Personal Finance

Air Miles Vs Aeroplan!

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  • Oct 7th, 2013 11:21 am
[OP]
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Aug 30, 2008
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Winnipeg, MB

Air Miles Vs Aeroplan!

I just concluded a little article comparing the two rewards programs. As it was an article for my website, it has a Winnipeg slant to it but the majority of the information should still be of use. Would welcome any criticism or suggestions...

Article can be found at http://scwpg.com/?p=62 but I'll copy paste as much of it here as I can.

First I compared the quality of sponsors:
Image

Air Miles has a slight lead as it has a Department store sponsor, an Auto Maintenance sponsor, and a Restaurant sponsor (not really a big deal, but it helps). They also have a better Electronics store sponsor as Visions has a lot more locations across Canada.

Some notes: I know KFC is an Aeroplan sponsor in Ontario, but my article was basing the information for Winnipeg so I didn't mention that.

After that, I compared how people spend their money. Below is the average household expenditures for Winnipeg... It should be fairly similar for the rest of Canada. Beside each major expenditure I wrote a tip for collecting miles with your purchases.
Image

Then I made a quick comment about how you can double-dip with sponsor credit cards... Each program has many, many different credit cards you can apply for and each of those has a different earning rate (for every dollar you spend). Air Miles credit cards start at a yearly fee of $0 and go up to $99, Aeroplan credit cards start at $29/year and go all the way to a yearly fee of $499.

Then I did a little comparison which I'm sure will be the topic of most debate. Assuming you made 3000 Air Miles over the year or 30000 Aeroplan miles over the year (which I believe is a fair assumption if things were relatively equal. Lets see what you could redeem these miles for…

Here are four different products/flights and how many miles they require for each program:

1. Flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver & Back
Air Miles – 2150 out of season, 2850 in season
Aeroplan – 25000 out of season, 25000 in season
Winner: Toss-up.
If you’re flying out of season, Air Miles has a slight advantage and it would take 8-9 months to get the flight. In season, you’re a little less lucky. It would take a whole 11-12 months to get the flight. With Aeroplan it would take 10 months to get your flight, regardless of the flying season.

2. Flight from Winnipeg to Hong Kong & Back
Air Miles – 8975 out of season, 12000 in season
Aeroplan -75000 out of season, 75000 in season
Winner: Aeroplan.
It would take 3 years to collect for an out of season flight and 4 years to collect for an in season flight with Air Miles. Conversely, it would only take 2.5 years to redeem the flight with Aeroplan, regardless of flying season.

3. An 8GB iPod Touch.
Air Miles – 2300
Aeroplan – 30500
Winner: Air Miles.
The Air Miles collector would have their iPod Touch after 9 months, while the Aeroplan collector would need just over a year before they had enough.

4. $50 Gap giftcard.
Air Miles – 365
Aeroplan – 6000
Winner: Air Miles.
It would only take 45 days for the Air Miles collector to get enough for the gift card, while the Aeroplan collector would need about 73 days.

IN SUMMARY...

Air Miles wins for quantity and quality of sponsors and for redeeming smaller products with miles. Aeroplan wins for redeeming for longer trips and is probably more appropriate for bigger spenders, as their more expensive American Express credit cards probably come with a lot of benefits at $399 or $499 per year.


CORRECTIONS AND OTHER INFO:
  • Smaller spender? Go with Air Miles.
  • Bigger spender who wants actual travel bonuses? Go with Aeroplan.
  • Aeroplan imposes a 7 year time limit on miles, after that they expire. Additionally, if you have absolutely no activity in your Aeroplan account for 1 full year you will lose all your miles.
  • Neither Aeroplan nor Air Miles covers the costs of Taxes, Airport Fees, Fuel Surcharge, Baggage Surcharges, etc.
  • Making donations using miles is a bad idea, because you can get a tax deduction if these are done with cash, through conventional charitable organizations
  • Aeroplan allows for business class and first class travel redemption while Air Miles does not.
  • CIBC ADVANTEX program features Bonus Aeroplan Miles with the CIBC Aerogold VISA credit card. Bonus Aeroplan Miles are earned automatically when CIBC Aerogold cardholders visit participating CIBC ADVANTEX Benefit establishments (like restaurants, resorts, etc)
  • If redeemed for travel, there's a chance an Air Miles ticket issued may accrue frequent flyer points (like Aeroplan). An Aeroplan award does not.
  • If you book a 75000 point flight that makes one or more stop overs (not layovers) to cities along the way you can stay at those locations for extended periods of time to enjoy a more diverse vacation. Again Aeroplan wins for actual travel redemption here.
Comments?
scwpg.com - Reviewing and comparing services in the Winnipeg area.
36 replies
Member
Jul 26, 2008
293 posts
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I personally think Air Miles is better for people who are not huge spenders (singles/no children couples) mainly due to the 7 year time limit on Aeroplan points.
[OP]
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Aug 30, 2008
23 posts
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Winnipeg, MB
I see they moved this from the freebies forum, I guess that's good. I didn't really know where to put it. :)

Yeah I guess I should mention the 7-year thing as well. That's a good point. I've also heard complaints of the customer service for dealing with Aeroplan and Air Canada. Apparently RBC's Avion is really good but I didn't have much information to compare that as well.
scwpg.com - Reviewing and comparing services in the Winnipeg area.
Deal Addict
Dec 31, 2009
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Nice little comparsion. Interesting to read.

It's funny the slight changes there are here in Ontario. For instance, my local Rexall is Airmiles, not Aeroplan. And Zellers Pharmacy doesn't offer anything, not even their own HBC Rewards. I don't think KFC gives anything, at least not that I've ever seen in my region (but I admit I hardly ever go there.) The only place that I ever visit more than once a year that offers Aeroplan would be Home Hardware. After that, off the top of my head I can't think of one other local retailer that offer Aeroplan.

I stay at the Royal York in Toronto a few times a year to go see the Leafs game (yeah, I'm a sucker for punishment). They give Aeroplan miles, but it's such a pain. Half the time they never hit my account. I call the Royal York, they claim they submitted them and I should call Aeroplan. Aeroplan tells me they never received anything and I should call the Royal York. So I just give up trying. If they hit my AP account, great. If not, oh well, It's not worth the aggravation trying to get them.

I carry both, but Airmiles is my choice simply because of the serious lack of Aeroplan sponsors in my area. I carry a BMO Gold Airmiles Mastercard, so my flights/merchandise are apparently 25% cheaper but I never notice the difference, to be perfectly honest. (the annual fee for the MC is rebated to me by BMO Harris too). I don't think I've paid for a car wash or a movie in years, and I nab myself some fairly nice merchandise for gifts and such multiple times a year. I rarely fly, so the actual flight rewards from either AP or AM are worthless to me.

I work with a guy (also a good friend you could say) who goes to Mexico twice a year solely by he and his wife using a CIBC Aerogold Visa or something. So we have friendly little Airmiles vs. Aeroplan debates periodically. I show him my nice clean vehicle and a few of the nice nifty little appliances/gadgets/whatever I got via Airmiles and he shows me the tan he got in Mexico. ahahahahahaha. It's all in good fun.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 17, 2007
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Don't forget that Air Miles program does NOT cover ANY of the taxes, airport fees, etc related to the purchase of flight tickets. Aeroplan does.

So, that furthers your findings to the effect that Aeroplan is the better plan for TRAVEL rewards, while Air Miles is best redeemed for MERCHANDIZE (wisely chosen merch i might add, cause not all of it give a good return ratio).
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Oct 8, 2006
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How about SPG points in comparison?
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Mar 30, 2004
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WHO wrote:
Feb 18th, 2010 4:51 pm
Don't forget that Air Miles program does NOT cover ANY of the taxes, airport fees, etc related to the purchase of flight tickets. Aeroplan does.
WRONG.

Neither Aeroplan nor Air Miles covers the costs of Taxes, Airport Fees, Fuel Surcharge, Baggage Surcharges, etc.
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Mar 23, 2004
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WHO wrote:
Feb 18th, 2010 4:51 pm
Don't forget that Air Miles program does NOT cover ANY of the taxes, airport fees, etc related to the purchase of flight tickets. Aeroplan does.
Sorry but aeroplan doesnt...else it would be much more attractive than air miles.
「もし、奇跡を起こせたら……」
Deal Fanatic
Feb 17, 2007
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Oops. Well thanks to both of you for quickly correcting me :shy:
I was sure I saw somewhere that their quotes covered all the fees.

I'm not very familiar with Aeroplan since I barely use the card (don't know if I ever DID use it actually). I do have some points, maybe about 1,300, but those were mostly from freebie offers found (where do you think?) here on rfd :D

I don't think that changes anything to the fact that Aeroplan is more suitable for TRAVEL redemptions while Air Miles is better for *some* of their merchandize.
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2005
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Very good of you, OP, to take on this comparison! :!:

Just a few comments:

1) If it matters at all, Aeroplan allows for business class and first class travel redemption while Air Miles does not.

2) If redeemed for travel, there may be a possibility that the ticket issued Air Miles may accrue frequent flyer points (like Aeroplan). An Aeroplan award does not.

3) The CIBC Aerogold features the ADVANTEX benefit (http://www.aerogold-advantex.com/english/index_eng.asp). This is an indirect way of restaurant sponsorship.

4) In Ontario, Active Green & Ross is an auto maintenance sponsor with Aeroplan. This seems to be a newly signed program, so I do not know whether it is currently in force. See http://www.activegreenandross.com/aeroplanorfutura.htm

5) In Ontario, Metro supermarkets are teamed up with Air Miles.

6) One can earn Aeroplan points through the Aeroplan eStore while shopping for Dell products: http://www1.aeroplan.com/estore/electro ... ellca.html.

Feel free to update your chart as you feel appropriate.
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Aug 19, 2002
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Although obvious, you can collect Aeroplan by flying anyone of the Star Alliance airlines. Air Miles, you cannot collect from any.

If you book a 75000 point flight on Aeroplan to Hong Kong as in your example, you can make two stop overs (not layovers) to cities along the way. I recently did a Toronto to London to Hong Kong to Beijing trip at the cost of only 75,000 points. You can't do that with air miles. Aeroplan wins by a large margin in this situation.
[OP]
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Aug 30, 2008
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Winnipeg, MB
Haha, oh boy. I knew I would have missed a ton of things after I posted it here. Thanks to everyone for pointing them out. :-)

Here are the changes I've got so far:
  • Air Miles is better for people who are not huge spenders
  • Aeroplan points have a 7 year time limit before they expire
  • Making donations using miles is a bad idea, because you can get a tax deduction if these are done with cash, through conventional charitable organizations
  • Neither Aeroplan nor Air Miles covers the costs of Taxes, Airport Fees, Fuel Surcharge, Baggage Surcharges, etc.
  • Aeroplan allows for business class and first class travel redemption while Air Miles does not.
  • CIBC ADVANTEX program features Bonus Aeroplan Miles with the CIBC Aerogold VISA credit card. Bonus Aeroplan Miles are earned automatically when CIBC Aerogold cardholders visit participating CIBC ADVANTEX Benefit establishments (like restaurants, resorts, etc)
  • If redeemed for travel, there's a chance an Air Miles ticket issued may accrue frequent flyer points (like Aeroplan). An Aeroplan award does not.
  • If you book a 75000 point flight that makes one or more stop overs (not layovers) to cities along the way you can stay at those locations for extended periods of time to enjoy a more diverse vacation.
Wow, that's a lot but I'll get to making the changes right now.

For any differences regarding other provinces I probably won't make a change. Also regarding the Dell comment I briefly mentioned in the article that Aeroplan's online store does provide a number of different electronics goods for sale that can earn points.

Thanks everyone. :)
scwpg.com - Reviewing and comparing services in the Winnipeg area.
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Dec 11, 2005
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WHO wrote:
Feb 18th, 2010 6:49 pm

I don't think that changes anything to the fact that Aeroplan is more suitable for TRAVEL redemptions while Air Miles is better for *some* of their merchandize.
I agree with this statement. There are several non-travel airmiles redemption that equate to high ROR, like 1%, 2%, 3%. Things like car washes and free movie tickets. Non-airi-travel redemptions with Aeroplan pretty much all suck. Even their hotel redemptions suck.
To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. -- E. E. Cummings
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mudd_stuffin wrote:
Feb 18th, 2010 7:01 pm
6) One can earn Aeroplan points through the Aeroplan eStore while shopping for Dell products: http://www1.aeroplan.com/estore/electro ... ellca.html.
Danzinger wrote:
Feb 19th, 2010 3:40 am
Also regarding the Dell comment I briefly mentioned in the article that Aeroplan's online store does provide a number of different electronics goods for sale that can earn points.
That's not really an advantage for Aeroplan 'cuz Air Miles has their Air Miles Shops Online where you can earn Air Miles for shopping at several retailers. If anything, it's pretty dead even since Aeroplan's eShop has most of the same stores but I think they just copied Air Miles, or they didn't do as good of a job as announcing it as Air Miles.
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