How to unlock cheap redemptions with Air Canada Aeroplan

This Canadian frequent flyer program unlocks cheap premium flight redemptions for Australian-based travellers

Aeroplan is the frequent flyer program tied to Air Canada. Since its 2020 revamp and relaunch, Aeroplan has proved to be a worthy program not just in Canada, but in the land down under too.

As a Star Alliance member, Air Canada’s Aeroplan offers its frequent flyers earn and burn opportunities with alliance airlines, including Singapore Airlines, as well as non-alliance partnerships with major airlines, such as Cathay Pacific and Etihad.

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While the Aeroplan points can’t be earned easily in Australia, it’s often possible to purchase them at competitive pricing and leverage them for excellent redemptions.

The world is yours with Aeroplan points, so it pays to know how to use them. This in-depth guide will introduce you to the wonderful world of Aeroplan. Buckle in.

Air Canada Aeroplan overview

Since Aeroplan relaunched in late 2020, the program has established itself as one to know, with new award charts and changes to reward pricing and flexibility setting it apart from other airline reward schemes.

As part of the overhaul, Air Canada introduced dynamic pricing and no longer passes on airline fuel and carrier charges to its frequent flyers. As a result, we’re seeing attractive award availability without the hefty surcharges levied by many other airline programs.

While the cost of some award tickets went up with the introduction of dynamic pricing, Air Canada introduced a favourable stopover program into the mix, allowing frequent flyers to add a stopover to a reward booking for a friendly 5,000 Aeroplan points.

Since these positive changes came into effect, we have seen savvy frequent flyers from around the world latch onto Aeroplan, using it to lock in some truly aspirational redemptions.

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Sweet spots: The best ways to redeem Aeroplan points

So what exactly makes Aeroplan such a compelling proposition for Australian travellers?

Aeroplan partners with a range of leading airlines, including Emirates and Star Alliance partners.

A key aspect of the new Aeroplan program is the elimination of cash surcharges, resulting in a revamped award chart that is packed with sweet spots for savvy frequent flyers. The goal here is to maximise the award chart and the program’s stopover feature on one-way award tickets. 

Between Air Canada’s own route network and that of its partner airlines, you can use your Aeroplan points to travel just about anywhere with interesting bookings.

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When searching flights on Air Canada’s website, be sure to tick the ‘book with points’ box.

Sweet stopovers

A great Aeroplan feature is that members can add one stopover to one-way tickets and two stopovers to round-trip tickets for 5,000 points per stopover. These stops can be almost anywhere in the world, so the options are virtually endless.

Keep in mind that your connecting flight cannot cost more than double the amount of points than a direct flight to your final destination, meaning there is potential to book New York to Dubai via Frankfurt, for example, but not New York to Frankfurt via Dubai.

As such, it is entirely possible to book a round the world trip with a stopover, two round-trip tickets and multiple 24-hour layovers using Aeroplan points.

Wave goodbye to surcharges

Air Canada no longer adds fuel charges to award tickets (including on partner airlines), meaning you can secure high-surcharge tickets without actually having to fork out for the charges.

This comes in particularly handy when booking aspirational award seats on partner airlines such as Emirates and Etihad, who slug travellers with notoriously high surcharges.

Cheap business and first class redemptions from Australia

Aeroplan awards from Australia to Europe and Asia are quite reasonably priced, adding to the program’s value for Australian-based travellers.

Flights between Australia and Europe or Africa in business and first class offer considerable value. Aeroplan members can fly in any direction, even via North America.

For example, one way Etihad Airways business class flights from Australia to Europe or Africa can be redeemed for just 110,000 points. First class, on the other hand, is 140,000 points.

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Meanwhile, if you were to redeem Velocity Points for Etihad Airways business class on a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, you’d be looking at 139,000 Velocity Points, plus hefty carrier charges.

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There’s considerable scope to get creative within itineraries. Most one way flights from South Africa to Europe are just 60,000 points in business class, meaning it could be worth your while to position yourself in South Africa before locking in a flight award to Europe.

Staying closer to home? Flights with the ‘Pacific’ zone (including Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and North Asia) are also priced favourably in business and first class.

For example, one way flights from Australia to Asia (e.g. to Ho Chi Minh City with Bamboo Airways) cost from 45,000 points in business class.

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If North America is your destination, you can still stopover in Asia for an additional 5,000 points, meaning you’ll be able to get to the US in comfort with an Asian trip on the way for a little over 100,000 points – yet another reason why it makes sense to leverage Aeroplan points for a journey.

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Round the world with Aeroplan

Round the world trips are generally considered to offer one of the best ways to extract the most value out of Aeroplan points. 

It’s possible to combine two or three one-way awards with stopovers to build a round-the-world itinerary.

It is also possible to create a more complex itinerary and combine flights on Aeroplan Star Alliance and non-alliance partner airlines including Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Emirates and Etihad.

make the most of your aeroplan points

For example, it’s possible to fly Adelaide to Sydney with Virgin Australia before connecting with ANA to fly from Sydney to Tokyo. Some routes such as this one will require you to call Air Canada Reservations to book.

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We’ll cover how to contact Air Canada further on in this post.

Award chart explained

Air Canada Aeroplan recently introduced dynamic pricing.

Aeroplan award charts demonstrate the pricing for flights on Air Canada and partner airlines – where Air Canada flights are subject to dynamic pricing ranges, redemptions on partner airlines remain fixed.

This means that the number of points you’ll need for Air Canada flights depends entirely on the demand for your flight.

As such, it can often be better value to use your Aeroplan points to book flights with one of Air Canada’s many Star Alliance and non-alliance partners.

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In the Aeroplan award charts, the world is divided into four travel zones: North America, Atlantic, Pacific and South America.

The cost of an award is based on the zones and total distance travelled, but you can use Air Canada’s Points Predictor tool to check how many points you can expect a flight to cost.

Does your itinerary include any flights on Emirates? If so, the separate award chart below will apply.

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Partner airlines

Aeroplan members can earn and redeem points with all other Star Alliance member airlines.

AegeanAir ChinaAir IndiaAir New Zealand
ANAAsiana AirlinesAustrianAvianca
Brussels AirlinesCopaAirlinesCroatia AirlinesEgyptair
EthiopianEva AirPolish AirlinesLufthansa
Scandinavian AirlinesShenzen AirlinesSingapore AirlinesSouth African Airways
TAP PortugalThaiTurkish AirlinesUnited
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Recently, we have seen Air Canada’s award availability skyrocket with new partnerships.

As such, Aeroplan members also have access to redemptions to the following non-alliance partners:

AeromarAir DolomitiAir Mauritius
Air SerbiaAzulBamboo Airways
EmiratesEtihad AirwaysEurowings
Eurowings DiscoverGOL AirlinesGulf Air
Juneyao AirlinesOlympic AirOman Air
SunExpressVirgin AustraliaVistara

A big win for frequent flyers is that the newly revamped Aeroplan program doesn’t pass on carrier charges for Air Canada or partner airline flights.

After locking in a partner airline redemption, you’ll simply need to pay a fixed $39 CAD (approximately $43 AUD) partner award booking fee.

Aeroplan membership tiers and benefits explained

The Aeroplan program consists of the following five-tiered status levels that sit above the basic joining-level:

  • Aeroplan 25K
  • Aeroplan 35K
  • Aeroplan 50K
  • Aeroplan 75K
  • Super Elite
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Each Aeroplan tier offers some worthy benefits and is achieved with a mix of status qualifying dollars (SQD), as well as wither status qualifying miles (SQM) or status qualifying segments (SQS).

It’s worth noting here that the SQD requirement is halved for all non-Canadian residents.

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Aeroplan 25K

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To achieve or retain (non-Canadian resident)To achieve or retain (Canadian resident)Star Alliance equivalent
$1,500 SQD + 25,000 SQM or 25 SQS$3,000 SQD + 25,000 SQM or 25 SQSSilver

Compelling benefits include:

  • Complimentary checked allowance and sports equipment handling for two 23kg bags
  • Priority assistance, seat selection, check-in and boarding
  • 20 eUpgrade credits
  • Status extension for parental leave
  • Priority Rewards voucher for 50% off Economy travel within Canada and to the USA

Plus, 25K members can choose from two Select Benefits, including:

  • 25% Elite Status bonus with Air Canada and certain airline partners
  • 5 eUpgrade credits
  • 2 x single-use Maple Leaf Lounge passes

Aeroplan 35K

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To achieve or retain (non-Canadian resident)To achieve or retain (Canadian resident)Star Alliance equivalent
$2,000 SQD + 35,000 SQM or 35 SQS$4,000 SQD + 35,000 SQM or 35 SQSSilver

Attractive benefits in addition to all 25K perks include:

  • Complimentary checked allowance of three 32kg bags
  • Priority security clearance
  • Access to certain Maple Leaf Lounges
  • Two single-use Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes

Plus, 35K members are entitled to choose one of these Select Benefits:

  • 35% Elite Status bonus with Air Canada and certain partners
  • 10 eUpgrade credits

Aeroplan 50K

To achieve or retain (non-Canadian resident) To achieve or retain (Canadian resident)Star Alliance equivalent
$3,000 SQD + 50,000 SQM or 50 SQS$3,000 SQD + 50,000 SQM or 50 SQSGold

This is where some particularly compelling perks come into the mix, proving that 50K is the status sweet spot. Expect to enjoy the following benefits as a 50K member:

  • Priority baggage handling
  • Complimentary preferred seats on flex fares in North America
  • Three single-use Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes
  • Access to Maple Leaf, Air Canada Cafe and partner Star Alliance lounges
  • Priority Rewards voucher for 50% off economy and premium economy fares in North America

In addition to these perks, 50K members can choose from two of these Select Benefits:

  • Decreased requalification threshold of 45,000 SQM or 45 SQS
  • 50% Elite Status bonus with Air Canada and certain partners
  • 20 eUpgrade credits
  • Two Status Passes (these give non-members a chance to adopt your status for one itinerary)

Aeroplan 75K

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To achieve or retain (non-Canadian resident)To achieve or retain (Canadian resident)Star Alliance equivalent
$4,500 SQD + 75,000 SQM or 75 SQS$9,000 SQD + 75,000 SQM or 75 SQSGold

While there’s not too much more on offer in the jump from 50K to 75K, the following perks can be enjoyed when you reach this elite tier:

  • Priority Rewards voucher for 50% off economy and premium economy travel worldwide
  • Ability to use eUpgrade credits on Air Canada Vacation reservations to Sun destinations

Plus, 75K members can choose from two of these Select Benefits:

  • Decreased requalification threshold of 70,000 SQM or 70 SQS
  • 75% Elite Status bonus with Air Canada and certain partner airlines
  • 35 eUpgrade credits
  • 12-month Aeroplan Elite WiFi plan
  • Three Status Passes
  • Complimentary Aeroplan 35K status for a friend. 

Super Elite

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To achieve or retain (non-Canadian resident)To achieve or retain (Canadian resident)Star Alliance equivalent 
$10,000 SQD + 100,000 SQM or 100 SQS$20,000 SQD + 100,000 SQM or 100 SQSPlatinum

You can expect the following benefits when you reach the top of Aeroplan’s published tier ladder:

  • Preferred seats on all Air Canada flights
  • Free changes and cancellations on Aeroplan flight reward bookings
  • Complimentary in-flight refreshments in Air Canada economy
  • Access to Air Canada Concierge Service
  • One eUpgrade nominee
  • Four single-use Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes
  • London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge access
  • Priority Rewards voucher for 50% off travel worldwide on Air Canada and partner airlines (up to business class)

Finally, Super Elite members can choose two of the following Select Benefits:

  • 100% Elite Status bonus with Air Canada and certain airline partners
  • 50 eUpgrade credits
  • Decreased requalification threshold of 95,000 SQM or 90 SQS
  • Complimentary Aeroplan 50K elite status for a friend
  • 12-month Aeroplan Elite WiFi plan
  • Four Status Passes

Sign me up: How do I join Air Canada Aeroplan?

If you haven’t already, chances are this talk of award availability, no surcharges and elite benefits has you wanting to become an Aeroplan member.

It’s free and easy to become an Air Canada Aeroplan member, plus there are multiple ways to earn points in Australia, so you have nothing to lose by joining.

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You can follow these simple steps to become an Aeroplan member:

  1. Visit the Aeroplan sign up page
  1. Enter your email and create a secure password
  1. Enter your personal and contact information
  1. Select ‘create my account’

Best ways to earn Aeroplan points in Australia

Despite being based in Canada, Aeroplan makes it relatively easy to earn points on every part of your travel from Australia.

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Buying Aeroplan points

Since Air Canada’s Aeroplan is a worthy frequent flyer program, it may make sense to purchase Aeroplan points in certain instances. In fact, buying points is the key way that many Australian travellers build up a balance within the Aeroplan program. 

The standard pricing of Aeroplan points is $35 CAD (about $38 AUD) per 1,000 points, which isn’t amazing value.

However, buying points during a promotion and redeeming them for aspirational business and first class reward flights on partner airlines – such as Emirates first class – can bring about very good value.

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Aeroplan points purchase promotions

Historically, the highest bonus points offer was 115% during the program’s launch promotion in May 2020 – but this was an extremely limited offer and sold out quickly. 

Since then, offers have typically sat around 50-105% bonus points, though right now Aeroplan is running a 20% promotion. 

Essentially, the higher the bonus points offer, the more sense it makes to buy points. As always, we generally don’t advise buying points for the sake of it.

It’s always smarter to purchase points when you have a specific redemption in mind, otherwise you run the risk of points expiring or falling subject to a devaluation.

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Aeroplan members will need to purchase a minimum of 2,000 points and can buy anywhere up to 30,000 points in increments of 1,000. 

While we have seen the purchase limit increase during promotions, Aeroplan members have an annual limit of 1,000,000 points per account (excluding bonus points).

Fly with Air Canada 

Another popular way to earn Aeroplan points is to fly on Air Canada. Australian travellers may be limited in their ability to earn points this way. In saying this, Air Canada has some routes into Australia that are worth mentioning.

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Air Canada flies direct to Australia’s East Coast, meaning Aeroplan members can earn points on routes from several major Canadian cities – including Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton and Toronto – into Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The cheapest of these routes is typically the direct Vancouver to Sydney route. A quick search using Air Canada’s points predictor tool shows this flight would earn Aeroplan members around 87,500 Aeroplan points.

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 All bookings made through the Aeroplan website or app will earn points – no matter which fare type.

How many points will I earn?

Calculating Aeroplan points-earn on Air Canada flights is somewhat more complex than we see with other frequent flyer programs.

Simply put, Aeroplan elite status members earn points on all fares, as a percentage based on the miles flown.

The table below outlines the current earn rates on eligible Air Canada flights:

Fare optionsAeroplan points (% of miles flown)
Business150% points
Premium economy125% points
Latitude125% points
Comfort115% points
Flex100% points
Standard (between Canada-US and Canada-international)50% points
Standard (within Canada)25% points
Basic (between Canada-international)25% points
Basic (between Canada-US)25% points
Basic (within Canada)10% points

For example, for distances flown up to 249 miles, Aeroplan elite status members earn a minimum of 250 Aeroplan points multiplied by the % of miles flown as indicated for eligible booking classes.

As such, a Flex ticket, which earns 100% of miles flown, will earn 250 Aeroplan points, whereas a standard fare between Canada-US and Canada-international, which earns 50% of miles flown, will earn 125 points.

Fly with Star Alliance and non-alliance partners

Aeroplan members can also earn points on eligible flights operated by more than 35 Star Alliance members and Air Canada’s other partner airlines, including Emirates, Etihad and Virgin Australia.

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Earn rates vary between partner airlines, but you’ll typically find the partner airline rates are mostly on par with Air Canada’s. 

The image below outlines the earn rates across different fare types when booking with Virgin Australia.

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You can find individual earn rates for each airline here.

With partner airlines with flight networks across Canada and the US, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, India and e Middle East, as well as Asia and the Pacific, you can earn points just about wherever you fly as an Aeroplan member.

Transfer with Marriott Bonvoy 

Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and convert points to Aeroplan. Like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Aeroplan has a tie up with Marriott Bonvoy, which allows members to use their points for flight redemptions.

If you are with Marriott Bonvoy you have the option to update your profile and select Aeroplan as your earning preference.

This will allow you to receive up to two Aeroplan points for the equivalent of every US dollar spent on room rate only during an eligible stay with Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy members can also convert their points at a rate of 3:1, meaning the minimum 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points will transfer to 1,000 Aeroplan points.

Plus, members will be rewarded with 5,000 Aeroplan points each time they convert 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, so it could pay to save those up.

Transfer from other hotel loyalty programs

Frequent flyers can also earn Aeroplan points by transferring across from various other hotel loyalty programs, including Accor Live Limitless and Hilton Honors.

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Accor Live Limitless members can transfer at a rate of 2:1, meaning the minimum 4,000 Reward points will convert to 2,000 Aeroplan points.

Hilton Honors members, on the other hand, will need to convert 10,000 Hilton Honors points to receive 1,000 Aeroplan points – a far less favourable transfer rate.

When do Aeroplan points expire?

Aeroplan is a fairly flexible program, and its points expiry is no exception.

While there’s no hard expiration date, your Aeroplan points will expire if you don’t earn or redeem at least one point every 18 months. As such, there are many ways to stop your points from expiring, like we see with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

However, existing members should know that Air Canada suspended all point expiry through May 31 2023, which means you still have another few months before you’ll need to keep track of your points again.

Air Canada Corporate Rewards

Air Canada also has a dedicated rewards program for small to medium sized companies.

Similar to Qantas Business Rewards and Virgin Australia Business Flyer, Air Canada Corporate Rewards allows employees to earn points for the business when travelling for work, alongside their normal Aeroplan points.

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As part of the Air Canada Corporate program, business travellers will earn a separate points currency that can be redeemed for select rewards including, Maple Leaf Lounge passes, eUpgrade certificates and preferred seating discounts.

Right now, Air Canada is offering free sign up to Corporate Rewards with Maple Leaf Lounge access Air Canada Bistro vouchers and 5% discount on Maple Leaf Club memberships – you can read more about this on the Air Canada website.

Aeroplan for families: Family travel made easy

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Travelling with children? Like many frequent flyer programs, Aeroplan offers certain benefits that make it easier to travel as a family.

Similar to Velocity’s family pooling initiative, Aeroplan family sharing presents the option to gather points into a shared balance of up to eight family members, meaning you can take advantage of another member’s elite redemption rates and use shared points to lock in a reward without transfer rates.

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You can follow these steps to get started with family sharing:

  1. log in to your Aeroplan account
  1. head to your dashboard and set up family sharing (you must be over 18 years of age to do so)
  1. invite family members

It’s worth noting members must stay in the pool for a minimum of three months before they can leave and then wait six months before joining or starting a new sharing pool.

You can find more information about family sharing on the Aeroplan website.

Is there an Aeroplan app?

Yes – the Air Canada app allows you to take your Aeroplan account with you everywhere you go.

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From accessing your digital membership card to booking flights and scouting for offers, the new and improved Air Canada app is a must for any Aeroplan member.

The Air Canada app is available for free download via the App Store or on Google Play.

How do I contact Air Canada Aeroplan in Australia?

You can call Air Canada Aeroplan to get in touch about your membership or flight redemption on the following numbers:

  • 1800 954 196 (from Australia)
  • 1800 361 5371 (from the US)

Alternatively, you can send Aeroplan a message via Twitter or Facebook.

Summing up: Is Aeroplan a worthy program?

Air Canada’s relatively new Aeroplan is a must-know loyalty program for avid frequent flyers in Australia.

Attractive redemption rates and availability, coupled with flexible stopovers, no fuel surcharges and ways to earn and burn points down under make it possible to find some aspirational deals on award seats.

As a member of the global Star Alliance – and boasting other big-name partners of its own – Aeroplan could very well be the key to your next lofty award redemption.

Have you locked in flight awards with Aeroplan points before? Tell us about it in the comments!

FAQ – Air Canada Aeroplan

How do I sign up for Air Canada Aeroplan?

It is free and easy to become an Aeroplan member. Simply head to the Aeroplan website and click ‘join now’ in the top right-hand corner of your screen.

How do I earn Aeroplan points in Australia?

Despite Aeroplan being a Canadian program, it is still possible for Australians to earn points by flying with Air Canada or its partner airlines, as well as through hotel stays and car hire.

Do Aeroplan miles count towards Aeroplan status?

No – to achieve elite Aeroplan status you will need to meet the threshold of standard qualifying dollars and either standard qualifying miles or standard qualifying sectors.

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4 thoughts on “How to unlock cheap redemptions with Air Canada Aeroplan”

  1. Avatar for Jillian Thomas

    Are there any Australian credit cards where points can be earned for Aeroplan? I’m aware of the HSBC Star Alliance card but their fees are pretty hefty.

    1. Avatar for Zoe Kassiotis

      Hi Jillian. Currently, there are no other Australian credit cards that can transfer rewards points to Aeroplan, nor are there any cards that directly earn Aeroplan points. Your best bet is to transfer Amex Membership Rewards Points to Marriott Bonvoy and then convert your Marriott Bonvoy points to Aeroplan points at a rate of 3:1.

  2. Avatar for Guy Thompson

    Nice thoroughly researched article..
    One Q? Do Aeroplan ever offer status matching off QF or other non alliance partners?
    Thank you

    1. Avatar for Adele

      Thanks Guy, we’re not aware of any Aeroplan status matches at present (either for QF or other airlines). However, we’ll update this guide if we become aware of any initiatives in the future.

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