Once you get in the habit of earning and redeeming regularly, points expiring due to inactivity is something that barely ever crosses your mind. However, I’ve noticed that it tends to be one of the most pressing concerns amongst newcomers who may not touch their accounts quite as much.
Aeroplan‘s expiration policy has changed drastically for the better over the past couple of years. Today, Aeroplan has announced both an extension to its pandemic-related pause on points expiration, and the eventual return to its regular expiration policy.
Let’s take a look at the details.
Aeroplan’s No-Expiry Policy Through May 2023
In an effort to keep members engaged, many loyalty programs put a pause on their regular expiration policies as travellers changed their earning and redeeming habits during the pandemic.
Aeroplan was no exception to this, and for the past two years, points that would have otherwise expired have remained valid indefinitely.
This means that its regular policy, where you’d have to do some sort of earning or redeeming activity within a rolling 18-month period, has been put on hold. Account holders didn’t have to do any sort of earning or redeeming to keep their points active.
Aeroplan has now announced that this non-expiry policy will be extended through May 30, 2023. Before that date, any Aeroplan points which should have expired will not expire.
Aeroplan’s Regular Expiration Policy
As of May 31, 2023, the regular expiration policy resumes.
The policy is quite simple: if there has not been any eligible earning or redeeming activity in an account for 18 months, your points will expire.
(For clarity, this means that if you haven’t had any eligible activity over the past 18 months as of May 31, 2023, your points will expire on that date.)
To keep track of your account’s expiration date, simply log-in to your Aeroplan account, click on “My Aeroplan”, and then head over to the “Activity” tab. Your account’s expiration date, if any, will be listed on this page.
How to Prevent Aeroplan Points from Expiring
Fortunately, keeping your account active with earning or redeeming activity is quite asy.
There are a host of ways to prevent your account from expiring through earning, including:
- Taking a paid flight with Air Canada or a Star Alliance airline and crediting the points to your Aeroplan number
- Booking a hotel or car rental through Aeroplan’s portal
- Earning Aeroplan points from a partner hotel, such as Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
- Buying Aeroplan points
- Shopping online through the Aeroplan eStore
- Showing your Aeroplan card in-store at participating partners
- Linking your Uber and Aeroplan accounts, and then completing a ride
- Linking your Starbucks and Aeroplan accounts, and then buying coffee
- Transferring points from another program, such as American Express Membership Rewards, to Aeroplan
You can also get qualifying Aeroplan activity through a number of redemption options, including:
- Making a flight booking using your Aeroplan points
- Transferring your points to another Aeroplan member (at a cost)
- Donating your points to a charity through Aeroplan
- Redeeming your points for a car rental, hotel, or merchandise
- Buying Wi-Fi on board a flight with Air Canada using your Aeroplan points
- Using your points to bid for an upgrade
Furthermore, if you belong to a Family Sharing group and someone in the group makes a redemption, it counts as a qualifying activity for all members in the group. As long as someone in your Family Sharing group makes a booking every 18 months, everybody’s accounts will remain active.
If you have Aeroplan Elite Status, or if you are less than 18 years old, your Aeroplan points will not expire under any circumstances.
Perhaps the easiest way to keep your Aeroplan points active is to simply hold any of the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards. As long as you hold one of these credit cards, your points won’t expire.
Note that you must be the primary cardholder to be exempted from points expiration. Any supplementary cardholders will not benefit from this policy in their individual accounts.
Up to 90,000 Aeroplan points
105,000 Aeroplan points
90,000 Aeroplan points
55,000 Aeroplan points
45,000 Aeroplan points
Up to 60,000 Aeroplan points
90,000 Aeroplan points
Up to 50,000 Aeroplan points
60,000 Aeroplan points
20,000 Aeroplan points
10,000 Aeroplan points
Aeroplan’s Mileage Reinstatement Options
If you have managed to let your points expire, there are a few easy ways to have your entire balance reinstated.
One way is to book and take a paid flight with Air Canada within six months of your points expiring. As long as you paid for the flight with cash and the flight takes place within six months of your account’s expiration, all of your points will be reinstated.
Note that Aeroplan bookings, including Points + Cash bookings, are not eligible here.
If you sign up and are approved for an Aeroplan co-branded credit card within six months of your account’s expiry, all of your points will be reinstated as well.
If you made an eligible purchase of a hotel, car rental, or flight, you are also able to retroactively request Aeroplan points for it if you forgot to attach your number at the time of booking.
For hotel stays and car rentals, you must make the missing points request within six months of travel. For eligible flights, you must make the missing points request within 11 months of travel.
Finally, if you’re unable to fulfill the requirements within the six-month grace period nor make any valid retroactive claims for your Aeroplan points, then you always have the option of buying back your points.
It’s often the case that there are cheaper ways to reacquire the points, such as signing up for a new credit card with a big signup bonus.
When combined with the generosity of the six-month grace period for reinstating your miles, my sense is that very few Aeroplan members will be taking up the offer of buying back the points for a fee.
How Does Aeroplan’s Expiry Policy Compare?
Most of the world’s loyalty programs also operate on a similar expiration policy to Aeroplan’s. Among the major programs we frequently discuss, the expiration policies are as follows:
Alaska Mileage Plan: Miles will be deactivated after 24 months of inactivity, and can be reactivated at no cost within one year of their expiration.
British Airways Avios: Miles will expire after 36 months of inactivity.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: Miles will expire after 18 months of inactivity.
Marriott Bonvoy: Points will expire after 24 months of inactivity.
Hilton Honors: Points will expire after 12 months of inactivity.
WestJet Rewards: WestJet Dollars will not expire.
Meanwhile, bank rewards or transferrable rewards (like Amex MR, RBC Avion, CIBC Aventura, or Scene+) are generally kept alive as long as you continue to hold the associated credit card, or apply for a different credit card within the same family to keep the points alive before cancelling your current one.
Aeroplan has announced the eventual return to its regular expiration policy after it paused points expiration for the pandemic. All points will remain active until May 30, 2023, and as of May 31, 2023, the regular expiration policy resumes.
Under these rules, no one should be losing out on their hard-earned Aeroplan points due to the expiry policy, as they always have the option of easily reinstating their miles by re-engaging if they happen to lose interest in the program for a while.
If you find yourself in that unfortunate position, then an Air Canada flight or a new Aeroplan credit card might come to your rescue.
But it’s best to prevent your points from expiring in the first place through one of the many simple ways to generate activity on your account – or better yet, by earning and redeeming large volumes of Aeroplan points for travel more regularly.