Air Canada Aeroplan Loyalty Program Review

Air Canada Aeroplan Loyalty Program Review

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Air Canada Aeroplan Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

The Air Canada Aeroplan program makes it easy to earn points by partnering with 2 out of the 4 flexible point programs.

Air Canada Aeroplan Credit Cards

The Air Canada Aeroplan credit card is issued by TD Bank and currently offers a respectable sign-up bonus.

We only recommend this card if you have applied for all of the flexible point program credit cards first, as you can easily earn and transfer points from those programs.

American Express Credit Cards

American Express credit cards are a great way to earn Amex points that can be transferred directly to Aeroplan.

Amex has an impressive selection of personal and business credit cards, so you’ll have more than enough ways to earn miles for your next redemption.

Amex also has regular bonuses with some of its airline partners when you transfer your points into airline miles, making this a valuable program to earn points in.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an additional $15,000, on purchases within the first 3 months.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Marriott Credit Cards

Marriott credit cards provide another way to earn flexible Marriott points that can be transferred directly to Aeroplan.

What makes this transfer even better is the fact that you’ll receive a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points that you convert into airline miles.

Marriott points convert into airline miles at a 3:1 ratio, so 60,000 miles become 25,000 airline miles with the 5,000-point bonus.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Transferring other hotel points to Aeroplan will result in less than a 1:1 transfer ratio, so we recommend avoiding this option.

If you are topping off an airline account or are in a bind, transferring other hotel points to Aeroplan can be an option.

Air Canada Aeroplan Program Overview

The Air Canada frequent flyer program that you redeem miles in is called Aeroplan.

You can use the program for Star Alliance and partner redemptions, like flights on United Airlines.

It’s important to note that Air Canada also has a loyalty program called Altitude in addition to the rewards program called Aeroplan.

Members earn Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM), Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS), and Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) when flying Air Canada and Star Alliance partners.

The miles that you earn are also Aeroplan miles, which allow you to qualify for the program’s elite status and redeem for award flights.

For simplicity, we’re going to refer to the Aeroplan program, since it’s the one most familiar with award travelers.

Altitude and Aeroplan miles can be earned in many ways — here are the 4 most common:

  • Flying Air Canada or its partner airline flights
  • Spending on flexible points program credit cards
  • Spending at car rental, hotel, or retail partners
  • Shopping through the Aeroplan portal

Bottom Line: Aeroplan is the rewards program in which members earn miles to use toward travel and lifestyle awards. The Aeroplan miles that you earn, which are the same miles awarded to Altitude members, can be also redeemed for award flights.

Joining Aeroplan

Aeroplan Application Page
Aeroplan sign up page. Image courtesy of aeroplan.com

The Aeroplan program is free to join by simply completing this application.

When your application is complete, you’ll have the ability to earn miles by flying with Air Canada or its partner airlines, earn elite status, and redeem miles for award flights.

How to Sign in to Your Aeroplan Account

Aeroplan Login Page
Aeroplan login page. Image courtesy of aeroplan.com

Head to the Aeroplan login page and enter your membership number and password.

Hot Tip: The Aeroplan website requires you to log in using your Aeroplan account number to search for award flights. 

Viewing Your Account Activity

The easiest way to check your Aeroplan mileage balance is to:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Hover over Your Account on the left and click Account Overview

Aeroplan states that it may take up to 8 days for qualifying activity to appear in your account.

Points Expiration

Aeroplan miles will expire if you haven’t accumulated or redeemed miles for a period of 12 consecutive months.

The program does allow you to buy back your expired miles at a cost of 1¢ per mile, a $30 administration fee, and applicable taxes.

Aeroplan Mileage Program

Aeroplan Elite Tiers
Aeroplan elite levels. Image courtesy of aeroplan.com

Aeroplan Elite Status

The Aeroplan program has 3 elite tiers: Silver, Black, and Diamond.

The Aeroplan status qualification period begins January 1 and ends December 31 of the same calendar year. Once you qualify, benefits begin immediately and continue through the following calendar year.

Silver: The lowest elite tier offered by Aeroplan, which comes with the following benefits:

  • Up to 20% off the miles required for award flights
  • Fairmont Hotels room upgrade and breakfast

Black: After earning this status level, you’ll have access to additional benefits including:

  • All of the benefits of Silver, plus;
  • Up to 25% off the miles required for award flights
  • 250 Aeroplan bonus status miles when staying at Marriott
  • $25 Fairmont Hotel credit

Diamond: The highest elite tier that you can earn comes with the following benefits:

  • All of the benefits of Black, plus;
  • Up to 35% off the miles required for award flights
  • Reduced fees when changing award flights

If you’re interested in diving into more detail about the Aeroplan elite benefits at each tier, go here.

Altitude Elite Status

Air Canada Elite Tiers
Altitude elite levels. Image courtesy of aircanada.com

The Air Canada Altitude program has 5 elite tiers:

  • Prestige 25K
  • Elite 35K
  • Elite 50K
  • Elite 75K
  • Super Elite 100K.

The Altitude status qualification period begins January 1 and ends December 31 of the same calendar year. Members who qualify for a new status level during the qualification year prior to October 15 may be eligible for early recognition to a higher Altitude status.

Prestige 25k: The lowest elite tier offered by Altitude, which comes with the following benefits:

  • Priority check-in
  • 2 Maple Leaf Lounge 1-time guest passes
  • 25% Altitude mile bonus with Air Canada and select airline partners
  • Carrier surcharge waived on award flights between Canada & U.S.
  • 35% discount on Maple Leaf Club Lounge membership
  • Star Alliance Silver

Elite 35K: After earning this status level, you’ll have access to additional benefits including:

  • All of the benefits of Prestige 25k, plus;
  • Complimentary access to select Maple Leaf Lounges
  • Access to unsold economy class award seats on Air Canada flights
  • 50% discount on Maple Leaf Club Lounge membership
  • 35% Altitude mile bonus with Air Canada and select airline partners

Elite 50K: The middle elite tier that you can earn comes with the following benefits:

  • All of the benefits of Elite 35K, plus;
  • 3 Maple Leaf Lounge 1-time guest passes
  • Complimentary access to Maple Leaf Lounges
  • 50% Altitude mile bonus with Air Canada and select airline partners
  • Lower requalification level of 45K AQM or 45 AQS
  • Star Alliance Gold

Elite 75K: The second highest elite tier that you can earn comes with the following benefits:

  • All of the benefits of Elite 50K, plus;
  • Guaranteed reservations for economy revenue tickets
  • 75% Altitude bonus with Air Canada and select airline partners
  • Lower requalification level of 70K AQM or 70 AQS
  • Gift of Altitude Elite 35K status for a friend
  • 6-month Altitude Wi-Fi Plan on Air Canada, Air Canada Express, and Air Canada Rouge operated flights

Elite 100K: The highest elite tier that you can earn comes with the following benefits:

  • All of the benefits of Elite 75K, plus;
  • Air Canada concierge service
  • 4 Maple Leaf Lounge 1-time guest passes
  • Access to London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge
  • 1 upgrade for a designated eUpgrade Nominee
  • 100% Altitude bonus with Air Canada and select airline partners
  • Access to any unsold economy class seat, and additional business class seats on Air Canada flights
  • Lower re-qualification level of 90K AQM or 90 AQS
  • Altitude Elite 50K status for a friend
  • Carrier surcharge waived on international award flights
  • 12-month Altitude Wi-Fi Plan on Air Canada, Air Canada Express, and Air Canada Rouge operated flights

For more detail about the Altitude elite benefits at each tier, go here.

Value of Altitude or Aeroplan Elite Status

Earning elite status with Air Canada Altitude or Aeroplan makes the most sense if you fly Air Canada regularly or you are looking for elite benefits when flying a Star Alliance partner like United Airlines.

If you meet one of these criteria, access to premium airport lounges and mileage earning bonuses are reasons to earn elite status.

Earning Air Canada Altitude or Aeroplan Elite Status

The Altitude program is similar to major U.S. airline programs in that elite status requires Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM) or Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS) and Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD).

Meanwhile, Aeroplan simply requires you to earn airline miles for elite status qualification.

The best way to determine the number of Altitude/Aeroplan miles that you’ll earn is to review the charts of each airline on this page.

Hot Tip: The Air Canada Altitude program mirrors the major U.S. airline programs by having a revenue (dollar) requirement to earn elite status. 

All eligible flights on Air Canada and partner airline flights earn Altitude/Aeroplan miles.

Once you qualify for Aeroplan elite status, the benefits begin immediately and continue through the following calendar year.

If you qualify for a new elite tier level during the Altitude qualification year prior to October 15, you may be eligible to move up to the next tier in that year.

Aeroplan elite tiers work as follows:

  • Silver: Earn 25,000 eligible miles during the calendar year
  • Black: Earn with 50,000 eligible miles during the calendar year
  • Diamond: Earn with 100,000 eligible miles during the calendar year

Find more details about the Aeroplan requirements for each elite tier level here.

Altitude elite tiers work as follows:

  • Prestige 25K: 25,000 AQM or 25 AQS + $3,000
  • Elite 35K: 35,000 AQM or 35 AQS + $4,000
  • Elite 50K: 50,000 AQM or 50 AQS + $6,000
  • Elite 75K: 75,000 AQM or 75 AQS + $9,000
  • Elite 100K: 100,000 AQM or 95 AQS + $20,00

Find more details about the Altitude requirements for each elite tier level here.

How to Earn Aeroplan Miles

The Aeroplan program offers 4 primary ways to earn airline miles:

  1. Earn points from spending on the Aeroplan credit card
  2. Transfer points earned from flexible point credit cards (Amex)
  3. Transfer points from Marriott’s loyalty program
  4. Use the Aeroplan shopping portal

When you use all of the options in tandem, you’ll have more than enough ways to earn Aeroplan miles.

Earning Miles Through Flying

The number of Aeroplan miles you earn on flights marketed by Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Air Canada Rouge, or a Star Alliance partner is based on the actual distance flown and the booking class purchased.

For example, if you fly an Air Canada business class fare (J, C, D) flight from Newark (EWR) to Vancouver (YVR), you’ll earn 150% of the miles traveled.
Aeroplan Earning Chart
Aeroplan earning chart. Image courtesy of aeroplan.com

If you fly a partner, the mileage is also based on the distance flown and booking class purchased.

For example, if you fly ANA first class (F, A) from Washington (IAD) to Tokyo (NRT), you’ll earn 150% miles of the distance traveled.

Aeroplan ANA Earning Chart
ANA partner earning chart. Image courtesy of aeroplan.com

The best way to see how many miles you’ll earn is to reference the airline partners on this page.

Aeroplan also offers bonus miles for certain airlines as an incentive to fly a particular route.

For example, you can earn up to 6,000 bonus miles by booking a round-trip flight to Asia on Air Canada for travel between November 1, 2018, and April 24, 2019.

Star Alliance Members Logo
The Star Alliance Members. Image courtesy of aorticconference.org

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

The ideal way to accumulate points from credit card spending is to focus on the flexible point program’s credit cards. 

When you earn flexible points, these can be transferred directly to the program’s airline partners.

Aeroplan partners with 2 of the 4 major flexible point programs (Amex, Marriott) providing you a couple of options to earn points.

Earning Bonus Miles in Other Ways

The Aeroplan program also has a number of ways to earn Aeroplan miles that don’t involve flying.

For example, they partner with hotels like Marriott and car rental companies like Avis.

How to Redeem Aeroplan Miles

Aeroplan makes it easy by using one award chart for its program.

Most of the Aeroplan partner award flights can be both searched for and booked directly on the Aeroplan website.

If you are unable to see award availability for a particular airline, you can call Aeroplan at 800-361-5373 to confirm availability found on another airline’s website.

Hot Tip: If you’re looking for ways to use your Aeroplan miles, we put together a guide on the best ways to use Aeroplan miles

Star Alliance Partner Awards

Since Aeroplan is in the Star Alliance, you can use Aeroplan Miles to fly on any airline in the alliance.

Booking Online

The Aeroplan search engine can be a great way to book Aeroplan and Star Alliance award flights.

For Star Alliance partner flights, we recommend using the United search engine first, and then confirming the same award availability on the Aeroplan search engine.

If the partner you are trying to book can’t be booked on the Aeroplan website, search for award space on the United search engine first, and then call Aeroplan at 800-361-5373 to confirm award space and ticket the award flight.

FAQ

What is the Aeroplan program? Is it worth it? What are the benefits?

Aeroplan is the standalone free frequent flyer program associated with Air Canada.

By signing up for an Aeroplan membership, you’ll have the ability to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles, as well as work your way toward elite status.

Program benefits will vary depending on your elite status. The Aeroplan program has 3 elite tiers: Silver, Black, and Diamond.

The higher your elite status, the more benefits you will have access to, like reduced mileage required for award flights.

The number of Aeroplan miles you earn is driven by 2 factors: distance traveled and the fare class of the ticket.

With enough Aeroplan miles earned by flying Aeroplan or its partner airlines, you’ll be able to book Aeroplan and partner awards online (or by calling Aeroplan to book partner airline flights).

In Aeroplan, who are the partners? Can I transfer miles to them?

Air Canada and the Aeroplan program are members of the Star Alliance, and Aeroplan separately has partnerships with individual airlines.

You can find a list of Aeroplan’s airline partners here.

Aeroplan also has other partners like hotels and car rental companies. You can transfer airline miles directly to these partners if you need points for a redemption.

What is the Aeroplan login?

Where can I sign up for Aeroplan?

Sign up to the Aeroplan program by filling out this online form.

What is my Aeroplan number?

You can find your Aeroplan number by signing in to your account, on your membership card, or through a variety of marketing emails they send to you.

If you can’t find it there, try using the “forgot my password” tool to reset your account so you can get in. Alternatively, try calling the customer service desk to find your number.

When do miles post in Aeroplan?

Your miles should automatically be credited to your account after your flight. However, the terms and conditions state that it may take up to 8 days for the miles to appear in your account.

When do Aeroplan miles expire?

Aeroplan miles expire if you haven’t earned, redeemed, donated or transferred any miles in 12 consecutive months.

The expiration date of Aeroplan miles can be extended in one of 2 ways.

On the earning miles side, you can:

  1. Pay with your Aeroplan credit card
  2. Shop via the Aeroplan eStore
On the redemption side, you can:
  1. Use Aeroplan miles to book award travel
  2. Redeem for any other travel reward
  3. Donate miles
  4. Transfer your Aeroplan miles to another member

When does Aeroplan status expire?

The Aeroplan status qualification period begins January 1 and ends December 31 of the same calendar year. Once you qualify, benefits begin immediately and continue through the following calendar year.

Is there an Aeroplan credit card?

Yes! TD Bank has a co-branded Aeroplan credit card.

Can you put an award flight on hold with Aeroplan?

Unfortunately, no. Aeroplan does not allow an award flight to be put on hold.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn't travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since. Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend's phone about a mistake fare.  That's where the love affair with points and miles began.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

4 comments

  1. LAUREAN MATEI · May 24, 2019 · Reply

    HI
    Need to update my profile and cannot access the account on the website aeroplan.com (as probably my profile is not up to date).
    On the other hand when trying to call the answering machine directs me to the same website that does not allow me to access and update my account profile.
    I run in circles, no solution…
    What should I do, how should I proceed to have access to my profile?
    Thanks,
    L. Matei

    • Stephen Au · May 24, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Lauren,

      I’ve had the same issue before. It might be an IT maintenance issue they’re addressing. Keep trying to log in, and if you can’t, you’ll want to either call Aeroplan or create a new account altogether. Thanks for reading.

  2. Hi,

    Is it possible to earn miles on flights taken before joining the Aeroplan program?

    Thanks,

    Mia

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 15, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Mia, unfortunately, you must be a member at the time of travel. However, may be able to credit the flight to another Star Alliance loyalty program.

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