Aeroplan Family Sharing Explained

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

Aeroplan Family Sharing is a feature available to Aeroplan members since 2021. The idea is that instead of earning and redeeming points individually, you can do so with family members under the Aeroplan program. The advantage of this perk is that you’ll be able to use points accumulated as a group much quicker.

While this is an excellent program, right now, it’s unavailable to Aeroplan account holders. That’s because there was some abuse, and Aeroplan is looking to correct this issue. Regardless of the current situation, here’s how Aeroplan family sharing works.

How Aeroplan family sharing works

Aeroplan Family Sharing allows you to create groups with up to eight members in total. Even though it’s called family sharing, you can add whoever you want. It can be a spouse, sibling, in-laws, friends, or caregiver. It doesn’t matter.

Each group has one lead person who would add the other members. All you need to enter is your relationship with the member and their Aeroplan number. The relationship status doesn’t matter. They give you different options so you can see how everyone ties together. It’s not like one relationship status would give you additional benefits.

When someone is added, an email will be sent to that member. They’ll need to accept the invitation to join the group. Once you join, any Aeroplan points that you have will be combined into an Aeroplan family sharing pool and can be used right away.

Why create an Aeroplan family sharing group?

If it isn’t obvious, joining an Aeroplan Family Sharing group is advantageous since you can pool your points. Simply put, Aeroplan is one of the world’s best loyalty programs for flight rewards. Every person who flies on Air Canada can get an Aeroplan number. Ticket purchases for Air Canada flights or any of their partners earn you points on the base fare.

Let’s say you’re a family of four flying from Toronto to Vancouver, and each ticket costs $450 (minus taxes and fees). Depending on the fare class, you would each earn points. Individually, the points aren’t worth much. However, with family sharing, you now have access to all of the points earned under a single account. This is ideal as you can now use the points from people who may not fly as much, such as children and grandparents.

Now let’s think big picture. Most people joining a group aren’t coming in with zero points, so you could easily have a group of six coming in with 120,000, 70,000, 55,000, 30,000, 20,000, and 15,000 points, respectively. That adds up to 310,000 bonus points under the family account, which is a fair amount and instantly allows you to get a sweet redemption. 

Additionally, earning points as a family is essential if you want to travel hack.

Preferred pricing as a family

One unique benefit of Aeroplan family sharing account is that all members get preferred pricing on Aeroplan rewards as long as one member has an Aeroplan credit card (such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card). Generally speaking, you’ll get about a 3% – 5% discount compared to those without an Aeroplan credit card.

I hold the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card. When I search for flights, I get preferred flights. Since my brother is in my family plan, he also gets preferred pricing when searching for an Aeroplan redemption flight.

It’s important to note that benefits that come with credit cards, such as free checked bags, lounge access, priority boarding, etc., only apply to the primary cardholder and any authorized users. No other benefits are shared, including any status benefits. If a member has Aeroplan Elite status, none of those benefits get carried over.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

  • $599 annual fee
  • Earn 7,500 points per month when spending $2,000 each month for 6 months
  • Earn 5,000 points each when adding additional users at the time of sign up (up to 10,000 points)
  • Earn 35,000 points per month when spending $6,000 between months 13 and 16
  • Earn 3 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on Air Canada, 2 points on dining and food delivery, and 1.25 points on all other purchases
  • Unlimited free access to Maple Leaf Lounges in North America for you and a guest
  • Free first checked bag, priority check-in and boarding on Air Canada

If you’re going to collect Aeroplan points and set up a family plan, having a member with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card can be highly beneficial. Not only do you get a generous welcome bonus, but all members of the family plan can take advantage of the preferred Aeroplan pricing that this card grants.

How are points redeemed in an Aeroplan family sharing plan?

Once you join an Aeroplan Family Sharing group, your points are split evenly based on the percentage of points you have within the group. To better understand how points are used, I’ll use the above group of six example from above. This is how their points would break down.

Group MemberPoints inPercentage
Grandfather120,00039%
Grandmother70,00022%
Father55,00018%
Mother30,00010%
Son20,0006%
Daughter15,0005%
Total310,000100%

Now say the group’s father wants to make a redemption of 100,000 Aeroplan points. The points withdrawn from each member would be as follows:

  • Grandfather – 39,000
  • Grandmother – 22,000
  • Father – 18,000
  • Mother – 10,000
  • Son – 6,000
  • Daughter – 5,000

To be clear, the percentage of points taken from individuals isn’t set on the amount they come in with. You can still technically earn more points individually, so your actual percentage would constantly change.

The ratio of points for withdrawal can’t be changed. That means you can’t tell Aeroplan to withdraw, say 80% of the points from one member and then 20% from someone else.

The group leader would set access levels for each person. This is a good thing, so your kids don’t use up your points for random things such as gift cards or merchandise.

When points are being used, all members of the group will be alerted by email. This includes redeemers and non-redeemers.

It’s also worth noting that your family sharing balance can be used on any flight available with Aeroplan. That includes business class flights, partner airlines, Air Canada Vacations. The destination doesn’t matter; you can also book a stopover with your redemption if you desire. The mileage of your flight, carrier, calendar year, round-trip or one-way also doesn’t matter.

How does the expiration date for Aeroplan points work?

As a quick refresher, Aeroplan points will expire after 18 months of account inactivity. This worries some people who don’t travel often, but earning and using some points is easy. You could shop through the Aeroplan e-store, get an Aeroplan credit card, shop at an Aeroplan partner, or donate some points.

Now let’s say you’re in an Aeroplan Family Sharing plan. Points are taken from every member’s account when one person makes a redemption. That counts as account activity for everyone, so your expiration date would instantly reset.

However, earning points is still made on an individual basis. Even though the points earned are shared within the group, it doesn’t count toward the expiration calendar.

What happens if I leave an Aeroplan family sharing group?

Due to the potential for fraud, there are a few rules in place if you’re going to join an Aeroplan Family Sharing Group.

  • When joining a group, you must be in for at least 3 months
  • When leaving a group, you can’t join a new one for at least 6 months

What many people wonder is, what happens to your points when you leave? Any points that you brought in and earned leave with you (minus any points that we’re used for redemptions).

For example, let’s say you brought in 100,000 points. While in the group, 15,000 of your points were used for redemptions, and you earned 30,000 points thanks to your spending on your Aeroplan credit card. If you were to leave, you’d exit with 115,000 points (100,000 + 30,000 – 15,000).

Final thoughts

You would think the ability to pool your points would be a standard option for loyalty plans, but for whatever reason, it’s not. It’s good to see that Aeroplan has introduced this feature as a standard benefit, as everyone can take advantage of it.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

42 Comments

  1. AnotherLoonie on August 20, 2020 at 5:15 PM

    Thank you for explaining this new feature of the Aeroplan program. I plan on taking advantage of this with my wife. We together have around 100k Aeroplan miles, but they’re distributed between our two accounts. Looking forward to being able to merge them and redeem for a higher value flight.

    • Barry.Choi on August 20, 2020 at 8:29 PM

      AnotherLoonie,

      Lots of families will be able to make some decent redemptions once family sharing is available.

  2. Simon Larkin on September 14, 2020 at 1:24 PM

    Will Family sharing points be able to be used for Gift Card purchases

    • Barry.Choi on September 14, 2020 at 1:26 PM

      I don’t see anything specifically mentioned about that on the Aeroplan website, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to pool your points for gift cards.

    • Phil B on October 1, 2020 at 6:46 PM

      Brother in law Joe joins with 100,000 points. Sister Jane joins with 150,000 and I have 500,000 points. Over the next five years we use up 600,000 points. Over those 5 years Joe earns 1000 points, Jane earns 10,000 points and I earn 100,000 points. If the group dissolves, how are the remaining points distributed?

      • Barry Choi on October 2, 2020 at 6:26 AM

        Phil,

        Everything is based on the percentage you bring in. Overall, everyone has brought in the following

        Joe – 101,000 = = 11%
        Jane – 160,000 = 19%
        You – 600,000 = 70%

        The 500,000 points used are also based on that percentage so it would cost everyone the following

        Joe – 55,000
        Jane – 95,000
        You – 350,000

        The remaining balance for everyone would be

        Joe – 46,000
        Jane – 65,000
        You – 250,000

        That’s what each person would leave with.

        • Phil on October 2, 2020 at 12:20 PM

          Barry.

          Thanks for the info. Just to confirm. Points earned after creating the group is NOT shared with the other members if they leave the group. In the previous example, the 100,000 I earned stays with me?

          • Barry Choi on October 2, 2020 at 3:24 PM

            Phil,

            Yes, minus the points used based on your percentage of points in.



  3. AR on October 2, 2020 at 1:14 PM

    SO if we have 4 accounts in the family right now, we need to create a new account and add the group members …am I right?

  4. Richard on October 9, 2020 at 4:55 PM

    as we need activity within a 12 month period or we loose our points. What happens if only one member has activity and the others do not, do they loose their points? Or is one activity in the group enough?

    • Barry Choi on October 9, 2020 at 5:49 PM

      Hi Richard,

      Aeroplan miles/points now expire after 18 months of inactivity.

      With family sharing plans, if a redemption is made, the calendar would reset each time since points are taken from the pool.

      I’m not 100% sure (I’m emailing Aeroplan for clarification), but I don’t think the calendar resets for people who are in the plan and there is no account activity.

      If a redemption is made, then for sure the calendar would reset.

      That said, an easy way to reset the calendar is to simply use the Aeroplan estore to buy something or to donate some points.

      • James shang on October 27, 2021 at 1:28 PM

        Thanks Barry for the info. I was wondering were you able to confirm the expiration date ( with 18 month inactive)? Say if one member from family share acount made a redemption, the all the member’s calendar get reset? Thanks

        • Barry Choi on October 27, 2021 at 2:29 PM

          Hey James,

          I’m going right to the source to double check.

  5. Joan Ethier on October 31, 2020 at 10:33 AM

    How do I sign up for Family Sharing? Can’t find it on Aeroplan’s website.

    • Barry Choi on October 31, 2020 at 7:06 PM

      Hi Joan,

      It’s part of the new Aeroplan that launches on November 8th. That said, I don’t recall if it’ll be available right at launch.

      • Joan Ethier on October 31, 2020 at 11:14 PM

        That explains why I couldn’t find it! Thanks.

  6. michael on July 20, 2022 at 5:58 PM

    Can you use the family sharing for Eupgrades?

    • Barry Choi on July 20, 2022 at 6:56 PM

      No Eupgrades only apply to you and a single guest on the same reservation.

  7. Afzal R on September 30, 2022 at 7:38 AM

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks for this valuable info.
    I have already spent 45 min on the aeroplan website trying to create family sharing, WITHOUT SUCCESS.
    Could you please give us a step-by-step tutorial on how to setup family sharing?
    Many thanks.

    • Barry Choi on September 30, 2022 at 9:06 AM

      Afzal,

      Go to Aeroplan.com
      Go to “My Aeroplan”
      Go to the Family Sharing tab
      Click add new member
      Input their name and Aeroplan number
      That user will then need to confirm, by logining into their Aeroplan account.

  8. Esther on October 1, 2022 at 2:33 PM

    I want to share some of my points with my niece. It will be a one time gift. How do I do this?

    • Barry Choi on October 1, 2022 at 2:34 PM

      Esther,

      Aeroplan charges you a fee to gift points. You’re better off just booking her a flight from your account with your points.

  9. Jay on November 9, 2022 at 9:18 AM

    Barry
    Many questions answered
    One further please
    If one of the members in the family pool, passes away and they have x points in the pool, do, the point stay intact ? For the others to use
    Thanks
    Jay

    • Barry Choi on November 9, 2022 at 1:30 PM

      Jay,

      In theory yes. Also, when someone passes away, most loyalty programs will allow you to transfer their points to a beneficiary. You just need to provide proof of death.

    • Mark on November 16, 2022 at 11:27 AM

      If you start family sharing does all the points gotta be within calendar year to go towards becoming 50k gold status as this would be reason for me doing it now?

      • Barry Choi on November 16, 2022 at 11:31 AM

        Mark,

        Status is still earned on an individual basis. You can’t use family sharing to reach status quicker.

  10. Michael on December 14, 2022 at 9:00 AM

    what if my wife got 100000 point and I only have 1000 points, We want to use 100000 points in total. How would the points be used ?

    • Barry Choi on December 14, 2022 at 9:06 AM

      Michael,

      It’s based by percentage.

      In total, your wife has 99.01% of the points, and you have 0.99%

      When you make a redemption, the split would be based on those numbers

  11. Michael on December 14, 2022 at 12:23 PM

    Was this meant in the 100000 points redemption, taking 90000 points from my wife and 1000 points of my, right?

    • Barry Choi on December 14, 2022 at 1:05 PM

      it would take 99,000 from your wife and 1,000 from you.

      • Peter on December 18, 2022 at 5:08 PM

        I am a 100,000 points away from a Million miles and 50K reward level in perpetuity. Will we moving to the family plan allow me to use the points my family have to get me to the Million mile reward will all of us qualify for the 50K reward?

        • Barry Choi on December 18, 2022 at 5:11 PM

          Peter,

          No, status and rewards are still earned on an individual level. While you can share some benefits, your family members wouldn’t qualify for 50K rewards.

  12. Peter on December 18, 2022 at 5:14 PM

    Thanks Barry, would it help me qualify?

    • Barry Choi on December 18, 2022 at 5:15 PM

      Peter,

      No, All status and rewards are done on an individual level. Adding family members to your plan would not speed anything up.

  13. Brad on February 12, 2023 at 8:38 AM

    Would this family work if I have a personal card and business card? Can I add those together to combine points?

    • Barry Choi on February 12, 2023 at 3:49 PM

      Hey Brad,

      Family plan would be irrelevant in your case sine presumably, your personal card and business cards would be linked to your individual Aeroplan number.

  14. Anthony Ventura on February 24, 2023 at 4:48 PM

    I couldn’t find anything on the Aeroplan Family Sharing website about status benefits or how to ” borrow status (50K or above status only) from another person in the group even when they’re not travelling together.” I will be 50K after 1 more sqd flight and would love to be able to share the 50K status when my daughter travels back and forth from college on her own. Any details on how this is done?

    • Barry Choi on February 24, 2023 at 9:04 PM

      Hey Anthony,

      This article wasn’t updated, so the “borrow status” is no longer accurate. I’ve deleted the reference from the post.

      • Anthony Ventura on February 26, 2023 at 10:39 AM

        Thanks Barry, It looks like the only benefit of the family plan is pooled points and aeroplan cost reduced redemptions based on the status of one member. If you are primarily a credit card points collector with a family with no revenue points as mine is, there’s no real benefit to the plan if you can’t share status. I buy tickets for my family using my 50K reduced cost redemptions and my wife’s credit card gives her priority boarding and luggage benefits when I’m not traveling with her. I’d be better off giving my daughter a credit card that gives her the same priority boarding and luggage benefits when traveling back and forth to college than inviting her into a family plan.

        • Barry Choi on February 26, 2023 at 10:48 AM

          Anthony,

          Yes, the value can be minimal for some people. That said, since you can pool your points with your wife and daughter, that would allow your daughter to access your points to fly home more often. Of course, you could just book a ticket for her, but at least you’re able to use her points to.

          I do agree that it probably makes sense to just have her sign up for the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card (assuming she qualifies). If she has a TD All-inclusive account, the annual fee is waived.

  15. David Ferenz on March 4, 2023 at 7:06 PM

    As a 75K (2 Million Miler), my points will never expire. Does this also apply to any pooled points?

    • Barry Choi on March 4, 2023 at 8:23 PM

      David,

      No, each individual account still needs activity within an 18-month period for the points not to expire.

Leave a Comment





Get a FREE copy of Travel Hacking for Lazy People

Subscribe now to get your FREE eBook and learn how to travel in luxury for less