As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to ramp up and businesses return to normal, summer travel in Canada is about to explode. Availability is getting picked over and prices are already shooting up.
At the same time, there are lots of incredible deals available. From now until July 7, 2021, you can earn more Aeroplan points when you book a hotel stay in Vancouver.
Earn 20,000 Aeroplan Points
When you book an eligible Vancouver hotel via the Aeroplan website, you’ll earn a bonus of up to 20,000 Aeroplan points.
The number of points you’ll earn is determined by the length of your stay:
- One night: 5,000 bonus Aeroplan points
- Two nights: 10,000 bonus Aeroplan points
- Three or more nights: 20,000 bonus Aeroplan points
Clearly, the sweet spot is three-night stays. You’ll earn a bonus of 6,666 Aeroplan points per night.
That’s in addition to the standard points you’d earn for using the Aeroplan portal, although those won’t move the needle much by themselves. You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on the cash rate, or more with a higher Aeroplan Elite Status tier.
You’ll earn the bonus points if you book by July 7, and stay between June 21 and December 15.
If you’ve got a trip planned to the west coast, you could use this promotion to significantly offset your costs.
Here’s an example for the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, going for $189/night (including taxes and fees) on a November weekend:
With this promotion, you’d earn the standard points kickback of 1,132 Aeroplan points, plus a bonus 20,000 points, for a total of 21,132 Aeroplan points.
Valued at 2.1 cents per point, this represents a discount valued at $444. That brings the cost of a three-night stay down to $122, or $41/night.
You’d pay a modest premium over the rate for booking directly with Marriott, but for an extra $10/night cash outlay, this is a screaming deal you can’t miss.
However, I’m encouraged by the fact that the list of participating hotels is very similar to the Stay Vancouver promotion, which does grant status benefits and elite nights for Marriott hotels.
I’d suggest reaching out to the hotel to attach your membership number to the booking. Worst case scenario, assuming you’ve booked a refundable rate, they say no, and then you can decide whether you’d prefer to cancel and rebook with Bonvoy for perks, or keep your booking for a juicy Aeroplan rebate.
Alternatively, this would be a good opportunity to sample some of the city’s non-chain hotels, to try other brands whose loyalty programs you aren’t heavily invested in, or to enjoy a well-located budget option.
An Arbitrage Opportunity to Buy Points!
While cash prices fluctuate, the bonus is the same for all properties, and for all eligible dates. Paired with a low nightly cash rate, you just might find a good opportunity to effectively buy Aeroplan points at a steep discount.
I’ve found one set of dates at The Burrard going for $272 for three nights (including taxes and fees):
Forget about the hotel for a minute. Essentially, you’d be able to buy 20,000+ Aeroplan points for $272. Let’s break down your potential points earnings:
- 20,000 Aeroplan points for the promotional bonus
- 1,359 Aeroplan points for the standard points as an Elite 25K member, at 5 points per dollar spent
In total, depending on your elite status, you could swap $272 cash for 21,359 Aeroplan points. In other words, you can buy Aeroplan points for 1.27 cents per point.
Plus, you’d also earn regular rewards on credit card spending when you make the purchase, bringing your cents per point cost down further when you use an Aeroplan co-branded credit card. Even without any credit card rewards or Aeroplan Elite status, you’d still be getting a price no worse than 1.32 cents per point as a basic Aeroplan member.
These are much better rates than buying points outright, which rarely dips below 1.5 cents (plus tax) per point. In fact, you wouldn’t even need to redeem for flights worth 2.1 cents per point for this opportunity to be worth it – you could set your redemption targets much lower.
For any flight redemption above 1.27 cents per point, you’d come out ahead this way. Rather than paying cash for the flight, you’d pay cash for the hotel, and book the flight with points instead.
This price should be much more appealing to a broader spectrum of award travellers, including those who mostly use Aeroplan points for domestic flights. It’s often a better bet to buy points at a higher rate only if you’re specifically using them for overseas premium cabins or other expensive tickets, whereas the value of buying points outright is not as apparent if you aren’t a frequent luxury traveller.
If you like the price, you could choose to view it as a great rate to buy Aeroplan points, with the hotel stay as the free bonus!
Even without a trip to Vancouver planned, you could still take advantage of this promotion. There’s nothing stopping you from treating a local friend – or your favourite Prince of Travel writer – to a low-key staycation. 😉
After all, Miles & Points is all about arbitrage opportunities. It’s always important to look for creative ways to travel more for less. A little short-term cash investment can pay off down the road when you encounter great opportunities to redeem those points at higher value.
What About Paying with Points?
The Aeroplan hotel portal doesn’t get a lot of fanfare. The status benefits are hit or miss, the rewards usually aren’t attention-grabbing, and the rate for booking with points is poor.
Normally, when you book via the Aeroplan website, you won’t earn Aeroplan points when you pay for your travel with Aeroplan points – only if you pay with cash. For this promotion, you will earn the bonus component of 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000 points when you pay with points, you just won’t earn the standard points.
However, the points costs are still not worth it. Let’s take the previous example of the Sheraton: for a three-night stay, you could either pay $566 cash, or 72,000 Aeroplan points.
Using points here would be a horrific choice, with a redemption value of only 0.79 cents per point. The promotional 20,000 points is a wash, as you’d earn it either way, so you can’t even treat it like a discount on the points cost.
That’s not even considering standard points you’d miss, or the points on credit card spending. Overall, if you’ve got a Vancouver hotel stay coming up, it’s a much better choice to pay cash and save your points for a future redemption.
Aeroplan is offering up to 20,000 points when you book a three-night hotel stay in Vancouver. Book now before July 7, 2021, for travel dates between June 21 and December 15, to take advantage of this promotion.
Whether or not you have your eyes on a trip to Vancouver, the value of this hot deal is undeniable. You can treat it like a discount on your stay, or as an arbitrage opportunity to flip into greater future travel value.