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Top Aeroplan Hacks Every Canadian Should Know

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Last updated on June 9, 2022 Comments: 11

Aeroplan is considered Canada’s top loyalty program. Recent changes have come into play that has, in our opinion, added a lot of value to being a member, including family sharing and the fact that every seat is now available. However, no program is perfect and Aeroplan has a couple of downsides too. The biggest drawback being the dynamic pricing which means, in some cases, flights will cost you more points than they did before.

That being said, we still think that Aeroplan is worth joining because once you understand the ins and outs of the program and figure out how it works, you can really maximize your miles. Especially now with some of the recent changes. With that in mind, here are some handy Aeroplan hacks that every Canadian should know.

1. Exploit Aeroplan’s Stopover Policy

Exploit Aeroplan's Stopover Policy

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One of the biggest perks of the new Aeroplan program is that they have changed up their stopover policy for the better. Previously, you could only have one stopover (more than 24 hours) and up to 15 layovers (under 24 hours). However, you couldn’t exceed the maximum permitted mileage (MPM) which prevented you from coming up with some creative routes.

Under the new program, you can add in two stopovers, one in each direction (although you are no longer allowed a stopover in Canada or the USA when departing from North America). There is an added cost of 5,000 miles for each stopover but the layover rules are still the same (up to 15). However, the big perk here is that MPM is no longer in place. Which means you can truly create a proper round-the-world ticket. For example, Toronto-London-Dubai-Singapore-Sydney-Toronto.

As long as you continue to go in the right direction, you shouldn’t have a problem. Now, it may end up being quite expensive as you are essentially building your itinerary with one-way flights. However, if this is what you have been saving for- you can make it happen. Even if you don’t plan on doing a RTW, it’s still worth taking advantage of those layovers and/or stopover opportunities to explore somewhere new. Toronto to Bangkok via Hong Kong? Yes, please!

2. Earn Miles Quicker with an Aeroplan Credit Card

How do you earn miles faster? Well, the easiest way is to get an Aeroplan credit card. Aeroplan credit cards will earn you points on all purchases, but also allow you to double dip with Aeroplan partners.

One of the reasons why we love the Aeroplan program is because there are so many associated credit card options available which make it a very accessible loyalty program for Canadians. TD Bank, CIBC, and American Express are all Aeroplan credit card providers. Here are a couple of our favourite options.

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

Apply Now
Eligibility Criteria:
– Standard Purchase APR: 19.99%
– Balance Transfer APR: 22.99%
– Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
– Credit score required: Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: $60,000
– Age: Must be age of majority in province/territory
– Residency: Must be a Canadian resident
Online exclusive: Earn up to 50,000 Aeroplan points. Plus, first year no Annual Fee. Conditions Apply. Must apply online by September 5, 2022.

The earn rate with the card is 1.5 Aeroplan points for every eligible dollar spent on grocery, gas, and Aircanada.com purchases. All other purchases get 1 point per dollar spent. The card has a $139 annual fee after the first year’s rebate.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card review.

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

Terms and conditions apply.


American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card

Apply Now

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: N/A
– Annual fees: $599

The American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card is new to the market but already proving to be a lucrative card for Canadian travellers. Cardholders will earn standard earn rates of 3X the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada®* and Air Canada Vacations®* , 2x the points on eligible Dining and Food Delivery purchases in Canada, and 1.25x the points for everything else.

The American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card does have a pretty hefty annual fee of $599, however, it does come packed with perks, including: Eligible Cardmembers get a free Uber Pass membership for 12 months ($119.88 value), lounge access, free first checked bag, comprehensive travel insurance, an annual worldwide companion pass when you spend $25,000/year, and more!

Plus, right now, new American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Cardmembers can earn up to 85,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan®* points. Terms and conditions apply.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card review.

3. Take Advantage of Family Sharing

Under the old program, you could share points by paying a fee but, thankfully, that isn’t the case any longer thanks to Family Sharing. This feature allows up to 8 people to merge their points into one big pool so you can redeem your points faster.

Say you and your partner are planning a trip to Europe. You have enough points to cover your flight and then some. They don’t have quite enough points. You can create a pool with family sharing so that, together, there are enough points to book flights for each of you. No more waiting, no paying to transfer points. It’s fast, efficient, and easy which means you can travel faster.

Another big perk to family sharing; you can share benefits with those you are travelling with. So, if you have status or preferred rates and your partner doesn’t, he/she will be able to take advantage of those benefits as well.

Key points to keep in mind.

  • The term ‘family’ is loose. You can choose to pool your points with whoever you want (up to a maximum of 8 people).
  • Points redeemed are taken from everyone, not just the individual. This is done on a percentage basis depending on how many points each person brings into the pool.
  • You must be part of a group for at least 3 months and if you leave, you can’t join another for at least 6 months.
  • When you leave, you take any points you brought and earned with you, minus any that have been redeemed.

4. Don’t Forget About Partner Airlines

Upgrade Your Seat for Free…Sort Of

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With the old Aeroplan program, fuel surcharges (also known as carrier surcharges) were a nightmare. Air Canada especially was known for its horrifically high fuel surcharges which often added hundreds of dollars to the cost of the ticket. In order to avoid this, travel experts would suggest avoiding Air Canada and instead recommended choosing various partner airlines such as Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and Brussels Airlines to avoid those fees.

While the fuel surcharges have now been eliminated for all airlines under Aeroplan bookings, there is a $39 partner booking fee. Now, while this fee isn’t necessarily large, it could be enough to convince some buyers to stick with Air Canada flights. But, hold on.

Unlike Air Canada flights which now have dynamic pricing, partner airlines still have fixed pricing. Often, these fixed prices are on the lower end of the points range. Now, there is the downside to being limited with seats when redeeming with partner airlines, however, even with that added $39 fee, partner airlines may come in at a better value in the end.

5. Shop Online With Aeroplan Partners

Aeroplan has more than 170 online retail partners that make collecting Aeroplan points while doing your regular shopping a breeze. Partners include businesses such as Hudson’s Bay, Indigo, Sephora, GAP, and more. These are everyday businesses that many Canadians shop from fairly regularly, plus many of us prefer to shop online so it’s worth your time to go through the Aeroplan portal to ensure you can earn the Aeroplan points.

Make sure to keep an eye out for special promotions and sales too as you can find some pretty great deals. For example, for Black Friday 2020 online purchases from Sephora earned Aeroplan members 10x the points and online orders from Indigo earned members 7x the points.

To see what brands are Aeroplan online partners, log into your Aeroplan account at Aircanada.ca or via the app and sign in to Aeroplan. From there you can browse by category, brand, or even current promotions.

Final Word

This loyalty program may seem a bit daunting, but as per the new Aeroplan changes, these hacks are sure to help you stretch those miles further. Whether you’re planning on traveling anytime soon or holding on to your points for future use, there is nothing holding you back from maximizing the power of your points.

This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Author Bio

Hannah Logan
Hannah Logan is a freelance finance and travel writer/blogger based in Ottawa. Her stories have appeared on Fodor’s Travel, Livestrong, World Nomads, Intrepid Travel, and more. You can keep up with her at Eatsleepbreathetravel.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram: hannahlogan21.

Article comments

11 comments
Orville says:

I used to do the stopover rule on multi-city flights, but with the last one I booked, I wasnt even allowed a stopover on one of my other legs. I was told by 2 different agents that the with the multi-city that the 2nd city counted as my stopover.. whaaaaaat?

Any clarification you can provide would be most helpful

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Orville,

I’m not sure where you were flying to and from, but if it was within North America, you’re not allowed a stop-over whatsoever, so you may not have gotten a stop-over because one leg of the tour was in North America. Also according to the website, it reads: There are three types of trips that can be booked using the online multi-city tool on aeroplan.com:

1) Round-trip itinerary that allows a passenger flying from departure city (A) to destination city (C) to have a stopover in city (B). Alternatively, the stopover could be between city (C) and city (A).

So perhaps your second city was considered a stopover because it was between City A and City C

Chris says:

HI,

under your comment “Use a Website Other Than Aeroplan to Check for Flights”, I thought the only way to book with Aeroplan points was to use their website and/or call their call center. I am curious how you can book flights that do not show up on the Aeroplan website. For example if I see a flight on united airlines website how would I book that with my Aeroplan points?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the comment. We understand the source of your confusion, possibly. In the article we wrote this section describes how to build a list of flights in the Star Alliance network of carriers, which you can then pay for with Aeroplan Miles. You mentioned the Aeroplan call center—once you’ve looked on United or Turkish Airlines you can call and inquire about booking these flights (reference the flight number and other details) and piece together an itinerary with your Miles instead. You’re not booking directly through Turkish Airlines, for instance, but rather confirming the existence of the flight with Star Alliance and then using them to book the flight if possible. It takes a bit of legwork but it’s worthwhile!

GreedyRates

Gavin says:

Does anyone actually have experience doing this successfully? I tried using United’s website to find awards flights for an Asia trip in July, but when I called in to Aeroplan with the specific flights that I had found, they told me that Aeroplan didn’t have access to the particular flights. They said they are only able to see the flight options that I can see on the Aeroplan website…

Lesley Cooper says:

If I were to Fly from Fredericton to Edmonton and desired to do 2 layovers in stead of 1. How many more points would I get? Would it be even worth it??

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Lesley,

Thanks for coming to GreedyRates and for your comment about Aeroplan hacks. However, we think you might have misunderstood. We talked about the layovers clause for Aeroplan Miles redemption, and that your points are good on multi-leg trips where you’re able to stay in multiple cities for up to 24 hours during your trip without seeing an increase in the number of miles you need to redeem for your flight. Having longer layovers or more layovers won’t mean you’ll get more Miles, because the only way to earn more miles relatively is to spend more money on eligible purchases using your credit card. In the end whether or not it’s worth it is up to you. Do you have a purpose behind your multiple layovers, like family to visit? If so, it’ll be worthwhile as you won’t need to redeem more miles, but otherwise it provides no advantage.

GreedyRates

Krishan says:

Recently I logged in my account and I notice “your points are expiring on dd/mm/yyyy”.
I was surprised why I hadn’t received any email. Checked my junk folder and the email was there.
Formerly Esso gas station was one partner where you could have a qualifying transaction with few dollars. Not anymore.
Using the points for travel makes absolutely no sense because top up and taxes will cost me more than the cost of a direct flight.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Krishan,

Appreciate the comment, and thanks for coming to GreedyRates. We think that if your points are expiring soon, that you should use them for something quickly, even if you aren’t totally happy with their redemption value. What kind of Aeroplan card do you have—or is it a different points system? If you let us know, we’ll be better able to give you redemption options or help you find another arrangement with a rewards program that suits you better. However, keep in mind that most all of them have a travel redemption model that’s similar to Aeroplan’s.

With average spending, it takes quite a while to build up enough points to fully cover the cost of a flight. At best, the miles you earn will defray the cost of your flights and help you avail of other exclusive perks that other travellers don’t have; herein lies their usefulness. You might be happier with an Amex Platinum travel card, as you can use your points to pay for travel but also a ton of other things like hotels, rental cars, vacations and cruises, merchandise, gift cards, and even points from other travel rewards programs.

GreedyRates

Janet says:

Hi there,

I am curious about which credit cards are best to use to book a rewards flight? Whether it be Airmiles or Aeroplan etc. How do you know if you have the insurance coverage or other travel insurances covered? Many stipulate you need to book the full cost of the fare on the card.

Thanks so much for your help!!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Janet,

Thanks for the excellent comment. When it comes to travel cards, the best one to have and to use for booking is the one that provides the best travel perks, insurance protections, and earns the type of points or rewards that can be redeemed with your favorite providers. Both Air Miles and Aeroplan are actually connected to the same provider: an airline you may know called Air Canada! With over 1,300 flights around the world daily, it’s usually a toss-up between them for people who want to earn flight rewards on their daily purchases. Your best bet is to look at the card’s other beneficial features and choose which is most pertinent to you.

About travel insurance. The most important part is medical coverage, of course, and this type of insurance thankfully covers you regardless of how you purchased the ticket. Oftentimes, the other types of insurance such as trip cancellation and trip interruption require that you booked the ticket with your card to be eligible to make claim. The best way to understand which insurance protections apply to you in any given circumstance is to read the insurance pamphlet thoroughly. We know you were probably looking for more of a shortcut, but unfortunately, when it comes to credit card insurance the best thing is to simply be as comprehensively educated as possible.

GreedyRates