No one racks up frequent flyer points faster than a globe-trotting business traveller – especially a seasoned vet who takes full advantage of their memberships by means of unwavering loyalty. Booking during promotions, opting for the more expensive and higher points yielding fare, not to mention, travelling as much as some do, it isn’t hard to quickly accumulate more points than you know what to do with. Well, if you’ve been filling up your Aeroplan account and happen to have a back-to-school dependent or two, there’s no better time to redeem some of those points.
In one of the most under-reported stories of last year, a company called HigherEdPoints has partnered with Air Canada’s Aeroplan and an ever-growing list of Canadian Colleges and Universities to help kids and their parents with the high cost of attending a post-secondary school.
It is estimated that more than 60% of students fall into a group of kids that receive no financial help from scholarships or through government programs and initiatives aimed at softening the financial blow of getting a degree. In completely unrelated news, or so it seemed, Aeroplan noted it held many client accounts with thousands upon thousands of unused frequent flyer points. Then, in a brilliant joint venture, HigherEdPoints was created to bridge the two, offering Aeroplan members a simple way of redeeming their points for monetary credit at participating Canadian learning institutions.
In increments of 33,000 Aeroplan points, you can put $250 towards your or your child’s tuition, textbooks, residence fees and meal plans. The points can be transferred or given as gifts as the list of participating institutions continues to grow. Currently, all major Canadian Universities are represented; U of T, Ryerson, UBC, York U, McMaster, McGill, Carleton and Western. OCAD are on board too and there are many others. Still trying to pay off that pesky student loan? Perfect. OSAP, the Ontario Student Assistance Program, qualifies too.
As ingenious as the plan is, it’s also a pretty smart way of making sure your kids spend any money given to them for school at the right place. Gone, can be the days of padding your child’s pockets in hopes they feed themselves well in residence, only to find out they’ve spent all the money the day they got it and have been eating instant noodles for months. The credits cannot be redeemed for cash and can only be used at the school they are allotted to.
As frequent flyer points earn no interest sitting in your account, you may as well use them up. And besides, you’re all travelled out anyway. And do you really need that sixth big screen TV?
If you aren’t a member yet, enroll in Aeroplan now. Travel using Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners and start accumulating your perks!