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I don’t usually get excited about point sales, but I think this one is pretty good. Air Canada is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points through April 2nd. This makes it possible to buy Air Canada Aeroplan points for only 1.2 cents each. In this post I’ll explain why I think that’s a good deal, but I’ll also explain why I’m not planning to take advantage of it.
Air Canada is offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased points through April 2nd. The usual price for points is 3 cents CAD per point. The 100% bonus reduces the price to 1.5 cents CAD per point. With the current exchange rate, that translates to only 1.2 cents USD per point.
- Offer Link
- You must buy 50,000 points or more in order to get the 100% bonus:
- Buy 2,000 – 9,000 points, get a 60% bonus
- Buy 10,000 – 45,000 points, get a 80% bonus
- Buy 50,000 – 350,000 points, get a 100% bonus
- Purchase is through Points.com (so you will not earn bonus points by paying with a card that bonuses travel purchases)
- If you buy 50,000 points (the minimum required for the 100% bonus), you’ll get a total of 100,000 points and you’ll pay $1,500 CAD ($1,200 USD).
Why is Aeroplan interesting?
We have seen similar sales in the past from another Star Alliance program: Avianca LifeMiles. In fact, as I write this, it is possible to indirectly buy LifeMiles for only 1.25 cents each (see this post for details). And in some cases, LifeMiles offers significantly better award prices than Aeroplan. So, why am I more interested in the Air Canada sale than the frequent LifeMiles sales?
LifeMiles is great… if you can find the flights you want. Unfortunately, their online award booking tool is severely limited. Sometimes there are award flights available that are simply impossible to find and book online. It’s technically possible to book these by calling or by email (in fact, Nick has written about how to do the latter: “When LifeMiles.com shows no availability, try a manual booking“), but that can be a huge hassle and it’s possible that the award space will be gone by the time you navigate the hazards of a manual booking.
Air Canada Aeroplan, meanwhile, is a newly revamped loyalty program (read all about it here) with innovative features such as the ability to add a stop-over on a one-way award for 5,000 points, and family points sharing. Aeroplan’s online award booking tool isn’t great right now, but it’s expected to get better when they add the ability to book stopovers online later this year.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: if I was going to prospectively buy miles, I’d put more trust in Aeroplan than LifeMiles. I believe that it would be more likely for me to find and book the awards I want through Aeroplan than through LifeMiles. I also think that Aeroplan is unlikely to devalue their miles anytime soon (since the program was so recently revamped) whereas I could imagine LifeMiles doing so at any time (I’m not saying that I’m expecting them to do so, only that I think it’s more likely than with Aeroplan).
Convert penny points to miles
Nick has often written about how much cash it is possible to earn from bank account signup bonuses. In a recent post, he laid out easy options for raking in $2,100 or more. Many who read blogs like this one don’t get as excited by cash bonuses as point bonuses. But now, with this deal, you could turn the same $2,100 that Nick wrote about into more than 170,000 airline miles (AeroPlan points, actually). When it’s just cash, you could probably use $2,100 to buy a nice international economy ticket. Maybe you could buy a business class ticket, but only when there’s a fantastic sale. After being converted to points, you could use the 170,000 points to book a round trip international business class ticket just about any time, and often on premier carriers like ANA, EVA, Lufthansa, etc. That’s why points and miles are exciting.
Transfer from Chase points, with a bonus
Chase doesn’t yet support point transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Aeroplan (but we are expecting that in late 2021). However, if you have the Sapphire Reserve card, you could indirectly transfer to Aeroplan during this sale at a better than 1 to 1 ratio. The idea is to indirectly cash out points for 1.5 cents each using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature (for example, you could redeem points for lots of grocery purchases), and use that cash to buy Aeroplan points.
For example, suppose you cash out 80,000 Chase points at 1.5 cents each, and so you end up with $1,200. You could then use that $1,200 to buy 100,000 Aeroplan points (buy 50,000 points and get a 50,000 point bonus). That’s equivalent to a 25% transfer bonus from Chase to Aeroplan!
Why I’m not buying
Even though I think this is a really solid deal, I’m not planning to buy any Aeroplan points. The primary reason is that before the pandemic, I transferred hundreds of thousands of points to United MileagePlus and to Avianca LifeMiles in order to book a group of family and friends in business class to Europe. Of course, the trip was cancelled and so now I have more than enough Star Alliance miles than I know what to do with. Eventually I’m sure I’ll find good uses for most of the miles, but until then I’m not actively seeking to earn or buy more.
How about you? Are you a buyer at this price? Please comment below.