There isn't a perfect frequent flyer program. If you collect points for your credit card spending, you can transfer your points to a variety of programs based on your travel needs.
I like to think about what the most useful and valuable frequent flyer programs are. Alaska Mileage Plan used to be my favorite frequent flyer program, but now I can't figure it out.
I thought about what my favorite frequent flyer program actually is in terms of the value and process of redemption, and it was obvious to me.
Sometimes we criticize frequent flyer programs for negative changes, but sometimes we don't give enough credit to the programs that are doing good things. Air Canada Aeroplan is currently the most valuable airline frequent flyer program when it comes to points redemptions, and I wanted to share nine reasons why.
There are many factors at play, including transparency, redemption value, partners, the ease of earning and redeeming points, and much more. The Aeroplan program was refreshed in late 2020 and I still think it's positive. Even if you don't plan on stepping foot on an Air Canada plane, Aeroplan is still useful.
Some of the things I like most about Aeroplan are listed below.
Aeroplan points are easy to find. Air Canada Aeroplan has 888-405-7720 888-405-7720 888-405-7720 It's important to note that transfers from all of these partners are instant, which is important because sometimes there might be award availability but then you find that a transfer takes multiple days, which can ruin your plans.
There is a new Aeroplan Credit Card in the United States that has a great bonus and some unique perks. Aeroplan sells points at a reasonable cost.
Aeroplan excelled in transparency at frequent flyer programs. The program publishes award charts for all redemptions, and the costs are the same regardless of which airline you redeem on, which I think we can all appreciate after Alaska Mileage Plan's recent new partner award charts.
Aeroplan has more airline partners than any other program. Air Canada is in the Star Alliance and Aeroplan has been adding as many airline partners as possible.
Aeroplan has many non-Star Alliance partners, including Air Serbia, Air Mauritius, and more. The list of partners continues to grow.
There aren't many frequent flyer programs that allow you to stop on one-way awards. Aeroplan gives you 5,000 points for a one-way award, which is an incredible deal in many situations, especially when you consider the ability to mix and match partners.
There are some programs that seem too good to be true, and where you're sure the redemption is ripe for devaluation. That is not the case with Aeroplan. Aeroplan has fair award pricing, and that is rational.
Aeroplan will always have the lowest award costs, but it will be the most consistent and have the most partners. That is worth a lot.
One of the most frustrating practices in the frequent flyer program world is the idea of carrier imposed surcharges being added on awards, whereby there is a huge cash co-pay with redemptions. Aeroplan doesn't pass on the surcharge for partner airlines.
Aeroplan has a partner booking fee, but it's not a huge cost for us to book first class awards.
Aeroplan has access to all saver award seats that are made available by partner programs. This might sound small, but it really isn't. The Alaska Mileage Plan doesn't have access to all award seats on Qantas and other airlines. It can be very frustrating when there is only one first class seat and you can't redeem miles on it.
Aeroplan invests in technology to make sure that members can see availability, and doesn't block it. I always cross reference Air Canada's site since I find it to be the most accurate when we see phantom availability through other programs.
There is something to be said for the ease with which you can book your travel, and Aeroplan offers a great online shopping experience.
It really adds up, even though it might sound minor. Is there a single other frequent flyer program that allows you to select seats on virtually every partner airline? I don't think that was a small time investment, but Aeroplan made it a priority.
There is still room for improvement. It is not possible to book stopovers online and complicated itineraries are not possible. The online experience should be even better in 2022, thanks to this feature. If the new feature is half as good as it is described, it will be in a completely different league than what any other program offers.
I'm pretty sure that Aeroplan has more avgeeks and mileage nerds working for it than any other frequent flyer program. People who have done mileage runs are the majority of these people. That passion is taken into designing the program.
I once had a conversation with the head of another frequent flyer program about how the carrier lacked airline partners to redeem miles on, and I asked if they had considered trying to pursue more frequent flyer partnerships. Aeroplan seems to be knocking on every airline's door, that's not a priority.
There is a way for a program to be profitable while still offering lots of value. Not many programs get it right at times. Aeroplan deserves credit for that.
I would like to give this to OMAAT readers. Aeroplan isn't perfect, but I think the program is trying, and I think the program is delivering a lot of value for members. Is there a specific airline program that is well-rounded and valuable when it comes to redeeming points on a wide variety of airlines? I can think of it if that is the case.
I would choose Aeroplan points if I could only collect a single airline points currency again. I wouldn't want to be in that situation, but I think it drives home my point about the balanced value that the program offers.
If you could only accumulate one airline points currency for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Air Canada's Aeroplan program is often overlooked for redemptions on partner airlines. Aeroplan has done an amazing job adding airline partners, offering great value, differentiating itself through a generous stopover policy, and providing a good online shopping experience.
Aeroplan is promising to roll out a better booking tool this year, with the ability to book stopovers directly online.
What do you think about the value of Aeroplan award redemptions? I'm curious, does anyone think there is a single more well-rounded frequent flyer program? Which one?