Booked: Aeroplan Emirates Business Class Flights From Africa

Are you looking to book Emirates with points? Aeroplan Emirates partnership may be for you.

After three years of cancellations and pushed-back itineraries, my 2020 trip to Africa is finally going through. Although it took the end of pandemic restrictions to get here and several changes to my Aeroplan itinerary along the way, this delay allowed me to take advantage of the recent Aeroplan Emirates partnership. This is getting me access to the highly rated Emirates business class products including their flagship A380 complete with a lounge and bar.

Here’s how I booked it along with new changes to the Aeroplan Emirates partnership that may have you looking to book Emirates with points through other programs.

    Compare prices on Emirates Business Class flights with Skyscanner

Original Plan

As mentioned, with each year that passed due to the pandemic, I had to rebook my Aeroplan ticket to Africa.


My original route was pretty interesting but very exhausting. The outbound route was great – Seattle to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines 787 in business class then down to Nairobi.

I loved my trip on Turkish Airlines 787 from Panama City to Istanbul last year and was eager to fly it again. Having a couple of hours at the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul was also a sell for taking this route.

Business class seat on Turkish Airlines 787-9
Business class seat on Turkish Airlines 787-9

I then leveraged Aeroplan’s generous stopover rule to add a flight from Nairobi to Johannesburg, again on Turkish Airlines. I added a cash fair flight and used a buddy pass to get from Vancouver to Seattle. This kept all other flights with Aeroplan partners and off of the Air Canada dynamic scale.

As such, this route came to 115,000 Aeroplan points and $150.70 in taxes and fees.

Getting home, however, was a challenge.


When I searched for a return, business class options through Europe were nonexistent, minus overpriced Air Canada flights of course. I could’ve booked Air Canada routes and upgraded with eUpgrades but I didn’t want to break up my trip into multiple tickets. I also wanted to take advantage of stopovers to maximize points so, instead, I looked for flights through Asia.

Around this time, Etihad Airways partnered up with Aeroplan. I leveraged this for my 2022 trip through the Middle East and got to enjoy their fantastic new A350-1000 business-class product. With that fresh experience, I looked at options for my Africa trip.

This resulted in an interesting but very lengthy route that got me from Cape Town to Vancouver through Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bangkok, and Taipei. This route came to 173,500 Aeroplan points and 195.60 in taxes and fees.

Now, selfishly, this route got me a 20-hour layover in Bangkok and three days in Taipei, which was great but getting there was a lot. I had to overnight in Bahrain after a long leg from Cape Town and my flight to Bangkok on Gulf Air had an added stop in Singapore.

Although I enjoyed my short time on Gulf Air last year, this was a lot of distance to cover and would be very tiring.

Still, with no other business class options end-to-end, I let this ride. This was until my flight from Taipei to Vancouver was cancelled and I was re-booked through Hong Kong on Air Canada and not in business class. I took this as an option too, once again, look at other routes.

This is around the time the Aeroplan Emirates partnership began. With that, a few appealing and more direct options opened up.

Aeroplan Emirates Partnership

Emirates Airlines and Aeroplan have partnered to allow Aeroplan members to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles on Emirates flights. This partnership allows Aeroplan members to book Emirates flights using their Aeroplan Miles and enjoy the amenities offered by Emirates.

Additionally, Emirates Skywards members can earn Skywards Miles on flights operated by Air Canada and redeem them for flight tickets, upgrades, and other benefits. This partnership provides more travel options and benefits for both Aeroplan and Emirates customers.

My Aeroplan Emirates Booking

As mentioned, when Aeroplan announced its partnership with Etihad, I jumped on it. With that, I was able to check out their new A350–1000 business-class product between Istanbul and Abu Dhabi.

It was such a great trip that when the Aeroplan Emirates partnership was announced, I looked for options to take advantage of their highly ranked business-class products.

On my original itinerary, I was already connecting through Abu Dhabi so I thought I could easily pick up an Emirates flight from there. Not so much.

It turns out, there aren’t any Aeroplan partner flights between Etihad’s hub of Abu Dhabi and Emirates hub of Dubai. As such, I had to get a little creative.

Getting from Cape Town to Johannesburg on business class didn’t seem to be an option anymore so I kept that leg in place and looked at other ways to get to Dubai. Victoria Falls wasn’t an option either.

There was a direct flight on Emirates A380 from Johannesburg to Dubai, and then on to Seattle on a 777 however, the adventurer in me wasn’t ready to go home without taking advantage of a 5K point stopover.

As such, I found a route through Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines then onto Dubai after a two-day stopover. The flight to Dubai is on an Emirates Boeing 777. From there, I head back to Vancouver via Houston on an Emirates A380.

This gets me on both products with the longest flight in the much better A380, although I could be saying that just because it has a bar and lounge 😉

My Aeroplan Emirates Interary – How many points?

The original return through Asia was broken up into two tickets despite it being a partner airline route and under the mileage threshold. A 5K stopover should’ve been incurred rather than a separate 60K for the TPE to SEA leg. I spent countless hours trying to figure this out with different Aeroplan agents and was pretty frustrated by it when I couldn’t get it to work out how it should.

When that EVA Airlines flight of mine got cancelled and I was rerouted through Hong Kong, I looked at this new route which again should’ve been fewer points.

The Aeroplan agent was able to move them over one-for-one meaning no additional fees or points which is part of Aeroplan‘s change policy. When a flight changes on the airline’s end, you are allowed to cancel or change that ticket with no additional fee. This is great except for situations like this where points should be fewer.

Because of that ticket split in Taipai, the flight changes before that were technically subject to hefty change fees. The first agent I spoke to would not budge on this so I tried another. In the end, I was able to get everything changed over for no additional costs, although more points than required.

Looking at the Aeroplan reward chart at the time, this partner airline reward ticket should have maxed out at 115,000 points, the same as my outbound ticket with the added stopover.

I spent significant time on the phone trying to rectify this and finally decided to leave it as is while exploring one last option to make the route a bit more convenient. A direct flight from Cape Town to Addis Ababa opened up which was more favourable however, by that time, Emirates had come up with its own rewards chart.

As such, I was re-quoted under the new rate which came in at over 200,000 points – far more despite now removing the 5,000-point stopover in Addis Ababa.

As such, I took this as a win/loss. Although paying more than I should have initially, I am saving points now.

Aeroplan Emirates Reward Chart

So, why the change?

Shortly after this Aeroplan Emirates booking, a dedicated Emirates reward chart was announced. This bumped up the Aeroplan Emirates points required significantly and put it in line with how the Air Canada dynamic scale works. Specifically…

This means that Aeroplan Emirates flights are now on a dynamic scale.

This means that my flight from Dubai to Houston (8,186 mi) which was 110,000 Aeroplan points at the time of booking, is now on a scale between 80,000 and a whopping 185,000 points.

Is Aeroplan Emirates Booking Still a Good Option?

Before the dedicated Aeroplan Emirates reward chart, booking an Emirates flight through Aeroplan brought incredible value. It was subject to standard partner redemption rates and had low booking fees.

Although you can still save on booking fees when compared to using Emirate’s own Skyward program, the points required have skyrocketed. If you would rather save on points, Skyward is the way to go. They can be collected through Emirates flights or transferred 1:1 using American Express points.

If you are exclusive to Aeroplan points, you have other options.

What’s the Better Way To Book Emirates with Points?

Although I was using more points than required at the time, I did get in before the bump and saved there. Time will tell if the Aeroplan Emirates flights can be found on the lower end of the chart which would make redemption more palatable. Otherwise, if you carry Emirates points you are likely better off.

If you only use Aeroplan points, this is still a great option however I would look at Etihad, Oman Air, or Gulf Air routes and options over Emirates flights going forward. They still operate on the Aeroplan partner chart and, therefore, are a much better deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use Aeroplan on Emirates Flights?

Yes, you can use Air Canada’s Aeroplan points program to book flights on Emirates Airlines. Additionally, Emirates Skywards members can earn Skywards Miles on flights operated by Air Canada and redeem them for flight tickets, upgrades, and other benefits. This partnership provides more travel options and benefits for both Aeroplan and Emirates customers.

Can I use Air Canada miles on Emirates?

Yes, Air Canada miles (Aeroplan) can be used to book flights on Emirates Airlines. This partnership started in late 2022 when Aeroplan added Emirates to its already impressive partner list including Middle East carriers Etihad, Oman Air, and Gulf Air.

Which airline alliance is Emirates part of?

Although Emirates Airlines isn’t part of an airline alliance network, it is partners with Aeroplan which includes Star Alliance airlines. Booking an Aeroplan Emirates ticket allows for easy connection options to all corners of the globe.

Is Emirates joining Star Alliance?

Despite partnering with two Star Alliance airlines, Emirates has not announced any intentions to join the Star Alliance network.

What say you?
Are you going to take advantage of this Aeroplan Emirates partnership?
Let’s hear it!


Looking for more Aeroplan news and hacks? 

Booked: Aeroplan Emirates Business Class Flights From Africa
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