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Emirates Aeroplan Award Redemptions are relatively new, having been announced in mid-2022. While the ability to redeem your Aeroplan points for flights on Emirates metal is great news, is it good value? That is the question. This is especially true since, clearly, Emirates is charging Aeroplan a premium, so it has released an Emirates-only distance-based award chart. However, even though the award is more expensive than others, there is still some great value.
Boosting Your Aeroplan Points Balance.
You are in luck if you are looking to boost your Air Canada Aeroplan points. The program is unique amongst North American frequent flyer programs, and one of a few globally that is a transfer partner to virtually every major points currency around today.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan at a ratio of 1:1 with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points. Transfers are immediate, making Membership Rewards a great option for instantly boosting your balance to secure a redemption you have seen. This ability means points earned from all of the following cards can be used towards your next Aeroplan redemption.
- The Platinum Card from American Express.
- The American Express Gold Card.
- The American Express Green Card
- Blue from American Express card
- Amex Everyday® Preferred Credit Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
- Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
If you are more of a Chase Ultimate Rewards type of traveler, you can also transfer them to Air Canada Aeroplan. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan at a ratio of 1:1 with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points. Like Amex, transfers are immediate, making Ultimate Rewards points an excellent solution for instantly boosting your balance to secure a redemption. All of the following cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
Let’s not forget Capital One. You can also transfer Capital One Miles to Air Canada Aeroplan. Typically transfers happen at a ratio of 1:1 with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points. Like Chase and Amex Capital One, transfers are immediate, making them an excellent option for instantly boosting your balance in a pinch to secure a redemption before it disappears. You can earn Capital One Miles from all of the following cards:
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business
You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy Points to Air Canada Aeroplan. Typically transfers happen at a ratio of 3:1 with a minimum transfer of 3,000 points. Unfortunately, transfers are not that quick typically taking between 3 to 4 days. So if you have award space that is plentiful and wide open on a route that is not hyper-competitive for award bookings, Marriott Bonvoy points can be a great option. Aside from stays at Marriott properties, you can earn Marriot Bonvoy points from spending on the following cards.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
If all those partners are not enough, you still have even more options with one of the newest kids on the block in terms of flexible reward points. You can transfer Bilt Rewards to Air Canada Aeroplan at a ratio of 1:1, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points. One thing to keep in mind is that it is not entirely clear how long it will take for the points to hit your Aeroplan account. So, Using Bilt may not be the best solution If you are looking for a quick transfer to pick up an award immediately.
Fifth Freedom Routes from the US to Europe
One of the best uses of Aeroplan points on Emirates metal is on Emirates’ fifth freedom routes between Europe and the US. Currently, Emirates operates two such routes. The first and most well-known is its route from New York JFK to Milan Malpensa in Italy.
This route comes in just under 4,000 miles, opening up a sweet spot in the Aeroplan Emirates partner awards chart. One-way economy awards will set you back 21,000 and 65,000 points plus taxes and fees. However, business class awards are more expensive on the high end setting you back between 45,000 and 145,000 miles plus taxes and fees.
Aeroplan seems to be pricing these awards in the middle of its range. Economy awards will set you back 39,400 points plus taxes and fees which is around C$102. While this is an excellent deal for transatlantic economy awards, and there seems to be plenty of award space available, it is not the case for business class awards.
In theory, Business class awards should be reasonably priced on this route if the economy options are anything to go by. However, there is a lack of availability for the whole of 2023. At the time of writing, we conducted a thorough search and found no premium cabin awards space.
The other Fifth Freedom route on offer from Emirates between North America and Europe is between Newark and Athens, Greece.
This route is still under 5,000 miles, so it is priced the same as JFK to Milan route. However, it is a little longer in terms of the actual distance flown. This is reflected in the award pricing with one-way awards in economy, setting you back 47,500 points plus C$102 in taxes and fees.
Sadly, the situation with business class awards on the New York to Milan route is replicated on this one. There seems to be no award space in premium cabins available throughout 2023. So if you are looking to book a premium cabin award on Emirates using Aeroplan points, you are better off checking out other routes.
Middle East to Bangkok
Considering that the Emirates Aeroplan award chart is purely distance based with no regional pricing. There is one great option to be had on popular routes. Routes from the Middle East to Thailand will come in just under 5,000 miles. These include itineraries to Istanbul or even Cairo.
Being just under 5,000 miles, opening up a sweet spot in the Aeroplan Emirates partner awards chart. One-way economy awards will cost you between 21,000 and 65,000 points plus taxes and fees. Although, business class awards can be a little more expensive on the high end, setting you back between 145,000 miles and 45,000 points plus taxes and fees on the low end.
One thing to bear in mind on routes like this is that Emirates does not release a lot of award available to Aeroplan. Finding the right flight can be difficult. However, you still have plenty of options when booking with Aeroplan.
Booking from Istanbul, for instance, you can find one-way business class awards from 60,000 points plus taxes and fees. Even though this is a mixed itinerary flight flying with Turkish Airlines to Abu Dhabi and then using Etihad (Whose business class gives Emirates a run for its money) from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok. Keep in mind opting for this type of redemption could save you a bundle of points, not to mention the fact that Turkish Airlines’ business class on narrow-body jets is some of the best in Europe.
If you are heading from Cairo to Bangkok, you can use also take advantage of a split itinerary using Egypt Air and Etihad. While Egypt Air business class is not on par with Turkish, it is still a great deal at 60,000 points plus taxes and fees. If you are looking to save, a few points, then the same route in economy will set you back 40,000 points plus C$113 in taxes and fees one way!
Etihad A Cheaper Alternative
One thing to remember is that as good as Emirates business class cabins are, they may not be the best value when using Aeroplan points. Etihad is also a partner with Aeroplan; however, it does not have its own pricing and is priced as a typical partner award.
A great example is using your Aeroplan points to book an award on Etihad from Washington to Delhi via Abu Dhabi. Oneway awards in business class will set you back 110,000 points plus C$88 in taxes and fees.
That is a terrific value and great use of your points for a journey of over 8,500 miles. What’s more, you would be hard-pressed to differentiate between Etihad and Emirates business. Looking at an even better deal, then first class is when things start to divers. The same itinerary with the Washington to Abu Dhabi leg in first class and the Abu Dhabi to Delhi leg in business (which could be a hardship after so many hours in first class) will set you back 140,000 points plus C$88 in taxes and fees.
That is genuinely stunning value, and 83% of your route will be spent in the luxury of an Etihad first-class sweet, not to mention the ground experience. Sadly a quick look at the award chart for Emirates and there is no favorable comparison here. The route pricing would start at a mind-blowing 225,000 points plus taxes and fees.
One final thing to keep in mind is that Etihad seems to be far more generous with releasing its ward space to Aeroplan. While Emirates awards space is like gold dust, we have regularly found Emirates awards space even in a premium cabin. Therefore, booking Etihad awards may be a better option with Aeroplan than booking Emirates!
Aeroplan adding Emirates as a partner was a brilliant move. The buzz it created is another string in Aeroplan’s bow and makes it one of the leading contenders for the best frequent flyer program in North America.
However, with its separate award pricing that is somewhat on the steep side finding real value, not to mention availability in booking Emirates awards with Aeroplan points, remains difficult. Hopefully, a little friendly rivalry between Emirates and Etihad could lead to Emirates releasing more awards space to Aeroplan in the long run!
What are your best options for booking Emirates awards with Aeroplan points?
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