Thursday, November 10, 2011

Aeroplan now charging fuel surcharges for award tickets on select Star Alliance carriers

One of the biggest complaints I always hear about Aeroplan is the fuel surcharge imposed on redemptions for flights on Air Canada metal. A way around this has always been to redeem Aeroplan miles for flights on their Star Alliance partners as members were not charged the fuel surcharge. Well that changed earlier this week when a member on the FlyerTalk forum posted that he was told by an Aeroplan call center agent that they will begin imposing fuel surcharges on Star Alliance awards as of November 9th and it does appear that this has become reality.

Apparently the fuel surcharges can now be found on Lufthansa, ANA, Asiana and Thai Airways (see update below). No word yet on the other Star Alliance partners. Now when you book an Aeroplan award for these airlines you can expect to pay a few extra dollars for short domestic flights or in excess of $500 more for trans-Atlantic or -Pacific flights. Granted if these Star Alliance carriers are charging the fuel surcharge to Aeroplan, Aeroplan must recoup those charges but the question that begs to be answered, why now? Most of these airlines have had fuel surcharges for years and have not changed or increased them. Did they not charge these to Aeroplan and unilaterally decide that they would start charging them? Another question that will probably go unanswered.

Overall another not so good year for Aeroplan news
First came the increases to select redemptions off of the Aeroplan and Star Alliance reward charts and now this. Many people, both frequent and infrequent flyers love to hate Aeroplan and Air Canada and this latest move, especially without proper communication to its members will just exemplify why people feel this way. I have said it before and so have many others, if you communicate changes properly, sure you will feel the heat but at least you will keep and/or gain the respect of your members for being truthful, honest and proactive. Now Aeroplan will have to go on the defensive, justifying the move and explaining why they did not communicate this. (I can think of one reason, there would have been an onslaught of bookings prior to the effective date and they would lose out on the fuel surcharge that with proper assumption is being paid to the carrier that the member is travelling on). In the end you would think that Aeroplan, which is part of Aimia a corporation that happens to be at the forefront of loyalty marketing not only in Canada but globally would know that customer engagement and retention is key to a loyalty program and making unannounced negative changes goes against all aspects of those two key factors.

Now, believe me, I hate putting Aeroplan in a negative perspective as overall I am a fan of the program but it is my duty as an unbiased consumer resource to let Canadians know about these changes since Aeroplan did not.

* Nov 13 Update:
Later on November 10th,  after we posted this Aeroplan posted on their website that they are charging the surcharge only on Lufthansa flights (retracting the fuel surcharges on ANA, Asiana, Thai) but stating that other Star Alliance carriers will be added as applicable. See here for more details


  1. Agree with you.Hope people will understand the problems of aeroplane industry.Thanks for wonderful post
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  2. Aeroplan rewards? Not even on the best day! "Rewards" are actually a money grab, not only from the vendors (sorry, suckers) that pay Aeroplan to give YOU miles, but wait until you see what Aeroplan charges you for SERVICE FEES. I just booked the same identical 60,000 mile reward using United Mileage Plus for Cslgary to Copenhagen and return. I paid $447 LESS in fees that had I booked with Aeroplan!!! Same exact flights, same exact days, same class of service. And to top it off, both transatlantic flights are on Air Canada! When I asked for an explanation, some supervisor bimbo from Aeroplan in Montreal (named Mindy) could only make excuses and give no answers.

  3. Aeroplan has agents that give you one price on a booking regarding sur charges and they then go ahead WITHOUT your authorization and charge your Charge Card for amouts that are triple to quaddruple what the agent quoted you. We had this problem, called for a Supervisor and boy did she turn out to be a piece of work! This woman outright lied to cover their a***S!!! It was disgusting...this so called Supervisor informed us that they wasted 2 hours on our file...we were already under the duress of a critically ill family member. This company needs to be reviewed by some authority to expose them for the crooked work that they are is hard to believe that this kind of robbery is happening here in Canada today!!!

  4. Aeroplan fuel surcharges scream for a class action lawsuit!!!