Recently, I received an e-mail notice from Aeroplan warning that my miles are about to expire. I don’t carry much of a points balance because I’ve long given up on collecting rewards and instead prefer to carry a couple of cash-back credit cards. Any miles that I do accumulate through occasional travel, I end up redeeming for Esso (at Aeroplan) or Shell (at Air Miles) gift certificates. Therefore, even if my small balance of miles do expire it is not a huge economic loss.
However, that’s not true of many Aeroplan clients. Many years after Aeroplan changed the rules regarding expiry, many find too late that the tens or even hundreds of thousands of miles they’ve accumulated over many years for that special trip to Australia have expired and Aeroplan wants $30 plus 1¢ per mile to have them reinstated. The reinstatement charges could run into many thousands of dollars for long-term collectors.
Make at least one qualifying transaction
The easiest way to keep your account active is to earn or redeem miles every 12 months. If you are not in the habit of taking frequent flights, you can earn miles at a number of Aeroplan partners such as Esso, Home Hardware and Rexall Pharmacies. Even if you did fly frequently with Air Canada or partner airlines, you should make sure that your miles have been correctly credited.
Miles expire in seven years
You should also be aware that Aeroplan miles now have a “best before” date of 7 years. Aeroplan miles that were collected prior to December 31, 2006 and remain unredeemed on December 31, 2013 will expire on that date.
The hoops that Aeroplan makes clients jump through are a big reason why I soured on rewards programs. It is much easier to receive cash back or automatically redeem points for groceries. As an added bonus, getting rid of the rewards cards made my wallet feel less like the one George Costanza was carrying around in that famous Sienfeld episode.