Earlier this week, Aeroplan announced the detail of their anticipated new frequent flyer program named – Aeroplan! It will launch November 8 and there are a ton of details to go over for those that invested in the frequent flyer program as a whole. For most of us, Aeroplan is about award redemptions so that is what we will take a look at – what the new Aeroplan award system looks like.
The New Aeroplan Award Plan
A Look at the New Part of the New Aeroplan Award Plan
No More Miles – Just “Points”
First, in a move to make the concept easier for those that still wonder how “miles” work, Aeroplan will be awarding “points”. For a program grounded in a country that uses kilometers for distance measurements, it makes more sense to say points than miles anyway!
No Cash Surcharges
This is a big one for anyone that enjoys using Aeroplan
miles points for travel on Lufthansa and Austrian, for example. For years, flying those carriers between North America and Europe meant paying high prices in fuel surcharges – like hundreds of dollars for a one way ticket in business class (plus the miles!). There were ways to shrink that amount but it was still a pain, nonetheless.
So, the new Aeroplan will be eliminating the cash surcharges – that means much lower fees for first and business class travel on Lufthansa and business class on Austrian. But… this is where part of the tradeoff will come in…
The New Aeroplan Award Chart
So, they are basing the Air Canada portion of redemption on the ticket price, so they give you a range that the ticket will fall in. But, for partners, it will continue to be a fixed price – but now they are using a system of zones based on distance. Yes, it is kind of like a hybrid of an Avios award chart and the old Aeroplan award chart.
This means that you will pay an amount in miles based on distance and zone. For example, below is the chart for North America and Atlantic zones. If you want to see the entire new Aeroplan award chart, click here.
Under the current Aeroplan award chart, flying business class between JFK and Frankfurt on Lufthansa would cost you around $600 in fees and 55,000 miles. Under the new chart, it will cost just the regular fees (so like $20 or less) and 60,000 miles. This is because it is just under the 4,000 miles. That is not bad at all!
However, if you are going to fly Los Angeles to Paris via Frankfurt, you will need to pay the fees (which will be a little more because of Germany airport taxes but still under $100) and 85,000 miles because it is just over 6,000 miles.
The Tradeoff – More Miles / Fewer Fees
That is 30,000 more miles than the current plan! Now, for many, that would be preferable to paying the $600 in surcharges! But, this would only matter for people that were redeeming on airlines that charges these surcharges.
If you typically fly Turkish Airlines or SWISS in business between North American and Europe (like I do), you are never paying those surcharges anyway. So, now you will be paying much higher mileage costs while still not saving anything on the surcharge side! For me, I still prefer either of those airlines to Lufthansa business so I am not gaining anything by this.
But, the real prize would be for those that want to book Lufthansa First Class. That is an amazing new deal now that you do not pay those high surcharges! But, if you started in Europe, not only were you not paying as much but you could take advantage of “home base” catering and longer flights!
Stopovers on One-Ways
Currently, Aeroplan only allows stopovers on roundtrip flights. But, under the new Aeroplan award system, you get to redeem 5,000 miles for stopovers on one way award tickets! This is an awesome new touch since it lets you almost make a pseudo-round-the-world trip!
Aeroplan Partner Fee
Oh, back to more fees! Now, there is a new $39 CAD fee for all partner award bookings, online or on the phone. This applies to each ticket. That does not make that big of a deal in USD but is still a bit of nickel-and-diming since Aeroplan knows that many people use the program for partner awards so why not take a little extra?
Aeroplan Fees on Changes and Cancellations
Currently, there is no fee for cancellations or changes due to coronavirus. But, normally, it would cost $125 CAD to cancel an award ticket and $100 CAD to change an award ticket.
The new Aeroplan award system will now charge fees based on the time before travel and the method of cancelation (on the phone or online). The cancellation fees online will cost $150 CAD – so 25 more. The changes will be between $75 and $100 CAD, depending on whether you making the change 60 days prior before travel or within the 60 days.
Now, with the new Aeroplan award system, you can pool miles between other people – up to 8 people in total. Also, you do not have to live at the same address or even be closely related. Obviously, there will likely be some ways this will be taken advantage of so if it is a high level, expect that to tighten a bit.
Lap Infant Awards
Speaking of family, Aeroplan is making it cheaper to travel with your little lap infant. Already, Aeroplan has the best option and pricing for this among the Star Alliance partners – just pay 100 CAD. Actually, for the last few months, they have not been charging anything!
Now, as highlighted by Nick over at Frequent Miler, it will only cost $25 CAD. This is excellent – especially when you remember that Aeroplan recently added Etihad as a partner! That means you could actually bring your child into the First Apartment, which wasn’t possible with some other programs or was prohibitively expensive.
A Better Website?
Really, the current Aeroplan website is horrible. I mean, for as many times as it is down for maintenance, you would expect it to be the smoothest, most user-friendly website on the internet!
But, the new Aeroplan award system is saying they will make it better and it will be right at Air Canada’s website. Hopefully it is better because, right now, using the Aeroplan app is the way to go!
So, there is a lot to like about the new Aeroplan award system – especially with things like 5,000 miles per stopover. Plus, they are promising new and exciting partners so that should be great also!
But, there are some tradeoffs to this new program. There will be some little or higher fees that we will now pay for partners and whenever we cancel or change. Plus, it will cost more in miles. Fortunately, Aeroplan is a transfer partner of CapitalOne and American Express so it is kind of easy to generate the
miles points needed.
What do you think about the new Aeroplan award system?