In full transparency this is my favourite point program so far and no, this is not a sponsored post, I genuinely like it. Perhaps because I’ve finally figured out how to take advantage of it and the mobile app is not bad at all. Over the last couple years I’ve done quite a bit of traveling on points and have been consistently gaining them back, here’s how:
Find a credit card that collects Aeroplan points: I personally use Amex because I like the added bonus of the Amex security but there are others. Once you found a card that works for you, use it for everything! Most of the time it’s at least dollar-for-dollar which is more than many other reward programs offer. Major banks also offer a signup bonus equal to a return flight which is a great start.
Use Aeroplan online retail partners: They’ve added quite a few popular retailers including Amazon, Apple, Chapters, Under Armour, Rail Europe, and many more. All you do is access your shop of choice through Aeroplan and you will gain points on your entire purchase. They also often have special offers that can triple your points earned! Any credit card would work for this but with Aeroplan credit card you get double the earnings. There is a way to convert various hotel rewards to Aeroplan as well but I personally haven’t tried that yet.
If you fly for work, even if your employer paid for the flight, you as travel get the points, so make sure to add that number to your itinerary.
Tip: you can add your reward number to any Air Canada flight up until departure day so even if you forgot or were not a member at the time of purchase you can still catch up.
When using the points use them on shorter flights, the ones that cost under 40,000 points. That’s still a lot of destinations and they have lower tax (typically under $200) with a lot of direct flight options. Longer flights (such as Europe) use a lot more points while you can get those fairs on sales for much less in cash. I’ve flown to Vancouver, Chicago, New York, and even Florida on rewards never spending over 25,000 points. If there is a good seat sale though, take that, for example: flying to Vancouver is generally not cheap so if the seat sale is under $500 I would not use points on it.
Aeroplan support: it’s no secret that Air Canada support is well, not the best, but when you book on points you get Aeroplan support and they are much, much more useful – loyalty goes a long way. I once had to re-schedule 2 flights over one weekend due to a snowstorm and still got home in time for a good night’s sleep before work on Monday.
Booking perks and discounts: these depend on your status but you do get some from the start so read your status fine print – you might be eligible for an upgrade, a discounted hotel rate, or lower market fair flights. At this time with 25k status, there are a handful of annual perks including lounge access and eUpgrade credits which (often combined with a dollar amount) can be used to move to a better cabin.
If there are any I missed please share! Otherwise, happy flying!
* Cover image by Bryce Evans