The Aeroplan Star Challenge: Earn 16,500 Aeroplan Miles Basically Free

The focus of this site is mostly on learning repeatable strategies that can save you tons of money in the long term. It isn’t about the latest deal that crops up and goes away just as quickly, as there are lot of other sites that cover those deals. However, when a deal comes along that essentially gives you hundreds of dollars in free money, it’s hard to ignore and I just have to write a post about it. This is one of those deals.

Aeroplan has launched a new promotion for the month of May (May 1st to May 28th 2012) called “The Aeroplan Star Challenge” where they are giving you a chance to earn up to 16,500 miles for shopping at their partners. Normally there are big catches with these types of promotions in that you need to shop at 5-10 different partners, only get 1 credit for shopping at the same partner multiple times, have to spend a minimum of $20 at each partner to qualify, and the list of terms and conditions goes on and on.

Not the case for this promotion! I have read through the entire terms and conditions myself and it has been confirmed by an Aeroplan employee as well that you can shop at the same partner as many times as you want and still get credit and there is no minimum purchase other than you have to buy enough to earn 1 aeroplan mile in a transaction to qualify.

How The Promotion Works

You earn “stars” for every qualifying transaction you make at a partner. The number of stars you earn per transaction ranges depending on which partner you shop at, but the minimum you can earn per transaction is 2 stars. To qualify for the maximum bonus of 16,500 aeroplan miles you need to earn 70 stars. That means you need to do 35 transactions at the lowest star rate to reach this goal and get the bonus.

Here’s the good news: one of the qualifying partners is Esso and everybody needs gas! To earn 1 aeroplan mile at Esso you need to spend $3 on gas, which makes it a qualifying transaction. Therefore you can stand at the pump and repeatedly swipe your credit cards and debit cards along with your aeroplan card and fill up on $60 worth of gas $3 at a time. In just one fill up you would already have done 20 transactions, which is 40 stars. Fill up twice in a month and you have met your quota!

So that only leaves the question of how much are 16,500 Aeroplan miles worth? Well, if you were to buy them from Aeroplan directly they would cost you 3 cents each meaning that 16,500 miles would cost $495. Alternately, consider that 25,000 miles buys you a ticket anywhere in North America. I value such a ticket at roughly $700 before taxes if you choose an expensive route so that translates into $462 of value doing some simple math.


So basically, spend $95 on something you need anyway and earn $462 worth of something you may or may not need – travel. Most people need to fly eventually though so you might as well take advantage of it!

Some Quick Pointers

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SavingMentor's picture

A couple of questions I received Facebook:

1) Do you need to swipe your Aeroplan card at Esso if you are using your Aeroplan Visa:

Answer: Yes

2) When will the 16,500 rewards be credited.

Answer: 6 to 8 weeks after the promotion ends on May 28th.

May 03, 2012 @ 1:04 pm
young's picture

Weird I thought I commented :)

Great post- I'll update you if I try this :)

May 04, 2012 @ 3:18 am
SavingMentor's picture

@Canada Coupons

It really depends. In terms of flight rewards, I definitely prefer Aeroplan to Air Miles because the accrual rate for Air Miles is usually so slow and the redemption rate is so high. You also can't maximize your value by choosing expensive routes because longer routes typically cost more points with Air Miles.

I also find there are a lot more ways to earn large lump sum bonuses with Aeroplan like this one. The credit card and banking sign up bonuses are much larger and occasional promotions like this one give you almost enough to fly right away. With Air Miles, it is rare to see any kind of promotion or bonus that will give you more than 500 points without spending a fortune.


Keep me informed - I want to hear reports back from people who get the bonus in a couple of months and what extra tips or strategies you tried or are going to try!

May 04, 2012 @ 12:48 pm
Steve @ Grocery Alerts's picture

This is a great idea!

Not a big fan for air redemption but they have nice gift cards.

Another idea is Rexall at $1 transactions (earn 2 stars per transaction).

May 08, 2012 @ 4:04 pm
young's picture

LOL!! I got my first gas station attendant who came up to me flustered and said:

"Stop, stop! Why are you doing the $3 transactions? Why is everyone doing this now?"

May 11, 2012 @ 12:49 pm
SavingMentor's picture


Yes, getting gift cards is another good choice for those people who don't travel. The value won't be anywhere near as good but you should be able to get around $100 or so for that amount of points - just guessing I didn't check.


Haha, I bet you the Esso gas stations are going nuts nation-wide. How many transactions have you managed to pull off so far? Any trouble with the bank or your credit card company triggering a fraud alert?

May 11, 2012 @ 5:24 pm
young's picture


Yes I agree! Haha, I've managed to pull off 16! This is getting sort of out of hand.. it's almost like I'm a rebellious teenager again when I keep on putting in $3 transactions x 3 at the same pump. And yes, I've triggered fraud alert and they keep on frantically calling me.

I better get the points darnit! lol.

How many have you pulled off?

May 12, 2012 @ 3:48 am
SavingMentor's picture

I've been really tied up doing other things this past week, but I'm going to start my transactions later this coming week. Hopefully I won't be too late and I'll be able to pull them off. I sure hope we get the points too after all this effort! It'll be a great payoff though :)

May 12, 2012 @ 6:57 pm
SavingMentor's picture

Just an update to everyone. Apparently there is an even easier way to do this that I discovered on RedFlagDeals. All you have to do is use to convert Esso Extra points to Aeroplan miles. You can convert 5 esso extra points to 1 Aeroplan mile and this counts as a transaction. Doing so gives you 3 stars. Repeat this 24 times and you will get 72 stars, which is enough to earn the 16,500 mile bonus.

You never even have to leave your computer!

Of course you need active Esso Extra, Aeroplan, and accounts to make this work. Setting up a and Esso Extra account is pretty easy to do. I already have all 3, so I'm definitely going to do it this way instead of spending so much time pumping gas!

Update: Apparently caught on and now have instituted high minimum point conversion limits on any rewards program that converts to Aeroplan to stop people from doing small transactions so it's looking like Esso is the best way again.

May 16, 2012 @ 4:47 pm
young's picture


Got my email for the 70 stars. It was hard undignified work but so worth it lol.

Thank you for the heads up!

May 25, 2012 @ 10:53 pm
SavingMentor's picture

That's awesome Young, I just got my email as well for my account. Still have a few more transactions to do for my wife's account. I thought I had finished them up tonight but I did a recount and I'm still a couple short!

Definitely worth it, I agree. I had an attendant come out and talk to me at Esso just like you too. I told him what I was doing and he asked me to cut back my transactions because head office breathes down their necks when multiple small transactions are done repeatedly like that. Don't know if he was telling me the truth or not. I had all my defenses line up to counter his arguments but that one caught me by surprise. Good thing my tank was full so I was done anyway :)

May 26, 2012 @ 10:11 pm
young's picture

yeah the guy from Esso said the same thing for me too! He said Head office/ CC companies call every night and it's annoying.

Thank you to all the patient Esso attendants for making our 16,500 points possible!

May 26, 2012 @ 11:42 pm
HollyR's picture

The rules are pretty straightforward, thanks for the info. I have been meaning to join the contest myself but was a bit apprehensive on the rules.

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June 13, 2012 @ 11:21 pm
SavingMentor's picture

Ya, it was a great contest Holly! It was refreshing for everything to be so straightforward and easy to do for a change. Unfortunately, this particular contest is now over but hopefully they will continue to run similar ones in the near future!

June 15, 2012 @ 4:48 am
SavingMentor's picture

The 16,500 points just posted for both of my Aeroplan accounts - did yours?

June 20, 2012 @ 12:02 am
sherri 's picture
for got to post here and say thanks last year! My son got two free one way tickets to Toronto from Vancouver! (taxes only) Love your deals!
December 14, 2013 @ 1:55 am

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