There’s really good news for folks who have a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, especially if you have easy access to Air Canada hubs (think Toronto and Vancouver). In anticipation of the launch of a credit card for US residents, to be issued by Chase, Ultimate Rewards transfers to Aeroplan are live.
This is all part of a significant relaunch of Aeroplan that started last year. Aeroplan came up with a bunch of great new options like Status Pass, where you can grant elite status to a friend or family member on specific trips. The folks from Air Canada were guests on my podcast twice as they launched the new program:
- The New Aeroplan: Your Questions Answered (Apple)(Google/Android)
- A Conversation With Air Canada About The New Aeroplan (Apple)(Google/Android)
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of my favorite flexibly currencies. With the addition of Aeroplan, it may now be my clear favorite.
Aeroplan Launches As Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
Chase Ultimate Rewards already has some excellent transfer partners:
- United Airlines has a huge network in the US and their website is easy for folks to navigate. While award prices have increased as of late, United is still one of the easiest airlines to find award availability on.
- Southwest Airlines has an equally large network. Award flights are revenue based, which makes awards easy to understand. This may not be the best value for transfer partners, but it’s easy to figure out.
- World of Hyatt is one of my favorite transfer partners since their most expensive award nights are 40,000 points for a standard room (ond only that high for a handful of properties). That compares favorably with Ultimate Rewards transfer partner Marriott Bonvoy, where the priciest rooms can exceed 100,000 points per night.
Where does Aeroplan fit? As a fellow Star Alliance member with United Airlines, you can use Aeroplan points on United flights. That might seem counterintuitive, but they can sometimes have cheaper prices on award flights than United offers their own members.
For me, the real value with Air Canada is their overseas network. Prior to the pandemic it was great and I expect it to be great again. They have a solid business class product. You might not think it makes sense to fly Air Canada overseas, but in many cases it does. With international flights to many popular international destinations, Air Canada can get you there with one connection. Toronto, and to a lesser degree Montreal, are are well positioned for folks who live in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic as a connecting hub, without the craziness of Newark or Chicago. Out west, Vancouver is an excellent option to get to Asia. You should be able to find affordable business class awards at least as reliably as you can on United. And, you may even be able to enjoy Air Canada’s Signature Suites, my favorite lounge in North America.
SIDE NOTE: As part of this announcement, Air Canada and Chase are also offering an additional 10,000 bonus Aeroplan points as part of the sign-up bonus for their new credit card. All you have to do is add your name to the wait list. It’s free to do, so make sure you sign-up!
The Final Two Pennies
I recorded a new episode of my podcast today with some travel experts where we discussed the addition of Aeroplan to Chase Ultimate Rewards. While there were different reasons to celebrate, everyone saw it as a positive move. Stay tuned for that episode to drop next Wednesday.
This is unequivocally a feather in the cap for the value of Ultimate Rewards. Some of the biggest downsides to Aeroplan from years past were fuel surcharges and a difficult award search engine. As those downsides fade away, the new Aeroplan is one that will benefit many US residents. If you’ve been hesitant to learn about how to redeem miles or points for award travel with foreign airlines, consider Aeroplan your starter course. With pooling of miles between family and friends, the ability to gift status to loved ones and a US-based credit card coming, Aeroplan deserves your attention.
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