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Aeroplan’s Generous Change & Cancellation Policy (Now Through September 2021)

Shortly after the new program’s launch in early November, Aeroplan had quietly improved its change and cancellation policy for bookings made through 2020, and that date has now been updated to September 30, 2021.

Book By September 2021 and Cancel Anytime

Throughout most of 2020, Aeroplan has offered a flexible cancellation policy with a rolling deadline, by which members could cancel their itineraries free of charge.

As long as a member initiated the cancellation by this rolling deadline, they would not pay a cancellation fee. However, they might still pay a cancellation fee if they initiated the cancellation after this deadline.

After the new program’s launch in November 2020, the policy was simplified to eliminate this point of uncertainty. The current policy can be found on the Air Canada website, and reads as follows:

Aeroplan flight rewards booked through September 30, 2021 can be changed or cancelled free of charge, at any time. 

For changes, you’ll pay only the difference in points, or receive a partial refund if your new itinerary requires fewer points.

For cancellations, you’ll receive all of your Aeroplan points back in your account, plus a full refund of any associated taxes, fees and surcharges on the unused value of your travel. (Note that refunds will not apply for previously-charged fees, including contact centre booking fees and change fees, or for government taxes and fees which are non-refundable by law.)

As you can see, if you make any bookings through the September 2021 deadline, you will be able to change or cancel the itinerary free of charge at any time. For the avoidance of doubt, this means that you’ll be able to change or cancel the itinerary for free even in October 2021 or thereafter, as long as the ticket was originally booked by September 30, 2021.

Let’s first talk about the cancellation policy. 

The fact that any bookings made through September 2021 will be cancellable free of charge means that every Aeroplan booking you make today is essentially “risk-free”: even if your travel plans don’t work out, you can simply cancel free of charge and get all your points redeposited into your account, as well as the associated taxes and fees (including the $39 partner booking fee, if applicable) refunded to your credit card.

You’ll notice that there are a few exceptions; if you make a booking over the phone (as is necessary if you wish to book a stopover for 5,000 points), then the phone booking fee of $30 plus taxes is not refundable later on.

Moreover, the exceptions also include “government taxes and fees that are non-refundable by law”; I personally haven’t come across too many examples of this, but there may be certain countries around the world whose government-imposed fees fit that bill.

As a result of this generous cancellation policy, the door is very much open to making speculative bookings with your balance of Aeroplan points. As long as you have the points, don’t be afraid to make a few different bookings for different travel options (flight times, routings, airlines, etc.) for any trip you might be considering later in 2021.

You can always cancel all but one when your plans have firmed up, as long as you initiate the cancellation within two hours of the first departing flight.

In addition, another consequence of this policy is that you should continually monitor the prices of any Aeroplan bookings made on Air Canada flights.

The new dynamic pricing model can be highly variable over time, so if you see that your flight has in fact gone down in price, then it might make sense to cancel for free and rebook, saving yourself a nice chunk of points.

Book By September 2021 and Get the “One Free Change” Policy

The other component of the policy relates to making changes to a flight reward. On this point, it’s important to clarify that only the first change to a ticket booked through September 2021 will be free. Subsequent voluntary changes may still incur a change fee.

If you need to make another voluntary change after that, then a better idea would be to simply cancel the ticket free of charge (since you had originally booked it by September 2021) and make a new booking, instead of paying a change fee for your subsequent change.

There’s another small improvement to the nature of making changes to your Aeroplan bookings. In the past, if your change results in having to pay more Aeroplan points, then those points would be taken out of your account, but if it results in the ticket needing fewer Aeroplan points, then you wouldn’t get that difference in points refunded at all.

Now, however, you will receive a partial refund in points if your new itinerary costs fewer points compared to before. That’s very much a fair gesture, especially considering the sheer variability in Air Canada’s dynamic pricing model these days.

As a reminder, Aeroplan’s change and cancellation fees under normal circumstances look as follows.

(The increase in these fees is one of the negative changes of the new program compared to before, so it’s nice that we at least have some temporary reprieve from these fees for now.)

Given the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation these days, it’s reasonable to think that the deadline of September 30, 2021 for both the flexible change and cancellation policies may get extended even further into the future, but we’ll have to wait and see what type of approach Aeroplan takes at that point in time.

Indeed, in late July, Aeroplan executives commented on a livestream hosted by Anshul from Points Miles & Bling that it’s unlikely that the flexible change and cancellation policy will be extended for much longer beyond this summer. Now may be the time to lock in as many speculative bookings as you can before we lose that flexibility.

Conclusion

Aeroplan’s current change and cancellation policies for flight rewards are quite generous, in light of the ongoing uncertainty around travel.

Any booking made by September 30, 2021 will be subject to free cancellation and a free first voluntary change at any time (even in October 2021 or thereafter), which opens the door to greater flexibility – and perhaps even an element of speculation – when booking travel for later in 2021 or in early 2022.

56 Comments
  1. Leon YYC

    On one hand, I appreciate the flexibility but on the other, there will be more speculative bookings made by all members, thus driving up reward pricing for flights well into 2022.

  2. Brad

    Ricky, is there any value in booking 81K flexible partner business class as opposed to the standard 70K? In the case of standard 70K, can you cancel online?
    Would the same hold for first class bookings as well?

    1. Ricky YVR

      For now, not really, because you can cancel all the bookings for free anyway. After August 31, flexible business class would offer free changes and cancellations while standard business class wouldn’t. Same holds for First Class.

  3. L Lau

    What happens when you use additional cash to lower the points required? (e.g. regular redemption is 20k + $100 or 15k + $175). Would $175 still be returned as cash if the ticket is cancelled?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes, the cash is returned.

      1. Ismail

        Hi Rick

        Once the booking / flight is cancelled,( rewards booking )
        Any idea how soon the points are
        returned to ones account . Is it immediately?

        1. Ricky YVR

          Immediately.

  4. Dmitry Meller

    Hi.
    For me it still shows “through July 31” and not through August 31…

    “Aeroplan flight rewards booked through July 31, 2021 can be changed or cancelled free of charge, at any time. If you’d like to cancel any flight reward, the fastest way to do so is right here at aircanada.com.”

    1. Mika

      Hi.

      How fast does Aeroplan give you back the points after you cancel the flight ?
      We are trying to change our flight but we can’t reach anyone when we call Aeroplan, we’ve been on hold for hours for several days …

    2. Ricky YVR

      It was changed to August 31 earlier in the week, and seems to have changed back. I believe it’s an error but I’ll follow up.

      1. Frank

        I believe that you can change as many times as you want before Aug. 31st, after that, you can only change once or cancel for free.
        I called for a few changes for one booking, and then finally canceled through website for free.

      2. Dmitry

        Thank you, Ricky. I hope it’s just a mistake.
        I was very excited to have an extra month to plan my flight arrangements…

        1. Dmitry

          Spoke with the Aeroplan customer service today and they confirmed that it was extended until August 31st. They sent a request to fix the wrong date on the website.

          1. Ricky YVR

            Thanks for reporting back. I’ve also gotten confirmation that it’s indeed been extended until August 31.

              1. Ricky YVR

                Yes, we quoted this in the article above.

  5. LARRY

    Just to clarify, does the free cancellation only refer to booking using points and not cash? Let’s say I want to keep my current points and pay cash to accumulate more points for future travel.

    1. Josh YVR

      Correct, this policy is only for points bookings. New cash bookings are no longer eligible for a full refund (unless the flight is cancelled by Air Canada), although I believe you can still cancel and convert the base fare to Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus.

  6. Elise

    Thanks for explaining it further, I think the wording is pretty confusing right now since it doesn’t explicitly mention booking date vs flight date.

  7. james

    Hey Ricky, I did some changes to my booking twice and it seems like the free change fees isnt one time only. I was able to change twice without fees. Any experience on this?

  8. Kevin

    Just a quick correction to avoid confusion there is one reference in the article to the old May deadline: “if you make any bookings through the May 2021 deadline”.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Thanks Kevin, updated.

  9. Andrea

    Hi, is the free cancellation also apply to award tickets for other airlines booked through AirCanada.com. That is, 2 weeks ago, I booked an October award ticket for YVR-TPE-SIN via EVA Air, booked through Air Canada.com using my Aeroplan points. If I cancel it in September, will I get the full Aeroplan points re-deposit to my Aeroplan account?
    Thanks !

    1. Jay*

      Yes.

  10. Tom Devlin

    Thanks for the good news re policy extension.

    I have a question re first free change.

    If I book a two-bound multi-flight trip, does the “first free change allow me to change multiple flights, or flights on both bounds, so long as I make all the changes at that one time?

    Thanks Again

    Tom Devlin

  11. steve

    Sure hope this keeps getting extended – enough to book into summer 2022 without any monetary consequences.

  12. Amyranth

    Just to check that my math is correct: If I book YYC-LAX-HND return for 2, and have to change 60 days prior to the flight, that’s $75 between YYC-LAX and again between LAX-HND both ways, right? Roughly $600.00 for F in total?

  13. Yvonne Chang

    Hi Ricky, I’m very confused with the 5000 points stopover under Aeroplan new system. Unfortunately, the agents were confused and not helpful at all. Could it be booked on line? No matter how I tried to book with a stopover under multi-city, the trips and total points came up to be a total of two one-way rather than one with additional 5000 points. Very frustrating. Any advices on how can I book my mini rtw itinerary with
    one free stopover in between? instead of 4 separated one-way? Thanks in advance

    Toronto-Copenhagen(stopover)-Melbourne and returning from
    Perth-Tokyo(stopover)-YYZ

    1. Ricky YVR

      No, the 5,000-point stopover cannot be booked online at the moment. You’ll have to call in and get a (competent) agent’s help with any itinerary that has a stopover on a one-way bound.

      1. Yvonne

        Hi Ricky, Thanks for your time responding to my question.
        I tried to call center a few times and each time I give them different route but am unable to find a route with a 5000 point stopover. Is my route doable with the stopover in between?
        Toronto – Copenhagen or Amsterdam or Stockholm (stopover) – Melbourne
        Perth – Tokyo or Taipei (stopover) – Toronto
        If not which cities would work for a stopover between Toronto and Melbourne/Perth?
        Your recommendation is very much appreciated.

  14. Roger Delbaere

    Given this policy of no fee cancellation does it make any sense to book Flexible Business class versus Lowest Business class? Is there any advantage?

    1. Ricky YVR

      If flying out of YYZ or YVR, you’d get access to the Signature Suite (if it opens, which I don’t think it will for the foreseeable future). So for now, there’s no real benefit to booking Business Flexible.

  15. Lois

    Thank you for this Ricky! For the one free change, if I am booking in one booking return travel for our family of 4, does the one free change only count for one the there or back portion of the trip, or for one person OR can I change the dates or times of travel there AND back for all 4 of us without a fee. Does it matter at this point if I book today (Feb 28) or only as long as I book before April? Thank you for putting this all together!

  16. Mike

    Has there been any updates on cancellation of flights booked with MR-S points though Fixed Point Travel to receive it back in Aeroplan points + 65% bonus?

    1. Ricky YVR

      I’m still waiting for my points to be deposited, 13 weeks after requesting the conversion. I’ll be sure to update when they arrive.

      1. James

        Hi Ricky,

        I was wondering what is the best way to cancel a reward booking book November 2020.
        Theres an option to cancel on the aircanada website but when I click on it, there seems to be some sort of glitch. I wasnt sure to click confirm wether this will actually fully cancel and no charges for the cancellation.

        Would it be better to cancel via calling aeroplan contact center? Im just worried that if I cancel via calling, csr might charge me the cancellation fees. Theres seems to be confusion happening.

        1. Ricky YVR

          You can cancel over the phone and they shouldn’t charge you any fees.

  17. Al

    For the one change policy, does it apply only after Feb 28, 2021?
    For example, if you booked an award ticket today (Feb 14) and then call in to change it before Feb 28, 2021, do you still get the one free change after Feb 28 ,2021?
    When I booked mine in Jan, the CSR said changes are unlimited? before Feb 28 but now I’m not so sure.
    I guess one can just cancel the original ticket before Feb 28 and rebook (like you noted in this article) but then you have to paid the phone ordering fee again (for stopover tickets).

  18. John

    I just called Aeroplan today and the agent said it needs to be cancelled by Feb 28th for this to apply free of charge. This is a risk on our part to book multiple flights if we can’t cancel for free.

    1. Ricky YVR

      As stated in the article and in an email that Aeroplan sent directly to members, any bookings made by Feb 28 can be cancelled for free even after that date.

      1. John

        Thanks. Looks like I never received that member email….and it’s frustrating when their agents tell us a different story.

  19. Donald

    Booked an Aeroplan award back in June 2020, Etihad flights have been cancelled and rebooked to unsatisfactory schedules including a forced 23 hour delay at LHR. Will I receive the full payment back including the $31.50 phone in booking fee?

  20. Alex

    Thanks Ricky! Any update on travel agencies (Expedia etc.) and the conversion of Air Canada cancelled tickets to a travel voucher (no expiration) or Aeroplan points + 65% bonus? I saw your post on American Express permitting this some weeks ago and was curious about the others. Any suggestions how to push the other TA’s to do this. It only seems equitable. Thanks for the great insights. Love your blog.

  21. Fred

    For what it is worth I asked the exact same question last week regarding the change cancel policy and the agent confirmed reward flights booked before Feb 28th, 2021 can be changed or cancelled anytime up to 2hrs before the flight.

  22. Jim Do

    Reading the comments here… is it possible that the CSRs are correct in that the policy states “book through” and not “book by” Dec 31, 2020?

    Aeroplan flight rewards booked through December 31, 2020 can be changed or cancelled free of charge, at any time.

    1. Ricky YVR

      “Book through” means the same as “book by”. “Through” means “on any date on or before”.

      By the way, the deadline has now been extended to be “booked through February 28, 2021” – and the article updated.

  23. bingo

    Called in, and got the same message–free cancellations and changes only until Dec 31, 2020. Unless things are extended, that is the last date to be able to make a single change or cancel at no cost.

    I’m beginning to think either that page may be incorrect, or it is going to be a significant fight to cancel without any penalty

    1. Ray

      I also spoke with 3 different Aeroplan agents and they all said the same thing – the free cancellations and change is only applicable for changes made before Dec 31, 2020. I brought up the terms on the website and they said perhaps the wording is confusing but they were adamant that the free cancellation/change must occur before Dec 31, 2020. Given the ambiguity of it all, I decided not to book anything yet as I want to avoid wasting my time fighting over the terms.

      1. Ricky YVR

        For what it’s worth, I’ve relayed to Aeroplan to remind the call centre agents and social media agents of the current policy, so hopefully they’ll be briefed on it properly and start equipping members with the correct information as soon as possible.

        1. John

          I just called Aeroplan today and the agent said it needs to be cancelled by Feb 28th for this to apply free of charge. This is a risk on our part to book multiple flights if we can’t cancel for free.

        2. Paul

          Awesome, thanks Ricky!

    2. Paul

      Did you bring up what their own web page said bingo?

  24. Paul

    Hey Mark, Maybe send them the link to their own webpage and ask them if it is incorrect or needs to be updated.

    https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/aeroplan/news/covid-19.html

    We have Aeroplan flights booked back to Canada in March and so we are directly affected by this topic. Currently we are operating on the assumption that the page Ricky mentioned is correct. If it is incorrect it could definitely change what we do with our tickets on Dec. 31st. Was it a private correspondence on Twitter or something we can add to?
    Thanks!
    Paul

  25. mark diamond

    Hey Ricky, so I sent that exact cancellation policy re: aware flights to Aeroplan on twitter and my response contradicts your article. The Aeroplan employee stated “…members are currently able to cancel and refund their flight rewards without charge until dec 31 2020. Unless this policy of goodwill is extended, applicable fees will then apply to cancel reservations”…thoughts ?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Sounds like the social media team doesn’t quite understand the meaning of “any time”, which only adds to the confusion around this topic.

      If you book before December 31, you’ll be able to cancel for free even in 2021.

      1. Mark Diamond

        I reached out to them again via Twitter and received the following response:

        Hi Mark, members are currently able to cancel and refund their flight rewards (points and taxes) without charge until December 31, 2020 for tickets with original travel between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. Unless this goodwill policy is further extended, the usual fees will then apply to change or refund reservations issued on/after January 1, 2021. These fees are established during the booking of your flight reward based on the fare option selected. To the best of our knowledge, all Aeroplan flight rewards can be changed or refunded up to 2 hours before departure. Should you want to review your booking or confirm the applicable fees, we invite you to call our Contact Centre at 1-800-361-5373 or 1-514-395-0300 (daily from 7 am to midnight ET). An agent will gladly look into this with you. We hope this helps! Arya

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