When is it a good time to Redeem your Aeroplan Miles?
It’s a dilemma that every air mile collector faces. Should I continue accumulating miles or should I redeem them and finally see some returns for my loyalty?
There is no right or wrong answer. Everyone has a different strategy and timing plays a big role in the decision.
We used to collect and save our miles religiously. The number kept rising, well beyond what was needed for a couple of free international flights, yet we never redeemed them. They just sat in the account, looking all pretty.
Instead of cashing in and actually benefiting from our miles, we opted for whatever cheap flights we could find. It seemed logical – why not save our miles for a rainy day?
It wasn’t until we were overseas and needed to purchase an unexpected flight that we realized how our Aeroplan miles could save us a lot of money and time.
We had one of those “aha, I get it!” moments.
We were in the Middle East when we received an email from our parents. They had decided to meet up with us in Europe, which required us to change our original travel plans. Because we needed to book a flight fairly quickly, our research only found flight options that were ridiculously expensive. So much so, that we almost had to cancel the trip.
Needless to say, it was a frustrating couple of days.
On a whim, we checked flight options through Aeroplan to see if we could redeem some of our Aeroplan miles. We were pleasantly surprised. The amount of miles required to get the flight we wanted was quite reasonable.
For some reason, we thought that because it was short notice and because we were flying with partner airlines, it would be complicated and expensive. We thought the flights needed to be booked at least 6 months in advance and that the taxes would be outrageous.
We were wrong.
The wonderful world of online booking allowed us to book the flights almost instantly. Problem solved. Disaster averted.
Our flight was from Amman, Jordan to Athens, Greece, with an overnight layover in Cairo, Egypt. During the layover, we expected to pull up some comfortable concrete floor and sleep in the airport. So you can imagine our surprise when Egypt Air escorted us to a 5-star hotel and gave us vouchers for both dinner and breakfast. Talk about under-promising and over-delivering!
We had no idea airlines still did this?
The experience taught us the value of using a customer loyalty program like Aeroplan. It was a reminder that booking with the cheapest airline isn’t always the best decision.
We now make it a point to accumulate miles much faster and check our Aeroplan account before purchasing flights. And if we don’t have enough miles, we try to book with alliance partners so that we’re always increasing our balance.
4 Tips to Redeeming your Aeroplan miles
1. Flights are not your only option
Aeroplan Members can redeem miles for hotel stays at more than 2,800 hotels worldwide with our hotel partners such as: Best Western, Westin, Sheraton, Delta Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels, Le Meridien, St.Regis, and more. In addition to flights and hotels, members also have access to over 1,000 exciting specialty, merchandise, car rental and experiential rewards.
In fact, for the first time ever, we will be redeeming our Aeroplan miles for hotel accommodations during our trip to Europe this summer.
2. Give your miles as a gift
Members can use their miles for travel gift cards such as: A $100 Best Western Gift card for 11,500 miles, a $100 Air Canada Vacations cruise gift certificate for 12,000 miles, a $100 Fairmont Hotels & Resorts gift card for 12,000 miles and more.
Visit www.aeroplan.com/myrewards and click on travel and getaways to see available options.
3. You’re NOT limited to only flying on Air Canada
Aeroplan Members have access to 27 airlines with more than 21,000 daily departures to over 1,000 destinations in more than 175 countries worldwide through the Star Alliance network.
4. Always check about using your miles first
Aeroplan Members can book using their miles at any time, even for last minute trips. It’s all based on availability and sometimes seats open up last minute.
3 Interesting Facts about Aeroplan
- Aeroplan issues more flight rewards than all other loyalty programs in Canada.
- In 2011, approximately 2.3 million rewards were issued to members including more than 1.5 million flights on Air Canada and Star Alliance carriers which offer travel to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide.
- In 2011, Aeroplan issued an average of 6,300 rewards per day, equal to approximately one reward every 14 seconds.
To learn more, you can visit Aeroplan’s website: https://www.aeroplan.com/
Do you collect air miles? How often do you redeem your miles?
Share your tips and tricks in the comments section below, we’d love to read them!
Disclosure – Aeroplan is a travel sponsor for our summer trip to Europe, however expressed opinions are entirely our own. We are supporters and users of the Aeroplan rewards program.
Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says
I’m signed up for a few airline plans but I don’t travel enough yet to actually accumulate enough points. I envy you guys!
Thanks Scott. Try to find other ways to get miles. Here’s another post we did about accumulating miles – https://travelingcanucks.com/2012/05/tips-to-accumulate-aeroplan-rewards-points-quickly/
Steph @ANerdAtLarge says
The annoying thing about Aeroplan miles is that they expire. I don’t travel on AC enough to collect sufficient points for free flights. A couple of years ago I donated most of my points to charity rather than let them expire. They were used toward flying history teachers to Ottawa to receive an award.
Thanks Steph. It’s great that you were able to donate them, it sounds like a great cause.
Lawrence Michaels says
Nice to hear that everything worked out for you without any added expense. I’ve never actually owned any Aeroplan Miles, but in case I ever do, this is good to know.
Yes, if you ever fly on any of the alliance partner airlines, be sure to sign up to get your miles!
Hi Cameron and Nicole,
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with others on your blog! What a great story! I hope the rest of your trip was just as great and your parents had a great time in Europe!
Valerie from Aeroplan
We just booked our flights home back to Canada on Aeroplan. Because of our ‘non-planning’ lifestyle we didn’t have any flights arranged prior and when we looked at the prices we got a little nervous that nothing was less than $1200 each. That’s what happens when you want to book a flight across the Atlantic in summer months I guess 🙂 But luckily all the miles I had accumulated from my corporate life back in the past came through nicely and found some flights home from Amsterdam. Score!