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Alternatives to Aeroplan

Today’s post was inspired by all the comments provided in two recent posts entitled: Aeroplan Membership Growing Faster Than Available Reward Seats and IdeaWorks Rewards Seat Availability Rankings.

The comments got me thinking about writing a post about alternatives to Aeroplan. I have touched on some suggestions, but not a full blown post. Alternatives to Aeroplan will really depend on your travel and spending habits. First of all, let me explain why I have been sticking with Aeroplan.

I previously wrote a post about Easy Ways to Keep your Aeroplan Account Active, so I have no had any trouble keeping the account active, but more important, I earn a fair number of credit card sign up bonuses. Had I depending on earning Aeroplan at 1 point for every $1 spent, or even 2 points for every $1 spent, I would take forever to earn enough points to justify staying with the program. So right off the bat, I want to point out that I am staying with Aeroplan because I continue to earn credit card sign up bonuses. Furthermore, my travel dates are flexible and my travel destinations are also flexible enough that I can get a lot of value from my account.

That being said, I understand that this is not the case for everyone else. So I will explain a few scenarios where it will make more sense to choose an alternative airline.

1) Alternative Canadian airline

  • If you fly frequently within Canada, then WestJet is probably your best bet. Porter is only good if you fly within the east coast, but let’s cover the entire country. What’s good about WestJet Rewards program is that you earn fixed dollars that you can use towards your next flight. Once you reach $25 of cash back, you can use that $25 credit against the next flight that you book. This makes the rewards program so much more flexible. You never have to worry about blackout dates because you will always have to purchase a flight. Then use the cash back that you earned to help credit part or all of the purchase price.

2) Flying at least once a year internationally on a Star Alliance member

  • If you earn most of your points on flying, and you fly on a Star Alliance member at least once a year, then I would earn the points with another alliance member instead. There are 3 airlines that I would strongly consider instead: United Airlines (MileagePlus), Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer) or Aegean Airlines (Miles+Bonus). They all have lower taxes and fuel surcharges. Just bank your points directly with them. You can speed up earning these other points by changing your car rentals and hotel earnings directly to those airlines whenever possible. This is definitely a strategy that I intend to use one day if the Aeroplan sign up bonuses start disappearing.

3) Flying most with Oneworld or SkyTeam airlines

  • If you don’t even fly with Star Alliance, then earn your points with a Oneworld or SkyTeam member instead. Delta Air Lines (SkyMiles), Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles) and British Airways (Executive Club) all have relatively easier ways to earn points as a Canadian.

Mentioned above are only some of the alternatives that you can consider instead of Aeroplan. What other suggestions do you have? Please let us know in the comment section below.


  1. There are definitely people out there looking for alternatives to Aeroplan.
    As a Canadian living near a US airport (Detroit) we find that using Avios for our flights is a better use of points. These of course are for short haul flights within the US on AA.
    As a quick example it is 25,000 Aeroplan to fly from Toronto/Detroit to Florida plus the ridiculous taxes they charge.
    Detroit to Tampa is 18,000 Avios, Miami is 20,000 Avios, and other locations are mostly 18,000 Avios.
    When you are paying for 4 flights that difference starts to add up.
    Our post we did over a year ago is still our number one page for hits around the world, “Switching to Avios from Aeroplan.”
    Check it our if you want – the information is current but the bonus is not on right now.


  2. Hi Mat

    I understand you have a system in place to accumulate sign up bonuses. Could you either explain how you go from one card to another obtaining regular sign up bonuses. Perhaps a post on how to get the most sign up possible. My concern is you get a sogn up bonus with company A then cancel during the year and resign again with company A. Aren’t they going to put you a somekind of black list? Please show us how to maximize our points by way of an example. Thanks

    1. That is a good question Francois. Unfortunately there isn’t a one shoe fits all. It depends from one institution to another. I read the terms and conditions fairly carefully to see what the rules and regulations are. I also take advantage of whatever promotions comes out. So my strategy varies all time.

      1. Thanks Mat. If You can you should give us an example but also understand you can t share all your tricks. : )

        Have a good one

          1. You the man !

            Thanks for your quick reply and sharing your smarts.

    2. You typically want to keep a card for at least 6 months after signing up with a card, then wait 6 months before re-applying for the same card again. As far as I’m aware, no company in Canada is blacklisting people for doing this, as long as you’re not getting the same card dozens of times in the same year. There’s two instances I’m aware of where you get some, but not all the bonuses when you reapply for the same card: 1) MBNA Alaska airlines card – you get the points but not the companion certificate. 2) Chase Marriott card – you get the points, but not the free night’s certificate.

      The best card bonuses in Canada right now are:
      1 – Amex Gold Card – first year free, 25,000 points if you spend $500 in the first 3 months (enough for a roundtrip in north america) and you receive $50 cashback through greatcanadianrebates
      2 – MBNA Air Alaska – $75 annual fee, but $25 cashback through greatcanadianrebates, you get 25,000 points (enough for a roundtrip in north america). See here for a step by step instruction on getting this card: https://rewardflights.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/how-to-get-enough-alaska-air-miles-for-a-roundtrip-within-north-america/
      3 – Amex Gold Business Card – first year free, but you need to spend $5,000 in the first three months to get points. It’s 30,000 points without a referral, or 40,000 points with a referral (enough for a one way ticket to anywhere in the world).

      There’s a couple more, but those are probably the best ones right now. Remember, your credit rating does go down a little for a few months each time you apply for a new card, so pace yourself. Let me know if you’d like a referral link.

      1. Excellent Marianna. Six month to a year seems key here in applying again. I will be looking into amex self referal which increases points. Hopefully I will be able to transition back and forth perhaps every year and see how it goes.


  3. I am a Canadian living in Hong Kong. I fly home once or twice/year. I like using Air Canada for this but Aeroplan sucks. I just spent three hours on the phone: one hour constantly getting a busy signal then in a phone cue for two hours before I gave up. I would like to switch plans but still want to use Air Canada. I am also a Marco Polo (Cathay Pacific) member and collect Asia Miles through them.
    You mentioned banking your Aeroplan miles with Singapore Airlines; how is that done and how does being Canadian help when being a Cathay (Marco Polo) member. Thanks for your work.

    Cheers, MIke

    1. If you happen to fly any Star Alliance member frequently enough you can bank KrisFlyer instead of Aeroplan. Depends where you fly to in Canada. Cathay is a good airline. Or connect through United Airlines through the US.

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