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 Member||Points in||Percentage|
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).
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.