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.

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 new welcome bonus offer of 75,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points in the first 6 months on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases).

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass). We leverage ~$3,000+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x. Terms Apply). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks.

With a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 6 months, it's a strong choice. For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

See how we get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates & 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, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x. Terms Apply. For rates & fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no annual fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchase, up to $50,000 annually. After that, then 1x. That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year. 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 - This card is packed with lots of benefits and perks. Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 mile sign up bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. 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 1.25x miles per $1 on every purchase. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200 toward travel) 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 earns unlimited 1.5x miles per dollar on every purchase and has a 20,000 mile sign up bonus [worth $200 in travel] 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; 13.99% - 23.99% variable APR after that.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business - This card earns unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, and has a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles [worth $500 in travel] after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn 5x miles on hotel and rental card bookings through Capital OneSM using a Spark Miles card. Annual Feel: $0 intro for the 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.

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 9 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: 85,000 Miles in Business Class, One-Way

Turkish Airlines 777-300ER business class
Turkish Airlines 777-300ER business class. Image Credit: Turkish Airlines

A one-way business class flight from the Eastern 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 85,000 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 55,000 Aeroplan miles to book a one-way economy flight on any Star Alliance partner.

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 flight:

  • New York (JFK) to Mumbai (BOM) – Air India, Turkish Airlines

Air Canada doe not pass on taxes and fees for Star Alliance partners, so no need to worry about those here.

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

2. Star Alliance U.S. to South Africa: 170,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

South African Airways
South African Airways A330-300 business class. Image Credit: South African Airways

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

With 170,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to South Africa. One-way flights are half the price.

If economy makes more sense, you can book a round-trip flight for 110,000 Aeroplan miles.

Example of 1-stop Star Alliance flights to Africa:

  • New York (JFK) to Johannesburg (JNB) – Swiss Air Lines, Turkish Airlines, South African Airways

3. Star Alliance U.S. to Europe: 140,000 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 Credit: 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 140,000 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 200,000 miles round-trip.

Aeroplan includes all of Europe in one region, so you can fly anywhere in Europe for the same mileage price, as long as the miles flown does not exceed 6,000 (one-way).

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

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: 170,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

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 170,000 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. 

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 12,000-25,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip economy flight on United within the continental U.S. and Canada, depending on the distance.

Note that flights to Hawaii will require 45,000 miles round-trip in Economy, and 70,000 round-trip in business.

Examples of nonstop domestic United flights include:

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

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: 120,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

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 120,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Southern South America.

Examples of nonstop Star Alliance flights include:

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

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: 170,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip

ANA Business Class
ANA Business Class. Image Credit: All Nippon Airways

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 170,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Asia.

Hot Tip: Flights to Asia in economy are 120,000 miles round-trip, which can be a great way to stretch your miles for a long-haul flight. 

Examples of Star Alliance flights to Asia 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

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

8. U.S. to the Middle East: 85,000 Miles in Business Class or 120,000 in First Class (One-way)

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class Middle Seats
Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class Middle Seats. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Hoping to fly from the U.S. to the Middle East aboard Etihad’s spectacular business or first class cabin? With Aeroplan miles you can do just that!

Thanks to the Etihad and Aeroplan partnership, you can use 85,000 miles to fly one-way in Etihad business class between New York City and Abu Dhabi. Want to step the luxury up a notch? Then you can fly the same route in first class for 120,000 miles.

Better yet, Etihad does not charge carrier imposed surcharges on your redemptions via Aeroplan!

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 AirlinesGOL
Calm AirJet Airways
Cathay PacificMiddle East Airlines
Canadian NorthVistara

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 Charts to Plan Travel

Aeroplan uses 10 award charts to determine flight costs between and within their 4 travel regions.

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.
  • 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).
  • Partner flights require a booking fee of $39 CAD.
  • 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.

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!


Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

19 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)?

    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.

      Reply

  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

    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.

      Reply

  3. Gantt Cookson June 10, 2019

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

    Reply

  4. Jean-Marc Pelletier July 14, 2019

    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?

    Reply

  5. Robin Finley July 22, 2019

    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

    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!

      Reply

  6. Does Aeroplan allow manual booking over the phone? I was able to piece together some flights with availability, however, they don’t show up as a whole itinerary. Thanks.

    Reply

  7. I’m traveling AC to Japan. Should I get Aeroplan miles or ask for United miles? Is one more advantageous than the other?

    Reply

    • Hi Umesh,

      Generally speaking, I’d say that Aeroplan miles are more useful than United miles, but it is entirely subjective! It really depends on which currency you would get more use out of.

      Reply

  8. Hello. Can you book an economy United flight with Aeroplan, and then upgrade to business through United? Aeroplan does not have any direct flights with United available in business for my available travel dates.

    Reply

    • Peter, it depends. If you intend on booking an economy award flight, you can’t upgrade it to business. You must book an eligible revenue flight paid for with cash in order to even think about upgrading a flight.

      Reply

  9. I transferred 25k miles from my AMEX rewards to Aeroplan and tried to book a domestic flight on United. Aeroplan’s website gets me all the way through the booking process, I put in my credit card info for the $10.14 charge and get an error “Flight Redemption Failure”. I’ve attempted with multiple browsers, computers, and the Aeroplan App. I cannot get through to their customer service. Have I just wasted 25k miles?

    Reply

    • Hi JJ,

      Not necessarily, it might be the case that the availability was no longer there. Were you able to get ahold of their customer service team? Did you try any other bookings with different dates or flight times?

      Reply

    • If you search that specific error message, it’s plaguing Aeroplan. I have been on hold with them for 2 hours today. I was able to book one seat for me via my aeroplan account, but get the same message as you for the same flight that still has a number of seats available at the ward class I’m looking at.

      From what I’ve read, you’ll need to call in.

      Reply

  10. Barbara O'Connell February 20, 2020

    I live in New Zealand and am very disgusted with Aeroplan as I have been a member for a long time and been ‘ topping up ‘ with partner Air New Zealand flights to refresh. When I try to use the same, Air N Z and flight advisors will have nothing to do with Aeroplan. Any help in redeeming my 55,000 odd miles would be appreciated.

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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