Rather than having only a one-year period to use their Buddy Pass, Aeroplan members will be able to use their Buddy Pass up until the end of 2022 to book travel throughout all of 2023.
Buddy Pass Extended to December 31, 2022
In an email to Aeroplan members who have received a Buddy Pass as part of their credit card benefits, Mark Nasr, Senior Vice President, Products, Marketing and eCommerce, wrote:
We understand how much Covid‑19 has impacted your travel planning, and it’s so important for us to deliver great value through your Aeroplan credit card. With this in mind, we have automatically extended your Buddy Pass: You now have until Dec 31, 2022 to book a trip for you and your +1, and travel can take place any time until December 2023.
The Air Canada Buddy Pass allows holders to book a second passenger at a $0 base fare when the first passenger pays full price, on any Air Canada economy class one-way or round-trip flight within Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
The more expensive the underlying fare, the greater value you can get out of the Buddy Pass – for example, a redemption on a round-trip flight to Hawaii during peak winter travel season would fetch a lot more value than a simple Toronto–Montreal trip.
And while the Buddy Pass can’t be used to book flights in premium economy or business class, it’s possible to use it to book Economy Latitude fares and apply Air Canada’s eUpgrades to upgrade to a higher class of service.
Previously, the Air Canada Buddy Pass would expire one year after you’ve earned it (i.e., one year after meeting the minimum spending requirement on an Aeroplan co-branded credit card with a Buddy Pass as part of the signup offer).
Anyone who had earned the Buddy Pass in late 2020, therefore, would be looking at an expiry date in late 2021. If the Aeroplan member isn’t feeling ready to book travel by the end of this year, they may not be able fully realize the value from their Buddy Pass.
That’s why the blanket extension of the Buddy Pass’s validity through to December 2022 is welcome news, as it relieves pressure from Aeroplan members who may not be ready to commit to major travel plans just yet.
The extension to December 31, 2022 allows Buddy Pass holders to book travel anytime in 2022 or most of 2023, when it looks pretty certain that we’ll all be able to travel safely and comfortably once again.
Convert Your Buddy Pass into 30,000 Aeroplan Points, Indefinitely
Now, if the Aeroplan program truly wanted to “deliver great value” through the Buddy Pass offering, then Mark’s email should’ve also made mention of the ongoing opportunity to convert the Buddy Pass into 30,000 Aeroplan points.
Like the extension of the validity of the Buddy Pass itself, the ability to convert the Buddy Pass into 30,000 points has been similarly extended on an indefinite basis, meaning that you can choose to execute the conversion at any time as long as you have a Buddy Pass active in your account.
Outside of couples or families who are planning to travel within North America on otherwise-expensive Air Canada economy class flights, I’d argue that 30,000 Aeroplan points represents greater value for your Buddy Pass than the originally intended usage as a buy-one-get-one voucher.
If you’d like to rejuvenate after the pandemic with an aspirational international trip in business class or First Class, then Aeroplan points will be much more effective at making your dream trip happen compared to a BOGO voucher whose value on the second passenger’s ticket is tied to how much you spend on the first passenger.
Indeed, factoring in the Buddy Pass conversion opportunity, a single credit card application for the TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card can earn you 55,000 Aeroplan points – already enough for a one-way flight to Japan in business class.
And since every individual can earn up to three Buddy Passes within a 12-month period, the potential for supercharged points earnings cannot be overstated.
|Credit Card||Best Offer||Value|
|75,000 Aeroplan points||$1,455||Apply Now|
|25,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass||$1,260||Apply Now|
|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||$1,071||Apply Now|
|20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass||$1,071||Apply Now|
What’s the Future of the Air Canada Buddy Pass?
As much as we Miles & Points enthusiasts may turn our noses up at the Buddy Pass in favour of 30,000 Aeroplan points, it’s my understanding that Air Canada maintains genuine belief in this product and sees it as a potential fixture among Aeroplan credit card incentives in the future.
To assess the Buddy Pass’s viability, however, Air Canada would need to collect meaningful data on Buddy Pass usage – data that isn’t exactly forthcoming at the moment, since travellers are yet to resume booking travel en masse.
Considering this together with today’s extension of the Buddy Pass through to December 2022, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Buddy Pass remaining as an incentive throughout 2021 and into 2022.
After all, I’d imagine that Air Canada would want to examine the Buddy Pass’s usage patterns in its original form with a one-year validity period (and thus a two-year travel period) in order to judge the product’s long-term viability in a post-pandemic future.
If this comes to pass, those of us who’d prefer 30,000 Aeroplan points over the Buddy Pass would also be in luck.
You can only earn one Buddy Pass per type of Aeroplan credit card (core, premium, or small business) in a 12-month period, and since the product was first launched in November 2020, a continuation of the current Buddy Pass offers into late 2021 would allow many of us to earn Buddy Passes four, five, and six… and thus totalling 120,000, 150,000, or 180,000 Aeroplan points once they’ve been converted. 😉
The Air Canada Buddy Pass was originally launched with a one-year expiry period. Given the ongoing uncertainty around travel, Aeroplan has extended the validity of all members’ Buddy Passes to December 31, 2022, allowing you to book travel through December 2023.
Aeroplan’s most dedicated members can also take this as a positive signal as to the Buddy Pass’s continued staying power on the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards, in case they’d prefer to trade in their Buddy Pass for 30,000 Aeroplan points instead.