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Use this Aeroplan points sale to buy business class tickets to Europe for under $1,000

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 1/27/2022 Andrew Kunesh
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Air Canada is offering bonuses of up to 100% on Aeroplan points purchased by Feb. 2 at 11:59 pm ET. Purchasing enough Aeroplan points to trigger the full bonus brings the price down to roughly 1.38 cents per point, which might make this a worthwhile play for some.

The sale applies to points purchased for yourself or points gifted to another Aeroplan member and can be a way to score Star Alliance flights at a discount — including round-trip business-class awards from the U.S. to a reopening Europe for $1,656 before moderate taxes and fees.

That can equate to a steep discount considering round-trip flights on United (a Star Alliance partner) from Newark (EWR) to Frankfurt (FRA), for instance, cost over $3,500 on almost all dates this July.

(Screenshot courtesy of google.com/flights) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of google.com/flights)

But should you buy points and miles now? Here’s what you need to know to answer that question for yourself.

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Should you buy points and miles now?

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: (Photo by Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock) © The Points Guy (Photo by Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock)

Before we discuss the new Aeroplan buy points promotion, specifically, you should be aware of the risks of buying points and miles now.

While coronavirus numbers are again trending downward in the U.S., the omicron variant is still a concern that’s resulting in tighter COVID restrictions in some locales. Most countries have continued to stay open, but know that you may have to change your plans due to a sudden surge in new cases.

Further, you should only buy points and miles if you have an immediate plan to use them. Hoarding miles leaves you open to unexpected devaluations. This could be due to award chart, award space, partner or pricing changes. These devaluations often come with zero notice from the airline. As such, the only way to avoid these devaluations is to redeem your points and miles immediately.

Also, keep in mind that there are many ways to earn Aeroplan points without buying them. For example, you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Capital One Miles to Aeroplan. Or, you can credit Star Alliance flights to Aeroplan instead of another frequent-flyer program. For instance, you could add your Aeroplan frequent-flyer number to an upcoming United ticket and earn Aeroplan points instead of United MileagePlus miles.

Related: Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 PCR test for travel

Buying Aeroplan points with an up to 100% bonus

Back to the promo: Air Canada is selling Aeroplan points with bonuses of up to 100% for the next week. You need to purchase at least 100,000 points to get the full 100% bonus, with lesser amounts triggering smaller bonuses. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Buy 5,000 to 19,000 points, get a 60% bonus
  • Buy 20,000 to 55,000 points, get a 75% bonus
  • Buy 60,000 to 95,000 points, get a 90% bonus
  • Buy 100,000 or more points, get a 100% bonus
(Screenshot courtesy of aircanada.com) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of aircanada.com)

If you purchased enough points to receive the full 100% bonus, those points would end up costing just over 1.38 cents apiece, well below TPG’s valuation of 1.5 cents per point.


Gallery: Be Smarter With Your Holiday Shopping by Using These 6 Credit Cards (GOBankingRates)

All Aeroplan members can buy points at this rate since this is not a targeted deal. Better yet, while Canadian residents are subject to a sales tax on points purchases, U.S.-based Aeroplan members are not.

This is one of the best deals we’ve seen for Aeroplan points, matching 100% bonuses of years past.

Related: Pros and cons of the new Air Canada Aeroplan loyalty program

Using this sale to buy discounted business class tickets

By taking advantage of this sale, you could end up being able to book Star Alliance partner tickets at steep discounts. More specifically, you could score an excellent deal on long-haul business class award flights to Europe, South America, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Air Canada recently revamped Aeroplan to allow members to add stopovers for 5,000 miles each. It also removed fuel surcharges and made various other award chart changes. These alterations were largely positive and make this points sale intriguing for booking certain itineraries.

For example, you can leverage Aeroplan’s stopover policy to book a one-way flight from New York-JFK to Madrid (MAD) via Lisbon (LIS) in TAP Portugal business class for 65,000 points total. You could spend a few days in Lisbon on the way to Spain and enjoy two vacations for slightly more than the points price of one ticket. If you bought enough Aeroplan points to earn the 100% bonus, then the 65,000 for this itinerary would cost $897 plus taxes and fees — quite a bargain.

a group of people sitting around a car: (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Instead, you could book a round-trip business class ticket from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Sao Paulo (GRU) in United Polaris business class for 120,000 Aeroplan points and $73 in taxes and fees. If you bought Aeroplan points with the 100% bonus, your total out-of-pocket cost for the trip is $1,729. This is far cheaper than the $8,500+ United charges for the same round-trip ticket in May.

a bunch of luggage sitting on top of a chair: (Photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy)

Do your own research and see if there’s an opportunity for you to use this sale to get a discount on future travels. Read our complete guide to earning and redeeming Aeroplan points for more details.

Related: How I got bored and burned 130,000 Aeroplan points for a weekend in Switzerland

Buy point with these credit cards

If you decide to take advantage of this promotion, your purchase will be processed by Points.com — not Air Canada. Unfortunately, this means you won’t earn bonus rewards for using a card with airline spending as a bonus category.

To earn the most points for your purchase, pay with a credit card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spending, such as:

  • The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express: Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1 point per dollar (meaning a 4% return based on TPG valuations). Terms apply.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn 1.5% cash back that can be combined with points from Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card for the equivalent of a 3% return based on TPG valuations.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: earn 2x miles on purchases, worth 2% back toward travel purchases
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Earn 3% cash back in the category you choose (on the first $2,500 in combined choice category purchases each quarter, then earn 1%), before bonuses for having assets with Bank of America and affiliates. That means you may be able to get up to 5.25% cash back on online purchases, such as buying miles.

Related: The best credit cards of 2022

Bottom line

Air Canada is selling Aeroplan points with a bonus of up to 100% bonus through Feb. 2, 2022. This could be a convenient way to stake out discounted Star Alliance business class tickets to Europe, South America and beyond. That said, there is risk involved with buying miles now — namely, rising COVID cases due to the omicron variant.

Feature photo by Christian Heinz/Shutterstock

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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