Aeroplan’s 30% bonus for transferring hotel points ends tomorrow night. If you have a stash of SPG or Marriott points, read this post to see if taking advantage of the bonus makes sense for your travel plans.
Through August 21 (11:59 ET), 2017, Aeroplan is offering the biggest bonus on record at the moment for transferring hotel points to Aeroplan miles. It’s also not a tiered bonus like the others in the past have been. Transferring any amount will earn the advertised 35% bonus. If you’ve got SPG points and can transfer in 20k increments, you’ll earn a total transfer bonus of 68.75%!
Right now 40k Starpoints plus taxes will get you a roundtrip economy class trip to Eastern Europe, 67k Starpoints will get you a roundtrip Business Class ticket to Eastern Europe, and 71k Starpoints will get you a roundtrip Business Class ticket to Western Europe.
Starpoints always transfer to dozens of airlines at a 1:1 rate with a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred. On top of that standard bonus, until August 21, 2017, Aeroplan is giving a 35% bonus on transfers of hotel points to Aeroplan miles.
Transfers in from any of these partners count.
The normal transfer bonus on Starpoints-to-miles plus this special Aeroplan transfer bonus combine to mean you can get up to 68.75% more Aeroplan miles than you had Starpoints. You can redeem the Aeroplan miles on a cheap award chart on Air Canada flights or any Star Alliance carrier.
If you redeem to Western Europe on United, Swiss, Turkish, Brussels, Ethiopian, or Scandinavian flights, you’ll pay only 40k/80k/95k Starpoints roundtrip in economy/Business/First with no fuel surcharges.
- How can you take maximum advantage of this promotion?
- How can you avoid the fuel surcharges?
- Where do you search? How do you search?
- Where do you book?
- How good of a deal is 40k Starpoints to Europe or 95k Starpoints in First Class?
- What about the devaluation of Aeroplan’s award chart?
- How does Aeroplan’s award chart compare to United’s and other Star Alliance charts?
Starpoints always transfer to dozens of airlines at a 1:1 rate. For every 20k Starpoints transferred, you get 5k bonus miles. Some of my favorite airlines transfer partners are American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Asiana.
Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on many partners, though not on flights operated by:
- South African
- Air China
Aeroplan is running a compelling promotion through August 21, 2017. Transfer hotel points and get 35% bonus Aeroplan miles, no matter how many hotel points you transfer.
- 20k Starpoints transfer to 25k Aeroplan miles + 8,750 bonus Aeroplan miles for 33,750 total Aeroplan miles (68.75% bonus). This is more than enough miles for a one way economy award to Western Europe* from the continental US, Alaska, and Canada.
- 40k Starpoints transfer to 50k Aeroplan miles + 17,500 bonus Aeroplan miles for 67,500 total Aeroplan miles (68.75% bonus). This is more than enough miles for a roundtrip economy award to Western Europe* from the continental US, Alaska, and Canada.
- 67k Starpoints transfer to 82k Aeroplan miles + 28,700 bonus Aeroplan miles for 110,700 total Aeroplan miles (65.22% bonus). This is just a tiny bit more than what you’d need for a roundtrip Business Class award to Eastern Europe* from the continental US, Alaska, and Canada.
- 71k Starpoints transfer to 86k Aeroplan miles + 30,100 bonus Aeroplan miles for 116,100 total Aeroplan miles (63.52% bonus). This is just a bit more than what you’d need for a roundtrip Business Class award to Western Europe* from the continental US, Alaska, and Canada
*Western Europe includes the countries defined as Europe 1 on the chart. Europe 2, Eastern Europe, is more expensive.
Similar deals are available to Southern South America. Check the award chart to see how many Aeroplan miles you need.
Two Caveats Before Transferring
- Aeroplan devalued their chart in 2015, so even though the transfer bonus makes for some pretty good deals, you may be able to book a flight for fewer Starpoints by transferring them to a Star Alliance carrier with a cheaper award chart than Aeroplan. Check out this comprehensive comparison of the Eight Best Star Alliance Award Charts for the award you have in mind before transferring.
- It can take up to two weeks for transfers from Starwood to Aeroplan to arrive (although the average transfer time is around four days). The exact award space you want may be gone by the time your Aeroplan miles are in your account. While I haven’t found a good track record of Aeroplan reps putting Aeroplan awards on hold, it’s worth a shot to ask. Make sure you explain that you are transferring your hotel points to Aeroplan and that’s the cause of the delay. Also note that technically Aeroplan claims it can take up to four to six weeks for the bonus miles to post, however most people see the bonus miles before then.
Maximizing Aeroplan Awards
Aeroplan awards allow for two stopovers in addition to your destination.
Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on most partners. For instance, fuel surcharges of over $500 per person per roundtrip are instituted on Lufthansa economy awards. Only fly partners listed in this article to avoid fuel surcharges.
Searching for Surcharge-Free Space
We want to book our Aeroplan award on partners on which no fuel surcharges are collected. The best place to search for space on United flights is united.com. On an advanced search, click the drop-down menu for My Search Preferences….
…and tick the box to search only United flights.
Search results will only display United flights. Note there has been a consistent glitch with the United-only filter so the calendar isn’t reflecting United-only results in its color coding.
To search for other surcharge-free options to Europe like Swiss, Brussels, Turkish, Scandinavian, or Ethiopian, find routes that they fly and check Nonstop Flights Only on the united.com advanced search.
Once you’ve found your surcharge-free flights, head to aeroplan.com to book them. Aeroplan will have access to all Saver United space, and all partner space that shows up on united.com. You can mix-and-match these partner flights and still have no fuel surcharges.
Booking on Aeroplan.com
Booking the award space on aeroplan.com is easy. Search the dates and cabins you found on united.com. I found award space from Washington, D.C. to London and Copenhagen to Washington, D.C. on united.com.
Then I searched for the space on aeroplan.com.
Each flight I found was the top result for the day I searched. I pieced it together for 60,000 Aeroplan miles + $50. That would be only 40k Starpoints at current rates.
Lufthansa First Class
Many people will want to use this deal to book Lufthansa First Class. I don’t recommend that.
Asiana miles can always book Lufthansa First Class for 50,000 Asiana miles one way between the United States and Europe. That’s 40,000 SPG points every day.
With this promotion you’d need 42,000 SPG points for a one way Lufthansa First Class booking with Aeroplan miles or 84,000 SPG points for a roundtrip. That’s no better than the everyday Asiana rate.
Asiana and Aeroplan collect the same fuel surcharges on Lufthansa flights– just under $500 one way.
The Marriott Rewards Angle
Marriott points transferred to Aeroplan will also earn a 35% bonus through August 21, 2017. Marriott has a Hotel + Air Package (#1) that allows you to purchase 120k Aeroplan miles and 7 nights in a category 1-5 Marriott for 270,000 Marriott Rewards (or 90k SPG points, as SPG transfer 1:3 to Marriott and vice versa).
With the current transfer bonus, you’d get an additional 42,000 Aeroplan miles for a total of 162,000 Aeroplan miles + the seven category 1-5 hotel nights. Pretty sweet deal.
Apart from SPG and Marriott, I probably wouldn’t transfer any other type of hotel point to Aeroplan as most don’t have favorable transfer rates.
Getting the Miles
The easiest way to get Starpoints is to get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The business version offers the same bonus for $5,000 minimum spending requirement in the first three months, and you can get both.
Your Starpoints won’t arrive before this promotion ends, but we’ve seen similar promotions before, so you’ll have Starpoints in case this promotion returns.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
- Search for award space on united.com for Aeroplan partners on which Aeroplan doesn’t collect fuel surcharges.
- Open an Aeroplan account. Try to put the Aeroplan award space you want on hold (but don’t hold your breath)
- Transfer the correct number of Starpoints to your Aeroplan account to book your dream award, taking into account the standard Starpoints to Aeroplan miles bonus (20k points = 25k miles) and the special limited time bonus being offered by Aeroplan until August 21, 2017 (an additional 35% bonus on top)
- When the points arrive, redo your search on aeroplan.com and book.
Hat tip One Mile at a Time