Friday, April 15, 2011

Aeroplan set to increase reward ticket levels and improve online booking tool

An interesting press release from Aeroplan today which tries to promote the good over the bad. The good is that they are once again enhancing the online booking tool for Aeroplan reward tickets to offer more flight options, flexibility and more self service functionality.

Quoted enhancements from the press release:

- An improved flight reward booking tool that augments the search
capability and results visibility on both and in
Aeroplan's Contact Centre, optimizing Aeroplan's use of the Star
Alliance network and providing its members with more route options,
more destinations, more flexible flying times and fewer connections;

- Access to last minute seats through the Last-Minute Travel Tool
showcasing available destinations for travel within the next 14 days
(displaying outbound availability within the next 14 days and inbound
availability within the next 28 days) on some of its members' most
popular routes at Classic mileage levels, making it easier to travel on
a whim;

- A new online calendar functionality that helps members easily view all
their flight reward availability at a glance including all economy and
business class options for both Air Canada and Star Alliance carriers.

Now to the bad, citing increasing costs of providing reward tickets to its members, Aeroplan will be increasing base reward ticket mileage levels. Overall, Aeroplan states the average increase will be under 5% for all Classic Awards and Star Alliance flight rewards. Looking at the revised chart, the majority of the increases for Air Canada flights are in business class tickets originating in Canada and the majority of tickets between other regions (eg Europe to Central America). On the Star Alliance reward side, there many more increases to bring these rewards in line with the rewards for Air Canada only flights. One of the biggest increases, takes away one the best Aeroplan redemptions, a first class ticket from Canada to Asia. Previously this Star Alliance Award ticket was only 120,000 Aeroplan miles and as of July 15 it will jump roughly 46% to 175,000 miles! So if this was a reward you were looking for you best redeem for it soon! This was a reward I had just looked at when figuring out the rate of return on the various Aeroplan credit cards and it was one of the best as on occasion it was well over 10% but that will quickly drop with this change.

Without fully penalizing Aeroplan, they did lower a few Star Alliance reward levels namely those for flights from North America to the Middle East, Africa, and India.

To see the new reward mileage requirements please visit's Reward Chart

To read the entire press release see here.

I'd love to hear what all of our readers think of these changes, good or bad by leaving a comment below!


  1. Air Canada & Aeroplan screw over international flying Elites with this years Tier packages and now this. This airline & reward program is being run by a bunch of muppets.

  2. Given the added cash cost of redeeming Aeroplan points for a ticket (added fuel surcharge higher than what is quoted on Air Canada website), I do not see where Aeroplan is incurring the "higher operating costs" to justify these increases. A cash payment of $475 was required to redeem points for a fight to Frankfurt. Aeroplan points used to get you a free ticket. Now it gets you less than half a free ticket.
    Doug Workman, Toronto

  3. How can Aeroplan claim that the redemption levels are only increasing 5% on average. Only the lowest increase is 5% while all others are significantly higher than that, including the 46% increase mentioned above.
    Even if I were interested in communicating my displeasure to Aeroplan, it seems very difficult to do so, at least through email, with no email contacts.
    I would think that Aeroplan members should communicate en masse that these changes are not as advertised, not competitive with other programs (at least according to my quick analysis being a member of several other airline loyalty programs) and combined with all the additional fees now involved with redeeming Aeroplan points (which, by the way, many other programs do not impose), not in line with industry standard.

  4. March 2011 - 2 business class tickets to Caribbean 110,000 reward miles, $177.92 Air Canada fees, $271.20 Aeroplan fees.

    March 2012 - same 2 tickets - 120,000 reward miles, $263.42 Air Canada fees, $276.00 Aeroplan fees.

    Seems like a former banker is running Aeroplan. The more profit they make the higher the fees they charge their customers.

  5. A classic reward for 2 tix plus $327.42 and not on a day or time I really wanted, I didn't want to use double or triple miles and pay that much too. And why is the "carrier admin charge" charged per ticket? Shouldn't it be per transaction? I rarely use my Aeroplan points for air travel I prefer to use them for HBC or Homehardware gift cards, at least you're not paying extra to get something free.

  6. It is not right to increase on points already earned... I don't care if they increase for new points... I will just have to close my aeroplan credit card and everything associated with it and go to it's competitor. In fact I will not be flying Air Canada either, the only reason I was doing so because it is a Canadian company but I don't care about it anymore

  7. I've been a loyal member of Aeroplan for 25 plus years at all levels...Elite etc. I have had PAST success using the points for travel with limited problems. The past 5 years have been a joke. I have tried to use points for travel at least 12 times with success twice. Both times to WINNIPEG.???...Hawaii ..NO Amsterdam..NO . England ...NO......France...NO. Barbados ...NO///Jamaica ..NO.. etc etc etc.Goodbye to my American Express Aeroplan card...Goodbye to my CIBC Aerogold card.... Hello RBC AVION card !!

  8. It shows incredible disrespect for the users when you change the rules of the game without any form of compensation. I fly mostly to Brazil and my points just got devalued by 20% with this increase. Time to look for another program...

  9. I had been planning a trip for two years from now and was going to book a year in advance. That trip has now gone from 120,000 points to 160,000. Not going to have enough points... I'll be burning off the points I have and getting rid of Aeroplan. With the 7 year expiry and this point increase, it's not worth the annual fee

  10. I switched several years ago from Air Canada to United where a mile is a mile or more depending on your status. When I book with United Miles it only costs $55 to $60. I want to support Air Canada but they leave me no choice. Their reward program really needs work.

  11. I just looked at the chart linked and in that, it looks like a business ticket from Canada/US to asia is only going from 115k to 125k, not the 120 to 175 stated above.

    Percentage wise, the worst increase is business, Canada/US to Hawaii, going from 60k to 80k, a 33% increase.

    25% jump for long haul in Canada/US is not good either.

    Wanting to burn off my points before July 15, I just booked business class to Hawaii. Still cost almost $400 in fees...

  12. What was stated above is a Star Alliance Award for First Class to Asia and unfortunately that is jumping from 120K to 175K

  13. The increase on B class from N America to Asia was not posted on the original chart. This is further confirmed by a call to the aeroplan center. However, on July 15, the new chart showed an increase of 25 % from 100.000 miles to 125,000.
    This is a dirty trick by Aeroplan.

  14. I have an Aeroplan Mileage chart (dated April 20, 2011) when they announced the increase. the chart only showed Air Canada Flights will increase from 115 k to 125 k for flights from Canada to Asia. It did not show any increase for Star Alliances flights.
    On July 15, 2011, the new charts showed even the Star Alliances flights has increased from 110 k to 125 k.
    Is this legal ground to take Aeroplan to court?

  15. The real crime is Air Canada has just jacked up its "fees" for a round trip flight to approximately double. For example, the fees for a return flight from Vancouver to Tokyo is now $650 including a $576 fuel surcharge (Uh, the fuel cost per passenger assuming they're 75% full is only about $200!!!). This pricing scheme is specifically to screw the Aeroplan points or Air Miles using passenger! No such thing as a "free" points flight anymore - its more like - use 60,000 points and save about 40%. Indeed if you pay for your full ticket its $450 for the return flight (!) plus $650 fees = $1100. Or 60,000 points plus $650. This is criminal!! For the same flight on United Airlines from Seattle the fees are $52! We need more airline competition in Canada. time to turn in my Aerogold Visa and find something where you don't get screwed so bad.

  16. I am thinking of the same. Time to cancel the CIBC Visa. When we cancel, we need to let CIBC know exactly why.

  17. Get a CIBC infinity card...the aeroplan card sucks. It takes MUCH less infinity points to get a flight. They also have a promotion every year for super cheep point flights. If I remember correctly, last year was 30k points to Europe....15k to US. Plus, you can redeem to aeroplan if you must. Havent cashed in yet to see what the taxes/charges are. Cant be worse then aeroplan :)

  18. We are cancelling aeroplan and staying with TD Visa rewards program. $1 reward per $1 spent Find your own flight(or use their booking centre) and then use their booking centre to use your points to "buy" the flight.
    Used this for Asia, Europe + South Pacific. Good service and no "hidden" fees!

  19. Try and take a direct flight from Montreal to Las Vegas using Aeroplan.
    It's not happening. I'm going to find another plan. I'm trying RBC Avion
    but it feels like a cat and mouse game to book anything...Solution: Cashback card???

  20. Take a look at the American Express Gold Rewards Card, TD First Class Infinite Visa or when it comes back the Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard. They essentially work like cash back but for travel. They are all way more flexible than the Avion card.

  21. I agree, aeroplan sucks big time, can never get a ticket at the lowest amount of points or miles for when you need to fly, a pure farce if you ask me, paying an annual fee for free flying and it costs an arm or leg for the average working person.

  22. I've been living overseas for two years and just noticed the jump in rates when I tried to book a trip back to Canada to visit relatives. Asia 1 to Canada (Business) went from 100,000 to 125,000. Add that to the ridiculous cash fees and you might as well just buy the ticket.

    I can understand Aeroplan trying to justify the increases based on inflation and increasing costs, but they have payed me ZERO interest on my 200,000 point balance over the years and I earned those points a long time ago. Add to that the fact that the surcharges and other hidden fees are almost as much as a full fare, and this basically equates to my points becoming worthless.

    As someone else pointed out above, Aeroplan doesn't provide any conduit for feedback on these issues, not that they would be inclined to change anything.