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Air Canada’s Aeroplan Mileage Program Is an Industry Leader. Here’s Why

The airline's updated mileage program has surpassed its predecessor

October 13, 2023

Aeroplan mileage program / Photo: Courtesy of Air Canada

In 2020, Air Canada introduced a new Aeroplan mileage program that surpassed its predecessor. Unlike typical “enhancements,” this program is an industry leader and a win for travelers.

In addition to its Star Alliance partners, Air Canada has established a vast network of non-alliance partners. Currently, Air Canada’s Aeroplan program collaborates with an unprecedented 51 other airlines. Travelers can earn and redeem Aeroplan points on most of these partners.

Aeroplan has North American partners like United Airlines. The company also has a broad range of international partners, including airlines from Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and Central/South America.

One of the best aspects of the Aeroplan program is that you can earn points without flying. That’s because Air Canada partners with many U.S. bank-transferable points programs. Travelers can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles and even the rent-payment program Bilt Rewards.

In addition, Chase issues an Air Canada Aeroplan card to U.S. travelers. Cardholders earn 3x points on Air Canada, grocery stores and restaurant dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services). In addition to the sign-up bonus, new cardholders get Aeroplan elite status through the year-end after signing up.

Once you have Aeroplan points, you can use them to book various award-chart sweet spots. United flights within North America start at just 6,000 points each way. Flyers on the West Coast can fly United to Hawaii for as few as 12,500 points.

East Coast travelers can fly United, Lufthansa or other Star Alliance airlines to Europe from 60,000 points in business class. Best of all, Aeroplan doesn’t pass along the hefty carrier-imposed fees that many airlines levy on their award tickets.

Aeroplan’s award chart and broad-based partners also help when you’re overseas. I recently utilized the Aeroplan program to book an All Nippon Airways flight from Tokyo to Qingdao, China, for just 12,500 points—an incredible deal for a flight costing more than $800 when I booked this rare non-stop route. Most recently, Aeroplan added the ability to change award bookings online, saving travelers from calling in to make changes—as many mileage programs still require.

Advanced travelers can combine award bookings on Aeroplan’s 5,000-point stopovers and stretch the distance-based award chart to the maximum. For example, Nick Reyes from Frequent Miler stretched an Aeroplan award across six flights, five airlines and six countries—all in business class for 105,000 Aeroplan points.

Families can bring infants along on award trips at an incredibly reasonable cost of 2,500 points one-way. That’s amazing when you consider other mileage programs charge up to 25 percent of the adult ticket to add an infant to a mileage award.