Mistake #1: Your account becomes inactive

It’s true that your Aeroplan Miles will never expire – but there’s a catch. If your Aeroplan account is inactive for 18 months or longer, you lose the lot.

Confession time: I made this mega mistake. During my one-year maternity leave, I stopped accumulating or redeeming Points because I wasn’t going anywhere. Twelve months later, I logged onto my account, and to my horror, discovered that all my points were gone (this happened when Aeroplan Points expired after 12 months of inactivity rather than 18 months, as they do now).

If you make this blunder, members are able to buy back expired points through aircanada.com/aeroplan. The cost will be 1.33 cents per point plus applicable taxes (more information is available on aircanada.com/aeroplan).  However, you might want to really weight the pros and cons of this option as buying back 50,000 Miles works out to more than $600. In these cases, you might prefer to purchase a flight out of your own pocket.

But again, remember that all a member has to do is fly with Air Canada or get an Aeroplan credit card within six months of their point expiration, and Aeroplan will reinstate all of your points.

What can you do?

Keep your account active. All you have to do is accumulate or redeem Aeroplan Points within an 18-month period.

Here are some easy ways to prevent your points from expiring:

  • Get an Aeroplan credit card. According to Air Canada, Aeroplan points will never expire for members so long as they either hold an Aeroplan credit card or hold Air Canada Altitude status (aka Aeroplan Elite Status).
  • Shop at Aeroplan partners.** Any purchases made at Aeroplan partners will keep your account alive. It’s easy: when buying something at an Aeroplan partner, such as Air Canada or Home Hardware, just swipe your card or enter your membership number.
  • Fly on Star Alliance flights. You’ll accumulate Points for every Air Canada or partnering Star Alliance flight that you take. Just remember to enter your Aeroplan membership number.
  • Redeem your Points. Use ‘em or lose ‘em! Redeeming points also keeps your account active. Your Points can be cashed in for a range of travel rewards, such as flights on Air Canada and partner airlines, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and event tickets. You can also redeem points for merchandise through the Aeroplan program.
  • Transfer your Points. If you really can’t use your Points in an 18-month period, transfer ‘em to a charity or another Aeroplan member! Remember that under the Aeroplan Family Sharing plan you can share Points with up to 8 other members.

Mistake #2: Not using an Aeroplan credit card

The fastest way to accumulate Aeroplan Points is by using an Aeroplan credit card for everyday purchases.

How it works: you earn points on every $1 that you charge to your Aeroplan credit card, plus twice the Points if it’s a purchase from participating Aeroplan partners. Surprisingly, a lot of Aeroplan collectors don’t use an Aeroplan-affiliated credit card, and thus, lose out on some phenomenal points-earning potential.

What can you do?

Sign up for an Aeroplan credit card ASAP! We’ve outlined the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada for you.

  • Everyday earnings aside, many Aeroplan credit cards also offer generous sign-up bonuses. Yes, this is a thing: you get a bunch of points just for signing up.
  • Aside from points-earning potential, you’ll also get premium travel benefits, such as comprehensive travel and medical insurance, free buddy passes and access to a number of airline lounges worldwide.

Mistake #3: Missing out on points-earning potential at the Aeroplan eStore

Another common slip-up? Missing out on points-earning potential by not shopping on the Aeroplan eStore – an online shopping portal where you can earn at least 1 Aeroplan Points for every dollar you spend.

We get it: you’re shopping on a website or in a store and you just want to buy the item. Delaying the purchase process seems like a hassle, but it’s worth the extra effort. Case in point: before my son was born, I spent thousands of dollars on baby clothing, furniture, gear, and toys from The Hudson’s Bay Company. When the bill arrived, I realized that The Bay is one of the partner retailers listed on the Aeroplan eStore, and I could have racked up more than 14,000 Points from these baby purchases. Fail!

What can you do?

Always check the Aeroplan eStore before making an online or in-person purchase. If you can buy the item through the portal, why not earn some Points back for your money? There are over 100 top brand-name online retailers on the shopping platform, such as:

Aeroplan Retailer miles per dollar
Aeroplan eStore Retailer Earnings
Amazon.ca 3 Miles per $1
Apple 1 Mile per $1
Bed Bath and Beyond 1 Mile per $1
The Gap 5 Miles per $1
The Hudson’s Bay Company 7 Miles per $1
Chapters Indigo 5 Miles per $1
Sephora 2 Miles per $1
Wayfair.ca 6 Miles per $1

Checking the site regularly requires a little diligence on your part, but there’s a payoff. Also, don’t forget to “double dip” and earn twice the Miles by charging your purchases to an Aeroplan credit card.

Mistake #4: Forgetting to link your membership number to online retail partners

We’ve all done this: your online shopping cart is full and you’re at the online check-out. You type in your payment info, confirm your order, and make the purchase. But did you remember to enter your Aeroplan membership number?

It’s easy to get mixed up and forget this step when you’re juggling a busy life. I’ve even forgotten to scan my Aeroplan membership card when making an in-store purchase (or forgotten to bring my membership card altogether!). Adding an extra level of work, it doesn’t help that some Aeroplan retail partners may even require you to register your Aeroplan membership number on your account or to enter a special promo code at check-out in order to accumulate points.

What can you do?

If you make this rookie mistake, don’t panic. So long as you meet the eligibility requirements, many retailers will allow you to apply to have your Aeroplan points credited back to your account after the purchase.

To prevent this from happening, ensure that your Aeroplan membership number is properly entered into all your online retail accounts and that you understand their policy around Points accumulation. A few minutes might save you big bucks in the long run.

If you have trouble remembering to carry your card in your wallet, snap a photo and keep a copy on your phone. Then it’s always at your disposal when you’re out and about.

Final word

Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to never repeat them! Now that you’re in the know, get on track by avoiding these blunders often made by Aeroplan collectors.

Remember to “double dip” and earn twice the Points by using your Aeroplan-affiliated credit card to make purchases at Aeroplan retail partners.

Lastly, be diligent about maximizing your points-earning potential by shopping online at the Aeroplan eStore and entering your Aeroplan membership with Aeroplan retail partners. With these savvy strategies under your belt, you’ll be rolling in Points in no time.

About the Author

Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson


Lisa Jackson is a freelance personal finance and travel journalist, editor, and blogger who contributes to various online and print media outlets in Canada and abroad, including The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Islands Magazine, Fodors, BRIDES, Huffington Post Canada, CAA Magazine, The Food Network, West Jet Magazine, NUVO Magazine, and many others. When she's not writing from her home office, she's busy globe-trotting to new destinations in search of her next story.

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