A few months ago when we posted our piece, Beware: Why moms with small children should never fly Air Canada, we were absolutely shocked at the overwhelming response and support it received. It seems the verdict is in among fellow Canadians that our once beloved airline monopoly has done a swan-dive from favourite to most hated. But now a lot of us are left scratching our heads about what to do with all those Aeroplan points we’ve been hoarding away. Well, the good news is that you don’t need to be held hostage by terrible customer service… there’s actually a ton of great ways you can cash in your miles, and steer clear of a stressful travel experience. So, we’ve put together a list of our top ten ways to spend your Aeroplan points, without flying Air Canada:
1. Gift cards. Yup, a lot of people don’t realize that you can actually spend your points on things you really want (or need). Currently, Aeroplan offers gift cards to a lot of your fave stores… The bay, Roots, Gap, Starbucks, Winners, iTunes, and more. They also have Spa Finder packages so you can finally loosen up with that massage you’ve been putting off.
2 Indoor sky diving. This popular and exhilarating activity is all the rage. Gear up and jump into a wind tunnel for the experience of free-falling without ever boarding a plane. And for the real adrenaline junkies out there, they even have actual sky-diving packages. Bon voyage!
3. Car rentals. Once in a while we all need a rental, and this process could not be easier. Book your reservation location and select your vehicle class on the Aeroplan site, then show up, and drive away (note: you will still need to provide your credit card at the rental counter for incidentals, etc.).
4. Hotels. Aeroplan has a lot of trusted lodging partners on their roster, like Sheraton and Best Western. So why not drive your rental car to Niagara Falls for a little getaway? Girls weekend anyone?
5. Wine tasting. And while you’re in Niagara, you can summon your inner connoisseur and enjoy one of the wine tasting tours available with your Aeroplan points. Wine not?
6. Luggage. Need new luggage for your trip? Something lightweight and durable? Aeroplan has tons of options from Heys to Samsonite, amoung other travel accessories, so you can be prepared and pack with ease.
7. Small household appliances. Longing for that Dyson vacuum? You know, the one with the British guy in the commercial… the James Bond of vacuum cleaners? Well, now’s your chance.
8. Helicopter rides. Is taking a flight in a chopper on your bucket list? Aeroplan offers helicopter tours so you can soar over some of your favourite cities, from Toronto to NYC to Las Vegas. You can literally take your site-seeing adventure to new heights!
9. Movie tickets. Going to the movies isn’t what it used to be. Don’t get us wrong, we live for the cinema, but it’s gotten expensive. With a Cineplex gift card, you’ve got date night covered. Boom.
10. Donate. If you’re in a philanthropic mood, then why not donate some (or all) of your points to a good cause? Aeroplan’s ‘beyond miles’ program has some amazing charity partners including Free the Children, Schools Without Borders, and the David Suzuki Foundation. You can even opt-in to automatically donate 2% of all the future miles you earn. Travel rewards never felt so rewarding!