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.