Update: Air Canada Aeroplan will give everyone who bought miles before noon at least a 90% bonus, even if they purchased the 65% bonus offer.
Airlines and hotels are all trying to sell their miles and points right now. I haven’t covered any of them because it seems silly to buy miles these days and the sales are hardly doorbusters. Even in normal times it won’t make sense unless you have a good redemption in mind or need a few more points to get to a redemption.
Here are some of the current offers out there:
- Alaska (50% bonus=1.83 cents/mile. I’d value these at about 1.5-1.7 cents/mile unless there’s a specific use in mind).
- American (66.7% bonus=1.86 cents/mile. I’d value these at about 1.3-1.5 cents/mile unless there’s a specific use in mind).
- Southwest (45% discount=1.51 cents/mile. I’d value these at about 1.3-1.5 cents/point unless there’s a specific use in mind).
- United (100% bonus=1.75 cents/mile. I’d value these at about 1.4-1.6 cents/mile unless there’s a specific use in mind).
- Hilton (100% bonus, 0.5 cents/point. I’d value these at about 0.35-0.45 cents/mile unless there’s a specific use in mind).
- Hyatt (30% bonus, 1.85 cents/point. I’d value these at about 1.4-1.6 cents/mile unless there’s a specific use in mind).
- IHG (100% bonus, 0.5 cents/point. I’d value these at about 0.35-0.45 cents/mile unless there’s a specific use in mind).
But tomorrow at 10am EDT, Air Canada Aeroplan will have some pretty sweet mileage offers. You can buy up to 250K miles per transaction and up to 500K miles per year, per account. Those numbers are before bonus miles are added, so you can buy up to 1,075,000 miles with the max bonus.
- The first 10MM miles that they sell during the promo will get a 115% bonus. 50K miles normally cost $1,500 CAD (about $1,058 USD), but with this promo you’ll get 107.5K miles. That’s a cost of just 0.98 cents per mile!
- The next 100MM miles that they sell during the promo will get a 90% bonus. 50K miles normally cost $1,500 CAD (about $1,058 USD), but with this promo you’ll get 95K miles. That’s a cost of just 1.11 cents per mile!
- After that during the promo you will get a 65% bonus. 50K miles normally cost $1,500 CAD (about $1,058 USD), but with this promo you’ll get 82.5K miles. That’s a cost of just 1.28 cents per mile!
I’d probably value Aeroplan miles at 1.3-1.5 cents each, so buying miles at 0.98 cents each is an incredible deal. 1.11 cents per mile is also a good deal. You’ll need to be quick to be among the first people to buy miles at those rates.
If you do want to buy miles, make sure that you make an account beforehand.
But also intriguingly, the miles that you buy and the miles you get as a bonus will count at 50% of the rate needed to earn elite status with Aeroplan’s Travel at Home promo that is valid through 5/31. Click on “Learn more” to register for that promo.
If you don’t have Air Canada elite status and you earn 50K miles at home from select sources by 5/31, such as transferring 50K AMEX or Capital One points to Aeroplan, you’ll earn Air Canada Altitude Prestige 25K status/Star Alliance Silver status good through 2/28/22.
When you buy miles from Air Canada there’s a 50% cutback. In other words if you buy 50K miles during the 115% promo and get 107.5K miles total, you’ll divide the total miles (including the bonus) by 50%. That would be more than the 50K miles needed to earn Altitude Prestige 25K status/Star Alliance Silver status. That will set you back about $1,060 USD, but you’ll get 107.5K miles. A business class ticket between North America and Europe is 55K miles each way, so that’s just 2.5K miles short of what you would need for a round-trip business class tickets to Europe, and you’ll get elite status to boot. Not a bad deal for $1,060! (You can buy more miles or transfer points from AMEX, Capital One, or Marriott if that’s what you want).
A business class ticket between North America and Israel is 82.5K miles each way and availability on United is incredible! If you buy 80K miles with a 115% bonus you’ll have 172K miles at a cost of $2,400 CAD, or about $1,694 USD. Not a bad price at all for a round-trip business class ticket to Tel Aviv, and you’ll also get elite status!
Sadly, if you don’t have status currently, you can’t earn a higher status than the 25K level.
Star Alliance Silver status doesn’t get you much of anything on partner airlines, but Prestige 25K status will get you priority checkin, 2 free bags, and priority boarding on Air Canada. You’ll also get 2 Air Canada lounge passes, 20 eUpgrade credits, and a waiver of fuel surcharges on travel in Canada and the US.
Perhaps more usefully, you’ll also have the opportunity to match or challenge the status to other airlines.
If you do currently have Air Canada elite status and you earn 250K miles at home by 5/31, such as transferring 250K AMEX or Capital One points to Aeroplan, you’ll gain a level of status, up to Altitude Elite 75K. Elite 75K and Super Elite 100K members who cross the 250,000 threshold won’t gain a level, but they will receive 25,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles that will count towards Million Miler lifetime status.
When you buy miles from Air Canada there’s a 50% cutback, so you’ll have to buy some 233K miles (before the 115% bonus) to get 500K miles and gain a level of Air Canada status if you currently have elite status.
Note that Air Canada is bringing Aeroplan back in house on June 30, 2020 and there may be changes to the program. However they have promised to not pull a Delta or United and delete their award charts.
That being said, selling miles at such a low rate does make me wary of a devaluation, so go into the mileage purchase with your eyes wide open.
You may want to use those miles sooner rather than later, though they should give advance notice before changes are made. But even with a devaluation, you should still be able to get value from these miles.
A breakdown of Aeroplan policies:
- Air Canada has one of the better lap child policies out there. You pay a flat fee of just $50 in coach, $75 in premium economy, $100 in business, or $125 in first for a lap child. Compare that to 10% of the paid fare with other airlines and you can save a small fortune, especially if you are flying in business or first class.
- Aeroplan’s Star Alliance award chart has some bright spots, though not as many as it used to. A business class flight from North America to Europe or South America is 55K miles each way while first class is 70K miles each way.
- Air Canada still allows for a free stopover when flying to another continent, though that is down from the previous 2 free stopovers.
- There are no expedite/close-in fees.
- Aeroplan now offers free refunds within 24 hours of award bookings.
- Aeroplan now allow award cancellations up until 2 hours of departure. Previously they required 21 days advance cancellation.
- There is a C$125 charge to change or cancel an award ticket.
- Awards can’t be held.
- Stopovers are no longer allowed within North America.
- Premium class travel to Israel and the Middle East is pricey at 165K for business and 230K round-trip for first class. That’s higher than every other region in the world. Some agents may allow you to stopover in Israel on the way to another region for the lower cost of flying to the other region.
- Air Canada charges a fuel surcharge if you redeem their miles for travel on the following carriers: Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI. (There is no fuel surcharge if you redeem their miles for travel on the following carriers: Aegean, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, Avianca/TACA, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EVA, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SAS, Shenzhen, Singapore, South African, Swiss, Turkish, and United)
- Air Canada miles require activity every 12 months to keep them active.
Will you try to buy miles with this promotion?