How to Avoid Aeroplan’s Dynamic Flight Award Pricing


While many frequent flyer programs have defined award charts, Aeroplan implemented dynamic pricing on many of their award flights when they overhauled the program a few years ago. Since then, we’ve had some time to get familiar with how it works and how to work within the program to continue to get the most value out of our Aeroplan points.

Let’s take a look at Air Canada Aeroplan dynamic pricing and everything you need to know to avoid this “feature” before making your next flight redemption booking.

What is Dynamic Flight Award Pricing?

Aeroplan has implemented a system for many of their reward flights that shows pricing as a range of points rather than a set price on their award charts, meaning that flight redemption prices can dynamically fluctuate based on many factors. 

For example, if we look at the Aeroplan award chart for North America below, all flights operated by Air Canada are priced within a range, as opposed to being pinned to one specific price like those that are operated by partner airlines.

aeroplan north america award chart

Typically, the number of points required will mirror the cash price and line up with the average value of an Aeroplan point, which is about 2 cents. For example, if a flight costs $500 CAD to book, it typically costs between 20,000 and 25,000 points and a nominal amount of taxes and fees.

aeroplan point redemption vs cash price comparison

While this can sometimes mean absurdly high pricing when cash costs surge, the benefit is that you can book every seat with Aeroplan points on an Air Canada-operated flight. This is the opposite of many frequent flyer loyalty programs as airlines usually limit the number of seats available to book with points.

How Dynamic Pricing Impacts the Air Canada Aeroplan Program

With the addition of dynamic pricing, Air Canada has the opportunity to advertise that their points are extra flexible as they can be used for every flight they offer. It also allows Air Canada to easily adjust the price of flights if they need to fill seats on an empty flight or charge more for a nearly full plane.

The redemptions that cost more points are very good for Air Canada as they represent an opportunity to remove a large amount of Aeroplan points from circulation, resulting in the removal of liabilities. When there are too many Aeroplan points in circulation, it can mean trouble for Air Canada, as they will have to realize that value which can result in flying aircraft at a loss.

How Dynamic Pricing Impacts the Consumer

Before dynamic pricing, only a few seats were available to book on each flight, making the program somewhat restrictive. If a family was looking to travel at peak holiday times, it was very hard to find flights with available seats.

Now with dynamic pricing, the average consumer can use their Aeroplan points more regularly and engage completely with the program. If you have to travel on a specific date and don’t want to pay cash, you can now redeem points for that same seat. The downside to this is that flights often cost more points than they used to previously.

That being said, dynamic pricing does make for some unique deals if you are lucky to come across them. There are a few times when business class tickets can be less expensive than economy if economy class is almost sold out and business class is empty, but these situations are few and far between.

What tends to happen with dynamically priced programs is the average points collector will see an economy flight that costs a lot of points and assume this is the norm and thus that the loyalty program is not useful for their travels. If this is you, consider reading up on our miles & points beginners guide and the best practices for booking award flights to better understand how these programs work.

Are All Awards Flights Dynamically Priced on Aeroplan?

Before we get into how you can avoid dynamic pricing on Air Canada Aeroplan, it is important to note that not all Aeroplan flight redemptions are impacted by dynamic pricing. In fact, only itineraries that include Air Canada, Emirates, or Flydubai operated flights are affected by dynamic pricing. 

Booking with any of Air Canada’s 48 other partners will result in a fixed price if you can find seats! Unlike Air Canada-operated flights, only a few seats on each partner flight are released for redemption via Aeroplan points, making these valuable flights much harder to find. However, this is where you will find outsized value for your points if you are lucky enough to find award availability for your desired flight or route.

How to Avoid Dynamic Flight Award Pricing on Air Canada Aeroplan Flight Redemptions

While Air Canada has a vast route network and is the leading airline in Canada, using your Aeroplan points to fly on their planes usually results in average value. As with any rule, there are always exceptions, so let me tell you about my favorite ways to save your hard-earned points.

Book Your Award Flights Early

Booking award flights early is a tactic that is an excellent habit to get into even if you don’t want to fly on Air Canada, as partner airlines will generally make a few of their coveted seats available as soon as they publish a schedule. 

For example, Singapore Airlines has continually released 2-4 seats from NYC to SIN at the 355 day mark.

aeroplan new york to singapore partner redemption

Air Canada will generally allow 1 or 2 seats to be booked at the low end of the spectrum as soon as their flights become “bookable” on the website. I scored my parents’ flights home from Copenhagen to Winnipeg for a reasonable 67,200 points per person flying on Air Canada. Currently, those same seats are now selling for an outrageous 337,500 points per person!

aeroplan copenhagen to winnipeg points redemption comparison

Be Flexible on Dates & Routes

Flexibility is huge when getting the maximum value for your points and not overpaying for an award flight. If you can leave one day earlier or one day later in your itinerary, it can save thousands or tens of thousands of points if you are flying with others.

aeroplan points redemption flexibility in dates

Sometimes, even taking a less desirable flight, such as a red eye, can be rewarding. You’ll often find overnight or late-night departures priced considerably lower. If you’re lucky, Air Canada Signature Class overnight may be priced lower than a daytime economy class flight!

edmonton to montreal aeroplan redemption price comparison

If you’re flying overseas, searching for flights from other major North American hubs may be worthwhile. While that concept may sound strange, check out my guide to positioning flights as to how this can save tons of points.

Search For Your Destination City, Not Destination Airport

This tip is less mainstream than the first two but can make a big difference. Rather than search the airport code you know, such as YYZ (Toronto) or MXP (Milan), it’s always better to search simply the city, for instance just type in Toronto and select All Airports. This search will return results for all the city airports, including those such as YTZ (Billy Bishop, Downtown Toronto) or LIN (Milan, Linate).

aeroplan toronto to montreal award search

I’ve regularly used this tactic to get from Montreal to Toronto. Usually, the Billy Bishop flights are considerably less expensive when booking close to departure, and I’ve saved about 20,000 Aeroplan points in the past 12 months on that route.

The same example applies to Tokyo, as there are two large airports, Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND), that Air Canada, United, and ANA all fly through.

toronto to tokyo aeroplan redemption comparison

Searching like this can also yield more favorable itineraries, in this case, by flying into Haneda rather than Narita we save an overnight layover at a Newark (EWR) hotel.

However, sometimes the search engine isn’t perfect, so I recommend searching each airport individually if your general city search doesn’t yield any favorable results.

Utilize eUpgrades

Air Canada has made the new Aeroplan program fairly complex, and eUpgrades are one of the most intricate pieces of their loyalty machine. To earn eUpgrades, you must achieve at least Aeroplan 25K status. Luckily, Aeroplan has made this possible even if you don’t fly 25,000 miles or 25 flights annually through their Everyday Status Qualification program.

Once you’ve joined the Aeroplan status ranks, you’ll get some eUpgrades deposited to your account, allowing you to book a business class award for the price of economy. I find eUpgrades become most valuable when you miss the opportunity to book early and are now faced with 200,000 Aeroplan points per person redemption costs.

aeroplan toronto to london eupgrade feature selected

eUpgrades allow you to combat high redemption costs by booking a Latitude or Premium Economy Flex fare, and if space is available, instantly upgrade to business class. The Latitude or Premium Economy Flex fare is often priced in a similar range to the low end of Aeroplan’s Business Class award chart.

aeroplan award range between north america and atlantic zones

You’ll need to check off the eUpgrade filter in your search results, as not every flight is instantly upgradeable. In this instance, the Premium Economy Flexible fare was lower than the Latitude fare, and the same amount of eUpgrades.

aeroplan eupgrade to premium economy cost comparison

The only trouble with eUpgrades is that they expire 12-18 months after being issued. But you can prevent their expiry and extend their life by an additional 12 months by holding an Aeroplan Premium credit card.

Utilize Priority Rewards

These rewards can be finicky at their worst but extremely valuable at their best. Simply put, they are a 50% off coupon to book an Air Canada flight with Aeroplan points. While that sounds great, only Aeroplan Super Elite members can use them for business class flights, and many other Aeroplan members are restricted to only North American flights.

aeroplan priority rewards destination thresholds

Priority rewards are earned at different thresholds of Status Qualifying Dollars (SQDs) spent with Air Canada starting at $4,000. So, if you don’t fly on many paid Air Canada flights or if you qualify for elite status through Everyday Qualification, you may not have heard of these or have them at your disposal.

aeroplan priority rewards thresholds

For all of the SQS and SQM warriors out there, you can get some serious value from complex or last-minute itineraries! For example, I managed to save 70,000 Aeroplan points on an economy booking that required a couple of stops across the country, meaning each priority reward had a value of $700!

aeroplan priority rewards savings

Each priority reward is good for one passenger on one booking, so you’ll need two identical priority rewards if you have two passengers. Even though I often book my award flights as one-way trips, you want to ensure you book a round trip or multi-city itinerary when using a priority reward to maximize value.

I have also used priority rewards to book an economy Latitude ticket and then instantly upgrade myself to Business class using eUpgrades, as discussed earlier. For Aeroplan 75K members who receive Premium Economy Worldwide priority rewards, the Latitude method is the most valuable way to use your Priority Rewards.

The only trouble with priority rewards is that they expire, and you can’t extend their expiry date like you can with eUpgrades. If you have an expiring Priority Reward, I recommend booking a trip on a refundable fare well into the future. In the worst case, you cancel for free; in the best case, you saved some Aeroplan points on a trip!

aeroplan priority rewards with expiry dates

Check Redemptions Within 2 Weeks of Departure

We start to get pretty creative this far down on the list, but the logic is still sound with these tactics. This tactic can be expensive, so you’ll only implement it if you have missed the opportunity to book early, have fixed dates, exhausted all secondary airports, and don’t have eUpgrades or Priority Rewards to use.

Some Aeroplan partners, such as United and Lufthansa, allow unsold seats to be booked with Aeroplan points within 2 weeks of departure. If you’re planning 6-7 months in advance of your trip, your searches will likely only contain dynamically priced itineraries. You can check again precisely two weeks before your departure dates to see if Lufthansa or United are trying to fill their planes.

aeroplan washington to tokyo with lufthansa first class and united business class availability

Depending on how much you “overpaid” thanks to dynamic pricing, you can consider paying a cancellation fee to cancel your original booking and save some Aeroplan points, or spend the same amount of points but fly in style on a more desired product, such as Lufthansa First Class.

lufthansa first class pre-departure beverage with snack

Explore Custom Routing

My final point-saving tip probably only applies to the craziest point collectors. Aeroplan is widely regarded as having some of the most creative routing rules, and you can take advantage of those to make a custom itinerary when the search engine fails. 

Typically, it’s prohibitively expensive to fly in business class from Canada to the Oceania region with Air Canada.

vancouver to sydney aeroplan redemption pricing

But if you build a custom itinerary from North America to the Pacific Zone the long way around, it will only cost 115,000 Aeroplan points if you fly on partner airlines. You can even add one stopover on the way to visit another city for an additional 5,000 Aeroplan points, and layovers can be up to a full 24 hours for an overnight stop.

vancouver to sydney routing long way

While it’s not the fastest way to arrive Down Under, having a few litres of beer in Munich followed by some Korean Barbeque in Seoul are great stops along the way for 120,000 points per person and less than half the cost of flying direct on Air Canada!

To book this complex itinerary, you’ll need to first find all the individual segments on Aeroplan’s search engine. I like to use Flight Connections to speed up the process to ensure my searches will return valid results for partner airlines. 

If you’re completely flexible in your transit cities, I recommend first finding a flight to a major European hub from your home airport. You can then input your European hub as the “From” city and your final destination as the “To” city. 

If you have Flight Connections premium, you can filter the results to include only Star Alliance partners. Instead of going through Seoul, you can also transit through New Delhi, Bangkok, Singapore, Beijing, or Tokyo to get to Sydney if you can find available partner flights.

munich to sydney on flight connections

You can also consider flying through the Middle East with non-Star Alliance members, but Etihad Airlines has not released many premium cabin seats to Aeroplan, and Emirates will be dynamically priced, eliminating the reason for a round-a-bout itinerary.

Once you’ve searched and found all the flights with partner airlines, you’ll need to call Aeroplan and tell the ticketing agent your segment’s flight by flight. I have had trouble connecting Singapore Airlines flights recently, so keep that in mind with your searches. Don’t be disappointed if an agent can’t combine two Singapore flights on one itinerary. 

If you have data points of two Singapore Airlines flights being successfully combined, please leave me a comment!


Aeroplan is a quirky program with many complexities, but learning the intricacies’ ins and outs can be very rewarding. Using the tools outlined in my article, I hope you feel better equipped to handle the dynamic pricing so your points can last longer, get you further, and you can extract maximum value.

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.


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