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Published April 29, 2022

6 Best Ways to Redeem Aeroplan Points

Maximize the value of your Aeroplan points by looking for sweet spots, flying business class, and knowing what your points are worth.

Aeroplan is one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs. Not only are there multiple ways to earn points, but you can also redeem your points for various things, such as flights, hotels, gift cards and more.

However, like all loyalty programs, not every redemption offers the same value.

Knowing how to maximize the value of your points will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your hard-earned rewards.

1. Know the value of your points

Putting your points to good use means recognizing a good value. To do this, you need to establish a base value for your points. NerdWallet searched more than 75 flights in 2021 and 2022 to determine the average value for Air Canada flights.

Based on our analysis, the value of 1 Aeroplan point is worth 1.69 cents.

More specifically, you can expect to get around

  • 1.69 cents in value per Aeroplan point for economy class awards on Air Canada, and
    2.81 cents in value per Aeroplan point for business class awards on Air Canada flights.

To calculate the value of your points for any given redemption, you would use the following formula:

(Ticket price – taxes) X 100 / points required for a redemption = Cost per point

For example, let’s say you’re looking for a round-trip flight from Toronto to Paris in economy class. The basic fare price is $856. However, a standard redemption with Aeroplan will cost you 67,000 points, plus $140 in taxes.

In this case, your formula would look like the following:

($856 – $140) X 100 / 67,000 points = 1.07 cents per point

Since the value of this redemption falls well below the established average of 1.69 cents, it’s not a good use of your points. You’d be much better off saving your points and, instead, paying with cash or an Aeroplan credit card that earns points on purchases.

2. Be smart about your airline

When looking at the Aeroplan redemption chart[1], you’ll notice that there’s always a range for the number of points needed for flight rewards.

Take a look at how flights are priced within North America, for example.

Aeroplan chart Within North America

Air Canada lists a range since they use dynamic pricing. However, partner airlines use a fixed points schedule, which typically falls in the middle of Air Canada’s range. While it would seem obvious to use partner airlines all the time, it’s not that simple.

With Aeroplan, you can redeem your points on any seat available on Air Canada flights. However, popular routes or times will typically land at the higher end of the range with dynamic pricing. If you’re flexible, you can choose flights, dates or destinations that aren’t in as much demand and take advantage of lower point pricing.

For example, a recent search of Toronto to New York showed one-way fares pricing out at 19,200 Aeroplan points with a departure time of 12:30 p.m. But if you were to choose the 8:00 a.m. flight, it would only cost you 10,900 points.

As for partner airlines, only a handful of award seats are made available to Aeroplan. They can be quite valuable if you can find one since the points required are pre-determined — especially in business or first class, where the cash fare is significantly higher. It’s worth mentioning that when booking partner airlines on Aeroplan, you’ll pay a $39 fee.

» MORE: The best ways to use your credit card overseas

3. Aim for business class

Our data shows that business class seats on Aeroplan have an average value of 2.81 cents per point. That’s a 66% increased value over economy class seats. Based on this data, it makes sense to save up your points for business or first-class seats since the value is much higher.

When booking business class seats, you also get lounge access and priority boarding, which has value to many travellers.

4. Look for the sweet spots

Aeroplan uses a zone and distance-based rewards chart, so there will naturally be some sweet spots — specific routes that offer the best value. Typically, these are routes that fall just within a lower distance band, greatly reducing the number of points required for the redemption.

Some Aeroplan one-way sweet spots:

Points-per-mile saved4810272
RouteVancouver to TokyoMontreal to CasablancaVancouver to Hawaii
Length4,687 miles3,507 miles2707 miles
Distance band0 - 5,000 miles0 - 4,000 miles1,501 - 2,750 miles
Points required for partner airline economy class tickets35,00035,00012,500
Miles remaining before higher distance band31449444
Points required for higher distance band55,00040,00022,500
Point difference between distance bands15,0005,00010,000

You’ll notice that these examples of sweet spots require partner airlines, which have limited seats. In addition, you’ll likely need to take a layover/stopover before reaching your final destination because direct flights may not be available.

Still, if you can save you as much as 227 points per mile, finding the right sweet spot is worth your time and effort.

5. Use family sharing plans

Aeroplan Family Sharing plans allow you to pool points with eight family members. Although this won’t increase the value of your points, it does make redemptions easier.

For example, let’s say a family of four is flying round-trip from Vancouver to Toronto. Assuming they booked a flex fare, they’d earn 100% points based on miles flown. That’s roughly 4,000 points earned for each family member for the trip.

Individually, 4,000 Aeroplan points do not get you much. However, in a family sharing plan, that’s 16,000 points. That’s enough points for a short-haul return flight within North America.

6. Stick to flight redemptions

Besides flights, Aeroplan allows you to redeem your points for other things, such as hotel stays, vacation packages, car rentals, gift cards and merchandise. While some of those options may be tempting, they typically represent a lower point value — just like with rewards earned by travel credit cards.

For example, let’s look at a few quick non-flight redemptions:

  • 14,000 Aeroplan points = $100 Apple gift card
  • 45,000 Aeroplan points = 1 night at the InterContinental Hotels Miami (Cash price = $527)

When redeeming Aeroplan points for gift cards and hotels, there are no additional taxes to be paid. So there’s no need to factor that in when calculating the value of your points. If you were to redeem your points for the above examples, your true value would be as follows:

  • $100 Apple gift card = .71 cents per point
  • $527 night at the InterContinental Hotels Miami = 1.17 cents per point

Both redemptions are significantly lower than the base value established for flight rewards, so they’re not a good value for your points. Occasionally, you might find a non-flight redemption close to the base value, but that’s rare.

About the Author

Barry Choi
Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a personal finance and travel expert. His website moneywehave.com is one of Canada's most trusted sites when it comes to all things related to money and travel. You can reach him on Twitter: @barrychoi.

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