Air Canada Buddy Pass Explained

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A new perk that has just been introduced by Aeroplan is the Air Canada Buddy Pass, which is one of the best ways to save on travel. To simply put it, with an Air Canada Buddy Pass, you can save hundreds of dollars on your flight at any time.

What really makes the Buddy Pass appealing is the fact that it’s easy to get one and there are no blackout dates at all. From how to get multiple Buddy Passes to how much it’ll cost, here’s everything you need to know about the Air Canada Buddy Pass.

What is the Air Canada Buddy Pass?

The Air Canada Buddy Pass is a new benefit that can be obtained if you have an Aeroplan credit card. With the Buddy Pass, the first passenger pays full fare Economy and the second passenger just pays taxes and third-party charges (the base fare is $0). It can not be used if you’re redeeming a flight with your Aeroplan points. Alternatively, it can be converted to 30,000 Aeroplan points (until November 30, 2021) if you call customer service.

The ticket itself is valid for round-trip Economy Class seats on Air Canada flights to anywhere in North America. Under Aeroplan, North American includes Hawaii and Mexico, so there’s a lot of potential value here.

Since the Buddy Pass has no blackout dates, you can use it during peak seasons such as the summer and Christmas. This is obviously beneficial since flights are more expensive at those times.

Although the Buddy Pass is only good for Economy Class, if you have Aeroplan Elite Status, you can use your e-upgrade credits or rely on your standard benefits that come with your tier to get into the higher cabins.

You do not earn any Aeroplan points or earnings through the use of the Buddy Pass. Again, the Buddy Pass only applies to Air Canada flights. You can’t use it on Air Canada Vacations packages or with any of Air Canada’s partners.

The Air Canada Buddy Pass is only available to new applicants. Current cardholders can not earn one unless they apply for a new Aeroplan credit card that offers the Buddy Pass.

How much does the Air Canada Buddy Pass cost?

Using the actual Buddy Pass will cost you nothing beyond any taxes and third-party fees. Under the new Aeroplan, Air Canada has eliminated carrier surcharges, so third-party fees would only be things such as airport fees or local fees.

Unlike WestJet’s companion voucher where you pay a small fee depending on where you’re flying, the Air Canada Buddy Pass has no additional fees.

That said, obtaining an Air Canada Buddy Pass is not technically free. You get it when you meet the minimum spend requirement with co-branded credit cards. So you do need to spend money to get the Buddy Pass, but that spending can be on anything.

How to get an Air Canada Buddy Pass

Right now, the Air Canada Buddy Pass is given as part of the welcome bonus with select Aeroplan credit cards. The Buddy Pass is just part of the welcome bonus as the cards also give you some additional Aeroplan points.

To earn the Buddy Pass, you need to meet the minimum spend requirement ($1,000 – $1,500) within 90 days of account opening with one of the following cards:

That’s a lot of Aeroplan credit cards where you can earn an Air Canada Buddy Pass. Once you’ve reached the minimum spend requirement, the Buddy Pass will be deposited into your account shortly thereafter. You would then be able to use your Buddy Pass when searching for flights on or through the Air Canada App.

Which card you choose is really a personal decision. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, and American Express Aeroplan Card are great mid-tier cards. The welcome bonus is decent and you get free checked bags. That said, if you fly Air Canada frequently, you may want to consider the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card for the additional benefits.

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

  • $599 annual fee
  • Up to 90,000 Aeroplan points welcome offer
  • 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

Convert your Buddy Pass to 30,000 Aeroplan points

Although it’s not listed as a feature on the website, Air Canada now allows you to convert your Buddy Pass to 30,000 Aeroplan points if you call customer service (until November 30, 2021). From what I understand, this is a limited-time feature, but currently, there is no date set for the option to end.

While it may not sound like a big deal or worth it, but 30,000 Aeroplan points can easily have a value of 1.5 – 2 cents per point or $450 – $600. If you save your points for business class flights, you could get double that value.

Even on the low end of value, let’s say $450, that’s still and incredible value. There are only a few locations that you can fly to where the base fare would be worth more than $450 such as Toronto to Hawaii or say Vancouver to Cancun. In other words, converting your Buddy Pass to Aeroplan points is usually worth it, but it really depends on where you’re flying to.

Here’s another way to look at it. When Aeroplan launched their new credit cards, most of the welcome bonuses were 10,000 points + a Buddy Pass. The offers have now been slightly improved to 20,000 points + a Buddy Pass. That means the current offer is actually 50,000 Aeroplan points if you convert your Aeroplan points which is an incredible deal. Especially since the Infinite line of cards waive the annual fee for the first year and have a relatively low minimum spend requirement of $1,000 to get your full bonus.

Can you get more than one Air Canada Buddy Pass?

One thing to note is that the Aeroplan Buddy Pass is a one time deal per card. It is not an annual benefit. Couples who travel together can each get a Buddy Pass if they each apply for a qualifying credit card. This can be quite useful if you happen to be a family of 4.

It’s also noting the terms and conditions about the Buddy Pass state the following:

“This one-time bonus Buddy Pass offer is only available to eligible Aeroplan Cardmembers. You will not be eligible for the Buddy Pass if you have previously opened an Aeroplan credit or charge card of the same type, regardless of the credit or charge card issuer and have received the Welcome Bonus offer of a bonus Buddy Pass in the last 12 months”

So you can only get one Buddy Pass per person in each 12 month period. That said, this once per 12 months rule only applies to the type of card. For example, if you got the following three cards, you could end up with three Buddy Passes in a year.

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite (core)
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business (small business)
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege (premium)

As you can see, there are different classifications for each card with Aeroplan. By getting a core, small business, and premium card, you can get three different passes. Getting that many passes may not be necessary for many people, but think about it from a point perspective. You can convert the pass into 30,000 Aeroplan points. That means every welcome bonus is worth at least 30,000 points more. If you applied for all three of the cards mentioned and converted your Buddy Pass to points, you’d have 185,000 Aeroplan points. The annual fees would only cost you $599 for the first year.

When does the Air Canada Buddy Pass expire?

You get one year from the time your Buddy Pass is deposited into your account before it expires. That said, you can use your Buddy Pass on dates that extend past your expiration date (up to one year), you just need to book your ticket before your expiry date.

For example, let’s say you obtain your Buddy Pass on December 17, 2020. The pass would expire on December 16, 2021. You could then book a trip to Mexico with travel dates in 2022 up to December 16, 2022, and you’d still be able to use your Buddy Pass as long as you booked by December 16, 2021.

How much can you save with the Air Canada Buddy Pass?

Although individual and luxury travellers may prefer more points over a Buddy Pass, there’s no denying how valuable the Air Canada Buddy Pass can be. Let’s take a look at a few different routes to see how much you could save.

Toronto to Hawaii (Dec. 20 – 27)

Air Canada Buddy Pass Toronto to Maui

If you were to fly from Toronto to Maui, the total cost would be $737.58. If you had a Buddy Pass, the second ticket would only cost you $89.59 since that’s what the taxes, fees and charges come out to. In total, for two people, you’d pay $827.17. That’s a savings of $647.99! If you had two passes, the savings increases to $1,295.98

Vancouver to Toronto (Jul. 17 – 24)

Air Canada Buddy Pass Vancouver to Toronto

Here we have a popular route for families that typically travel during the summer. The cost of a single ticket between Vancouver and Toronto is $850.66, which is pretty crazy since you’re just flying across Canada. However, with a Buddy Pass, two tickets would cost you $957.32. That’s much more reasonable and you’d save $744. All of a sudden summer journey doesn’t seem so bad.

Toronto to Los Cabos (Feb. 14 – 21)

Air Canada Buddy Pass Los Cabos

Need a break from the winter? Looking for a romantic vacation with your loved one? Well, two direct flights to Los Cabos, Mexico from Toronto would only cost you $1,021.62. That would save you $703.

Victoria to Orlando (Aug. 8 – 15)

Air Canada Buddy Pass Victoria to Orland

Now imagine a family of 4 in Victoria where their dream vacation is Disney World in Orlando. A standard fare is $1179.29 for the dates chosen which is absolutely bonkers. However, with the Buddy Pass, two tickets will only run you $1,300.59. If you had two Buddy Passes, you’d pay $2,601.18, which is a savings of $2,115.98. 

How the Air Canada Buddy Pass compares

Clearly, the Air Canada Buddy Pass was inspired by the WestJet companion voucher. Which one is better is a matter of opinion, but I’ll try to look at things objectively. First off, if you fly WestJet on a regular basis, then the WestJet companion voucher is probably better for you. This is especially true since you get one annually with the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. For those who prefer Air Canada, the Buddy Pass is pretty good too, but it’s not as easy to get one compared to WestJet.

Now let’s look at cost and destinations for a second to try and compare things.

  • $0 for anywhere within North America including Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean – Buddy Pass
  • $119 for round-trip travel in Canada and the continental U.S. – WestJet companion voucher
  • $399 for round-trip travel to/from the rest of the WestJet network

At face value, the Aeroplan Buddy Pass is better, but you can’t use it for international travel. As mentioned, getting an annual Buddy Pass also requires more work compared to WestJet. It’s also worth noting that WestJet has experimented with a $0 companion voucher to destinations within North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes permanent since WestJet needs to remain competitive.

In the end, you should just look at what benefits you the most and what current promotions are available. Don’t forget, you can also get both.

Final thoughts

It’s really not that hard to see how valuable the Air Canada Buddy Pass can be. Individual travellers and people who prefer to fly premium or business won’t get much value here, but there’s no denying how much you can save. All you need to do is plan a little bit and apply for the right credit cards, and you can travel for less.

Air Canada Buddy Pass 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


  1. Hailey on November 8, 2020 at 12:44 PM

    You think 1179 to Orlando is crazy, how about 770 from Vancouver to Kitimat, both in British Columbia

    • Barry Choi on November 8, 2020 at 12:58 PM


      That’s bonkers.

    • ilm quddus saint laurent on November 9, 2020 at 2:12 AM

      it is more expensive travelling inside canada then travelling international one way from victoria is more expensive then a try in Thailand or Heathrow u.k

  2. PETER LEE on November 8, 2020 at 3:09 PM

    How about am currently an Aeroplan Credit Card member of TD Bank ? Would I be able to
    get the Air Canada Buddy Pass with the renewal next year. Alternatively, as I have not received any Buddy Pass from my current TD Bank Aeroplan Credit Card before, would I be able to secure
    the Buddy Pass if I apply for a CIBC Aeroplan Infinite Card ?

    • Barry Choi on November 8, 2020 at 3:13 PM

      Hi Peter,

      You wouldn’t get the Biddy Pass when your card renews, but you would get it if you applied for a new Aeroplan credit card that comes with one. So yes, getting the CIBC Aeroplan Infinite Card at any time would work.

  3. Peter So on April 8, 2021 at 9:52 PM

    Do we need to spend additional $1000-1500 in 90days for the buddy pass, on top of $1000 for the 20000 aeroplan points, or just $1000 for both perks?

    • Barry Choi on April 9, 2021 at 5:38 AM


      When you spend $1,000, you get both the extra 10,000 points and the Buddy Pass.

  4. Gary on April 12, 2021 at 7:10 PM

    Hi Barry:

    I applied and got approved for the TD Aeroplan card in February, 2021. I spent $1,000+ in my first month and received 20,000 bonus Aeroplan points in March 16, 2021, but not the Buddy Pass.

    Do you know how long before I can see my Buddy Pass in my Aeroplan Account?


    • Gary on April 12, 2021 at 7:14 PM

      To add : I have never applied for this TD Aeroplan Visa card before. So I should qualify for the Buddy Pass.

      • Barry Choi on April 12, 2021 at 7:19 PM

        Hi Gary,

        There have been multiple reports of the Buddy Pass not showing up in accounts for 3-4 months so I suspect that’s what’s happening with you.

        • Gary on April 12, 2021 at 7:42 PM

          Oh? I thought the Buddy Pass supposed to show up at the same time as the bonus Aeroplan points, I guess not. Thanks for letting me know.

          • Barry Choi on April 12, 2021 at 7:58 PM

            Unfortunately not. Many people have had to wait quite some time for it to show up.

  5. Dave Keating on May 9, 2021 at 3:46 PM

    Where on the Air Canada site can I see if my buddy pass has been added to my account?

    • Barry Choi on May 9, 2021 at 4:53 PM


      It’s in the benefits tab of your Aeroplan account.

  6. Afi on July 2, 2021 at 5:11 PM

    I know we can upgrade the class on the buddy pass to business if we use the eUpgrades, but as someone who does not have the elite status (yet!) would I be able to just pay the upgrade to business for the buddy pass ticket? Or are upgrades only possible with the status?

    • Barry Choi on July 3, 2021 at 6:24 AM

      Hi Afi,

      You can’t pay to upgrade your Buddy Pass.

  7. David on September 19, 2021 at 11:02 PM

    I got a td aeroplan infinite in November and got a buddypass approximately 3 months later. If I apply for CIBC aeroplan infinite in December, am I qualified for another buddypass since it has been more than 12months? My buddypass from TD is already redeemed.

    • Barry Choi on September 20, 2021 at 6:31 AM

      Hi David,

      Yes, you should qualify for one again.

  8. Queenie on October 1, 2021 at 1:03 AM

    You mentioned we have to spend $1,000 or more, is it a statement period or a transaction has to be more than $1,000?

    • Barry Choi on October 1, 2021 at 9:33 AM

      Hey Queenie,

      The minimum spend requirement to get a Buddy Pass is cumulative so it doesn’t have to be a single purchase.

  9. Mary on October 30, 2021 at 12:29 PM

    after calling aeroplan to convert the buddy pass to 30,000 points, how long should it take to post the points?
    There are two of us who converted at the same time with the same agent, and one was posted on Oct 18th and the other is still waiting for it to be posted

    • Barry Choi on October 30, 2021 at 1:27 PM

      Hey Mary,

      It’s kind of all over the place. Mine took like 6 weeks to convert.

  10. AdV on November 9, 2021 at 5:37 PM

    Can you use the buddy pass on a round trip that involves different cities but booked together? Say Edmonton to LaGuardia and then return Newark to Victoria. All booked on the same ticket.

    • Barry Choi on November 9, 2021 at 6:01 PM


      I don’t believe that’s possible.

  11. Jamie on November 16, 2021 at 12:20 PM

    Am I correct in my understanding that if I already received a buddy pass for a VISA product this calendar year that should I apply for an American Express product I would not be eligible for the buddy pass? I the 12 month calculation ongoing or simply per calendar year?

    • Barry Choi on November 16, 2021 at 12:36 PM

      Hi Jamie,

      The 12 month window is ongoing, not per calendar year.

  12. Gerrard on January 13, 2022 at 6:09 PM

    Hey Dave,
    Has anyone had success with calling AP and getting the Buddy Pass to show up sooner? Waiting for weeks-months is frustrating!

    • Barry Choi on January 13, 2022 at 6:39 PM


      Apparently, it’s up to the credit card provider to get it processed. It took like 8 weeks for TD to post mine.

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