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Changes To Aeroplan: What Will Happen With My Points?

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Air Canada has finalized its purchase of the Aeroplan program as part of a larger plan to roll out a new frequent-flyer program in 2020.

For Aeroplan members with Aeroplan miles in their account, the obvious question is: What changes to Aeroplan and to my Aeroplan rewards can I expect from Canada’s purchase?

Here’s how the deal could likely work out for the Aeroplan program.

This Article Will Cover

Why Is All Of This Happening?

Air Canada has had a complicated relationship with Aeroplan. The Canadian air carrier created Aeroplan in 1984, then spun it off as a separate entity more than a decade ago in order to raise cash. In 2017, the company announced it would dump Aeroplan altogether for a new mileage plan Air Canada would create … but then the airline announced that “thousands of (Aeroplan) customers” told the airline they wanted to roll their existing Aeroplan miles into Air Canada’s new program.

So, instead of dumping Aeroplan, Air Canada spent C$450 million to buy back the company it originally sold.

Like I said – it’s complicated.

Now that the deal has been finalized, that question becomes: What will Air Canada’s new loyalty program look like? At this point, the airline has offered little in the way of specifics. But it has offered some details regarding its purchase of Aeroplan and the impact on existing Aeroplan miles.

What Do Changes To Aeroplan Mean For My Aeroplan Miles?

First and foremost, changes to Aeroplan are probably a win for Aeroplan customers.

An in-house loyalty program makes a lot more sense for fliers because the process of earning and redeeming miles becomes seamless. When the redeeming of Aeroplan rewards is separated from the earning of those rewards (when you have two companies in the mix instead of one) you introduce potential complications that only serve to frustrate the consumer and degrade the program.

It also means all those existing Aeroplan rewards are still valuable.

As a stand-alone entity without any ties to a specific airline, Aeroplan without Air Canada would have been a weaker entity, and the accumulated Aeroplan miles would have likely lost value.

What happens to my Aeroplan miles?

So, from a customer-service standpoint, then, changes to Aeroplan are, I would argue, good news for Aeroplan customers.

What Happens To My Aeroplan Miles?

Current Aeroplan miles will ultimately transfer into Air Canada’s new mileage program at a one-to-one ratio. So, whatever number of miles you have in your Aeroplan account will simply roll over to the new account in the same number. You lose nothing.

Do Changes To Aeroplan Affect My Aeroplan Status?

No. You will maintain whatever status you have in the Aeroplan program. Nothing changes here.

What About My Air Canada Altitude Status?

Same answer: Changes to Aeroplan does not alter your status or your ability to earn Altitude status. As well, your Million Mile status and your progress toward Million Mile status remains intact.

Does This Affect My Ability To Earn/redeem Miles On Star Alliance Carriers?

Air Canada has an abundance of Star Alliance partners, including a host of global air carriers including United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Germany’s Lufthansa, Air New Zealand, Air China, Air India, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and others.  Your ability to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles on Star Alliance partners is unaffected, as is your ability to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles on certain select partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific and GOL Brazil that are not part of Star Alliance.

However, under Air Canada, Aeroplan’s announced plans to include Porter Airlines, Flair Airlines and Air Transat in the program will not be honored.

What About My Aeroplan Credit Card?

Air Canada has announced that as part of the transaction to buy Aeroplan, it also finalized agreements with Aeroplan’s current credit-card partners: Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada. Those financial institutions will continue to provide and support their Aeroplan-branded affinity credit cards that allow users to accumulate Aeroplan rewards through their spending.

Likewise, Air Canada just this month (March 2019) inked a deal with American Express to continue offering the Amex AeroplanPlus Gold, the Aeroplan Platinum and the Aeroplan Reserve cards.

What About Aeroplan’s Co-branded U.S. Credit Card?

For Air Canada customers in the U.S., the TD Aeroplan Visa Signature card remains available. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Aeroplan miles after you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months. You also earn 2x Aeroplan Miles on Air Canada purchases and 1x on everything else.

Are Their Other Ways To Generate Aeroplan Miles?

Yes. If you need Aeroplan miles for an Air Canada flight — or a flight on Star Alliance members using your Aeroplan rewards — you have a variety of options for transferring miles into the program:

Capital One Miles

Capital One miles transfer to Aeroplan at a ratio of 2:1.5, meaning 2 Capital One Miles will get you 1.5 Aeroplan miles. Just make sure you have the right Capital One card for airline miles, since some are cash-back cards.

Two that offer miles are:

VentureOne From Capital One: No annual fee. Great 20,000-mile sign-up bonus. It has great bonuses and excellent earning potential. Every purchase you make with the card earns you miles.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business: No Annual Fee for the First Year. Valuable reward miles on every purchase. You earn significant 50,000-mile sign-up bonus.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

You can convert American Express Membership Rewards points into Aeroplan Miles in increments of 1,000 online or by phone. The transfer ratio is 1:1, which is better than Capital One.

The best American Express card:

Amex EveryDay: No annual fee. Valuable points with the popular Membership Rewards program.

Transfer Points From A Hotel Loyalty Program

Hotel loyalty programs such as Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest can also turn their points into Aeroplan miles.

10,000 Hilton Honors points = 1,000 Aeroplan Miles

10,000 Marriott Rewards points = 2,000 Aeroplan Miles

1 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoint = 1 Aeroplan Mile

Aeroplan Car Rental Partners

Through Avis, you can earn 1 Aeroplan mile for every $1 spent on an Avis rental car.

Hertz offers a flat 500 miles per rental, and Hertz Gold Plus Reward points transfer across to Aeroplan at the rate of 600 points for 500 miles.

Are their other ways to generate Aeroplan miles?

Join Points.com

For a smaller subset of fliers, Points.com can make sense.

Through this points-aggregation site, you can convert Asia Miles and Icelandair Miles into Aeroplan Miles. Just beware that there are transactions fees and transfer ratios that aren’t so great. But it can be a way for a certain set of travelers to add to their Aeroplan balance, if necessary.

The Wrap Up

For a while, Aeroplan customers had no idea how the Air Canada/Aeroplan hookup was going to work out. But now it seems clear that the Aeroplan program will retain all of the most-meaningful benefits. The only changes to Aeroplan that seem to affect anyone are those who frequently fly the very-much-smaller carriers Porter Airlines, Flair Airlines and Air Transat.

Other than that, it seems to be status quo for Aeroplan customers.

But we want to know: Do you think this new marriage of Air Canada and Aeroplan will be positive or negative for you, and why?

Let us know in the comments below.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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