But one question remains...which one is better?
Which will earn you more rewards per dollar spent, give you the best options for redemption, and provide the best travel credit cards to get you there?
It's better to put all your time and money into one program instead of splitting it between two…
So which should you choose?
Air Miles vs. Aeroplan earn rates
|Earning method||Air Miles||Aeroplan|
|Shopping at partners (regular rate)||1 per $20||1 per $1|
|Credit card (best option)||1 per $10||Up to 3 per $1|
|Earn rate while flying||x||0-150% of actual miles flown|
|Bank option||1 per $30||x|
On the surface, this may seem like a clear win for Aeroplan, but there are several factors you'll want to consider. The first is how much each point is worth – which we'll discuss in the redemption section.
But something else to consider is the fantastic deals, coupons, and bonus days that Air Miles offers. Aeroplan's bonus offers can't compare to the sheer amount of options Air Miles gives its users to earn more than the regular rate.
Related: Which AIR MILES Credit Card Is Best?
These offers include:
- multiplier days,
- product bonuses,
- bonus coupons, and
- big promotions.
That being said, Aeroplan's ability to earn on travel can get you fantastic value that Air Miles simply can't match.
Here are the earn rates for Aeroplan travel:
|Ticket class||Percent earned|
|Economy Basic (Canada, U.S.)||0%|
Economy Basic (International)
|Standard (U.S., Sun, International)||50%|
|Flex (All regions)||100%|
|Comfort (Canada, U.S., Sun)||115%|
|Latitude (All regions)
Premium Economy (All regions)
|Business class (All regions)||150%|
So as a travel rewards program, Aeroplan outshines Air Miles.
Best Aeroplan credit card vs. best Air Miles credit card
Credit cards are some of the best ways to earn extra points without being restricted to specific partners.
Let's take a look at your best options for each program and how they compare to each other.
|BMO Air Miles World Elite||American Express Gold Rewards|
|First year free?||Yes||No|
|Welcome bonus||3,000 miles (worth $606*)||25,000 points (worth $625*)|
|Earn rate||1 per $10 on all purchases||2 per $1 on gas, grocery, drugstore, travel
+1 point on americanexpress.ca/travel
|Examples of perks||Mastercard Airport Experiences
2 complimentary lounge passes
|Amex Front of the Line
The Hotel Collection
Hertz Gold membership
|Unique benefits||15% off required miles for flight redemption
1 companion voucher
|Flexible transfer to Aeroplan & Avios at a 1:1 ratio|
|Income requirements||$80,000 personal
|CCG Awards||Best Air Miles Credit Card 2019
Best Mastercard 2019
|Best Aeroplan Credit Card 2019
Best Gas Credit Card 2019
*Rewards value was calculated assuming a reasonable point value.
Both cards definitely have their benefits. The BMO has a lower annual fee plus first year free, 4 more insurance types, and a straightforward earn rate.
But on the other hand, the American Express Aeroplan card has better annual rewards and more flexibility, since you can transfer to many airline and hotel programs, along with Membership Rewards redemptions as well.
Find out more details for both cards here:
Air Miles vs. Aeroplan reward redemption
Figuring out the value of your reward points involves calculating two values:
- the cents per mile (CPM) and
- rate of return.
To get the CPM, you simply divide the cash value of a reward by the number of points required to purchase it. In order to get the CPM for each category, we surveyed several options and took the average.
But this alone isn't a good measure of value. If we just looked at CPM, Air Miles would look way ahead of Aeroplan since each point is worth several times more…But that's because 1 Air Mile is 20x harder to get than a single Aeroplan point on average. I'd hope they'd be worth much more since they cost so much more to get!
That's where rate of return comes in. It's calculated by the following formula:
Amount of points earned * Average CPM = X
X / Money spent = Rate of return
This way, you can see the real value of your miles in relation to how much you have to spend to get them.
Here's how the programs stack up against each other:
|Air Miles point value||AM rate of return||Aeroplan point value||AP rate of return|
|Cash & gift cards||10.5 CPM||0.53%||0.71 CPM||0.71%|
|Flights||17.2 CPM||0.88%||2.5 CPM||2.50%|
|Car rentals||16.2 CPM||0.81%||0.64 CPM||0.64%|
|Hotels||12.3 CPM||0.62%||0.73 CPM||0.73%|
|Vacation packages||11 CPM||0.55%||0.83 CPM||0.83%|
|Merchandise||7.7 CPM||0.39%||0.83 CPM||0.83%|
|Average||13.8 CPM||0.69%||1.04 CPM||1.04%|
Please note: Rate of return was calculated assuming a standard earn rate of 1 Air Mile per $20 and 1 Aeroplan point per $1.
Though Air Miles has a much higher CPM on average, the rate of return for Aeroplan is better in all options except 3 categories – 2 of which it just doesn't offer. Overall, Aeroplan boasts a 0.35% higher return on average and a high score of 2.5% return on flight purchases.
Air Miles vs. Aeroplan flights
But let's look at the flight options in specific since air travel is a major part of both reward programs.
They both offer the option to redeem variable amounts of miles for a flight. Aeroplan calls this Market Fare Flight Rewards and the miles required changes depending on things like:
- time of booking,
- time of travel, and
- conversion of fares into miles.
These flights offer less value on average.
Aeroplan and Air Miles both offer fixed mileage flights, which (as the name suggests) requires the same amount of miles no matter what. Of course, they have limited amounts of seats available so you'll have to grab yours fast – often as soon as they're released.
Your effort will be rewarded with an average value of 2.9 CPM for Aeroplan – compared to the 1.5 CPM average of Market Fare rewards. This value can go up to 3.95 CPM on average when booking on Business/First class.
And for Air Miles, your CPM will go up to 17.2 cents on average – a 25% boost in value.
Related: 5 Best Ways To Redeem Your Air Miles
So which reward program is better?
Aeroplan consistently offers better value throughout their program – giving both a higher earn rate and return.
But with its upcoming changes in 2020, it's hard to know where things will stand in the future.
Do you have a preference between the two reward programs? Which one do you use?
Let us know in the comments below!