Air Canada Aeroplan is a highly unique frequent flyer program in many regards: they have more airline partners than any program in the world and they offer the ability to use your Aeroplan points to fly on airlines like United, Lufthansa, ANA, Etihad, Oman Air, and many others and piece together complex awards with no carrier-imposed surcharges. And you don’t need to fly Air Canada to earn Air Canada Aeroplan points. Points are transferable from Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt, Capital One, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy.
The following guide details what you need to know about the new Air Canada Aeroplan program.
Air Canada Aeroplan Overview
- Aeroplan Points: Unlike some programs which continue to call their rewards “miles”, Aeroplan refers to their rewards as “points”.
- Every seat, every flight awards: Every Air Canada seat that’s available to buy in cash, you can redeem for with points. No restrictions. No blackout periods. (this does not apply to awards on partner airlines). Flights with higher cash prices will cost more points. This adds a great deal of flexibility, but it also means that itineraries including legs on Air Canada can sometimes cost significantly more than partner flights.
- No cash surcharges (except $39 CAD for partner awards). No fees for booking awards on Air Canada flights. Partner flights no longer incur carrier imposed (fuel) surcharges. Air Canada does charge a $39 CAD partner booking fee for awards that include partner flights, but apart from this fee you only pay taxes.
- Revenue based earnings: Earn points based on the price you pay rather than the miles flown.
- Hybrid zone/distance based award charts: Award pricing is mostly distance-based, but with different award pricing depending upon which zones you fly between or within.
- Family sharing: Combine points across your family.
Air Canada Aeroplan Pros and Cons
- No carrier imposed fuel surcharges
- Add a stop-over on a one-way award for 5,000 points
- Flexible award routing rules
- Family sharing makes it easy to share points
- Points + Cash awards offer good value
- Innovative elite perks such as status sharing (similar to Hyatt’s Guest of Honor awards) and 50%-off awards.
- Awards booked on Air Canada flights often price lower than the award charts suggest (see this post for details).
- Aeroplan offers the option to pay more miles for a “Flexible Reward” that offers free cancellations, changes, and same-day standby.
- Stopovers can be booked online, but the most complex itineraries still require a phone call.
- $39 CAD award booking fee for partner flights.
- $150 CAD award cancellation fee (unless you pay extra miles for a Flexible Reward).
- $100 CAD award change fee (unless you pay extra miles for a Flexible Reward).
- Point earning on paid flights is very low (starts at only 2 points per dollar).
- Distance based award charts sometimes lead to overpriced awards compared to competing programs.
Currently, points are earned based on the number of miles flown. Air Canada Aeroplan will eventually move to a revenue-based program that awards points based on the amount paid for your ticket, but for the time being points are awarded as a percentage of the distance flown based on fare class (whether on Air Canada flights or partners).
Earnings with partner airlines may vary by partner but in general points are awarded as a percentage of distance flown based on fare class. See links to individual partner earning charts on this page.
When Air Canada introduced the new Aeroplan program in 2020, it was expected that point earning would become revenue-based (i.e. based on the amount paid for your ticket) in late 2021. However, that change has been delayed until 2023. If and when that change is implemented, exact earnings will depend depend on fare class and elite status. Assuming it is launched as was explained in 2021, basic economy flights would earn 2 points per dollar and all others earn 3 points per dollar. Your status can increase your point earnings, as follows:
|Elite Status||Basic Economy
Points Per Dollar
Points Per Dollar
Compared to other North American airline programs (such as AA, Delta, and United), points earning through flights will be very weak with Air Canada. That said, we don’t know when revenue-based earning will launch. For the time being, you can still earn points based on distance flown (albeit a small percentage of distance flown on the cheapest fares).
When booking paid flights with Star Alliance airlines or non-alliance partner airlines, it’s usually possible to assign your Air Canada Aeroplan number to the reservation in order to earn Aeroplan miles and status.
I recommend using Where to Credit to see if Air Canada is a reasonable option for the flight you are purchasing.
Transfer from other points programs
You can transfer points from transferable points programs as follows:
|Rewards Program||Amex Transfer Ratio|
(and transfer time)
|Chase Transfer Ratio|
(and transfer time)
|Citi Transfer Ratio|
(and transfer time)
|Marriott Transfer Ratio|
(and transfer time)
|Capital One Transfer Ratio|
(and transfer time)
|Bilt Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1 to 1 (Instant)||1 to 1 (Instant)||60K to 25K (4 to 5 days)||1 to 1 (Instant)||1 to 1 (~1 Minute)|
Non-flight options for earning points
Air Canada lists these non-flight options for earning points:
- Hotels: Many hotel chains offer the option to earn Air Canada miles for your stay. Note that it is usually more rewarding to earn the hotel program’s own points instead.
- Car Rentals: Several car rental companies offer the option to earn Air Canada Aeroplan miles.
- Airport Parking
- Aeroplan eStore shopping portal. Earn bonus miles when shopping online or at select merchants in-store. Earnings are usually relatively meager, but they sometimes run good promotions. See more here.
- Link your account to earn with Starbucks and Uber / Uber Eats. More on these partnerships here.
Aeroplan points can be used to book flights on Air Canada, any Star Alliance carrier, and select Air Canada Aeroplan partners. Aeroplan has close to 50 airline partners in total, far more than any other airline frequent flyer program. Unlike many other programs, there is no problem mixing and matching partners on a single award. For example, a single award can include flights from both Star Alliance and non-alliance partners. Up to six segments are allowed on a one-way award.
The following partners are bookable with Aeroplan points (note that most can be booked online):
- Aegean Airlines
- Air China
- Air Creebec
- Air Dolomiti
- Air India
- Air Mauritius
- Air New Zealand
- Air Serbia
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Bamboo Airways
- Brussels Airlines
- Calm Air
- Canadian North
- Cathay Pacific*, but only for select flights connecting beyond Hong Kong: Chiang Mai, Thailand, Phuket, Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand, Cebu, Philippines, Manila, Philippines, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,Hanoi, Vietnam
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Eurowings Discover
- Gulf Air
- Juneyao Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Oman Air
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Tap Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Australia
Air Canada Aeroplan offers different distance based award charts depending upon which zone you are traveling within or which zones you are traveling from and to. The image above shows the four zones: North America (red), Atlantic (blue), Pacific (purple), South America (tan). There is also a separate distance-based award chart that is specific to awards on Emirates.
The complete set of award charts can be found here. Award charts specific to flying from or to North America are also shown below. The following award charts show one-way award prices. Prices are based on the actual distance flown on all segments (not just the distance from the origin to the destination).
Flights on Air Canada itself show a range of prices because all seats are available for awards. Surprisingly, awards booked on Air Canada sometimes price lower than the award charts suggest (see this post for details).
Partner flights are available only when that partner makes seats available as partner awards. With most programs these are known as saver-level awards. For example, when United shows a saver-level award available on one of its flights, you should be able to book it with Air Canada Aeroplan.
Within North America
Between North America and Atlantic Zone
Between North America and Pacific Zone
Between North America and South America
Awards on Emirates
Air Canada has an Emirates-specific award chart that is based on the total distance of the one-way itinerary, regardless of geography. Like all other Air Canada awards, you can mix and match partners. If you combine other partners on a ticket with an Emirates flight or flights, you’ll pay for the entire itinerary based on the Emirates chart above.
Air Canada allows adding a single stopover to a one-way award. They charge 5,000 points to add a stopover. Stopovers are not available in Canada or the United States, regardless of itinerary, origin, or destination.
It is possible to book a stopover online, but you are limited to 4 segments when booking an award with a stopover online. If you would like a stopover on an award with 5 or 6 segments, you will need to call Air Canada to book. Phone agents are often able to help to piece together more complex awards than those which can be booked online.
A great deal of the fun in Aeroplan awards is the flexibility to mix and match partners and create interesting stopovers. For some examples / inspiration, see these posts:
- Nick’s 6-segment, 5-country, 6-airline, 5-day Air Canada Aeroplan one-way award
- Anatomy of an Aeroplan award
- Aeroplan plans for future dream trips
Points + Cash Awards
After finding an award online, Aeroplan offers the option to pay with a combination of cash and points. The first option is to pay for the entire award, including taxes and fees, with points. This is the only option I don’t recommend because you’ll only get 1 cent CAD per point value for the points used to cover taxes and fees. The next option is the standard award options. The next two are options to pay fewer points in exchange for more cash. These two options are like buying points for 1.8 cents CAD (1.4 cents USD) per point. That’s pretty good!
Points + Cash Example
Here’s an example where the award costs 23,800 points plus $11.83 CAD:
- Pay for taxes & fees: Pay for the taxes & fees with points (24,983 points all-in). The extra 1,183 points gives you only 1 cent CAD per mile value over paying 23,800 points + $11.83 CAD. This is a poor value option.
- Standard award: Pay 23,800 points + $11.83 CAD
- Points + Cash option 1: Pay 19,100 points + $96.43 CAD. This option saves 4,700 points in exchange for an extra $84.60 CAD. It’s like buying points for 1.8 cents CAD (1.4 cents USD per point). That’s a good value!
- Points + Cash option 2: Pay 14,300 points + $182.83 CAD. This option saves 9,500 points in exchange for an extra $171 CAD. It’s like buying points for 1.8 cents CAD (1.4 cents USD per point). That’s a good value!
Waitlisting awards is not permitted.
Infants (Lap Children)
For international awards, Air Canada Aeroplan charges only $25 CAD or 2,500 points per direction of travel for a lap infant. That’s far cheaper than most competing programs!
The following is quoted directly from Air Canada’s new flight rewards policy (found here):
Infants under the age of 2 and not occupying a seat may accompany an adult
travelling on a Flight Reward and will require a separate ticket for travel, subject
to the below:
- For travel wholly within Canada, no fare will apply and the infant requires a ticket.
- For travel between Canada and the United States, no fare will apply and the infant requires a ticket.
- For all other itineraries, a discounted fare of CAD25 or 2,500 Points will apply per direction of travel and the infant requires a ticket.
Where applicable, taxes, fees and charges will be assessed and must be paid in
Only one infant under the age of 2 not occupying a seat is permitted per adult
travelling. Children over the age of 2 will require their own seat and Flight Reward ticket.
Award Change Fees
- Cancel within 24 hours for no fee
- Up until two hours before you fly, you can cancel or change any flight reward. While a fee does apply, in the case of a cancellation, you’ll get a refund of all of your points back into your account, along with any eligible third-party taxes, fees and surcharges associated with the unused value of your travel.
- Fees for changes and cancellations as per the image above:
- Change fee: $100 per direction per ticket
- Cancellation / refund fee
- aircanada.com (self-service): $150 per ticket for standard awards, $75 for Flex economy, no fee for latitude economy or flexible premium cabin awards
- Contact Centre: $175 per ticket for standard awards, $125 for economy flex, no fee for latitude economy or flexible premium cabin awards
- The above fees are waived for 100K “Super Elite” members.
In-flight spending points options
Bid on upgrades
Air Canada previously allowed bidding cash for upgrades, but now they allow bidding Aeroplan points as well. When you purchase an Economy or Premium Economy Class ticket on an eligible flight operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge, or under the Air Canada Express banner, you can make an offer for an opportunity to be upgraded to a higher cabin class.
At any time up until 56 hours before your flight, you can:
- Make an offer for an upgrade. Click here to go to the bidding page.
- Change or cancel your offer, provided it has not already been accepted.
Around 48 hours before your flight, Air Canada will send you an email to let you know whether your offer was accepted.
- If it is accepted, your credit card or Aeroplan account will be charged for the amount you bid. Your upgrade will appear on your boarding pass.
- If your offer is not accepted, you won’t be charged and you’ll keep the seat you have.
Pay for in-flight wifi with points
Prices vary based on the length of the flight. Paxex.aero says that pricing starts at 850 points, and they offer the following specific examples:
YYZ-YUL: 850 pts
YYZ-YVR: 1,400 pts
YYZ-LHR: 2,100 pts
Non-flight spending points options
These options usually do not offer good value for your points:
- Car rentals
- Air Canada Vacations
- Aeroplan eStore (merchandise, activities, gift cards)
Aeroplan Elite Status
Air Canada calls its elite program “Aeroplan Elite Status”. As with most programs, higher levels of status offer more and more benefits. Here’s a summary:
Elite status requirements
Air Canada Aeroplan offers five elite status levels. To achieve each level of status you must earn a set number of status qualifying miles (SQMs) or status qualifying segments (SQSs) and status qualifying dollars (SQDs).
Elite qualifications are based on calendar years. In other words, you must earn at least 25,000 SQMs or 25 SQSs plus $3,000 in SQDs within a calendar year in order to earn 25K status for the rest of that year and all of the next.
If you earn more Status Qualifying Miles than are needed for the level of status you’ve achieved, Air Canada will rollover those SQMs to the next year provided that you have an Air Canada credit card that provides that benefit. Same is true for unused eUpgrade credits.
Once you earn a level of elite status, you’ll have that status for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the next.
Elite Earning on Flights
Elite Status Benefits
The following are the top benefits available at each status level.
Note that as of June 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members will no longer have complimentary access to Maple Leaf Lounges™ as part of their Aeroplan 35K benefits. Aeroplan 35K members will continue to receive the two Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes that also come with this status.
Starting January 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members will get the following benefits:
- Additional eUpgrade credits: Aeroplan 35K members will be able to choose 15 eUpgrade certificates as a Select Benefit (up from 10)
- Priority baggage handling
- Expanded Priority Rewards: Priority Rewards earned as an Aeroplan 35K member in 2023 will be expanded to include flight reward redemptions to all North America and Sun destinations, in the Economy or Premium Economy cabin.
New Virgin Australia lounge access for Aeroplan 50K and above
Members with Aeroplan 50K, 75K and Super Elite Status, and one guest, can now enjoy access to Virgin Australia lounges when departing on a Virgin Australia or Air Canada® flight from that airport.
As you achieve each status level, Air Canada makes available “Select Benefits”. In other words, you get to pick which benefits you want. The following chart shows the available bundles:
Aeroplan Elite Status makes it possible to earn vouchers for 50% off flight awards (including partner awards). Unfortunately, you have to have “Super Elite” status to earn a voucher that works on business class international awards. Vouchers are earned each time you reach a SQD threshold and the type of the voucher you get depends on your status at that time. The good news is that Priority Rewards earned as an Aeroplan 35K member in 2023 will be expanded to include flight reward redemptions to all North America and Sun destinations, in the Economy or Premium Economy cabin.
Status Pass (share status)
Those with 50K Status and above will be able to choose Status Passes as Select Benefits. Here’s how it works:
- Give a status pass to anyone you want – a friend, a family member, or even a colleague. They can use a status pass when they’re traveling without you.
- Travelers with a status pass enjoy premium travel services when on flights operated by Air Canada.
- They can even share the love – the premium travel services they get with a status pass extend to up to 9 people on their reservation.
Status Pass benefits include:
- Priority Check-In
- 3 complementary checked bags with priority baggage handling
- Priority security clearance
- Maple Leaf Lounge access
- Priority airport standby
- Priority boarding
Shortcuts to elite status
Earn 25K status with 100K points
Earn bottom tier elite status (25K status) when you earn 100,000 Aeroplan points within a calendar year through everyday transactions such as spending on Aeroplan credit cards, flying with Air Canada and partner airlines, and with any other travel and retail partners.
Point transfers from other programs (such as Chase, Amex, etc.) will NOT count towards this total. Here is the official list of exclusions:
Certain Aeroplan points are ineligible for Everyday Status Qualification, including:
- Points accumulated through sign-up or welcome bonuses associated with Aeroplan credit cards
- Points accumulated through conversion from other programs
- Points accumulated as a benefit of Aeroplan Elite Status, including but not limited to the Aeroplan Elite Status bonus with partner airlines, or bonuses earned through the Aeroplan eStore for holding Aeroplan Elite Status
- Points accumulated as part of a flight activity not operated by Air Canada or the Star Alliance member airlines
- Points purchased, or received as a gift
- Points transferred between member accounts
- Points reinstated following account inactivity
- Points redeemed as part of a Points + Cash reservation
- Points accumulated as part of contest prizes, or for participating in Aeroplan research
Earn or boost status through credit card spend
It is possible to earn or boost elite status through credit card spend. See this section of the guide for more details.
Aeroplan Family Sharing
Aeroplan lets you share points with others through their Family Sharing option:
- Up to 8 family members can group together.
- All points earned by members are added into a shared balance, including their existing points balances.
- Redeem for rewards using points from your shared balance.
- If you have an Elite Status Member or a primary Aeroplan Credit Cardholder in your group, everyone gets to benefit from their preferred pricing (meaning that you can often redeem for Air Canada flights at reduced award prices).
How to keep points alive
- Points expire after 18 months of inactivity.
- Reset clock by earning or burning points. (transferring points from another program like Chase, Bilt, Amex or Capital One should work)
The Aeroplan Credit card (US version)
|Card Offer and Details|
Up to 100K points: 75K points after $4K spend in the first 3 months + 25K after $20K in the first 12 months.$95 Annual Fee
This card is likely subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
FM Mini Review: Great card for regular or frequent Air Canada flyers
Earning rate: 3X Air Canada ⚬ 3X grocery stores ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 500 bonus points with each $2K calendar month spend, up to $6K spend per month (1,500 points max) ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Card Type: Mastercard World Elite
Big spend bonus: Renew 25K status w/ $15K spend ⚬ Status Boost w/ $50K spend ⚬ Priority Reward w/ $100K, $250K, $500K, or $750K spend ⚬ Free award companion for rest of calendar year and all of next with $1Million spend
Noteworthy perks: Discounted award pricing ⚬ Free checked bag ⚬ $100 credit for NEXUS, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years ⚬ Carbon offsets on Air Canada awards ⚬ Pay Yourself Back for travel at 1.25 cents per point, up to 50K points per year
On its surface, the new Air Canada Aeroplan Card appears similar to other airline cards on the market. For $95 per year, you get a free checked bag for up to 9 passengers; automatic travel protections; $100 credit toward NEXUS, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years; and no foreign transaction fees.
The Aeroplan Card’s point earnings are similar to other airline cards too, but with one exception… With this card you get 3x rewards for spend on Air Canada, and at restaurants and grocery stores. Unfortunately, you only get 1x everywhere else.
The Aeroplan Card also offers 500 bonus points for every $2K spend in a calendar month, up to 1,500 points per month. If you spend exactly $2K, $4K, or $6K per month, this feature adds an additional 0.25x to your point earnings. In other words, with this level of spend, you will earn the equivalent of 3.25x in bonus categories and 1.25x everywhere else. While this is a nice feature, I don’t find it too exciting.
I find the 3x grocery store bonus interesting because many of us spend a lot at grocery stores. The only other commonly available uncapped 3x grocery cards are the Citi Premier Card and Capital One’s Savor and SavorOne cards. The Citi Premier card has the huge advantage of offering transferable points, but if you’re interested in the Aeroplan Card’s perks for big spend, this could be a better choice. I also find this interesting because Chase hasn’t previously offered uncapped grocery bonuses. Hopefully this is an indication of more to come! I’d love to see a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points with uncapped 3x grocery earnings.
Elite Status from credit card spend
25K Status Upon Signing Up
Upon signing up for the Aeroplan Card, you’ll automatically receive Aeroplan’s lowest tier 25K Status for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the next calendar year.
Renew Status w/ $15K Spend
Each calendar year after the first, you can earn or renew 25K status with $15K calendar year spend on your card.
Status Boost w/ $50K Spend
Earn a one-level status boost after spending $50,000 in a calendar year. Here’s how it works: At the end of the calendar year in which you spend $50K or more, Aeroplan will look at the level of status you’ve achieved for the next year and will bump you up one level.
At a minimum, $50K spend will get you to 35K status (since the first $15K spend got you to 25K Status). However, if you achieved a higher level of status that is valid for the next year, you’ll get bumped up one level to 50K, 75K, or even to Super Elite status.
In some circumstances it should be possible to boost a status match. For example, if you are granted a status match to 50K status and you meet the challenge requirements so as to extend the status for the rest of the following year, then spending $50K in the current year should boost you to 75K status.
When your status is boosted, you’ll earn all of the same elite perks and Select Benefits of your boosted status as if you had earned that status through flying.
You cannot stack boosts. For example, if you spend $50K in year 1 to get to 35K status, then spending $50K in year 2 won’t get you to 50K status. It will merely keep you at 35K status for another year.
Big Spend Perks
In addition to earning elite status through spend, as described above, the Aeroplan Card offers additional perks for really big spend…
Priority Reward w/ $100K, $250K, $500K, $750K Spend
Priority Rewards are vouchers for 50% off flight awards (including partner awards). Vouchers are normally earned each time you reach a SQD (Status Qualifying Dollars) threshold, and the type of the voucher you get depends on the status you hold at that time.
As confirmed with Aeroplan, the type of voucher you get with big (very big!) spend, depends on the status level you hold at the time that you surpass a spend threshold ($100K, $250K, $500K, or $750K):
- 25K or 35K) Canada / US – Economy vouchers: Use for travel wholly within Canada and the United States (including Hawaii) in Economy Class.
- 50K) North America – Premium Economy vouchers: Use for travel wholly within North America (including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Hawaii) in Economy or Premium Economy classes.
- 75K) Worldwide – Premium Economy vouchers: Use for travel worldwide, in Economy or Premium Economy classes.
- Super Elite) Worldwide – Business vouchers: Use for travel worldwide, in Economy, Premium Economy or Business classes.
Personally, I can’t see spending that much for any but the Super Elite vouchers that work for worldwide travel in business class. Even at that level, you would have to use the vouchers for very, very expensive awards for it to make sense. I think they should make these vouchers work worldwide and in first class, regardless of the cardholder’s elite status at the time they hit each big spend threshold.
Ultimate Companion Pass w/ $1M Spend
When you hit one million dollars of spend within a calendar year (yes, you read that right), you unlock the ability to get 100% of points back on all redemptions in all cabins for a designated companion. You can think of it as getting a free companion for a year on all award flights, including partner flights (Etihad, Oman Air, Star Alliance Partners, etc.). You might argue that it’s not really a free companion because you have to have enough points to book them in the first place. That’s true, but after spending a million dollars on the card, I’m confident that you’ll have more points than you know what to do with.
I’ve confirmed with Aeroplan that this “companion pass” kicks in once you complete $1 million in spend in a calendar year and will last for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year. Unfortunately, unlike Southwest’s Companion Pass, Aeroplan won’t let you change your designated companion.
How long does elite status last?
Once you achieve a level of elite status, that status will be in effect for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the next.
Please comment below. We’ll use those questions to help flesh out this FAQ section.