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The changes coming to Aeroplan have been announced and one feature I’m very excited about is family sharing. Under the old Aeroplan, you couldn’t transfer points to another person without paying fees. Plus, you could only do it up to 5 times a year. Not that anyone did it since the fees were so high.

This was especially annoying since there are many families who earn Aeroplan points but they may not have enough points individually to make a redemption. If they pooled their points, one of them could travel for less. Again, due to the harsh rules, it wasn’t beneficial to transfer your points so most people just waited years until they had enough points to make a redemption.

The new Aeroplan Family Sharing Groups solves this problem and even gives you additional benefits that can be shared within your members. Here’s how Aeroplan Family Sharing works.

How Aeroplan family sharing works

First off, the Aeroplan Family Sharing allows you to create groups with up to 8 members total. Even though it’s called family sharing, you can add whoever you want. It can be a spouse, sibling, friend, or even a 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 just give you different options just so you can see how everyone ties together. It’s not like one relationship status would give you different benefits over the other.

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 within the group and can be used right away.

Why create an Aeroplan family sharing group?

If it isn’t obvious by now, joining an Aeroplan Family Sharing group is advantageous since you can pool your points and make a redemption. Every person who flies on Air Canada can have an Aeroplan number. You also now earn points on every type of ticket which is fare based Includes carrier-imposed surcharges, but excluding taxes and fees.

Let’s say you’re a family of four and you’re flying from Toronto to Vancouver, and each ticket costs $450 (minus taxes and fees). That means each person would earn 900 Aeroplan points. Individually, those points aren’t worth much, but when you combine them, you’ll have 3,600 points which are enough for a small redemption.

Now let’s think big picture. Most people joining a group aren’t coming it with zero points, so you could easily have a group of 6 coming in with a 120,000, 70,000, 55,000, 30,000, 20,000, and 15,000 points respectively. That adds up to 310,000 points total which is a fair amount and can get you some sweet redemptions?

Some people might be wondering why they would want to pool their points, but it should be obvious. If you’re travelling as a family, then you want to have your points combined so you can easily make redemptions. In the old Aeroplan, you couldn’t transfer your points without high fees even if you were related to each other. Now families can manage their points together.

Share your benefits as a family

In many situations, one family member may have airline status benefits while others wouldn’t. This was often a pain in the butt for families travelling together as the benefits wouldn’t extend to other members. High tier members obviously hated this as it kind of cheapened their status, so Aeroplan has addressed this.

If one member within the group has status, those benefits can be shared when travelling together. Group members can also borrow status (50K or above status only) from another person in the group even when they’re not travelling together.

Another shared benefit is the preferred rates offered by having an Aeroplan credit card. As long as one member has a co-branded credit card, everyone would get better pricing. 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. Be sure to read your user guide for the full details of your benefits.

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 give you a better understanding of how points are used, I’ll use the above group of 6 example from above. This is how their points would breakdown.

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

Now let’s say the father of the group 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 that are taken from individuals isn’t set on the amount they come in with. You can still technically earn more points individually, so the actual percentage you have in would constantly change.

The percentage-based 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. 

Not every member can in the group can redeem Aeroplan points. 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.

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.

Aeroplan Family Sharing Explained
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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

14 Comments

  1. Avatar 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.

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

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

    • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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?

      • Avatar 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.

        • Avatar 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?

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

            Phil,

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



  3. Avatar 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. Avatar 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?

    • Avatar 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.

  5. Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

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

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

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