Aeroplan offers a ton of great merchandise and deals (not just free flights)
Sleek barbeques. Dazzling jewelry. A place to mix your own, personal perfume. Eco-friendly laptops. And tangerine-coloured Kate Spade clutch purses.
The company has come a long way in the last few years even, and the array of goods is impressive.
Standing outside the main showroom downtown, a spokesman for Broil King told me his company “moves a lot of barbeques” through Aeroplan, which includes Air Canada, United and other airline partners (a solid 36 in all). Folks also can get points by using their Aeroplan number at a wide variety of retailers, including Home Hardware and Esso.
The Broil King representative told me there seem to be more “staycations” of late and that folks are using their points “for things for the home like TV’s or barbeques that they can enjoy with their family at home.”
Inside was a dazzling array of goodies. In addition to the above there were Burberry purses, Canon cameras, leather bags, Citizen watches, Bose speaker systems, walkie-talkies, African-style jewelry where proceeds go to charity, Swarovski crystals, yoga gear, dart boards, Birks bracelets, Riedel wine glasses and much more. There are some 1,000 items available in all and the stock rotates all the time.
Aeroplan’s Chris Willoughby showed the media some of their specialized items, such as guitars signed by the members of Nickelback.
The design-your-own perfume booth also was getting a lot of business yesterday. A spokesman said folks can redeem 16,500 points and get a two-hour program in Montreal where you sniff a wide variety of scents and mix and match different types to create your own personal cologne. It’s supposed to be coming to Toronto early in the new year, perhaps in time for Valentine’s Day.
In addition to all, Willoughby explained Aeroplan’s “destination miles” to reporters. I haven’t noticed it in my own transactions, but if you click on the “earn miles” button and search the drop-down menu you can find the entry point to the destination miles section, which offers up hotel and car rental deals that allow you to pay cash (as opposed to redeeming points) and get two Aeroplan points for every dollar you spend. Use your Aeroplan credit card, such as the CIBC Aerogold, and you’ll get credit card points, too.
Another Aeroplan feature I didn’t know about is the e-store, a “hidden gem” where you can enter dozens of different websites (including Apple, Birks, Banana Repubic, Indigo and the Mastermind toy stores; always a hit this time of year) and make purchases that earn you points as well. A number of stores won’t let you earn Aeroplan points on purchases made in the store, but if you go through Aeroplan to reach their website you can get the points. And use your credit card for a “double dip.”
Of course, travel is still the big lure. Officials said perhaps 75 per cent of Aeroplan redemptions are for flights.
To showcase some of the destinations, they had big screens set up on Tuesday with photos and video of San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and Paris. Willoughby said folks can use their points for everything from shows to museums in New York, Cirque du Soleil performances in Vegas and hop-on, hop-off bus tours in Paris.
For an Aeroplan produced video on media day, click here.