Aeroplan® should be a familiar program with Canadians. This is the frequent flyer program for Air Canada.
Aeroplan® miles are earned by flying with Air Canada and other Star AllianceTM airlines. Star AllianceTM is the largest global airline network in terms of daily flights, destinations, and countries to which it flies, and number of member airlines within the alliance.
The Aeroplan® miles you earn are based on the distance you fly, and the fare option you purchase.
The Aeroplan® program rewards members who book their tickets with the highest fares. Currently, travel booked with a Tango fare (the lowest price) receives only 25% of the possible Aeroplan® Miles, and members flying in the highest fare classes, Executive Class Flexible and Executive Class Lowest, earn a 25 to 50 percent mileage bonus. When flying on partner airlines in the Star Alliance, you will generally earn 100 percent of miles flown, although mileage earning varies with the partner and fare class.
Aeroplan® has an extensive list of earning partners, including hotels, car rentals, online retailers, credit cards, financial services, and more.
When redeeming your Aeroplan® miles for travel with Air Canada, the program has two categories, ClassicFlight and Market Fare. ClassicFlight awards are capacity controlled and Market Fare awards offer access to more seats for variable mileage levels, and are only available on Air Canada and Air Canada Express.
Roundtrip economy class ClassicFlight awards within Canada and the U.S. are 15,000 miles for selected short-haul flights, and 25,000 miles for long-haul flights. Business class ClassicFlight awards are 25,000 miles for short-haul flights, and 50,000 miles for long-haul flights. Flights from Canada to Hawaii are 45,000 miles in coach, and 80,000 miles in business. Flights to Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean are 40,000 miles in coach, and 60,000 miles in business; flights to Europe 1 are 60,000 miles in coach, and 90,000 miles in business; and to flights to Asia 1 are 75,000 miles in coach and 150,000 miles in business.
Market Fare Flight Rewards offer access to a greater choice of flight departures, routes, and travel times at higher mileage levels on Air Canada flights.
If you travel enough with Air Canada and their select airline partners, you can qualify for elite status. As an Elite, Super Elite, or Prestige member, you can enjoy great benefits, upgrades, and even bonus Aeroplan® miles on every flight.
Aeroplan has created another program called Distinction. The program awards the top accumulating Aeroplan® members with Distinction status and benefits. The great thing about Distinction is that you can earn Distinction miles without even flying!
Eligible miles are miles earned in the Aeroplan® Program directly at participating partners and include base and certain bonus mile offers. Unless otherwise indicated at the time of offer, the following miles are not eligible for Distinction status: financial card sign-up; bonus miles received as a benefit of the Air Canada Altitude program or Aeroplan® Distinction status; miles accumulated through conversion from other programs or transfers between member accounts, top-up miles, contest prizes, and reinstated miles.
Here is a breakdown of the different Distinction levels:
|Level||How to Qualify|
|dSilver||25,000 eligible miles accumulated during the calendar year.|
|dBlack||50,000 eligible miles accumulated during the calendar year.|
|dDiamond||100,000 eligible miles accumulated during the calendar year.|
For any given calendar year, Distinction status is based on the number of eligible miles earned by a member between January 1 and December 31 of the previous calendar year. For example, 2015 Distinction status is based on the number of eligible miles earned by a member in 2014. Members who reach a certain level during the qualifying year will be eligible to receive the benefits immediately upon achieving a certain level and their new Distinction status will be valid until December 31 of the following calendar year.
Members are required to requalify for Distinction status for the following year. For example, those members who enjoyed Distinction status in 2015 must earn the required number of eligible miles in 2015 to continue to enjoy Distinction status in 2016.
Here are some of the benefits having Distinction in the Aeroplan program:
- Reduced mileage levels on Market Fare Flight Rewards.
Distinction members get up to 35% off.
- Distinction Flights.
Distinction members receive an invitation for flights leaving from major Canadian cities for peak period travel to popular destinations. 100% of the seats are reserved exclusively for Distinction members and offered at the ClassicFlight Rewards mileage level.
- Air Canada Getaway Bonus on eligible roundtrips.
Get up to 1,500 Distinction bonus miles for every eligible roundtrip that includes a Saturday night stay when you fly with Air Canada to more than 25 popular destinations such as Florida, New York, California, London and Paris.
- Distinction bonus on hotel stays accumulation.
dDiamond and dBlack members get 250 Distinction bonus miles per stay with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Marriott® and Starwood Hotels & Resorts®, on up to 20 stays per year, for up to a maximum of 5,000 Distinction bonus miles per calendar year. This is in addition to the base miles they will earn per stay. To be eligible for this bonus, members must earn miles in the Aeroplan® Program at the time of stay. Fairmont redemption stays are also eligible for this bonus.
- Bonus with Aeroplan eStore.
Get up to 3X the miles per dollar spent when you shop online with your favourite Aeroplan® eStore retailers.
On the Aeroplan® website, you will see all the options they have available, including flights, hotels, car rentals, activities, merchandise, and vacation packages. These additional options are great for added flexibility, but redeeming for flight rewards usually gives you the best return for your Aeroplan® miles.
- Large number of Canadian retailers available to earn Aeroplan® miles (From Sobeys to Esso).
- Excellent value for short-haul flights (i.e. Toronto to New York, Vancouver to Edmonton), with just 15,000 Aeroplan® miles required.
- Air Canada allows for a free stopover on any ClassicFlight reward ticket redemption (i.e. so you can stop in Toronto for your flight from Vancouver to St. Johns).
- You can earn and redeem Aeroplan® miles for flights on regional Canadian carriers (non-Star AllianceTM members): Bearskin Airlines (Manitoba and Northern Ontario), Air North (flyairnorth.com), and the Yukon Territories’ official airlines, which reach eight destinations in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta and Alaska, as well as Canadian North (canadiannorth.com) and First Air (firstair.ca). Central Canada is served by Calm Air (calmair.com), which features destinations in Manitoba and Nunavut; and Bearskin Airlines (bearskinairlines.com), which serves Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec.
- Aeroplan® imposes hefty fuel surcharges when booking with many Star Alliance partners, including Air Canada.
- Challenges of earning many Aeroplan® miles when booking low cost Tango fares.
- Charges for award changes and cancellations with award travel bookings.
- Lack of availability of flights for Classic Flight rewards.
- 12-month mileage expiration policy. In order to keep your Aeroplan® account active and to avoid the expiration of all miles in the account, you must make at least one qualifying transaction every 12 months.