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Back in May of 1997, Air Canada was one of five founding members of Star Alliance — now the largest global airline alliance. While Air Canada flies to destinations all around the world, its participation in Star Alliance allows passengers to reach over 1,000 destinations in 195 countries using their Aeroplan points on a variety of airlines. Even better, Air Canada partners with several non-alliance airlines, expanding its global network even further.
Air Canada revamped its award program, Aeroplan, in 2020, which brought several changes. Among these changes were increased online capabilities, making it dramatically easier for program members to book award flights online using their points, and friendly stopover rules. That means prospective flyers can book award flights on many of the 26 Star Alliance members, plus Air Canada's 25 additional non-alliance partners, without ever having to pick up the phone.
While a handful of Air Canada's partners aren't available for using your points, there are still an impressive 47 airlines on which you can use points for award travel. Let's look at who they are and some redemption strategies.
- Partner Airlines
- Aeroplan's Hybrid Award Charts
- Air Canada
- Book Star Alliance Partner Airlines Using Aeroplan Points
- Aegean Airlines
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
- Book Non-Alliance Partner Airlines Using Aeroplan Points
- Building Your Aeroplan Balance
- Final Thoughts
Air Canada lists a whopping 50 partner airlines on its website, which boils down to 25 Star Alliance partners and 25 non-alliance partners. However, not all 50 partner airlines are available for award redemptions. Including Air Canada itself, Aeroplan members can reserve flights on 47 different airlines using points. Below is a list of airlines available for award bookings, where those in bold can be booked online:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
- Air Creebec
- Air Dolomiti
- Air Mauritius
- Air Serbia
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Bamboo Airways
- Calm Air
- Canadian North
- Cathay Pacific
- Etihad Airways
- Eurowings / Eurowings Discover
- Gulf Air
- Juneyao Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Oman Air
- PAL Airlines
- Virgin Australia
The remaining four airline partners are eligible for earning Aeroplan points but not for redeeming points:
- Aer Lingus
- Central Mountain Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Sri Lankan Airlines
Global coverage for using your Aeroplan points is plentiful, as one might imagine, given the 43 partner airlines available for redemptions (plus Air Canada, of course). And there's also a new partnership with flydubai, though details about redeeming points are yet to be determined.
Related: Complete Guide to Aeroplan
Aeroplan's Hybrid Award Charts
Aeroplan's 2020 program refresh changed its award chart entirely, shifting from a zone-based system to a hybrid zone-and-distance scheme. Aeroplan released ten award charts (warning: PDF) to help travelers discern mileage costs between its four regions. These ten charts have been combined into four tables — one per region — below for convenience.
When Air Canada refreshed its Aeroplan frequent flyer program, one of the resulting changes was to make every Air Canada seat available for redemptions using points. In theory, this represents a positive change. More opportunities to redeem Aeroplan points for flights increases the utility of those points. One of the caveats of the change, however, is that award prices may vary. Aeroplan's published award charts (warning: PDF) detail this by including a range of points prices for Air Canada flights. Below is the intra-North America award chart, for reference.
The good news? Short-haul Air Canada awards start as low as 6,000 miles each way — one of the lowest standard award costs offered by any frequent flyer program around. The bad news? Award costs can vary wildly, depending on distance and class of cabin. The most variable of the bunch is business class awards between 1,501 and 2,750 miles. Award costs can be anywhere from 25,000 to 60,000 points, representing a 140% spread from the low end to the high end.
You'll also notice that there are very rare circumstances for using fewer Aeroplan points on Air Canada flights than on partner flights. Below is a summary of those opportunities:
Note that the origin and destination award zones can be reversed without affecting pricing.
In practice, it doesn't appear that these prices necessarily hold. A quick Aeroplan award search between Toronto and New Delhi displays this:
Both Air Canada and Air India fly this route, and the two flight options highlight a couple of things. First, different airlines will incur different taxes and fees. Aeroplan eliminated carrier-imposed surcharges on awards, replacing them with a $39 CAD ($29 USD) flat fee as part of its program refresh. Still, final taxes and fees on awards can vary by operating airline.
Second, and more notably, Aeroplan award costs on Air Canada metal won't necessarily follow published award costs. Aeroplan's minimum award cost for flights between 6,001 and 8,000 miles, regardless of operating airline, should be 55,000 points. As evidenced above, it seems that doesn't always apply. The same applies in business class: The minimum published points cost is 85,000, but here we see only 80,400 points required for Air Canada's flight.
The example here displays a situation where deviation from published rates benefits prospective travelers. However, if there are situations where award costs are lower than published rates, I am certain there are situations where award costs are higher than published rates, as well.
Book Star Alliance Partner Airlines Using Aeroplan Points
The largest Greek airline primarily operates within Europe, though Aegean Airlines offers flights to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well. Still, any awards only on Aegean Airlines metal will fall entirely within Aeroplan's new “Atlantic” award region, meaning would-be travelers will only need to reference one of Aeroplan's award charts above. Aegean Airlines represents a great option for travelers looking to explore Greece and who are starting or connecting within Europe.
You'll pay just 7,500 points for a short hop from Athens (ATH) to Mykonos (JMK) while you'll pay 12,500 points for an economy flight from ATH to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED).
Air China, one of two Star Alliance carriers based in the People's Republic of China, enjoys an extensive network from its Beijing hub. The airline offers flights to dozens of domestic and international destinations, including two in the United States (Los Angeles and New York-JFK) and another in Canada (Vancouver). Of these routes between North America and China, the shortest of the eight (Vancouver to Shenyang-SHE) still spans a distance of 4,970 miles. For these transpacific flights operated by Air China, travelers should expect mileage redemptions to require at least 35,000 Aeroplan points, per passenger, each way in economy. Expect to pay 55,000 points for the same in business class. For any flights that pass the 5,000-mile barrier, those numbers jump to 55,000 and 75,000, respectively. Other Star Alliance frequent flyer programs, such as Avianca LifeMiles or United MileagePlus, may offer better redemption options.
On the other hand, domestic flights on Air China have much more reasonable rates. Travelers looking to explore multiple parts of the region might find Aeroplan an intriguing redemption option. Travel between Beijing and Shanghai starts at just 8,000 points.
Headquartered in New Delhi, India's national carrier serves countless domestic and international destinations, including five U.S. and two Canadian airports. Travelers looking to make their way from North America to India will have multiple options for airlines on which to redeem Aeroplan points.
Other Star Alliance carriers fly some of the same routes, including Air Canada, so traveling on Air India might not always be the most efficient points option. In the example below, flying from Toronto to Delhi requires fewer points and has lower award surcharges on Air Canada than on India's national carrier.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand offers Aeroplan members a multitude of possible destinations throughout the South Pacific, such as Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Niue. An interesting fact about many of these routes: Passengers become time travelers! The flight between Auckland and Rarotonga, Cook Islands clocks in at just under four hours, but crossing the International Date Line means travelers will land over 19 hours “earlier” than take off.
Air New Zealand also flies to five U.S. cities and one Canadian. Another route serving Newark (EWR) was previously scheduled to start in 2020, though COVID-19's impacts on global travel postponed several times.
ANA, or All Nippon Airways, operates a large domestic network of flights within Japan, as well as international flights to Europe, North America, Hawaii, and Guam. ANA made waves with its premium cabin refresh, and using Aeroplan points could be a great way to fly these products without hefty fuel surcharges.
While these flights like the one above can be booked online through Aeroplan, you can book the same flights with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club for fewer miles but higher fees.
Asiana Airlines, South Korea’s second-largest airline, connects passengers to several cities within South Korea and countless international destinations throughout Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world. This includes a handful of cities in the U.S., like Honolulu (HNL), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Seattle (SEA), and San Francisco (SFO).
You'll also find good value on routes within Asia when cash prices for full-service airlines are high and you don't want to fly with an ultra-low-cost carrier. This four-hour flight from Seoul to Manila costs just 12,500 points while cash fares hover around $200 USD.
Austrian Airlines, along with partners Austrian Arrows and Lauda Air, connects passengers far and wide throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world. The Vienna-based carrier serves four U.S. airports (Chicago-ORD, Newark-EWR, New York – JFK, and Washington, D.C.-IAD) year round, and a fifth (Los Angeles – LAX) seasonally. The airline also serves Montreal (YUL) in Canada. Even the shortest of the six transatlantic flights spans 4,013 miles, narrowly edging awards between the two cities into a higher award cost.
If the journey were just 13 miles shorter, economy awards would drop from 40,000 points to 35,000 points each way. Business class awards would reduce from 70,000 points to 60,000.
Avianca, the first of two South American Star Alliance carriers in this list, serves destinations throughout the Americas and Europe. Operating hubs in Bogotá and San Salvador, as well as secondary hubs in Quito and San Jose, Avianca connects travelers to numerous cities within Latin America. Serving five cities in the United States as far away as Los Angeles (3,478 miles between Bogotá and LAX), expect economy awards to cost 30,000 points each way and business class awards to cost 50,000 points each way.
One of the truly unique global destinations offered by Avianca is the Galápagos Islands. Sitting on opposite sides of the equator, these islands offer one-of-a-kind species from the plant and animal kingdoms. Galápagos visitors even have the opportunity to receive a Galápagos-specific passport stamp, in addition to the Ecuadorian passport stamp earned when entering the county.
Despite multiple connections and possibly using multiple airlines, you won't pay extra Aeroplan points to get here.
Based out of its hub in — you guessed it — Brussels, the Belgian Star Alliance member offers flights throughout Europe, as well as to select destinations in Africa and even two destinations (New York-JFK and Washington, D.C.-IAD) in the United States. Both of Brussels Airlines' transatlantic routes clock in under 4,000 miles, which means using fewer Aeroplan points for these award redemptions than many other direct transatlantic flights on European Star Alliance carriers.
Apart from the farthest-flung African destinations — think countries such as Angola and Burundi — all other Brussels Airlines destinations are within 4,000 miles of the carrier's hub. Coupled with the fact that Europe and Africa fall into the same Aeroplan award region, most awards should be limited to 25,000 points each way in economy and 45,000 points each way in business.
Copa is the flag carrier of Panama and employs a primary hub in Panama City (PTY). North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean, are all served by the airline. All the usual suspects are included among U.S. destinations, plus less-common destinations such as Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Tampa. Even the farthest of direct flights on Copa Airlines will be under 4,000 miles, so expect economy awards to cost 22,500 points each way. Premium economy costs 30,000 points each way, while business class awards cost 50,000 points.
You'll even get this pricing when the flight goes the long way, through Canada with Air Canada.
Croatia Airlines is the flag carrier of its namesake and is based out of Zagreb (ZAG). Compared to many other Star Alliance carriers, its flight network is smaller and consists of a large number of seasonal routes. Almost all of these flights are under 1,000 miles in length, too, so economy class redemptions will start at just 7,500 Aeroplan points. Be sure to check cash fares when looking to book these flights, as there are often cheap paid fares available within Europe, as well.
Unfortunately, these flights don't show up on Air Canada's website despite confirming them on other sites. You may need to call to book.
As the state-owned flag carrier of Egypt, EgyptAir operates flights out of its hub in Cairo (and a few other focus cities in Egypt) to a number of destinations throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. New York City, Newark, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. all enjoy direct flights to Cairo on EgyptAir. Each of these flights is under 6,000 miles, meaning economy flights cost 40,000 points each way and business flights cost 70,000 points each way.
Headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines is the namesake county's national carrier. Among Star Alliance airlines, Ethiopian serves more destinations in Africa than any other carrier. Looking to travel to some off-the-beaten-path spots within the continent? A trip booked through Aeroplan likely involves a leg or two on Ethiopian Airlines. From Cameroon to Comoros and Mali to Mozambique, Ethiopian Airlines can take you there.
The airline serves several cities outside of Africa, too. Ethiopian Airlines flies to five airports in the U.S. (ORD, ATL, EWR, JFK, and IAD) plus Toronto-YYZ in Canada, as well as multiple destinations in Asia, Europe, and even two cities in South America. One of the longer direct Ethiopian Airlines flights is the route to Washington, D.C., — an astounding 7,181 miles. Even though it is a nominally shorter flight in terms of distance (by about 200 miles), Ethiopian Airlines blocks its Addis Ababa to Newark flight at a staggering 18.5 hours!
Using an additional 30,000 Aeroplan points to move into business class might be a good investment in this situation, as it averages out to be under 2,000 points per hour of extra comfort.
EVA Air is based in Taipei, Taiwan and started flying less than 30 years ago. Today, the airline serves destinations throughout Asia and Oceania, as well as select cities in Europe and North America. This includes six U.S. and two Canadian destinations. Houston, New York, and Toronto all clock in at over 7,500 miles from Taipei. That pushes award costs into a higher redemption zone, so if you intend on making such a journey, it might be worth positioning to/from Chicago or anywhere on the West Coast to reduce the number of points required for your trip.
You'll save 10,000 points per person, each way in economy and business class if you can get the flight under 7,500 miles. That's not a lot for a single traveler but can quickly add up on round-trip flights for a family.
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines operates out of a primary hub in Warsaw, Poland but also flies out of Budapest, Hungary. The airline serves primarily European destinations, although several Asian and North American cities also enjoy service from LOT. LOT also has a fifth freedom route between Budapest and Seoul, South Korea. In general, LOT Polish Airlines award space is fairly prevalent — including this far-reaching fifth freedom flight.
Lufthansa offers a truly global portfolio of routes, reaching countless destinations across five continents. The Germany-based airline serves nearly 20 U.S. cities, three Canadian cities, and even Mexico's capital. That's a lot of North American destinations. One major gripe award travelers have with Lufthansa is the sky-high taxes and fees often levied on award tickets with the airline. These surcharges can exceed $500 per ticket, each way! Thankfully, Aeroplan doesn't levy carrier surcharges, which means redemptions on Lufthansa won't cost an arm and a leg on top of any points costs.
Depending on your North American city of choice, your redemption costs will vary. Routes from certain East Coast cities, such as Boston, to Frankfurt come in under the 4,000-mile threshold that bumps award costs into the next tier. Notice the much more reasonable, though still a bit high, $222 CAD ($172 USD) surcharges.
Routes between Frankfurt and the west coast certainly exceed 4,000 miles in distance, which means one-way economy flights require 40,000 points (instead of 35,000), and one-way business class flights require 70,000 points (instead of 60,000).
Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS, is one of the largest airlines in Europe and serves numerous countries throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. With hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm, Scandinavia is well covered and well connected with the rest of the world. Although SAS offers many global routes, Northern Europe is particularly well served by the airline. Exploring Norway and Sweden — along with neighboring Finland and other destinations like the Faroe Islands — becomes very easy thanks to SAS.
Flights to a destination such as the Faroe Islands require just 7,500 Aeroplan points for economy class, though the same flight can often be had for very reasonable cash rates, instead. Especially after factoring in the C$74 ($55 USD) award surcharges, travelers would be better off saving their points for other redemptions.
Still, if you're traveling from far away to remote Scandinavian destinations such as the Faroe Islands, it's nice to be able to add on a segment such as this to your award redemption.
Shenzhen Airlines enjoys a main hub in none other than Shenzhen, China. Most destinations served by the airline are domestic, and those that are not are in nearby Asian nations. The only true long-haul route served by Shenzhen Airlines is London (LHR) from Shenzhen (SZX). If you're lucky enough to snag this route as part of an award redemption, the route spans 5,958 miles, meaning economy flights cost 50,000 points each way. Business class flights cost 80,000 points each way.
Singapore Airlines, based out of the incredible Changi Airport, often grades among the top airlines of the world in Skytrax's and others' annual rankings. The airline offers a multitude of destinations all throughout the world. Its base in Singapore, and bevy of long-range aircrafts, means Singapore Airlines is well positioned to serve the rest of Asia and Oceania, as well as destinations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
Singapore made waves when it reintroduced its Singapore to Newark flight — the longest commercial flight at the time — and then bested it with a flight to New York-JFK. The 9,537-mile flight, operated by an A350 specially fit with only business and premium economy seats, is blocked off for nearly 19 hours by the airline. Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines routinely blocks other airlines, including Aeroplan, from seeing premium award space in Singapore Suites — the airline's first-class product.
Travelers can take the longest flight in the world for just 87,500 Aeroplan points. That's less than the 111,500 Krisflyer miles required if booking a one-way saver award through Singapore Airlines' own frequent flyer program.
South African Airways
Pre-COVID-19, South African Airways served a number of domestic and international destinations, including flights to North and South America. However, the route network now doesn't leave the African continent. Travelers looking to bounce around in Africa, perhaps on the way to or from a safari, might find SAA as an airline option. From its main hub in Johannesburg, travelers can reach destinations as far as Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; and Mauritius.
Flights to Mauritius are under 2,000 miles, meaning you'll pay 12,500 points for economy seats and 25,000 points in business. Prices jump to 25,000 and 45,000, respectively, if flying to or from Accra/Lagos.
Swiss International Air Lines, commonly referred to as simply SWISS, connects travelers between Switzerland and the rest of Europe, North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The airline operates a primary hub out of Zurich, with a secondary focus city of Geneva. Flights between Zurich and several East Coast North American cities span just under 4,000 miles, meaning redemptions require fewer points than many other transatlantic routes. Boston, Montreal, New York City, and Newark are all options that qualify for the lower award prices.
Other North American destinations for SWISS include Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. If possible, it may be worth positioning to take advantage of any of the four lower-priced transatlantic options. You could save 5,000 or 10,000 points each way, which adds up on round-trip itineraries with a big family.
TAP Air Portugal
TAP Air Portugal is the Portuguese Star Alliance carrier, with operations centered around its hub in Lisbon. Apart from a number of European destinations, TAP flies to several spots in Africa, North America, and South America. Seven U.S. airports and two Canadian airports enjoy direct service to Portugal courtesy of TAP. Most of these routes are flown by newer planes (A330-900neo), as well. TAP Air Portugal serves a handful of pretty unique destinations, too. Among these are the Azores islands. Technically a Portuguese domestic destination, the Azores are a collection of nine volcanic islands several hundred miles west of Portugal. Connect to the main Azores airport in Ponta Delgada via Lisbon, and you can even add a stopover in Lisbon to visit two destinations during your trip.
Often times, TAP offers relatively reasonably-priced business class options from Europe to the U.S., so be sure to check paid fares before booking this kind of itinerary.
If you decide to redeem Aeroplan points on this route, you'll pay 40,000 in economy and 70,000 in business class.
Operating out of Bangkok, Thai Airways, or commonly just THAI, offers a network of routes extending across the rest of Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the South Pacific. Previously, THAI had served U.S. cities via Seoul, South Korea, but these routes ceased operations in 2015, and the airline no longer serves the Americas or Africa. THAI offers incredible connectivity between Bangkok and locations in Asia, Oceania, and Europe.
This includes some of the lesser-traveled destinations in Southeast Asia, many of which can be reached for 8,000 or 12,500 points per person one-way in economy. However, there are two important caveats here.
First, some of these destinations also are served by low-cost carriers, which can defray the value of using Aeroplan points here. Second, THAI awards are not showing on Aeroplan's website at this time, even after confirming availability on other sites. You may need to call to book.
Turkish Airlines has been the national flag carrier of its namesake for nearly 90 years. From its Istanbul hub, Turkish Airlines connects virtually all corners of the earth (excluding Oceania). Turkish Airlines allows travelers making extra-long journeys to have just one connection from point A to point B. The airline serves more than 10 U.S. cities, three Canadian cities, and two Mexican cities. Because Istanbul is so far east in Europe, and cities such as Los Angeles are so far west in North America, some of these transatlantic routes actually wind up costing more Aeroplan points than most other options between North America and Europe.
Note that Turkish Airlines uses a zone-based award chart for its own frequent flyer program, and this exact same flight would cost just 45,000 points one way in business class. Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Turkish Miles & Smiles at a 1:1 rate, so if you have a stash of Citi ThankYou points, you're in luck.
However, there are still good uses of Aeroplan awards with Turkish. A great example is short-distance flights with high cash prices, such as this flight to Cairo charging $236 in economy and $789 in business class. Instead, you could pay 7,500 or 15,000 points, respectively.
Another founding Star Alliance member, United serves countless domestic U.S. airports, along with destinations all around the globe. The United Airlines award search engine sets the gold standard for Star Alliance award searches, due to its ease of use, responsiveness, and advantageous monthly calendar view. Most award space that shows up on United's website should match the award space that shows up on Aeroplan's website, but that's not always the case. United shows seats that Aeroplan doesn't show online sometimes, meaning you may need to make a phone call.
Using United's award search tool can help Aeroplan members narrow in on specific awards they seek. It then becomes a matter of finding the same award space with Aeroplan and completing the booking.
United also increased award costs during the pandemic and suffered another devaluation in 2023. With United miles, partner flights are often cheaper than United's own flights on the same route. Aeroplan's chart tends to apply the same in reverse. As a general rule of thumb for transatlantic flights (and all other flights, too), for shorter flights between award zones, choose Aeroplan, and for longer flights between zones, opt for United or another Star Alliance partner's program.
A good example is paying 35,000 Aeroplan points for this United flight, rather than booking with United for 40,000 miles in economy.
Book Non-Alliance Partner Airlines Using Aeroplan Points
Air Creebec connects 15 destinations within Ontario and Québec, most notably Montreal (YUL). All other cities serviced are north of Montreal — some (such as Whapmagootsui) by quite a distance. Though not available for online bookings, Air Creebec offers a great option for exploring the northern parts of these two Provinces using Aeroplan points.
Aeroplan added this European regional carrier to its list of partner airlines in 2021, and it's possible to redeem your points for flights as far west as Jersey (JER) or as far east as Cluj-Napoca, Romania (CLJ), but you can't do that online, unfortunately. The airline primarily serves Germany and Italy, plus flights to Luxembourg, Paris, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and even Kalmar, Sweden (KLR).
As all flights are within Europe and less than 1,000 miles, you'll pay 7,500 points each way in economy and 15,000 in business. You'll need to call Aeroplan for these bookings; they're not available online.
The flag carrier of island nation Mauritius operates short hops from its base at MRU, including Rodrigues Island (RRG), Réunion (RUN), and Antananarivo, Madagascar (TNR), as well as Johannesburg (JNB) and Cape Town (CPT) in South Africa. Short flights under 1,000 miles will cost 7,500 Aeroplan points, while you'll pay 12,500 to JNB and 25,000 points to CPT.
The airline also runs several interesting long-haul routes, serving Mumbai (BOM), New Delhi (DEL), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Perth (PER), Geneva (GVA), Paris (CDG), and London (LHR and LGW). BOM and DEL are within the Atlantic zone and under 4,000 miles, so you'll pay just 25,000 points in economy or 45,000 in business.
KUL and PER are in the Pacific zone, so you'll pay 40,000 points in economy or 60,000 in business. Going to Europe will cost 35,000 points in economy or 65,000 in business to GVA and CDG. London is just over the 6,000-mile threshold, so you'll pay 50k in economy and 80k in business each way.
This flag carrier of Serbia, based in Belgrade, flies to a plethora of destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Cairo, as well as long-haul flights to Tianjin (TSN), Chicago (ORD), and New York (JFK). For shorter, intra-Europe flights, award costs begin at just 7,500 Aeroplan points, and these can be booked online. The best use of points here will be cash-high/points-low bookings.
Azul Brazilian Airlines
Azul Brazilian Airlines (Azul) is a Brazilian-based carrier that primarily serves domestic and South American cities. Select destinations outside of South America include Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO), Lisbon (LIS), and Paris-Orly (ORY).
Many of the intra-Brazil flights, like many of the intra-Europe flights discussed with other airlines, are available for purchase at very reasonable rates. An Azul flight between Recife and Rio de Janeiro's secondary airport, Santos Dumont, would cost 15,000 Aeroplan points in economy class one way.
Not only does Santos Dumont (SDU) have some incredibly scenic views during your approach (Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer), you'll also get 2.83¢ per point on this redemption.
Based in Vietnam, Bamboo Airways flies to more than a dozen domestic airports, plus Bangkok (BKK), Singapore (SIN), Taipei (TPE), Zhangjiajie, China (DYG), Seoul (ICN), and Tokyo (NRT) within Asia. The airline also flies to two Australian airports (SYD and MEL) and two European airports (LGW and FRA).
You'll pay just 8,000 points for short flights, which sounds cheap but might not be the best use of your points. Consider how many ultra-low-cost airlines operate in the region.
For Bamboo Airways' longest flights, you'll pay 50,000 points in economy and 80,000 points in business class.
This Canadian carrier operates flights mostly within Manitoba and Nunavut Provinces but also serves Thetis Island (YBQ) in British Columbia. As all flights are within the North America zone, you'll pay 6,000 points in economy for flights under 500 miles, 10,000 in economy for flights up to 1,500 miles, and 12,500 points for the longest flight (YRT-YBQ). These awards (and many of the airports served) can't be booked online. You'll need to call Aeroplan.
Canadian North serves a number of locations in western Canada, primarily in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, but also gateway cities in southern Canada. Some of these routes are covered by Air Canada as well, but extra flight options just provide extra opportunities to redeem Aeroplan points across more partner airlines. Canadian North offers the following network of routes across Canada.
Be advised that Aeroplan's award search engine won't recognize a number of the smaller cities in the graphic above, but the more recognizable city pairings can be booked online.
Although Cathay Pacific belongs to the Oneworld alliance of airlines, Aeroplan members enjoy the opportunity to redeem their points on a small selection of the Hong Kong-based carrier's flights. Cathay Pacific flights between Hong Kong and the following list of cities are eligible for Aeroplan points redemptions. For convenience, I have included the one-way flight distance and points costs for each in this chart.
|Hong Kong to/from||Distance (miles)||Points for economy||Points for business class|
|Hanoi, Vietnam (HAN)||526||8,000||20,000|
|Manila, Philippines (MNL)||711||8,000||20,000|
|Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN)||925||8,000||20,000|
|Chiang Mai, Thailand (CNX)||999||8,000||20,000|
|Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)||1,049||12,500||30,000|
|Cebu, Philippines (CEB)||1,061||12,500||30,000|
|Phuket, Thailand (HKT)||1,425||12,500||30,000|
|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL)||1,575||12,500||30,000|
Cathay Pacific often operates these short regional flights with wide-body planes, providing an opportunity for travelers to fly in a premium cabin and experience premium seats and products at a fraction of long-haul award costs. Note that the route between Hong Kong and Chiang Mai, Thailand is 999 miles — exactly 1 mile under the 1,000-mile threshold that would increase award costs.
Here's the first of two non-alliance airlines from the Middle East that you can book with Aeroplan points: Emirates, famous for its ultra luxury. Emirates is a truly global airline that can shuttle you from more than a dozen airports in North America through its Dubai (DXB) hub to numerous points in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and even a few cities in South America.
Pricing here isn't cheap if you want to sample Emirates' famous first class. Alternatively, you can book directly with Emirates to pay fewer miles but (typically) exorbitant taxes and fees. Expect to pay over 400,000 points per person, each way for Emirates first-class bookings between Dubai and North America.
If you want to sample everything Emirates first class has to offer without spending a ton, consider a short route like this one from DXB to Bahrain (BAH). You'll still get to experience the first class lounge and excellent service while paying just 69,000 points.
Etihad Airways, based out of Abu Dhabi (AUH), provides Aeroplan members the chance to connect to a multitude of destinations all across the world with a single connection on a single airline. The Middle Eastern carrier serves three U.S. cities (Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.), plus Toronto, meaning those originating or ending in North America have a few different options for travel. Unfortunately, it's not flying A380 aircraft with its famous Apartments first class to North America at present.
Nevertheless, Etihad planes that are flying right now still make for a comfortable passenger experience, regardless of class of cabin. If your journey spans 8,000 miles or more (which, unless your final destination is Abu Dhabi, is probably the case), expect to pay a steep 70,000 points each way in economy. For just 40,000 more points, travelers can enjoy the comforts of business class for any long-haul trip. Interestingly, this price in business class is 10,000 points higher than the award chart says it should be, but these extra 40,000 points for nearly 37 hours of travel (with a great 15-hour layover in Abu Dhabi) are likely worth it.
Another thing to note is that if you are returning to the United States from a trip abroad, routing through Abu Dhabi means you will be able to clear U.S. customs before your flight. Abu Dhabi is one of 15 international airports that offer U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance.
Eurowings and Eurowings Discover
Eurowings is a low-cost carrier based out of Düsseldorf, Germany and wholly owned by the Lufthansa Group. Eurowings Discover is its long-haul sibling. With Eurowings and Eurowings Discover, you can fly Germany and numerous destinations in Europe, northern Africa, Turkey, the Caucasus, Middle East, Male, Maldives (MLE), Mauritius (MRU), Mombasa, Kenya (MBA), two Canadian airports (Calgary-YYC and Halifax-YHZ), three airports in Florida (Ft. Myers-RSW, Orlando-MCO, and Tampa-TPA), plus Salt Lake City (SLC), Las Vegas (LAS), Cancun (CUN), and Punta Cana (PUJ).
You'll need to pick up the phone in order to book any Eurowings flights, as these flights cannot be booked online with Aeroplan.
Aeroplan members exploring Brazil enjoy the convenience of a second Brazilian non-alliance partner. GOL utilizes a number of airports in Brazil for its route network, which covers many domestic destinations, as well as other countries in South America (Argentina, Paraguay, Suriname, and Uruguay) and flights to Orlando (MCO), Miami (MIA), and Punta Cana (PUJ).
For many of GOL's routes, be sure to compare the cost of using Aeroplan points with the cash cost for these partner airlines.
If you take the red-eye flight on this route from São Paulo-GRU to Recife-REC, it's available for just $129. However, the morning flight costs $473 — making it a good use of 10,000 Aeroplan points, unlike the later flight.
GOL's flights to North America aren't the best use of Aeroplan points, however. You'll pay 30,000 points to fly from Brasília (BSB) to Orlando (MCO0.
That flight is available for $357, providing a redemption value of just 0.93¢ per point.
Here's another Middle Eastern airline on the list of partner airlines for using your Aeroplan points: Bahrain-based Gulf Air. The airline flies as far as Manchester (MAN), Casablanca (CMN), Manila (MNL), and Singapore (SIN), but it provides concentrated services around the eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and Indian subcontinent.
The airline doesn't offer first class (unlike many Middle East competitors), and short hops could be an inexpensive way to try the service, seats, and airport lounges of a new airline. You'll pay just 7,500 points in economy or 15,000 points in business for this 65-minute flight from Bahrain to Kuwait.
For longer flights, you'll pay 40,000 points in economy and 60,000 in business, such as this flight from Bahrain to Manila.
Juneyao Airlines, a Star Alliance Connecting Partner, transports passengers from its primary hubs in Shanghai — yes, both Shanghai international airports — to destinations throughout Asia and even flies to Helsinki (HEL). It's easy to find partner award space using United's website.
Unfortunately, these awards don't show up on Aeroplan's website. You'll need to call after finding seats from United's page.
Olympic Air, a subsidiary of Aegean Airlines, is a regional airline transporting passengers entirely within Greece. Aeroplan members can bounce around Greek islands on Olympic Air's fleet of prop planes, which can be a cool experience itself before considering the location. You'll pay 7,500 points in economy or 15,000 points in business class, even on Olympic Air's longest flight.
Considering the time and distance, however, you're likely better off paying cash. Prices run $80-$135 on average, depending on the season.
While Oman Air is set to join the Oneworld alliance, it's not leaving the list of airlines on which you can use your Aeroplan points. You can fly to/from its hub in Muscat (MCT) in economy, business, or first. Oman Air serves numerous locations in the Middle East, Turkey, Central Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. It even flies to Zanzibar (ZNZ) and Dar es Salaam (DAR) in Tanzania.
You may need to pick up the phone to make these bookings, though. Air Canada is aware of an ongoing issue where the website isn't showing Oman Air availability.
Formerly known as Provincial Airlines, PAL serves eastern Canada, flying in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfound and Labrador. Awards to PAL's larger airports are bookable online. However, you'll have to call for award tickets to smaller airports. That's because Aeroplan's website doesn't recognize some of them.
And those will be the best value for your Aeroplan points, as well. Flights to smaller airports with less-frequent service will cost more, providing higher value during your redemption. Flights bookable online tend to be those with cheaper cash fares; you might skip those redemptions.
SunExpress is a joint venture between two other Aeroplan partner airlines (Lufthansa and Turkish), and you can use points to fly throughout the Middle East and Europe. All flights route through Turkey, but SunExpress interestingly doesn't serve either of Istanbul's two airports. SunExpress became an Aeroplan partner in November of 2022, and finding these awards online isn't the most reliable. That said, it is possible.
All SunExpress flights are within the Atlantic Zone, so reference the distance chart to see how much you'll pay for each flight. This flight from Antalya (AYT) to Copenhagen (CPH) lasts nearly four hours and costs 12,500 points in economy.
Among the partner airlines you can book with Aeroplan points, few had such a drastic shift to their route offerings as Virgin Australia. At present, the airline has reduced its network to include only domestic flights in Australia, a single airport in New Zealand (Queenstown-ZQN), Bali, Tokyo, Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu.
All flights take place within the Pacific zone, with the longest being Cairns (CNS) to Tokyo (HND). You'll pay 25,000 points in economy and 45,000 in business for this non-stop flight. More commonly, you'll pay 8,000 points (flights under 1,000 miles), 12,500 (flights up to 2,000 miles), or 25,000 points (flights up to 5,000 miles, including Sydney to Bali). Those prices increase to 20k, 30k, and 45k, respectively, in business class.
You'll need to call Aeroplan to book these awards; they're not showing on the website currently.
The second of two Aeroplan partner airlines based in India, Vistara operates primarily domestic flights. However, it also serves Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangkok, Singapore, Mauritius, four airports in the Middle East, and three airports in Europe (CDG, FRA, and LHR). Most destination airports fall within the Atlantic Zone, except Bangkok and Singapore.
Consult the distance charts above for pricing; you'll also need to call Aeroplan to book. Try as we might, we couldn't find a single Vistara award available online.
Building Your Aeroplan Balance
As you might expect, Aeroplan offers several co-branded credit cards in Canada, as well as one available in the U.S. Canadians can earn Aeroplan points with the following credit cards:
- TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite
- TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- TD® Aeroplan® Visa Platinum
- TD® Aeroplan® Visa Business
Those in the U.S. can apply for the Aeroplan® Credit Card from Chase.
It's also possible to top up your Aeroplan balance with transfers from the following points programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1 transfer rate; most transfers process immediately
- Bilt Rewards: 1:1 transfer rate; most transfers process immediately
- Capital One Rewards: 1:1 transfer rate; most transfers process immediately
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1 transfer rate; most transfers process within an hour
- Marriott Bonvoy: 3:1 transfer rate, plus a 5,000-point bonus for each 20,000 points received; most transfers take four to five days
No matter where in the world you find yourself, or where you want to end up, Aeroplan can help you on your way. The plethora of Star Alliance and non-alliance partner airlines available for award redemptions means your Aeroplan points can help your travel virtually anywhere. Many of these partners can be booked online, though some require a phone call. In the U.S., call 888-247-2262. Phone agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
During the trip planning process, keep in mind two key details: the value you place on Aeroplan points and the possible points, miles, and cash alternatives available. Depending on the airfare cost and routing, other frequent flyer programs might offer a better redemption. And, in the case of inexpensive flights or exorbitant award costs, paying cash might make the most sense. For reference, AwardWallet users have recently redeemed Aeroplan points at an average of 1.91¢ apiece. You can use that as a comparison point before your next redemption.
For further reading on Aeroplan, check out the following:
- Complete Guide to the Aeroplan Program
- Changing Lounge Access, Other Aeroplan Program Changes Coming in 2023
- The Secret Sweet Spots of Aeroplan Stopovers and Open Jaws
- Do Air Canada Aeroplan Points Expire?
- Chase Launches Pay Yourself Back on the Aeroplan® Credit Card
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