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One of the best credit card programs just got significantly better. Starting today, Chase Ultimate Rewards points — which are earned on credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card — can be transferred to Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program.
Points in the Aeroplan program can be redeemed for flights not only on Air Canada itself, but any of the carrier’s 40 airline partners, which include United, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Turkish Airways, Tap Air Portugal, Avianca, Copa Airlines, All Nippon Airways, EVA Air and many more.
The addition of Aeroplan brings the total number of Chase transfer partners to 14, with 11 airline programs and three hotel programs:
Like all of Chase’s existing transfer partners, Ultimate Rewards points will transfer to Aeroplan at a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning you’ll get 1,000 Aeroplan points for every 1,000 Chase points you transfer.
The best ways to use Aeroplan points
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program was revamped last November and offers some great opportunities to fly around the world at reasonable mileage rates without getting hefty fees or surcharges tacked on.
The program uses a distance-based award chart with variable pricing for flights operated by Air Canada. This means that redemptions are priced based on the distance between a flight’s origin and destination, but also vary based on demand for the particular flight you’re choosing. Fortunately, you can use the airline’s award predictor tool to see how many points you’ll need for a flight.
Flights on partner airlines are also based on the same mileage distance bands, but typically price out lower since there’s no variable pricing based on demand. However, you’ll need to find open award space on the partner in order to book it with Aeroplan points.
What are the best Aeroplan redemption opportunities for US-based travelers? Well, if you’re looking to travel within North America, one great way to use your points is to fly with partner United Airlines — especially on awards that are 500 miles or less in distance. These redemptions only cost 6,000 Aeroplan points each way, and include routes such as Boston to Washington Dulles and Denver to Aspen.
Longer flights between 501 and 2,750 flight miles cost 10,000 to 12,500 points each way within North America, which is on par with many other loyalty programs. The one exception is if you’re looking to fly to Hawaii from the Midwest or East Coast — flights of 2,751 miles or more will cost you 22,500 Aeroplan points.
You can also use your Aeroplan points to fly to Mexico or the Caribbean on a United-operated flight. Some examples include Houston to Cancun for just 10,000 points, or New York to Cancun nonstop for only 12,500 points.
If you’re hoping to travel abroad to Europe in the wake of the pandemic, a one-way flight starting in the US costs 35,000-40,000 Aeroplan points depending on your exact origin and destination. For example, you can fly on Aeroplan’s airline partner Scandinavian Airlines from Boston to Copenhagen for 35,000 points one way, or even to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines for 40,000 points.
On the other hand, if you’re located on the West Coast, you’ll find many opportunities at the 40,000-point level, such as Los Angeles to Munich nonstop on Lufthansa. And if you’re looking to travel to South America, Asia, Australia or New Zealand, there are plenty of options to those destinations as well.
You can even add a stopover each way on an international itinerary for just 5,000 extra points, which is a great way to build in extra stops during a trip at an incredibly low cost. Just keep in mind that this feature isn’t available on awards that encompass flights entirely within North America.
Finally, since Aeroplan no longer tacks carrier-imposed surcharges onto its award tickets, you’ll pay minimal taxes and fees on your “free” flight when you book it with Aeroplan points. This is definitely one of the perks of the Aeroplan program, as you can sometimes find these surcharges on other airlines end up being close to the cost of just paying for the flight outright.
A new Air Canada Aeroplan credit card
Chase will also be the exclusive issuer of the Air Canada Aeroplan credit card in the United States. While the card isn’t available yet, consumers can now add their names to the issuer’s wait list at aircanada.com/chase and be eligible to earn 10,000 extra Aeroplan points in addition to the card’s sign-up bonus once it becomes available.
There’s no downside to signing up for the wait list, as you aren’t committing to applying for the card once it launches, but you’ll be one of the first to know when it’s available.
Don’t want to wait? Then your best bet is to grab a Chase Sapphire Preferred card now and transfer the points to Aeroplan. Chase is currently offering new Sapphire Preferred card holders 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months after opening the account.
Looking for the best overall credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2021.