On our recent visit to the zoo, we paid for the day with an Aeroplan gift card which I received from my sister. Since I have more Aeroplan points to use up (I gave up my Aeroplan credit card a while ago) I thought I would go over some possibilities for converting the points to something useful. This is a good exercise if you have a small amount of points and can’t use them on flights.
Some things to know:
- These cards expire after a year so don’t convert any points to gift cards until you are ready to start using them.
- If you aren’t actively accumulating points then you need to do a purchase once a year using your aeroplan card to keep them active. I just go to Esso, fill up the car and swipe the aeroplan card once a year – that’s it.
- You don’t need to convert all your points into one card – you can spread your points into different cards and you don’t have to use up all your points at once.
- Great for gifts or for your own use.
Can I use Aeroplan points for flights?
Sure, as long as you book exactly 1 year in advance and are ok with paying a whole pile of fees and taxes. I say forget it – unless you have a large number of points and can plan in advance then I’d rather get less value and have the actual cash (so to speak) in hand. That said, this trip was paid for with points.
Here are some of the possibilities that I’m considering:
This is my first choice – Aeroplan has dining cards which are fairly widely accepted. The conversion rate is roughly 13,000 points for $100 of card. I have just over 32,000 points so I can get a $250 card.
The gift card we used at the zoo was an entertainment card – the $$ conversions are roughly the same as the dining cards. These are some of the things you can use this card for:
- Live theater
- Movie rentals
Some people might find this card very easy to use but we don’t do many of the eligible activities on it so we had to search to find something (zoo).
Aeroplan also has more specific cards like the Eaton’s centre or Future shop. These typically have a higher conversion rate but of course you are more limited in where you can use them. This might be perfect if you are planning a large purchase and can get a card for that particular merchant.
Esso gas card
One of the more practical uses for points is an Esso gas card – assuming you have access to an Esso station then this is probably the best way to convert points to cash (or equivalent). It’s a bit boring however.
How about you?
How do you like to spend points? Do you use them for something practical or to treat yourself with something you would never pay cash for? Are there any better deals with Aeroplan points?