Yes, I am well aware that Aeroplan isn’t the best points program out there. However, being that Air Canada more or less has a monopoly in Canada, their points are generally the easiest to collect. If you're Canadian, cards like the American Express Aeroplan Gold Card, the TD Visa Infinite Aeroplan, and the CIBC Infinite Aeroplan Visa offer the best airline rewards programs in Canada. So how do you make the most of it?
I'll come flat out and admit it, I'm an Aeroplan addict. I have multiple credit cards and run all my personal and business expenses through my cards to accumulate the most miles possible. Over the years I have redeemed my Aeroplan miles for multiple trans-Atlantic flights, but where you are going to get the best bang for your buck is flights within Canada or flying business class to Asia.
It’s a good idea to have a redemption objective and standardized process to see whether your Aeroplan redemption is really a ‘good deal’ or not. The last thing you want to do is use your hard earned points on a flight where the fuel surcharges and taxes are half as much as the cost of normal flight.
Here Are Some Of The Best Way to Use Aeroplan Miles
Do not redeem your Aeroplan miles for merchandise or gift cards. It’s just not worth it...like at all! Unless you’re not interested in traveling and you like to collect merchandise and gift cards...but if that's the case you should be part of a better loyalty program that offers you cash back.
So, what’s the best way to use your Aeroplan miles?
The best way to use your Aeroplan miles can be summarized as follows:
- Long Haul International Flights in Business or First Class (very high return on Aeroplan mile investment especially with business or first class)
- Places in Canada that are less frequented and therefore more expensive to get to (e.g. going to North West Territories, Iqualuit or Whitehorse).
- Pick Star Alliance partners (HowtoSaveMoney suggests). There are some that have almost no taxes and fuel surcharges, which makes the redemption deal that much better! You can check out this post from One Mile at a Time to review booking Aeroplan Awards without taxes and fees.
- Air China
- EVA Air
- US Airways,
- Book early or extremely last minute, otherwise you might not be able to get the ticket that you want! With Aeroplan, you are allowed to book up to 365 days ahead in advance.
Side Note: Business class ticket to Europe seem to be the best way to go in terms of bang for your Aeroplan buck.
How to Calculate your Return on Aeroplan Mile Investment (RAMI)
Instead of Return on Investment (ROI) consider RAMI (Return on Aeroplan Mile Investment) as a good way to gauge whether your redemption is ‘worthy’ of a redemption.
Example #1: A flight from Toronto to Calgary, costs about $498.00
$498 (cost of flight) subtract $146 (taxes and fees) divided by 25000 (number of miles required)= $0.014 x 100= 1.4 Cost per Mile
***Anything less than this number is not worth it, the higher the number, the better the RAMI.
The higher the RAMI and CPM (Cost Per Mile) the better!
So, for my flight to NYC from Ottawa, the average cost is about $550.00. I paid $90.00 in taxes and fees, the number of miles required was 15,000. So the CPM (Cost per Mile) was about 3.1 which is pretty good compared to the Toronto - Calgary flight at 1.4 (CPM).
A flight from Toronto to Bangkok will run you 90 000 miles plus about $300.00 in Taxes. However you can often find round trip flight deals from Toronto to Bangkok for $1000.00 or less return.
$1000.00 - $300.00 (taxes/surcharges) = $700.00 divided by 90 000 (number of miles required) = $0.0077 x 100 = $0.7 (Cost per Mile)
Here is a chart from Aeroplan to give you a basic idea of point redemption rates.
So just remember Gringos, pick and choose your battles when it comes to spending your hard earned Aeroplan Points!