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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A guide to the new Air Canada Aeroplan program flight reward redemption process


 We continue with our coverage of the new Air Canada Aeroplan program today with a look at the new redemption process. This post is an overview of that process and will not be a deep dive into comparing the redemption rates. Rather we'll follow up with another post delving deeper into various bookings and comparing them - for example a basic member without an Aeroplan credit card versus an Elite member with an Aeroplan card and so on.

Remember you'll be able to find this article and all of our other articles and features on the following page:

The New Air Canada Aeroplan Program All the resources you need

With the new Air Canada Aeroplan program you no longer have to go the to Aeroplan.com site and complete several step to be able to search for flight rewards. Rather you can access them right off the home page of the main aircanada.com website:

To search for flight rewards all you have to do is click this selector to points on the home page and the flight search will then bring up Aeroplan rewards. You can then select options like Round-Trip, One-way or multi-city plus the number of travellers.


 

As you can see above I had Toronto to London in the search box so I looked for flights on January 11 to 18, 2021. Here are snapshots of the results

 

Now this doesn't show the entire amount of results - they go further down and you'll find options that have mixed cabin results.One of the nice new features of the Aeroplan search engine is the mixed cabin notation - it shows up right below the mileage amount so you know those flights aren't all in the same fare class. You can hover your cursor over the select mileage amount and it will tell you what % of the flights are in that particular fare class you are looking at: 



Hover over to show what percentage of the flights are in the particular booking class

 

Now you can select the flight and class you want. Here I clicked on Economy class for Air Canada's venerable day tripper to London Heathrow:

You'll now see that Economy Class is broken down into three categories which match the cash fares for these flights. Here we are presented with three options right down from Standard all the up to Latitude. With Latitude you do have the option to upgrade if you are an Elite status member. The presentation of the fare differences is nice to see so that you can compare what you get at each level. From the example above you'll see the Standard rewards incurs more potential fees and you have to pay for seat selection and checked bags, the latter only so if you don't have an Aeroplan co-brand credit card that offers first checked bags free. 

So I went ahead and choose the Flex Reward as this best reflects old Aeroplan rewards since it includes seat selection. Once you select both your outbound and inbound flights you'll be presented with a summary page showing the flights you selected

Along with redemption options which include Aeroplan's new Points + Cash options:

You can see you have four options here. The selection I show above would be considered your regular Aeroplan Redemption - the standard (if we can call it that) amount of points + the taxes and fees. The other levels allow you to use more points to cover the taxes and fees or in the case that you may not have enough points you can redeem partial points and more cash. I really like this option as it allows members to use up points even they don't have enough. I do with Aeroplan went one step further like many other global airlines who have a slider where you can select virtually any combination of points + cash rather than just four options.

Once you select the redemption option you want to go with you'll be presented with a price summary. The first one is what we are calling your 'standard' redemption while the second is the full amount of points option:

As you can see you are redeeming 1 Aeroplan points for 1 cent of value towards the taxes and fees in the full points option. This is better than the old Aeroplan but of course for points maximizers it isn't at the level where they would redeem at - they would keep those points for other redemption option that provide more value. However for those of you who have more points than you know what to do with them it's a good option to have and then you have $258.04 for a nice dinner out one day! That being said however - if you go the other direction, say you choose the one lower than 'standard' this is the summary:

You have to pay $234 more to bring the points amount down by 13,000 points. If you consider this as buying Aeroplan points for the difference that works out to 1.8 cents per point - that's not a bad valuation at all!

I know I said I wouldn't go into details of booking rather just look at the process but I do want to make one note here and that is comparing the old program to the new. For the reward example used in this post the pricing in the old Aeroplan would have been 60,000 miles + over $500 in fees.  As you can see right now in the new program the comparable flights range from 55,600 to 65,600 points and $258.04 in fees. So for this particular example the new program is doing much better but we do have to take into consideration that due to the pandemic prices are lower right now. The big question and test will be when travel levels begin to return to near normal levels, what will the price be like then?  

You also have an awesome new Sort & Filter option for rewards that lets you sort for things like connecting airports, airlines and more. 


So if you have your heart set on flying LOT Polish Airlines you could filter for their flights to get you to Heathrow on a round about way!

And here are the results filtered for Warsaw - and if you pick the second flight you can visit Warsaw for the afternoon and evening (without paying the 5,000 extra points for a stopover)





And there you go! That's the overview of the new Aeroplan reward flight booking process. To me is seems a lot better and easier then before plus they provide a lot more options now!

Remember you can always find this article and many more on the following page of ours:

The New Air Canada Aeroplan Program All the resources you need



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