Aeroplan Family Sharing Explained

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Aeroplan Family Sharing is a new feature from the new Aeroplan program that was introduced when they relaunched in 2021. Under the old Aeroplan, you couldn’t transfer points between Aeroplan members without paying fees. Plus, you could only do it up to 5 times a year. Not that anyone did it since the cost was so high.

This was especially annoying since there are many families who earn Aeroplan points but they may not have enough points in their individual Aeroplan accounts 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 solve this problem as you can now pool your points. 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 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 into an Aeroplan family sharing pool 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. To simply put it, Aeroplan is one of the best loyalty programs for flight rewards in the world. Every person who flies on Air Canada can get an Aeroplan number. Tickers purchase for Air Canada flights or Star Alliance partners, you can earn points on the base fare of your ticket.

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). Depending on the fare class, you would each earn points. Individually, the points aren’t worth much. However, under the Aeroplan Family Sharing group, you’re getting a combined pool of points. 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 points total under the family account, which is a fair amount and allows you to instantly get a sweet redemption.

Some people might be wondering why they would want to create a family sharing account, 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.

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

Share your benefits as a family

In many situations, one family member may have Aeroplan elite status benefits while others wouldn’t. This was often a pain for families travelling together as the benefits wouldn’t extend to other members. A high-tier elite status member would obviously hate this as it kind of cheapened their status and airline experience, 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 (such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege 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. I personally 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.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

  • $599 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 points when spending $6,000 within 3 months
  • Earn 5,000 points per month when spending $1,000 each month for 6 months
  • 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. By having this card, I’ve been able to save 5% – 10% in points per Aeroplan reservation.

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 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 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 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 in the group would 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, and you can also book a stopover with your redemption if you so 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 it’s actually really easy to earn and use some points. 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. When one person makes a redemption, points are taken from every member’s account. That counts as account activity for everyone, so your expiration date would instantly reset.

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

Aeroplan Family Sharing Explained

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

26 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.

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