Many perks are available to Aeroplan premium cardholders, but one of the most overlooked and underused is the Worldwide Companion Pass. It tends to be the black sheep of premium card benefits because it’s relatively challenging to earn, as it’s only granted after $25,000 is spent on your card in a cardholder year.
In this article, I want to de-mystify the perk and explain why you may or may not want to pursue earning an Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass to save on your next flight booking.
What is the Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass?
The Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass (or Companion Pass for short) is a coupon that allows you to book a second economy ticket on any Air Canada operated flight for a fixed base price after paying the regular economy fare for the first passenger.
The best part is that the Companion Pass has no blackout dates. Taxes, fuel surcharges, and fees will still apply to the second ticket, so it’s not always a great deal, but it often can be a good one.
The reason it’s not always a great deal is due to the fact that the fixed price Air Canada charges for the second companion ticket may be more than the market price for the same ticket. I’ve listed the fixed base fare prices below. As you can see, it’s not necessarily “Frugal Flying” depending on where you are traveling 😛.
- Traveling between Canada and the USA (not including Hawaii)
- $99 plus taxes and fees
- Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, or Hawaii
- $299 plus taxes and fees
- Africa, Europe, Middle East, or South America
- $499 plus taxes and fees
- New Zealand, Australia, or Asia
- $699 plus taxes and fees
The Air Canada Companion Pass works on the methodology of “the more you spend, the more you save,” which I always find to be an amusing proposition.
In this hobby, it’s important to remember that spending more than you would have otherwise does not correlate to saving money.
That disclosure aside, I think there is value in the Worldwide Companion Pass, as I’ve used one to get a great deal myself, and I plan to educate where that value lies.
How to Earn an Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass
Earning an Annual Worldwide Companion Pass is simple but not easy (well, not easy for most). I’ve outlined the steps below:
- Hold a premium Aeroplan credit card ($599 annual fee).
- Spend $25,000 on the premium Aeroplan credit card in a cardmember year.
Yep, it’s that straightforward.
Now, spending $25,000 on a credit card in a year might seem impossible, depending on who you are and what your spending patterns look like. With that in mind, let me give you some tips on reaching that threshold if it seems daunting.
It has become easier to put spending on credit cards in the past 12 months thanks to the ability to pay rent in Canada for a nominal fee with Chexy. You can also use the tried-and-true PayPower reloadable cards if you’re a few thousand short. I have been using buying groups, specifically Canada Buying Group, with great success to meet Canadian minimum spending requirements without incurring foreign exchange fees while living in Baltimore this summer.
With those tips in mind, a few points for clarity.
The Annual Companion Pass spending threshold applies to your card member year. That means the clock starts when you sign up for the card, not on January 1st. So, if you originally opened your American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card in September 2023 after reading this article, you must spend $25,000 between September 2023 and September 2024 to earn one.
Another important note is that the Annual Worldwide Companion Pass is deposited 8-10 Weeks after you renew your card. In reality, it happens a bit faster than that, but expect to pay a second annual fee to receive the pass. If you receive the pass and then downgrade or cancel the card on which you earned the Worldwide Companion pass, it will be removed from your Aeroplan account if it has not already been redeemed.
Four credit cards in Canada can earn an Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass. Earning one on each of them in a year would be possible, but that would require spending $100,000 in 12 months.
Below are the listed cards that are eligible to earn this companion pass:
|Credit Card||Welcome Bonus||Net Value|
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege||100,000 Aeroplan||$1,501||Apply|
|American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve||95,000 Aeroplan||$1,396||Apply|
|CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege||95,000 Aeroplan||$1,396||Apply|
|American Express Aeroplan Reserve||90,000 Aeroplan||$1,291||Apply|
So, with all that out of the way, should you bother spending $25,000 on a card to earn an Air Canada Worldwide Companion Pass?
Getting the Most Value from an Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass
As with many things relating to maximizing your miles and points, value is highly subjective, and the Annual Worldwide Companion Pass is no exception. To make this an illustrative article, I’ve created three common examples involving Air Canada flights to show different ways to use the pass. Hopefully, you’re able to relate to one of these examples or multiple!
Brandon & Mia – Teachers with Limited Vacation
Teachers get the short end of the stick for vacations, as they can only take extended time away in the summer when everyone travels. Even when they have a few extra days away during holiday time in December or spring break, everyone is still traveling.
This makes award travel more difficult as seats get snapped up quickly, and cash prices are high even with low-cost carriers. That’s where the beauty of this Air Canada Companion Pass comes in, as there are no blackout dates. These two want to travel from Winnipeg to New York to experience a true Rockefeller Christmas.
Using the Companion Pass for their flights represents a savings of $721, as you can see below.
Another trip they could use it for is their travels to South America during summer vacation. In this instance, the base fare is higher than travel within North America, but the savings are $1,000.
Alex & Mark – Traveling Last Minute for Business
Moving on to a different example, Alex and Mark have just got the call they’ve been waiting for. A client they’ve been pitching in the UK has accepted their Request for Proposal but wants to have the deal wrapped up immediately and needs to meet in person.
Cash fares from Vancouver are inflated, but the Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass allows them to book a second seat for only $499.
In this instance, the Air Canada Companion Pass saved Alex $1,100.
Mike & Corinne – Retirees with a Sense of Adventure
For our final example, we have a couple of empty nesters based in Toronto who have done well and want to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They are not opposed to paying in cash for a lie-flat seat but try to save on air travel to enjoy more luxuries at their destination.
Their latest adventure involves heading to Al-Maha, a Luxury Collection resort just outside Dubai. Lucky for them, Air Canada runs direct service from Pearson to Dubai (DXB).
Clocking in at a 13 hour flight, Corinne and Mike do not plan on flying economy. However, the cash cost for two round-trip business class tickets is $14,746 and the points price is 1,074,000 thanks to Air Canada’s dynamic award pricing. While they could pay that price, Corinne knows there’s a better way. After strategically spending $25,000 each on their TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege cards, they have two Worldwide Companion Passes available.
Since Mike and Corinne are Aeroplan Status members, they have eUpgrades at their disposal. Booking the most expensive economy fare, Latitude, they can instantly upgrade to Air Canada Signature Class with 52 eUpgrades round trip. As they fly often, they double-checked that instant eUpgrade space was available using ExpertFlyer to confirm the “R” space.
This amounts to a whopping $9,739 saved versus paying the cash business class fare.
My Experience in Using an Air Canada Annual Worldwide Companion Pass
While theoretical examples are fun to dream up, I also wanted to share my personal savings and earning method with the Worldwide Companion Pass.
I used my Companion Pass when I needed to get Marta and me from Baltimore (BWI) to Winnipeg (YWG) for a family reunion in the summer of 2023. Cash prices were astronomical as I was flying from a relatively small airport to a definitely small airport round trip in peak travel season. It didn’t matter whether we flew BWI-MSP-YWG with Delta or BWI-YYZ-YWG with Air Canada, I was going to be spending at least $1,200 per person.
As this was the first family event since COVID-19, we needed to be there, and I would have paid the $2,400 in flight costs or used a boatload of points. The Companion Pass saved my butt, allowing us to choose a more desirable flight but still pay less than the $2,400 I was prepared to pay.
While I technically saved $1,300 ($650+$650) on this booking, I purchased a more expensive flight to avoid a redeye schedule. In reality, I only saved $581 ($2,400-$1,819) as I would not have purchased the above flight without the companion pass.
I will say I value the Companion Pass at more than $581 because I don’t like taking redeye flights; who does? How much I value the Companion Pass is a tricky question. I can see it consistently having a value of $800 for my use cases. This value typically far outweighs any transaction fees I pay to reach $25,000 in total spend.
To earn the Companion Pass I used in Summer 2023, I strategically placed expenses on my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card, like buying a car through a bill payment service and earning Aeroplan Everyday Status Qualification points in the process. I also got married last year, which allowed me to earn a second companion pass through natural spending on my American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card.
As I don’t plan to buy a car and get married yearly (I really hope not 😅), I have resorted to other methods to earn my Companion Pass in 2023-2024. The American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve card has one of the best credit card referral bonuses and unique multipliers on car rentals and hotels to maximize your credit card spending (along with a 1.25 base earn rate). It’s my chosen premium Aeroplan credit card to keep long-term. I tend to spend about $10,000 on this card naturally, so I only need to make up $15,000 with creative solutions, including some of the ones outlined in the earning section above.
The Worldwide Companion Pass is one of the most flexible perks you can earn in the Air Canada Aeroplan ecosystem. Being this flexible, you can get caught out with paralysis by analysis. Hopefully, my examples and experience allow you to decide whether this is a perk worth chasing yearly.
Have you ever used an Air Canada Worldwide Companion Pass? Where did you go, and how much did you save? Let me know in the comments. Maybe I will follow your inspiration!
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