Air Canada Aeroplan has done an incredible job adding airline partners outside the Star Alliance in recent months, as the program has added Etihad, Azul, Vistara, Air Serbia, Oman Air, and Eurowings Discover.
Aeroplan has now announced yet another new partner — Virgin Australia will become an Air Canada Aeroplan partner as of January 19, 2021. While the two airlines have already codeshared for connectivity at Australian gateways, they haven’t had a frequent flyer partnership up until now.
This follows the new Aeroplan program having been launched recently, with no carrier imposed surcharges and stopovers allowed for just 5,000 extra miles one-way.
Air Canada & Virgin Australia partnership details
A new loyalty program partnership has been announced between Air Canada and Virgin Australia, offering members of both airline loyalty programs reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities.
Pre-pandemic, Air Canada flew to three destinations in Australia — Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. While Air Canada and Virgin Australia had a codeshare agreement, there was no reciprocity when it came to loyalty programs.
Since the start of the pandemic, Virgin Australia has changed significantly, as the airline underwent business rescue and now has new ownership. Virgin Australia stopped operating long haul flights, and now exclusively operates 737s regionally. However, this is still valuable for connectivity within Australia, which was previously lacking for Aeroplan members.
Air Canada operated to three cities in Australia
Redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Virgin Australia
As of January 19, 2021, it will be possible to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on all Virgin Australia flights. A few things to note:
- Virgin Australia awards will follow Aeroplan’s standard partner award pricing chart
- Aeroplan members will be able to book Virgin Australia flights online at aircanada.com, or via the call center
- Virgin Australia flights can be combined with flights operated by Air Canada and other international airline partners
- While there will be no carrier imposed surcharges, the standard 39 CAD partner booking fee will apply
In terms of award pricing, here’s the Aeroplan award chart for travel within the Pacific region:
Then here’s the Aeroplan award chart for travel between North America and the Pacific region:
To give a couple of examples of award costs:
- A one-way Sydney to Melbourne award would cost 8,000 miles in economy, 20,000 miles in business
- A one-way Perth to Sydney to San Francisco award on Virgin Australia and United would cost 65,000 miles in economy, 85,000 miles in business; you could add a stopover in Sydney for just 5,000 more miles
Redeem Aeroplan miles for Virgin Australia business class
Air Canada Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One, so if you have transferrable points this is a great program to book through. Furthermore, as of late 2021 Aeroplan will become a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Earn Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Virgin Australia
With this new partnership, Aeroplan members can earn miles on all Virgin Australia flights. Miles are earned based on the distance flown.
For Virgin Australia flights wholly within Australia, Aeroplan members can earn Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) and Status Qualifying Segments (SQSs), as well as Status Qualifying Dollars (SQDs) for Virgin Australia domestic flights ticketed by Air Canada.
Here’s the award chart:
Air Canada and Virgin Australia have a new frequent flyer partnership. This allows Aeroplan members to earn and redeem miles for travel on Virgin Australia, whether they’re exclusively traveling within Australia, or connecting off a long haul flight on another airline. Many may particularly appreciate the ability to book an itinerary that involves a stopover for just 5,000 extra miles.
This is a great addition for Air Canada flyers and Aeroplan members, given that previously the airline didn’t have any frequent flyer program partnerships within Australia.
Are you excited about the new Air Canada & Virgin Australia partnership?
Nothing yet on the Virgin or Velocity sites about how or if this will work the other way.
Good news for travel within Australia. Provides real competition for Qantas.
One thing to bear in mind for award travel is that the cash cost of identical flights is substantially lower on Virgin, so the cost of Aeroplan miles must be examined closely to assess what savings you will make.