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Post-Miles&Smiles devaluation: Why I’m using Aeroplan for Star Alliance redemptions

The main attraction to the world of points and miles is the ability to redeem your rewards for “free” travel. What I find even more lucrative is securing premium airline seats in business and first class using my points and miles for a fraction of the cash price. Whether you’re earning points and miles on an airline cobranded card or a transferable points-earning credit card, it’s a great way to maximize your rewards.

However, one of the biggest worries of points and miles is devaluation. When a program gets devalued, it means your hard-earned and saved-up rewards become less valuable; this causes the amount of points or miles needed for a flight or hotel to increase.

In February 2024, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles devalued its award charts, which affected many people (myself included) who regularly utilize this under-the-radar program for its sweet spots and amazingly priced premium cabin redemption rates.

I was a committed Miles&Smiles redemption user who frequently took advantage of the program, but since its devaluation, I have decided to pivot to a new program to maximize my hard-earned miles. Keep reading to find out why I am using Air Canada’s Aeroplan after Turkish Airlines’ devaluation.

Air Canada has an Impressive list of Airline partners

Naturally, as a Star Alliance carrier, Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program allows you to book award tickets with your usual Star Alliance partners, including Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa, ANA, Singapore Airlines and more. Aeroplan has an astonishing 47 partners, far greater than any other Star Alliance carrier’s frequent flyer program.

Aeroplan triumphs over Miles&Smiles thanks to its impressive list of non-Star Alliance partners with whom you can earn and redeem miles.

Related: The best websites to search for Star Alliance award availability


This impressive list of partners includes some of the following:

  • Etihad
  • Gulf Air
  • Oman Air
  • Emirates
  • Air Mauritius
  • Bamboo Air

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The ability to book Gulf carriers, as well as more boutique airlines, gives Aeroplan the edge over Miles&Smiles.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable credit card points in 2024

Plethora of transferable currency options

The major downside of the Miles&Smiles program for me is the limitation of transferable currency options. Essentially, the three types of currencies that allow a 1:1 transfer to Miles&Smiles are Bilt Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One miles.

Previously, I regularly used my ThankYou points from the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees) to transfer to Miles&Smiles.


Aeroplan partners with the four major transferable currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles, Bilt Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. This makes it easier to transfer rewards for an award ticket because even though redemption rates may not be as low as Miles&Smiles’ previous chart, the ability to dip into multiple accounts to transfer miles is notably a win.

As a cardholder of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express, I can earn points on both cards and transfer them to Aeroplan. Since I don’t have the Bilt Mastercard® (see rates and fees) or a card such as the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, I was limited to only one card to transfer my points to Miles&Smiles.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable credit card points in 2024

No carrier-imposed surcharges

The Miles&Smiles program is great for booking award tickets on Turkish Airlines because carrier-imposed surcharges are fairly priced.

However, when booking with Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa or Swiss, the carrier-imposed surcharges can skyrocket upward of $700; this is a bummer for those who want to save money by using miles and not paying cash fares.

I previously avoided booking Star Alliance carriers through Miles&Smiles primarily due to the sky-high taxes.


This can be a huge pain point for many, as massive cash surcharges, along with the redemption cost in miles, can turn people off from certain programs. Luckily, Aeroplan does not pass on carrier-imposed surcharges on award bookings.

The only additional cost of booking with Aeroplan is a 39 Canadian dollar ($29) partner booking fee, which is minimal compared to what other programs can charge.

Related: How to avoid fuel surcharges on award travel

5,000 mile stopover program

Stretching your hard-earned points and miles is even more rewarding when booking through Aeroplan, thanks to its excellent stopover program. While Miles&Smiles has a stopover option, it cannot be used on one-way award tickets. Because many frequent flyer programs don’t allow stopovers, especially on one-way awards, this helps Aeroplan stand out and gives this program the upper hand.


Aeroplan allows stopovers for up to 45 days everywhere except in the U.S. and Canada. Amazingly enough, you can book these online or over the phone, and Aeroplan has better, consistent customer service in relation to that of Miles&Smiles.

For just 5,000 points, you can add a stopover on one-way awards; this saves you points or cash because you won’t have to book two one-way tickets to get to your destination. This is an excellent way to maximize your points and miles while also being able to visit multiple destinations on one trip.

Some examples of how this could be maximized while also utilizing Aeroplan’s impressive partners are:

  • Flying from the U.S. to Oman: Flying to London on United, add a stopover for 5,000 points, and then continue onward to Oman.
  • Flying from the U.S. to Singapore: You could fly to Japan on ANA, add a stopover for 5,000 points and then continue onward to Singapore.

Related: Complete guide to Aeroplan’s stopover and routing rules

Transfer bonus promotions

Aeroplan continues to have the upper hand over Miles&Smiles after the devaluation thanks to transfer bonus promotions. When transferring points and miles to Aeroplan, it may seem like a sting sending over such large amounts. But, from time to time, issuers offer promotions for transferring rewards.


In the last few years, American Express Membership Rewards has offered transfer bonuses to Aeroplan for as little as 10% and up to 20% while also offering a transfer bonus promotion twice a year on some occasions. On the other hand, Chase Ultimate Rewards has offered up to a 30% transfer bonus to Aeroplan over the last two years.

In comparison, Citi ThankYou only had one transfer bonus promotion in February 2019 for Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. The added benefit of having multiple transferable currencies connected with Aeroplan is that you to take advantage of two transfer bonus promotions from different issuers within the same year. This reduces the number of miles needed for transfer, thus saving you money.

Related: A complete list of transfer bonuses over the past decade — which issuer is the most generous?

Bottom line

The Miles&Smiles program is mostly dead to me. Apart from utilizing one or two redemption options, it’s a program I don’t see myself booking with anymore. Devaluations are a common thing in the world of points and miles, and it’s best to have diversity in your credit card portfolio so you can pivot to the next program.

Although I have used Aeroplan several times before, considering all of the program’s perks, I will be using it more regularly from now on.

For rates and fees of the Bilt Mastercard, click here.
For rewards and benefits of the Bilt Mastercard, click here.

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