Last updated: September 6, 2022
In full transparency, this is my favourite points program so far and no, this is not a sponsored post, I genuinely like it. Perhaps because I’ve finally figured out how to take advantage of it and the new mobile app is quite smooth. Over the last few years I’ve done quite a bit of traveling on points and have been consistently gaining them back, here’s how:
Find a credit card that collects Aeroplan points:
I personally use Amex because I like the added bonus of the Amex security but there are others. Major banks also offer a signup bonus equal to a return flight which is a great start. For example, TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite comes with 25,000 Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass while the base Aeroplan Amex currently offers 40,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass. Once you found a card that works for you, use it for everything, I even pay some bills with it. Most of the time it’s at least a point-per-dollar which is more than many other reward programs offer.
Use Aeroplan online retail partners:
There are quite a few popular retailers including Amazon, Apple, Chapters, Under Armour, Rail Europe, and many, many more. All you do is access your shop of choice through Aeroplan and you will gain points on your entire purchase (double if you use an Aeroplan credit card). Additionally, they often have special offers that can multiply your points earned so if I’m not in a rush I will wait for bonus points to maximize my reward (see the image as an example).
There is a way to convert various hotel rewards to Aeroplan as well but I personally haven’t tried that yet because they require a fairly high amount, more info on that here.
If you fly for work, even if your employer paid for the flight, you as the traveler get the points, so make sure to add that number to your itinerary.
Tip: you can add your reward number to any Air Canada flight up until departure day so even if you forgot or were not a member at the time of purchase you can still catch up. If you did happen to forget, you can request missing points on this page.
When using the points…
…Use them on shorter flights, the ones that cost under 45,000 points. That’s still a lot of destinations and they have lower tax (typically under $200, my latest flight to NY was an $8 tax charge for example) with a lot of direct flight options. Longer flights (such as Europe) use a lot more points while you can get those fairs on sales for much less in cash. I’ve flown to Vancouver, Chicago, New York, Florida, and even Mexico on rewards never spending over 25,000 points.
If there is a good seat sale though, take that, for example: flying to Vancouver is generally not cheap so if the seat sale is under $400 I would not use points on it. This year so far there were many seat sales so as a result point fairs have dropped too and my first trip of 2022 to Vancouver cost me 20,800 pts + CA $152.50 for 2 people, direct flights.
Status perks and discounts:
Since the program revamp status is easier to reach and even the first level, 25K, offers plenty of amazing benefits. There are core perks of the level and some that you can choose based on your goals (free stuff or expedited points earning). Currently 25k status level offers 2 Maple Leaf lounge passes per year, two complimentary checked bags and complimentary sports equipment handling, priority check-in, boarding and seat selection, eUpgrade credits, and many other benefits.
These are a really cool perk: you can use them to upgrade to a higher cabin which I’ve now done twice – the first time had an added dollar amount (you’d have to weigh the pros and cons to see if it is worth it) and the second time I was on a waitlist to upgrade to business class (requested a month prior to the flight) which was automatically accepted a couple of days before departure. Learn more about eUpgrades here.
It’s no secret that Air Canada support is well, not the best, but when you book on points you get Aeroplan support and they are much, much more useful – loyalty goes a long way. I once had to re-schedule 2 flights over one weekend due to a snowstorm and still got home in time for a good night’s sleep before work on Monday.
And here is an extra perk:
American Express has just introduced a referral program for the credit card I use, Amex Aeroplan. Friends and family who decide to apply for the same card can receive will earn up to 65,000 welcome bonus points plus many other perks like ongoing bonus points and x5 points per dollar for certain purchases. Use this referral link. In light of transparency, I could earn 5,000 from that referral.
Aeroplan now has a browser extension that activates anywhere where you can get points, definitely get one of those to rack up some free flight rewards.
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If there are any fun points I missed please share and ask questions in the comments, I would love to know your tips, otherwise, happy flying!
* Cover image by Bryce Evans. The rest are all mine from a flight to Cancun, business class.