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With Air Canada overhauling its loyalty program recently, you may be looking to add more points to your Air Canada Aeroplan account. But how much are Aeroplan points worth?
Based on our analysis, the value of 1 Aeroplan point is 1.9 cents. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.9 cents or more in value from your Aeroplan points.
What does this value mean?
Our estimate of 1.9 cents per Aeroplan point provides a lower-end value you can use to determine the relative value of your own redemptions. It is based on comparing main cabin fares, using both cash and miles, across several dates and destinations.
In other words, this is the value you can expect to get from your points without seeking particularly high-value redemptions. This means you can get more value by looking for sweet spots and using more advanced award techniques. It also means you can end up getting lower value than this if you’re not careful.
How does the value of Aeroplan points change when booking business class?
You can expect to get around 2.7 cents in value per Aeroplan point for business class awards on Air Canada, per our analysis.
That's a solid average redemption rate compared to other airline loyalty programs. For example, other North American mileage programs — such as American, Delta, United — range between 1.5 and 2.8 cents per mile for business class awards. Of the programs we've analyzed, only Alaska beats Air Canada with an average business class redemption rate of 2.8 cents per mile.
As with most airline mileage programs, you'll get a higher redemption rate when you redeem points for business class. That's also true with Aeroplan. On average, you'll get 42% more value when using your Aeroplan points for business class awards rather than economy awards.
» Learn more: Should I book award travel this year?
How to convert Aeroplan points to dollars
Use our calculator to can figure out how much your Aeroplan points are worth in dollars based on our estimated value.
When is the best time to redeem Aeroplan points?
Not all redemptions are equal, so we compared the redemption rates for Air Canada awards for three specific time frames:
Awards booked 15 days to departure.
Awards booked 180 days to departure.
Awards booked for winter holiday travel.
We found that you'll get the highest redemption rate when you book closer to departure.
Economy award tickets
For economy awards, there's not much of a difference among the booking options. Economy awards booked 15 days before departure averaged 1.5 cents in value versus 1.3 cents per point for awards booked 180 days out. Holiday bookings were right in the middle with a value of 1.4 cents per point.
All of these values are well below the average economy redemption rate of 1.9 cents per point. So none stand out as optimal times to book an Air Canada award.
Business award tickets
While there's not much variation for economy awards, there's a noticeable value difference for Air Canada business class awards. Air Canada business class awards average 2.8 cents per point when booked 15 days before departure. Advance bookings of 180 days (2.2 cents per point) and flights booked during the holidays (2.1 cents per point) were much less valuable in our analysis.
How flexible are Aeroplan points?
Aeroplan points provide great value for Air Canada awards; however, your options go far beyond the airline. Since Air Canada is a member of the Star Alliance, you can redeem Aeroplan points on any of the 26 Star Alliance partners — which collectively serve over 1,300 airports. When you add in non-alliance airlines, Aeroplan partners with a total of 43 different airlines.
These partners provide a vast array of options — from intra-Brazil hops on Azul to incredible first class awards on Etihad Airways. There are plenty of sweet spots in the Aeroplan program, including awards between the U.S. and Canada for as few as 6,000 points each way or flights to Hawaii for just 12,500 points each way.
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to points and miles
How we determined the value of Aeroplan points
We collected hundreds of data points comparing the cash value to award (point) value for the same routes and dates. That is, we compared the cost of a given ticket in either cash or points, across many tickets.
This method differs from others in that it looks at actual redemptions rather than hypothetical maximized redemptions. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a real-world indication of how much these points are worth, on average. That said, it doesn’t take into account the high-value redemptions that points enthusiasts seek.
Wondering what you can do with those points? Check out our points collector's guide to Air Canada, and learn which credit card is best for international award travel.
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 2021, 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