Wow: Aeroplan Will Sell Miles For One Cent Each

Filed Under: Air Canada, Great Deals

Reminder: Aeroplan will start selling miles at this link for as little as $0.01 USD each as of 10AM ET. I imagine miles will sell out at the lowest cost almost instantly, so you’ll want to be quick.

Aeroplan has been doing a phenomenal job engaging members during the COVID-19 crisis. Air Canada is extending elite status and even giving people the option to gift status to others, and has also introduced innovative ways to earn status from home.

As of today Air Canada will get into the business of selling miles directly to consumers, and it’s potentially exciting.

Aeroplan will begin selling miles

Historically Air Canada’s Aeroplan program hasn’t allowed members to directly purchase miles:

  • Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One, which has been the best way to earn Aeroplan miles
  • Aeroplan will let you top off your account for an award, but only as part of the process of booking an award

As of today (May 7, 2020), Aeroplan will officially start selling miles directly to consumers. Aeroplan will have a limit of 250,000 miles per transaction, and 500,000 miles per account per calendar year. The cost will be $0.03 CAD per mile before any bonuses.

The timing of this seems strange, though it’s my understanding that this isn’t as suspect as it sounds. This has been in the works for a long time, and Aeroplan has already delayed the implementation of this.

Aeroplan will start selling miles

Aeroplan will sell miles for as little as one cent each

To celebrate this mileage sale functionality going live, Aeroplan will offer an incredible promotion between 10AM ET on May 7 (today) and 11:59PM ET on May 13:

  • For the first 10 million Aeroplan miles sold, members will receive a 115% bonus (equivalent to $0.014 CAD per mile plus sales tax, $0.01 USD per mile)
  • For the next 100 million Aeroplan miles sold, members will receive a 90% bonus (equivalent to $0.016 CAD per mile plus sales tax, $0.011 USD per mile)
  • All Aeroplan miles sold after that will receive a 65% bonus (equivalent to $0.018 CAD per mile plus sales tax, $0.013 USD per mile)

Note that:

  • The 250,000 mile per transaction limit doesn’t apply to the bonus (so only the base miles count)
  • Transactions made with US based credit cards with a US billing address are not subject to sales tax

I’m a big fan of redeeming Aeroplan miles for travel on Star Alliance partners, as it’s a program I use all the time. They have a solid website, reasonable fees, excellent redemption rates, and don’t impose surcharges on many partner awards.

I love redeeming Aeroplan miles on Turkish Airlines

Bottom line

While this generally isn’t the time to buy miles speculatively, at one US cent per Aeroplan mile I might just be a buyer. The reality is that the 10 million mile cap will greatly limit the number of people who can take advantage of the deal, but maybe in light of the current situation it won’t be that competitive?

I’m excited to see Aeroplan get into the business of selling miles, so we have another lucrative Star Alliance option for this. I’m also very tempted to pick up Aeroplan miles for a penny each, even in these uncertain times.

Do you plan on buying Aeroplan miles for as little as $0.01 USD each?

Comments
  1. Cash is king right now. Could turn out to be a great opportunity in hindsight, but we also don’t know how much more desperate airlines will become. I remember not too long ago buying a $130 a share stock on sale for $50 and thinking I got a great deal. But I feel differently this morning seeing Royal Caribbean shares at $38.

  2. So I have to actually book an award ticket for a flight in order to take advantage of this offer?

  3. Lucky, question about using this great deal on a Star Alliance partner. If I am a United Premier Platinum and I buy Aeroplan miles to book an award ticket on, say, ANA or Turkish Air, would I still get the Star Alliance Gold benefits (luggage, lounge, priority boarding, etc.?) Many Thanks!

  4. …and to add to flyfish’s question:
    What activities are valid to avoid expiration? Does buying more miles count for example?

    This could be a nice replacement for Lifemiles to *A awards.

  5. this will sell out in seconds? (the maximum bonus I mean). 10 million miles is just 20 people maxing out at 500,000 per person. probably will be harder to get than daily getaways.

  6. Their website is utter trash and errors out every time you try to book a flight. Buyer beware.

  7. Aeroplan is supposed to announce the details of their new frequent flyer program soon; I think I saw June somewhere.

    With United and Delta fully dynamic, and American all but fully dynamic (their award charts are just quaint relics), the pressure on Air Canada to adopt a fully dynamic award structure must be enormous, knowing that if they don’t, many thousands of otherwise loyal United flyers will flood their system and basically turn it into a clone of American’s where award space, in theory, should cost (X) miles, assuming you can find space.

    Buyer beware, indeed. These sorts of mass sales are usually canaries in the coalmine for massive devaluations.

  8. I agree with @profan. Each person has to weigh whether this it’s worth their time. Best guess is that it’s sold out in less than a minute. Only the first 20 people (10 million miles / 500,000 max pp) can take advantage of this. For me, that’s not worth interrupting my day to count down seconds, keep multiple tabs open, etc.

  9. By the end of 2018 they had this trial sale and I bought miles for 1.5 cents (Canadian). I have been waiting for an opportunity to get some more and will definitely be one of the first to pull the trigger.

  10. @lucky

    I think it’s really important to let readers know that we’re all expecting an Aeroplan revamp this year, so buying speculatively has that additional risk in addition to existing economic/Covid issues.

  11. It’s worth noting that purchases will be in CAD, unless they changed something recently.

    From the deal, don’t even expect to be the first 10 or 100 million miles. So I would treat this as 65% bonus.

    @Bobby J
    “Aeroplan is supposed to announce the details of their new frequent flyer program soon; I think I saw June somewhere.”
    Or is it just Aeroplan becomes part of Altitude and disappear.

    I do think either devaluation is coming soon, or AC is in deep trouble (at least yesterday’s earnings didn’t seem much worse than industry).

  12. Paying for points in advance is a suckers game. Devaluation is a matter of when, not if. They get you on changes, and they restrict what is eligible. They are doing this because it is good for the airline, not us.

  13. @Robert Olaf
    AFAIK, you should get the Star Alliance gold benefits on reward tickets, but you would get those you mentioned anyway flying Business or First class. You wouldn’t use points to book Economy, would you?

  14. I disagree. Aeroplan did not extend expiring airline miles until 2021 or even 2020. That is not cool.

  15. “They have a solid website, reasonable fees, excellent redemption rates, and don’t impose surcharges on many partner awards.”

    Do we live on the same planet, Lucky? Their website consistently bias towards partners with surcharges and suppress non-surcharge partners that UA.com has no problem showing. The website is completely useless if your itin requires connection, as 99% of your results for business class will have the overwater leg in economy and a short leg in business. Redemption rates are OK, nothing extraordinary. They don’t even offer 24hr grace period for cancellation.

  16. Lucky and Team, what would you suggest I do to CASH OUT my Aeroplan points (About 400K)

    I looked at Gift Cards but the value is awful.

    I believe there’s a chance AC and AP will go Belly Up. IF they don’t I suspect AP will turn into an “Airmiles like” program.

  17. What is Aeroplan’s COVID-related policy for cancellation of future award flight bookings late into 2020 and 2021? (The website only seems to address cancelations made by June 30, 2020.)

  18. @David

    If I remember correctly hotels or giftcards are getting you around USD 0.5 cpm.

    What you can do best now is book some flights before you think they will go belly up (at least December I ‘guess’). But if you really want to play it safe, I say wait until August if the world is still broken, you can start cash out on giftcards.

    BTW, AP is like Airmiles with an actual airline no?

  19. I’m not giving cash to an airline without knowing what they are going to do to their program.

  20. @Chris the answer is unknown. They might extend the current no-charge cancellation policy (beware, many itineraries glitch in online cancellation and one has to call their eternal call queue to cancel) or they might not. This is one of the unknowns, like those above, that gives one pause.

  21. @JJ that’s a great Alpha statement. Strong. Decisive.

    Name an airline, for which you “know what they’re going to do”.

  22. There’s a saying, “If it’s too good to be true then it probably is.”. I think this applies well here. During normal times would we see this offer? I highly doubt it. It’s a desperation move for instant cash where airlines realize that’s needed not tomorrow but rather today. They are baiting the hook with a fat worm and they know they’ll catch a few. I would advise 99% of my clients against such a purchase during this time. As someone above already stated “Cash is king”, and it’s never been so apparent as now that this is true.

  23. anyone get error stating “We are not able to locate an account with the information provided. Please try again.”

    ???

    also apparently you can earn a one status upgrade

    Between today (Apr 20) and May 31st, when a member earns 50,000 Aeroplan Miles through everyday Travel at home activities (including miles earned via an Aeroplan-affiliated credit card), the member will receive Altitude Prestige 25K status valid through 2021. Members will need to register for this promotion.

    Altitude members can earn towards their next status level – Between April 20 and May 31st, members earn more when they earn Aeroplan Miles, including Bonus Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM) and the potential for a one-time Altitude status tier upgrade up to a maximum award of Elite 75K.

  24. Appears to be a dud so far. Trying to log in since 10. I keep getting an error message, acct not located, although I tested out the site in the morning and had no problems logging in to buy miles before the promotion.

  25. What a disaster Aeroplan has become. I was on the fence about buying points at this cheap price but soon came to the decision not to when I couldn’t get to the buy page (after successful login) on two different types of browsers. Made me reconsider how will I be able to resolve issues with using those points when Aeroplan rarely picks up their phones. Not for me.

  26. Site keeps telling me they don’t recognize my account – have tried on two browsers already. This isn’t good.

  27. The website kept crashing, but looks like the first 10 million miles are already gone. It finally loaded for me and I see the second tier of the promotion with the 90% bonus.

  28. So Annoying, after clicking the “buy miles” button, It will keep loading for about an min, and give you an error page, and I tried, and tried and tired…. same thing!

  29. I tried buyng miles at 10:00 a.m. and the site crashed right away. Could not get through at all. What a scam!

    Aeroplan could have simply done what “normal” programs do and announce a bonus on buying miles valid for a week or whatever instead of this rat race approach.

  30. They’ll spin the tech Fail as “overwhelming popularity”.

    They knew perfectly well what volume to expect and they sold out the sweet spot in 12 minutes. I think this was a sleazy stunt to get free attention without big budget. They’ll repeat it of course. It cost so little!

  31. @Andre – that’s why I actually didn’t go for it. I was concerned it would crash after my payment info was entered. Quite frankly, I’m having a bit of FOMO but it may be a blessing in disguise given the uncertainty for Aeroplan between potentially going up in flames or serious devaluation.

  32. It took me 10 mins with a multiple loading errors and a couple failed transactions.
    I got the 115% bonus.

  33. Timed out a couple of times right at 10:00 then went through with no problem around 10:02. Bought 322,500 miles at 0.99 cents/mile. Definitely a great deal.

  34. I was able to get in on 90%. I just purchased 50,000. Didn’t want to take too big a risk.

  35. Was never intending to purchase a lot of miles and the couldn’t get to the purchase page in time for the 115% bonus. Ended up buying 11k miles plus a 90% bonus.

  36. I finally got the 90% bonus to work after 10 tries. Got the confirmation and see that miles have been added to my account.

    Keeping my fingers crossed, hope they don’t go up in smokes in the next 3-4 months.

  37. Was able to get 95k at 90% bonus.

    I know its speculative but needed to MSR for platinum upgrade so why not

  38. I got 90% bonus for first 250k and shown in account right away. Trying to do another 250k but it said will process the order within 48 hours. Is it normal?

  39. Was on the website logged in and ready to go at 10:00 eastern and it took 40 minutes to finally get through and make purchase at the 90% level. Never even made it to the purchase page at the 115% bonus rate – a lot of bots must have got those. So annoying! Companies need to do more to prevent that kind of crap from happening.

    Even at the 90% level it took dozens of tries to load the Points.com purchase page and then it failed once after I entered credit card info. Worked on second try. Still $1210 (plus tax) for a roundtrip to Europe from USA in Business class on Swiss or Turkish is a very solid deal. Hopefully Aeroplan is not gutted in terms of redemption rates and their YQ policy once the transition happens. I don’t have any flights to book until late 2021 or early 2022, so this may have been foolish. Time will tell

  40. Nice work @Pete, @Dee and @Kevin.

    My suggestion: book fast in case AC devalues in the next month or so.

  41. Bought at 115% bonus and immediately booked business class travel (EWR-DEL-EWR) for Dec/Jan. Dont want to risk devaluation. Got TAP+Lufthansa flights on the way out and direct flight back on United (Polaris). Sweet deal for roundtrip business class tickets for ~$1,500 USD

  42. Total joke of a company. Logged in at 10:01 am. Got in a 115%, filled out what I wanted, put credit card details, hit submit only to get an error back, try again. Did this every minute for 47 minutes, then down to 90% bonus, over and over the SSL hand shake error, Bad Gateway or just plain error message try again. 3 Browsers, the Aeroplan app etc…. All useless. Aeroplan is such a disaster. A simple and exciting program that turned to the once again general frustration…. Will it be any better with the new program, team and roll out. Not even really sure what to say anymore about this airline and program.

  43. Thanks @Andre. Nothing to book at the moment but I am certain that even with a devaluation, I can get way more than $0.01 value from these miles which is the price (or close to it) at which I am willing to do some speculation and take some risk.

  44. Tried logging in with Chrome, Safari and Mobile app. Finally got through with the 115% on Chrome at 7:08am PDT.

  45. I find it ironic that Aeroplan is clearly favouring Americans over Canadians: no sales tax for US credit cards and a favourable currency conversion rate.

  46. From Lucky’s recent article:

    “All miles purchased between 11-12PM ET (when there were system issues) at the 65% bonus rate will automatically be increased to a 90% bonus. This means that if a customer was trying to purchase at the 90% bonus and was unable to, they are making sure they get even more miles — those who paid $0.013 USD per mile will only end up paying $0.011 USD.”

  47. @Constantine

    “I find it ironic that Aeroplan is clearly favouring Americans over Canadians: no sales tax for US credit cards and a favourable currency conversion rate.”

    Did you ever think about this?
    “I find it ironic that Amazon is clearly favoring out of state over in state: no sales tax for sales outside WA”

    Remember Amazon when we use it because it was cheaper with no sales tax? It made Jeff Bezos the wealthiest person alive (AFTER DIVORCE!!!!). All he did was sell stuff cheaper by ripping off every state until 2017, even in 2020 he still got away in some state from 3rd party sellers.

  48. By the time I logged on, it was at 90%, but I couldn’t get my password to work. had to reset it and, by the time I went through all of that, it was already down to 65% bonus.
    “No thanks!” LOL

  49. I wonder if Qantas will be encouraged to sell miles on the same basis as Aeroplan?
    They’re always looking for new ways to make a buck.

  50. For those that have been sitting on huge numbers building for that dream vacation, your miles just dropped in value. Let’s not kid ourselves, this is going to result in a devaluation since they just “established” a new value to a mile. Plus you now have thousands of others trying to find that saver award biz or first class seat to your destination.

  51. Tried booking to see how many points needed in J on TK from Toronto to the Indian subcontinent. 150,000 which at the rate of 0.03c is $4,500. The same dates when booking on the TK site is $4,445 lol. Now maybe if one could have bought the same at 0.01c it’s a different story….hope I got my calculations right

  52. No luck with 115%, but managed to hit the 90% pot. Turned around and booked a multi city award from SE Asia to North America and then on to Europe before returning to SE Asia. Once in a lifetime redemption at just 10 miles below MPM and 8 segments (7 in J and 1 in Y)! Counting my lucky stars and the thousands of $$$ saved! ✈️ ❤️

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