Aeroplan Changes Coming Soon: What to Expect

Advertiser Disclosure This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services.
Last updated on November 15, 2020 Comments: 14

For over a year, Canadians have been waiting to hear about what changes we could expect to see from Aeroplan. After Air Canada announced that it was going to buy Aeroplan and revamp it, a lot of people were skeptical as to what those changes would bring. Would they make it better? Would it be worse? Or perhaps just a newly designed version offering basically the same things?

Well, after months of waiting Aeroplan has finally released the changes that we can expect to see within the new program.

And we’re pretty impressed.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Aeroplan changes.

Aeroplan Changes At a Glance

Exciting Aeroplan Changes Coming in 2021

New Aeroplan Launch Dates

While this new information was released on August 11th, the actual changes don’t come into play until November. November 8th is the soft launch for the program, but the hard launch won’t come into effect until the first quarter of 2021.

So, what does that mean? It means we have a few more surprises coming our way. Aeroplan still has some things in the works which will take a little longer to put together. In the meantime, until November 8th, the program will run as is. You can keep using your Aeroplan Miles under the current rules and regulations. However, on November 8th, everything will switch over.

Aeroplan Miles Are Now Aeroplan Points, and Easy to Obtain!

One key point to be aware of is that Aeroplan miles are now called Aeroplan points. There is no difference other than the terminology and when the switchover comes, all your miles will be converted to points on a 1:1 basis. You won’t lose anything.

Additionally, as part of the rebranding Aeroplan is getting a new logo that is more in line with Air Canada branding. It will also be easier to redeem points moving ahead as the plan is to get rid of the Aeroplan website so redemptions can be done directly on Aircanada.com or the Air Canada app.

Good Riddance Carrier Surcharges!

Remember those pesky carrier surcharges on certain airlines (called YQ)? Air Canada flights were notorious for them and points collectors have always hated them as they added a hefty increase on ticket prices.

Well, in an unexpected move, they are no more. Aeroplan has completely eliminated those fees for all fares going onwards.

All Seats Are Now Available on Air Canada Flights

Just like it sounds, every seat on Air Canada flights is now open to be booked with your points as long as it’s available. This includes premium economy as well as business class seats and there are no blackout dates. You can now travel when you want, on whatever flight you want, in whatever seat you want with your points.

Dynamic Pricing for Air Canada Flights

Unfortunately, it can’t all be good news. While having all seats available for Air Canada flights is a huge perk, it does come with a bit of a downfall. Under this new Aeroplan program, all Air Canada flights now have dynamic pricing.

What does this mean?

It means that the number of points required for the ticket depends on the time of year you will be travelling as well as the popularity of the route you are choosing to take. So, those travelling during the holiday season or during the summer months can expect to pay more than those who travel during fall or spring.

Keep in mind, the dynamic fares are for Air Canada flights only. You can still get fixed point tickets with partner airlines. The catch, however, is that partner airlines still have limited seat availability when purchased with points.

Generous Stopover Policy

Travel hackers have been trying to make the most of Aeroplan miles for years. Well, now more than ever, you can truly put together a round-the-world ticket.

With each one-way flight component, you will have the ability to add a stopover for an additional fee of 5000 points. Granted, depending on how many stopovers you choose to have on your journey, that could rack up to costing you a lot of points. However, it’s nice that that option is there should you wish to use it. Before, you were only allowed one stopover. Note that stopovers are not allowed in Canada or the USA when departing from North America.

Additionally, Aeroplan has gotten rid of their MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage) that put a limit on how many layovers (under 24 hours) you could build into your itinerary. Originally, the MPM policy was put into place to prevent customers from doing any really big round-the-world type trips. However, with those limitations gone, the ability to add as many stopovers as you’d like, and up to 15 layovers, travellers really can plan their dream RTW trip.

Plus, this can be done online via the Air Canada website. There will be no need to get in touch with an Air Canada team member to plan the route out over the phone.

New Aeroplan Rewards Chart

It’s important to note that it has been 16 years since Aeroplan has updated its rewards chart. As such, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t just updated. It’s been completely overhauled.

Aeroplan is extending how far your pints can take you

Under this new redemption chart, flights are divided into 4 different zones:

  • North America
  • Atlantic
  • Pacific
  • South America

How many points you need to fly will depend on where you start, where you end, the distance between the destinations, and the popularity of the route.

Again, we also need to remember that Air Canada flights have dynamic pricing which will also affect the amount of points required. As you will see in the examples below, this means that the required points can vary quite a bit. Partner airlines have fixed pricing but, remember, this often means longer routes because of stopovers plus limited seat selection.

Here are a few example routes. Please note that all routes are 1 way:

RouteAir Canada EconomyAir Canada BusinessPartner Airline (Fixed)
Toronto- Orlando10,000-15,000 points20,000- 35,000 points6000 (economy)
15,000 (business)
Toronto- Hong Kong50,000-90,000 points85,000- 200,000 points60,000 (economy)
85,000 (business)
Montreal- Marrakech35,000-65,000 points60,000- 160,000 points35,000 (economy)
60,000 (business)

If you are an Aeroplan expert, you may look at the new redemption schedules and notice that there has been an increase for many of the routes. However, keep in mind, there are no more carrier surcharges that you need to worry about adding on top of this. Also, with the dynamic pricing, you may also be able to get a better deal than before if you can time things right.

Aeroplan Family Sharing

Another feature that many Canadians will love is the new family sharing plan which allows you to link up to 8 people to create one large pool of points so that you can redeem them faster.

Don’t let the name mislead you. Your 8 people don’t actually have to be family members or live at the same address. You can add in whoever you want.

Whoever comes into the group brings their points with them. When it comes to redeeming, anyone can make a redemption (although it does need to be approved by the group manager) and the points are collected on a percentage basis.

For example, if mom has 50% of the points in the pool, Dad has 30%, and two kids both have 15% and someone in the family wants to make a redemption for 10,000 points then 5,000 points are taken from mom, 3,000 from dad, and 1,500 from each of the kids.

There are a few rules around family sharing to prevent fraud. If you join a group, you have to stay for a minimum of 3 months and wait 6 months before you can join another. However, if you do decide to leave, you get to keep all the points you brought in and earned during your time in the group, minus any that were used towards redemptions.

Changes for Earning Aeroplan Points on Flights

New Aeroplan Earning Rates

One of the key changes in the new Aeroplan program is how customers can earn points on flights. In the old program, earning points on flights could get confusing. Earn rates depended on distance flown and fare codes. Now, every fare will earn points and in addition, depending on your class and status in the Aeroplan program, you’ll earn points on top of those you earned for the fare.

The new earn rates are as follows:

Fare TypeEarn Rate
Basic2x
Standard /Flex/Comfort/
Latitude/Premium Economy/
Business
3x
Aeroplan Elite StatusEarn Rate
25k, 35k1x
50k2x
75k3x
Super Elite4x

For example, say you gave Aeroplan 35k status and you booked a standard fare at $250. You will earn 3x from the standard fare (750) plus 1x from your status (250) which means you will walk away with 1,000 Aeroplan points for that fare.

Changes for Redeeming Aeroplan Points

New Aeroplan Redeeming Points

As mentioned earlier, the new Aeroplan program will make it easier to redeem points directly through the AirCanada.ca website or the Air Canada app.

Additionally, when you go to book a flight with your Aeroplan points you will be presented with 150+ possible routes and flight paths to your destination. While this may seem overboard to some, those who like to build itineraries with various stopovers and layovers can have a lot of fun with this feature.

Finally, Aeroplan is also introducing a points + cash program which, as you probably guessed, allows members to use a combination of points and cash to make a redemption.

New Aeroplan Credit Cards

Aeroplan will continue to partner with TD, CIBC, and American Express in terms of offering co-branded credit card options. These Aeroplan credit cards will also be launched on November 8, 2020, to coincide with the launch of the new Aeroplan program.

As of right now, we can expect to see 11 new Aeroplan credit cards with options for entry-level, mid-range, premium, and business options. Some of these cards will be renamed and redesigned in terms of visual appearance. Customers who are already Aeroplan cardholders can expect to be transitioned to these new credit cards accordingly. You should receive notification from your bank about the upcoming changes at the end of this month.

Some details have been released about the inclusions and benefits of these credit cards. Some of the new perks we are seeing on specific cards include:

  • Higher earn rates on Air Canada purchases
  • NEXUS credit
  • Preferred pricing
  • First checked bag free
  • Shared benefits with the secondary cardholder
  • Maple Leaf Lounge access
  • Priority Pass Lounge access
  • Priority airport services/upgrade/standby
  • Annual worldwide companion pass
  • Elite Status Qualification boost

In terms of annual fees, we can expect the fees to stay the same or be a bit higher. As for welcome bonuses, well, there’s no information on that yet but we’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll see some pretty impressive signup offers when they launch.

Final Thoughts on the New Aeroplan Changes

 

Overall, the new Aeroplan changes are positive for travellers. There have been a few unexpected surprises, especially given the current situation and the fact that the travel industry is at an unprecedented all-time low.

The changes indicated above are, apparently, only 60% of what we can expect to see with the new Aeroplan program. We can also expect to see some non-flight rewards roll out which will allow customers to use points for hotels, car rentals, and Air Canada Vacations packages.

Additionally, points will be redeemable for ‘micro-redemptions’ which include seat upgrades, onboard wifi, and onboard drinks and meals. There will also be some changes to non-travel partners. An updated e-store is in the works and we can anticipate new Aeroplan partners for both earning and redeeming.

We’re excited to see these new changes come into play and will continue to update you on any forthcoming information about the new Aeroplan program as well as the new Aeroplan credit cards as it becomes available.

*The information presented is true to November 8, 2020.

Recommended Read: Best Travel Rewards Programs in Canada

Author Bio

Hannah Logan
Hannah Logan is a freelance finance and travel writer/blogger based in Ottawa. Her stories have appeared on Fodor’s Travel, Livestrong, World Nomads, Intrepid Travel, and more. You can keep up with her at Eatsleepbreathetravel.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram: hannahlogan21.

Article comments

14 comments
Peggy Lane says:

I cannot believe the difference in points required to book a trip to Italy. I am so very disappointed in these Aeroplan miles. Previously it was supposed to be 60,000 points for a return trip to Italy and when I tried to book today is was 218,000. I should just give up this card as I’ll never be able to use it. 🙁

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Peggy,
That sucks. How long ago did you try to book for the 60k in points? Also curious, will this mean you’ll be looking for a different travel rewards credit card with a different redemption model?

John Miller says:

I will never fly on Air Canada again. I lost 260,000 points because they told me my points expired.

Aaron Broverman says:

I can understand John,
Unfortunately, Aeroplan Miles do have an expiration date. If you don’t use them for 18 months, you will lose them. Of course, there are easy ways to prevent that from happening, like purchase something with an air miles credit card, swipe your air miles card at a partner retailer or at the Estore. Literally, it just takes a little activity, you can even donate your miles to charity.

Mondie says:

I never found Aeroplan points to be a great value to begin with. It always seemed to me that the actual flight value you got for the points was minimal (on trips outside Canada) and the majority of the flight you had to pay for in cash anyway (taxes and fees). I remember trying to book a flight to Paris last year and I would have had to pay approximately 65% of the total flight cost in cash because it was mostly taxes and fees. I was only saving about $300 by using my points versus just paying cash for the flight. Rather than collect Aeroplan points through a credit card I feel I am better off getting a cash back card and putting those savings towards my flight.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Mondie,
I do actually find both Aeroplan and Air Miles to be lacking in some areas and prefer Avion. I hope the new changes end up making Aeroplan better and it receives more acclaim from members.

Andie Em says:

Thank you for this! This is the most thorough article I have found on the upcoming changes. I don’t have a whole lot of miles left in my Aeroplan account – enough really for one more trip from Toronto to BC, but I am wondering if I should book now for 25,000 miles + fees, or chance waiting until the Aeroplan rolls out?
Also, I would love to see a Mastercard branded Aeroplan card. I have no use for a Visa — can’t use it at Costco!

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Andie,
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, any travel moves should be made with great caution and that includes anything to do with airline loyalty programs, since flights can be canceled at a moments notice, more than likely the first seats to be turfed will be the ones bought with miles. I would wait until at least Aeroplan rolls out so at least you know what you’re dealing with going forward in a chaotic travel industry. Book now and your flight might be canceled anyway, so be patient and take a “wait and see” approach with all travel arrangements. Personally, i would wait until a vaccine is mass produced before I travel.

Chris P Brown says:

Thanks for this overview! It looks like where I’m flying from -for the most part Japan to Vancouver and back- that my numbers will jump substantially (37,000 economy to 60,000!). I wonder if I can pre book flights before Nov 8 (for later in 2020 or into 2021) using current Aeroplan point charges?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Chris,
Yes, I would recommend booking all transcontinental international flights for 2020 and 2021 BEFORE November 8th because pretty much all international flights are going up in price under the new Aeroplan program. I have heard that the Transpacific zone (particularly, Vancouver to Tokyo or Calgary to Tokyo are actually going down in price. According to the Prince of Travel Blog, direct flights from Vancouver to Tokyo will go from 37.5K to 35K (a difference of 6%) and non-direct flights are going from 75K to 55K (a difference of 27%) However, if you’re research shows the prices are going up between Vancouver and Japan, then, by all means, book now to lock in the rate you are use to.

Jasper says:

Based on what you know, what would you suggest for someone moving to Switzerland? Miles and More or Aeroplan?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Jasper,
Since I am Canadian and know more about Aeroplan than Miles and More. I would say Aeroplan. Yes, I know I’m biased, but here me out here. Aeroplan is going through its own restructuring after leaving a partnership with Air Canada, but it’s still part of Star Alliance which has strong airline partners in Europe. But I will say that what determines the one you pick should be how easy it is to collect points. In Canada, Aeroplan has great credit card partnerships that help you accumulate miles faster and though their retail partners have dwindled, they are still ubiquitous so it’s easy to accumulate points when shopping. If Miles and More has a stronger or similar presence in Switzerland, pick that one. If Aeroplan does and Miles and More is barely a blip or has weaker earn rates and sign-up bonuses, pick Aeroplan.

Kenneth Bateman says:

Pretty disappointing rollout. Come on Air Canada – you are delivering what we were concerned you intended all along – substantially less travel benefits at a higher overall cost ….packaged in a lot of chippy words.

Aaron Broverman says:

Yeah Kennneth,
I agree that the restructuring has definitely made Aeroplan far less potent as a loyalty program and open for its competition to take advantage.