Make your SPG Points Stretch with Aeroplan
Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada, is running a promotion through December 12th which will give you a tiered bonus, up to 30%, for converting your hotel points to airline miles. Transferring SPG points to Aeroplan right now has the potential to save you quite a few Starpoints for the right redemption. There are also some bad hotel transfer options which we’ll discuss below.
I have about 60,000 Club Carlson points wasting away, so I thought I may try to convert them to Aeroplan if the redemption rate was decent. Unfortunately, it was a 10:1 conversion between these two programs, making my 60,000 Club Carlson points worth 6,000 Aeroplan miles before the 20% bonus. Not a good value in my mind. I guess if I was just shy of the number of miles needed for an award, I’d blow 10,000 Club Carlson points to top off my account.
If you have a Star Alliance redemption in mind and were planning to transfer Starwood points to United or any other Star Alliance partner, you may want to consider using this Aeroplan promotion to save some points. Let’s say you want to fly round trip from the US to Europe in economy, an award for which United charges 60,000 miles. Let’s also say you were planning to transfer 50,000 SPG points to United for this award redemption, which would net you 60,000 miles after the usual 5,000 mile Starwood bonus on every 20,000 points transferred to airlines. If, however, you decided not to transfer your points to MilagePlus and instead book the same United Flight through an Aeroplan award, you would only need to transfer 40,000 SPG points with the current promotion. Here’s the math:
40,000 SPG pts + 25% SPG Airline Bonus = 50,000 Aeroplan Miles x 20% Aeroplan Promo Bonus = 60,000 miles.
Using this method will save you 5,000 SPG Points on this particular award
I think that it’s important to note that you should make sure the math works in your favor for the specific award you’re trying to book. Aeroplan doesn’t always have the cheapest award prices and they do impose fuel surcharges on quite a few of their partner airlines. I reccomend reading One Mile at a Time’s post on Aeroplan before booking.
Elite Benefits on United?
Also, if you have status with United like I do and you’re concerned about your elite benefits on that ticket not being honored, you can simply call United, give them your ticket number assigned by Aeroplan and ask for your United specific confirmation number. Once you have that, you can go to United’s website and add that confirmation number to your MilagePlus profile.
I’ve done this a dozen times and I always get Economy Plus on these Aeroplan issued award tickets. All you have to do is go into your reservation on United.com, click on Manage Reservation, then go down and select Edit Traveler Information (shown below). Once your there, just change your selected Frequent Flyer Account (will default to Aeroplan) to United MilagePlus. You’ll then be eligible for all of the same benefits you would get if it were an award issued by United.
Aeroplan can be a real pain if you’re trying to book complicated international, multi-carrier routes, but it works really well as a way to use SPG or American Express Membership Rewards points to fly United. Earlier this year I was able to book a flight from Denver to Koh Samui Thailand through Aeroplan which included legs in United’s 787-900 business class, Singapore’s 777-300 business class and Thai Airway’s 777-300 business class, all for 70,000 points and $75 in taxes/fees one way. This can be a great program if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty and argue routing rules with their incompetent customer service reps (you only have to call for routes your can’t create online).
Have you used Aeroplan much? What have been your experiences?