At an age when the average teenager’s travel aspirations amount to getting a driver’s license, Alex Pourazari had already figured out how to arrange his own high–flying adventures. His precocious strategy: quickly racking up travel points. “My first big redemption was taking my dad to France, in business class,” he says. “He was a little confused. ‘How did you pay for business–class tickets? You’re in high school.’” It's no surprise that Pourazari now works for Air Canada and flies 160,000 to 240,000 kilometres in a typical year – and no one knows how to make the most of a loyalty program better than he does.
Senior Air Rewards Product Manager, Air Canada
enRoute How did you originally get interested in travel points?
Alex Pourazari I’ve always loved aviation. Growing up in the Internet age, I was reading about planes, and frequent–flyer geeks brought me into the world of travel forums and blogs. My parents didn’t necessarily have the means to let me jaunt around the world, but by figuring out the best ways to earn and redeem points, travel became possible and collecting points became a serious hobby.
ER Can you share a few favourite tips for earning points better, faster, smarter?
AP Never pass up an opportunity to earn points. Use your co–branded credit card, shop online through the eStore. I’m guilty of ordering from UberEats way too often, and same with Amazon. Well, I can earn Aeroplan points for that by spending with an Aeroplan credit card and the eStore. And for folks who earn when they fly, buy a fare with accelerated earn, like a comfort fare.
ER Which new benefits of the revamped Aeroplan are you most excited about?
AP Priority Rewards is probably the coolest perk. And also, Aeroplan offers the largest network of partner airlines of any North American loyalty program, a list that continues to grow, making almost all corners of the globe accessible on points. Also, flight reward pricing for partner airlines is predictable based on a published chart, and carrier–imposed surcharges have been replaced by a flat $39 partner airline booking fee, no matter how many partner airlines are on a single reward.
ER Is there a feature that’s particularly appealing?
AP Definitely: Stopovers on one–way redemptions is industry leading. You can travel from Toronto to Sydney with a stopover in Abu Dhabi. Or take a trip to Santiago and do a stopover in Bogotá on the way there, and then a stopover in Lima on the way back. These creative routings allow you to see more of the world.
ER What do you say to friends who aren’t Aeroplan Members yet and are missing out?
AP I’ve done a pretty good job getting my friends hooked on the travel bug. Sometimes it can be a little much to always talk about miles and points with them. But if someone isn’t an Aeroplan Member, I’d say, “You’re leaving trips on the table.” And there are so many ways to earn and redeem outside of just flying. It’s something that works for everyone, for everyday spending and everyday rewards.
Alex’s Top Aeroplan Super Elite Perks
Worldwide Priority Rewards. “It knocks 50 percent off the fare in points on any airline – Air Canada or one of our partners. You can even redeem them for business–class travel.”
Aeroplan 50K status for a friend. “Super Elites can gift a 50K status each year, including Star Alliance Gold status. Share exclusive travel perks with a friend or family member travelling without you.”
The personalized Concierge service. “It’s a dedicated phone line, and they have offices in airports across Canada and internationally. They’re miracle workers.”
Next–Level Aeroplan Hacks
Manage well — Treat your loyalty programs like a financial portfolio. Earn rewards and save up for future redemptions, even with smaller–balance accounts.
Pay the bills — Travel’s not the only way to earn: Add to your points total with everyday transactions on your Aeroplan credit card – including bill payments.
Partner up — Convert points accumulated with Air Canada partners into Aeroplan points.
Time it right — You can get a great flight for fewer points by booking when demand is lower.