Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bye-bye Aeroplan!

Big news today that Air Canada is dropping its 3rd party Aeroplan mileage program in favor of an in-house solution in 2020.

I don't normally fly Air Canada, but here's why I care: Aeroplan one of the few Star Alliance transfer partners for American Express points. Of the other two partners: ANA still only allows round-trip rewards, and Singapore doesn't permit partner reward booking online - you have to call in.

We used Aeroplan miles for ANA Business Class to Tokyo in 2015

Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Iberia have a similar setup where a separate company (Asia Miles, Avios) administers their points program. Air Canada sold their program off to a company called Aimia after 9/11 to earn some cash in a tough economic climate, but times have changed and this is a multi-billion dollar business they want to repatriate.

My recommendation:
  • Spend any Aeroplan miles you have before 2020. The miles are NOT going to roll from the old plan into the new one, and everyone is predicting a massive devaluation
  • Unless you're chasing Air Canada elite status, I'd start crediting all of your future Air Canada flying to United (or other Star Alliance airline).
  • Or at least have a plan to spend most of miles you earn before the cutoff date.

Six or seven years ago Aeroplan used to be a great place to redeem for Star Alliance Business Class flights, but like so many other programs they've devalued their points multiple times and added high fuel surcharges to awards. The other maddening aspect of their program is that it almost never offers you the option to redeem for a direct flight. Despite assurances that their site shows unfiltered Star Alliance availability, on multiple occasions I've seen a direct flight available on United.com or ANA.co.jp but not on Aeroplan.

Once the transition is complete, let's hope they have a USA credit card with a big signup bonus and that they stay an Amex transfer partner!








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