Chase Ultimate Rewards Adds 14th Transfer Partner: Air Canada Aeroplan – Forbes

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Good news, Chase cardholders: Your Ultimate Rewards points just got even more flexible—and potentially more valuable. Chase has added Air Canada Aeroplan as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner as of August 3, 2021.

That means you can now transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to 14 airline and hotel partners. Aeroplan is the first new transfer partner addition for Chase since Emirates Skywards was added in August 2019.

Chase’s New Transfer Partner: Air Canada Aeroplan

If you aren’t familiar with Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, it’s worth getting to know—even if you don’t live in or travel to Canada. We recommend checking out the Forbes Advisor Guide to Aeroplan, but here are the program’s highlights.

Aeroplan Partners

Since Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, you can redeem Aeroplan points for award flights on any of the 26 Star Alliance partners. Plus, Aeroplan partners with more than a dozen non-alliance partners. In total, you can redeem Aeroplan points for over 40 airlines.

Partners that will be of the most interest to Forbes readers include United, Lufthansa, ANA, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Aeroplan Fees and Taxes

Before Air Canada overhauled the Aeroplan program in November 2020, Aeroplan was notorious for high taxes and fees on partner awards. Thankfully, those exorbitant fees are now a thing of the past as Aeroplan no longer passes along fuel surcharges on partner awards. Instead, Aeroplan charges a flat CA$39 fee ($31 USD at time of writing) for flight awards that include flights operated by partner airlines.

Chase Cards Eligible to Transfer Points to Aeroplan

To transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan you need to carry an eligible Chase credit card. Three such eligible cards are currently open to new cardholders:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card—A premium credit card offering a generous suite of travel benefits. The Chase Sapphire preferred currently offers a welcome bonus for new cardmembers: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®—Chase’s flagship ultra-premium travel card, which offers premium travel benefits, travel statement credits and airport lounge access. New cardmembers currently have the ability to earn a welcome bonus: Earn 3 points per dollar on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3 points per dollar on dining at restaurants and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card—Chase’s small business credit card offering more rewards on travel, shipping, telecommunications and advertising. Small business owners who are approved for the card can earn a welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Aeroplan Sweet Spots

Award travel on global partners with reasonable fees is just one element of Aeroplan’s appeal. Aeroplan utilizes a unique region- and distance-based pricing scheme which opens up some redemption sweet spots, in particular on short flights within Aeroplan’s broadly-defined regions.

For example, partner flights under 500 miles within the North America region cost just 6,000 points each way. That means you can fly between Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Toronto (YYZ) for just 6,000 points each way:

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You can even fly United from the West Coast to Hawaii for just 12,500 points each way—as long as you keep the routing under 2,750 miles in distance:

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Aeroplan is also great for business class flights across the Atlantic. You can fly up to 4,000 miles in distance between North America and the broadly-defined Atlantic region for just 60,000 points in business class.

For 70,000 points, you can fly up to 6,000 miles between North America and the Atlantic zones in business class. That unlocks long-haul routes like Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt (FRA) for just 70,000 points and minimal fees:

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If you wanted to book the same business class award flight using Chase Ultimate Rewards points before Aeroplan was added as a transfer partner, you’d need to transfer at least 77,000 points to United MileagePlus. A last minute booking would cost even more; close-in bookings would set you back over 80,000 United miles.

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One of the unique features of the Aeroplan program is that you can add a stopover to an international itinerary for just 5,000 additional points. Although you will need to call to book an award with an additional stopover, the hassle can be worth it for the right award.

For other sweet spots—and everything you need to know about the relatively new program—check out the Forbes Advisor Ultimate guide to Aeroplan.

Register Now for the New Chase Aeroplan Card Waitlist

In addition to adding Aeroplan as a transfer partner, Chase is partnering with Air Canada to issue a new co-branded credit card. Details are still slim on this card, but Chase and Air Canada indicate that this new card will launch later this year.

If you are interested in holding the forthcoming Aeroplan co-branded credit card, you can now register for a waitlist for the credit card. By doing so, you will earn an additional 10,000 Aeroplan points in addition to the launch sign-up bonus offer—which hasn’t been announced.

You have until November 8, 2021 to register for this waitlist. One the card is unveiled, you’ll need to apply for the Chase Aeroplan Card through an email link by February 15, 2022 to get the bonus. All you need to provide to register for the waitlist is your first name and email address:

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Bottom Line

The addition of Aeroplan as a new Chase transfer partner gives holders of Ultimate Rewards points more options for booking Star Alliance flights and makes Ultimate Rewards a more flexible and more valuable transferable point currency. Cardholders can now transfer points to 14 airline and hotel programs. By getting to know the sweet spots of Aeroplan, you may be able to get more value than ever out of your Ultimate Rewards points.

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