AFAR partners with CreditCards.com and may receive a commission from card issuers. Our coverage is independent and objective, and has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of the AFAR editorial team.
Earlier this month, Chase Ultimate Rewards added a new airline frequent flier program to its roster of transfer partners: Air Canada Aeroplan. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can now convert Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your credit card into Aeroplan points on a 1:1 basis, opening up several phenomenal options to redeem points for flights.
Aeroplan is a member of the Star Alliance along with other carriers, including All Nippon Airways, Lufthansa, and United. It also has many nonalliance airline partners, such as Cathay Pacific and Etihad. In short, it’s an excellent frequent flier program whose points you can use to fly across the globe. Here’s what else you need to know to take advantage of this new partnership between Chase Ultimate Rewards and Air Canada Aeroplan.
Aeroplan is the 11th Chase airline partner
Chase Ultimate Rewards points now transfer to 11 airline frequent-flier programs and three hotel loyalty ones. They include:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Why add a transfer partner at this point? It brings another Star Alliance airline to Chase’s roster (United and Singapore Airlines are the others) and opens up a lot of new travel possibilities. Even if you haven’t participated in Aeroplan in the past, now might be the time to sign up for an account, which you can do in a matter of moments.
Basics of Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan recently underwent an extensive revamp that has seen it draw up all-new mileage award flight charts as well as removing expensive surcharges on some award tickets. Chase already teamed up with United MileagePlus—the major U.S.-based Star Alliance airline—as a transfer partner. However, including Aeroplan as well will present North American fliers with more choices for earning and redeeming points.
You can book tickets on over 40 airlines using Aeroplan miles
Air Canada is a member of the Star Alliance airline club, but it also partners with other carriers. All told, you can earn and or redeem Aeroplan points on the following airlines:
- Aegean Airlines
- Aer Lingus
- Air China
- Air Creebec
- Air Dolomiti
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Air Serbia
- All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Calm Air
- Canadian North
- Cathay Pacific
- Central Mountain Air
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- EVA Air
- Juneyao Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Olympic Air
- Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- SriLankan Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Australia
More partners means more potential when it comes time to use your points on a trip.
The best Aeroplan award values
Air Canada overhauled Aeroplan completely in 2020. While the new award charts are fairly complicated and involve both global zones and flight distances, the good news is that it’s also pretty easy to maximize the rules. Here are awards you might want to look for:
Short-haul flights within North America
Flights of under 500 miles within North America that can otherwise be expensive—such as Boston to Washington, D.C. or New York City, as well as New York City to either Toronto or Montreal—cost just 6,000 Aeroplan points each way in economy.
Flights from North America to Europe
This will depend on the distance of your specific flight, but you could fly one-way from New York to Frankfurt on Lufthansa for 35,000 points in economy, 60,000 points in business class, or 90,000 points in first class. United would charge you 33,000 miles, 77,000 miles, or a whopping 110,000 miles for the same flights.
You could also jet from Los Angeles to Zurich on SWISS for 40,000 points each way in economy, or 70,000 points in business class. The economy award rates are decent, but you’d be better off redeeming for the superior business- or first-class seats and service on these airlines, and you would save Ultimate Rewards points by opting for Aeroplan transfers over United MileagePlus ones.
West Coast to Asia
Another excellent option? It’ll take 75,000 points each way in business class to fly either United or All Nippon Airways from New York to Tokyo, or EVA Air from San Francisco to Taipei. Sure, that sounds like lots of points, but considering United MileagePlus would charge you (slightly) more than that for the same flights, you’re better off booking with Aeroplan.
Add stopovers for just 5,000 points each
One of the most exciting (and leverage-worthy) aspects of the new Aeroplan award charts is that you can add stopovers for a mere 5,000 points each. A stopover is when you break your journey en route to your final destination for 24 hours or more (otherwise, it’s a layover and shouldn’t cost extra).
You can add one stopover per one-way itinerary (two on round trips). Let’s say you want to fly from Chicago to Singapore, stay for a few days, and then continue on to the Maldives. Your final itinerary would cost only 5,000 more points than if you transited Singapore without spending any real time there, effectively letting you plan two trips for a few more points than the cost of one.
Depending where you want to fly, there are bound to be other interesting options using Aeroplan points. Be sure to comparison shop with other mileage programs, including Chase’s other transfer partners, before booking. Also beware that there’s a CA$39 (US$29) booking fee per person for tickets on partner airlines.
Credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points
Three popular Chase cards earn transferable Ultimate Rewards points, including two that have just increased the rates at which they earn points on everyday purchases.
A historically high welcome offer and more perks than ever set this already exciting rewards card apart from the pack.
Current welcome offer
Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
This card now accrues:
- Five points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Three points per dollar (up from two) on dining
- Three points per dollar on select streaming services—including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube TV
- Three points per dollar for online grocery purchases, except for Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs
- Two points per dollar on travel not booked through Chase
- One point per dollar on other purchases
Cardholders also receive a 10 percent bonus on their spending each account year. So if you spent $20,000 in a year, you would earn 2,000 more points at the end of it.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred now offers a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. It also offers some of the best travel and purchase protections of any rewards card around, as well as a few other under-the-radar perks.
This card skews to a more premium market, with a higher price tag to match.
Current welcome offer
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.
This card now earns:
- Ten points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases
- Ten points per dollar on both hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (earned after the $300 travel credit is spent)
- Five points per dollar on air travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Three points per dollar on other travel (earned after the $300 travel credit is spent) and dining
- One point per dollar on other eligible purchases
Although the annual fee is high, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers up to $300 in statement credits toward travel purchases annually and a statement credit of up to $100 once every four years toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. Cardholders can also enroll in Priority Pass Select for airport lounge access around the world.
Don’t forget about this powerhouse business rewards credit card.
Current welcome offer
Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Rack up points at a quick clip thanks to the fact that this card earns three points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending per account year on travel, shipping purchases, advertising with social media sites and search engines, and on internet, cable, and phone services. It earns one point per dollar on other purchases.
This card’s thorough travel protections are great, but it is also one of the few credit cards with cell phone protection. When you use it to pay your monthly cell phone bill, you’re protected against theft or damage up to $600 per incident with a $100 deductible, up to three claims per year.
Although Chase Ultimate Rewards already boasted some top airline transfer partners, the addition of Air Canada Aeroplan to its ranks is a very positive development. Now, Chase cardholders have even more options for redeeming their points on award flights. If you are new to both Ultimate Rewards and Aeroplan, it’s worth getting to know both programs as you investigate ways to make the most of your credit card rewards and start using them to book travel.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
>> Next: 9 Reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred Is the Best Travel Rewards Card