Weekend Reading: Aeroplan Relaunch Edition

Despite its many flaws, Aeroplan has been my go-to program for flight rewards for the past few years as our family began to travel more often. I know the pain points well: high fuel surcharges on Air Canada flights, lack of available award seats on flights (especially for a family of four), less than ideal routes on Star Alliance partner airlines, long customer service wait times, the list goes on.

But with Aeroplan we took our family of four to Scotland and Ireland last summer for 240,000 miles plus just a few hundred dollars in fees & taxes (connecting in Chicago via United Airlines). We’ve also redeemed miles for trips to Maui and to Vancouver and believe we get good value from the program.

Air Canada (along with TD, CIBC, and Visa) bought Aeroplan in 2018 and vowed to make significant changes when it relaunched the new program in 2020. Like many Aeroplan members, I was anxiously waiting for a preview of these changes to see what a reimagined Aeroplan program would look like. 

We got a sneak peek of the Aeroplan relaunch this week. The early reviews were mixed, but mostly positive. I summarized the good, bad, and what remains to be seen of Aeroplan’s new program on my Rewards Cards Canada blog. Here are the big positives for the new program, which launches November 8:

  • No more fuel surcharges on flight reward tickets
  • Every seat will now be available on Air Canada flights
  • Family sharing will allow you and your family to pool points for free
  • Points will expire after 18 months instead of 12 months (and there’s a new mechanism to get expired points reinstated)

On the downside (of course there’s a downside), the introduction of dynamic pricing means that it will cost more points to fly on popular routes and during high season. Conversely, fewer points will be required for less popular routes and for flights during low season.

All three credit card partners (Amex, TD, and CIBC) revamped their Aeroplan co-branded cards and will all offer similar benefits and earn rates when the new program goes live on November 8.

I’m anticipating some strong welcome bonus offers to coincide with the Aeroplan relaunch. If you’re looking to top-up your Aeroplan miles before then, Credit Card Genius has the latest Aeroplan bonuses and offers to tide you over.

Other expert travel bloggers weigh-in on the new Aeroplan changes:

Let me know what you think of the new Aeroplan changes.

This Week’s Recap:

On Thursday I wrote about boosting retirement savings in your final working years.

Over on Greedy Rates I wrote about investing in gold (a popular topic these days!).

I also listed my picks for the top 10 ETFs in Canada.

Watch for a post next week on how to give financial advice to your Millennial and GenZ children.

Promo of the Week:

It was sad to see EQ Bank drop its interest rate from 2% to 1.7% but when you look at the high interest savings account landscape you’ll find 1.7% still represents the high end of the market. Couple that with EQ’s hybrid chequing / savings account functionality, the ability to pay bills and send e-Transfers for free, and seamless linking with your preferred bank, and you still have a pretty compelling case to stash your cash with EQ Bank.

Open an account here and fund it with $100 within 30 days and you’ll get a $20 cash bonus for free.

Weekend Reading:

Misleading headline alert – Canada Pension Plan posted a 5.6% return for the second quarter, a result which reporter David Milstead said, “trails rocketing stock markets.” In fact, only about 30% of the CPP’s investments are held in equities while the rest is made up of bonds, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure. 

Rob Carrick looks at TFSAs, RRSPs, and the tax hikes to come.

Someone who would argue tax hikes aren’t necessary – Stephanie Kelton explains why the national debt is not an obstacle to progress and why the government can afford to fund its priorities. I recently finished Ms. Kelton’s incredibly well-timed book, The Deficit Myth, which explores the concept of Modern Monetary Theory in more detail.

Jason Heath answers a reader question for MoneySense: Should you apply for a pension if you get laid off?

Insolvency expert Scott Terrio takes a deep dive into common barriers to solving debt problems. Great read!

My Own Advisor Mark Seed looks at what a post-pandemic future might look like.

Kyle Prevost explains his Canadian expat taxes, budget, and savings rate in Qatar.

The Prince of Travel walks us through everything we need to know about the new Aeroplan program from Air Canada:

The author behind the Freedom Thirty Five blog has achieved financial freedom a few years early – congrats!

Of Dollars and Data blogger Nick Maggiulli offers the definitive guide to Ray Dalio’s All-Weather Portfolio:

“Since February 2006, the All Weather Portfolio has compounded at a rate of 8% a year, which is higher than the S&P 500 but less than a traditional 60/40 (U.S. Stock/Bond) portfolio.”

Gen Y Money explains how to claim business use of home expenses in Canada.

Finally, here’s a terrific story from Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam about people trapped far from home by Covid-19.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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4 Comments

  1. Maria @ Handful of Thoughts on August 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    My verdict is still out on the new Aeroplan program. I’m not sure how I feel. But I’m glad I didn’t liquidate my points because at least I still have options for whenever leisure travels resumes.

  2. Liquid on August 15, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I’m not sure how to feel about the new Aeroplan relaunch yet. I’ll have to take a closer look at the new benefits later. Thanks a lot for the mention. 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  3. GYM on August 16, 2020 at 12:24 am

    Thanks for the mention, hope you have a great weekend. The relaunch looks good to me, but I have to look closer at it. I’d be interested to see what the credit card sign up for Aeroplan POINTS looks like. I like the new style/ logo, very sophisticated looking.

  4. dai on August 18, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    haha… I have issues with the aircanada site which will now spill over to the aeroplan relaunch. I just tried to book a flight on the aircanada site and gave up and booked on expedia. what can I say. THANKS for your review of the program…. very informative and you always do an awesome job at informing us.

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