Back in March Air Canada’s Aeroplan announced that they would start selling their miles to members. The news coincided with COVID hitting the fan, so no-one really paid attention.
This time around, with some light at the end of the tunnel, Aeroplan is back but with a sale worth paying attention to.
What is Aeroplan, and why should I care?
Aeroplan is the frequent flyer program by Air Canada; as a Star Alliance members, this gives those with Aeroplan Miles to redeem flights on all the Star Alliance partners such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Thai Airways, EVA, and many more (there are 28 partner airlines in total!).
When programs start offering miles up for sale, Australian frequent flyers can take advantage too! What was otherwise a program somewhat limited to Canada and the U.S., is now a global program with benefits for anyone that knows about it.
What’s the deal?
Aeroplan has announced a crazy points sale which starts May 7 at 10 AM Eastern Time. This translates into 12 AM Friday the 8th if you’re on the East Coast and 10 PM if you’re in Perth WA.
The time is important because points will be sold in discount blocks with the biggest discount going first. Since we’re not in Canada, the good people at Aeroplan won’t charge us sales tax either (a further saving).
- Aeroplan at $0.014CAD per mile (sales tax excluded): 10 million miles up for sale with a bonus of 115%
- Aeroplan at $0.016CAD per mile (sales tax excluded): 10 million miles up for sale with a bonus of 90%
- Aeroplan at $0.018CAD per mile (sales tax excluded): 10 million miles up for sale with a bonus of 65%
At the time of writing, $0.014CAD is $0.015AUD
You can access the sales promo page here.
- Officially there are no taxes on mileage sales when the transaction is made with a U.S. based credit card and billing address. At this stage, we can only assume this might be the same for Aussie based points buyers who don’t have access to a U.S. card. Of course, I tested this out and bought 1000 miles for CAD 30 (yikes!). From what I can tell, no taxes were added using my Australian billing details.
- Points are purchased through points.com (they handle most points sales for airlines). Ideally, use a card that has no foreign transaction fees.
- Points purchases are limited to 250,000 per transaction and 500,000 per year. The limit is only on the base purchase so, during a bonus sale, you will be able to purchase at the base rate + whatever bonus you are getting.
- Aeroplan miles expire after 12 months of no activity. Activity is redeeming or earning more miles.
- Aeroplan “fuel surcharges” can be high, to avoid this fly with partners such as Singapore Airlines, SAS, Turkish Airlines, Swiss, EVA Air and Brussels Airlines.
How to use them?
I’m writing an extensive Aeroplan beginners guide as we speak so please allow a few days for this to wrap up. In the meantime, you can go check out the award chart here (prices are for return flights). Additionally here are a few examples for Australian based Aeroplan connoisseurs:
Australia/ New Zealand to Europe
As you can see, the Aeroplan award chart grouped Australia and N.Z. together, so depending on where you live, the value increases.
A return flight with Singapore Airlines in business would cost you 190k miles. That’s AU$ 2850 return from anywhere in Australia to Northern Europe.
Australia to Asia
Aeroplan splits up Asia into 2 categories, “Asia 1” includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau and Eastern Russia. A return trip in business class will cost you 135k Aeroplan miles or AU$2025
“Asia 2” is the same price and includes the following countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Micronesia, Myanmar, Philipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Australia to the USA/Canada
Only 160k miles are required for a return trip to continental USA or Canada in business class. Would you pay AU$2400 for a return trip in business class to the U.S.? Yes, of course, you would.
Summing up – worth it?
Unless you believe Air Canada will go bust in the coming months or the world will end, this is a crazy good deal. Will we see more deals like this? No doubt about it, airlines and hotels have been sitting on the sidelines figuring out how bad things will get (pretty bad apparently), and I expect to see more amazing deals over the next few months. Just keep in mind that airline miles are not an asset, but a liability once owned, buy if you have a trip in mind for 2021 or if you’re feeling positive 2020.