What’s Happening with Aeroplan Partner Award Availability?

If you’ve been searching for award flights with Aeroplan recently, you may have noticed that there are fewer available options with some partner airlines these days.

While it’s still possible to find plenty of flights with Air Canada, as well as flights with some partner airlines, there’s been a rather significant change in partner award availability in the last while, especially when compared to previous years.

We’d like to take stock of the situation at hand, as it’s something that now materially impacts many Aeroplan users’ experience.

What’s Happening with Aeroplan Partner Award Availability?

One of Aeroplan‘s strengths as a loyalty program is the number of partner airlines with which you can redeem points. 

At the moment, that number stands at 47 airlines, which includes both Star Alliance carriers and airlines that aren’t aligned with any particular alliance.

For Star Alliance airlines, award availability tends to be relatively consistent between loyalty programs. If you’re able to book two business class seats with Swiss on Aeroplan, you can probably find those same two seats with United MileagePlus or Avianca LifeMiles, with some exceptions.

However, lately, we’ve noticed that some Star Alliance airlines haven’t been showing up in search results on the Aeroplan website, despite award availability showing up with other Star Alliance loyalty programs, and with ExpertFlyer.

For example, in January 2024, the calendar feature on the United MileagePlus website shows ample award availability for Swiss business class from Montreal to Zurich.

Indeed, these same seats show as available on Avianca LifeMiles…


As well as on ExpertFlyer…

However, when we search for the same flights on the Aeroplan website, Swiss isn’t an option on any of these dates. 

However, if you call the Aeroplan Contact Centre, the agents can see the Swiss award availability, and can then complete the booking over the phone.

It’s worth noting that the pattern of some long-haul business class partner award flights only being available over the phone with Aeroplan has been noted with Lufthansa-group airlines, as well as other airlines (including EVA Air and ANA). In some cases, this applies only when flying to specific countries.

For example, flights to India and China on partner airlines appear to be heavily restricted for online bookings. Again, some flights that show up on other Star Alliance loyalty websites may be bookable over the phone with the Aeroplan Contact Centre, but not all can.

In the past, flying with Etihad Airways to the Middle East, Asia, and Australia was an excellent single-stop option from North America available through Aeroplan.

Unfortunately, long-haul business class and First Class flights with Etihad Airways have all but disappeared for quite some time.

Etihad Airways business class and First Class awards have been missing from Aeroplan for a while

Similarly, Oman Air’s introduction as an Aeroplan partner offered members an excellent option for unorthodox business class and First Class redemptions. However, it’s been a long time since Oman Air award availability has shown up on the website in any class of service.

It’s clear that something is going on here, and the issues have progressed to the point that members need to resort to other websites to find flights that can be booked over the phone with Aeroplan. 

What’s Causing This to Happen?

It’s worth noting that there are multiple factors at play here, and we can’t be 100% sure about all of the root causes unless confirmed by Aeroplan. These issues also affect other loyalty programs, and aren’t specific to Aeroplan.

The vast majority of Aeroplan members participate with the program without any issues; however, there are some parties who engage in clandestine activities with loyalty programs.

Our understanding of the situation is that one of the main contributing factors here has to do with the activity of mileage brokers.

While mileage brokers make money in a variety of ways (with some much more nefarious than others), one approach they use is to book up business class and First Class award seats on a refundable fare as soon as they become available.

Mileage brokers are known to snap up business class and First Class awards as soon as they become available

Then, the broker will either hold on to the seats until more become available at the last-minute (and then cancel the original flight and rebook it under a buyer’s name), or once a buyer is located, they cancel the flight and rebook under a different name if the seat goes back into award inventory.

By doing so, mileage brokers can sell seats in premium cabins for a fraction of the price, thus netting themselves a tidy chunk of cash. Of course, airlines lose out on a lot of potential revenue this way, which is exactly why this type of behaviour goes against the terms and conditions of loyalty programs.

Anyone caught engaging in such a practice will have their account(s) shut down; however, it’s much more widespread that you might think, and since it can be incredibly lucrative, many people accept the risk and find ways to work around it.  

The practice is more common in some parts of the world than it is in others. As you may imagine, since geographical restrictions were imposed on Aeroplan bookings involving China and India, it’s likely that the concerns are widespread enough in these areas that restrictions had to be imposed.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Two weeks ago, Aeroplan temporarily suspended the ability to create new Family Sharing accounts, due to widespread misuse. This change doesn’t affect any existing Family Sharing pools — rather, it’s just a temporary measure as it works to address the issue.

It’s very likely that the Family Sharing misuse is related to some of the award availability irregularities discussed above, and it’s good to know that Aeroplan is actively working to address the issue. 

It’s also worth pointing out that this is an immense issue to address, and one that likely won’t be completely resolved in the short-term future.

On the other hand, it’s also clear that security efforts to detect and combat bad-faith actors who are engaged in activities that essentially gobble up award availability from everyone else need to be improved. 

If restricting the ability to book some partner awards online is an intentional measure to dissuade any sort of automatic award booking process, then that’s a step in the right direction.

However, it’s very likely that the vast majority of Aeroplan members aren’t familiar with other tools available to search for award availability, which they could use to locate award seats and then book with Aeroplan over the phone.

In this sense, it’s not fair to anyone who just accepts what’s available on the Aeroplan website, as they’d be losing out on making a booking and having a positive engagement with the program.

Furthermore, measures to identify and swiftly ban any accounts that snap up award space as soon as it becomes available, only to cancel it and rebook within a short period of time under someone else’s name, should be enhanced.

If Aeroplan is able to step up its corporate security efforts in a manner that addresses concerns over fraud, partner airlines should be more open to coming back to the table and releasing award seats to the program.

After all, having 47 partner airlines is only worthwhile if members can book all 47 consistently.

In the mean time, if you don’t find what you’re looking for on the Aeroplan website, look for partner award availability on the United MileagePlus website, the Avianca LifeMiles website, or ExpertFlyer, and then call Aeroplan to inquire about availability.

Sure, it’s a bit of a longer process than it should be, but at least you might get what you want this way.


In the last while, award availability for some Aeroplan partner airlines has been inconsistent with what’s available through other loyalty programs. In some cases, Aeroplan agents can book the flights over the phone, while in others, there are geographical restrictions in place to combat fraudulent bookings.

It appears that Aeroplan is taking steps to address some of these issues, which have come to negatively affect the user experience. Not all awards are bookable online, and not all partner airlines release award availability to the program at the moment.

What remains to be done is better detection and prohibition of bad-faith actors, who are simply ruining the fun for everyone.

  1. Andy

    Thanks PoT for this insight. I was able to call in and book a ORD-NRT on ANA business…however, on Expert Flyers it’s showing a ton of availability from YYZ-TPE on EVA Air business, but upon calling in, the reps were not able to find it! This is calling over a couple days…any ideas? Availability is still showing on ExpertFlyers so i assume everyone else is having the same issue…

    1. christopher

      Indeed, Aeroplan is still having lots of “award-appearing” issues. Were you able to see the flights on United also? We are still waiting for Aeroplan to rectify this also. We hope to hear from them soon.

      1. Andy

        yes – I was actually hoping to book a UA flight from YYZ-ORD on the same day as my ORD-NRT. However, they couldnt find it when i called in, and had to book an AC flight the day before and stay overnight..hope they get this fixed soon

        1. christopher


          Even though UA is a good alternative to search for star alliance flights, do note that, UA flights appearing on UA site does not necessarily mean it is offered to Aeroplan or other star alliance partners. Since UA Site has more control over its own UA flights.

          Are there any AC flights that Aeroplan agents can find for that day? Even on economy? This way it might save you a few hundred bucks. As long as the 2 flights are less than 12 hours apart.

          On a side note, if you haven’t already joined our Facebook group, where constructive discussions are constantly held by members for members, such as this question you had for us, consider checking it out, where more like-minded people come together to answer tricky questions together:

          In addition, if you would like to be part of an even more exclusive community and have attentive discussions, consider becoming Prince Of Travel “Platinum Member” which you will be invited to join our discord group:

          Hope all this that helps!

  2. Dan

    The PoT team really needs to call in on whatever contacts they have within AC and push them on this, at this stage it’s clear that AC are restricting premium cabin bookings on various partner airlines and routes at this stages.

  3. Bo

    So you can call in to book the flights that are not listed on their website. Unfortunately they charge $30 booking fee/person when you’re booking award flights by phone. Very shady way to generate additional revenue for flights that are easily bookable online via another Star Alliance partner like United.

  4. Peter

    With Aeroplan’ sky high prices (points) today, and limited availability of partner awards, I kind of view Aeroplan as useless to me right now.

  5. Marshall

    It’s clearly air Canada trying to force Aeroplan member to pay their egregious award rates by virtually eliminating partner airline rates from being seen.

    If you were trying to sell a new car for 10x what the actually price is why work you show a bunch of other sellers ads for the real accurate and fair price.

    The new Aeroplan is a totally Fing sham and you guys are risking losing follower like me my not truthfully saying what’s happening.

    In fact, prince of travel is borderline support of this tactic by not calling it what it is. You would not have reported on this fact this way 5 years ago.

    1. Ron

      Here’s another example: YVR-Paris CDG Aug 6, 2023. Aeroplan: Business class – not available (Premium Economy 92.3K points). United Mileage Plus: YVR-Munich-Vienna-Paris 88,000 points business class on Lufthansa and Austrian — both Aeroplan partners. Air Canada needs to explain this.

  6. Lisa

    Hi TJ. I made a lot of search on Alaska Mileage recently and it seems they might have the same availability problem. Anyway, I hope Aeroplan will find a solution to this soon. The call centre will be very busy. Thank you for the info and alternative solution.

  7. Paul-77

    How do you get that monthly availability calendar for LifeMiles?

  8. DenB® YTO

    @Tony: For Etihad, use Etihad’s website and search for “GuestSeat” availability. You won’t enjoy the process but sadly their other partner American, which has an otherwise excellent search tool (including month-at-a-time availability display) doesn’t display EY availability.
    @Jim: I’m giving TJ a pass on the issue you’re complaining about (valid complaint). AC is in the penalty box at the moment. Many airlines are allowing their space to be sold by United and Avianca and others, but not by Air Canada. Air Canada needs to demonstrate humility (!!!), to satisfy Thai, EVA, Oman, Swiss and others that they can run a booking website in a satisfactory way. I looked up “humility” on Wikipedia and there was a pic of AC’s senior management.

  9. Ron

    This is a big problem for Aeroplan users in Vancouver. Long haul business class flights simply do not show up on many routes even when booking the maximum number of days in advance. An example today, Eva Air business class flights from Taipei to Vancouver are not available, while Taipei to Seattle business class flights do show up. And good luck trying to get a direct YVR-Frankfurt business class flight at the base Aeroplan price. This seems to be more than just glitches in the system.

    1. Jay*

      Better to fly BR to SEA anyways, not like it’s that inconvenient to reposition to YVR after that, lol.

      1. Ron

        That’s not the point though, is it? I’ve been an Aeroplan member since the start in 1984. I used to be able to use my points fairly easily for long-haul business class from Vancouver. Now, I can’t. Aeroplan needs to explain that.

    2. Marshall


    3. Andeew

      Hi Ron
      I’ve suspected for quite some time now on your question, and 8 think there’s much more to it than the problem with “these so called brokers”. I’m sure Air Canada does not show partner airline flights because they’re trying to flog the grossly overpriced of their own. It’s obscene how many points Air Canada is charging for award flights, especially the business class ones.

      1. Li

        Can’t agree more. I was kinda toying with diff route planning to determine my next yrs travel destinations and I couldn’t help but notice this’s a pattern on most flights- not only there’s almost no partner flight availability, AP also drastically devalued the points and now point requirements are almost always on the upper band of the flight chart. At this point I just refuse to believe its a result of a counter measure for the scammers as explained by the above article.

      2. Ron

        No so long ago I could regularly book transocean business class on Aeroplan from Vancouver with no problem. But that was then. Since the dynamic pricing model was introduced it is virtually impossible. In essence, it is a huge devaluation of our points. I agree with you about the ‘obscene’ level of points now charged.

  10. Jim

    Why can you not get a clear explanation from AC? Your story reads like AC is your “off the record” principal source. More transparency for loyal Aeroplan members who don’t abuse the system would be welcome. PoT would serve its members better by securing a clear explanation from AC.

    1. DenB® YTO

      EVA is a special case. This year they dramatically throttled partner availability for their flights, which in any case are full to Canadian cities. I achieved an EVA booking recently by getting some EVA points and booking from their program. the seats I found were never available to MIleagePlus, LifeMiles, Aeroplan or others, only to Infinity MileageLands. Give up on finding “I” space on EVA TransPacific flights. Citi ThankYou is a transfer partner for EVA. That’s the only access now.

      1. DenB® YTO

        this was intended as a reply to RON, not to Jim. Not sure how I got it in the wrong place, sorry.

  11. Tony

    Hi TJ. What tool do you use to find Etihad award Availability once seats are released as ExpertFlyer does not track them. Thank you.

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