Best Aeroplan Bang For the Buck

16 April 2013

Aeroplan is a rewards program created by Air Canada.  You can earn Aeroplan miles through flights on the 27 other Star Alliance airlines in addition to flying with Air Canada.  You can also earn Aeroplan miles through their partners, such as Esso, Home Hardware, or Rexall Drugs. For a complete list of online retailers that you can earn 1 Aeroplan for each $1 you spend, click here.

When Do Aeroplan Points Expire?

You have seven years to use the points you earned and if there is no activity in a 12-month period, your points (yes, all your points) will expire.

How Do I Accumulate Aeroplan Points?

If you get gas at Esso, it is a great way to link your Esso Extra card or Speedpass to the Aeroplan points card.  That way, your points will not expire because there will be constant activity.

As mentioned, you can earn points by flying with Air Canada or any of the Star Alliance partners.  Certain flights like Tango give you fewer Aeroplan points.

Recently, Aeroplan has created the Star Challenge whereby you can earn a lot more Aeroplan points than you would normally earn in one month.  This year, you need a minimum $10 transaction (previously it was $3 per transaction) at participating retailers like Esso and Rexall, but some Aeroplan points junkies still believe that this is worth it.  The period is until April and the task is difficult but again, may be worth it for some.

Another way to accumulate Aeroplan points is to use a credit card linked to earn you miles.  Some such examples are Aeroplan plus cards and Aerogold cards.  More often than not, a bonus Aeroplan miles is provided but it is important to ensure that the annual fee is waived for the first year.   The credit card could then be cancelled before the annual fee starts.  Despite an annual fee, the Aeroplan credit cards are still effective and worth it.

 What is the Best Way to Use Aeroplan Points?

The best way to use your Aeroplan points is to use it towards travel.  At approximately 2.3 cents “bang for your buck” for each Aeroplan point, compared to cashing in your Aeroplan points for gift cards which gives you a value of 1.2 cents per point. According to The Toronto Star, traveling certainly gives you more "bang for your aeroplan mile" when compared to gift cards or other merchandise.

Another great website that compares the reward values of each Aeroplan point is  This website provides a complete guide to the accumulation of Aeroplan points, the rate of return, earning regular and status miles, and a reward chart for travel.

Looking at the travel rewards, not all flight rewards are created equal.  The taxes and fees are not included and can really add up, unfortunately.

Recently, I booked a flight to the United States using my Aeroplan points.  I had enough for a long haul flight to Europe (a little over 60,000 Aeroplan points), but the taxes and fees that accompanied the long haul ticket were too much.

A flight to Europe would cost $1180 including taxes and fees if I purchased the ticket outright whereas it would be $640 on Air Canada with points with 60,000 Aeroplan points.  The $640 is just taxes and fees.  I would save about $550 for this flight if I used the Aeroplan points.

A flight to the United States costs 25,000 Aeroplan points and the taxes and fees were only $97.  The ticket would originally cost $550 including taxes and fees; therefore, I saved almost $450.  Should I have used approximately, 60,000 Aeroplan points for three of the same tickets, I would save about $1100 instead of the $600 saved using it towards a flight to Europe.

Therefore, using more points for a longer flight doesn’t necessarily mean that it's cheaper in the long run.  Comparing the cost of flights quickly through a flight aggregator like can be helpful to give you perspective on the true cost of the Aeroplan points.

Aeroplan points can be a great way to travel and provides a great incentive to work hard at earning your mileage.  Trips are even more therapeutic for the soul when you know that you didn’t have to pay for the ticket.  However, it is important to ensure that there is most “mileage” (pardon the pun please) with certain people.

Bargainmoosers, where has been your favourite destination using the Aeroplan points?  Do you have any other tips and tricks for earning Aeroplan points and using them for most return on mileage?

TOPICS:   Vacations


  • Lucie
    I find that the best bang for the buck is when I use the same Aeroplane points when combining two trips in one. For instance, at Xmas, I go from my home town of Timmins to Toronto to visit my children for 15,000 points. On the same ticket, I then go visit family in Ottawa. Aeroplane permits stopovers and I save 15,000 points. What a great deal!
    • Clare
      @Lucie- That sounds awesome! Stopovers is a great great tip. Thank you!
  • Lisa A.
    We love aeroplan! A few things that have worked for us: We have our aeroplan number linked to our chequing account at CIBC and we accumulate miles monthly. We also accumulate extra miles monthly for having 3 automatic payments setup from our chequing. We buy our gas at Esso and always use the orange card. (Unless I have a really great coupon for another gas station)! Also, we've made purchases through the aeroplan estore (Apple; Old Navy purchases; Sears). If you can wait the shipping period - do it and get the mileage. I watch for Nestle products that carry the bonus aeroplan miles inside too! We have used our aeroplan miles for flights to Florida and to Alberta (from Nova Scotia). The last flight I booked through Aeroplan was a return flight from Halifax, NS to Florida. My cost was $107 for taxes & fees.
  • Clare
    @Lisa- Great tip! I do Esso for gas too and it's been great. They have 3x the points fill up days often. Halifax to Florida for $107 is a steal of a deal!
  • SavingMentor
    Thanks for linking to my Aeroplan guide, I really appreciate it!
  • Anna
    Trips in Asia often have VERY low taxes. I redeemed miles for 2 round trip flights from Seoul to Taipei and the tax was only 9$ per flight! Also different airlines have different taxes, so if the tax is high, select a flight with a different airline and check the difference, it's often substantial.
    • Clare Y.
      @Anna- Thanks for sharing- amazing, $9 per flight!
  • Sarah
    Join Club Sobeys and convert the points to Aeroplan, even at 2 for 1, it all adds up in a year. Give your orange card to anyone shopping at Costco, Home Hardware etc. Taxes etc are lower on US airlines, if you live near the border, get your ticket from a partner airline at Buffalo or Detroit, eg United. Flying to Australia, taxes etc are lower going through San Fran or LA than Vancouver.

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