Aeroplan’s Big Summer Miles Offers: Up to 40% Miles Back! Ricky July 21, 2020

Aeroplan’s Big Summer Miles Offers: Up to 40% Miles Back!

If you recall, I had predicted that the Aeroplan 50% Miles Back promotion was a landmark moment that could set the tone for future offers and promotions from Canada’s largest frequent flyer program. What I didn’t expect, however, was for another promotion to arrive so soon. 

Aeroplan has today rolled out their Big Summer Miles Offers, giving members the choice between up to a 150% bonus on miles earned on new flight bookings with Air Canada, or up to a 40% mileage rebate when redeeming Aeroplan miles for flights across the Air Canada route network, on all new bookings made before August 4, 2020 for travel by September 30, 2020.

Unlike the previous 50% Miles Back promotion, Aeroplan members must register for the Big Summer Miles Offer. You can do so on the promotion’s page on the Aeroplan website

Up to 40% Miles Back on Air Canada Flights (Domestic & International)

For most Aeroplan members, the more interesting part of this promotion will be on the redemption side. Upon registration for the offer, you’ll receive 30%, 35%, or 40% of the Aeroplan miles back into your account depending on the class of service you book.

Compared to the 50% Miles Back promotion last time, this round caps out at a lower 40% offer; however, it is now valid on all Air Canada flights across the global route network, rather than simply flights within Canada or the US.

Looking at the Aeroplan Reward Chart, we can consider a few examples of the effective mileage requirement for popular fixed-mileage redemptions under the Big Summer Miles Offers:

  • A round-trip short-haul flight within Canada in economy class, which would normally cost 15,000 miles, would now cost 10,500 miles after getting 30% miles back

  • A round-trip long-haul flight within Canada in economy class, which would normally cost 25,000 miles, would now cost 17,500 miles after getting 30% miles back

  • A round-trip long-haul flight within Canada in business class, which would normally cost 50,000 miles, would now cost 30,000 miles after getting 40% miles back

  • A round-trip flight from North America to Europe in business class, which would normally cost 110,000 miles, would now cost 66,000 miles after getting 40% miles back

  • A round-trip flight from North America to Asia in business class, which would normally cost 150,000 miles, would now cost 90,000 miles after getting 40% miles back

One-way and round-trip bookings are all eligible, as are multi-city bookings (which are really just round-trip bookings with a stopover). Like the 50% Miles Back event, the mileage rebate will be deposited into your account within three to four weeks after travel has taken place. 

International Air Canada business class awards are eligible for the 40% mileage rebate

International Air Canada business class awards are eligible for the 40% mileage rebate

Note that the rebates are also valid on Market Fare redemptions, which can vary based on the date of travel and can sometimes be lower than the corresponding fixed-mileage redemption (in which case it’s advertised as a “Great Deal”). If you see a Market Fare redemption you like, then you’d benefit from 30–40% of the miles rebated to your account as well.

For this promotion, all flights on the itinerary must be operated by Air Canada or its subsidiaries. Who knows, though – at the rate things are going, maybe we’ll see a mileage rebate promotion on partner flights sometime in the future? 😉

The requirement to fly on Air Canada also slightly dampens the excitement around the fact that this promotion has been expanded to international flights, because you’ll still have to pay Air Canada’s hefty fuel surcharges unless you’re an Altitude Super Elite 100K member

In the case of an Air Canada business class redemption, these surcharges can still be worthwhile when compared to the cash fare (and taking into account the 40% mileage rebate), but there’s no denying that they erode the value of your redemption significantly. 

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Of course, looking at the bigger picture, another limitation will be the highly uncertain climate around international travel in general. The Big Summer Miles Offers’ “travel by” date of September 30, 2020 doesn’t leave a very wide timeframe for Canadians looking to travel internationally when you consider that the Government of Canada’s requirement for 14-day mandatory quarantine upon return is in effect until at least August 31 (and may be extended further). 

If you’re someone who’d be comfortable travelling as soon as the 14-day mandatory quarantine is lifted, then it may be worth taking a punt on a September flight under this promotion, taking comfort in the fact that you can always cancel and get a refund of your Aeroplan miles and taxes, free of charge, until August 31 (a date which may also be extended further). 

(The September 30 end-date doesn’t surprise me at all, though, because one day after that marks the beginning of – you guessed it – Quarter 4 of 2020.)

Otherwise, I think the greatest beneficiaries of this promotion are those who’d like to travel domestically, but who had missed out on the earlier 50% Miles Back promotion for whatever reason (or who’ve earned extra miles since then). Now you have the chance to get in on a deal for 30% miles back, which is still pretty neat even if it’s not as outstanding as before.

Up to 150% Bonus Miles on New Air Canada Bookings

The earning side of Aeroplan’s Big Summer Miles Offers is less interesting from a value perspective, but still worth noting if you might be flying on any paid Air Canada tickets before September 30.

Upon registration for the offer, Aeroplan members can earn a 100% bonus on miles earned from paid economy class fares (other than basic economy), as well as a 150% bonus on miles earned from paid premium economy or business class fares, on all flights across the Air Canada route network. The base number of Aeroplan miles you earn from Air Canada flights is determined by the mileage accrual chart, and your 100% or 150% bonus would be calculated on top of those earnings. 

This isn’t really a game-changer of a promotion by any means, but it’ll definitely be helpful for those who might choose to book paid fares for their domestic trips this summer, especially as it’ll allow them to rack up Aeroplan miles more quickly to take advantage of juicy promotions on the redemption side in the future. 

On the business side, it’s pretty clear that this promotion is designed to get people booking paid travel with Air Canada again.

It’s important to point out that the cancellation policy on paid Air Canada tickets is significantly more restrictive than Aeroplan award tickets: the airline is reluctant to provide refunds on cancelled flights at the moment, although they will allow you to convert the value of your ticket into Aeroplan miles with a 65% bonus (i.e., at an effective rate of 1.8 cents per mile) if you change your mind about the trip. 

Conclusion

As we’ve covered throughout the summer, Aeroplan has been adding lots of hype to its program in recent months, and the Big Summer Miles Offers is only the latest step in that process. From now until September 30, members will enjoy up to 150% bonus miles on the earning side and up to 40% in mileage rebates on the redemption side when travelling with Air Canada, whether it’s domestically or internationally. 

Compared to the previous 50% Miles Back promotion, this round of offers is more subdued, but still provides plenty of value if you have upcoming trips to book. 

I expect the Aeroplan hype train to be making an imminent arrival into New Loyalty Program Station sometime very soon, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing the news that it brings. 

(featured image by OneMoreWeekToGo)

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13 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Marlene

    Hmmm! Which European country has the lowest yq? I need to get to yvr from Europe in Sept. 😳

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Turkish Airlines. Or Swiss via Montreal or TAP Air Portugal via either Toronto or Montreal.

  2. Avatar
    Jonathan

    Any idea how long it takes Aeroplan to refund your points back to your account if you cancel a booking under the current policies?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Should be instant.

  3. Avatar
    Timbo2

    You are absolutely correct. Didn’t mean to sound so pessimistic. I have taken full advantage of most of these AP "gifts". Fun would be an understatement, for the enjoyment that has resulted from these AP offers, used in conjunction with others such as the recent Fairmont stay close pricing, Marriott gift card and points sales etc. In someones famous words, this is the "Golden Age of Travel". Enjoy it while you can, but always be prepared. Life is balance.

  4. Avatar
    Timbo2

    I hate to be a downer, but sooner or later, everything evens out. With the MANY recent positives there has to be, eventually, offsetting negative(s). Let’s see…an upcoming new program…dynamic award pricing ?…zonal distance changes?…new fees ? I hope not, but how can you have so many recent great things happening without offsetting balances ? Something has to give. Anyone else feel like a turkey being fattened up for the quarter 4 of 2020 Thanksgiving feast ? I’m worried.

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      All fair concerns considering the history of loyalty program devaluations that we’re all too familiar with. We already know, for example, that there will be dynamic pricing on North American flights in the new program.

      In the meantime, I for one find it more fun to be optimistic than pessimistic.

  5. Avatar
    Avi

    Does the person flying have to be the aeroplan member or can I book a flight for my wife and still take advantage of this?

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      You can book a flight for your wife and still take advantage.

  6. Avatar
    green0marlin .

    If you can find an international business class ticket where all the segments are on Air Canada it’s actually not bad. Let’s say you get back 40% on Canada to Sydney – that’s 64,000 back at ~ 0.02 cents per mile = $1,280.00. That should effectively cover the Air Canada surcharge, but soft products will not be as good as the past (e.g. cold food in a box, closed lounges, ect).

  7. Avatar
    Mitch

    If only we had somewhere to go.

  8. Avatar
    David

    Does the 40% miles back works with a reward business class booking from Sapporo to Tokyo with ANA and from Tokyo to Vancouver with Air Canada?

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      No, it has to be strictly on Air Canada-operated flights. In this scenario you might consider redeeming miles for a Tokyo–Vancouver flight with Air Canada, and then buying or redeeming a separate flight for Sapporo–Tokyo.

Ricky

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