Air Canada’s New Aeroplan: Everything You Need to Know Ricky August 11, 2020

Air Canada’s New Aeroplan: Everything You Need to Know

Prince of Travel is your home for learning about the brand-new Aeroplan loyalty program. We’ll be rolling out a comprehensive series of posts and videos guiding you through everything you need to know about the new Aeroplan. Check back frequently this week and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.

 

Air Canada leadership is reading every word of feedback from Aeroplan members to mould the program in preparation for launch. Click here to submit your feedback.

Air Canada has officially unveiled the first details of their brand-new Aeroplan loyalty program, marking one of the most highly-anticipated moments in the history of loyalty programs in Canada and globally.

In this post, we’ll bring you the details on everything you need to know about the transformed Aeroplan program, from all-new ways to earn and redeem points, to a reimagined series of Aeroplan credit cards, to a new unified elite status program for Air Canada frequent flyers.

We’ll also bring you many individual posts over the upcoming weeks with further details on each of these exciting new components. Feel free to access these individual posts via the navigation bar to your right (on desktop) or above (on mobile), and click here for the upcoming content’s release schedule.

Let’s begin with some of the key highlights of the new Aeroplan program:

  • Air Canada’s new Aeroplan program will launch on November 8, 2020, with existing Aeroplan miles honoured 1:1 in the new program.
  • Fuel surcharges will be eliminated on all flight rewards.
  • The new Flight Reward Chart is a hybrid between zonal and distance-based charts, with dynamic pricing on Air Canada flights and fixed pricing on partner-operated flights.
  • Excluding itineraries wholly within Canada and the US, a stopover on a one-way flight will be permitted.
  • A new series of credit cards by TD, CIBC, and American Express with all-new benefits will be rolled out, replacing the current set of co-branded cards.
  • Aeroplan Elite Status will replace Air Canada Altitude as Air Canada’s frequent flyer elite program, offering a wide range of new perks and benefits.
  • The new Family Sharing feature allows you and your family to pool your points and get to the next reward sooner.
  • The new Aeroplan will be closely integrated with Air Canada in every way, making it the first-choice rewards program for Canadians whenever they travel.

If you’d prefer to digest all of the information in video format, you can watch the below video I made covering everything you need to know about the new Aeroplan.

 

You may also refer to Air Canada’s official mini-site on the new Aeroplan program. Otherwise, read on to learn about the new Aeroplan loyalty program in full detail.

In This Post

New Aeroplan – Program Launch

The new Aeroplan program will launch on November 8, 2020.

On that date, the existing Aeroplan.com website and the Aeroplan mobile app will be retired, and the new program will be launched as an integrated part of the AirCanada.com website and Air Canada’s mobile app. Members will be able to log in with the same Aeroplan credentials as they use today.

The program will launch with a brand-new visual identity, phasing out the orange Aeroplan logo in favour of a new wordmark and symbol that aligns with Air Canada’s overall design identity.

Simultaneously, the currency of “Aeroplan miles” will be rebranded as “Aeroplan points” in the new program. We will now earn “points” to redeem for flights, while the currency of “miles” will be retained only in the context of elite status.

Air Canada had previously confirmed that all Aeroplan members’ existing miles will be honoured 1:1 in the new program, so you can expect your Aeroplan mileage balance to transform into your new Aeroplan points balance as of November 8.

Until November 8, the legacy Aeroplan program will live out its final three months in its current form. Members may continue to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles under the current rules, including booking trips for up to 355 days in the future; however, it’s important to note that any changes made after November 8 will be subject to the rules of the new program, not the legacy program.

New Aeroplan – Flight Rewards

We’ve all been wondering about the new Aeroplan’s flight redemption rules for a very long time. Shall we dive right into the details? I think we shall.

Compared to the existing chart, the new program’s new Flight Reward Chart and redemption structure have been entirely rebuilt from the ground up, and I’m sure we’ll all need to spend a fair bit of time studying the new rules and charts to get a handle on everything.

Click here to access the new Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart and follow along as we go through everything.

Because there is so much to cover, let’s organize everything by a series of key facts you should know about the new Aeroplan flight rewards, followed by further discussion of each key fact.


Key Fact #1: The new Flight Reward Chart is a hybrid chart based on both geographic zones and distance-based thresholds.

First off, the new Aeroplan will offer a Points Predictor Tool, which you can try out for yourself on the mini-site, allowing members to input a certain origin and destination and get a sense of the predicted price range for their redemption.

However, in order to truly understand the award pricing, we must refer to the actual Flight Reward Chart.

The new chart divides the world into four zones: North America, South America, Atlantic, and Pacific.

North America stretches to include Hawaii; meanwhile, a border is drawn down the middle of Afro-Eurasia to separate the Atlantic and Pacific zones.

This creates a total of 10 separate award charts: four individual charts for travel within a single zone, plus six individual charts for travel between every combination of the four zones (between North America and Atlantic, between North America and Pacific, etc.)

Each of these 10 charts are further divided into distance bands and classes of service; the combination of these two criteria determine the number of Aeroplan points required for any given one-way booking.

For example, if you were interested in booking a one-way direct flight in economy class from Vancouver to Los Angeles, you’d refer to the “Within North America” award chart. Since the flight distance is 1,081 miles, you’d look at the row for “501–1,500 miles” and the column for “Economy” to see the pricing for a one-way flight.

If you wanted to book a one-way direct flight in business class from Toronto to Munich, you’d refer to the “Between North America and Atlantic zones” chart. Since the flight distance is 4,138 miles, you’d look at the row for “4,001–6,000 miles” and the column for “Business” to find your one-way pricing.

And if you wanted to book this as a round-trip flight, then you’d double this amount to arrive at the round-trip price.

Of course, you’ll also note that within every intersection of an award chart, distance threshold, and class of service, there are in fact two distinct price points listed: a fixed award price for partner airlines, and a range of prices for Air Canada.

That brings us to another sweeping change in the new Aeroplan program…


Key Fact #2: Flights operated by Air Canada are subject to dynamic pricing, while partner-operated flights are available at a fixed price.

The move to dynamic pricing for Air Canada flights reflects significantly closer integration between Air Canada, the airline, and Aeroplan, the loyalty program.

Under Fixed Mileage Rewards in the legacy Aeroplan program, seat availability on Air Canada was capacity-controlled, which left many Aeroplan members frustrated when the award availability dried up and they weren’t able to redeem miles on their preferred flights.

The new program will allow members to book any unsold seat on an Air Canada flight, while the dynamic pricing model tracks the underlying revenue fare for the next available seat and moves up and down accordingly – similar to the Market Fare Rewards under the legacy program.

The range that Air Canada publishes in the award chart represents “a predictable range in points you’ll likely need” for a given Air Canada redemption. Air Canada states that the published range for each redemption will hold true in roughly 90% of cases, while there will be some outliers in either direction.

Meanwhile, seat availability on partner airlines (including the 26 Star Alliance members, as well as international partners like Etihad Airways or domestic partners like Canadian North) remain subject to capacity controls, as before. Therefore, their redemption prices will remain at fixed levels, as indicated in the Flight Reward Chart.

We’ll delve into further nuances of the dynamic and fixed pricing models – including preferred pricing for select Aeroplan members and mixed-pricing awards between Air Canada and partners – in upcoming posts.


Key Fact #3: Carrier-imposed surcharges will be eliminated, as part of an overhaul of the fee structure.

Say it with me now…

👏🏼 NO 👏🏼 MORE 👏🏼 FUEL 👏🏼 SURCHARGES! 👏🏼

Air Canada has taken to heart the #1 complaint among members of the legacy Aeroplan program: the hefty fuel surcharges (also known as carrier-imposed surcharges) that came with reward tickets on certain airlines, including Air Canada itself.

These surcharges will be entirely eliminated in the new Aeroplan program: whether you’re redeeming Aeroplan points for Air Canada economy class, Lufthansa First Class, or any other possible redemption, you will not pay a single cent in carrier-imposed surcharges.

The elimination of fuel surcharges is accompanied by some other changes to the fee structure. Most notably, the new Aeroplan program will introduce a $39 partner booking fee, which will be levied for any reward ticket that includes a flight segment operated by a partner airline other than Air Canada.

The phone booking fee of $30 per ticket will also remain in place; however, Air Canada’s eventual goal is to make all itineraries (even the most complex ones) bookable online, so that members have no need to book via the contact centre.

Moreover, there are wholesale changes to the structure for change and cancellation fees on Aeroplan reward tickets as well. These fees are listed in the below table:

You’ll notice here that the change and cancellation fees vary based on what seems like “fare families” that we know from the world of revenue flights. And that brings us to the next key fact…


Key Fact #4: For any given redemption, members will be able to book in multiple different fare families.

It’s common to be able to book paid flights in multiple different fare families (Standard, Flex, Latitude, etc.). Under the new Aeroplan, so too will we able to book reward tickets under different families to unlock incremental benefits. This applies to redemptions with both Air Canada and partner carriers.

As shown in the above chart, one of the key incremental benefits from booking higher fare families is that you’ll have more favourable change and cancellation fees. On Air Canada economy class flights, higher fare families also unlock additional benefits such as preferred seat selection, an increased checked baggage allowance, and more.

(One very intriguing benefit of Flexible fares in Air Canada business class is that they’ll provide access to the exclusive Air Canada Signature Suites in Toronto and Vancouver, which was previously off-limits to points redemptions.)

The reward prices shown on the Flight Reward Chart represent the base-level prices: “Standard” for economy and “Lowest” for the other cabins. Members will be able to upgrade to the higher fare families by paying a points premium; this premium will vary depending on the market and will reflect the value of incremental benefits offered by each fare option. 


Key Fact #5: Brand-new routing and fare combination logic will be used, including a generous stopover policy.

You’ll notice that the new Aeroplan redemption chart displays all prices on the basis of a one-way journey.

Excluding travel within Canada and the US, each one-way component will have the ability to include one stopover of extended duration at an intermediate point, for an incremental “fee” of 5,000 Aeroplan points.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you wanted to fly from Vancouver to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, stay there for two weeks, and then fly to Beijing on Air China, all in business class.

This would be a Vancouver–Beijing award with a stopover in Frankfurt, so we’d figure out the pricing as follows:

  1. Look at the “Between North America and Pacific zones” chart.
  2. Identify the distance band of “7,501–11,000 miles” based on the total flown distance of 9,877 miles for a flight path of Vancouver–Frankfurt–Beijing.
  3. Identify the business class pricing for partner airlines: 85,000 Aeroplan points.
  4. Add 5,000 points for the stopover in Frankfurt, for a total of 90,000 Aeroplan points. You’d also pay the $39 partner award booking fee, as well as any taxes and fees associated with this award.

A stopover on a one-way naturally translates into two stopovers on a round-trip – heralding the return of the original Aeroplan Mini-RTW, albeit with a brand-new award chart in play and an incremental 10,000 Aeroplan points for the privilege of having those two stopovers.

In addition to the allowance of one stopover on a one-way, members may also add additional layovers of up to 24 hours for no additional cost, although they might pay extra miles if their routing bumps them up into a higher distance band.

Now, savvy Aeroplan users might be thinking: “But isn’t a routing of Vancouver–Frankfurt–Beijing over the maximum permitted mileage (MPM)?”

Well, no, because MPM is no longer a thing under the new program. Instead, the program will rely on brand-new logic for determining valid routings and fare combinations; a full discussion of those rules is beyond the scope of this introductory post, and will be covered in upcoming posts.


Key Fact #6: The new Aeroplan search engine will be significantly improved.

Aeroplan’s current search engine for flight rewards is known to be clunky at best and teeth-gnashingly frustrating at worst.

When the new program launches as part of the Air Canada website, the process for redeeming Aeroplan awards online will be streamlined into the same booking engine as Air Canada revenue flights, marking a significant improvement in the user experience.

The new search engine will return up to 150 search results for any given award search, and will allow members to sort and filter by price, airlines, departure and arrival times, and a variety of other criteria – just like when you’re shopping for paid flights.

Among other improvements, mixed-cabin awards will now be displayed with an icon showing the proportion of the itinerary in the desired class of service, while the new search engine will also support IATA city codes (like “NYC” for New York’s three airports or “TYO” for Tokyo’s two airports) as well as inter-airport transfers on the same itinerary (like flying into LaGuardia and out of JFK).

New Aeroplan – Credit Cards

Aeroplan’s three Canadian financial partners are TD, CIBC, and American Express; all three issuers will continue to offer co-branded credit card products. To coincide with the new program, all of the co-branded credit cards will be refreshed and relaunched as well as of November 8, 2020.

As of today, the details of no less than 11 new co-branded credit cards are being announced, with more products to come in the future. These 11 products are divided across the three issuers and across four customer segments: entry-level, mid-range (or “core” segment), premium, and small business.

While these credit cards will be launched under new visual identities and (in some cases) new names, they mostly represent continuations of existing Aeroplan credit cards in the market, and existing cardholders will be transitioned to new products accordingly. 

TD’s four Aeroplan co-branded products will continue under their current identities:

CIBC’s four Aeroplan co-branded products will relinquish the “Aero Platinum” and “Aerogold” labels, rebranding to “Aeroplan”:

American Express’s two Aeroplan co-branded products will relinquish the “AeroplanPlus” label, rebranding to “Aeroplan”:

Existing cardholders of any of the above products should expect to be notified by their bank by late August about upcoming changes to their cards.

All of the cards’ features will transition along with the new program as of November 8, while the physical replacement cards will be mailed out over the upcoming year as cardholders renew their cards.

Air Canada’s goal with the new suite of co-branded credit cards was to create a uniform product in each market segment across all three financial issuers. Therefore, in each segment, TD’s, CIBC’s and Amex’s cards will all have the same points earning rates, perks and benefits, and price points.

The most significant changes to the credit cards are found in each card’s perks and benefits, as summarized by Air Canada in the following chart:

Let’s briefly discuss each key benefit one by one, with more in-depth coverage in an upcoming post:

  • Higher earn rates on Air Canada purchases: TD and CIBC’s entry-level, core, premium, and small business credit cards will all offer a higher earn rate for Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations purchases; while most cards are remaining the same from the current rates, the premium cards will rise from 1.5x to 2x points on Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations.
  • NEXUS credit: TD and CIBC will be rolling out a rebate of up to $100 for a NEXUS application and/or renewal fee, up to four credits within a 48-month period. This credit will be available on TD’s core and premium Aeroplan cards, as well as CIBC’s premium Aeroplan card.
  • Preferred pricing: Aeroplan credit card holders may receive more favourable pricing on Air Canada flight rewards as part of the dynamic pricing algorithm.
  • Free first checked bag: Core and premium cardholders receive this benefit on Air Canada flights (whether booked with cash or points) for the primary cardholder and up to 8 passengers travelling on the same reservation.
  • Shared benefits with Secondary Cardholders: Core and premium cardholders’ benefits extend to their supplementary cardholders as well, greatly expanding the value of the Aeroplan credit cards for any particular household.
  • Maple Leaf Lounge access: Premium cardholders will receive unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges prior to boarding an Air Canada flight in any class of service (whether booked with cash or points) – a tremendously valuable benefit.
  • Priority Pass Lounge access: Building upon the Maple Leaf Lounge access, premium cardholders with TD and CIBC will also receive a Priority Pass membership with six complimentary lounge visits per year thanks to their Visa Infinite Privilege benefits. 
  • Priority Airport Services/Standby/Upgrade: Premium cardholders will receive priority check-in, boarding, and standby, as well as a higher priority on the upgrade list, on Air Canada flights in any class of service (whether booked with cash or points).
  • Annual Worldwide Companion Pass: Upon reaching $25,000 of annual eligible spending, premium cardholders will earn a worldwide companion pass for paid travel on Air Canada, priced as follows:
    • $99 base fare for travel within Canada and continental United States (excluding Hawaii)
    • $299 base fare for travel to/from Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
    • $499 base fare for travel to/from South America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa
    • $599 base fare for travel to/from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand
    • Taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges extra
  • Elite Status qualification boost: For every $10,000 in eligible spend on the core cards or $5,000 in eligible spend on the premium cards, Aeroplan members will earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQS) and 1 Status Qualifying Segment (SQS) towards their Aeroplan Elite Status (which we’ll discuss below).
  • Rollover SQMs and eUpgrades: Premium cardholders will be able to rollover their extra SQMs and eUpgrades to the following year, rather than having them expire worthless at the end of the current status year (which has been a major complaint among Air Canada status members).
  • No expiry of Aeroplan points: By holding any Aeroplan credit card and generating monthly statements, you’ll never fall afoul of Aeroplan’s expiry policy, which now requires only one form of qualifying activity every 18 months to keep your points active.

Finally, let’s talk about the annual fees. Subject to further confirmation, it’s my understanding that we will be seeing increases in the annual fees of the Aeroplan credit cards across most issuers and segments:

  • The two entry-level cards will be priced as they are today: $39 (CIBC) and $89 (TD), with TD’s supplementary card fees at $39, as they are today.
    • Furthermore, CIBC is offering a waiver of the $39 annual fee (whoop-de-doo!) until November 7, 2020.
  • The three core cards will be priced at $139, with supplementary card fees at $75 – an increase from today’s $120 and $50, respectively.
  • The three premium cards will be priced at $599, with supplementary card fees at $199 – an increase from today’s $399–499 and $99, respectively.
  • The two core small business cards will be priced as they are today: $180 (CIBC) and $149 (TD), with supplementary card fees at $50 and $49 respectively, as they are today.
  • The American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card: Who knows? Details to come later this month.

This which means that if you were to sign up for one of the current cards before November 8, you’d get to try out the card’s new benefits and features under the new Aeroplan program while paying a lower annual fee for the first year.

On the other hand, by doing so, you may miss out on the signup bonuses on the new credit cards after they launch – and given the sheers sum of cash that the consortium of Air Canada, TD, CIBC, and Visa had paid to buy back the Aeroplan program, don’t be surprised if they launch some acquisition offers like we’ve never seen before in Canada.

Given this trade-off, then, isn’t it a relief that there are 10 cards to choose from among three different issuers? 😉

New Aeroplan – Exciting New Features

After covering the twin key developments in terms of earning and redeeming Aeroplan points in the new program, I wanted to share with you a few brand-new features that the program will be introducing, the likes of which we’ve never seen before in any loyalty program in Canada (and in some cases, globally).


New Feature #1: Family Sharing

In conducting market research for what Canadians most wanted to see out of a new program, Air Canada learned that the “family dynamic” was highly valued among Aeroplan members that the legacy program had failed to address.

To that end, the new Family Sharing feature is designed to make it much easier for trusted family members to pool their points together and reach their rewards much faster.

Gone are the days of having to surreptitiously transfer credit card points to your spouse’s Aeroplan account if you’re playing the game in two-player mode. With the new program, Aeroplan members can form Family Sharing groups with up to eight members in total.

Family Sharing will unify members’ accounts on both the earning and redeeming sides: whenever a member earns Aeroplan points, they get added to the Family’s total pool of points; meanwhile, a redemption made by any member (as long as they are authorized by the group manager to redeem) will cause miles to be deducted proportionally from the accounts of each member in the Family Sharing group.

 


New Feature #2: Points + Cash

The new Aeroplan program will offer a Points + Cash option on all redemptions to provide members with greater flexibility.

Keeping in mind that every flight reward consists of a points component and a cash component (i.e., taxes and fees, partner booking fee if applicable, etc.), there will be four separate redemption options available to members under Points + Cash:

  • Regular number of Aeroplan points + regular cash component
  • All Aeroplan points + $0 in cash
  • 60% of the regular number of Aeroplan points + 40% of the points component converted to cash + regular cash component
  • Some variable component between 60–100% of the regular number of Aeroplan points + the remaining 0–40% of the points component converted to cash + regular cash component

For all options other than the first one, the exact value at which the new Aeroplan will convert between cash and points is yet to be determined, but Air Canada has confirmed that it will offer better value than the 3cpp valuation at which you can buy Aeroplan miles directly from the program.


New Feature #3: Priority Rewards

As part of the revamped Elite Status program (which we’ll discuss below), Aeroplan is introducing a newly reimagined form of Priority Rewards.

Priority Rewards will give Aeroplan’s elite members a 50% discount on the number of Aeroplan points required to book an award. You read that right – it’s a blanket 50% discount, so if a flight costs 60,000 Aeroplan points, you can book it with only 30,000 Aeroplan points using a Priority Reward.

Each Priority Reward voucher is valid for one passenger on one reward ticket.

Members will earn Priority Reward vouchers based on accumulating Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) throughout the calendar year: one Priority Reward voucher will be awarded at the thresholds of 4,000, 7,000, 10,000 and 15,000 SQD, as well as every 5,000 SQD subsequently, up to a maximum of 50,000 SQD (for a total of 11 Priority Reward vouchers for the year).

Furthermore, as of the November 8 transition, any current Elite 35K members and above will be granted Priority Reward vouchers to start with, which they can use immediately.

Not all types of redemptions will be eligible for using a Priority Reward. The set of redemptions on which you may use a Priority Reward is dependent on your Elite Status level, as shown below:

As you can see, the most valuable usage of Priority Rewards – a stunning 50% discount on business class awards – is reserved for top-tier Super Elite members. Super Elites’ waivers on fuel surcharges might be moot under the new program, but it looks like there will still be plenty of reasons to butter up your Super Elite friends for favours.

 


New Feature #4: Status Pass

Going back to the idea of the “family dynamic”, Aeroplan will be introducing the Status Pass benefit as one of the many Select Privileges available to Aeroplan 50K Status members or higher under the new program. This benefit will be rolled out in March 2021.

Status Pass allows high-tier elite members to share their benefits with their loved ones, even when they aren’t travelling together. Recipients of the Status Pass, as well as up to nine fellow passengers on the same reservation, will be treated to priority check-in, security clearance, boarding, and baggage handling (for up to three checked bags), as well as Maple Leaf Lounge access prior to their flight. Star Alliance Gold benefits will not be included.

New Aeroplan – Aeroplan Elite Status

As you may have surmised, the Air Canada Altitude elite status program, which is designed to recognize their most loyal frequent flyers, will undergo a rebrand as part of the launch of the new Aeroplan.

Altitude will be renamed Aeroplan Elite Status starting on November 8 and formally taking effect for the 2021 status year. Aeroplan Elite Status will move towards a calendar year system for qualification and benefits, rather than the current off-cycle qualification and benefit years. 

The new elite status tiers will be known simply as 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite, while the current Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM), Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS), and Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) will be renamed Status Qualifying Miles (SQM), Status Qualifying Segments (SQS), and Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD), respectively.

Of course, everyone’s Altitude status in 2020 will be converted accordingly into Aeroplan Elite Status for 2021, given Air Canada’s automatic extension of elite status earlier this year.

The actual qualification criteria themselves remain largely unchanged. The SQM, SQS, and SQD requirements for each status level all remain in place (with the exception of the SQS requirement for Super Elite, which rises from 95 to 100). So does the 50% relaxation of the SQD requirements for Aeroplan members based outside of Canada.

Meanwhile, the actual elite privileges under Aeroplan Elite Status are also little-changed compared to now. Priority Rewards and Status Pass, outlined above, represent the two major additions to the status offering.

Finally, note that the new Aeroplan Elite Status is not to be confused with the old Aeroplan status. To bridge this gap, the following one-time gestures will be offered to current Aeroplan status holders:

  • 2020 Aeroplan Diamond, Black and Silver status members will continue to have access to most of their benefits through December 31, 2020, including preferred pricing on flight rewards. However, beginning November 8, 2020, Preferential Rates on Flight Reward fees will no longer be available to diamond members.
  • Beginning in September 2020, and through the end of 2021, 2020 Aeroplan Diamond members will receive Aeroplan 25K Status (currently known as Altitude Prestige 25K).
  • Beginning in September 2020 and through the end of 2021, members who have qualified for 2021 Aeroplan Diamond, Black or Silver status will receive Aeroplan 25K Status (currently known as Altitude Prestige 25K). They will also receive a grant of Aeroplan points in their account in early 2021 (5,000 points for Diamond members, 2,500 points for Black members, and 250 points for Silver members).

Finally, when it launches, the new Aeroplan Elite Status will also take a leaf out of the old Aeroplan Diamond’s book: under the Everyday Status Qualification feature, going forward, members who earn 100,000 Aeroplan points per year from eligible sources (credit card spending, eStore, flight activity, excluding welcome bonuses and credit card and hotel transfers) will instantly be rewarded with Aeroplan 25K Status.

New Aeroplan – Earning Points on Flights

Currently, members earn Aeroplan miles on Air Canada and partner flights based on a certain percentage (25%, 100%, 150%, etc.) of the distance flown on the flight, as well as the fare code (“J”, “Y”, “K”, etc.) that the flight was booked in.

Starting later in 2021, Air Canada will be simplifying the points-earning structure on Air Canada flights and “introducing more intuitive earning” – in other words, they’re going revenue-based.

Instead of earning Aeroplan points based on the distance flown, members will be earning points as a multiple of the fare they paid. This move follows the example of many other airlines around North America, and all-but eliminates the arbitrage opportunity of “mileage runs” (i.e., booking particularly cheap fares that covered a long distance to maximize mileage earning).

(It’s important to note that this change only affects how we earn Aeroplan’s redeemable points, not the Status Qualifying Miles or SQM for the purposes of Aeroplan Elite Status. Again, the distinction between “points” vs. “miles” is proving to be a valuable one in terms of distilling the program into the simplest possible terms.)

The multipliers will be based on the fare you book (calculated on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, but excluding taxes and fees), combined with your Aeroplan Elite Status, as indicated in the following charts:

Fare Family

Earning Multiplier

Basic

2x

Standard, Flex/Comfort, Latitude,
Premium Economy, Business

3x

Aeroplan Elite Status

Earning Multiplier

25K, 35K

1x

50K

2x

75K

3x

Super Elite

4x

For example, if you’re have Aeroplan 35K status and booked a Standard fare whose base fare and surcharges summed to, say, $300, then you’d earn a total of 3x (from the Standard fare) + 1x (from your 35K status) = 4x, or a total of 1,200 Aeroplan points for the fare that you paid.

Note that while a move to revenue-based earning is typically a negative development for most travellers, those who regularly book Basic fares stand to benefit here: currently, Basic fares do not earn any Aeroplan miles, but in the new program they will earn at least 2x Aeroplan points.

We’ll do more analysis like this in an upcoming post on the “winners and losers” of the new Aeroplan program.

New Aeroplan – What More to Expect

To conclude this comprehensive guide to the new Aeroplan, let’s highlight a few more things we can expect from the program, both at the time of launch on November 8 as well as farther into the future.

By launch date, I’d expect that we’ll have much greater clarity on all the changes we’ve talked about; I’d expect any lingering questions we may have to be fully answered by then. In particular, I think we’ll definitely see some very impressive credit card signup bonuses around the time of launch, and I’m also very excited to play around with the new flight search engine when it arrives.

We can expect to see more Buy Miles offers being rolled out periodically; we likely won’t see anything as generous as the 1cpp (USD) offer back in May 2020, but rates as low as 1.6cpp or 1.8cpp (USD), as well as SQD incentives such as the most recent round, are very much on the table.

Beginning next year, the new Aeroplan will eventually offer the ability for “micro-redemptions”: redeeming your Aeroplan points for things like seat selection fees, onboard wifi, and onboard meals and drinks. Some components of this are in fact already available as of now, such as the ability to use Aeroplan points to bid for upgrades upon check-in.

Aeroplan will also roll out non-flight rewards starting in 2021, including the ability to use points for hotels, car rentals, and Air Canada Vacations packages. Dedicated partnerships with certain hotel chains may also be on the table in the long run.

Non-travel partners will also play a significant role on the earning side. Expect a revamped Aeroplan eStore, as well as additional retail partners where it’s possible to earn or redeem points.

In my personal view, I’d expect Aeroplan to make serious investments in the digital experience in the long run, including possibilities such as the integration of your Aeroplan card with a digital wallet and the use of Aeroplan points as a broader currency in the retail world, beyond travel. 

Overall, Air Canada has stated that the information presented today only makes up only about 60% of everything that’s to come with the new Aeroplan. We’ll have many more exciting new things to look forward to over the upcoming months, that’s for sure.

Learn More About the New Aeroplan

Don’t forget, if you’d like to absorb all of the key information on the new Aeroplan program in video format, you can watch my video below:

 

In this post, we’ve covered all of the essential knowledge for the transformed Aeroplan program, but there remains so much to analyze, dissect, and discuss Below is what you can expect here at Prince of Travel over the coming week as we sink our collective teeth into all of the juicy details (all times are Eastern Time):

Tuesday, August 11

Wednesday, August 12

Thursday, August 13

Sunday, August 16

Next Week

Conclusion

After many years of designing a brand-new loyalty program from the ground up, Air Canada has today finally announced its transformed Aeroplan program, which will launch on November 8, 2020.

Only time will tell how the new program plays out in practice, but I must say that the new Aeroplan has left me very impressed and encouraged from the outset.

With the elimination of fuel surcharges, a new Flight Reward Chart with sufficient positive changes to balance out the negative, a quartet of exciting new features, a revamped elite status offering, and almost a dozen new co-branded cards on the table, the signs look very promising for Air Canada’s new Aeroplan to deliver outstanding value to Canadian travellers of all types – frequent and infrequent – while assuming a role as one of the world’s leading loyalty programs for high-value aspirational travel.

I’m sure you’re buzzing with first impressions, thoughts, and QUESTIONS – I want to hear ALL of them in the comments below, and I’ll see you in the upcoming posts and videos this week.

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108 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Jenna

    Hi – For the past few years – super elite have been able to gift status to a companion (50K). With the status pass – will they still have this? Or with the status pass – SE will need to give the pass to the individual for each flight to be able to use the SE status?

  2. Avatar
    Zaibii

    Hi Prince of Travel,

    I know of sweet spot for aeroplan that NO ONE knows about. It is only valid before the new program kicks in. Message me directly and we can discuss the details and whether we want to make it public or not.

  3. Avatar
    Robin

    What I’d like to know is that if getting into the aeroplan credit card scene is worth it for an entry level user for someone looking to fly around once or twice a year (i.e first credit card or someone looking to switch products)

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      We’ll have to wait to see the new signup bonuses to truly assess, but in general I’d say yes the new program should cater better to the entry-level user who travels infrequently compared to the program before.

  4. Avatar
    LD

    Not a frequent traveller so a lotta those new so-called “benefits” dont really apply to me. I mostly just fly btw YYZ to HKG (HONGKONG) and the devaluation is quite significant. Current chart for roundtrip costs 75k pts whereas the new one starts with 50k*2 =100k (roundtrip, NA to Pacific eco class). Also, are they now saying to give you points equal to what you pay
    vs actual miles flown? Coz that’d be approx $1200 points earned instead of 7791 miles flown, about 1/6 of what I would have gotten

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes, your understanding is correct. Some individuals will be strictly worse off under the current program, and it may be time to adapt what you use your Aeroplan points for and/or whether you’d use a different points currency to accomplish your existing goals.

      See this post for more discussion on the Winners & Losers: https://princeoftravel.com/blog/new-aeroplan-winners-losers/

  5. Avatar
    CR

    When redeeming through the family account, it is my understanding that it will withdraw points from each of the members’ account. What happens when a family member doesn’t have enough of his/her proportioned points for redemption? Is it taken from the other family members’ balance?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Remember that the points are withdrawn proportionally to their existing balances. So it doesn’t matter, because as long as the family as a whole has enough points, the math will always work.

      Example: Alice has 90,000 points and Bob has 10,000 points. Bob wants to redeem for 50,000 points. Since Bob has 10% of the family total, Bob is deducted 5,000 points. Alice, meanwhile, is deducted 45,000 points, since she had 90% of the family total.

      Trust is paramount.

  6. Avatar
    CR

    Amazing article! We’ve always been dreaded by the intended devaluations but am surprised by some positive changes going forward. Thanks for dissecting and making it easy for us to understand!

  7. Avatar
    Kenzie Jones

    Spot-on article, Thank you!
    Question: Is now a good time to get any of the AP cobranded cards to get the Welcome Bonus, and ALSO take advantage of the new crop of cards that will be launched in November? I currently don’t have any Aeroplan credit card, so wondering if I should wait for launch offers, or also get a card now before they are terminated.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Getting any of the cards now would likely render you ineligible for the welcome bonus when the refreshed cards are launched (except for the brand-new Amex Aeroplan Business Reserve). I’d recommend waiting for launch offers; in the meantime, if you’d like to rack up some Aeroplan miles to make bookings before November 8, you can always consider the Amex MR cards like the Amex Gold or Amex Business Gold and transfer those points to Aeroplan 1:1.

  8. Avatar
    Kevin

    Without MPM limits, are there rules preventing people from taking super long trips or backtracking? I can’t see any yet.

      1. Avatar
        Kevin

        Thank you very much!

  9. Avatar
    BG

    I think Ricky has provided excellent coverage on the new program. I thought a devaluation was coming along but this was not as bad as it could have been. I also feel the coverage has been balanced as there will be articles on winner/loser and comparison to other programs.

    This is by far the best points blog in Canada
    I think it’s great that Ricky is able to monetize his efforts while striking a balance. I will be worried if Ricky still depends on a few referral bonuses at this stage. 😂

  10. Avatar
    Mat

    For the vouchers, do you know if a 25k uses one gifted to them from SE whether they can get the discount on business? Or is it restricted to your level.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      If it’s redeemed out of a Super Elite account (along with the Super Elite’s points), then it applies to business class.

      1. Avatar
        Mat

        Thanks for the quick response Ricky! So in order for that to sort of work I’d need to be family with the Super Elite right? Are there any restrictions on how “family” is decided? One of my good friends is an SE.

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          I’ll say here that the Family Sharing feature is intended to be used by families, but the definition of “family” is up to every individual (as it should be). Family members don’t need to be living together, and there won’t be any same-address requirements or anything like that.

          The program is placing a great deal of trust in members to use the feature in good faith, and the rules may be tightened up if the feature is abused.

  11. Avatar
    Johnson

    The new program fucks us as expected. Ricky why are you happy. Don’t sellout.

    1. Avatar
      Michel

      His giveaway of 25,000 Aeroplan points, in collaboration with AC, when he launched his new website was a pretty transparent indicator that this blog would be taking a new (disappointing) turn.

      All hail our new AC overlords!

        1. Avatar
          CR

          LOL

        2. Avatar
          Scott

          Love it hah

  12. Avatar
    AlphaTier

    What would happen to eupgrades? If we have some sitting in the account and new ones are issued (from CC) will they have an extended period as long as they are below 50? Any detailed clarification appreciated.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      eUpgrades are not changing compared to now. However, in the new program you’ll be able to redeem eUpgrades on all Aeroplan award tickets.

  13. Avatar
    Tina Karys

    Well, it’s official Ricky, you’ve sold out.

    I’ve never seen you try and hype up a devaluation, and this is truly a first.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Oh sorry, I meant to say never use Aeroplan again – redeeming WestJet Dollars on Qantas economy is the new game in town.

      Seriously, a brand-new loyalty program launch is genuinely exciting stuff. And everyone who’s in this game knows that it is an ever-changing one in which we must always adapt.

      I’d invite anyone who shares Tina’s viewpoint to come forward and let me know what kind of coverage they would’ve liked to see instead.

      1. Avatar
        LP

        Haha! Honestly Ricky can you imagine yourself saying this even a couple years ago:

        “Seriously, a brand-new loyalty program launch is genuinely exciting stuff.”

        When said loyalty program is merely a severely devalued version of its former self, no, it’s NOT exciting, or brand-new. The old Ricky would never talk like this.

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          The first popular post on this website was a guide to maximizing the Aeroplan Mini-RTW. The most recent post on this website was a guide to maximizing the new Aeroplan Mini-RTW. The goal has always been the same: to inform and inspire people to maximize their points to the fullest extent possible.

          Having said that, LP. Speaking candidly, I fully understand and respect where you guys are coming from. Before I started the website, I too thought that certain other websites out there had “sold out”.

          Ultimately though, websites grow and business owners’ objectives grow over time. That’s a fact of life. What would be the point otherwise?

          I want everyone to have the best experience possible in Miles & Points. I firmly believe in the work I’m doing to make that happen; that’s why I do it. But if anyone feels that the content here no longer resonates with them, I’d gladly invite them to check out other Canadian resources too – or better yet, start their own, as we can always use more voices in the community.

          1. Avatar
            Melissa

            You’re being silly. You’re a cornerstone of points and miles in Canada and we’re not going to stop reading your material. We’re just not going to use your referrals and affiliate links if we don’t have to moving forward if you sell out. If that’s the risk you’ll take, so be it, I’m sure you’re attracting a lot of new beginners to the game that will easily replace our patronage, especially since we’ll still share your links when you’re the authority resource.

            That being said, the new material sucks. Pls fix.

            1. Ricky
              Ricky

              Melissa, thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s valued and appreciated. Please refer to my reply to Amir’s comment above for my thoughts on the new material and why you may be feeling a disconnect here. Hopefully it’s a temporary one.

      2. Avatar
        Albert

        How about unbiased coverage? This blog has become pretty much just free advertising for AC. You used to be much more critical. Now that AC has their hand in your pocket this blog is nothing what it used to be. And we are far from the only ones noticing it…

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Fair comment Albert, I respect that. Impartial coverage is always an obligation to readers, and I’ll take your feedback into account.

          However, I’d ask you to consider that AC has been far more forthcoming than they need to be with information here. They could’ve easily gone dark and said “figure everything out for yourselves”. Even those who are most eager to accuse me of “selling out”, I imagine, will agree that more information is preferable to less.

          I think greater transparency between the most popular programs in Canada and the community of those who are most engaged in the programs can only be a good thing in the long run. I intend to facilitate that wherever possible. However, I’m always happy to hear dissenting opinions if anyone happens to disagree.

          1. Avatar
            Amir

            The criticism is that you used this entire post to hype up a devalued rewards program, not that you didn’t recommend people to steer clear of it. Aeroplan is obviously one of the few programs we can access in Canada.

            There’s a fine line between recognizing opportunities and failures of a new program, and rewriting and spinning the text of a press release.

            There are really only two plausible explanations for this:

            1. You’re getting a kickback from Air Canada or trying to curry goodwill by essentially advertising for them.

            2. You’re lazy and rewrote their press release because you couldn’t be bothered anymore.

            You’ve written some great content in the past, but I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing how downhill the content has been lately. Not even your new writers can save this blog from becoming the cess pool that it’s forecasted to be.

            1. Avatar
              CR

              Come on dude… Make your own blog and provide quality content, rather than attacking someone who’s trying his best to dissect all this for all of us…

              1. Ricky
                Ricky

                Don’t waste your breath, friends. It’s all the same person hiding behind made-up names and VPNs.

            2. Avatar
              Alice

              This a bit rude and ungrateful don’t you think? Give your opinion on the program but there is no need to attack Ricky. All of this is free to you. It is information, there is nothing forcing anyone to do anything. You can absorb it however you want but there is no need to be rude.

              I am excited about the new program. I am happy it did not go completely dynamic, it is nice to know what I can expect to get with my points. We all expected points to increase (because you know, it’s a business and redemption rates haven’t increased since 2014), of course it still sucks.

              In time, we will all adjust to the new program and find the new sweet spots. In the meantime, anyone who thinks the new program sucks, Air Canada welcomes your feedback.

            3. Avatar
              Amir

              Ricky, I recognize that you’re under no obligation to cater to individual readers or criticism, but I mean, this is really a whole new level of… not good.

              1. Ricky
                Ricky

                Amir, on the contrary, I’m more than happy to take individual readers’ criticism into account if it’s civil and reasonable.

                I can assure you I’m not being paid a cent by Air Canada for my coverage. Does that mean it’s lazy writing? I’ll acknowledge that perhaps more weight could’ve been given to the severity of the devaluations, to be sure.

                However, if you’re interested in hearing my side of it, I’ll share with you that my singular goal with content in the first day or two after launch was to convey the information – because there’s tons of information to convey beyond what’s listed on the official website. The traffic numbers reveal to me that this strategy paid off well.

                Following the first couple of days, the plan is to examine the new program under a more critical lens: identify the winners & losers, compare against your other rewards options, etc.

                I hope that clarifies. Again, thanks for your comment, and I’d invite others who feel the same way to pitch in too. This is an important discussion to have.

          2. Avatar
            Albert

            Thanks Ricky, and I’ll tip my hat to you for not stooping to censoring comments…yet 😉

            1. Ricky
              Ricky

              Believe me, I’ll never become that thin-skinned. 😉

  14. Avatar
    YYCguy

    Ricky, any idea what the premium on the range will be to move up fare class? e.g. if the range is 15,000-30,000 for standard what’s the % premium to go to Flex, Comfort, Latitude etc.?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      On this, I’ve only been told that “pricing varies between markets and will reflect the value of incremental benefits offered by each fare option”. I’ll follow up to see if I can get a rough range for each up-fare.

  15. Avatar
    Adam

    Ricky, saw your note that a stopoever in NA would not be possible on Atlantic-NA. However if booked as Atlantic-South America would this be possible CMB-AUH-YYZ(STOP)-EZE (falls under 100% over direct flight CMB-EZE)

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      My understanding is that stopovers are not permitted anywhere in Canada or the US.

      1. Avatar
        Adam

        Thats too bad, especially when for something like Atlantic-South America

  16. Avatar
    Heather

    I am seaching for anything positive in these changes for YYT. If it looks bad for Halifax then it spells disaster for Newfoundland travellers.

  17. Avatar
    Teddy

    If I book a flight before Nov 8, and now I require to change itinerary for travel let’s say June 2021 – i assume old rules apply right? they would calculate the tax differences and ask me to pay right?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Nope, if you’re making a voluntary change, then the new rules (Flight Reward Chart, fee structure, stopover policy, etc.) would apply. The exception is if there’s an involuntary schedule change that affects your journey, which is a fairly likely occurrence during these times.

      1. Avatar
        Teddy

        Assuming I’m using a super elite account. So, lets say I wanna book YYZ-TPE with EVA in business class. The redemption now is 75K + roughly $54 tax. If I change it next year, they will refund me the tax of $54 and charge me an additional 10,000 points?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          The taxes and fees won’t be refunded, since they’re the usual mix of airport fees / departure taxes rather than carrier-imposed surcharges. If you had booked something like Lufthansa and paid $500+ in surcharges, then they should refund you if you change it.

          Yes, you’ll pay the additional 10,000 points if you’re making a voluntary change.

          1. Avatar
            Teddy

            Are you still responsible for the $39 star alliance book fee then?

            1. Ricky
              Ricky

              Here’s the answer: Changes to Legacy rewards which involve changes greater than a date/time change to the exact same routing will be priced under the new flight reward construct, and the $39 Partner Booking Fee will apply.

              So if you’re simply changing the same routing to a different date, you’ll only pay the change fee, not the $39 partner booking fee.

  18. Avatar
    Andrew

    for the YQ surchage: the website says
    “On any Air Canada flight you purchase with points, we have eliminated additional airline surcharges. That could save you hundreds of dollars in cash at checkout. In fact, only taxes and third-party fees (such as airport fees) are listed in cash, and you can use your points to cover those, too.
    If you’re booking a flight reward on another airline, there is a flat Partner Booking Fee of just $39 (per ticket) – which you can also cover with points”

    My read is that only YQ on AC flight will be eliminated, but will stay for LH, CA, NH, TG etc

    thoughts?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I can assure you partner YQ will be eliminated.

      I suspect the website makes no mention of partner surcharges because the majority of Aeroplan members (in the general public, rather than our community) don’t care about partners. After all, 80% of all flight rewards are on economy class flights within North America.

  19. Avatar
    John Bucher

    Wow! I am up on the French River fishing with almost no connectivity at all for two days and look what happens. My wife phoned to tell me the news and now I am trying to make heads or tales of this on the slowest wifi in the world. Its a good thing the fish are large and accommodating.
    Ricky, your explanatory articles are the best.
    Whether better or worse we have to live with it. No point in complaining. At least we have time to make the best of what is in place now and what is going to happen.
    As was said, too bad the covid 19 makes it all so like shooting dice.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Enjoy your fishing trip John, the new program will be waiting for you to dissect when you’re back! And thank you for being here since the very beginning.

  20. Avatar
    This Tampa/Columbus game will never end

    Guess they don’t subscribe to the “keep it simple stupid” philosophy….

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Simplicity, value, cost-efficiency. Choose two.

      (I think that works.)

  21. Avatar
    Tom Scherer

    Hey Ricky, Thanks for all your updates. I currently have about 1M Aeroplan miles and already achieved the Diamond status for 2021. I am trying to understand this new Aeroplan to be rolled out on Nov 8. Is AC saying the best status that people like me can have at the beginning of the new program will be the Elite or Prestige Status 25K. Please advise on my best options. Thank You.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      If you’ve achieved Diamond for 2021, you’ll be granted Aeroplan 25K automatically through 2021, as well as 5,000 bonus miles. For higher status, you’ll have to earn it.

  22. Avatar
    Adam

    Am I seeing correctly that an economy round-trip from YUL-BKK is going from 90k round-trip to 140k roundtrip? FML. I see a lot of disaster here for someone who was good at finding low surcharge flights before.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Agree with Alice, 60k one-way/120k round-trip seems the likely price point to me. Still an ugly 33% increase no doubt, but perhaps not “FML” levels?

    2. Avatar
      Alice

      If you avoid flying AC, I see 120k round trip as YUL-ZRH-BKK is 9,368, anything between 7,500-11,000 miles is 60k one way for partner flights. Even if you mix in an AC flight, it still might just be 60k depending on the dynamic pricing at time of booking.

  23. Avatar
    John

    Lol what a shill you are Ricky!! These changes are disastrous but here you are making AC sound generous in unveiling such a brutal new program. But we all know it’s always about the referrals with you, and speaking honestly about this new program probably wouldn’t help in that department.

    1. Avatar
      Alice

      Dude you are such a whiner. Everything in life is give and take and AC has given more than what they took away. Increase in points redemption was expected, but AC has given us way more in return from family points pooling to removal of MPM, YQ and stopover on one way bookings. Even the dynamic pricing has a cap. You are free to choose whatever programs suits you best. Good luck.

    2. Ricky
      Ricky

      Those who think these changes are “brutal” or “disastrous” need to look at the big picture.

      The award chart devaluations for long-haul flights aren’t pretty, that’s for sure. Our comparison chart has tons of red in it. Having said that, they were also bound to happen given that the previous chart had remained in place since 2014 and the underlying costs for the program have certainly increased.

      Knowing this, I would’ve expected AC to at least offer some positive changes to offset the negative, and they certainly have. To me, that indicates a different attitude from AC compared to other North American programs (Delta, United, etc.,) whose recent changes can actually be described as “brutal”. Things could’ve been a lot worse if one of those programs were the only big player in the land. I don’t think that’s controversial.

      If you’re just looking to complain, though, then I suppose you’d take great interest in the Losers section of our upcoming Winners & Losers post, so I’d be glad to “refer” you there.

  24. Avatar
    Dubb.YYC

    I wonder if the new program will partner up with a fuel provider. It was a big piss-off when they parted ways with Esso.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      New retail partners are coming, and I could certainly see a fuel partner being in the mix.

  25. Avatar
    bingo

    From first looks, it seems like the biggest benefit comes to those who are looking to do more complex one way reward bookings, as you can now take a more indirect/complex route to your destination, with the added stop-over for a minimal cost, assuming you don’t go over the threshold.

    Has anyone read anything along the lines of limits to the amount of stop overs on one-way rewards bookings

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      One-way rewards are limited to six segments if you want to keep it as a single “one-way bound” (i.e., pay for only one award).

      Round-trip and multi-city rewards can be more than six segments on a single one-way bound.

      More on this tomorrow.

      1. Avatar
        Nicholas

        I would also like to know if on a one way multi-city reward with a stopover, will we be still able to come back to the origin destination?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          You mean something like YYZ-LHR (stopover)-YYZ (destination) as a one-way?

          No.

          1. Avatar
            Nicholas

            Yes. I was thinking on a single one way ticket return, for example: YUL-LIS- ATH – YUL,(total 3 weeks time) now how much would cost in points?

            1. Ricky
              Ricky

              YUL-LIS-ATH would be a one-way bound, and ATH-YUL another. So assuming the base level pricing, that’s 70,000 in J per direction, plus 5,000 for the stopover, so 145,000 points in total.

  26. Avatar
    Alpha

    So for YYC-BKK in biz for example, AP cost is 85k-200k per direction while partner is always 85k. This looks to me exacly like the existing system where probably 2 seats are offered at 85k (classic) and the rest “market fare”.
    The question I have is, what does this look like from a partners redemption perspective? Say you’re booking from United’s engine or something does their flat rate apply to just a couple seats offered up to partners or can they book any seat as well?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I have some more clarity on this. Partners like United will continue to access “X” and “I” space, but Aeroplan members will effectively be accessing regular revenue space (“S”, “T”, “L”, etc.) on their points bookings. If the lowest regular fare buckets are available, so too will the lowest points prices – even points that are occasionally lower than the published range.

      1. Avatar
        YYCguy

        So Ricky, does this mean that partner award space is separate from Air Canada space? As someone who uses a variety of mileage programs and transferable currency this is important to me, because with distance-based mileage, it may be beneficial to transfer to a partner and book Air Canada instead on that program. This would be good to know as I’d love X and I space to stay separate. Will partners be charged any fuel surcharges (YQ) on AC metal?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          That’s my understanding, yes, that “X” and “I” space are separate from what Aeroplan members will be booking. I don’t think any changes are planned to partners’ collection of YQ on AC, although I think most other major Star Alliance programs (ANA, United, LifeMiles) do not collect YQ on AC.

          1. Avatar
            YYCguy

            And Turkish collects YQ on AC now, but still a good deal for some redemptions and even more so now.

          2. Avatar
            YYCguy

            The one I’m interested in is Turkish, as the NA chart isn’t distance based and is good for bypassing AC’s distance chart for some redemptions.

    2. Ricky
      Ricky

      Air Canada will still have to offer “X” and “I” award space to their partners, it’s only via Aeroplan that all seats can in fact be bookable. The amount of “X” and “I” space should roughly correspond to the amount of space at the lower end of Air Canada’s published ranges.

      It’s still somewhat unclear if the lower-bound Air Canada seats do come out of the same “X” and “I” buckets though. I imagine they would, but I’ll follow up on this.

  27. Avatar
    Mike

    Any word on if there is a max AQD you can earn from credit card spend? Can you get enough for top tier?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      You don’t earn SQD from credit card spending, only SQM and SQS.

      No max as far as I’m aware, so yes you could MS $100,000 to meet the Super Elite threshold – but you’d still have to earn the SQD.

  28. Avatar
    Jordan

    Hi Ricky,

    Any sweet spots you can spot right off the bat. Thank you for your contributions.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      From this post: https://princeoftravel.com/blog/new-aeroplan-flight-rewards

      Short-haul flights of fewer than 500 miles will now cost 6,000 Aeroplan points in economy class, decreasing by 25%.

      Flights of fewer than 1,500 miles, which were previously classified as long-haul North America redemptions (e.g., Toronto–Halifax, Vancouver–Los Angeles), will now cost 10,000 Aeroplan points in economy class or 20,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 20% each.

      Major Canadians cities to Mexico will now cost 12,500 Aeroplan points in economy class or 25,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 38% and 17% respectively.

      Central & Eastern Canadian cities to the Caribbean will now cost 12,500 Aeroplan points in economy class or 25,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 38% and 17% respectively.

      Vancouver to Hawaii will now cost 12,500 Aeroplan points in economy class or 25,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 44% and 38% respectively.

      Rest of Canada to Hawaii will now cost 17,500 Aeroplan points in economy class or 35,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 22% and 13% respectively.

      Toronto or Montreal to Casablanca will now cost 35,000 Aeroplan points in economy class or 60,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 13% and 27% respectively.

      Vancouver or Calgary to Tokyo will now cost 35,000 Aeroplan points in economy class or 55,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 6% and 27% respectively.

      Vancouver or Calgary to Auckland will now cost 75,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 6%.

      Vancouver to Brisbane will now cost 75,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 6%.

      Central & Eastern Canadian cities to Peru will now cost 50,000 Aeroplan points in business class, decreasing by 9%.

  29. Avatar
    A S

    “Furthermore, as of the November 8 transition, any current Elite 35K members and above will be granted Priority Reward vouchers to start with, which they can use immediately.”

    Or, in other words, a big FUCK YOU to 25K members. You get nothing.

    1. Avatar
      DM

      This isn’t surprising since Aeroplan basically gave away 25K status to so many “non-travelers” through their “Travel at Home” promotion

      1. Avatar
        A S

        Not surprising, I guess.. but pretty damn slimy.
        Knowing what we know now, how many people would have opted to *not* participate in that promotion?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          It’s never a bad idea to have status. If you didn’t participate, then you’d just have no status, which still doesn’t get you any Priority Rewards.

  30. Avatar
    sasha

    Lots of changes, thanks for breaking it down Ricky! Something I noticed though but didn’t see it called out, maybe I’m wrong… but the number of points to a destination (according to the new rewards chart) has increased quite a bit? For instance business class round trip YYZ to DAR in the current/legacy rewards chart is 150k points but according to the new rewards chart this would be 200k – 440k points (North America – Atlantic, 8001 miles, business class) more if its first class. If I’m correct, this is a pretty big devaluation/point hike.

  31. Avatar
    YYZTraveller

    I tried a YYZ to CPH to PVG back to YYZ as well as vaiants via Zurich and others. It now states that exceeds MPM whereas I have flown that same route dozens of times. YYZ or YUL via Europe to Asia and then returning appears no longer a viable option. Which I find confusing given the news that MPM is no longer applicable

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Were you trying to book on the current search engine? MPM will only be phased out in the new program, not the current one.

  32. Avatar
    Jules

    Ricky, my go-to redemptions using Aeroplan miles for last few years has been for flights between North America and Europe on Swiss airlines (no fuel charges). So going forward, it looks like redemptions will increase from 55k to 70k plus a $39 partner booking fee. Hard for me to find a positive here…

    1. Avatar
      Alice

      As with any program relaunch, there will be give and take. We expected a devaluation of some sort on points, if it is only 15k one way I consider that a win. The give, we can now pool our points up to 8 family members and it appears there is a lot of ways to earn points, so there are a lot of flexibility to play with. Also, no YQ at all means you can find the most desirable routes, you are no longer stuck with Swiss, it opens up for more to discovery.

      1. Avatar
        Jules

        A 15k increase is significant but if you consider that a win….OK. Even with United’s recent devaluation, business class awards between North America and Europe only increased by 7k (i.e. 70k to 77k). As mentioned in my above reply to Ricky, it is unclear whether YQ will be eliminated for all partner awards. As for redemptions on Air Canada metal, there are better frequent flyer programs out that require less points, have significantly lower change/cancellation fees, and offer the ability to book flights 5 days earlier than Aeroplan (360 days out).

    2. Ricky
      Ricky

      There will always be some winners and losers, for sure. Now you have greater flexibility to try Air Canada, Austrian, and Lufthansa without paying the surcharges. However, I’d definitely agree that flight awards to Europe (and in fact the entire Atlantic zone, except North Africa) have been pretty hard-hit relatively speaking.

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Yes, I’m 100% sure.

          1. Avatar
            Jules

            If this is the case, then Aeroplan will be the only *Alliance frequent flyer program that won’t pass along fuel surcharges for Lufthansa operated flights. Also, this would make me re-evaluate my strategy of maintaining Senator status.

            1. Avatar
              Jules

              Correction: only *Alliance program other than LifeMiles.

  33. Avatar
    Linda McCallum

    Wow – amazingly in depth and I think I understood most of it too. I’ve been hanging off waiting off in the hope they would revamp their credit cards so that is great – let’s just see how big (or small) those sign up bonuses are!

  34. Avatar
    Alex

    Just …WOW!

    Trying now to figure out what are going to be the losing scenarios for Long Distance Business class.

    1. Avatar
      Linda McCallum

      Especially complex given the potential of Covid 19 for the next couple of years,

  35. Avatar
    Eric

    Great article Ricky. I am quite surprised by how many positive changes there was from the switch-over. Look forward to reading your next article!

Ricky

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