Air Canada redesigned the Aeroplan points program in November 2020.
There are many changes, and this post will detail everything you need to know about the new program, including our favorite ways to use Aeroplan points.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in.
The Basics of Using Aeroplan Points
Aeroplan introduced a lot of new changes to their program, which are detailed in the video below.
Who You Can Fly On (Aeroplan Partners)
You can fly on over 35 different airlines with Aeroplan points, which unlocks flight destinations all over the world.
You can also mix and match Air Canada’s Star Alliance partners with their other partner airlines, which is a unique aspect of the program.
But there is a $39 partner booking fee for any ticket that includes a flight not operated by Air Canada.
This fee is per passenger, but you can save money by booking awards as a round-trip rather than two one-way trips.
|Star Alliance Airlines|
|Air China||Air India|
|Air New Zealand||ANA|
|Asiana Airlines||Austrian Airlines|
|Copa Airlines||Croatia Airlines|
|EVA Air||LOT Polish|
|TAP Portugal||Thai Airways|
|Turkish Airlines||United Airlines|
Aeroplan’s non-alliance partners are:
|Other Airline Partners|
|Air Creebec||Air Serbia|
|Canadian North||Cathay Pacific|
|Olympic Air||Virgin Australia|
How Much it Will Cost (Aeroplan Award Charts)
The easiest way to see how many Aeroplan points are required for a flight is to plug your trip into their Points Predictor Tool.
The Points Predictor Tool will show you generally how many points are required for both Air Canada and partner flights.
Partner flights are priced at a fixed rate, but Air Canada flights are variable depending on the expected demand for that flight.
In this example, I would opt for business class on Asiana for 75,000 points over 100,600 points on Air Canada.
Here is where it gets a little complicated.
The Points Predictor Tool prices flights based on the direct distance between airports.
If you are only flying Air Canada, this doesn’t matter because Aeroplan calculates these flights based on the direct distance, even if you have to backtrack.
For example, it could be cheaper to fly Newfoundland to Europe via Toronto than from Toronto to Europe because Newfoundland is closer to Europe.
However, partner flights are calculated on the total distance flown, which will occasionally result in a higher price than the Tool.
For example, the Points Predictor Tool says that Chicago to Istanbul should be 70,000 points in business, which is true if you fly the standard routing of Chicago to Frankfurt to Istanbul.
But if you are flying from Chicago to Abu Dhabi and then backtracking to Istanbul, you will pay a higher price even though Abu Dhabi is in the same “zone” as Istanbul.
It gets even more complicated if you try to book a flight consisting of Air Canada and a partner.
Aeroplan prices mixed awards based on the weighted average of the distances flown with each airline.
However, to calculate the price for a segment on Air Canada, Aeroplan looks at the price of a trip entirely on Air Canada and then takes a weighted average.
This can cost you a lot of extra points, even if the trip on Air Canada is short.
For example below, the 348-mile flight from New York to Toronto costs an extra 19,900 points over an all partner airlines award.
Rules You Should Know About
Aeroplan has a couple of rules you should know about before booking your award, including routing restrictions, stopovers, mixed cabins, and potential fees.
No Fuel Surcharges
Aeroplan does not pass on an airline’s fuel surcharges, which can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
For example, below are two options for booking a business class Lufthansa flight from the U.S. to Germany:
- Aeroplan: 140,000 points + $200.97 in fees.
- ANA: 88,000 miles + $1,572.61 in fees.
There is no discount for booking a mixed cabin reward, which is when only part of your flight is in your desired class of service.
For example, below, you would be charged 75,000 points for business class, even though only 12% of the flight is in business class and 88% is in economy class.
A stopover is a stop in location for longer than 24 hours or 12 hours for the United States and Canada.
You can add a stopover for an additional 5,000 points on a one-way flight.
On a roundtrip flight, you can do up to two stopovers for 5,000 points each.
For example, your flights could be:
- New York to Frankfurt (stopover) to Prague on Lufthansa
- Athens to Lisbon (stopover) to New York on TAP Portugal
To book a stopover, you will need to call to book it. But Aeroplan plans on adding an online option.
Changes and Cancellations
The cost to change a flight for the “Lowest Reward” is:
- $75 if 60+ days before departure OR
- $100 if within 60 days of departure.
The cost to cancel and get a refund for an award is:
- $150 on AirCanada.com OR
- $175 via the call center.
There is no maximum permitted mileage (MPM) on flight rewards, but there is a rule that you cannot book a connecting flight that is 100% longer than a direct flight.
This rule prohibits you from booking a flight such as New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) because it’s more than 156% longer than the direct flight.
But there are occasional exceptions to the rule like Tokyo to Abu Dhabi via Sydney even though the distance is 146% over the direct flight.
There is also a limit of six segments per one-way award.
Flights Within a Region
Aeroplan divides the world up into four geographic regions:
- North America – including Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
- South America
- Atlantic zone – including Europe, Western Russia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent.
- Pacific zone – including Asia, Eastern Russia, Australia, and New Zealand.
For flights within a single region, you cannot connect outside of that region.
For example, you couldn’t fly from India to Europe via Singapore because Singapore is outside the Atlantic region.
9 Best Ways to Use Aeroplan Points
Below are my favorite ways to use Aeroplan points.
Remember that some of the prices are the starting prices of those awards, and your flights may be higher depending on your routing.
1. North America to/from Australia and New Zealand
One of my favorite ways to use Aeroplan miles 85,000 points for one-way business class to Australia and New Zealand.
Direct flights to Australia and New Zealand are difficult to book, but you should have many options flying through Asia on ANA, EVA, Asiana, or Air China.
2. North America to/from Europe
Another good option is North America to/from Europe because you can avoid the high fuel surcharges of Lufthansa, Austrian, and SWISS by using Aeroplan points.
You can book an award from the Northeast to Western Europe starting at:
- 35,000 points for economy class
- 60,000 points for business class
- 90,000 points for first class
For all other awards to Europe, the pricing is:
- 40,000 points for economy class
- 70,000 points for business class
- 100,000 points for first class.
3. Northwest to/from Tokyo
Seattle and Vancouver to Tokyo are a good deal at 35,000 points for economy class and 55,000 points for business class on All-Nippon Airways.
4. Short Flights Within North America
Flights under 600 miles are only 6,000 points, which can be a good deal for those super expensive short flights.
5. Flights to Alaska or Hawaii
Flights from the West Coast to Alaska or Hawaii are typically 12,500 points in economy class and 25,000 points in business class.
Longer flights from the East Coast, the Caribbean, or Central America to Hawaii or Alaska are a good deal at 22,500 points for economy class and 35,000 points for business class.
6. North America to/from Southern Africa
You can book a business class flight to Southern Africa for 100,000 points in business class, which can be a good deal if you add a stopover for 5,000 points in Europe.
7. North America to/from South America
Flights to South America can be quite expensive to book as cash fares, but you can book an award for 40,000 points in economy class and 60,000 points in business class.
8. Europe to/from Australia and New Zealand
Europe to Australia or New Zealand can be a good deal at 100,000 points for business class due to very long distance and the Star Alliance routing options.
9. Short Flights in Pacific Zone
Flights under 1,000 miles in the Pacific Zone can be a good deal for 8,000 points for economy class if the cash fare is quite high.
There are many great ways to use points in the new Aeroplan program, especially in business class or on airlines with high fuel surcharges.
I wish Aeroplan would eliminate the $39 partner booking fee, but you can minimize this fee by booking round-trip rather than one-way awards.