Since its relaunch in November 2020, Aeroplan has hinted at a series of new partnerships with leading brands across a variety of different industries in Canada.
Today, we’re learning about the first chapter of that story: Aeroplan has brewed up a new partnership with Starbucks Canada to offer members more ways to earn and redeem Aeroplan points on their favourite Starbucks beverages.
In This Post
- Link Your Aeroplan and Starbucks Rewards Accounts
- Earn Aeroplan Points for Loading Your Starbucks Card
- One-Time Bonus for New Starbucks Rewards Members
- Bonus Aeroplan Points on Starbucks Rewards Activities
- Redeem Aeroplan Points for Starbucks Cards
- My Thoughts on the New Aeroplan + Starbucks Partnership
Link Your Aeroplan and Starbucks Rewards Accounts
To take full advantage of the new Aeroplan and Starbucks partnership, you must first link your Aeroplan and Starbucks Rewards accounts.
You can visit aircanada.com/starbucks to link your accounts, which should take just a few moments to complete.
Once your accounts are linked, you’ll start earning Aeroplan points on all of your Starbucks Rewards activity (in addition to the Starbucks Stars that you usually earn).
Earn Aeroplan Points for Loading Your Starbucks Card
Aeroplan members who have linked their Starbucks Rewards accounts will earn Aeroplan points for loading their Starbucks Cards as follows:
- 75 Aeroplan points every time you load or reload an amount between $50 and $74.99 to your Starbucks Card.
- 150 Aeroplan points every time you load or reload an amount of $75 or more to your Starbucks Card.
We can think about the effective earning rate for Aeroplan points on your Starbucks activity:
- If you load or reload an amount between $50 and $74.99, you’ll be earning 1–1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at Starbucks
- If you load or reload an amount of $75 or more, you’ll be earning up to 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at Starbucks
Indeed, the maximum value is attained by loading an exact amount of $75 to your Starbucks Card, which will earn you 150 Aeroplan points and an effective earning rate of 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent.
Therefore, if you drink Starbucks with any regularity at all, it makes sense to load your Starbucks Card in exact chunks of $75 every time.
(You’ll also notice that you don’t earn any Aeroplan points for loading or reloading amounts below $50. If you were previously in the habit of loading in chunks of, say, $25 at a time, it would now make sense to go ahead and load $50, or ideally $75, if you can.)
These Aeroplan points are in addition to the points that you’d earn for loading your Starbucks Card using an Aeroplan co-branded credit card.
Indeed, until November 7, 2021, the TD Aeroplan credit cards are offering 50% bonus Aeroplan points when you use the card to load or reload your Starbucks Card:
- TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum: 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on loading or reloading your Starbucks Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite: 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on loading or reloading your Starbucks Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege: 2.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on loading or reloading your Starbucks Card
- TD Aeroplan Visa Business: 2.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on loading or reloading your Starbucks Card
Therefore, by linking your Aeroplan and Starbucks Rewards accounts and then using a TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege or TD Aeroplan Visa Business to load or reload your Starbucks Card, you could earn up to 4.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on Starbucks.
Since we value Aeroplan points at 2.1 cents/point, that’s like getting an 8.93% return at Starbucks. Dare I say that Starbucks’s prices might actually seem reasonable now?!
One-Time Bonus for New Starbucks Rewards Members
If you’re new to Starbucks Rewards, you can earn a one-time bonus of 400 Aeroplan points simply for opening a new Starbucks Rewards account, linking your Aeroplan profile, and then making a purchase using the Starbucks app within one month of opening the account.
This is a very easy 400 Aeroplan points for those of you who haven’t yet participated in Starbucks Rewards, or who might’ve forgotten the password to your existing account.
Bonus Aeroplan Points on Starbucks Rewards Activities
There are also a few limited-time bonuses to “celebrate the launch” of the new partnership:
- 25 Aeroplan points when you make four or more qualifying transactions using Starbucks Rewards in a week, until June 6, 2021.
- 50 Aeroplan points when you redeem 150 Starbucks Stars two times or more in one calendar month, until May 31, 2021.
(Starbucks Stars are the in-house loyalty currency for Starbucks Rewards, which you’ll also earn in addition to your Aeroplan points. Now that many of us might be dabbling with the Starbucks Rewards program, we might take a deeper look into how Starbucks Stars work in a future article, too.)
As you can tell, these bonus amounts are pretty measly, and personally I don’t feel that they’re worth getting too jittery about.
If you were to earn the 25 Aeroplan points every week from now until June 6, as well as the 50 Aeroplan points for redeeming 150 Starbucks Stars twice in each of March, April, and May, you’d only earn 475 Aeroplan points – worth barely $10 by our current valuation.
It’s a nice extra bonus if you were a frequent Starbucks drinker anyway, but I can’t say it’d be worth going out of your way to rack up the Starbucks purchases or redeem your hard-earned Stars when you otherwise wouldn’t.
Redeem Aeroplan Points for Starbucks Cards
Finally, Aeroplan members now have the ability to redeem Aeroplan points for Starbucks Cards for a “discounted number of points” – starting at 1,000 Aeroplan points for a $10 Starbucks Card, for an effective redemption rate of 1 cent per point (cpp).
Now, that might be “discounted” from the usual redemption rate for gift cards (which is even poorer value), but 1cpp definitely pales in comparison to the much higher value you could attain for your Aeroplan points by redeeming them for flights and travel instead.
Indeed, we recommend at least 2.1cpp as a benchmark, and it’s easy to exceed 2.1cpp when redeeming for business class and First Class flights.
Bottom line, 1,000 Aeroplan points are worth far more than $10 towards coffee – so while it’s nice to have this option on paper, it won’t be particularly relevant for Aeroplan members who are looking to get the best value for their hard-earned points.
My Thoughts on the New Aeroplan + Starbucks Partnership
It’s not surprising in the slightest to see Starbucks Canada as the first of Aeroplan’s non-travel lifestyle partnerships.
Indeed, as I had mentioned a few months ago, the partnership was already being teased in one of Aeroplan’s spot ads. And in retrospect, the exclusive boost to earning rates on the TD Aeroplan credit cards were a tell-tale sign of a forthcoming formal partnership.
Partnerships like these with leading brands in Canada allow Aeroplan to offer members more earn-and-burn opportunities throughout their daily lives, even when they aren’t travelling. It’s a way to engage the casual Aeroplan member, who might not be quite as obsessed with travel like many of us are.
Take the average “urban professional”, for example, for whom a Starbucks coffee is a central fixture in their lives as they go about their daily coffee chats.
Many of these folks might not have bothered to sign up for Starbucks Rewards before, or they might’ve simply loaded their Starbucks Card in $25 chunks – now, it’ll be an easy decision to load up $75, collect 150 Aeroplan points, and getting an extra kick from their daily coffee knowing that it’s getting them closer to the next flight redemption.
Similarly, someone who had otherwise preferred Second Cup or Blenz Coffee might now be incentivized to stop by Starbucks instead. The premium partnership goes both ways.
Now, any Aeroplan member with some degree of savviness will realize that the redemption side of the partnership is far from the best value, and will focus on the earning opportunities while saving their Aeroplan points for their future flight redemptions.
But the truth is that there will probably be quite a handful of Aeroplan members who do choose to redeem for the “discounted” Starbucks Cards at 1 cent per point.
Some members will prefer that instant gratification of a Featured Dark Roast over their more distant travel goals – and by serving these members their exact drink of choice, Aeroplan can build up its authority as a prominent and top-of-mind loyalty program for all Canadians.
And speaking of which, it’s a timely opportunity for Aeroplan to be picking up these premium partnerships, especially as their rival Air Miles is losing partnerships left and right (Rexall, LCBO, Lowe’s, RONA, to name just a few).
It’ll be very interesting to see what partnerships lie ahead for Aeroplan as they continue to build out the program throughout 2021, and I’ll soon offer you some of my predictions as to what these new partnerships might be.
All that being said, while I think the effective earning rates of up to 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at Starbucks is reasonably rewarding, I do feel like Aeroplan could’ve handed us a bigger cup with the “celebratory launch offers”.
25 and 50 Aeroplan points (worth barely $0.50 and $1 by our valuations) for completing various Starbucks Rewards tasks feels a little bit stingy, and I think more fulsome offers here would’ve helped to drum up the excitement even further.
I suspect that we’ll see more rewarding offers in the Aeroplan and Starbucks partnership arriving in the future, perhaps when more of us are getting back to our offices and indulging in our Starbucks habits more frequently.
(As a final thought, if you’ve been racking up a Starbucks US balance in Canada thanks to the Amex US restaurants credits in 2021, then it’s actually possible to call Starbucks or visit any physical location and transfer that balance over to a Starbucks Canada account, which would then qualify you for some of the activity-based Aeroplan points bonuses. We’ll also have to see whether this counts as a reload for the purpose of earning Aeroplan points, too – it might be good to try transferring in chunks of exactly $75 in case it does.)
If you’re addicted to caffeine and travel in equal parts like me, then the new partnership between Aeroplan and Starbucks will be a perfect blend.
After linking their accounts, Aeroplan members will be able to earn up to 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at Starbucks, plus up to 2.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent by using a TD Aeroplan co-branded credit card through November 7.
There are also a couple of limited-time bonuses available for your Starbucks Rewards activity over the next few months, as well as the ability to redeem Aeroplan points for Starbucks Cards if you so choose.
Starbucks is the first of many lifestyle partnerships to come throughout the rest of the year. Once the full set of partnerships is in place, I’d expect the earning opportunities throughout our daily lives to be more plentiful than we’ve seen from any Canadian loyalty program in the past.