Since May 2020, you can buy Air Canada Aeroplan points directly from the airline. 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 and Virgin Australia. This remains the case even after Air Canada relaunched its Aeroplan frequent flyer program with new reward flight pricing & flexibility in November 2020.
Air Canada is not the only Star Alliance member airline to sell points or 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 points 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 points 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 points, and how to redeem them for award travel.
How to Buy Air Canada Aeroplan Points
Air Canada Aeroplan points can be bought or gifted on the Air Canada website. At full price, the cost is CAD30 (~$31) per 1,000 points, or around 3.1 cents each. This price excludes taxes, which do not appear to apply to Australians.
Aeroplan points can be purchased in blocks of 1,000 with larger increments applying to purchases above 30,000 points. There is a purchase limit of 250,000 points and you cannot buy more than 500,000 Aeroplan points per calendar year, excluding bonus points. After buying, the points may take up to 72 hours to post to your account.
Beware that Air Canada Aeroplan points expire if there is no account activity for 18 months (previously 12 months). You’ll need to earn or redeem at least one Aeroplan point, at least once every 18 months, to prevent them from expiring.
Special Deals on Buying Aeroplan Points
Until 30 July 2021, Air Canada is giving up to 80% bonus points on purchases of at least 3,000 Aeroplan points!
With this promotion, the amount of bonus points you’ll receive depends on how many points you buy. The bonus amounts vary from 50-80%:
While this is a pretty good offer, it isn’t quite as generous as the previous promotion that ran a few months ago, where up to 100% bonus points were offered.
Redeeming Aeroplan Points for Award Flights
Air Canada Aeroplan points can be redeemed for flights with Air Canada, its subsidiaries & any Star Alliance airline:
In addition, Air Canada partners with Air Serbia, Azul, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, GOL Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, Olympic Air, Virgin Australia, Vistara and various Canadian regional airlines.
You can even combine flights with any partner airlines onto one award ticket. For example, if you live in Hobart, you can fly Virgin Australia to Sydney and then Etihad Airways or a Star Alliance airline to London – all on one ticket.
Aeroplan’s new flight reward charts
When redeeming Aeroplan points for Air Canada flights (or itineraries including flights on Air Canada), dynamic pricing applies. This means the number of points you’ll need varies, depending on how much demand there is for that flight. However, this means that all seats are available for redemption on all Air Canada flights. The price will be within the range outlined in the new Aeroplan award charts.
Aeroplan redemptions on partner airlines cost a fixed amount of points, which are outlined in the Aeroplan award charts.
Under the new award charts launched in November 2020, the world is divided into four zones:
In addition to using Aeroplan’s award charts, you can check how many points a reward flight is likely to cost using Air Canada’s new Points Predictor tool.
There are no longer any fuel or carrier surcharges when redeeming Aeroplan points, including for partner airline redemptions. You’ll just pay airport & government taxes, and there is a fixed CAD39 (~$40) partner award booking fee.
One stopover can be added to any one-way award itinerary for an additional 5,000 Aeroplan miles (excluding awards within North America).
Redemptions that may interest Australians looking to buy Aeroplan miles include:
- Flights with the “Pacific” zone, which includes Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia & North Asia are very reasonably priced in Business & First Class. For example, Perth-Tokyo on ANA costs 45,000 points in Business class.
- Flights between Australia and Europe or Africa are good value in Business & First class. You can fly in any direction – even via North America. For example, Etihad Airways First class flights from Australia to Europe or Africa cost 130,000 points.
- Most flights from Australia to North America cost 75,000-85,000 points in Business class. You can add a stopover in Asia for 5,000 points.
- Most flights from South Africa to Europe are just 60,000 points in Business class.
- Combine two or three one-way awards with stopovers to build a round-the-world itinerary.
How to book Aeroplan award flights
Most award flights can be booked on the Air Canada website. Just search for flights on the home page, and select the “Points” option.
You don’t need to have an Aeroplan account to search for award availability, but you’ll be prompted to log in if you want to book a flight. In addition to Star Alliance award flights, the Air Canada website shows award availabiliy on partners including Etihad Airways.
You may need to call Aeroplan to book flights that aren’t available on the Air Canada website. 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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