(EXPIRED) [Update: Aeroplan makes it right] Buy Aeroplan miles from $0.01 each….if you dare

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Update 5/7/20: When the sale went live this morning, demand was strong enough that the first two levels sold out quickly and the servers predictably couldn’t handle the traffic. Many members couldn’t even get through to purchase. Impressively, Aeroplan has reached out to let us know that all miles purchased between 11-12pm Eastern at the 65% bonus rate will automatically be increased to a 90% bonus. That’s a nice gesture! Here is the direct quote from their email to us:

This was some of the highest traffic that our partner, Points.com has ever seen (more details on that to come)!  We’re so grateful for the response, but there are no excuses for the access issues, and we own that.  We apologize for this and would like to make it right with our members.  Specifically:

  1. all miles purchased between 11-12pm at the 65% bonus rate will automatically be increased to a 90% bonus. In other words, in case a customer was trying to purchase at the 90% bonus and was unable to, we are taking care of them and ensuring they get even more miles (note: the issues ended within the first hour of the sale). It will take us some time to reach-out and deposit the additional miles.
  1. along with our partner Points, we will be donating an additional 1 million miles donation to our Aeroplan Member Donation program charity – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation (CAMH).

We’ve learned a lot from this and can’t wait to share more bonus opportunities in the future.

That’s a nice gesture. As noted, they say it’ll take some time for them to get the miles credited to those accounts.


Note: This sale goes live at 10am Eastern and the best price point will likely sell out quickly (as will the second tier at 1.1cpm). If Aeroplan processed the purchase directly, it would be a good opportunity to convert Capital One to Aeroplan 1:1 (by erasing the purchase), but I believe this is processed by Points.com. US Bank Altitude points probably won’t work if the charge comes from Canada. See the link here to purchase at 10am:

Link to purchase (live at 10am Eastern)

Air Canada’s Aeroplan is offering miles on sale for a song later this week — from just $0.01 each. That could be a fantastic deal (it amounts to Star Alliance business class to/from Europe for $550 each way as just one example) — though with the uncertainty of when travel will resume and what schedules would look like, I wouldn’t be a buyer right now.

The Deal

  • Aeroplan will be offering a sale on miles from May 7 at 10:00 am ET until May 13 at 11:59 pm ET. During that time, Aeroplan members will be able to buy miles and receive bonus miles on their purchase (note that the Canadian prices note tax, but there is no tax when paying with a US credit card with a US billing address. The US prices below take this into account):
      1. For the first 10 million Aeroplan Miles sold, members get a 115% bonus; equivalent to $0.014 CAD/mile + sales tax OR $0.01 USD/mile;
      2. The next 100 million miles sold, members get a bonus of 90%; equivalent to $0.016 CAD/mile + sales tax + $0.011 USD/mile;
      3. All miles sold after this will get a bonus of 65%; equivalent to $0.018 CAD/mile + sales tax OR + $0.013 USD/mile
  • Direct link to this deal

Key Terms

  • Valid May 7 – May 13, 2020
  • Fifty per cent of the total miles purchased through this Buy Miles promotion will count towards the Travel at Home status offers.
  • Limit of 250,000 miles per transaction and annual limit of 500,000 miles are applicable to the base miles purchased only, and therefore the bonus miles awarded do not count towards these limits.  

Quick Thoughts

As noted at the top, I wouldn’t recommend buying an individual airline’s miles right now. While I expect that most major carriers will outlast this pandemic, nobody has a crystal ball so it is very difficult to guess what routes and availability will look like. Furthermore, there has been some speculation that Aeroplan will change the program this year, which could change up the values you could expect considerably. Perhaps some will find this useful to book trips now for next year, but accept the inherent gamble.

If you’re tempted to buy miles, one thing to consider is that you can currently earn Air Canada elite status with a mileage purchase. Note that while status can be earned by transferring 50,000 miles from a partner program like American Express Membership Rewards or Capital One, the terms of this deal note that 50% of the miles purchased count toward the required 50K. In other words, you would have to buy 100K miles to earn Prestige 25K status if you’re starting from scratch. That said, if you’re able to snag miles for a penny each, 100K for $1,000 would nearly give you enough miles for a round trip business class ticket to Europe and Aeroplan elite status. That sounds tempting when I type it out like that, but I’m still no buyer before we get an idea of what the new normal looks like for international travel.

We’ve added this to our “Buy points” resource guide with current mileage purchase deals.

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PeterSFO
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PeterSFO

Great analysis. On the surface it looks extremely tempting just to take the risk and potentially get amazing value. Looking closer however, there’s no way a loyalty program would sell their miles at a loss. With general valuation of a Aeroplan mile being 1.4 to 1.5 cents in value, selling then for 33% discount would really cut into their margins… Unless they plan on devaluing the value in the first place.

Farnorthtrader
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Farnorthtrader

This really isn’t much different than the US airlines preselling miles to their bank partners. What looks like a “loss” from our side really isn’t a loss to them. While we can squeeze a penny and a half out of the miles, their actual cost is probably more like 4 or 5 tenths of a cent. I would guess that CIBC and TD don’t pay anywhere close to a penny apiece for the miles they give to their customers, so air Canada comes out ahead on every mile they sell direct, and it gets them cash when they need it.

tim
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tim

With a limit of 10 million miles available at the best price, if each person buys the max allowed of 250K, this sale will last all of 2 minutes – or however long it takes for the first 8 people to purchase. Sorry, not for me.

Kalboz
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Kalboz

At 1.3 CPM (the 65%deal), it’s tempting (they already sold out on the other deals).

An article by Upgrade Points (June 2019) states “Star Alliance U.S. to Asia 2: 155,000 Miles in Business Class, Round-Trip”. That’s a $1000 per passenger one-way Business Class – a heck of a deal!

Can you book one-way using Aeroplan miles?

Parts Unknown
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Parts Unknown

Proof that there is in fact a sucker born every minute. Yikes.

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