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  • Graham

Aeroplan's selling points with a 100% bonus. Here's why I'm buying.

This one's a short-term promotion, ending 11:59 PM on April 2nd, but it's definitely worth a look for anyone with Aeroplan 25K status or higher.

While past promotions have offered bonuses of up to 60-80% when you purchase Aeroplan points, this is the first 100% promo we've seen since the new program launched last year. You can buy or gift points at a cost of 3 cents per, with the following bonus structure:

- Buy 3,000 – 19,000 points, get a 60% bonus

- Buy 20,000 – 55,000 points, get a 80% bonus

- Buy 60,000 – 350,000 points, get a 100% bonus

I normally skip past these sales, as it's rarely a compelling value, and if your goal is to use points for economy travel, honestly I'd still recommend skipping this one, as the value mostly comes when using points for premium-cabin travel, and really blows up when combined with Aeroplan elite status perks.

Let's do the math - buying points to redeem for domestic Business Class, no elite status.

The common example I use here is Toronto-Vancouver, since it's normally the busiest route in Canada, but the same method I use here will work for any domestic route.

Here's a sample points cost for summer-vacation travel, you should be able to find flights with these prices most days throughout the summer, as long as you're booking in advance.

...and here's the same flights bought with cash:

Assuming you're flying round-trip, we're looking at 49,300 points + $76 in taxes, versus $2991 CAD to buy the flights in cash (the return is just slightly cheaper). So, you'll need to buy (28,000 points + an 80% bonus of 22,4000 more = 50,300 points) for a total out-of-pocket cost of $936 CAD.

$936 a pretty smoking deal for a return trip in lie-flat business class both ways, although it's quite a bit more than the $242 you'd pay to fly regular Economy ($310 if you check a bag both ways). Whether or not that's a good deal, is up to you, but it sure beats paying full price!

Using Aeroplan elite status and The Latitude Trick to fly long-haul business for economy prices!

Now let's get to the part where this deal really takes off: if you have Air Canada elite status, you can use "the Latitude trick" I've been talking about since the new program launched. I explain the trick in detail in its own article, but the short version is that we'll use points to book the slightly-more-expensive Latitude fare, which allows you to use eUpgrade credits instantly, even for a booking months in advance.

Once we're vaccinated and it's safe to travel again, my wife and I will be heading to Greece. The cheapest flights available run $938 CAD (including checked bags) but require an extra border crossing and layover in New York each way, so I feel like I'm still being fair when I compare like for like, with the lowest standard Air Canada fare for Montreal-Athens direct, at $1124 CAD per person.

Now let's look at what we're getting into if we buy the same trip with points: about 77,000 points per person, round-trip, for Economy Standard, or 134,000 per person for Business (top right, greyed out).

...but we're not going to pay Business-class fares, because we're using the Latitude Trick! So, look down to the bottom right, and we're looking at 52,400 per person, each way, or about 105,000 round-trip, and we'll use those elite eUpgrade credits to instantly confirm Business class both ways, for a pretty solid deal, especially when the same trip under the old Aeroplan rules would have cost 110,000 miles plus hundreds of dollars per person in fuel surcharges.

Now, if you've got Air Canada 75K status, this gets a whole bunch better, when we apply two Priority Reward credits, and cut the points cost in half. We're still booking the same Latitude ticket, but instead of 52,400 points per person, per direction, we'll be paying 26,200.

In other words, that whole trip, Montreal-Athens round-trip, in Business both ways, for two people, is now going to cost roughly 105,000 points plus about $200 in taxes. I'll also get a bit more of a discount on that points cost - about 4,000 more points - for having 75K status as well as an Aeroplan TD Visa Infinite credit card, so my end cost is 101,000.

I have enough points to cover that, but since I have other plans for those later in the year, let's look at what it costs to buy points under the current promo.

Because we happen to be right near the threshold between the 80% and 100% bonus, we can't buy exactly 101,000 miles, so we've got to overpay a bit and buy (60,000 + 60,000 bonus - 120,000), so at the end I'll have 19,000 left over, almost enough for another one-way business-class flight to Vancouver.

Our out-of-pocket cost for this will be the $1,800 to buy the points, plus about another $200 in taxes on the award tickets, so about $2,000 altogether.

Two economy tickets would have cost us (2 x $1124 = $2248), so in the end we're saving $250 *and* getting both of us upgraded to Business class both ways. Since this is COVID world we're talking about, another advantage is that Latitude points tickets are fully refundable in case anything gets cancelled or a border gets closed.

If you want to get really picky, we would have earned points if we'd flown on a cash ticket, about 5,000 points each, so let's offset that against the 19,000 we have left over from the promo bonus.

In the end, we come out ahead by ~$250 CAD, plus 9,000 Aeroplan points, plus two round-trip upgrades to Business class.

Not a bad deal, altogether.

Definitely worth doing the math to see if it works for your travel plans!


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