So far, we’ve seen them offer very high bonuses on a limited supply of available points, as well as the opportunity to earn Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) on purchased points. Now, they’re doing a Valentine’s Day promotion, where you get a bigger bonus if you gift points to someone else.
From now until February 14, 2021 at 11:59pm Eastern Time, you can earn an 80% bonus when you gift Aeroplan points to another member.
Gift Aeroplan Points with an 80% Bonus
Normally, Aeroplan sells points for 3 cents per point (CAD).
With this promotion, you earn a different bonus rate, depending on whom you are buying points for:
- 80% bonus when you gift points to someone else
- 40% bonus when you buy points for yourself
To clarify, gifting points refers to logging in on one account and purchasing new points for another account. This is not the same as transferring existing points from one account to another (at a relatively high cost of 2 cents per point).
At 40%, you can buy Aeroplan points for yourself at a rate of 2.14 cents per point. This is on par with our current valuation of 2.1 cents per point.
However, with an 80% bonus, you can gift Aeroplan points to another member at a rate of 1.67 cents per point, which is a steal compared to our current valuation.
At a blanket 80% bonus, this promotion is extremely competitive compared to historical levels.
Previously, we’ve seen Aeroplan offers bonuses of 115% and 90% on a limited supply (and with some much-maligned technical difficulties), followed by a mystery bonus of up to 75% – but only above a very high threshold of points purchased.
An 80% bonus is also a 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.
In fact, if you’re interested in buying points, I’d say this is Aeroplan’s best promotion yet. The 80% bonus is high, predictable, and doesn’t require any extra steps or purchasing above a certain threshold 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?
The minimum purchase for this promotion is 2,000 base points, so you can easily take advantage even if you don’t need to spend tons of cash for points right now.
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 + 280,000 (80%) bonus gifted points = 630,000 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 1.92cpp 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 1.67cpp 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
Obviously, if you’re going to capitalize on this promotion, you definitely want to gift points, not buy them.
With Aeroplan’s new Family Sharing feature, you can easily purchase points for your spouse and use them together. What better way to treat your boo for Valentine’s Day than to supercharge your points accounts for a whirlwind romantic getaway in the future?
Fortunately, for those of us lacking a partner in our lives, it’s easy to add others to your family pool. If you travel alone, you could purchase points for a distant uncle and redeem them for yourself, taking advantage of any status benefits you may have on your own account.
Also, if you want to purchase more than the maximum of 630,000 Aeroplan points per account under this promotion, you could do so by mutually gifting points between two family accounts.
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!
Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 3:1 ratio, with a bonus of 5,000 Aeroplan points when transferred in increments of 60,000 Bonvoy points.
At our present valuation of 0.9 cents per point, 60,000 Bonvoy points are worth $540. When transferred to an airline, that’s the equivalent of buying 25,000 Aeroplan points at 2.16 cents per point.
This is the same as the 40% bonus, and worse than the 80% bonus. I’d consider buying Aeroplan points with this promotion before turning to a top-up from Bonvoy, even if that’s usually your preferred use of Bonvoy points.
If you do want to earn Aeroplan via Bonvoy, you can earn rewards from other Amex credit cards: particularly their Marriott Bonvoy co-branded personal and business credit cards, as well as any cards that earn Membership Rewards Select points (which aren’t directly transferable to airlines): the Cobalt Card, which currently has a record high welcome bonus, or the Business Edge Card.
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 7x points event for Valentine’s Day going on.
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.
Also: 5x Points on Air Canada Gift Cards
Also as part of Aeroplan’s Valentine’s Day offers, you’ll earn up to 5x Aeroplan points if you purchase an Air Canada gift card for upcoming travel:
- You’ll earn 2x Aeroplan points if you purchase up to $750 worth of gift cards
- You’ll earn 5x Aeroplan points if you purchase $751+ worth of gift cards
For anyone planning to book upcoming paid travel with Air Canada, purchasing a gift card and then using it as your method of payment may be a good idea to earn additional Aeroplan points.
Now that the new Aeroplan program has moved under one roof with Air Canada, you can use gift cards towards the taxes and fees on Aeroplan redemptions too, simply by choosing the “Use Gift Card” option on the payment page.
Keep in mind that Air Canada gift cards are processed and distributed by Buyatab Online Inc., so they don’t code as an airline or travel purchase on your credit card.
Also, just like the eStore, many Aeroplan members have reported difficulties with receiving Aeroplan points from the last time this 5x gift cards promotion was offered during the Black Friday promotions. If you’re interested in this deal, be prepared to wait a fairly long time to receive your points.
Aeroplan‘s 80% bonus promotion on gifted points is a fantastic way to top-up your balance for high-value redemptions.
Previous points sales have either offered lower bonuses or a very limited supply at the higher bonus levels, so this 80% bonus event arguably represents the program’s strongest promotion on buying points to date.
I’d encourage you to ensure that you have Family Sharing set up first, as you’ll need to gift the points into a different account to get the full benefit of this promotion.
If you’re interested, make sure you purchase before February 14, 2021 to take advantage of this offer.