Aeroplan launches HotelSavers as a new redemption option: what you need to know
I only considered using airline rewards twice for hotels: when I redeemed 100,000 Southwest points for an all-inclusive vacation and when I thought my Malaysia Enrich points would expire before I could travel again in Malaysia.
You’ll usually get the most value from your airline rewards when you redeem them for flights. However, many travelers are looking for other ways to redeem their airline rewards.
On Wednesday, Air Canada Aeroplan launched a new option for hotel redemptions that it says requires “up to 30% fewer points” than the previous option. Aeroplan Press release goes on to note:
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HotelSavers offers members the best value for Aeroplan points outside of flights. Plus, borrowing from the best of Aeroplan flight exchanges, there are ambitious “sweet spots” to discover where hotel value is even better than typical value per point when buying flights.
The idea of ideal areas to discover is enough to pique my interest. So here’s what you need to know about Aeroplan’s new HotelSavers redemption option.
Aeroplan has partnered with select hotel brands to offer its HotelSavers redemptions. Currently, you can book stays at the following 39 brands through Aeroplan HotelSavers:
- Luxury: Fairmont, Shangri-La, Taj, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, InterContinental, Preferred, Kimpton, Sofitel, Six Senses, Regent, Faena and SLS.
- Prime: Le Germain, Omni, Noble House, Swissotel Pullman, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Outrigger, MGallery, Escad Hotel, Voco, 21c Museum Hotels, Hualuxe and Even.
- Mid-range and economical: Coast Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Atwell Suites, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Avid, Novotel, Mama Shelter, Alt Hotels, Ibis and Ibis Styles.
As you can see, you can book multiple The Accor Live Limitless and IHG One Rewards brands through Aeroplan HotelSavers.
The following table outlines the eight HotelSavers categories and the number of Aeroplan points required per night for hotels in each category:
However, before you get too excited, note that some HotelSavers redemptions cost well outside of their listed category. Take for example this Category 3 hotel in Miami that should cost between 20,000 and 30,000 points per night:
Aeroplan’s press release states that all HotelSavers redemptions include tax. You can book a refundable rate with all Aeroplan HotelSavers properties, but some also offer non-refundable options for even fewer points. And you can also use a points plus cash rate to pay with half points and half cash for HotelSavers stays.
You can even redeem more points to book an upgraded room or a rate that includes breakfast. Discover this option for the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso.
When you initially search for a HotelSavers refund, you may not see the hotel you want, even if it is from one of the 39 participating brands. For example, the InterContinental Phuket and Keemala did not appear in a search for Phuket, Thailand, but did appear when I searched more specifically for Kamala, Thailand.
But despite several searches, I was unable to bring up Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives or Six Senses Yao Noi in Thailand in the search results.
Finally, you can still book hotels from other brands using Aeroplan points. HotelSavers redemptions are marked on the results page with a red HotelSavers banner. And HotelSavers results appear to be listed first if you sort the results using the Recommended option.
Related: The Best Ways to Maximize Air Canada’s Aeroplan Program
At the end of the line
It’s always good to see a loyalty program offer a new redemption option, especially one that is likely to offer good value.
I’ll have to dig deeper into the HotelSavers options by doing more research before declaring the value here. But, one takeover that immediately jumps out at me concerns one of the most ambitious IHG One Rewards properties: the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso in French Polynesia.
HotelSavers rates the basic villa – which is still on stilts – in category 8 for the dates I checked. It is usually very difficult to find the availability of rewards using IHG points at this resort, especially if you want to stay longer than a night or two. Redeeming Aeroplan points for a stay can offer good value on certain dates if you don’t want to book a paid fare.
Especially if you are considering transferring Chase Points to IHG to book a high value redemption, you can now consider transferring to Aeroplan if the reward rate or availability is better. However, you probably won’t get elite benefits and earnings with the hotel loyalty program when you book stays through Aeroplan. And in the case of IHG hotel redemptions, you will miss a fourth reward night if you have an eligible IHG Rewards credit card and choose to redeem Aeroplan Points instead of IHG Points.
So check reward rates with both and carefully compare your options before booking. As a reminder, TPG values Aeroplan points at 1.5 cents each, so you’ll generally want to get at least 1.5 cents per point when redeeming.