Aeroplan Changes Coming Soon: What to Expect
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.
In This Article:
Aeroplan Changes At a Glance
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.
Under this new redemption chart, flights are divided into 4 different zones:
- North America
- 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:
|Route||Air Canada Economy||Air Canada Business||Partner Airline (Fixed)|
|Toronto- Orlando||10,000-15,000 points||20,000- 35,000 points||6000 (economy)
|Toronto- Hong Kong||50,000-90,000 points||85,000- 200,000 points||60,000 (economy)
|Montreal- Marrakech||35,000-65,000 points||60,000- 160,000 points||35,000 (economy)
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
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 Type||Earn Rate|
|Standard /Flex/Comfort/ |
|Aeroplan Elite Status||Earn Rate|
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
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.
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