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Ever found yourself stuck between Aeroplan vs Air Miles? Not sure which rewards program will give you the most bang for your buck? I have.

In my early travel days, this choice felt like standing at a fork in the road with two enticing paths stretching out before me. Each had its allure: promises of exotic destinations and sweet deals on flights and hotels.

But let’s face it — they can’t both be right for everyone. We’re all different travelers with unique needs.

This post is here to help make that decision easier. From earning points to redeeming them, co-branded credit cards to customer service experiences, we’ll explore every nook and cranny of these programs together.

By the conclusion of this Aeroplan versus Air Miles review, you’ll have a solid comprehension of where your devotion should lie. Maybe it’s best not to pick a side and straddle the line.

Aeroplan vs Air Miles: Understanding the Differences

Aeroplan and Air Miles are two giants in the Canadian travel rewards scene. They both let you collect points on everyday purchases, but each has its unique flavor.

The original concept of Aeroplan was to reward frequent flyers of Air Canada. Now, it’s a full-blown loyalty program that gives out more than just flight discounts. It’s like your trusty old car – always ready for another road trip.

On the other hand, Air Miles is an extroverted cousin who likes to mix things up. Its universal appeal lies in rewarding shopping habits across various brands and stores, making it quite popular among diverse spenders.

Which one is better? Aeroplan or Air Miles?

Aeroplan: The Loyal Travel Companion

Aeroplan, owned by Air Canada (previously Aimia Inc.), focuses mainly on air travel rewards with Air Canada and Star Alliance member airlines. But don’t be fooled; they’ve branched out into lifestyle awards too — think hotel bookings or merchandise from big-name retailers like Apple, Amazon, and Lululemon.

You earn miles based on distance flown rather than ticket price when flying with Air Canada and its partners, a bit similar to getting grades for class participation instead of exam scores.

Air Miles: Your Daily Shopping Buddy

If variety is what you seek in life (and rewards), then say hello to Air Miles. Launched by LoyaltyOne Co., this chameleon changes colors according to where you shop. You can pile up those precious points at gas stations like Shell or while picking up groceries at Sobeys. Imagine earning a free flight ticket just by keeping your pantry stocked.

The program has two types of rewards: Cash and Dream. The former lets you use miles for instant savings in-store or online; it’s like having a magical wallet that refills itself. Dream Miles are used for travel, merchandise, and more.

Co-Branded Credit Cards

Both programs have joined forces with major players to offer co-branded credit cards. This move can be advantageous for both parties, making it a great opportunity for you.

Worth Noting:

With Air Miles, you can earn points at a wide range of stores and use them for anything from travel to merchandise. It’s truly versatile, making it a favorite among many Canadians. Aeroplan also has its fans thanks to the rich air travel benefits with Air Canada and an expanding array of lifestyle perks. So, both programs have their strengths and are tailored to different shopping habits.

Earning Points with Aeroplan and Air Miles

Rewards programs like Aeroplan and Air Miles make traveling more enjoyable. That’s where reward programs like Aeroplan and Air Miles come in handy.

A Closer Look at Aeroplan Point Earnings

To rack up points on Aeroplan, the first step is to fly with Air Canada or any of its Star Alliance partners. The number of miles flown directly translates into points earned.

The program also rewards members for everyday spending through affiliated credit cards such as TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, CIBC Aero Platinum Visa Card, and American Express Aeroplan Card. Each dollar spent earns a certain amount of points depending on the card’s earning rate.

Gathering Up Those Air Miles Points

Air Miles takes a different approach to earning rewards. It’s not just about flying; it’s also about shopping. Collectors earn 1 mile for every $20 spent at participating retailers, including Sobeys, Staples, LCBO, and many others.

You can boost your earnings by using an AIR MILES co-branded credit card like the BMO Air Miles Mastercard. You’ll pile up those miles twice as fast when you shop at partner stores.

Taking Advantage of Bonus Offers

Bonus offers are another fantastic way to speed up point accumulation in both programs. They pop up frequently, so always keep an eye out. For instance:

  • In Aeroplan, you could earn double points on Air Canada flights during a promotion period.
  • In the case of Air Miles, special in-store offers often give extra miles for specific purchases.

Points Earned from Travel Bookings

On the other hand, Air Miles also offers a reward system. Just like Aeroplan, you earn points for every dollar spent on travel-related expenses such as car rentals and hotel bookings. You can check out their offerings by visiting their website. It’s great to have options when it comes to earning rewards for your travels.

Worth Noting:

Air Miles is fantastic because it offers a mile for every $20 spent at participating retailers. You can really make those points fly by using co-branded credit cards or shopping with partners.

Co-Branded Credits Cards to Earning Points with Aeroplan and Air Miles

If you’re an avid traveler, then you know that every point counts. Co-branded credit cards are one of the best ways to rack up points for both Aeroplan and Air Miles programs. But which card will give you the most value for your money?

Aeroplan’s partnership with TD Bank offers a suite of credit cards tailored to different spending habits. From TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card to TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum Card, there’s something for everyone.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is a standout option as it gives 1.5 miles per $1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore purchases, and on Air Canada directly — talk about stacking up those flight rewards.

On the other hand, Air Miles is only partnered with BMO at the moment (previously with AMEX also), offering options such as BMO AIR MILES Mastercard or BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard, depending upon your needs.

  • BMO AIR MILES MasterCard allows the collection of 1 reward mile per $20 in card purchases; it doesn’t get simpler than this. Plus, no annual fee applies.
  • BMO AIR MILES World Elite MasterCard is the premium choice, earning 1 reward mile for every $10 spent. It does come with an annual fee, but hey, sometimes you gotta spend money to make money.

When it comes to travel rewards credit cards, both Aeroplan and Air Miles have enticing options. But remember, these are not one-size-fits-all. So consider your spending habits before picking a card.

The Verdict: Which Card Is Right For You?

In the market, it’s clear that they offer unique benefits. From travel perks to cash-back rewards, these cards are tailored to fit different lifestyle needs and spending habits. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a shopping enthusiast, there’s likely a co-branded credit card out there for you.

Worth Noting:

No matter your spending habits or travel preferences, there’s a co-branded card that can help you rack up points quickly. From daily groceries to grand vacations, every dollar spent brings you closer to your next adventure.

Redeeming Points in Both Programs

If you’re swimming in a sea of points and aren’t sure how to start using them, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Whether it’s Aeroplan or Air Miles, the redemption process can be quite confusing. But fear not; we’ll get through this together.

Aeroplan Point Redemption

To use your Aeroplan points, visit their website. Head to the website for a variety of choices, from flights and hotels to car rentals, which you can redeem with your points. The worth of these benefits can differ extensively depending on what you select to redeem.

Pro tip: To maximize value from your Aeroplan points, try booking long-haul international flights during off-peak seasons.

Air Miles Reward Mile Redemption

The Air Miles program is slightly different than Aeroplan as it offers two types of redemptions – Cash Rewards and Dream Rewards. Visit the Air Miles website, log into your account, and decide which type of reward suits you best.

  • Cash Rewards lets you instantly offset purchases at checkout with participating partners like grocery stores or gas stations.
  • Dream Rewards are used towards bigger ticket items such as travel bookings or merchandise available online.

Note that 95 Cash Reward miles equal a $10 CAD worth discount, whereas Dream Reward miles do not have a fixed conversion rate; it depends on what they are redeemed for, so choose wisely.

Tips for Redeeming Points Efficiently

For maximum benefit, make sure to plan ahead when redeeming your points.

  • Plan ahead: Whether you’re using Aeroplan or Air Miles, planning is key. If you know what rewards you want and when they might be available, it can make redemption easier and more rewarding.
  • Always check expiry dates: Keep an eye on the expiry date of your points, as they can expire if you don’t use them within a certain timeframe. To avoid losing your hard-earned points, be sure to redeem them before they expire.
  • Be flexible: Being flexible with your travel plans or shopping preferences can help you get the most value out of your points. Keep an open mind and be willing to adjust your plans to take advantage of better deals or promotions.
  • Sign up for the email newsletters: The Aeroplan eStore and Airmilesshops.ca stores often provide 5x to 10x the Aeroplan Points or Air Miles promotions purchases.

The Value of Points in Each Program

A common inquiry is, “Which program offers the best value: Aeroplan or Air Miles?” To answer this, we must evaluate how much each point in these programs is worth.

Aeroplan Point Value

With Aeroplan, it’s not just about collecting points but using them wisely. Based on our analysis and experiences with seasoned travelers, an Aeroplan point can be valued at around 2.3 cents when redeemed for flights.

This means if you have 25,000 points (which can get you round-trip flights within North America), they could be worth $575, depending on how effectively you redeem them.

Air Miles Point Value

When it comes to Air Miles, though, things get tricky because there are two types of rewards: Cash Rewards and Dream Rewards.

  • Cash Rewards lets users redeem instantly at participating partners, with each mile typically valued around 10-11 cents.
  • Dream Miles are often used for travel bookings with fluctuating values based on demand and availability.

However, from our experience, it’s better to redeem for Dream Miles than Cash Rewards with Air Miles to get the most return on investment.

Your mileage may vary (pun intended.), so make sure you plan out what kind of reward type suits your needs better before diving into an earning spree.

Tips For Maximizing Your Points’ Value

For maximum points value, a well-thought-out strategy is essential. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your points:

  • Look for sweet spot redemptions where a small number of miles gets you significant value.
  • Avoid redeeming for merchandise or gift cards, which typically offer lower values per point.
  • Stay flexible with travel dates and destinations, as award availability can vary greatly.

So, what’s the big idea here?

No matter your spending habits or travel preferences, there’s a co-branded card that can help you rack up points quickly. From daily groceries to grand vacations, every dollar spent brings you closer to your next adventure.

Partnerships and Affiliations

They’ve teamed up with various partners to give you more opportunities to earn and redeem points.

Aeroplan’s Alliances

Aeroplan, being part of Air Canada, is naturally a member of Star Alliance. This global airline network includes giants like United Airlines, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines.

This partnership lets Aeroplan members collect points on flights operated by any Star Alliance partner. Now, that’s what we call globetrotting benefits.

Air Miles’ Buddies

Air Miles has partnerships, too, but they play it differently than Aeroplan.

The program ties knots with retail businesses rather than airlines primarily; think Shell or Staples, for example. You can rack up miles while buying groceries at Safeway or picking up DIY supplies from Lowe’s. How handy is that?

Credit Card Collaborations

If there were an Oscars for reward program partnerships, credit card collaborations would win “Best Supporting Role.” Both Aeroplan and Air Miles have co-branded cards with financial institutions. However, Aeroplan has more options with co-branded credit cards, including AMEX, CIBC and TD.

Related: American Express Aeroplan Card Review

These partnerships allow you to earn points on everyday purchases, not just when you fly. Swipe right for that new dress or those concert tickets, and watch your point balance grow.

Rental Car Partnerships

Let’s discuss how you can get your wheels rolling. Both programs have teamed up with car rental giants like Avis and Budget. So, whether you’re planning a drive through the breathtaking Rocky Mountains or envisioning a journey along California’s iconic Route, these partnerships have your back.

Expiry Policies for Both Programs

Aeroplan and Air Miles have different expiry policies. Comprehending these can assist you in optimizing your benefits.

Aeroplan’s Expiry Policy

The Aeroplan program gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to point expiry. Points in an active account never expire, so there’s no rush to use them up. Air Canada confirms this on their website.

To keep your account active, all you need is one earning or redemption activity every 18 months. This could be as simple as buying a coffee with an Aeroplan-affiliated credit card or booking a flight through Air Canada.

Air Miles’ Expiry Policy

On the other hand, Air Miles has set its points lifespan at five years according to their Terms and Conditions page. So, if you don’t redeem your miles within that time frame, they will disappear from your balance without any warning.

This might seem like plenty of time, but remember how fast five years can fly by. It’s wise not only to earn miles but also to plan how to spend them before they vanish into thin air.

Tips for Keeping Your Rewards Alive

  • Maintain Activity: Make sure there are regular transactions happening in both accounts; this keeps the points alive in Aeroplan while adding more mileage lifespan for Air Miles users.
  • Create A Plan: A reward point is a terrible thing to waste. Ensure you devise a plan of action for using your rewards prior to them expiring.
  • Co-Branded Credit Cards: These can be lifesavers when it comes to extending the life of your points or miles. Regular purchases with these cards add activity and prevent expiration.

Flexibility and Limitations

When selecting a rewards program, you’ll want to ensure it works for your lifestyle. But just like fitting into those skinny jeans from high school, there might be some stretch and squeeze points.

Aeroplan gives you flexibility when redeeming for flights. With this program, any seat on Air Canada flights can be yours as long as it’s available. So, if you’re the spontaneous type who loves last-minute adventures or peak-season travels, Aeroplan may work better for you.

The catch? It uses a dynamic pricing model, which means prices can skyrocket during popular travel times. Also, remember that while booking any flight is possible with Aeroplan, taxes and fees are not covered by points.

Air Miles also offers flight redemptions but has more restrictions in terms of availability. However, they have an edge over Aeroplan because their reward miles cover all costs, including taxes and fees on flights – no nasty surprises at checkout.

  • Flexibility: Advantage goes to Aeroplan due to its ‘any-seat’ availability feature.
  • Pricing: Air Miles wins here since the cost of redemption includes everything – even those pesky hidden charges.
  • Variety: Air Miles takes this round with their extensive catalog of rewards outside airfare.

Limited Redemption Options?

Sometimes we need something other than airfare — think concert tickets or electronics (Hello, new MacBook.). This is where having options comes in handy.

Air Miles offers a vast catalog of products, making it a more flexible program if you’re not just into travel. Aeroplan, on the other hand, has fewer non-travel redemption options.

That being said, Aeroplan’s eStore does offer some interesting products and deals from time to time.

The Expiry Game

Imagine discovering your milk’s past its prime. It’s the same gut punch when you realize points in reward programs have expired. That’s a crucial detail often missed.

Worth Noting?

If you’re someone who loves to fly and explore new places, Aeroplan could be your best bet because of its flexibility. On the other hand, Air Miles might suit those who prefer a smooth checkout process and want more variety in rewards beyond just travel.

Customer Service Experience

The heart of any loyalty program lies in the service it offers to its members. Both Aeroplan and Air Miles understand this, but their customer service experiences differ.

Aeroplan’s Customer Service

Aeroplan has been known for its responsive customer support team. You can reach them via phone or email, and they are pretty quick at resolving issues.

What sets them apart is their dedicated Twitter X account for help (@Aeroplan). It gives you real-time updates about your points or flight status. But remember, even though they’re fast, patience goes a long way when dealing with hiccups on your travel plans.

Air Miles’ Customer Service

On the other hand, Air Miles also provides phone and email options for assistance. However, users have noted longer wait times compared to Aeroplan.

In fact, according to the Better Business Bureau complaints page, some customers have experienced difficulties reaching out to representatives during peak hours. This could be frustrating if you need immediate help sorting out reward redemptions or point balances.

Taking Care of Their Members: Going Beyond The Call Of Duty?

Sometimes, we see companies that go above and beyond in providing excellent services, those that not only meet expectations but exceed them.

Aeroplan once organized a surprise concert for its members, creating an unforgettable experience. On the flip side, Air Miles has been known to offer ‘Gold’ and ‘Onyx’ tiered memberships with exclusive benefits like VIP access and priority service, something that really sets them apart from Aeroplan’s offerings.

Bottom Line: Your Experience May Vary

In terms of customer service, both programs have their positives and negatives. While Aeroplan is praised for swift responses on social media channels, some find Air Miles’ premium membership tiers appealing.

Your own experience might differ based on your needs or expectations from these loyalty programs.

The key here? Choose the one which suits you best. Remember: travel rewards are all about making your journeys more enjoyable.

Customer Service

Both Aeroplan and Air Miles strive to give top-notch service, but they differ. While Aeroplan shines with speedy social media responses, Air Miles sets itself apart with premium tier memberships for added perks. The bottom line? Your choice depends on your personal needs and expectations from a loyalty program.


Choosing between Aeroplan vs Air Miles isn’t easy if you’re new to Canada’s top travel loyalty program.

Personally, I have both an Aeroplan and Air Miles account.

However, I mainly try to maximize points for Aeroplan due to its co-branding with American Express and better points redemption values for flights. I still like Air Miles and sometimes collect them if there are promotions. But Air Miles has to offer better co-branded cards and flight redemption value than Aeroplan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Aeroplan the same as Air Miles?

No, Aeroplan and Air Miles are not the same; they are two distinct loyalty reward programs.
Aeroplan is the loyalty program of Air Canada. It allows members to earn points on flights with Air Canada and its global network of partner airlines. These points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, including flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and merchandise.

On the other hand, Air Miles is a separate loyalty program available in Canada. Air Miles members earn points (called “miles”) by making purchases at a wide range of participating retailers across different industries, such as grocery stores, gas stations, and online shopping sites. These miles can also be redeemed for a variety of rewards, including travel, merchandise, and experiences.

Is Aeroplan or Air Miles better?

Personally, I prefer Aeroplan over Air Miles because I receive more value when redeeming flights with Air Canada and its Star Alliance partnership. In addition, I can earn Aeroplan points with partner airlines. For example, if I book a flight directly with Avianca, I can still earn Aeroplan Points by entering my Aeroplan member number when booking the flight on Avianca’s website.

Can you convert Air Miles to Aeroplan?

No, you can’t convert them. Air Miles and Aeroplan are competing travel loyalty programs in Canada with extensions in the United States. Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to allow members to convert points between these loyalty programs from the business side.

Are Aeroplan or Air Miles points worth more?

The value of Aeroplan and Air Miles points can vary depending on how they’re used, but generally, Aeroplan points tend to have a higher face value.

What is the difference between Aeroplan and Air Canada?

Aeroplan is the loyalty program of Air Canada, the nation’s flag carrier. The program underwent a significant overhaul in 2020, introducing new rules for earning and redeeming points.

As a member of the Aeroplan program, you can earn points when you fly with Air Canada and its partner airlines, stay at participating hotels, rent cars, shop at retail partners, and even when using certain credit cards.

Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, meaning you can earn and redeem Aeroplan points with any participating carrier. Even though the program is specific to Air Canada, you can use your points on 45+ partner airlines.

The main difference between Aeroplan and Air Canada is that Aeroplan is a rewards program, while Air Canada is an airline. Aeroplan allows members to earn points that can be redeemed for flights on Air Canada and other partner airlines, as well as other rewards.

Vincent Croos
About the Author: Vincent Croos

Hola Parceros,

I’m the founder of Aperlust. I enjoy web development and SEO and am into snowboarding and linguistics. In my spare time, you can find me destroying my opponents in chess across the globe.

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