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Aeroplan Credit Cards: Convert the Buddy Pass into 30,000 Aeroplan Points (Indefinitely!)

We’ve updated this article to reflect that the unofficial deadline for this conversion opportunity has been extended indefinitely. In addition, the American Express Aeroplan Card’s true effective welcome bonus is 50,000 points when you apply through a refer-a-friend link, rather than 45,000 points as initially stated.

When the new Aeroplan credit card offers by TD, CIBC, and American Express were first launched in November 2020, many Aeroplan members were left frustrated that a large chunk of the welcome bonuses took the form of an Air Canada Buddy Pass rather than the juicy quantities of Aeroplan points that we were expecting.

While the Buddy Pass might offer good value to travellers who usually fly on paid Air Canada flights in groups of two or more, Aeroplan points can offer considerably higher value through international flights in premium cabins – not to mention that they’re much more useful than the Buddy Pass for solo travellers who rarely fly with a companion.

Well, you know what they say: good things come to those who wait. It appears that we’re going to get the juicy Aeroplan points offers that we’ve been waiting for after all.

Although this isn’t being publicly promoted by Air Canada, I’ve confirmed through an internal source that the Air Canada Buddy Pass can now be exchanged for 30,000 Aeroplan points – a feature that’s being introduced in recognition of the reality around travel planning during the pandemic.

Buddy Pass Conversion Extended Indefinitely 

The ability to convert the Buddy Pass into 30,000 Aeroplan points was originally introduced with an end date of April 30, 2021, although it was my understanding that this would be a rolling deadline subject to further extensions, to account for the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic.

While a new deadline of May 28, 2021 had initially been confirmed, the conversion opportunity has now been extended indefinitely.

This means that anyone who applies for an Aeroplan credit card with a Buddy Pass as part of the signup offer may subsequently convert their Buddy Pass into 30,000 points. 

(Even if a deadline is introduced at a later date, Aeroplan’s leadership clarified on a recent livestream with Anshul from Points, Miles & Bling that any deadline would be based on when you applied for an Aeroplan credit card, not when your Buddy Pass is posted to your account.)

Therefore, even though some banks seem to be slower than others in depositing the Buddy Pass upon meeting your minimum spending requirement (with TD in particular appearing to be the slowest), you’ll still be guaranteed the ability to earn the mouthwatering effective welcome bonuses that we’ll describe below. 

Exchange Your Air Canada Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan Points

You’ll earn an Air Canada Buddy Pass upon completing the minimum spending requirement associated with one of the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards.

It should look like this:

buddy pass graphic with airline tickets

Once the Buddy Pass has arrived in your account, you can either go ahead and use it to book a paid Air Canada flight for two passengers, with the second passenger paying a $0 base fare… or, as of now, you can call Aeroplan and ask to exchange the Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan points.

While the Buddy Pass itself has a one-year expiry period, the 30,000 Aeroplan points simply get deposited into your account alongside the rest of your Aeroplan balance, and you can go ahead and redeem those 30,000 Aeroplan points for a flight redemption just like all your other points.

You might be wondering: should you go ahead and exchange the Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan points?

In my opinion, you absolutely should, unless you have very specific travel plans in mind in which you can leverage the Buddy Pass in its original form for a high value.

By our current valuation of 2.1 cents per Aeroplan point, 30,000 Aeroplan points are worth $630 – and quite likely far more than that if you redeem them for a business class or First Class flight in the future.

Unless you have very firm plans to book paid Air Canada flights within North America for two people, in which you would’ve paid full fare for both passengers anyway and the second passenger’s base fare is greater than $630, I’d say that exchanging the Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan points is a no-brainer decision.

Aeroplan Credit Card Offers Are Now Incredible!

Needless to say, this is a major boost to the value proposition of all the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards that currently include Buddy Passes as part of the signup incentive. 

Factoring in the option to exchange the Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan points, we’re looking at the following effective welcome bonus offers on Aeroplan credit cards:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite: 50,000 Aeroplan points + First Year Free
    • 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
    • 40,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $1,000 in the first three months
    • $139 annual fee, waived for the first year
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege: 80,000 Aeroplan points
    • 20,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
    • 60,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $1,000 in the first three months
    • $599 annual fee
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Business: 55,000 Aeroplan points + First Year Free
    • 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
    • 30,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $1,000 in the first three months
    • 15,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months
    • $149 annual fee, waived for the first year
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite: 50,000 Aeroplan points + First Year Free
    • 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
    • 40,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $1,000 in the first four months
    • $139 annual fee, waived for the first year
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business: 50,000 Aeroplan points + First Year Free
    • 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
    • 40,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $3,000 in the first four months
    • $180 annual fee, waived for the first year
  • American Express Aeroplan Card: 50,000 Aeroplan points
    • 44,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $1,500 in the first three months
    • 1,000 Aeroplan points for each of the first six months in which you spend $500
    • $120 annual fee

Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW!

50,000+ Aeroplan points for no first-year annual fee and only $1,000 in minimum spend – on no less than three co-branded credit cards. You’re looking at it!

Aeroplan Credit Cards with a Buddy Pass
Credit Card Best Offer Value
25,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
First Year Free
25,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $1,260 Apply Now
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
First Year Free
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $1,113 Apply Now
50,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $1,107 Apply Now
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
First Year Free
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $1,071 Apply Now
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
First Year Free
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $1,071 Apply Now
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
$120 annual fee
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $993 Apply Now

Now, before you get too excited, I should remind you that the terms and conditions of the Aeroplan credit cards with Buddy Pass offerings include the following language:

This one-time Bonus Buddy Pass is only valid for eligible cardholders. You will not be eligible for the Bonus Buddy Pass if you have previously opened an Aeroplan Program credit card of the same type, regardless of the credit card issuer and have received the Welcome Bonus offer in the last 12 months. 

Since you can only earn one Buddy Pass per “type” of Aeroplan credit card (i.e., core, premium, or small business) within a 12-month period, you’ll want to be selective about which cards to apply for.

Under the current offers (which are expected to last until the end of May), one possible winning combination might be as follows:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege (premium)
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Business (small business)
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite (core)

If you applied for this trio of cards, you’d be able to earn 185,000 Aeroplan points for a net $599 outlay in the first year.

And even if you were to skip the premium card, you’d end up with 105,000 Aeroplan points for $0 out-of-pocket in the first year. 

Factor in the points you earn from the minimum spending… and that’s already a round-trip business class flight from the West Coast to Japan for $0 out-of-pocket.

That is simply outrageous, staggering, unreal… and dare I say, the “something amazing” that we were originally promised back in the day?

Conclusion

Due to the harsh realities of planning travel in the pandemic era, Air Canada has quietly introduced the ability to convert the Air Canada Buddy Pass into 30,000 Aeroplan points – a game-changer for the Canadian Miles & Points landscape. 

If you have a Buddy Pass in your Aeroplan account, you can go ahead and call Aeroplan to exchange the Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan points, which should be deposited into your account very shortly thereafter.

As a result of this increased flexibility, the welcome bonuses on six of Aeroplan’s 11 co-branded credit cards are now looking sizzling hot, with up to 105,000 Aeroplan points on the table through first-year-free offers alone.

Make no mistake about it: it’s time to get yourself, your partner, and everyone in your Aeroplan Family Sharing group to jump onboard. 

105 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Andy

    Hey Ricky, quick question about CIBC small business. If I cancelled my CIBC Aventura Small Business at the end of Jan 2021, would this count as churning if I were to apply to CIBC Aeroplan Small Business today?

    Many thanks.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      It would. But I’d say your odds of getting the bonus are fairly good.

  2. Avatar
    Amish

    Hi Ricky
    I have companion pass in my aeroplane account benifit, can I convert into aeroplane points or not.
    Please advise
    Thanks
    Amish

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Does it say “Buddy Pass” on it? If so, yes.

  3. Avatar
    Bileth

    Can P1 and P2 both get a buddy pass if they get the same card in their own names using the same Aeroplan account?

    Example:
    P1 gets CIBC Aeroplan VI using Aeroplan account 123456789
    P2 gets CIBC Aeroplan VI using Aeroplan account 123456789

    Will both get the buddy pass and therefore 60k points after meeting MSR?

    Thanks.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I don’t know, but why bother doing this when you could simply add P1 and P2’s accounts to the same Family Sharing group?

      1. Avatar
        Bileth

        Meaning it makes no sense to continue pooling under the same Aeroplan, but instead P2 can get their own Aeroplan account and will get their own buddy pass?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Yes exactly – that would be the best way to proceed.

  4. Avatar
    DenB®

    FWIW I did it tonight and the agent told me the offer ends at end of April. Also warned me it’s currently taking 3 weeks to post the 30k. I waited 2 weeks from achieving MinSpend, to seeing Buddy Pass in Aeroplan. My card is CIBC VI.

  5. Avatar
    William Lin

    Hey Ricky,

    If I changed my Aeroplan visa card from Platinum to Infinite, that means that I won’t get a buddy pass then right?

  6. Avatar
    Bill

    Hi Ricky

    I went to the CIBC website and it states the first year is waived only if you have CIBC smart plus account is that accurate? I want to do CIBC instead of the TD card because after the first year I won’t be renewing the card and looking to drop down to a no fee Aéroplan card but it looks like TD doesn’t offer one?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Nope, it’s waived for the first year for all applicants, and only waived for subsequent years if you have the CIBC Smart Plus account. It’s just not very well worded, but if you look near the top of the page, you’ll see “plus, get a first-year fee waiver!”

  7. Avatar
    Mike

    I applied for / was approved for CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite in July 2020 which has now become the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite… wondering if I was supposed to have a Buddy Pass deposited when this transition was made? On my Aeroplan dashboard I do not see one under benefits. Would I call CIBC or AE about this?

    Would love to exchange it for 30,000 points if I can in fact get a buddy pass.

  8. Avatar
    Adele

    Are there any recent DPs for applying online for TD and CIBC business cards? It used to be that they always require going in branch for verification, even if online application was conditionally approved. Is that still the case?

  9. Avatar
    Larry

    Hi Ricky,

    Thanks for the info! I’ve heard people mentioned about going into branch to verify income for TD application. If that’s the case, is CIBC the better one here considering there is basically no difference between these two cards?

  10. Avatar
    E

    1. Is the 12 months for welcome bonus from last app, or when you last fulfilled the MSR? e.g. if i applied for TD AP VI in Mar 2020 but did not meet the MSR until Jun 2020, could I PS now (PSed to NF in Sept 2020) and get the full offer?

    2. Alternatively to get full offer at CIBC, is it better to apply with a new app, or PS my Aventura to AP VI?

  11. Avatar
    Quentin

    Hi Ricky, just to clarify something from your article. As long as I apply for the card before May 28, 2021 I am able to convert the buddy pass to APP regardless if I meet the MSR before that date? For example, if I meet the MSR on the third monthly statement in July 2021, I can still convert the buddy pass to APP.

    Thanks for this as always!

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes, it was specifically clarified that it would be based on whether the Buddy Pass conversion offer was active at the time of your application.

      1. Avatar
        Farzan

        Hey Ricky, as long as I apply before May 28th, can I convert the buddy pass any time before it expires (eg. up to one year from now)?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Based on what we’ve learned from Aeroplan, yes.

  12. Avatar
    Paul K

    Thanks Ricky for your heads up regarding these Aeroplan cards and maximizing points…these all look great. I really enjoy your analytical approach to the miles earn and burn game and you really have valuable insights that are timely and actionable.

    I’m adding the CIBC Visa Infinite and TD Aeroplan Business to the TD Visa Infinite Privilege and Amex Aeroplan Reserve I already have in my wallet. Super return on spend!

    I don’t think I can really keep them all on renewal and would appreciate near the end of the year which ones should be kept and which to return.

    Now, if the estore could just speed up awarding points to my account.

  13. Avatar
    Tanvir

    Hi Ricky, quick questions:

    I had a CIBC aerogold visa infinite, business visa, and TD aeroplan Visa infinite card until Feb 2021. I canceled all the aeroplan branded cards with the hope that I can re-apply at some point and get the welcome bonus offers again.

    1) In your recommendation for triple cards, you included two TD cards. But TD seems to have put tougher restriction: only one aeroplan welcome bonus per calendar year?? That’s what the agent told me. Apparently I can’t apply for any type of aeroplan card for another year until I could apply for any of the aeroplan branded TD cards!! Any thoughts on that?

    2) Do I call Air Canada after I meet the minimum spending req (which can be in June / July / Augu) or after activating the card?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      It’s one Aeroplan welcome bonus per card every 12 months, not across all the cards.

      Call Aeroplan to convert the Buddy Pass once the Buddy Pass is deposited into your account. Based on people’s data points, this will likely be very soon after hitting the minimum spend on a CIBC or Amex card, but up to eight weeks after hitting the minimum spend on a TD card.

      1. Avatar
        Tanvir

        Thanks for the quick response. Much appreciated.

        If I canceled a TD card in couple of months ago and the last application was in Feb 2020, do I have to wait a year before I can apply for the card again? (that’s what TD rep told me)

        Or Can I just apply as usual after 3 months of cancelation/switch?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          By the terms and conditions, the welcome bonus is limited to once every 12 months, so if you last applied in Feb 2020 you should be fine.

  14. Avatar
    Yana

    If I currently hold a business CIBC Visa almost 1 year old (before the Buddy Pass was introduced) – will applying for another business card be considered as eligible buddy pass business tier application (despite me having another, older, business card)?
    Thanks.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes. The once-per-type restriction applies to earning Buddy Passes, not to having business cards (or any other type of card).

  15. Avatar
    Jimmy

    Hi Ricky,

    Welcome offer for CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Business Card is follow:

    Earn up to 20,000 Aeroplan points †
    Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase.
    Earn 10,000 (not 40,000) bonus Aeroplan points when you spend $3,000 or more during the first 4 monthly statement periods.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Factor in the Buddy Pass, and it’s 40,000 + 10,000 = 50,000.

  16. Avatar
    robert berg

    ricky can I get the small business and a personal core card at the TD or do i have to go to cibc for one

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes, you can get both from TD.

  17. Avatar
    Steph

    Has anyone actually gotten the 30k deposited to their aeroplan account, I called on March 29th and they said it would take approx 2 weeks. To date nothing and the Buddy Pass still shows up in the benefits.

  18. Avatar
    Adrian

    I opened the former CIBC Aerogold card in June of 2020 and got the signup bonus of 20k. Would I be eligible for the TD Aeroplan Buddy Pass offer?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes!

  19. Avatar
    Marc Berard

    Hi, How long after meeting minimum spend did you get buddy pass ? ( from statement date )

    Thanks

    1. Avatar
      Bobbie

      I was surprised it showed up in my Aeroplan account the day after my statement date

  20. Avatar
    Janet

    Wish Westjet would match this offer for their companion vouchers…

      1. Avatar
        Janet

        Yes, but those lounge passes have the same expiry date as the exchanging companion vouchers.

  21. Avatar
    matt rossy

    Hi Ricky,

    Where to find the AMEX offer below, I cant see it anywhere….

    American Express Aeroplan Card: 45,000 Aeroplan points
    39,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $1,500 in the first three months
    1,000 Aeroplan points for each of the first six months in which you spend $500
    $120 annual fee

  22. Avatar