In May 2020, Air Canada began selling Aeroplan miles directly to the public. This opens up some interesting opportunities for discounted Business and First class travel across the Star Alliance network and on Air Canada’s other partner airlines, including Etihad Airways.
Air Canada is not the only Star Alliance member airline to sell miles. United MileagePlus, Avianca LifeMiles and Aegean Miles+Bonus also sell miles directly to the public – often with generous discounts and bonuses. But with Avianca in bankruptcy, United recently ditching award charts completely, and restrictive routing rules applying to Aegean Miles+Bonus redemptions, Air Canada could be worth a look.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program adds another option for frequent flyers looking to purchase miles that can be redeemed for premium cabin flights at a lower cost than buying a Business or First class ticket outright. In some cases, it could make sense to buy miles from Air Canada during a sale because the Aeroplan program has a relatively competitive award chart with unique sweet spots and partner airlines.
This guide explains how to buy Air Canada Aeroplan miles, and how to redeem them for award travel.
How to Buy Air Canada Aeroplan Miles
Air Canada Aeroplan miles can be bought or gifted on the Aeroplan website. At full price, the cost is CAD30 (~$31) per 1,000 miles, or around 3.1 cents each. This price excludes taxes, which do not appear to apply to Australians.
Aeroplan miles can be purchased in blocks of 1,000 with larger increments applying to purchases above 30,000 miles. There is a purchase limit of 250,000 miles and you cannot buy more than 500,000 Aeroplan miles per calendar year, excluding bonus miles. Miles may take up to 72 hours to post to your account.
Beware that Air Canada Aeroplan miles expire if there is no account activity for 18 months (previously 12 months). You’ll need to earn or redeem at least one Aeroplan mile, at least once every 18 months, to prevent your miles from expiring.
Special Deals on Buying Aeroplan Miles
In the most recent offer, Air Canada gave up to 75% bonus miles on purchases of Aeroplan miles from 7 until 12 July 2020. The bonus amount increased as you bought more miles:
- Buy 2,000 – 50,000 Aeroplan miles and receive 25% bonus miles
- Buy 60,000 – 170,000 Aeroplan miles and receive 40% bonus miles
- Buy 180,000 – 240,000 Aeroplan miles and receive 60% bonus miles
- Buy 250,000 Aeroplan miles and receive 75% bonus miles
During this offer, Aeroplan also doubled the usual annual purchase limit to 1 million miles. And up to CAD5,000 worth of miles bought during the July promo period will count as Altitude Qualifying Dollars towards Air Canada status.
As a launch offer in May 2020, Air Canada was offering 115% bonus Aeroplan miles on the first 10 million miles to be sold. However, this was a very limited offer and it sold out in minutes. Remaining members were offered 65-90% bonus miles.
Redeeming Aeroplan Miles for Award Flights
Air Canada Aeroplan miles can be redeemed for flights with Air Canada, its subsidiaries & any Star Alliance airline:
In addition, Air Canada partners with Azul, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, GOL Airlines, Juneyao Airlines and Olympic Air.
When redeeming miles on Star Alliance or other partner airlines, awards are priced according to Aeroplan’s competitive Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards chart. Prices in this award chart are listed as round-trip; one-way awards are permitted for 50% of the required miles but free stopovers are not allowed on one-way awards.
Redemptions that may interest Australians looking to buy Aeroplan miles include:
- Flights from Australia to North America cost 80,000 miles in Business or 110,000 miles in First, one-way, and routings via Asia are permitted
- Flights from Australia to Europe cost 95,000 miles in Business or 130,000 miles in First, including with Etihad Airways (and fuel/carrier surcharges do not apply on Etihad awards)
- For some reason, Central Asia/Middle East to Morocco or the Canary Islands costs only 40,000 miles in Business
When redeeming Aeroplan miles, note that you don’t necessarily have to have the full amount of miles already in your account. There may be an option to purchase top-up miles online during the booking process if you’re a little short!
Aeroplan round-the-world awards
Air Canada also offers round-the-world awards, flying on Star Alliance airlines!
The rules are similar to those of other Star Alliance round-the-world awards:
- Maximum 5 stopovers + 1 surface sector
- Must start and end in the same country
- You cannot pass back through your point of origin to reach your end destination
- Must travel in a continuous east or west direction and cross the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans once each
The number of Aeroplan miles required for a Star Alliance round-the-world award is as follows:
- Economy: 200,000 miles + taxes
- Premium Economy: 250,000 miles + taxes
- Business: 300,000 miles + taxes
- First: 400,000 miles + taxes
How to book Aeroplan award flights
In general, it’s possible to book Star Alliance awards on the Aeroplan website. You can also book awards on Etihad Airways and Juneyao Airlines online.
However, the Aeroplan website has been acting strangely in recent months and some awards that would normally appear online are not showing at the moment. If you have trouble booking online, or you wish to redeem miles for a round-the-world award, you’ll need to call the Aeroplan call centre. Be prepared for long wait times (sorry).
Before calling, you may wish to cross-check Star Alliance award availability on the United website.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Aeroplan (Air Canada) is now selling miles
Want to learn more about buying points for cheap premium cabin flights?
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