Aeroplan has come out with a new promotion which, if these were ordinary days, would be fantastic. (Of course, if these were ordinary days, this promotion would likely not exist). If you book an Aeroplan flight within Canada or to the US on Air Canada by July 1st for travel until October 15th, you’ll get half of your miles back after you fly. Super. But will leisure travel become commonplace during this period? And if so, will you be comfortable flying?
It’s a Rebate, Not a Discount
This promotion is an after the fact sale. You still need the normal amount of miles to book but you’ll get 50% back within three weeks of completing the flight. If you’re short of miles, there’s not a whole lot of time to get them as the deadline for booking is July 1, 2020.
Long-haul flights within Canada and the United States are regularly 25,000 miles round-trip or 12,500 one-way. Short-haul flights are 15,000 miles round-trip or 7500 miles one-way. There are taxes, fees and surcharges in addition to the miles required unless you have status exempting you from some of those. Flights to Hawaii are 45,000 miles round-trip and 22,500 one-way, and because the promo doesn’t expressly restrict redemptions to the continental United States, Hawaii is presumably included. Just be careful to avoid a United segment – all flights must be on Air Canada. Business class redemptions are double the miles.
This promo also applies to market fares which are Aeroplan’s variable reward option. Occasionally the market fare will be lower than the fixed mileage reward. I don’t recall many good market fare deals within Canada in the past but make sure to be thorough with your search. Check your trip as two one-ways. A couple of times I’ve booked market fare one-ways home from the US that were only minimally discounted in miles but the taxes and fees were only around $12.
50% Rebate Promo Details
From the Aeroplan website:
Terms and Conditions
To qualify for this promotion:
- You must be an Aeroplan Member. If you are not an Aeroplan Member, you can visit the Aeroplan web site (www.aeroplan.com) and enroll today. Membership is free.
- Only valid on eligible scheduled flights within Canada and between Canada and the US, operated by Air Canada for travel between July 1st 2020 and completed by October 15th 2020.
- Applies only to new bookings made between June 17th 2020 and July 1st 2020 at 19:59 EDT with travel starting July 1st 2020 and completed by October 15th 2020.
- All flights on the reward itinerary must be flown on routes within Canada or between Canada and the US, on Air Canada operated flights including flights operated by Air Canada Rouge® and the Air Canada Express® banner (Jazz Aviation LP, Sky Regional Airlines Inc., or Exploits Valley Air Services LTD).
- Aeroplan Miles will be credited back to your account within three weeks after the qualifying flights are completed.
- Applies to one-way or two-way fixed mileage and market fare flight rewards. Not applicable to Star Alliance Upgrade Awards, AC Bid upgrades or when members use their miles to pay for the taxes, fees and surcharges associated with their flight reward.
- Flight rewards are subject to availability at time of booking. Taxes, fees, charges and carrier surcharges apply.
- Flights are subject to Aeroplan Flight Rewards terms and conditions.
- Offer is subject to change at Aeroplan’s sole discretion, without notice. Other conditions and restrictions may apply.
Are Multi-City Bookings Included?
According to the terms, the 50% rebate applies to both one-way and two-way bookings. It would have been more clear if it stated that all Aeroplan redemptions on Air Canada operated flights within Canada and between Canada and the United States are eligible.
I say this because Air Miles frequently offers percentage discounts on their flight redemptions and the terms invariably restrict eligible flights to round-trip bookings, so I was on alert for any such limitation with this Aeroplan promo. The “two-way” reference instead of “round-trip” is a little weird so I assume it’s intended to include all bookings that are not one-ways such as open-jaw itineraries or flights that include a free stopover.
Cancel by August 31, 2020 With No Penalty
If you’d like to take advantage of this promo, you’ll have the added peace of mind of knowing you can cancel for free up to the end of August. This date has been extended previously so it’s possible it could be extended again.
Aeroplan Options From The Maritimes
Here in Nova Scotia, it’s possible to get terrific value for Aeroplan miles for flights within Canada. Airfare to western Canada is usually pretty expensive, especially compared to airfare to the western United States. You can also build in a free stopover anywhere en route to your point of turnaround. Here’s an example of a trip to Vancouver with a stopover of a few nights in Toronto:
There are also quite a few short-haul options from the Maritimes. You can fly anywhere Air Canada flies within Atlantic Canada and Quebec, plus a number of northeast US cities including Boston (direct from Halifax) or Hartford, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, all of which require connecting through Montreal to get the 15,000 mile short-haul redemption rate.
As shown above, the Aeroplan website’s list of short-haul destinations from the Maritime provinces omits both Maryland and Pennsylvania. But as shown below, you can indeed fly to two cities in PA for 15,000 miles, which means only 7500 with this promo.
Compare Cash Fares
Always check the cash airfare to see if there are especially low fares available on your dates. Air Canada, WestJet and Porter are all currently offering free cancellation (though the refund is in voucher form), so if the fare is cheap enough you might wish to save those miles for a more expensive future flight. And on the other hand, balance that against the rampant rumours of an impending Aeroplan devaluation later in the year.
Obviously this promotion has a major caveat attached. Here in Nova Scotia there is talk of an “Atlantic bubble” for non-essential travel between the four Atlantic provinces but nothing official has been announced yet. Even if all restrictions on travel are lifted, Canadians still have to consider their comfort level with flying. It remains to be seen what the COVID-19 numbers will be like as the weeks go on.
The safest type of trip right now is one very close to home – as in reasonable driving distance from where you live. But with free cancellation, there is no risk in making a speculative booking for somewhere further afield and hoping for the best. Just try not to get too excited in case you have to ditch your plans.
I don’t see myself travelling to the US in the near term even if the border reopens during the promo period. I definitely won’t be travelling outside of Canada while travel medical insurance is not covering COVID-19.
For those who need to fly within Canada or to the United States for reasons outside of leisure travel, this 50% rebate could be particularly beneficial.
If this promotion applied to flights all the way to the end of the schedule, when a vaccine might be available, then it would be truly incredible. As it is, I believe Aeroplan when it says this is their best redemption offer ever, and while it is a great deal, the coronavirus pandemic makes it distinctly less exciting than it would otherwise be.