One of my favorite things about Air Canada Aeroplan is the emphasis that the program has on adding partners. Aeroplan has more airline partners than any other airline frequent flyer program. We’ve seen several partners added in the past couple of years, including Etihad, Azul, Vistara, Air Serbia, Virgin Australia, Air Dolomiti, Eurowings Discover, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Air Mauritius, and Aeromar.
While this is admittedly pretty niche, Aeroplan has just added its newest airline partner, and it could come in handy for those looking to travel within Europe, especially to Turkey.
Air Canada & SunExpress partnership details
As of November 8, 2022, a loyalty program partnership will be launched between Air Canada and SunExpress, allowing Aeroplan members to redeem points for travel on the airline. I wanted to take a look at the opportunities this affords, and also talk about SunExpress, for those who aren’t familiar.
What is SunExpress?
SunExpress is a leisure airline based in Turkey, which is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. The airline operates a fleet of roughly 60 aircraft, including Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, and the airline is continuing to grow at a fast pace. The airline primarily operates flights between Turkey and other points in Europe, though the airline specifically doesn’t fly to and from Istanbul.
Rather SunExpress primarily operates flights out of Antalya and Izmir. SunExpress planes are in a one-cabin layout, so there’s no business class. Furthermore, as you’d expect, the cabin is in a pretty dense configuration.
Redeem Aeroplan points on SunExpress
As part of this partnership, it will be possible to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan points on all SunExpress flights. A few things to note:
- SunExpress awards will follow Aeroplan’s standard partner award pricing chart
- Aeroplan members will be able to book SunExpress flights online at aircanada.com, or via the call center
- SunExpress flights will be combinable with flights operated by Air Canada and other international airline partners (so you could connect within Europe as part of a larger award)
- While there are no carrier imposed surcharges, the standard 39 CAD partner booking fee applies
For context, here’s the Aeroplan award chart for travel within the Atlantic region (which covers SunExpress routes):
As you can see, flying a distance of up to 1,000 miles will cost you 7,500 points, while flying a distance of 1,001-2,000 points will cost you 12,500 points. If you wanted a stopover on an itinerary for more than 24 hours, you could book that for an additional 5,000 points, which is a great deal.
Since SunExpress is a leisure airline, you’ll find that fares are often quite cheap, so in general there probably won’t be huge value here for standalone awards. The place where I see the most potential value is as part of a larger award. In other words, being able to add a SunExpress segment to a long haul award would come in handy if you’re traveling to a place like Izmir or Antalya.
Air Canada Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Capital One, so if you have transferrable points this is a great program to book through. On top of that, there’s the Aeroplan® Credit Card (review), which is lucrative card in the United States.
You can’t earn Aeroplan points on SunExpress
The partnership between Air Canada Aeroplan and SunExpress exclusively allows points redemptions. It’s not possible to earn Aeroplan points for SunExpress flights.
Aeroplan provides clues about next airline partner
Aeroplan has also revealed that it will be announcing yet another new airline partner next week, being teased as follows:
They serve a particular, amazing aspirational destination and are the only one serving it on a scheduled basis with jet aircraft. In fact, the aircraft they use on this route is a fleet type they added specifically to serve this market!
This is exciting — IS AEROPLAN REALLY LAUNCHING A PARTNERSHIP WITH AIR GREENLAND?!?!
Air Canada Aeroplan has added SunExpress as an airline partner, which is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, offering routes to cities in Turkey other than Istanbul. While this is niche, it will no doubt come in handy for those looking to travel to Turkey, especially as part of a larger award ticket. Well done, Aeroplan!
What do you make of the new Air Canada Aeroplan & SunExpress partnership?