Last November, the new Aeroplan program was launched with Air Canada. Among other things, it featured a hybrid chart of sorts with distance as well as zones. While flight on Air Canada could fluctuate in miles, partner airline awards were supposed to be fixed prices. As of today, it appears that is not the case anymore.
Update: As reported to View from the Wing by Aeroplan in regards to this issue, it was a pricing bug and has since been fixed, though some were able to take advantage of lower pricing in the interim.
Aeroplan is Charging Varied Award Prices on Partners
This is very bad news if Air Canada has made a stealth devaluation. They made a big deal about their new program and the various rates and even had award sales on the purchase of miles. Now, if this is not a bug but an actual change, people can no longer plan on booking travel through Air Canada with miles on partners at fixed rates. These will fluctuate.
What’s Going On?
Ok, let’s take a look at my most commonly used award before. It was to/from the US and Europe 2 which rang in at 57,500 miles plus carrier surcharges with some airlines (like Lufthansa and Austrian).
With the new program that went to a fixed price of 70,000 miles but eliminated the fuel surcharges (but did add a small $39CAD fee for partner flights). I was really not thrilled with that because I rarely would choose Lufthansa or Austrian over SWISS or Turkish anyways so the elimination of fuel surcharges did not matter to me, personally.
Plus, this was a whole 12,500 miles more which now put it just 18,000 miles under what ANA would charge for roundtrip on thee flights (plus fees on some airlines). Definitely not an attractive move for me with some of my go-to bookings!
But, as it happened, I had to check some award rates and noticed today that things are much different from before. I am not sure what is going on. Air Canada still says that the award rate is based on the distance between the origination and the destination which means that the cost in miles should not change if the intermediary airports make for a further distance on the longer flights.
It does seem a little like they are underpricing routes where business class is available on less than 100% of the flights but they are actually charging way more as well, even on flights with less than 100% of business class. But, they also have some simple itineraries that are pricing under the price even with 100% in business class
Aeroplan is now charging fluctuating rates for partner flight awards. This is in direct contradiction to their new award chart and, apparently, without notice.
Could this simply be a bug with their system? Could be – the old Aeroplan website was a horrible experience to endure quite often, even with their almost weekly (or even daily) “system maintenance” outages. But, it could also be a devaluation aimed at partner flights – at a time when flights are more limited than in 2019 and many Aeroplan customers likely have a good chunk of miles waiting to be spent.