Travel News

Air Canada Increases Award Costs – Which Gives More Warning About Buying Miles

Written by Charlie

Air Canada is increasing award costs and this is coming at a strange time. This should give more warning about when you buy miles and points.

Almost two years ago, Air Canada and Aeroplan came under one roof where before they had been two entities. This new program caused some changes to be made in the award structure of the program and these changes were met with some relief and also disappointment. Here we are just about two years later with an increase in award pricing for some regions – which came with strange timing.

Air Canada Increases Award Costs for Some Destinations

Last week, Air Canada said that their Aeroplan award program will have increased costs in points for some regions, starting September 1, 2022.

When Air Canada updated their program a couple of years ago, they introduced a combo zone/mileage redemption chart for partners and a revenue based version for Air Canada’s own flights. For this new update coming September 1, 2022, they are raising the prices on certain of the zones for partner flights, as well as some for their own flights. Here are the increases (that concern North America region – see FrequentMiler for the full list)  that are going into effect (all numbers are for one way):

North America <-> Atlantic
  • 6,001 – 8,000 mile distance
    • Business (on partner airlines) – from 85,000 to 90,000
    • First (on partner airlines) from 120,000 to 130,000
  • 8,001 + mile distance
    • Business (on partner airlines) – from 100,000 to 110,000
    • First (on partner airlines) – from 130,000 to 140,000
North America <-> Pacific
  • 7,501 – 11,000 mile distance
    • Business (on partner airlines) from 85,000 to 87,500
  • 11,000 + mile distance
    • Business (on partner airlines) from 105,000 to 115,000
    • First (on partner airlines) from 140,000 to 150,000
North America <-> South America
  • 0-2,500 mile distance – this is a new distance group
    • Economy (on Air Canada) – 20,000 – 45,000
    • Economy (on partner airlines) – 20,000
    • Premium Economy (on Air Canada) – 35,000 – 100,000
    • Business (on Air Canada) – 40,000 – 150,000
    • Business (on partner airlines) – 40,000
    • First (on Air Canada) – 60,000 – 175,000
    • First (on partner airlines) – 60,000

On this list, for North America as destination or origination, the least increase is the North America <-> Pacific in business class. This is going up just 2,500 points. Most are changing just for a small-ish percentage, but if you are wanting to fly Turkish Airlines from the West Coast to anyplace in central/eastern Europe, you are looking at that costing you an extra 10,000 miles (8,001+ distance tier). If this is for a couple to do it roundtrip, that means having to pay an extra 40,000 miles total – not so insignificant!

But, if this is as bad as it gets for a while, that isn’t too bad!

Why This is a Warning About Buying Miles

In the beginning, I mentioned that this came with strange timing. The timing that I found strange was that this change came out just days after Air Canada’s sale on points ended. Now, I actually find their sales to be pretty good but I generally hold off unless I have to have the points right then (since “buying” the points as part of a redemption isn’t actually that bad).

But, I always find it to be in bad taste to have a big sale and then release an award devaluation shortly after that. Aegean made a devaluation before their award sale a few years back (but they didn’t announce the devaluation) and I prefer that kind of move. Sure, Air Canada says this won’t happen for a month but award seats can be hard to come by.

This means that someone could have bought those miles with the idea to book some dream trip – only to now find that it could cost them many thousands of points more. If they cannot find their flights before September 1, they are stuck with the new pricing.

This just gives yet another warning when it comes to buying miles and points – programs can and do devalue so never buy miles and points unless you have a concrete use for them in the very near future. 

Bottom Line

The new Air Canada / Aeroplan devaluation that is coming next month is far from the worst ever. But, its timing coming just after their big point sale will be sure to leave a bad taste in some travelers’ mouths. At least this serves as a good reminder to be careful and wary when you see mileage sales.

Fortunately, one of my favorite uses for Air Canada awards, the under 6,000 mile distance between North America and the Atlantic, was left unchanged! Hopefully that wasn’t merely an oversight! 🙂

In the meantime, maybe Air Canada can now take a look at some of their bigger problems that they have that also tick off their customers.

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.