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Busting Aeroplan Myths

I’ve taken my share of swings at the Aeroplan loyalty program, sharing stories of outrageous fees on flight redemptions, trouble transferring points when a spouse dies, and how Aeroplan flight rewards can be more expensive than cash fares. The bottom line is that readers write to me all the time to complain about Aeroplan, and while many have legitimate beefs with the program, other complaints should be viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Related: So you’re ready to dump Aeroplan – Now what?

Given the right circumstances Aeroplan does offer good value to its members. Recently, the much maligned coalition loyalty program owned by Aimia, addressed a major concern from its members by finally allowing them to use their Aeroplan Miles to cover the taxes, fees and surcharges associated with a flight reward (although it should be noted that when redeeming for taxes fees, and surcharges you’re getting about 1/3 less value than if you redeem for airfare alone).

Now the company is aiming to address other concerns about its program by busting some common Aeroplan myths:

Myth #1: Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards are never available

Aeroplan Myth 1

Myth #2: Aeroplan has blackout dates

Aeroplan Myth 2

Myth #3: Contact Centre Agents have access to more seats

Aeroplan Myth 3

Myth #4: You need to book a year in advance to find a seat

Aeroplan Myth 4

Myth #5: It’s virtually impossible to change or cancel a flight reward

Aeroplan Myth 5

Myth #6: You can only earn miles by flying

Aeroplan Myth 6

Myth #7: Only the Contact Centre can credit my miles if I forget to provide my Aeroplan Number when flying

Aeroplan Myth 7

Myth #8: I’ll have to be on hold for 2 hours if I call in to book a flight

Aeroplan Myth 8

Myth #9: Aeroplan is the only program where the miles expire

Aeroplan Myth 9

Myth #10: There are no real perks to achieving status with Aeroplan

Aeroplan Myth 10

Myth #11: I can’t use my miles to book flights for my friends and family

Aeroplan Myth 11

Myth #12: My credit card is my Aeroplan Card

Aeroplan Myth 12

Final thoughts on Aeroplan myths

When I first came across this infographic I have to admit I was impressed that Aeroplan would take these criticisms head-on and attempt to dispel the myths with facts and truth. However, after reading all 12 complaints and the company’s attempt to respond, I came away convinced that Aeroplan’s response is a mix of equal parts truth and corporate marketing spin.

Some of the legacy complaints, like the ones about blackout dates or the call centre, have persisted for years despite the Aeroplan program evolving and eliminating most of those issues. Others, like points expiring if you’re not active in the program for a year, or that it’s difficult to find flights to redeem, remain a constant thorn in the side of Aeroplan members.

Readers: Discuss.

 

3 Comments

  1. William Dutfield on May 11, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I just booked (online)a fixed mileage trips from Toronto to Perth Australia (Business Class) for my wife and I. As I had flexible travel dates, I found flights available that met my objectives.
    The flight to Los Angeles was very open and I got the day and time I wanted. after a month in California my next trip segment was to Perth. to find available seats, I had to move the departure day to three days later than optimum. The return trip to Toronto is in April where I found flights on the day before my planned return.
    Consequently I am happy with my Aeroplan Card as I get to do the trip I wanted. This is the forth Aeroplan points trip to Australia, in the past decade. Aeroplan works for me.



  2. Gary James on May 13, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I have been with Aeroplan since 1982, and have witnessed the gradual deterioration of its reward system. Early on, I had no problem booking business class across the Atlantic using Aeroplan rewards with very direct routes and minimal stops. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

    Aeroplan’s suggestion that the use of Market Fare Flight Rewards eliminates blackout dates and capacity limits is truly marketing spin. They neglect to mention how many more points are needed for Market Fare rewards as compared to Fixed Mileage rewards and the fact that Market Fare rewards can only be used on Air Canada flights.

    For example, my wife and I recently flew business class from Edmonton to Bucharest, Romania and return. I was a little flexible in dates, but I had to match up to a river cruise schedule. My search for business class for that route using Fixed Mileage rewards constantly returned results where the longest leg of the trip (across the Atlantic) was economy class and the leg from Edmonton to Toronto always included a stop in either Fort McMurray, Calgary, or Vancouver AND Calgary (duh!!). To get business class across the Atlantic, I had to split the trip into one trip from Edmonton to Toronto economy class and another trip from Toronto to Bucharest. To get non-stop from Edmonton to Toronto, I had to use Market Fare rewards, so instead of that trip costing 50,000 points, it cost 126,400 points. I got the business class using Fixed Mileage rewards for 210,000 points plus $2,000 in fuel surcharges!! If I had been forced to use market fare rewards, the cost would have been in the range of 750,000 points. Even if I had that many points, I couldn’t use them because they only cover Air Canada flights and they don’t fly to Bucharest.

    In my opinion, the Market Fare Flight Rewards are a rip-off, Air Canada’s fuel surcharge is a rip-off, and the Fixed Mileage rewards now have so many convoluted routes (see Edmonton to Toronto above) that they are almost useless unless you live in a major hub city. After 34 years with Aeroplan, I have now switched to another reward card with much better flexibility.



  3. Fanny on July 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Just cause it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not super helupfl.



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