I have written in the past about how Air Canada Aeroplan is my favorite frequent flyer program to redeem points. Aeroplan is a program you should care about even if you never fly Air Canada.
What I like most about Aeroplan is the number of partner airlines the program has, and that list keeps growing. I wanted to take a look at that in a bit more detail in this post – which airlines does Aeroplan partner with and why is it so important?
Aeroplan has more partner airlines than any other program
The Aeroplan program allows you to redeem points on 45 different airlines, and counting. There’s not a single airline frequent flyer program in the world that has so many redemption partners, so it’s truly remarkable.
Major global airline alliances generally allow reciprocal award redemptions as one of the main advantages of the concept. Since Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance, of course you have access to the more than two dozen Star Alliance member airlines. But what is most impressive is the number of non-alliance partners that Aeroplan has.
Why should you care so much about this?
- Aeroplan Points are extremely easy to earn, even with transferable Point Coins, as I’ll explain below.
- Aeroplan allows award scales by an additional 5,000 points, which is a rare feature today.
- Aeroplan allows all member awards to be booked online and there are no fuel surcharges on any of the awards.
- Aeroplan has some unique partner airlines that are otherwise difficult to redeem, ranging from Air Mauritius, Gulf Air, Oman Air, to Vistara.
- Being able to combine partner airlines into one award is amazing, especially to reach more remote destinations.
There is simply no other airline program that comes close to this depth of partnerships. This could be useful if you want to travel to the Canadian Arctic in the Canadian North economy…
Or you want to travel to Madagascar in the business class of Air Mauritius…
Or you want to travel to Oman on Oman Air in first class…
Complete list of Aeroplan member airlines
This is the current list of Air Canada Aeroplan’s 45 airline redemption partners:
- Aegean Sea Airlines
- air canada
- china air
- Air Creebec
- Air Dolomites
- air indian
- Air Mauritius
- air new zealand
- air serbia
- All Nippon Airways (ANA)
- Austrian airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- calm air
- Canadian North
- Copa Airlines
- Croatian airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airlines
- Eurowings Discover
- eva air
- gulf air
- Juneyao Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- olympic air
- omani air
- Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- thai airline
- Turkish airlines
- united airlines
- virgin australia
Why is Aeroplan seemingly alone in adding partners?
Aeroplan is in a league of its own when it comes to adding partner airlines for the purpose of award redemption. That’s not because the people behind the show have a secret recipe that other shows don’t. It’s simply because the people behind the program see value in this for members and put a lot of effort into it, and other programs apparently don’t.
I remember having a conversation with the head of a certain airline loyalty program some time ago, and I brought up the subject of how the program had lost several partner airlines over the years, and it would be nice to see a focus on adding more partners. . for members to redeem their points. The answer? “That’s not really a priority for us.”
I find that logic puzzling, but then again, I find many of the changes we’ve seen in major frequent flyer programs in recent years questionable at best. So why is Aeroplan bucking the industry trend by adding an endless list of new partners?
- First off, Aeroplan is really run by avgeeks who are obsessed with airlines and flights, and I imagine on some level they’re adding partners that they’d love to be able to redeem their own points on.
- The reality is that there is a business case for what Aeroplan is doing: award redemption rates are typically quite low, so Aeroplan will typically make money when you transfer your points to Aeroplan and then redeem them at a partner; It’s not only a great business model on a stand-alone basis, but also a great way to increase participation in Aeroplan and awareness of Air Canada.
- Air Canada has clearly given Aeroplan leadership latitude to add partnerships that are good for the program, rather than just adding a very limited number of partnerships driven by revenue management and other business deals; compare this to Delta, which nowadays only seems to want to work with airlines in which it has equity interests
I have to say that I would love to be a fly on the wall for Aeroplan launches and negotiations by adding new partners. Aeroplan has managed to add some redemption-only partner airlines, which means that Aeroplan’s leadership has convinced the people at these airlines to allow Aeroplan members to redemption, without any kind of commercial agreement. That must take some skill!
If the whole Aeroplan thing doesn’t work out, these people could probably fly to the Canadian Arctic and be refrigerator salesmen (and could fly there in northern Canada using Aeroplan points, sure!).
How to earn Aeroplan points
As mentioned above, one of the best things about Aeroplan is that points are pretty easy to come by. Air Canada Aeroplan is a 1:1 transfer partner with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This means you can transfer points earned with cards like the American Express® Gold Card (review), the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review), and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review).
Transfers from all of these partners are usually instant, which is important because rewards can often be available, but then you find that a transfer takes several days, which can quickly throw your plans out of whack.
On top of that, there’s the Aeroplan® (review) credit card in the US, which offers a great bonus and some unique perks. Lastly, Aeroplan often sells points at a reasonable cost.
Aeroplan has more partner airlines than any other frequent flyer program in the world, and that’s something I really appreciate. The program now has 45 member airlines and counting. I love the consistency these redemptions offer, from being able to mix partners on one prize, to having no fuel surcharges, to being able to have stopovers on one way prizes.
Best of all, Aeroplan is just getting started when it comes to adding partners, and we’re told to expect even more exciting partners in the future. I can’t wait to see which airlines are next.
Does anyone else appreciate Aeroplan’s variety of partner airlines as much as I do?
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