Some Aeroplan Award Prices Are Rising, But You Still Have Time To Book
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Air Canada's Aeroplan program is one the most valuable award programs because of its many sweet spots with no fuel surcharges. However, the program will become a little less appealing on Sept. 1, 2022. On that date, Aeroplan will "better align our reward pricing to our costs" by increasing award pricing on some routes.
However, the news isn't all bad. Aeroplan is also introducing new award chart distance bands between some award regions. This will effectively reduce Aeroplan award pricing on some routes from North America by up to 33%. Here's a look at the changes to see what you might want to book before the award chart updates begin.
The current Aeroplan award chart
Aeroplan award pricing is based on the regions you're flying between and the distance of the route. This makes Aeroplan unique among airline mileage award charts — which are typically region-based (e.g. American Airlines AAdvantage) or distance-based (e.g. British Airways Executive Club).
Aeroplan splits the world into four regions: North America, Atlantic, Pacific and South America. U.S.-based travelers will probably get the most use out of the four North America award charts — unless you're building a more-complicated award trip.
Pricing within each award chart region is then based on the distance of the flights you book. For example, flights within North America on Aeroplan partner United Airlines cost 10,000 Aeroplan points if the routing is between 501-1,500 miles. That's regardless of whether there's a connection along the way.
Aeroplan awards increasing in price
Seven award rates are increasing for flights departing from — or returning to — North America. The good news for budget travelers: No economy rates are increasing. However, many of the best uses of the Aeroplan program are for business and first-class awards. And that's where the award chart increases are hitting.
Here are the award chart increases for award flights to or from North America:
Current award rate
Rate as of September 2022
6,001 - 8,000 miles in business class.
6,001 - 8,000 miles in first class.
8,001+ miles in business class.
8,001+ miles in first class.
7,501 - 11,000 miles in business class.
11,001+ miles in business class.
11,001+ miles in first class.
As you can see, awards are increasing by as few as 2,500 points, and the maximum increase is 10,000 points. The increases vary from 2.9% to 10%, which is fairly modest as far as award chart devaluations go.
The other Aeroplan award chart increases affect award flights on flights that don't touch North America. For example, awards over 7,000 miles in distance between the Atlantic and Pacific regions are increasing:
Economy: From 60,000 to 65,000 points.
Business: From 100,000 to 110,000 points.
First: From 130,000 to 140,000 points.
Award flights over 1,600 miles in distance within South America are seeing a bump:
Economy: From 15,000 to 20,000 points.
Business: From 30,000 to 35,000 points.
In the case of both of these region pairs, Aeroplan is also adding new distance bands that effectively decrease certain award prices.
New Aeroplan distance bands with lower award pricing
Several Aeroplan award prices are decreasing as part of the new distance bands that will be added to the Aeroplan award chart.
Between North America and South America
Before these changes, all Aeroplan awards between North America and South America cost at least 30,000 points in economy; 50,000 points in business class; and 80,000 points in first class. That's not bad for longer flights like Newark or Chicago to Lima, Peru. However, these are unappealing rates for shorter flights to South America.
Thankfully, Aeroplan is adding a new award band for flights up to 2,500 miles in distance, including routes such as Newark or Houston to Bogota, Colombia. Here's the award pricing on Air Canada partner airlines, including United:
Economy: 20,000 points.
Business: 40,000 points.
First: 60,000 points.
If you can find an Air Canada or Air Canada partner flight under 2,500 miles to South America, award flights will cost:
Economy: 20,000-45,000 points.
Premium Economy: 35,000-100,000 points.
Business: 40,000-150,000 points.
First: 60,000-175,000 points.
Within South America
Before the Aeroplan award chart change, all flights within South America cost the same, regardless of distance. As of Sept. 1, 2022, Aeroplan will have two distance bands. Flights under 1,600 miles will decrease from:
Economy: 15,000 to 10,000 points.
Business: 30,000 to 20,000 points.
First: 50,000 to 30,000 points.
Between Atlantic and Pacific
Aeroplan's current award chart prices all awards between the Atlantic and Pacific regions under 5,000 miles at the same rate. Starting Sept. 1, 2022, Aeroplan is adding a new award chart band for award flights under 2,500 miles. This effectively decreases partner award flights on these routes from:
Economy: 40,000 to 25,000 points.
Business: 60,000 to 40,000 points.
First: 80,000 to 50,000 points.
On these routes, award prices are now decreasing by at least 33%. That's great news for those that want to fly between Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Ways to boost your Aeroplan balance
Aeroplan members have plenty of ways to collect Aeroplan points whether you want to take advantage of current award pricing or build up your balance to take advantage of new pricing.
The Aeroplan® Credit Card from Chase is currently offering eligible new cardholders the following bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus 40,000 points after you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open. Plus, you'll earn 3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at grocery stores, on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and with Air Canada directly.
Or, you can transfer points to Aeroplan from several major transferable points programs:
American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio).
Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio).
Capital One Miles (1:1 transfer ratio).
Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 transfer ratio with a 5,000-point bonus for transferring 60,000 or more Bonvoy points).
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
What to book before the Aeroplan award chart changes
Air Canada Aeroplan is implementing new award chart pricing on Sept. 1, 2022. The changes are a mixed bag of increases to some awards and decreases for others.
Aeroplan isn't increasing awards from North America by more than 10%, and economy awards aren't going up. Instead, thanks to some new award chart bands, short-haul award flights between North America and South America are decreasing by up to 33%.
If you were planning to book a long-haul business or first-class trip from North America, you can still do so before Sept. 1 to lock in current award rates. Alternatively, consider holding off on booking routes where award prices are decreasing.
Photo courtesy of Air Canada.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card