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Chase added Air Canada Aeroplan as its newest Ultimate Rewards® point transfer partner earlier this summer. If you have an eligible Chase credit card, you can now transfer Ultimate Rewards® to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.
This new partnership is great news for Chase cardholders — even if you aren't planning to fly Air Canada anytime soon. That's because Aeroplan is a partner of Chase, as well as a partner of over 40 airlines that serve a combined 1,300 destinations. You can use Aeroplan points to book award flights on all airlines and on award flights with a dozen non-alliance partners.
Before this addition, you could already use Chase points to book Star Alliance awards by transferring your Ultimate Rewards® points to . But now, you may be able to book the same award flights for fewer points by transferring to instead.
Let's take a look at five times you'll want to book awards through Air Canada instead of United.
This new partnership unlocks access to cheaper Star Alliance award flights in specific situations.
Aeroplan offers one of the . You can book award flights on United for as few as 12,500 points each way in economy or 25,000 points each way in business class.
That's nearly half of the price that United charges for the same flights, which is at least 22,500 miles in economy or at least 40,000 miles in business class one-way.
United's award rates climb even higher for awards booked within 21 days of departure. However, you'll still pay just 12,500 points for economy or 25,000 points for business class when booking through Aeroplan for near-term flights.
There's a catch though: To get these rock-bottom rates, you'll need to fly a route that covers less than 2,750 miles in distance. You can book a connecting itinerary, but the total distance must be under 2,750 miles to get this rate. Since most flights from California to Hawaii are over 2,300 miles in distance (and closer to 2,500 miles), that doesn't give you much room to add connecting flights.
For flights covering more than 2,751 miles, Aeroplan charges 22,500 points for economy or 35,000 points in business class. That's around the same price that United charges, although you can save a bit by booking last-minute premium cabin awards through Aeroplan.
Aeroplan's cheapest awards are for short flights within North America. If you can keep your route to under 500 miles in distance, you'll pay just 6,000 Aeroplan points each way.
This redemption option can be particularly useful on flights where the time cost of driving exceeds the time you’d spend flying — such as from New York or Chicago to Toronto.
Since United doesn't publish an award chart, it can charge as many or as few miles as it wants for these types of flights. Generally speaking, comparable award flights between the U.S. and Canada cost at least 12,500 miles each way.
That means you can effectively book the same flight for less than half the number of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points by transferring points to Aeroplan instead of United.
Aeroplan really excels when it comes to flying to Europe in a premium cabin. For flights between North America and the airline’s Atlantic region (Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent), Aeroplan charges the following rates for award flights on partners:
The shortest distance band, 4,000 miles, can cover a lot of ground. For example, you can fly business class from Newark to Frankfurt or from Washington, D.C., to Paris for 60,000 points — or 90,000 points where first class is offered.
Comparatively, for awards to Europe booked within 21 days of departure, United charges 80,500 miles for business class and a whopping 121,000 miles for first class.
That means you can book through Aeroplan to save up to 20,500 points each way in business class or up to 31,000 points in first class.
Aeroplan can also be an excellent way to save on premium cabin flights to Asia. Award flights on Air Canada between the North America and Pacific regions cost as little as 55,000 points each way in business class or 90,000 points each way in first class. That's far less than what United charges for the same flights.
United charges rather predictable prices for its Saver-level awards, even without an award chart. Currently, United charges at least 70,000 miles in business class on its own flights between San Francisco and Tokyo-Narita. For partner flights, you'll need to pay at least 88,000 miles each way in business class or 121,000 miles in first class.
The highest points pricing discrepancy between Aeroplan and MileagePlus is for premium cabin flights under 5,000 miles in distance. For instance, you'll need to pay at least 88,000 United miles each way to fly ANA business class from Seattle to Tokyo-Haneda. However, as this flight is under 5,000 miles in distance, you can book a business class seat for just 55,000 Aeroplan points.
Aeroplan charges a slightly higher out-of-pocket cost to book, around $37 ($46 CAD), rather than just $5.60 through United. However, that's certainly worth it for saving at least 33,000 Chase points.
Another time it can make sense to book through Aeroplan instead of United is when United isn't even an option. In addition to its partnerships with Star Alliance airlines, Aeroplan partners with several non-alliance airline partners.
For example, you can use Aeroplan points to book Air Serbia, Etihad Airways or GOL Airlines award flights. However, United MileagePlus doesn't partner with any of these airlines. So if you want to try out , you'll need to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Aeroplan.
Just be prepared to cough up a lot of points. Etihad first class awards from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi (or beyond) start at 120,000 Aeroplan points each way. That will be out of reach for most cardholders, but at least you now have the option to book these awards using Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.
Chase's addition of Air Canada Aeroplan adds even more depth to an already solid program. Thanks to Aeroplan's distance-based award chart, you'll find the sweetest redemptions on shorter flights — whether that's within North America, from the East Coast to Europe or from the West Coast to Hawaii or Asia.
By taking advantage of these sweet spots, you can save a significant number of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points than if you transferred points to United to book. However, it's still smart to check both programs to see which is charging the lowest award rate.
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