A Beginner’s Guide To Aeroplan

»»»A Beginner’s Guide To Aeroplan

A Beginner’s Guide To Aeroplan

Objective:

Highlight the basics of the Aeroplan program, including how to sign-up for an account, how to navigate the website, and an overview of the Aeroplan status levels.

American Express Platinum Canada

American Express Platinum Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

  • Get a $200 travel credit & airport lounge access worldwide.
  • $699 annual fee.

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Learning Outcomes:

  • Know how to sign-up for an Aeroplan account
  • Learn how to navigate the website, including where to redeem points, how to track your points account, and where to find current promotions
  • Understand the different Aeroplan status levels, and how it benefits your Aeroplan account
  • Learn how to contact the Aeroplan Call Centre
  • A snapshot of Aeroplan sweet spots
  • Know the cautionary notes of the program

Introduction

Aeroplan is Canada’s leading travel rewards program. What started as the Air Canada frequent flyer program in 1984 has slowly evolved into a retail rewards program in partnership with Air Canada and other Star Alliance airline partners. While Aeroplan was once directly owned and operated by Air Canada, in 2002 they sold the program to Aimia, a marketing and loyalty company based in Montreal, Canada.

In 2017, Air Canada announced they would be ending their partnership with Aeroplan in 2020, and starting their own loyalty/frequent flyer program again. The future of Aeroplan for flight rewards is largely unknown at this time, but until 2020, Canadians can still earn and redeem with Air Canada and Star Alliance airlines, and Aeroplan remains one of the best options for Canadians wanting to leverage travel rewards programs.

While Aeroplan has a bit of a bad reputation for supposed lack of availability and high taxes/fees, there are a lot of ways to get extraordinary value out of everyday redemptions with a little bit of effort!

Signing Up For An Aeroplan Account

Signing up is easy! Consumers can choose to either sign-up through their website at Aeroplan.com, or sign-up for a co-branded credit card through TD Bank, CIBC, or American Express. If you don’t have an Aeroplan account already, the bank will open one on your behalf when you apply for a new account. If you want to start earning prior to opening a credit card, simply click on the link on the top right side of the Aeroplan homepage (become a member).

Registration is simple, with typical identifying information required, such as name and birthday.

Next is your contact info:

Followed by phone number, password information and agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Once registration is complete, you will be emailed a confirmation with your new Aeroplan number, and a physical card gets mailed out!

Using The Aeroplan Website

Overall, the Aeroplan website is user friendly and easy to navigate. There is also an app available for Iphone and Android, though the usability is somewhat limited compared to the website. The desktop version is recommended for optimum performance, especially when trip planning complex routes. The Aeroplan website goes down for ‘routine maintenance’ (usually overnight) often, which can be frustrating when searching availability or wanting to book a reward flight.

Your Aeroplan is where you can find your personal information, manage your booked rewards (seat selection, confirmation numbers), and recent mileage activity (earning/redemptions). The transaction tab under Your Aeroplan is where you will find all your recent activity, and check that miles have been posted successfully from recent purchases.

The Earn Miles tab is where you go to learn more about ways to earn, including retail partner locator, conversion programs, and online retailers. For further information, please refer to (insert module name here) for a comprehensive guide to earning Aeroplan miles effectively!

The Use Your Miles tab is where you’ll find all the ways you can spend your miles, including for flight rewards, merchandise and gift cards, donations, or transfer options. Please see (insert module name here) for a comprehensive look on how to get most value out of your Aeroplan points. For a look at how to use the Aeroplan search tool to find flight rewards on Air Canada or other partner airlines, take a look at the course on searching Star Alliance award availability!

The Promotions tab will open up a page of current promotions with all partners, including credit card sign-up bonuses, along with any hotel, airline, car rental or retailer promotion being offered.

Aeroplan Loyalty Status

The Aeroplan Status tab will bring you to an overview of your current status level, along with all of the benefits with the various status levels, which are rather limited in my opinion.

  • Aeroplan Silver Status requires accumulating 25,000 eligible miles per year
  • Aeroplan Black Status requires accumulating 50,000 eligible miles per year
  • Aeroplan Diamond Status requires accumulating 100,000 eligible miles per year

 

Eligible miles are miles earned through hotel stays, flights, retail purchases, online shopping, and credit card spend, however, welcome bonuses are not eligible towards status. Overall I don’t put a lot of value on Aeroplan status, though it should be relatively easy to obtain if Aeroplan is your program of choice. From the above chart, the only benefits I find remotely useful are the increased bonuses when shopping through the Aeroplan eStore, preferential rates on flight reward fees, and priority access to the call centre, which can have very long wait times.  While all of the Fairmont promotions look good (especially as someone who’s loyal to Fairmont), they require you book a special rate using a code, which is almost always more expensive than the best available rate through Fairmont directly.

Aeroplan Sweet Spots and Words of Warning

What’s Good About Aeroplan

To get the most value out of Aeroplan miles, use them for the following:

  • Premium cabin travel (business or first class)
  • Complex itineraries involving planned layovers. Aeroplan is generous in that they allow one stopover of unlimited duration each direction on roundtrip bookings.
  • Round-the-world bookings with multiple stops on one award ticket
  • Redeeming for flights on partner airlines with no/little fuel surcharges
  • Being able to book reward tickets for family or friends without the need to transfer points and incur transfer fees
  • Access to Star Alliance partner flights, the biggest airline alliance in the world

What’s Not So Good About Aeroplan

Cautionary notes about the program:

  • Aeroplan miles expire after 12 months if there is no activity on the account. To prevent this from happening, simply make a purchase with an Aeroplan retailer to reset the calendar and keep your points active. If you have a co branded Aeroplan credit card that you use monthly, you don’t need to worry about your points expiring as there is activity each month when your statement cycles. Alternatively, you can take a flight on any Star Alliance partner airline and credit your miles to Aeroplan
  • Aeroplan is ending their relationship with Air Canada in 2020, with Air Canada launching its own loyalty rewards program, at which point the Aeroplan redemption rates for flights will likely change dramatically. Expect very few or minor changes until then
  • Taxes and fees (fuel surcharges) are high on some airline partners, including Air Canada itself
  • Call centre wait times can be very, very long, and operating times are not 24/7, which can present problems in the event you need to contact while abroad and in another time zone, or if you found fantastic availability that needs to be booked urgently

How To Contact Aeroplan

The Help Centre tab provides access to contact numbers, the FAQ, and self serve tools. The Aeroplan contact centre is usually needed for complicated flight rewards, and hold times can be long. Also note that unlike most frequent flyer programs, the Aeroplan call centre is not operated 24 hour per day, which can be a nuisance when needing to contact them while abroad and in a different time zone (in the event of irregular operations on a reward ticket, or when needing to change a flight-reward mid trip).

American Express Platinum Canada

American Express Platinum Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

  • Get a $200 travel credit & airport lounge access worldwide.
  • $699 annual fee.

Apply Now!

About the Author:

Champagne taste on a beer budget has always been reminiscent of Tyler’s travel style. Raised in British Columbia, Tyler has an unquenchable thirst for more adventure, which is fueled by leveraging airline and hotel loyalty programs to travel the world in luxury and style. Want to learn how you can travel the world on points, like Tyler? Sign up for an American Express Platinum card and get 50,000 bonus points and a $200 travel credit towards your next dream vacation. (Offer subject to approval and when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months).

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