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.
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 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 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).
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.