Air Miles has announced increases to the mileage requirements for flight redemptions within Canada, to the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean as of July 17th. Apparently the increase in mileage is due to the fact that they are now building the fuel surcharge into those mileage amounts and not charging them as a separate fee. However a quick look at some of the numbers would make it appear that there is padding in the increases, especially on short haul flights with them jumping from 950 to 1,200 miles (over a 26% jump)
Example Air Canada flight between Calgary and Vancouver October 11-13And then you also have to ask the question what about airlines that don't charge fuel surcharges like Alaska Airlines or American Airlines? If your flight redemptions are on these airlines you are definitely going to lose a lot of value!
Price on Air Canada.com is $290 base fare and has a $54 fuel surcharge or $344 before other taxes and fees.
Which means with the old redemption rate of 950 miles for the $290 base fare you would be getting a a value of 30 cents per Air Mile and with the new rate you are only getting 28 cents per Air Mile.
It also means that ultimately you need to earn more miles before you can redeem. Before this you could earn less miles even though you had to pay for the fuel surcharges. For some of you, you'll be waiting longer before you can redeem for those flights you want.
These examples may not always be the case but most programs tend to hide mileage increases in some sort of wording that makes it seems like an enhancement, like this case of building the fuel surcharges into to mileage amounts.
Find all the details here on the Air Miles website
Some highlights from that page:
In the case of flights within Canada, to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), to Mexico and to the Caribbean, this is as a result of reducing the total taxes and fees to be paid in cash by our Collectors by including the fuel surcharges in the number of reward miles required to be redeemed for these flights… something that our Collectors have been asking us to do for years.
For other international destinations, Collectors will continue to pay for fuel surcharges as part of their total taxes, fees and surcharges applicable to the flight reward.
- A round-trip flight, in Low season, will now start at 1,200 reward miles (instead of starting from 950 reward miles)
- A flight from British Columbia to Los Angeles will increase by 19% in Low season (1,600 reward miles to 1,900) and 14% in High season (2,275 reward miles to 2,600).
- A flight from Ontario to New York City will increase by 13% in Low season (1,150 reward miles to 1,300) and 14% in High season (1,400 reward miles to 1,600).
As always we'd love to hear your thoughts on this 'enhancement' from Air Miles!