Two years ago, Air Canada promised a new Aeroplan loyalty program in 2020 and despite the unusual circumstances many travel-related companies find themselves, and a launch delay (only by one day) the new program is live.
5 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE NEW AEROPLAN
The new loyalty program launched yesterday afternoon and I’m not going to dive into the nitty-gritty background of the program but focus instead on some aspects that I already enjoy about the program and their revamped website.
#1: Keeping The Award Chart
We’ve seen several US airlines remove their award chart which is annoying. When you don’t have a visual award chart, customers are unable to plan for a future trips and don’t know if the redemption price is a “good price” because there are no parameters. In other words, the route could cost 10,000 miles or 500,000 miles depending on the day.
With Aeroplan continuing to keep a standard award chart, it let’s me know that they are not planning to move to a dynamic pricing model any time soon and prices will be predictable and I love that.
#2: Fuel Surcharges Eliminated / $39CAD fee (~$30USD) For Flying On A Partner
One of the more noticeable changes is the addition of a partner booking fee. Members now pay $39 CAD (~$29 USD at the time of publication) whenever they book flights on one of Air Canada’s partners.
Here is a visual sample:
(in business class)
|Old Surcharges||New Price|
Newark (EWR) – London (LHR)
|On Air Canada:|
Montreal (YUL) to Paris (CDG)
|On Air Canada:|
Vancouver (YVR) – London (LHR)
Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo (HND)
| On Lufthansa:|
New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Chicago (ORD) to Taipei (TPE)
Previously, flying certain partners didn’t contain any surcharges and now they do (e.g. EVA).
In other circumstances, the mileage redemption rate has increased but the surcharges have decreased significantly (e.g Lufthansa).
Personally, I’d rather pay more miles than cash any day so I like this move.
#3 Lap Infant Prices
This may not mean much to most people but as a father that travels with his child often, this is everything.
Generally, when booking a lap child on any airline there are two options:
- The airline will not allow you to book a ticket or;
- The airline will charge you 10% of the actual cash fare (+ taxes/fees) for that ticket
Understanding that a one-way business class award between the US and say, Europe could cost $3,000 (or more), that means I would be paying ~$500 for a child that doesn’t have a seat, isn’t eating the food, and is keeping dad awake for the entire trip. No way!
Aeroplan on the other hand offers a flat rate on lap infant tickets. Here are the rates:
|Economy||5,000 miles OR $50 CAD|
|Premium Economy||7,500 miles OR $75 CAD|
|Business||10,000 miles OR $100 CAD|
|First||12,500 miles OR $125 CAD|
Clearly, paying $100CAD (~$76USD) for a lap infant in business class is a far better bargain than ~$500USD.
#4 Extremely User Friendly
Aeroplan has installed some pretty cool online features if you ask me. For example, no one enjoys searching for a business class flight, and clicking on the details of an itinerary only to find out that 90% of the trip is economy but the airline is still charing the same price.
If there is a mixed cabin itinerary, Aeroplan now tells you how much of the journey is in the class you selected by simply moving your mouse over the result. For example, on the trip from Newark (EWR) to Seoul (ICN) – via Narita (NRT) – the United flight is in economy, and the Asiana flight is in Business class.
Personally, I would’t waste my miles or time looking at this result, but its nice to see this feature without having to dig into the details of the itinerary.
The program also presents (and allows you to take) different routes to your destination. For example, I searched for a flight between Chicago (ORD) and Bangkok (BKK), and it presented options to fly over the Atlantic (via Europe) and over the Pacific (via Asia). Generally, airlines won’t show you all the options and force you to fly in a certain direction.
Finally, the new website allows you to filter by transit city, airline…
…flight number…AND EVEN AIRCRAFT TYPE!
As an avgeek, this is music to my ears. It takes me a lot longer to book an award flight when I am also searching for award space on a specific type of plane.
#5: I Can Login To My Aeroplan Profile
This may sound silly that logging into my profile makes the list but you may remember THIS POST from nearly a year ago in which I detailed how frustrated I was about redeeming points through Aeroplan.
In short, I had a specific Star Alliance redemption that I wanted to book and preferred to redeem my Aeroplan miles. However, when attempting to login to my Aeroplan account, it would give me the little spinny..sand / hour glass (think 1990 blackberry phone) and it would never go away.
I called Aeroplan on the phone, literally, the minute the office opened and waited on hold for 111 minutes before the call disconnected. How Sway!? How!?
Honorable Mention: Call Center Improvements
Another big promise from Air Canada is that they have made considerable investments to improve their call center performance. If you haven’t dealt with their call center in the past…it was THE WORST! But the airline has said they are have comprehensive training for all agents, so it shouldn’t be a problem going forward.
I haven’t had the opportunity to test this out, but given their other changes, I trust it will be good.
HOW CAN I GET AEROPLAN MILES?
If you don’t live in Canada, haven’t chosen Air Canada as a program where you want to credit your miles from a Star Alliance partner, or made transfers from a credit card to Aeroplan, it is unlikely that you have any Aeroplan miles presently in your account. But there’s no need to worry, there are several options that will aid in boosting your Aeroplan balance, including;
- The American Express Gold Card [READ MORE]: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
- The Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE]: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card [READ MORE]: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months. Limited Time Offer!
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
And the transfer rates are as follows:
- American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1
- Marriott Bonvoy: 3:1 (Note: There is a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred)
- Capital One: 2:1.5
Air Canada Aeroplan is a Star Alliance partner therefore you can redeem Aeroplan miles on the following Star Alliance airlines:
|Aegean Airlines||Austrian||EVA Air||SWISS|
|Air Canada||Avianca||LOT Polish Airlines||TAP Portugal|
|Air China||Brussels Airlines||Lufthansa||THAI|
|Air India||Copa Airlines||Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)||Turkish Airlines|
|Air New Zealand||Croatia Airlines||Shenzhen Airlines||United|
|ANA||EGYPTAIR||Singapore Airlines||Juneyao Airlines |
|Asiana Airlines||Ethiopian Airlines||South African Airways|
Additionally, Aeroplan partners with several non-Star Alliance partners including Azul, Air Serbia, Etihad, and Vistara if you are interested in redeeming your miles there too.
The program is unlike anything we have seen from any program but presents some interesting options.
There’s a lot to explore given that it is a totally new program. But with perks like stopovers on one-way tickets that only cost an additional 5,000 miles and having the ability to transit (and stopover within) a third region, I’m excited to do a deep dive into their “zones.”
Have you had a chance to explore the new website? Find any “sweetspots?” What are your thoughts about the new Aeroplan program?
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