redeem Miles & More on Air Canada. Also, Aeroplan has some non-alliance partners and numerous retailers, banking and other partners.
How to Search for Flights – This is where you have to know your stuff. I will give you some basic tips. Start with Aeroplan’s website. However, not all rewards flights will be available on Aeroplan. There are some paid sites solely for search purposes. However, you can search on other alliance websites such as United.com (Saver Awards only, Standard Awards appearing on United may not be booked for Aeroplan) and Ana.co.jp for flights that won’t appear on appear on Aeroplan’s site. To book these flights found on other alliance member sites, you have to call Aeroplan to book over the phone and there is a $30 fee.
Avoiding Fuel Surcharges – Air Canada (and some other airlines) is notorious for charging hefty fuel surcharges when you use Aeroplan. Avoid these airlines and the unnecessary charges by simply flying with other airlines that don’t feature these charges. I will not go into details, as I have a video explaining this. View it here: How Not to Get Dinged by Air Canada on Aeroplan Rewards Flights
Do Not Fly Cash Free – Aeroplan encourages you to fly cash free by paying taxes and fees using Aeroplan. However, you will end up being the loser if you choose this option, as your extraction rate for paying fees will be only 1 cent per mile, whether your goal should be to redeem Aeroplan for higher value such as 5 cents or beyond. So when you have small taxes and fees to pay (if you can manage to avoid paying fuel surcharges by not taking those airlines as I mentioned in the video), use cash and save your miles from redeeming them for 1 cent each.
One-Way or Round-Trip – Aeroplan (and most other frequent flyer programs) offer booking a one-way trip for exactly half of the points required for a round-trip. One-way trip booking provides better flexibility, as you may want to book the other leg of your trip with another program or even cash if you get a good deal.
Stopover and Open-Jaw – One of the best kept secrets of Aeroplan is that it allows you to book a stopover in a different city along the way on a round-trip at no additional costs. Open-Jaw allows you to fly to one place and leave from another place (the arrival and departure cities are different) on a round-trip. If you know how to utilize this, you can actually visit 4 places on one round-trip flight on Aeroplan.
Cancel, Change, and Last-Minute Booking – Aeroplan allows you to cancel or change up to 2 hours before departure for a C$90 fee and you can also book up to 2 hours before departure.
What I discussed above is just the basics about Aeroplan. With any hotel or airline loyalty programs, you need to know the ins and outs to become successful. I will be discussing more on AhmedDawn.com about many programs in the future.