Aeroplan launched their new Buy & Gift Miles feature a few months ago, and drummed up lots of fanfare during their launch event with a spectacular 115% bonus on the first 10,000,000 miles sold followed by a 90% bonus on the remaining 100,000,000.
Now they’re back with a second Buy Miles offer, this time adding to the excitement with a Mystery Bonus in which each member is targeted for their own bonus amounts.
Starting today until July 14 at 11:59pm Eastern Time, you can earn a personalized bonus of up to 75% when you purchase Aeroplan miles – equivalent to a rate of 1.71 cents per point (cpp) – while earning up to 5,000 Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) towards your Air Canada Altitude status as well.
Mystery Bonus of Up to 75%
With this promotion, everyone will receive their own personalized Buy Miles offer in which the maximum possible bonus is 75%. You can reveal your own offer by following this link.
Here’s the offer I had received in my own Aeroplan account:
As you can see, the bonus amounts are likely to be staggered depending on the volume of miles you purchase.
Buy 2,000–50,000 miles = 25% bonus miles
Buy 60,000–170,000 miles = 40% bonus miles
Buy 180,000–240,000 miles = 60% bonus miles
Buy 250,000+ miles = 75% bonus miles
The default rate of purchasing Aeroplan miles directly from the program is 3cpp (CAD), so these bonuses effectively allow you to purchase at lower rates of 2.4cpp, 2.14cpp, 1.875cpp, and 1.71cpp respectively.
As before, all Buy Miles transactions made with US based cards with a US billing address are not subject to sales tax, so that’s obviously going to be more favourable than using a Canadian-issued credit card.
Unfortunately, because the transaction is processed by Points.com rather than directly via Air Canada, it doesn’t code as a travel purchase on most credit cards. The optimal credit card to use for buying Aeroplan miles would therefore be a US-issued card on which you need to meet a minimum spend.
The usual per-account limits on Aeroplan miles have been relaxed a little for this promotion: whereas previously the per-transaction limit was 250,000 miles, this time you can purchase up to 350,000 base miles in a single transaction (which would a total of 612,500 miles after the 75% bonus for $10,500).
Meanwhile, the usual annual purchase limit of 500,000 miles has also been revised upwards to 1,000,000 miles, which opens the door to buying miles during this event even if you had already purchased during the last Buy Miles offer.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the bonuses apply to the Gift Miles feature as well, meaning that you can designate a fellow Aeroplan member to receive the miles as a gift along with the bonus of up to 75%.
Earn Up to 5,000 Altitude Qualifying Dollars
For the first time, members will earn Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) equivalent to the amount they spend towards their Air Canada Altitude status, for a maximum possible gain of 5,000 AQD.
For those who aren’t familiar with AQD, it’s basically the spending requirement associated with every tier of Air Canada Altitude status. Along with flying a certain number of miles or segments, you also need to spend a certain amount of dollars with the airline in order to qualify for the next level up.
It makes sense for Air Canada to be attaching an AQD benefit to this Aeroplan mileage sale, as travellers who would’ve normally earned AQD from their flying activity this year are likely flying a lot less these days.
However, keep in mind that everyone’s Air Canada Altitude elite status has already been extended until the end of 2021 anyway, so the ability to earn AQD in the 2020 benefit year really only helps with two objectives:
Achieving a higher elite status tier than the one you currently have, keeping in mind that you’ll need to fulfill the mileage or segment requirement with Air Canada flying activity during the rest of 2020 as well
Organically earning the same elite status tier that you had coming into 2020, and then being able to gift that status to a friend or family member as part of this year’s modification to Altitude elite status
For example, let’s say that you’ve earned Prestige 25K status as part of the recent Travel at Home promotion.
If you were to earn 5,000 AQD from purchasing Aeroplan miles during this event, you will have already fulfilled the AQD requirement for the higher tier of Elite 35K (which requires only 4,000 AQD). However, you’d still need to fly either 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM) or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS) in order to earn Elite 35K for 2021.
Meanwhile, if you had earned Prestige 25K status last year and now have it extended through 2021, then you’ll be able to gift Prestige 25K status to a friend or family member by racking up 3,000 AQD (perhaps via this promotion) along with either 25,000 AQM or 25 AQS through organic flying activity this year.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the opportunity to earn 5,000 AQD from this promotion doesn’t actually help anyone renew their status beyond 2021, since it only counts for the 2020 qualifying year (as it’ll be deposited in your account by August 31, 2020).
I’d note one final interesting angle: the requirement for Super Elite status is normally a whopping 20,000 AQD, and is halved to 10,000 AQD for those who reside outside of Canada. If you purchased Aeroplan miles and earned 5,000 AQD via this promotion, you’d only need 5,000 AQD left, along with the flying requirements of 100,000 AQM or 95 AQS to attain Super Elite – which is perhaps the lowest effective spending requirement I’ve ever seen associated with top-tier Super Elite status.
You can click here to read our detailed guide to the Air Canada Altitude program, including the regular qualification requirements and the wealth of benefits and privileges you’d enjoy when flying with Air Canada.
Should You Buy Aeroplan Miles with This Bonus?
My thoughts on the value proposition of buying Aeroplan miles are largely the same as before.
The 75% bonus, if you’re targeted for it, is pretty attractive on paper – not quite as good as the 115% or 90% bonuses the first time around, but then again, this time you don’t need to play Russian roulette with the limited-quantity bonuses and risk losing out on the elevated bonus altogether.
Based on my personalized offer, however, the fact that the 75% bonus only kicks in when buying 250,000 miles makes this promotion a lot less attractive, because I certainly can’t imagine dropping $7,500 on mileage purchases in this climate – even with 5,000 AQDs thrown in – unless I had a very firm, specific, and immediate travel redemption in mind.
I wouldn’t bother with any of the bonuses lower than 75%, keeping in mind the fact that you can already effectively earn a 65% bonus on Aeroplan miles by taking advantage of the option to convert Air Canada tickets into Aeroplan miles at a 65% bonus (albeit with a major delay in the time it takes for the miles to post to your account).
Whether or not the 75% bonus is worthwhile to you will depend on your upcoming travel goals and how badly you need the miles, keeping in mind that Quarter 4 of 2020 will likely see major changes to the Aeroplan program as a whole. In general, I’d advise you to only consider purchasing miles if both of the following conditions apply:
You had a particular redemption in mind where you are certain to get a higher value than the 1.71cpp you’re paying
You need to have these miles on hand more urgently than you can take advantage of the multitude of cheaper ways to acquire Aeroplan miles out there, such as signing up for TD, CIBC, or American Express credit cards
One additional reason you might want to take advantage of this promotion is to arbitrage with the current Double Rewards promotion on the Amex Platinum Card, which is ending soon on July 20. If you had lots of MR points lying around and were considering moving them to Aeroplan, then the arbitrage method can give you a better transfer ratio than the pure 1:1 transfer.
Either way, we know that Air Canada has been aggressively leveraging the loyalty program to help its business goals over the past few months, and a renewed Buy Miles promotion indicates to me that we’re back in the “raising cash” phase of those goals.
After this promotion ends, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another big redemption deal, like the 50% Miles Back sale, as we move into the “getting liabilities off the books” phase – maybe even with an “exciting new partners” phase thrown in. 😉
Aeroplan’s second Buy & Gift Miles event rewards members with a Mystery Bonus of up to 75% on their mileage purchases – an effective rate of 1.71cpp. While this isn’t as good as the 115% or 90% bonus the first time around, it does allow all Aeroplan members to participate, instead of limiting it to the first batch of miles sold.
However, in the case of my personalized offer, the requirement to purchase at least 250,000 miles for the 75% bonus to kick in makes things a lot less attractive – I’d be more inclined to take advantage of the 65% effective bonus through the Air Canada cancellation policy instead.
If you do choose to purchase miles, you’ll also be rewarded with Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) based on the amount you spend, up to a maximum of 5,000 AQD, which can help you achieve a higher level of elite status this year or gift your current level of elite status to a loved one.