Intriguing: Aeroplan HotelSavers Program

Intriguing: Aeroplan HotelSavers Program

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Air Canada Aeroplan has launched a new HotelSavers program, which on the surface might be the best hotel redemption opportunity we’ve seen from an airline loyalty program. While I’m not sure most savvy consumers will use it, I appreciate Aeroplan thinking outside the box.

Aeroplan offering better value on hotel redemptions

Many airline loyalty programs give members opportunities to redeem their rewards points for things other than flights, though it almost never represents a good value. Along those lines, Aeroplan has introduced HotelSavers, a new program for redeeming Aeroplan points for hotels:

  • Aeroplan will have a simple rewards grid that makes it easy to know how many points you need for a stay at a hotel, as there will be eight categories
  • Aeroplan is partnering directly with 39 hotel brands across 11 chains, and as a result is able to offer savings (in points) of up to 30% vs. non-HotelSavers hotels available on the Aeroplan reservation platform (these will still be available)
  • Free night rewards start at 10,000 points for a standard room, with no restrictions on room availability; you can also redeem part cash and part points toward these redemptions
  • Taxes are always included with these redemptions, and all properties offer an opportunity to book a refundable rate
  • Unfortunately you generally won’t earn points or receive all elite perks with your hotel loyalty program when booking this way, though I’m told this is something that Aeroplan is working on

The following are some of the 39 brands that will participate in Aeroplan HotelSavers:

  • Luxury: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Taj Hotels, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels, and others
  • Premium: Le Germain Hotels, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, Pullman, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, and others
  • Midscale & Economy: Coast Hotels, Holiday Inn Hotels, Novotel Hotels & Resorts, Alt Hotels, Ibis, and Ibis Styles

Aeroplan claims that HotelSavers offers the best member value for Aeroplan points outside of flights, and also claims that there will be aspirational “sweet spots” to uncover, where value of hotel redemptions is even better than the typical value per point when redeeming for flights.

Here are some examples given of HotelSavers properties, rounded to the nearest 1,000 points:

  • InterContinental Bora Bora Resort (Category 8) – 71,000 pts/night
  • Fairmont Mayakoba Resort, Playa Del Carmen (Category 7) – 60,000 pts/night 
  • Shangri-La Vancouver (Category 6) – 45,000 points/night
  • Shangri-La Toronto (Category 6) – 45,000 pts/night
  • Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort (Category 6) – 43,000 pts/night
  • Taj Exotica Hotel and Spa, Goa (Category 5) – 39,000 pts/night
  • Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile (Category 5) – 36,000 pts/night
  • Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa, Baie-Saint-Paul (Category 4) – 33,000 pts/night
  • Claris Hotel and Spa (SLH), Barcelona (Category 3) – 24,000 pts/night
  • Lorenzo Hotel (Preferred Hotels & Resorts), Dallas (Category 2) – 12,000 pts/night

Here’s how Scott O’Leary, Air Canada’s VP of Loyalty and Product, describes this new program:

“When Canadians want to fly on points, they can already count on Aeroplan as Aeroplan credit card holders can redeem for Air Canada flight rewards for an average of 30% fewer points than if they used points for non-Aeroplan Canadian bank-based travel programs. However, no one has focused on delivering Canadians a great hotel rewards program – that changes today. With HotelSavers, we’re now offering Aeroplan members great options to book hotels using their points – without compromising the excellent value they’ve come to expect. HotelSavers is yet another way we’re investing to solidify Aeroplan as the go-to rewards choice for all Canadians who travel.”

The InterContinental Bora Bora is part of HotelSavers

This is an excellent effort on Aeroplan’s part

Aeroplan is probably my favorite frequent flyer program, and that’s largely because the program is designed by avgeeks who are really into miles. So they see the value in offering lots of partnerships, giving members first and business class redemption opportunities, etc.

However, that’s not how most people want to redeem their points, and the reality is that there are way more people who use their points for hotels, rental cars, and toaster ovens. In that sense, it’s great to see Aeroplan trying to make these kinds of redemptions a better value.

Aeroplan HotelSavers is an impressive initiative that uses the same philosophy that Aeroplan has with flights for hotel redemptions. While other programs eliminate award charts and switch to fully dynamic pricing, Aeroplan is going the opposite direction, with a simplified redemption award chart for hotels.

You also have to love that Aeroplan says there will be some “sweet spots” here. While I doubt we’ll ever see full hotel elite benefits and points earning opportunities on these stays, I appreciate that this is something Aeroplan at least claims to be working on.

While this likely isn’t how I’ll be choosing to redeem my Aeroplan points, this new program should offer improved value for many members.

The Shangri-La Toronto is part of HotelSavers

Bottom line

Air Canada Aeroplan has launched the HotelSavers program, offering better value when redeeming airline points at hotels. While this isn’t how I plan on redeeming my Aeroplan points, I recognize that these kinds of redemptions are appealing to many, so it’s nice to see that Aeroplan has made a significant effort to improve the value of these.

What do you make of Aeroplan HotelSavers?

Conversations (6)
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  1. DaninMCI Guest

    Having some accor properties is real win with this program. I find they are very hard to redeem with if you don't stay often with them and inside their ecosystem.

  2. Ferdinand Magellan Guest

    Leaving aside the "Savers" (meaning part of the program), it's around 0.6 cents per mile in value. So only the HotelSavers might be worthwhile.

    1. Ferdinand Magellan Guest

      . . . and the best HotelSavers offer seems to be worth around 1.5 cents per mile.

  3. Vishal Guest

    I have started hating Aeroplan all together. May be in the USA or other parts of the world have better redemption options compared to what I am finding? I am trying to book YYC or YVR or YLW to Del and it is asking me to pay 211K points (yes you read it right that too for an economy class ticket OW). Having their credit cards and having their status is of no use. I...

    I have started hating Aeroplan all together. May be in the USA or other parts of the world have better redemption options compared to what I am finding? I am trying to book YYC or YVR or YLW to Del and it is asking me to pay 211K points (yes you read it right that too for an economy class ticket OW). Having their credit cards and having their status is of no use. I think Scott O'Leary should first see what they have done to their program before announcing that they are taking care of loyalists like me (who are looking for other options). AC is becoming a highway robber. A lot of people I speak to are not happy because of their redemption rates. I hope this hotel program doesn't become exactly what their airlines redemption program looks like?

    1. Stuart Guest

      Well, this is part of the game now. Aeroplan is no different than anyone else. You just need to know how to play. Either grab the few scraps they offer waaaayyyyy far in advance OR wait until seven days before you fly. No, not ideal for many, but it usually works. If you are flexible and patient you will find many J and F seats open up a few days before you want to travel....

      Well, this is part of the game now. Aeroplan is no different than anyone else. You just need to know how to play. Either grab the few scraps they offer waaaayyyyy far in advance OR wait until seven days before you fly. No, not ideal for many, but it usually works. If you are flexible and patient you will find many J and F seats open up a few days before you want to travel. It's a game of cat and mouse. They are chasing people who don't know better and who need assurance of flights while we are waiting for when they panic and say, "ok, these seats are going empty anyway...release them now at lower rates." Aeroplan is fantastic at releasing seats earlier (often a week out) and offering really good different redemption rates and fees.

  4. Stuart Guest

    I never have patience to do the math. Others do here though. Hopefully someone can do a comparison as to the redemption costs compared to the actual hotel programs at aspirational properties. On the surface if transferring to Aeroplan from Amex (which I exclusively do) the flights are far more lucrative unless you are looking at a $2000 a night hotel. 70K points a night for Bora Bora is equal to a one way J...

    I never have patience to do the math. Others do here though. Hopefully someone can do a comparison as to the redemption costs compared to the actual hotel programs at aspirational properties. On the surface if transferring to Aeroplan from Amex (which I exclusively do) the flights are far more lucrative unless you are looking at a $2000 a night hotel. 70K points a night for Bora Bora is equal to a one way J to Europe which could easily be over $2K. Even at, say, Chicago Sofitel (often priced at $300 or so) a 45K redemption per night is not a good value as this could be equal to more than half that same J flight.

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DaninMCI Guest

Having some accor properties is real win with this program. I find they are very hard to redeem with if you don't stay often with them and inside their ecosystem.

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Ferdinand Magellan Guest

. . . and the best HotelSavers offer seems to be worth around 1.5 cents per mile.

0
Ferdinand Magellan Guest

Leaving aside the "Savers" (meaning part of the program), it's around 0.6 cents per mile in value. So only the HotelSavers might be worthwhile.

0
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