So far, we’ve seen them offer an opportunity to earn Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) on purchased points, a gifting bonus, and some very high bonuses of 100% or more.
For this round, you’ll earn more bonus points the more you buy. From now until October 11, 2021 at 11:59pm Eastern Time, you can earn up to an 80% bonus when you buy or gift Aeroplan points.
Buy 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 the quantity of points you buy in one transaction. Here’s the breakdown I’m seeing on my account:
- 80% bonus when you buy 110,000–350,000 points
- 70% bonus when you buy 60,000–105,000 points
- 60% bonus when you buy 20,000–55,000 points
- 50% bonus when you buy 5,000–19,000 points
Other Aeroplan members may see different thresholds, so be sure to check the exact offer available to you.
In fact, there’s an alternate offer going around, framed as a discount rather than a bonus:
- 45% discount when you buy 110,000–350,000 points
- 40% discount when you buy 50,000–100,000 points
- 35% discount when you buy 10,000–45,000 points
- 30% discount when you buy 2,000–9,000 points
With an 80% bonus, you can buy Aeroplan points at a price of 1.67 cents per point. That’s much lower than our current valuation of 2.1 cents per point, making it a great rate at which to pick up Aeroplan points if you have a future use-case in mind.
(If you have the offer with a discount, the cents per point cost is about the same, within a few hundredths of a cent.)
As usual, buying or gifting points doesn’t 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?
Since the launch of the Buy & Gift Points feature, Aeroplan has been allowing each member to buy up to 1,000,000 points per calendar year. That’s an enormously generous limit, much higher than other loyalty programs offer for buying points.
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 across a few transactions is 1,000,000 base points + 800,000 (80%) bonus points = 1,800,000 points.
If you buy the maximum, it would cost you $30,000 for 1,800,000 points. Surely a steep price to pay, but not unreasonable if you frequently fly long-haul routes in business or First Class, given that those points would easily score you at least six round-trip journeys anywhere in the world in premium cabins.
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.
If you must use a Canadian credit card, you’ll be acquiring Aeroplan points at approximately 1.87cpp depending on your provincial tax rate. That’s still not a bad rate, coming in below our valuation.
Who Should Buy Aeroplan Points?
Travel on Long-Haul Partner Airlines
Although the purchase price of 1.67cpp is much 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 1,000,000 Aeroplan points per account per year.
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 or kids) and redeem them out of your own account for your own trips. Across all linked accounts, your family could purchase up to 8,000,000 points per year.
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 20 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 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 Aeroplan Reserve Card represents buying points at 0.44 cents per point, with an annual fee of $599 for 135,000 points after reaching the minimum spend requirement. Plus, you’d get all the perks of being a premium Aeroplan cardholder.
On the other hand, if you prefer to keep costs down and earn points more slowly, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card and the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card are great choices. Both are currently offering a first-year annual fee waiver and a welcome bonus of 20,000–25,000 Aeroplan points plus an Air Canada Buddy Pass. The best cost to acquire points is no cost!
Finally, consider splitting the difference: go for the American Express Aeroplan Card, currently offering 40,000 Aeroplan points plus a Buddy Pass for a very reasonable annual fee of $120. You’ll receive the Buddy Pass from American Express as soon as you meet the spending requirement, in time to convert it into 30,000 points before the deadline on November 30.
In total, you’d effectively earn a welcome bonus of 70,000 points. At that rate, you’re looking at a fantastic price of 0.17 cents per point.
It’s worth noting that the current American Express credit card offers distribute the welcome bonus on a monthly basis, not all at once. Therefore, if you need the points right away, it might be better to take advantage of this Buy & Gift Points promotion, even at a higher cost than a new credit card.
US Credit Cards
American Express’s Membership Rewards cards in the US can also be transferred 1:1 to Aeroplan, and currently with a 20% bonus until September 30. 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. Keep an eye out for a possible Back to School promotion, and then dates like Thanksgiving and Christmas/Boxing Day.
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.
As you decide whether this promotion is a good opportunity for you to meet your travel goals, here’s a look back at Aeroplan’s past bonuses on purchasing points:
Up to 80% more purchased points
September 27, 2021
October 11, 2021
Up to 80% more purchased points
July 19, 2021
July 30, 2021
60% more purchased points
May 26, 2021
June 1, 2021
Up to 100% more purchased points
March 22, 2021
April 2, 2021
Up to 80% more gifted points
February 3, 2021
February 14, 2021
50% more purchased points
November 19, 2020
November 29, 2020
Up to 75% more purchased points, qualifying for Elite Status
July 7, 2020
July 12, 2020
Limited supply up to 115% more purchased points
May 7, 2020
May 13, 2020
Aeroplan‘s 80% bonus promotion on purchased points is a good rate for buying Aeroplan points. However, unless you need an urgent top-up for a specific high-value redemption, there are better and cheaper ways to acquire points for discounted award travel.
Still, if you do tend to fund your award tickets with purchased points, now would be a great time to buy. An 80% bonus is about as good as I’d expect to see on a regular basis, with 100%+ bonuses being very rare.
With Aeroplan’s free cancellation policy ending on September 30, it’s quite tempting to amass as many points as possible immediately, for flexible bookings through the upcoming year. However, note that purchased points “generally” arrive within 72 hours, cutting it extremely close to the deadline if you buy today. I’d only do this if you’re comfortable with the risk that your bookings will be subject to a cancellation fee.
If you’re interested in buying points, make sure you purchase before October 11, 2021 to take advantage of this offer.