Big bonus from Aeroplan: Great use of SPG / Marriott points

Air Canada’s Aeroplan is currently offering a historical-high 35% transfer bonus when converting hotel points into airline miles. This transfer bonus was announced a couple of weeks ago and continues through August 21, 2017.

The Deal

  • Convert hotel points into Aeroplan miles and receive a 35% more miles
  • Ends August 21, 2017
  • Direct link here

Best uses

As a reminder, here are Aeroplan’s hotel partners:

The transfer ratios from hotel programs aren’t very good for the most part. The exceptions are Starwood and Marriott.

Starwood offers 1:1 transfers to Aeroplan and adds a bonus of 5,000 miles any time you transfer 20,000 Starpoints. This means than 20K starpoints usually gets you 25K Aeroplan miles. With the 35% bonus, 20,000 Starpoints33,750 Aeroplan miles. That’s excellent as it is essentially about 1.69 miles per dollar spent on the SPG card.

The other best use of the transfer bonus would be with Marriott Rewards. Normally, Marriott Rewards points transfer at a very poor ratio of 10,000 Marriott points = 2,000 Aeroplan miles. Since you could convert 9,999 Marriott Rewards points to 3,333 SPG points and transfer them to Aeroplan 1:1 (in blocks of one thousand), it wouldn’t make sense to transfer a block of Marriott points — unless you’re using Marriott Travel Packages.

As mentioned in the new SPG Transfer Partner guide Greg posted about this morning (See: Starwood Transfers: Best, Rest, and the Secret Weapon), Marriott Travel Packages can be a great use of Marriott Rewards (and by extension Starpoints). Here is the chart for travel packages with Air Canada’s Aeroplan:

As you can see, if you were to transfer 270,000 Marriott Rewards points, you would normally receive seven nights in a Category 1-5 hotel plus 120,000 Aeroplan miles. With the 35% extra miles, that will become 162,000 Aeroplan miles. That’s a fantastic deal. To put it in perspective, if you were to transfer 90,000 Starpoints to Aeroplan in 20K point blocks, you would only receive 148,500 Aeroplan miles with the bonus — and no hotel stay. Getting a full week at a Category 1-5 plus 162,000 miles is a stellar deal if you have the points. That’s enough points to get you round trip in business class almost anywhere in the world on Star Alliance carriers (though be aware of fuel surcharges on many partners).

Bottom line

This is a great deal if you are either converting Starpoints or redeeming for a Marriott Travel Package. The points transferred from Marriott to Aeroplan in those travel packages count the same as any other hotel points and receive a 35% bonus just the same as if you only transferred a small quantity of points, making Travel Packages the best deal. I wouldn’t even bother to look at the other hotel point programs unless you just need to top off a very small number of Aeroplan miles or have hotel points that are going to expire unused.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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  1. I will pass this. Don’t think Aeroplan miles are easy to redeem. More importantly, I haven’t been collecting them. 162K sounds a lot, but not much if you book for a family on an international travel (where miles shine compared to cash). I would rather wait for a United Mileageplus transfer bonus and then use Marriott travel package.

    • Well, food for thought: The Aeroplan miles should have access to the same exact Star Alliance awards as the United miles (unless you’re booking miles on United Airlines flights using extra availability you see as an elite member or co-brand card holder). They should both have access to the same Star Alliance awards — and whereas United will charge you 70K one-way for partner business class to Europe and 110K for partner first class, Aeroplan will charge you 55K for business and 70K for first. Of course, you have to be aware of which partners include fuel surcharges (though I’d say that the 15K/40K per passenger difference in cost mitigates fuel surcharges on some airlines). 162K will nearly get 3 people one-way to Europe 1 in Business class or 5 people one-way in economy class. Remember that Membership Rewards points also transfer to Aeroplan, so you may have more potential miles than you think. I’m certainly not trying to talk you out of waiting for a United transfer bonus, and it certainly depends where you want to go and how you want to get there as to whether or not this bonus works for you.

      • Nick, Aeroplan charges 57.5K for Business to Europe and 80K in first. Fuel surcharges on LH and OS departing from the US are ridiculous. The only good use for Aeroplan miles (when leaving from the US) are United, Turkish and Brussels Airlines. LOT (Polish) Airlines have somewhat reasonable surcharges. With departure from Europe to the US, surcharges are lower but are still around $200-300 per ticket.

        • You forget about LX and SK. Both dont incur YQ.

          On top of that you can use SK to Asia via EU and just pay some $20 extra on the taxes versus US directly to Asia.

          Like any other programs, where you live and where you go make huge difference on which programs would work better for you.

          Dont forget UA charge 80K on partner flights as well as LH availability does not come out until 2 weeks before departure so you pay close-in booking fee if not elite. OS business class basically sucks.

        • 57.5K and 80K are rates to Europe 2. Europe 1 are the rates I quoted above (55K/70K) — see the award chart in the post.

          For reference:

          Europe 1 Countries:
          Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain (incl. Balearic Islands; excl. Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

          Europe 2 countries:
          Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia (Western), Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine.

          Link to Aeroplan award chart online:

          https://www.aeroplan.com/use-your-miles/flight-rewards-chart

          There are no fuel surcharges on the following airlines to Europe I believe:

          Brussels
          SAS
          Swiss
          Singapore
          Turkish
          United

          LOT Polish fuel surcharge is around a hundred bucks if memory serves me correctly and I think TAP Portugal is under $200 (haven’t doubled checked those numbers). I’d say either is a fair deal if you’re saving 15K miles or more.

          And as someone else said, the close-in booking fee is another consideration as you’ll save money on that if you’re planning travel on shorter notice.

          Of course, frugalman has said he was looking for Asia instead and I’m certainly not trying to talk anyone into a transfer they don’t want to make — just figured I’d respond with the mileage numbers to clear any confusion.

      • Thanks for the input. I agree it depends on your travel pattern.

        My family (4 people) most likely will fly to Asia on united every few years. For an economy round trip, UA charges 70k and CA charges 75k. Besides, I need quite a lot miles. 162k leaves me a lot of efforts to get the rest over 100k miles. Surely if you travel alone and take business/first class, it could be another story.

        • If you fly round trip, Aeroplan allows 2 stopovers or 1 stopover 1 OJ. That could potentially save you money if you have more than one city to visit on your trip.

        • I actually priced out a SAS MIA-CPH-Asia that was only $20 more than a BR flight LAX-TPE.

          I think in order to get the best of each program one has to think outside the box.

          Also I suspect Aeroplan may have the least risk to devalue given now AC would not renew its contract by 2020. Aeroplan would not want to lose its members prematurely.

          The thing to remember is Aeroplan requires activity every 12 months to keep the miles alive. A 3 gallons of gas at Esso in Canada would take care of it or a transfer in from partner will do the trick also. I took advantage of Spring’s tiered bonus for a Marriott Travel Package transfer. Now the 35% is for any transfer, so it is a much sweetened deal. My guess is we would see similar deals during the course of next year.

  2. Thanks for the tip – redeemed the package – going to use the 162k Aeroplan miles for 2 one-way BKK-ATL via IST on TK biz next summer to get back from Asia. Availability seems pretty good for most dates so far so hope our date is available when it opens up. As for the hotel cert, will upgrade it at some point and hopefully use it when I find some place I really want to spend 7 nights in (or at least 5). Tried to get the 5 night package but CSR confirmed that no exceptions are being made any more, not even by managers for highest level elites.

  3. Booking flight with British Airways’ Avios miles is very painful and tricky: most of the times you have to go to AA website to look for flight you need and go back to BA website.
    Book with Aeroplan is simple and straightforward.

    Your experiences? Please share.

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