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We’ve been seeing a lot of movement in loyalty programs over the past few weeks. This morning another great partnership was announced as Etihad and Aeroplan – the loyalty program associated with Air Canada – decided to combine forces.
Effective immediately, the new partnership offers reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities. In other words, you can now:
- Fly on Etihad and earn Air Canada Aeroplan miles
- Fly on Air Canada and earn Etihad miles
- Redeem Etihad miles to fly on Air Canada
- Redeem Air Canada Aeroplan Miles to fly on Etihad
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Etihad Guest utilizes a distance-based chart for redemptions on Air Canada so if you’re flying longhaul, the rates can be expensive. Additionally, bookings must be made at least 24 hours in advance and you cannot book the ticket online (you have to call the them to book). Taking all of this into consideration, it’s not worth the hassle in my opinion.
The most valuable part of this new partnership, in my opinion, is being able to redeem Air Canada miles on Etihad.
There are a few important things to understand about Air Canada Aeroplan.
First, they have a fixed-mileage award chart (HERE) which means the numbers are static and you can plan a vacation without the stress of dynamic pricing.
Second, the loyalty program does NOT charge (pesky) fuel surcharges on Etihad-operated flights so more money will remain in your pocket. It’s worth noting that the amount paid in taxes does change but they’re (generally) minimal and are dependent on your origin.
Finally, members can combine Etihad flights with Air Canada or other Star Alliance partners. For example, you could fly:
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Chicago (ORD) on United Airlines
- Chicago – Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Etihad
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Male, Maldives (MLE) on Etihad
…and it will not cost any additional miles because you have a Star Alliance partner (i.e. United) as the first segment.
SO WHERE DOES ETIHAD FLY?
Etihad is a relatively small airline but their international route network is decent. I’m not going to list every international city but from North America, Etihad departs from Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Toronto (YYZ), and Washington DC (IAD) and all fly directly to Abu Dhabi (AUH).
PRO-TIP: If you’re interested in flying in the First Class Apartment, I recommend looking for flights on their A380.
But if you’re like me and prefer visuals of where Etihad flies, here you go…
HOW DO I CHECK AWARD SPACE AND/OR BOOK A FLIGHT?
The simplest way to determine if award space is available (and/or book a ticket) will be to search aeroplan.com, or call Aeroplan’s Contact Centre.
I haven’t dug deep but I did a quick search for First Class, Business, and Economy redemptions for later in 2021. Availability appears wide open and here are a few examples:
First class for 115k + 67CAD (~$50USD)…
Business class for 82.5k + 44CAD (~$32USD)…
Economy class for 40k + 67CAD (~$50USD)…
SO HOW DO I GET AEROPLAN OR ETIHAD MILES?
Aeroplan is a transfer partner of:
Meanwhile, if you decide to go this way, Etihad Guest, is a transfer partner of:
This is great news for Aeroplan frequent flyers and those that have the ability to transfer points to Aeroplan or Etihad and it opens up some additional options for travel.
Additionally, Aeroplan has noted that they’re working on “introducing additional airline partners” in the coming weeks. Tell me that’s not exciting, particularly if Aeroplan is adding more non-alliance partner airlines!!
Air Canada has been really impressing me with the launch of their new loyalty program and I look forward to more great developments.
What do you think about the partnership? Is anyone else excited about the additional partners that will be introduced soon?