So far, we’ve seen them offer very high bonuses on a limited supply of available points, an opportunity to earn Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) on purchased points, and a gifting bonus on Valentine’s Day earlier this year.
From now until April 2, 2021 at 11:59pm Eastern Time, you can earn a 100% bonus when you buy Aeroplan points, which is one of the best bonuses we’ve seen so far and a great opportunity to boost your Aeroplan balance for any future trips.
Buy Aeroplan Points with a 100% Bonus
Normally, Aeroplan sells points for 3 cents per point (CAD).
With this promotion, you earn a different bonus rate depending on the quantity of points you buy in one transaction. I’m seeing the following bonus structure on my account:
- 60% bonus when you buy 3,000–19,000 points
- 80% bonus when you buy 20,000–55,000 points
- 100% bonus when you buy 60,000–350,000 points
Other Aeroplan members appear to have been targeted for a different bonus structure with slightly lower minimum purchase amounts:
- 60% bonus when you buy 2,000–9,000 points
- 80% bonus when you buy 10,000–45,000 points
- 100% bonus when you buy 50,000–350,000 points
At the maximum bonus of 100%, you can buy Aeroplan points for yourself at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. This is much lower than our current valuation of 2.1 cents per point, making it a fantastic rate at which to pick up Aeroplan points if you have a future use-case in mind.
Previously, we’ve seen Aeroplan offer a bonus of up to 115%, but on a very limited supply that was tough for most members to participate in. We’ve also seen a mystery bonus of up to 75%, but only above a very high threshold of points purchased.
Furthermore, a 100% bonus is also a much stronger option than converting an Air Canada ticket into Aeroplan points or using the Points + Cash feature to “buy back” up to 40% of the points when making a redemption – both of which net you only a 65% bonus.
Indeed, if you’re interested in buying points, I’d say this is Aeroplan’s best promotion yet. The 100% bonus is high, predictable, and only requires a fairly reasonable minimum threshold of 50,000–60,000 Aeroplan points to unlock.
As usual, buying or gifting points does not contribute to your Aeroplan Elite Status. We’ve previously seen a promotion for buying points which also counted towards Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD), but that’s not the case this time around.
How many Aeroplan points can you buy?
Each Aeroplan account can purchase up to a whopping 500,000 base points per calendar year. Buying and gifting points both count towards the same limit.
Usually, Aeroplan imposes a limit of 250,000 base points per transaction, although for this promotion the limit is increased to 350,000. Bonus miles don’t count towards your yearly maximum with Aeroplan.
With this promotion, the most you could buy in a single transaction is 350,000 base points + 350,000 (100%) bonus purchased points = 700,000 points.
If you buy the maximum, it would cost you $10,500. Surely a steep price to pay, but I can’t think of a faster way to rack up enough points for 3–4 round-trip overseas business class tickets, which would otherwise quickly outstrip that initial cost.
Which credit card should you use to buy Aeroplan points?
As Aeroplan points purchases are processed by Points.com, you won’t be able to earn category accelerators on Air Canada or travel purchases.
Note that buying or gifting Aeroplan points with a Canadian credit card will result in GST/HST being added to the total, which would erode the value of your purchase.
Therefore, the ideal way to make your purchase would be to use a US credit card, in which case GST/HST is not levied. You could use this opportunity to make progress towards a minimum spending requirement on a new US credit card; otherwise, use a card that offers a strong return on everyday spending.
Even if you must use a Canadian credit card, you’ll be acquiring Aeroplan points at 1.73cpp in the worst case, which remains very good value.
Who Should Buy Aeroplan Points?
Travel on Long-Haul Partner Airlines
Although the purchase price of 1.5cpp is lower than our current valuation of Aeroplan points at 2.1cpp, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re guaranteed to get the same value for your booking.
Before buying points, it’s important to consider Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing model. Award ticket prices on Air Canada flights are still a bit unpredictable. Points costs rise and fall, more closely mirroring cash costs, so there isn’t as clear an advantage to buying points and making a points booking.
Instead, you can benefit by flying on Air Canada’s partner airlines, where award tickets are at a fixed points price based on distance and region. There are certainly many more sweet spots to be had where you can stretch the value you get for your up-front cash costs.
In general, I wouldn’t speculatively buy points if you tend to travel on dynamically-priced routes. There’s a lot more risk in making a speculative points purchase if you can’t guarantee the value you’ll get – in that case, I’d prefer to earn the slow way.
On the other hand, if you’re confident that you’ll often have opportunities to redeem points above the price you pay, now is as good a time as any to load up.
Families Who Share Points
With Aeroplan’s new Family Sharing feature, you can easily purchase points on multiple accounts within a household and use them together.
That’s especially the case if you want to purchase more than the maximum of 700,000 Aeroplan points per account under this promotion, or if you’ve already purchased points earlier this year but would like to exceed your annual cap of 500,000 base points purchased.
You can purchase points on up to eight Aeroplan accounts under the same Family Sharing pool (including any distant uncles if you don’t have a partner) and redeem them out of your own account for your own trips.
Other Ways to Earn Aeroplan Points
Although this is a great deal on paper, there are no shortage of easy and affordable ways to earn Aeroplan points. You should always consider if you can reach the balance you want, on the timeline you’ll need it, in other ways.
Credit Cards by TD, CIBC, and American Express
By my count, Canada has no less than 19 credit cards that either earn Aeroplan points directly, or earn points that can be transferred to Aeroplan. That’s an enormous number of welcome bonuses you can collect, not to mention some strong ongoing earn rates on everyday spending.
In particular, the main cards you should be looking at are any co-branded Aeroplan credit card from TD, CIBC, or American Express, or any American Express charge card that earns Membership Rewards which can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.
Generally, signup bonuses are the most affordable way to “buy” points. The fastest way is via premium cards with high fees and higher bonuses.
For example, the American Express Business Platinum Card represents buying points at 0.6 cents per point, with an annual fee of $499 for 83,750 points after reaching the minimum spend requirement.
On the other hand, if you prefer to keep costs down and earn points more slowly, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite are great choices. Both are currently offering a first-year annual fee waiver and a welcome bonus of 20,000 Aeroplan points. The best cost to acquire points is no cost!
US Credit Cards
American Express’s Membership Rewards cards in the US can also be transferred 1:1 to Aeroplan. However, they have a much wider variety of unique transfer partners that are otherwise unavailable to Canadians.
With so many other ways to earn Aeroplan points in Canada, I prefer to save my US Membership Rewards for other purposes. I’d only transfer them to Aeroplan as a last resort for a quick top-up.
You may also turn to the Aeroplan eStore for bonuses on online purchases at many popular retailers ranging from technology to sportswear companies.
High bonuses can often be found around big shopping days, and indeed there’s currently a 5x points event to accompany the 100% bonus on buying Aeroplan points, until April 4, 2021.
There’s even a limited-time 5x bonus on Apple products until March 24, 2021, which covers many of the latest new products in Apple’s lineup.
You can access the shopping portal from your Aeroplan account. Unfortunately, there have been many technical difficulties since the new website launched in November, and points haven’t been awarded reliably.
While this is a good way to pad your balance, I wouldn’t count on it for an urgent top-up at this point in time.
Previous points sales have either offered lower bonuses or a very limited supply at the higher bonus levels, so this 100% bonus event arguably represents the program’s strongest promotion on buying points to date.
If you’re interested, make sure you purchase before April 2, 2021 to take advantage of this offer.