8 Best Ways to Use Aeroplan Miles for Maximum Value

Air Canada Boeing 787-9

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Aeroplan is its own mileage earning program, but you might also have heard of it because it’s associated with an airline serving a number of U.S. destinations: Air Canada.

The current Aeroplan program (which was spun off from Air Canada a while back) has been purchased back by Air Canada. Expect a new program in 2020.

Long-haul business class flights and adding in stopovers are currently the best ways to extract the most value with your Aeroplan miles.

In this article, I’ll cover how you can earn Aeroplan miles, how to leverage the Aeroplan network of airline partners, and of course — the best ways to use your Aeroplan miles.

Best Ways to Earn Aeroplan Miles

Aeroplan miles can be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 rate, from Capital One at a 2:1.5 rate, or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1. Aeroplan miles can also be earned directly with Aeroplan Visa Signature Card from TD Bank.

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 $1,500+ 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 $2,000 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.

We get ~$1,250+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks and that more than offsets the annual fee. It's also a card we use for larger transactions ($5k or more) as it earns unlimited 1.5X points.

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.

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Personal)

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - The big brother of the VentureOne and it's packed with a lot more benefits and perks. Earn a 50,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening — and 10X miles per $1 spent across thousands of hotels. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi regularly stay at hotels.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 10x miles per $1 across thousands of hotels. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Business)

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business - This no annual fee card has a 20,000 mile sign up bonus after meeting the minimum spend of $3,000 within the first 3 months. Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 15.24% - 23.24% variable APR after that.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business - Earn 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Marriott Transfers

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Aeroplan at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Aeroplan miles bonus.

Air Canada Credit Card

Aeroplan offers 3 co-branded credit cards, only 1 of which is available to U.S. citizens.

The Aeroplan Visa Signature Card from TD Bank is the card you will apply for if you’re wanting to earn Aeroplan miles.

The card currently has a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus, earns 2x on Air Canada purchases, and has a $95 annual fee after the first year.

Earn Points With Partners

Aeroplan has a number of travel partners that you will find in our best ways to earn lots of Aeroplan miles post.

You can earn extra miles by linking your Aeroplan account with its Financial, Travel, Online Retailers, and Brick and Mortar Retail partners.

This is a great way to double-dip, meaning you will earn airline miles plus credit card points in bonus categories.

For example, if you book a car rental with your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will earn both Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the rental plus Aeroplan miles from your account that you linked. Nice bonus earnings!

The 8 Best Ways to Use Your Aeroplan Miles

The Star Alliance has an extensive network in Europe as well as strategic partners in Asia, Africa, and South America that allow you to travel all over the world.

In this post, we’ll focus on redemptions that will yield value of more than 2 cents per mile (this means you’re getting great value!).

While the number of miles required for many of these redemptions is high compared to other award programs, there’s still value to be found with your Aeroplan miles.

1. Star Alliance U.S. to India: 75,000 Miles in Business Class, One-Way

Turkish Airlines Business Class
Fly to Europe the long way on Turkish Airlines! Image courtesy of Dmitry Birin via Shutterstock

A one-way business class flight from the U.S. to India using Aeroplan is likely not at the top of your list of redemptions, but in our opinion it really should be.

With just 75,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a one-way business class flight on any Star Alliance partner from the U.S. to the Indian subcontinent.

Another option is to use 50,000 Aeroplan miles to book a one-way economy flight on any Star Alliance partner.

Hot Tip:Taxes and fees will vary greatly on this route, so it’s important to check what Aeroplan charges you in addition to your airline miles. 

Aeroplan considers Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to be part of their Indian Subcontinent region.

Examples of 1-stop Star Alliance flights include:

  • New York (JFK) to Mumbai (BOM) – Air India, Turkish Airlines
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Malé (MLE) – Turkish Airlines

Taxes and fees for one-way business class flights will be $22-$36. Airlines such as TAP Portugal will have high taxes and fees, particularly for flights in premium cabins.

Need help earning more Aeroplan miles? Here’s our best ways to earn lots of Aeroplan miles.

2. Star Alliance U.S. to Africa: 150,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

South African Airways Business Class
If you find yourself on one of South African Airways new Airbus A330s in business class, you’ll enjoy a nice lie-flat seat with direct aisle access. Image courtesy of AusBT

Africa is typically a challenging continent to get to, but it’s also one that’s on many travelers’ bucket lists.

With 150,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Africa. One-way flights are half the price.

If economy makes more sense, you can book a round-trip flight for 100,000 Aeroplan miles.

Hot Tip: While the point requirement to Africa is high, I was able to receive between 4-6 cents per mile in value in award searches on the Aeroplan website. 

Aeroplan considers Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, the Seychelles, and South Africa (among others) as part of their East, West, and South Africa region.

Examples of 1-stop Star Alliance flights to Africa include:

  • New York (JFK) to Johannesburg (JNB) – Swiss Air Lines, Turkish Airlines, South African Airways
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Mahé (SEZ) – Turkish Airlines

Taxes and fees for a round-trip business-class flight will be $58-$114.

3. Star Alliance U.S. to Europe: 110,000-115,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

United Polaris Middle Seats
Though not available on transcontinental flights, United’s amazing Polaris business class is sure to please the pickiest of travelers! – Image courtesy of united.com

Business class to Europe might not yield the highest cents per mile value, but I think this is the best way to use your miles.

With 110,000-115,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Europe.

First class will likely yield you higher cents per mile value, but it comes with a higher point requirement at 140,000-160,000 miles round-trip.

Aeroplan breaks Europe into 2 regions: Europe 1 and Europe 2.

Europe 1 contains your western countries like the U.K., France, and Germany, while Europe 2 contains your eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, and Turkey.

Examples of nonstop Star Alliance flights include:

  • Newark (EWR) to Amsterdam (AMS) – United Airlines
  • New York (JFK) to Warsaw (WAW) – LOT Polish
  • Washington (IAD) to Copenhagen (CPH) – SAS

Taxes and fees for round-trip business class will be between $76-$104, while first class will be around $1,184.

Need help booking an award flight? Here’s our best ways to book Lufthansa business class.

4. Star Alliance U.S. to Australia/New Zealand: 160,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip 

Singapore Airlines Business Class 777 Seat
Singapore Airlines has a solid business class product that will provide plenty of comfort. Image Credit: Upgraded Points

While it’s natural to get pumped about flying to Australia or New Zealand in business class, the reality is that award space is limited.

With 160,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific.

Examples of flights on Star Alliance partners include:

  • San Francisco (SFO) to Sydney (SYD) – Asiana (via Seoul-Incheon), United (direct), ANA (via Tokyo), Singapore Airlines (via Hong Kong or Singapore)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE) via Taipei (TPE) – EVA Air

Hot Tip: Business class availability to New Zealand was nonexistent on the Aeroplan website 6 to 10 months out. You may have more luck using United’s search engine and then either calling Aeroplan to book or finding the same award space on its search engine. 

Taxes and fees for a round-trip business class flight are between $118-$155.

Need help booking an award flight? Here’s our best ways to book Singapore Airlines business class.

Also, we’ve researched many more ways to fly to Australia using points and miles. 

5. United Airlines Domestic U.S: 25,000 Miles in Economy, Round-Trip

As you may have noticed, Aeroplan charges the same amount of miles that United charges for its own flights.

The kicker with Aeroplan is that it does not charge a close-in booking fee like United does for flights booked within 21 days of departure.

If you are not trying to book a United flight close-in and have United miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it likely makes more sense to simply book the award with United.

With 25,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip economy flight on United within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Note that Hawaii is in its own region in the award chart, and therefore will require additional miles.

Examples of nonstop domestic United flights include:

  • Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington (IAD) to Seattle (SEA)
  • San Diego (SAN) to Chicago (ORD)

Taxes and fees for a round-trip economy flight are between $11-$20.

Bottom Line: You have several options to book domestic United flights in addition to using Aeroplan miles. Consider using Asiana (Marriott transfer), Avianca (Citi, Amex, Marriott transfer), or Singapore Airlines (Amex, Chase, Citi, Capital One, Marriott transfer). 

Have Amex, Chase, or Citi points? Here’s our best ways to use them: Amex, Chase, Citi.

6. Star Alliance U.S. to Southern South America: 110,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

Copa Airlines Business Class
Copa doesn’t have the fanciest business class out there, but if you’re headed to South America it might be worth the splurge for the extra space! Image Credit: airlinesanddestinations.com.

The Star Alliance has a solid presence in South America with a number of airlines providing nonstop flights, like Avianca, Copa Airlines, and United Airlines.

With 110,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Southern South America.

Aeroplan breaks South America into 2 regions: Northern and Southern South America.

Southern South America includes: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

Northern South America includes: Colombia, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Guyana, and Venezuela.

Examples of nonstop Star Alliance flights include:

  • Houston (IAH) to Santiago, Chile (SCL) – United Airlines
  • Newark (EWR) to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE) – United Airlines

Taxes and fees for a round-trip business class flight are $55-$94.

Bottom Line: If you have transferable points, you’ll likely be able to find a cheaper point option to southern South America. Programs like Asiana, ANA, and Singapore Airlines require between 70,000-100,000 miles round-trip. 

Have United Airlines miles? Here’s our best ways to use them for maximum value!

7. Star Alliance U.S. to Asia 1: 150,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

ANA Business Class
Leverage Aeroplan miles to fly ANA to Asia! Image courtesy of EQRoy via Shutterstock

The Star Alliance has several Asian partners that allow you to access many cities with a nonstop or 1-stop flight.

Partners based in Asia include ANA, Asiana Airlines, EVA Air, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

With 150,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to the Asia 1 region.

Aeroplan breaks Asia into Asia 1 and Asia 2.

Asia 1 includes: China, Eastern Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. (See below for Asia 2.)

Hot Tip: Flights to the Asia 1 region in economy are 75,000 miles round-trip, which can be a great way stretch your miles for a long-haul flight. 

Examples of Star Alliance flights to Asia 1 include:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul-Incheon (ICN) – Asiana (direct), EVA Air (via Taipei), ANA (via Tokyo)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – United Airlines, ANA

Taxes and fees for a round-trip business class flight will be $47-$64.

Need help booking an award flight? Here’s our best ways to book ANA business class.

8. Star Alliance U.S. to Asia 2: 155,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

EVA Air Business Class
Enjoy direct aisle access and a lie-flat seat in business class on EVA Air. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Similar to the Asia 1 region, the Star Alliance has partners that can get you to other parts of Asia.

With 155,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to the Asia 2 region.

Asia 2 includes: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Micronesia (including Guam), Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Hot Tip: Economy flights to the Asia 2 region are still under 100,000 miles round-trip (90,000 miles), but this isn’t as cheap as what you’ll see when flying to Asia 1 at 75,000 miles. 

Examples of Star Alliance flights to Asia 2 include:

  • San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN) – United Airlines, Singapore Airlines
  • San Francisco to Bangkok (BKK) – EVA Air (via Taipei), ANA (via Tokyo)

Taxes and fees for a round-trip business class flight will be $47-$217.

Need help booking an award flight? Here’s our best ways to book EVA Air business class.

Hot Tip: You can use your Aeroplan miles to upgrade too! Check out our guide to upgrading to business and first class on Air Canada.

List of Star Alliance Partners

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

List of Non-Star Alliance Partners

Non-Star Alliance Partners
Air CreebecFirst Air
Bearskin AirlinesJet Airways
Calm AirMiddle East Airlines
Cathay PacificCathay Dragon
GOLCanadian North

List of Hotel Partners

Aeroplan offers 90 different opportunities to earn points with spending at its hotel partners.

For example, you can earn up to 3 Aeroplan miles per $1 spent at Sheraton.

List of Car Rental Partners

Aeroplan partners with 3 different car rental companies that allow you to earn miles when you spend money on a car rental.

For example, a car rental with Avis will earn you 500 Aeroplan miles per rental, plus a savings of 25%.

Use the Aeroplan Award Chart to Plan Travel

Aeroplan uses 1 award chart when flying on its own or its partners’ flights. You can book a one-way flight for 50% of the miles shown in the award chart.

Aeroplan Award Chart

Aeroplan Award Chart from North America
The North American portion of the Aeroplan award chart. Image Credit: aeroplan.com

Aeroplan’s terms and conditions contain a number of rules that are important to review. For simplicity, here’s some of the most important rules to keep in mind as you’re going through the award flight process.

  • Mileage is determined by the region, class of service, and whether the redemption is round-trip or one-way.
  • Award flights must be confirmed at the time of booking — no waitlisting.
  • Taxes, fees, and surcharges will vary by airline and airport.
  • Aeroplan does not charge a close-in (within 21 days) booking fee like you will find with United Airlines.
  • Award flights booked over the phone require a $23 booking fee (C$30).
  • Free refunds within 24 hours of booking.
  • Can refund awards up to 2 hours before departure (previously was 21 days).
  • Award refunds fees are 125 CAD for refunding online, 150 CAD for telephone; free refunds for Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100k members
  • Stopovers are not allowed on one-way flights.
  • On round-trip rewards, stopovers are allowed as follows:
    • Intra-Canada or between Canada and the Continental U.S. (not including Hawaii/Puerto Rico): 1 stopover permitted. 1 open jaw is allowed in lieu of the stopover.
    • Between Canada/Continental U.S. and Hawaii/Puerto Rico/Mexico/Central America/Caribbean:
      • If only flying Air Canada, you are allowed 1 open jaw or 1 stopover
      • If flying a Star Alliance partner (i.e. United): 1 stopover or 1 open jaw is permitted in addition to the 1 stopover.
    • Travel between 2 continents: 1 stopover or open jaw on a round-trip award
    • Travel within the same continent (except for travel within Canada/Continental U.S., or between Canada/Continental U.S. and Hawaii/Puerto Rico/Mexico/Central America/Caribbean): Stopovers are not allowed, but 1 open jaw is allowed.
  • On Around the World Itineraries (being discontinued as of September 1, 2019, the following rules apply:
    • 5 stopovers and 1 open jaw are allowed per itinerary. Only 1 stopover is permitted per city.
    • Itinerary must start and end in the same country, and you cannot travel beyond your point of origin.
    • Award itinerary must include 1 transatlantic and 1 transpacific flight.

Final Thoughts

The Aeroplan program will likely go through some changes in the next few years, but in the meantime, there are still opportunities to maximize your Aeroplan miles.

Utilizing the stopover and open jaw allowance — in conjunction with flying long-haul routes in business class — is where you will find the most value.

Business class flights to Europe on carriers that do not impose huge fees is likely the best use of your miles, considering you can fly one-way for 55,000 miles or round-trip for 110,000 miles.

FAQ

What are Aeroplan miles?

Aeroplan miles are the miles you earn from flying Air Canada, crediting partner flights to Aeroplan, transferring Amex points to Aeroplan, or earning miles from non-airline partners like hotels and car rental companies.

Can Aeroplan miles be transferred to partner airlines?

Once you earn or transfer points to Aeroplan, the points cannot be transferred out of the award program.

Can Aeroplan miles be transferred to another person?

You can transfer miles from one Aeroplan Account to another instantly online at a rate of 2¢ per mile.

Are Aeroplan miles refundable?

Yes. Aeroplan allows you to change and refund your miles in 2 ways:

Up to 2 hours before departure, you can change your award ticket for $65 (plus taxes) per ticket, per direction. If you have Diamond status, the fee is $49.

Up to 22 days before departure, you can have your miles refunded for $150 (plus taxes) per ticket. If you have Diamond status, the fee is $19 per ticket on aeroplan.com or $65 if you call the Aeroplan Call Center.

How can I earn more Aeroplan miles?

Flying Aeroplan, flying Star Alliance partners, or earning miles by spending on the TD Bank or Amex credit cards are great ways to earn additional Aeroplan miles.

When do Aeroplan miles expire?

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

You can restart the miles expiration clock by earning miles in the following ways:

  • Spend on your Aeroplan-affiliated Financial Card
  • Show or use your Aeroplan credit card at any Aeroplan brick and mortar partner
  • Use the Aeroplan eStore for your online shopping

You can also restart the miles expiration clock by using miles in the following ways:

  • Use your miles to book a travel reward
  • Redeem for any other reward
  • Donate a minimum of 1,000 miles to charity through the Aeroplan Member Donation program
  • Transfer your Aeroplan Miles to another member

What is my Aeroplan number?

Your Aeroplan number is provided to you at sign-up via email, and can be found by logging into your Aeroplan account.

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.

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9 comments

  1. “Taxes and fees for round-trip business class will be between $76-$104 while first class will be around $1,184.”

    Is this a typo? How is first class so much more than business? Also I thought AC charged significant YQ on some *A partners for TATL (And other redemptions as well)?

    • Michael McHugh · July 3, 2018 · Reply

      Hi HoKo

      Lufthansa and Swiss are the only two Star Alliance partners that offer transatlantic first class. First class is that much more expensive than business because of the fuel surcharges passed on by both airlines to Air Canada.

      When flying business class, you can get around fuel surcharges by flying a partner like United.

      If you’re looking to fly transatlantic first class and avoid the fuel surcharges, consider using Avianca.

  2. I have almost 600k Aeroplan points I’ve been saving for years. I plan to use them to fly from YYZ to DXB this summer but can’t find anything on Turkish Airlines or anyone else. AC is charging almost $700 each for taxes and surcharges! Any tips? I have to book 6 tickets

    • Stephen Au · April 26, 2019 · Reply

      Kamal,

      Booking 6 tickets in business class is going to be incredibly difficult, especially for a niche route like yours. The best way to increase your chances is to separate the travelers to a day or two apart.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Gantt Cookson · June 10, 2019 · Reply

    Looks like Turkish Biz Class awards from USA have all but disappeared. Hate that because I love flying on TK!

  4. Jean-Marc Pelletier · July 14, 2019 · Reply

    Hi,

    Using Aeroplan with departure from Canada is nonsense… For instance a flight from Montreal to London (regular cost of $867 CDN), using 60,000 miles, costs $701 CDN. Why? Because a “special carrier’s fee” is charged on top of other fees and brings total to $701. Nonsense.

    Now, this article [sorry French] points to such a case and this gentleman was able to book same flight specifying United (shared flight Air Canada + United) at booking time without incurring special carrier’s fee.

    Now, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve traveled from Montreal to Geneva (Air Canada + 60,000 miles) and incurred hefty fees.

    So, my comment: how about an article detailing ways, for Canadians departing from a Canadian airport, not to incur those “special carrier’s fees” while using their Aeroplan miles?

    • Stephen Au · July 17, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Jean-Marc,

      Thanks for reading. We are not Air Canada, so we have no control of the fuel surcharges that they levy. Arguably, the best way to avoid fuel surcharges on Aeroplan is to fly on carriers that don’t levy them. Check out our guide on fuel surcharges for more information:

      https://upgradedpoints.com/airline-fuel-surcharges/

  5. Robin Finley · July 22, 2019 · Reply

    I am trying to use some Aeroplan miles for a family trip from Calgary to anywhere somewhat tropical mid August. i.e Mexico, Hawaii etc. The Aeroplan site has terrible availability. Am I able to use these miles and search United for a better selection?

    Thank you!

    Robin

    • Stephen Au · July 23, 2019 · Reply

      Robin,

      If you’re intending on flying on Air Canada, the best availability is going to be on Aeroplan’s search engine. United will not provide the best availability. Keep searching for flexible dates!

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