Air Canada’s loyalty program, Aeroplan, recently underwent a complete overhaul that many points and miles enthusiasts see as positive. This is great news for anyone who can take advantage of Aeroplan points, which should include many credit card users — especially because Aeroplan has added Chase as its newest transfer partner.
But what does this all mean for you? Let’s jump into the details on Air Canada and see how the new Aeroplan might be useful for your future travel plans.
About Air Canada
Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada, a founding member of Star Alliance and one of the 20 largest airlines worldwide. The first Air Canada flight took place in 1937 by its predecessor Trans-Canada Air Lines — a simple 50-minute flight for two passengers between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle.
More than 80 years later, Air Canada carries millions of passengers per year to nearly 220 destinations on six continents. Air Canada offers multiple options for fares, including economy, premium economy, and business selections.
According to airline ratings, Air Canada is a 4-star airline. This means the airline has above-average ratings for its products and services. This corresponds to Air Canada’s ranking of 33 out of the top 100 airlines in the world, which means it’s not the best airline but it’s better than most.
About the Aeroplan program
Aeroplan is the loyalty program for Air Canada. Through this program, you can earn Aeroplan points and use them on different redemption options. One of the most common ways to earn and redeem travel rewards is to fly Air Canada or one of its partner airlines.
Apart from earning and redeeming points, members also have the opportunity to earn Aeroplan elite status by earning a combination of certain qualifying Aeroplan miles or segments and qualifying dollars.
Aeroplan currently provides five elite status tiers: 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite. Each tier has certain qualification requirements, including:
- Status qualifying miles (SQM): Earned as a percentage of the distance you fly (minimum distance of 250 miles)
- Status qualifying segments (SQS): Earned for each flight segment
- Status qualifying dollars (SQD): Earned for qualifying spend on tickets
Here are the requirements for each status tier:
|Status qualifying miles (SQM)
status qualifying segments (SQS)
status qualifying dollars (SQD)
And here are some of the main benefits you can expect to receive at each status tier:
|Priority airport check-in||X||X||X||X||X|
|Free checked bags||2 bags, 23kg each||3 bags, 32kg each||3 bags, 32kg each||3 bags, 32kg each||3 bags, 32kg each|
|Priority baggage handling||X||X||X|
|Priority security clearance||X||X||X||X|
|Free access to Maple Leaf lounges||Select lounges only||X||X||X|
|Maple Leaf lounge passes||2 passes (as a select benefit)||2 passes||3 passes||3 passes||4 passes|
|Free access to Star Alliance Gold lounges||X||X||X|
|eUpgrade credits||20 credits||20 credits||20 credits||20 credits||20 credits|
|Aeroplan partner offers||X||X||X||X||X|
|Aeroplan bonus points (as a select benefit)||25%||35%||50%||75%||100%|
|Star Alliance status||Silver||Silver||Gold||Gold||Gold|
Check out the Aeroplan benefits page for a complete breakdown of benefits by status tier.
Air Canada partners
Overall, Aeroplan points can be earned and redeemed with more than 150 partners, including airlines, other travel partners, and retailers. Some of Air Canada’s biggest partnerships come through its inclusion in Star Alliance, of which it’s a founding and continuing member.
Star Alliance has 26 member airlines, which gives Air Canada Aeroplan members access to more than 1,300 airports worldwide. Aeroplan members with elite status can also take advantage of certain Star Alliance benefits, which can include complimentary access to Star Alliance lounges.
Here are the Star Alliance members:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- All Nippon Airways (ANA)
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Swiss Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
Apart from Star Alliance partners, Air Canada also partners with other airlines, including:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Creebec
- Air Dolomiti
- Air Serbia
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Calm Air
- Canadian North
- Cathay Pacific
- Central Mountain Air
- Etihad Airways
- Eurowings Discover
- Gulf Air
- Juneyao Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Olympic Air
- SriLankan Airlines
- Virgin Australia
How to book with points on Air Canada
Using Aeroplan points for flights is typically the best way to get the most value out of your rewards. Because Air Canada has dozens of different airline partners, you have your pick of destinations to choose from.
But before you start booking flights, it’s important to understand how the Air Canada booking process works. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Blackout dates: There are no blackout dates or restrictions on fare classes for award bookings with Air Canada. If you see a seat available for cash prices, it’s also available using Aeroplan points.
- Travel zones: The Aeroplan award chart is separated into four travel zones: North America, Atlantic, Pacific, and South America. These zones cover all destinations you can fly to using Air Canada. Staying within a zone or moving between zones on your flight, as well as the distance covered, will determine how many points you need.
- Partner airlines: You have loads of available flight options with Air Canada, especially if you include all the routes available with partner airlines.
- Award fees: Award flights booked with partner airlines have a flat $39 fee attached to them.
- Fuel surcharges: Air Canada no longer charges airline surcharges for award flights, which can save you on some hefty fees.
- Stopovers: Air Canada allows you to book one stopover per one-way ticket and two stopovers per round-trip ticket on award flights. Stopovers cost 5,000 Aeroplan points each and aren’t too restrictive, other than not being able to book them online or for a stop in North America. If you want to see more of the world without much of an increase in points, consider calling Air Canada to book a stopover on your next trip.
To get an idea of how many points you’ll need for a proposed itinerary, use the Aeroplan award chart. This award chart gives you the breakdown of how many points you’ll need when flying within or between the four Aeroplan travel zones. The number of points are categorized depending on flight distance, which airline is operating the flight, and your fare class.
Here’s an example of how the award chart looks for flights between the North America and Pacific zones:
To quickly check the likely number of points you’ll need for a specific route, use the Air Canada points predictor tool. This tool lets you input your origin and destination airports and then shows you the range of points you need for each fare class depending on the airline you’re flying.
Once you’re ready to begin searching for award availability, it’s easy to get started on AirCanada.com. Be sure to select the “Points” option on the booking tool and input your origin, destination, and dates. Then it’s all about playing with your dates and routes until you find an itinerary that works for you.
Examples of how you can use your Aeroplan points
The redemption opportunities for Aeroplan points are near limitless, but here are three ideas to get you started.
1. Portland, Oregon (PDX) to Vancouver, British Columbia (YVR)
This one-way ticket fits the criteria for a flight that’s less than 500 miles and within North America, though you are traveling between the U.S. and Canada. The award pricing is often at least 6,000 points, but you might find cheaper award options if you look around.
2. San Francisco, California (SFO) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)
Aeroplan could provide you with an option to get to Hawaii through partner airlines, though you’d have to search around to find a good deal. In this example, the entire itinerary is within North America and less than 2,750 miles, which puts you at 12,500 points for a one-way economy flight.
3. Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo (HND)
Seattle to Tokyo is a long-haul flight that’s barely less than 5,000 miles, which means it’s a sweet spot for the Aeroplan award chart if you want to get to Asia. In fact, you can find one-way economy award flights for 35,000 points. Even better, they’re with ANA, which is one of the top 10 airlines in the world.
According to the Aeroplan award chart, you should technically be able to find business class fares for just 20,000 more points (55,000 points total).
How to earn Aeroplan points
These are the primary ways you can earn Aeroplan points:
You can earn flight rewards (Aeroplan points) with all Air Canada paid flights and certain paid flights with partner airlines. In-flight Air Canada purchases on food, beverages, and duty-free products also offer points.
Only Aeroplan co-branded credit cards (more on this in the next section) offer Aeroplan points for eligible purchases. If you’re a Canadian resident, take advantage of the many Aeroplan card offerings available to boost your points total. For U.S. residents, you have one Aeroplan credit card option or you can use credit cards with flexible rewards that can be transferred to your Aeroplan account.
Many of the best travel credit cards earn rewards that can be transferred to travel partners. The best rewards programs for transferring points or miles to Aeroplan are Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Other travel options
Hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages provide additional options for earning Aeroplan points. Featured partners in this category include Air Canada Vacations, Avis, Budget, Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club, and Wyndham Rewards.
Buying points isn’t typically the best way to earn points because you don’t often get great value for the money you’re using. But if you’re short a few thousand points for a specific redemption or there’s a great deal going on, it could be worth it.
Earning points by shopping includes using credit cards, linking rewards accounts (such as Starbucks Rewards), and making purchases through the Aeroplan eStore. This store is an online shopping portal that takes you to the sites of popular retailers, including Samsung, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Adidas, Amazon, and more. If you shop through the portal, you’ll earn points on your purchases. You could stack your earnings by using a credit card that earns Aeroplan points or flexible points on your purchases.
The best credit cards to earn Aeroplan points
Air Canada provides a slew of co-branded credit cards for earning Aeroplan points, though most of them are restricted to Canadian residents. For U.S. residents, there’s one Chase and Aeroplan co-branded card available.
Here are the Aeroplan credit cards:
- Aeroplan® Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- American Express® Aeroplan® Card
- American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card
- American Express® Aeroplan® Business Reserve Card
- CIBC Aeroplan Visa Credit CArd
- CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
In many cases, the best airline credit card for any particular airline is likely a co-branded card that’s issued by a credit card company in partnership with an airline. Because most of the Aeroplan co-branded cards are currently available only to Canadian residents, many of us have to find different ways to earn Aeroplan points.
Fortunately, many travel cards offer flexibility with their rewards programs, including the option to transfer points or miles to Aeroplan. This includes Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and Capital One Venture Rewards.
Here’s a look at our top picks for credit cards you can use to earn Aeroplan points:
|Card||Welcome offer||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Transfer ratio|
|Aeroplan® Card||Earn 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months||3X points at grocery stores, on dining at restaurants, and Air Canada directly; and 1X points on all other purchases||$95||N/A (earns Aeroplan points)|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and eligible online grocery purchases; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases||$95||1:1|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases||$550||1:1|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months||5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases||$695 Terms apply||1:1|
|American Express® Gold Card||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership||4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases||$250 Terms apply||1:1|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card||Earn up to 125,000 Bonus Points; 75K Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on your first 6 months + 50K Bonus Points after you stay 6 eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® through 1/31/24 (limited time offer)||up to 17X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 3X points at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year; and 2X points on all other purchases||$95||3:1 + 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel||$95||1:1|
Overall, it’s possible to find value in the Aeroplan program by using any of these credit cards. If you have a card that doesn’t earn Aeroplan points directly, simply use the applicable card to earn rewards and then transfer those rewards to your Aeroplan account when you’re ready to book an award flight. If you want to get the most value for these transfers, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
This card is typically the best option for most travelers because of its low $95 annual fee, generous welcome offer, and excellent earning potential. If you use this card as often as possible for purchases in its bonus categories, you should earn plenty of points that can be transferred to Aeroplan.
For more details, check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
If you’re more interested in premium travel perks and also being able to transfer rewards to Aeroplan, consider the The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card has a high $695 annual fee, but it also offers over $1,400 worth of value in possible annual credits. Additionally, you get access to Priority Pass and The Centurion Lounge airport lounges, as well as complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors elite statuses. Select benefits require enrollment.
For more details, check out our Platinum Card from American Express review.
How much are Aeroplan points worth?
Aeroplan points are typically valued at 1.5 cents per point, which would mean 10,000 Aeroplan points would be worth about $150. Keep in mind this value could be lower or higher depending on how you redeem your points.
How many Aeroplan points do I need for a flight?
You typically need at least 6,000 Aeroplan points for a flight. According to the Aeroplan award chart, a one-way economy flight covering less than 500 miles would cost at least 6,000 points with Air Canada or a partner airline in North America.
What is the best way to use Aeroplan points?
Using your Aeroplan points for award flights with Air Canada or partner airlines will often give you the most value for your rewards. Other redemption methods, such as using your points with retailers or other partners, might not offer as much value.
Air Canada has a revamped loyalty program with new and exciting ways to use Aeroplan points, and Chase has added Aeroplan as a transfer partner. And because U.S. residents can now get their hands on a (hopefully) valuable Aeroplan co-branded credit card, Air Canada can continue their positive momentum toward establishing themselves as an airline to take note of.
We also have other options to fulfill your credit card needs. Check out our dedicated page to compare credit cards and find the one(s) that make sense for you. If you’re looking for cards to help with your airline experience, the travel cards section likely makes the most sense.
An Easy Way to Earn Aeroplan Points
Earn 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months
3X points at grocery stores, on dining at restaurants, and Air Canada directly; and 1X points on all other purchases