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Marriott Bonvoy is currently offering a 35% bonus when you transfer Bonvoy Points across to Air Canada Aeroplan. The promotion is relatively short-lived, ending on Wednesday 26th June 2019 (23:59 EDT).
Note that bonus Aeroplan Miles may take up to 4 to 6 weeks to be credited, so if you’ve got an immediate redemption in mind, that’s something you need to be aware of.
What’s good about these sort of bonuses is that they also apply to the extra 5,000 miles you get when transferring Marriott Points in blocks of 60,000. So, 60,000 Marriott Points would normally get you 25,000 Aeroplan Miles, but with the 35% bonus you end up with 33,750 in total:
To put that into context, let’s say you’re trying to decide whether it would be better to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards Points to BA Avios, or to Aeroplan (via Marriott) because of this promotion.
40,000 Amex MR Points would get you 40,000 Avios if you transferred directly.
40,000 Amex MR Points could also get you 60,000 Marriott Points (transfer rate is 1:1.5), which in turn could currently be turned into 33,750 Aeroplan Miles.
In other words, each Amex Point can either get you 1 Avios, or 0.843 Aeroplan Miles (assuming you have enough to transfer in blocks of 40k Amex/60k Marriott).
On the face of it, Avios seems the obvious winner, so why would you bother with the hassle of multiple transfers? Because not all points/miles are created equal – some are better for certain types of redemptions than others.
Avios are good for short haul, but long haul flights in Business or First can require eye-watering sums.
Aeroplan, on the other hand, offers solid (if unspectacular) value for long haul Business/First Class redemptions. You can check out the award chart below – Western Europe including the UK is in “Europe 1”:
The chart shows the amount of miles required for a return trip – for a one way just half it.
55,000 miles for Business Class one way between Europe and, for example, the West Coast of the USA is much better than the 75,000 Avios it would require on a Peak date (62,500 Off-Peak). Aeroplan doesn’t charge surcharges on most of its partners either, so you could save £100s per person compared to BA Avios too.
To really get maximum value from Aeroplan Miles though, the trick is to take advantage of the 2 stopovers you’re allowed when booking a return trip. OMAAT has a good introduction that you can read here, but basically it means you can construct some tremendous ‘Round The World’ itineraries for relatively few miles.
It’s also worth remembering that Aeroplan is part of Star Alliance, rather than Oneworld (BA’s aliance), so has a completely different set of partner airlines that you can fly with. Availability for the route you want to fly might be great with one alliance and non-existent with the other.
I recently spent almost all my Marriott Points booking a load of rooms for a trip with family to New York, but if I still had a significant balance I would be considering this offer very carefully.
Ultimately, I think you’d need to be able to get your hands on enough miles to book one of the more complicated redemptions (with at least 1 stopover) for this to be a really good deal, but there is definitely potential value available.
Are you tempted by the transfer bonus?
Bonus offer valid only on conversions received from Marriott Bonvoy™ loyalty program points into Aeroplan Miles made between June 20 and June 26, 2019 (23:59 EDT). All the other hotel loyalty programs are not eligible for this bonus miles promotion.
Bonus Aeroplan Miles will be issued by Aeroplan as follows: once the total Aeroplan Miles are earned by exchanging points from the Marriott Bonvoy™ program during the promotion, the bonus miles that will be deposited will represent 35% of the total miles earned from the exchange. Bonus Aeroplan Miles may take up to 4 to 6 weeks to be credited after the promotional offer end date of June 26th, 2019.