Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Aeroplan lowers minimum mileage accumulation

In what can be regarded as another downgrade to the Aeroplan program, as of August 1, 2011 the minimum number of Aeroplan Miles accumulated based on distance flown on Air Canada and Star Alliance member airline flights will change from 500 to 250 miles. The program that used to be called a Frequent Flyer program continues to devalue what was once its core business, the people who travel on Air Canada. Instead the program, which in the industry is now considered a coalition loyalty program is more focused on selling miles to retailers, credit card companies and the like. Why do I say this? Well the Frequent Flyer industry in the past six months has seen many programs start to give back to its loyal members rather than take away. Some  examples include Delta SkyMiles removing mileage expiry rules, British Airways increasing the mileage earned on discounted flights from 25% to 100% (plus their minimum is still 500 miles for BA flights) and Saudi Arabian's Alfursan also increasing the minimum mileage earned in all classes. From an outsiders point of view it seems that all the negative press about the recent increased redemption rates for reward tickets, upgrade devaluations for tier members and the ongoing negativity for expiring miles just isn't enough for Aeroplan.

The new earning structure for minimum miles will be as follows:
* For distance flown up to 249 miles, Aeroplan members will earn 250 Aeroplan Miles.
* For distance flown of 250 miles and more, Aeroplan members will earn miles according to the actual miles flown

What Air Canada does not mention is how this affects the lowest fare level called Tango. As of now, Tango only earns a minimum of 125 miles (ie 25% of the 500 for Tango Plus or higher fare classes), does that mean Tango fares will only earn 62.5 miles for flights up to 249 miles in length?

Now, if you are a status member with Air Canada (Prestige, Elite, Super Elite) this change will not affect you as you will continue to earn a minimum of 500 miles for flights. This is also the case on the very competitive eastern triangle where any Aeroplan member travelling on Rapidair flights between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montreal or Ottawa, or between Toronto City Airport and Montreal will continue to earn a minimum number of 500 Aeroplan Miles (I assume once again on Tango Plus or higher fares only)

You can find the minimum details on the change to minimum mileage accumulation here


  1. Another indication that Air Canada is devaluing its customers. It makes me wonder why I try to fly Air Canada to maintain my elite status.

  2. I am done with AC. Go WestJet!

  3. It appears that this change only affects non status customers so I don't see the how it can be called a downgrade in reality. How many non status pax fly less than 249 miles per segment is the question that needs to be examined.

  4. Unfortunately for those trying to reach status the first time or those who let it expire and need to reach it again, they will be affected. You have to look at anyone who flies routes under 500 miles since that was the last minimum and I would hazard a guess you have quite a few non-status flyers who do and were used to getting 500 miles minimum and now will be getting 375, 425, 250 you name it. A good example would be many flyers from the smaller centers in Ontario who connected through YYZ and would always get 500 miles on the short leg from their home city to YYZ. Or even look at the flyers who fly from YYZ to the North Eastern US, once again no more 500 mile minimums yet all these people are probably spending more $$ on their ticket then someone flying across the country.