Aeroplan launched a new feature for its credit cardholders last week – a 4th night free benefit when redeeming your points for hotel stays. While it’s great that they’re innovating with their program in this way, there simply doesn’t appear to be any value to be had here because even with the discount it works out to be a poor redemption value.
- Get every 4th night free when booking award stays using Aeroplan points as an Aeroplan cardholder.
- Direct link to offer.
- Expires December 31, 2024.
The way this benefit works is that you get a 25% discount for every four nights that you book, with the 25% discount being applied to the total cost of those four nights. That’s different to how IHG’s 4th night free benefit, Hilton’s 5th night free benefit and Citi’s old 4th night free benefit on the Prestige card work. With those latter examples, the 4th or 5th nights themselves are/were free which makes it possible to get outsized value by having the most expensive night of a stay the 4th or 5th night. With Aeroplan though, they’re simply averaging out the cost of those entire four days and giving a 25% discount on that. You’re therefore not able to get outsized value, but a 25% discount is still – in theory – a very nice benefit to have if you’re a cardholder.
Having said that, in reality it’s not so great. The reason why is that redeeming Aeroplan points for hotel stays is a terrible redemption option which only becomes less terrible with the 25% discount – it doesn’t make it good value.
For example, let’s take a look at a four night stay in New York from October 11-15. The InterContinental New York Barclay costs 113,250 Aeroplan points per night. That means non-cardholders would have to redeem 453,000 points for the stay, while cardholders would only have to redeem 339,750 points.
As you can see in the screenshot above, it says the cash rate is CA$1,209 with taxes included (~US$900 per night). That means non-cardholders would get 0.79cpp of value by using points, while cardholders would get 1.06cpp based on the 25% discount. Now, 1.06cpp isn’t a completely awful redemption, but it’s not great. However, the value is even worse than that.
That’s because the ~$900 nightly rate is inflated. For those same dates IHG is charging ~$750 per night including taxes. That means non-cardholders would be redeeming their points at 0.66cpp while cardholders would be redeeming at 0.88cpp.
The redemption rate when booking with IHG One Rewards points would be 98,750 points per night. IHG frequently sells its points for 0.5cpp, so you could buy those points for $493.75 which is a massive discount versus the cash rate. That doesn’t even take into account the additional savings if you have an IHG credit card which gives every 4th night free on award stays themselves.
I ran a number of searches in other cities and encountered similarly poor value when redeeming Aeroplan points. For example, over those same dates you could stay at the Omni Chicago for 55,000 points per night as a non-cardholder or 41,250 points per night as a cardholder. The cash rate on the other hand is CA$534 (~US400). Even with the 25% discount for cardholders, that’s still a not-great redemption option as it’s less than 1cpp.
Considering how much value you can get by redeeming Aeroplan points for flights, or for 1.25cpp using Pay Yourself Back for travel purchases, using them for hotel stays is unappealing even if you can save 25%. For more about redeeming Aeroplan points for good flight redemptions, see these posts: