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Friday, November 13, 2020

The new Air Canada Aeroplan reward flight pricing compared: no status no credit card pricing versus elite status + credit card Preferred pricing

 

A new feature or benefit of the new Air Canada Aeroplan program comes on the flight reward side. That benefit is preferred pricing for members who have elite status and/or have an Aeroplan co-brand credit card. In this post we look at the significance of having elite status and/or an Aeroplan credit card when it comes to redeeming for flight rewards on Air Canada.

 

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

What is Preferred Pricing?

Preferred pricing is essentially a discount on Aeroplan's dynamic flight reward pricing for travel on Air Canada. The preferred pricing is not available for partner only flights however if you have a multi leg route which is flown by Air Canada and a partner airline you will avail a discount on the Air Canada portion. 

Any member can get preferred pricing so long as they have Aeroplan Elite Status and/or an Aeroplan credit card. The points required for flight rewards will be discounted by a certain amount if you have one or the other. Have both and your discount is even bigger as you will get the discount from both!

For the preferred pricing that we had regular Rewards Canada contributor Bill W. provide us with the results from his account as he has Air Canada Aeroplan 50K status and also carries a CIBC Aeroplan co-brand credit card. So he gets to stack the preferred pricing afforded to elite members and to credit card holders.

Now let's dive into some of those comparisons!

For each example we show Air Canada's published flight reward charts to show the general range points that would be required for the redemption. Remember however Aeroplan reward flight pricing is dynamic and may not follow the chart. In our discussions with Aeroplan they state about 80% of all reward flights should fall into those published ranges but could be higher or lower depending on the cash price of the flight.

(You can click on any of the images to make them bigger)

Toronto to London Heathrow July 5, 2021

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card

 

Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card

This route, Toronto to London Heathrow falls into the 0 - 4,000 miles range for the North America - Atlantic flight reward chart which states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 35,000 - 60,000 points
  • Premium Economy 50,000 - 80,000 points
  • Business 60,000 - 160,000 points

If we take the best redemption option from above (the 18:35 flight) we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 28,600 points
  • Premium Economy 40,800 points
  • Business 50,200 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing drop those rate significantly:

  • Economy 25,700 points
  • Premium Economy 36,500 points
  • Business 43,500 points

That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 10.14%, Premium Economy at 10.54% and Business Class at 13.3%.

As you can see all of these example actually fall below the published range off of the flight rewards chart. This is partially due to the fact that cash prices for flights to certain areas, namely and pretty much anywhere outside of Canada are severely deflated right now so these awards are reflecting that.

Montreal to Paris CDG May 14, 2021

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card

 

Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card

This route, Montreal to Paris also falls into the 0 - 4,000 miles range for the North America - Atlantic flight reward chart which states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 35,000 - 60,000 points
  • Premium Economy 50,000 - 80,000 points
  • Business 60,000 - 160,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above (we'll look at the 16:00 flight) we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 29,700 points
  • Premium Economy 41,200 points
  • Business 50,000 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing drop those rates significantly:

  • Economy 26,700 points
  • Premium Economy 36,800 points
  • Business 43,400 points

That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 10.1%, Premium Economy at 10.68% and Business Class at 13.2%.

What I find interesting is that if you look closely the last flight in the screenshots above sees not as big of discount for the preferred pricing even though a base member has the same pricing across most of the flights. This leads me to believe that there is also route/connecting component to the preferred pricing.
 

Calgary to Toronto  December 22, 2020

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card

Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card

This route, Calgary to Toronto also falls into the 1,501 - 2,750 miles range for the North America flight reward chart which states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 12,500 - 17,500 points
  • Premium Economy 20,000 - 35,000 points
  • Business 25,000 - 65,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 14,100 points
  • Premium Economy 39,600 points
  • Business 65,300 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing drop those rates quite significantly:

  • Economy 11,300 points
  • Premium Economy 31,500 points
  • Business 52,400 points
That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 19.8%, Premium Economy at 20.45% and Business Class at 19.75%.

As you can see theses example actually fall into or above the published ranges on the flight rewards charts. There are several reasons for this - the date, this December 22 which is a holiday season flight which have higher cash prices plus most travel happening right now is on domestic routes like this.

Toronto to Montreal November 19, 2020

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card


Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card


 

This route, Toronto to Montreal looks at a flight that is a close-in booking in that it is less than a week away. This route falls into the 0 - 500 miles range for the North America flight reward chart which states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 6,000 - 10,000 points
  • Premium Economy 10,000 - 20,000 points
  • Business 15,000 - 25,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 13,300 points
  • Premium Economy 17,500 points
  • Business 18,800 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing drop those rate significantly:

  • Economy 9,000 points
  • Premium Economy 10,900 points
  • Business 14,000 points
That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 32.3%, Premium Economy at 37.7% and Business Class at 25.5%.

Again we see examples actually falling into or above the published ranges on the flight rewards charts, especially so for economy class at 33% above the highest published amount.  But then look at those discount levels for preferred pricing - those are some good discounts.

Vancouver to Sydney Australia August 18, 2021

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card


Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card

Pre-pandemic this was a highly sought after route but right now Vancouver to Sydney is one of those what ifs as right now we as Canadians cannot travel to Australia. So we went further out into the future and looked at August of 2021. This route falls into the 7,501 - 11,000 miles range for the North America - Pacific flight reward chart which states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 50,000 - 90,000 points
  • Premium Economy 70,000 - 160,000 points
  • Business 85,000 - 200,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy No availability
  • Premium Economy 246,000 points
  • Business 583,200 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing drop those rates just by a slight amount:

  • Economy No availability
  • Premium Economy 238,300 points
  • Business 570,700 points

That puts the preferred pricing discount for Premium Economy at 3.1% and Business Class at 2.1%. 

This time our examples are pricing out at outrageously higher than the published ranges on the flight rewards charts!  Air Canada is selling the business class seats on that day for $10,600 right now which gives you a 1.8 cents per mile value - that's horrible for a business class redemption with Aeroplan. This example may be and hopefully is just an anomaly given that the route right now isn't being flown just yet and on the day we look at for booking there is not one seat booked on the flight. If you are thinking about Australia I would probably wait to redeem for such a flight until we have a better idea of what travel that part of the world will be like in the coming months.

Vancouver to Honolulu February 11, 2021

Published reward flight points range


Base pricing with no status or credit card

Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card

 

Another highly sought after destination pre-pandemic is Hawaii. We can technically fly their already however with a 14 day quarantine upon arrival.  The route of Vancouver to Honolulu (or other Hawaiian destinations) is a new sweet spot that has been created in the Aeroplan program thanks to the distance based award chard. This route falls into the 1,501 - 2,750 miles range for the North America flight reward chart which is the same as the Calgary-Toronto example above! The chart states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 12,500 - 17,500 points
  • Premium Economy 20,000 - 35,000 points
  • Business 25,000 - 65,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 11,400 points
  • Premium Economy N/A
  • Business 60,000 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing as such:

  • Economy 9,900 points
  • Premium Economy N/A
  • Business 43,400 points
That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 13.15%  and Business Class at 27.67%. This time we see rates falling below or within the published ranges for this route. Also note in the examples the pricing for business class connecting flights - they are much better than the direct Air Canada flights. 23,400 preferred pricing is a nice redemption amount!

Toronto to Los Angeles March 9, 2021

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card

Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card


Here we have another route that falls into the 1,501 - 2,750 miles range for the North America flight reward chart. Toronto to Los Angeles is a very popular route not only for Disneyland (hopefully they'll open soon) but it is a very important route for the film and music industries. The chart states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:

  • Economy 12,500 - 17,500 points
  • Premium Economy 20,000 - 35,000 points
  • Business 25,000 - 65,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 10,600 points
  • Premium Economy18,200 points
  • Business 23,800 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing as such:

  • Economy 9,200 points
  • Premium Economy 16,100 points
  • Business 21,200 points

That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 13.2%, Premium Economy at 11.5% and Business Class at 10.9%.

Again we're seeing a route which has low cash pricing as the points rates fall significantly below the published rates. This could explain the discounts not being as much as some of our other examples.

Winnipeg to Halifax December 24, 2020

Published reward flight points range

Base pricing with no status or credit card


Preferred Pricing with 50K status and a credit card


If you are allowed to enter the Atlantic bubble at Christmas this an example for you - that is if you live in Winnipeg! The Winnipeg - Halifax route also falls into the 1,501 - 2,750 miles range for the North America flight reward chart. The chart states most rewards should fall into the following one way points levels:
  • Economy 12,500 - 17,500 points
  • Premium Economy 20,000 - 35,000 points
  • Business 25,000 - 65,000 points

If we take the best redemption options from above we can see that a member without elite status and no credit card could redeem at the following rates:

  • Economy 13,400 points
  • Premium Economy N/A
  • Business 24,200 points

And for the same flight we see the preferred pricing as such:

  • Economy 11,100 points
  • Premium Economy N/A
  • Business 21,500 points

That puts the preferred pricing discount for Economy at 17.16% and Business Class at 11.15%.

This example shows again the increase in pricing for travelling in economy class during the holiday season and of course within Canada. These domestic routes are the busiest (if you can call it that) for Air Canada so the price is reflective of that.

Summary 

Air Canada was very smart in this move to introduce preferred reward flight pricing for both elite members and credit card holders. It encourages more loyalty towards the brand and its credit cards as the savings by being an elite member, a credit card holder and more so both are quite significant and shouldn't be ignored. Yes the discounts for Australia weren't very much and I would think that is expected as it is considered a premium route for Air Canada but for most of the others routes being at 10% to over 30% is big. Remember these examples are for someone who has elite status AND a credit card - that combo provides bigger discounts. Research shows that having just the credit card or Aeroplan 25K status provides the biggest chunk of the discount seen in preferred pricing (and it doesn't matter which level of credit card you have) and then each level of elite status gets a slightly better discount on top of that but nothing super significant with Super Elites getting the best overall discount.

Here at Rewards Canada we haven't had an Aeroplan co-brand card in our wallets for several years now but that will all change thanks to the new program as I want to make sure we can get that preferred pricing and not to mention the first checked bag free benefit and all the other possible benefits. Now which will we choose? Definitely the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card since we have an All-Inclusive bank account with TD so the annual fee on the card will be waived every year and since we don't pay for that card we may just have to add in one of the American Express options which would most likely be the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card.

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

Don't forget to enter to win one of three prizes of 25,000 Points as Rewards Canada celebrates the launch of the new Air Canada Aeroplan program!

 

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