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.
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
Myth #2: Aeroplan has blackout dates
Myth #3: Contact Centre Agents have access to more seats
Myth #4: You need to book a year in advance to find a seat
Myth #5: It’s virtually impossible to change or cancel a flight reward
Myth #6: You can only earn miles by flying
Myth #7: Only the Contact Centre can credit my miles if I forget to provide my Aeroplan Number when flying
Myth #8: I’ll have to be on hold for 2 hours if I call in to book a flight
Myth #9: Aeroplan is the only program where the miles expire
Myth #10: There are no real perks to achieving status with Aeroplan
Myth #11: I can’t use my miles to book flights for my friends and family
Myth #12: My credit card is my Aeroplan Card
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.