What is the Value of an Aeroplan Point?

What is the Value of an Aeroplan Point? Hint: It’s not 42.

There is much debate in the travel hacking blogosphere about how much Aeroplan points are worth. As Aeroplan will sell you points for 3 cents per mile (+ taxes) it would be reasonable to assume that this is their maximum value. But this is not the case… As any economist will tell you, “value” is a tricky concept.

Assuming that Aeroplan and it’s Star Alliance partners go from where you are to where you want to go, the value of the airplane ticket you can buy with your points varies by date, class of flight, destination and routing. Some savvy pointsmaesters have redeemed them at “values” of up to $0.13 or more per point. But most of us will never achieve that high a ratio.

For example let’s assume that you want to go from Toronto, Canada to Tokyo, Japan (return) in January 2017. The price of a round trip ticket (not considering mistake fares, deals) would be around $1,000.00 to $9,000.

Class Low High Tax Aeroplan Points
Economy $1,001.39 $5,084.86 88.46 75,000
Business $3,497.97 $8,659.39 108.86 150,000
First Class $3,701.01 $8,924.10 203.6 210,000
Class Low Price net of taxes and fees High Price net of taxes and fees Low $/Point High $/Point
Economy $912.93 $4,996.40 0.012 $0.067
Business $3,389.11 $8,550.53 0.023 $0.057
First Class $3,497.41 $8,720.50 0.017 $0.042

*Expedia September 15, 2016 @ 8:30 PM; all prices in this post in Canadian dollars.

This would appear to place a value on Aeroplan points between 1.2 and 6.7 cents per point. But since you can buy them for only 3 cents each, you could get 6.6 cents of “value” for only 3 cents… score!

Of course, that assumes that, on your preferred travel dates, the only economy fare still available is full price, yet somehow there is still availability in Aeroplan at Classic rewards rates… might as well plan on hopping on the next pig you see and hoping it flies you to the Eiffel Tower! So it is more reasonable to expect that most of the time, the value is closer to the “low” end, between 1.2 and 2.3 cents per point. The best theoretical value is in Economy class (though that is very theoretical), but the highest value you are likely to get is for a business class ticket, at 2.3 cents per point.

The value of something is what you can get for it. One of our favourite destinations is France. Since we can usually get there in economy for about $800, and it will usually cost $500-600 in taxes and fees to get an Aeroplan ticket on the same routing, the value of a point for such a flight is between 1/3 and 1/2 cent per point. This is too low for us; we usually pay cash. The 60,000 points are demonstrably worth more to us than the $200-300 difference in ticket price, and we choose to save our points for a better use.

Maybe you have followed our advice, you are churning credit cards to get loads of free points, but you have little cash – and that $200-300 is worth it to you, because Paris is your entire bucket list, and the points make the difference between going or not going. The value to you may be extremely high.

So the answer to the question of the value of an Aeroplan point is usually somewhere between 1/2 cent and 3 cents per point – but it could be more or less, depending on how you use them, and what that use is worth to you.dsc_0003

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