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Aeroplan is offering a new promotion where you’ll receive a 35% bonus when you transfer hotel points to its program through August 21, 2017. Even though transferring hotel points to airlines is often not a very good deal, these bonuses often make them reasonable in certain situations and I think this is one of those deals you should at least think about.
Aeroplan is a spin-off loyalty program of Air Canada and has been independently owned and operated by Aimia for almost a decade. However, this soon won’t be the case any longer as Air Canada will be “taking back” its loyalty program in 2020, though Aeroplan will still be around.
Aeroplan is one of my favorite award programs. They are a 1:1 transfer program of American Express Membership Rewards and offer some competitive redemption rates for Star Alliance partners. In particular, their rate for business class travel from North America to Europe can be as low as 55,000 one way. And you can avoid surcharges by flying on any one of these partners:
- Air China
- EVA Air
I recently flew on SAS to Tromsø, Norway to see the northern lights by using Aeroplan miles and I only paid about $12 in total fees.
The transfer bonus
There are several different hotel partners participating in the promotion:
They key thing to be aware of is that the transfer rates differ for these different hotel programs. I’ve bolded the first two rates from SPG and Marriott because they are the deals that I would consider. But here are all of the hotel transfer partners and their respective transfer ratios.
- SPG Members can convert their Starpoints to Aeroplan Miles at a rate of 1 for 1
- Marriott Rewards members can convert points to Aeroplan Miles (10,000 points for 2,000 miles).
- Wyndham Rewards: Wyndham Rewards members can convert their Points to Aeroplan Miles at a rate of 5 points to 1 mile (starting at 6,000 points for 1,200 Miles)
- Best Western Rewards members can convert their Points to Aeroplan Miles at a rate of 5 points to 1 mile
- Choice Privileges members can convert their Points to Aeroplan Miles at a rate of 5 points to 1 mile.
- Coast Rewards Members can convert their Coast Rewards points to Aeroplan Miles at a rate of 1 point to 1 mile. Conversions are allowed in 1,000 point increments
- Club Carlson members can choose auto-conversion (every 10,000 points will automatically convert into 1,000 Aeroplan Miles) or convert as needed (in increments of 2,000; 50,000 or 100,000 points)
- Members earn both Aeroplan Miles and Hilton points for the same stay or can convert points to miles in increments of 10,000 points for 1,000 miles.
- Le Club Accorhotels members can convert their Le Club Accorhotels points into Aeroplan Miles at a rate of up to 2 points to 1 mile (in increments of of 4,000 Le Club Accorhotels points= 2,000 Aeroplan Miles)
- Golden Circle members can convert their Golden Circle Award Points into Aeroplan Miles at a rate of 1 point to 1 mile. The minimum amount of Golden Circle Award Points to convert into miles is 2,500 points (with the subsequent of 500 point increments
SPG points are usually great for these types of promotions for a couple of reasons. They offer a 1:1 transfer ratio to airlines on top of a 25% built-in transfer bonus when you transfer points in increments of 20,000. So for example if you transfer 20,000 points to an airline you’ll receive 25,000 airline miles.
And what makes this even better is that this 25% bonus stacks on top of the bonus promotion. So 20,000 SPG points would earn you 5,000 points from the 25% bonus and also earn you 8,750 since the 35% bonus is stacked on top of the 25% bonus. So that would be a total of 33,750 miles.
If you value SPG points at 2.5 cents per point and Aeroplan miles at 1.5 cents per point, you’re going from $500 to $506 worth of value with the conversion of 20,000 SPG points to 33,750, so there’s an overall increase in value.
Marriott Hotel + Air Packages
Marriott Hotel + Air Packages can be good deals without any type of promo being offered. They allow you to use Marriott points to redeem for a set amount of miles plus hotel stays at Marriott properties. The amount of miles and the category of Marriott property you’ll receive a free night for depend on how many Marriott points you’re redeeming.
The only real drawback to these is that you must book your free hotel nights consecutively. So whether you get a 5 night package or a 7 night package, you must book them all consecutively, which means you need to find availability for an entire week. Even if you don’t end up staying all 5 or 7 nights, though, the deal can still be worth it.
The most common Hotel + Air Package talked about is usually the 7 free nights at a category 1-5 + 120,000 miles. To redeem for this, you would need 270,000 Marriott points. If you utilize this bonus, you would end up with a 162,000 Aeroplan miles.
At .8 cents per point for Marriott points and 1.5 cents per miles, that’s an exchange of $2,160 of Marriott points for $2,430 of Aeroplan miles PLUS the 7 free nights at a Marriott property up to a category 5. With Marriott Gold Status, it’s possible to stay at a Marriott category 5 and receive up to $320 per night in value. So it’s possible to get over $4,500 worth of value from converting 270,000 Marriott points with this promotion.
I’m not crazy about transferring hotel points from many of the other programs because you lose so much value.
For example, 10,000 Hilton Honors points would be worth $40 at .4 cents per point and they would convert into 1,350 Aeroplan miles. At a valuation of 1.5 cents per point, that $40 becomes $20 worth of value. As shown above, the SPG and Marriott conversions actually brings you more value so for many of these hotel programs, I don’t think it’s worth it to lose value when transferring to Aeroplan.
However, since Aeroplan is also a member of American Express Membership Rewards, these programs may be a great way to top-off your Aeroplan miles so that you have enough for a given redemption.
Overall, this promo is pretty decent since there’s no tiered approach that you often see requiring you to transfer a lot of points to maximize value. I’d probably only go for it with SPG or maybe Marriott points but I’d also have to have some type of redemption plans for Aeroplan in mind. I would not make this transfer just for the sake of accumulating Aeroplan miles.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.