Book United Flights For Less Using Aeroplan Miles

a plane on the runway
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United Airlines has lots of airline partners, and most of them have their rewards program. Partners having their own programs is ideal for travelers as it presents opportunities to leverage partner loyalty programs and possibly save miles booking United flights. Here I’ll show you how to book a United flight using Aeroplan miles, one of my favorite ways to get more out of my miles and points.

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Why Do This?

Doing so can save you thousands of miles when booking select United flights using Aeroplan miles instead of United miles. I’ve saved 100,000+ miles by booking United flights this way, most recently a trip to Indiana a few weeks back and a trip I am currently on. Also, in some instances, you can avoid pricey fuel surcharges when booking partner awards through Aeroplan.


Example Booking Using Aeroplan vs. United

The booking below is taking me from Phoenix to Los Angeles for a few days and then onto Chicago before returning home to Phoenix a few days later. You’ll see below that booking with Aeroplan it’ll  cost you 25,000 Aeroplan miles and $15.00 Canadian Dollars (roughly $11.10 US Dollars). If you book the same route on, it’ll cost you 60,000 United miles and $75 more dollars because of the close-in booking fee! Booking through Aeroplan miles on by far the better option.United flight using Aeroplan miles

a screenshot of a phone

When Is This Possible?

When there is Saver availability on a United flight, you should be able to book the flight via Aeroplan.


How Do I Do It?

The fastest and easiest way is to head on over to, sign up for their loyalty program, and search for a flight. If there’s no availability on your preferred dates, an availability calendar will appear, and you can modify your search. I then check United’s website for better connection options and make sure I’ll be saving miles by booking through Aeroplan. Unfortunately, sometimes there are fewer flight options when booking through Aeroplan compared to United.

Update: Upon booking, you will receive an Aeroplan reference number and will have to call either Aeroplan or Air Canada to get the United equivalent reference number. You then use your United reference number on to pick your preferred seat. You will check-in for your flights on and receive United boarding passes.

United flight using Aeroplan miles
Only two flight options through Aeroplan compared to nine with United..but look at the savings!


What If I Don’t Have Aeroplan Miles?

The most common way to get Aeroplan miles is to transfer American Express Membership Rewards, or Starwood Preferred Guests points at a 1:1 ratio. To me, SPG points are too valuable for airline transfers but would do so if it was my only option.


The Bald Thoughts

I recommend always checking fares on partner airlines before booking award flights. Miles and points aren’t easy to come by, and every mile saved is a win-win. Thankfully there are multiple transfer programs available if you are lacking Aeroplan miles, my favorite is American Express Membership Rewards. With Membership Rewards, you can transfer to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio and book your dream vacation for less. If you’re short on Membership Rewards, I recommend the Platinum Card from American Express as it currently offers a sign-up bonus worth over $1,000 and excellent benefits. Click here to read more about the benefits of the Platinum Card from American Express.

Have you ever booked a United Flight through Aeroplan? 

an airplane wing in the air


  1. Is United charging 60k b/c they’re considering it separate trips, whereas Aeroplan allows for a domestic stopover on R/T, so for them it’s only a 25k R/T?

    • Craig,

      Yes, when United introduced the “Excursionist perk” last year a lot of stopover options were lost. Aeroplan offers up to 2 stopovers when booking roundtrip fixed award flights, these are the details that can make partners so advantageous.

  2. Hi Tyler,

    Thanks for writing the article. I’m trying to get clarification on exactly how (if possible) to book a United flight with Aeroplan points. Sometimes the flight will automatically come up–especially if I search flights from Buffalo as opposed to Toronto, my home airport. Is there a way to get a United flight reference # and then speak with Aeroplan reps to book? Specifically looking to save on taxes πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I have booked united flights through aeroplan. You need to put your united frequent flier number into the reservation and then you will get your benefits (free luggage with united explorer card) and upgraded seat if you have the annual membership. I paid the taxes with the united explorer card to be safe but I dont know if that is necessary. What is needed is to make sure you get your frequent flier number onto your united account. You can do it online or over the phone but you need the united reservation number first-I got that by calling united. this is great way to save the close in booking fee and sometimes the flights can be less points. Also useful if you are running out of united points but have american express points that can be transferred.

  4. in the above, I meant to say “you need to get your united frequent flier number attached to your united reservation number for that flight”


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