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12 Myths about the Aeroplan Rewards Program

To the point Here's a review of the 12 myths surrounding the Aeroplan Rewards program and our perspective.

Aeroplan is currently running an interesting campaign to address the misunderstandings Canadians have about this rewards program: so, myth or truth?

12 myths about Aeroplan

Let’s review the 12 myths raised by Aeroplan and explain them. But above all, we must agree with them: many popular beliefs about Aeroplan are actually myths and not reality!

Myth 1 – Availability of airfares

aeroplan myth 1
Myth 1 – Availability of airfares

In fact, the award tickets offered for sale on Aeroplan in the “Fixed Miles” category are those that each Star Alliance member airline is willing to provide.

On some long weekends, it will be difficult to find an award ticket, for example. This can be offered at the last minute.

But as a general rule, it is possible to find a good number of availabilities, you just have to be a little flexible!

Myth 2 – Blackout periods

aeroplan myth 2
Myth 2 – Blackout periods

Aeroplan does not impose blackout periods… but this goes back to myth #1: the tickets posted on Aeroplan are offered by the airlines. It is therefore normal that a company decides to try to sell its airline tickets for very busy periods such as the end of year holidays, before offering them as award tickets on Aeroplan.

On the other hand, for Air Canada, you still have the possibility to buy the ticket you want… thanks to the “Market Fare”. However, the number of miles you will have to pay will be higher as it reflects the demand for that particular flight.

Myth 3 – Hidden bonus tickets

aeroplan myth 3
Myth 3 – Hidden bonus tickets

Here, it’s more about the way the Aeroplan site search engine is designed.

Let’s take the example of a flight from Montreal to Paris. Aeroplan will probably offer you plenty of direct or indirect flights from Air Canada or Lufthansa… but not necessarily a flight with United via Washington.

If you search by one-way ticket (Montreal-Washington / Washington-Paris) you will see the availability… but you will have to call to make the reservation!

Yes, the availability is the same online and on the phone… you just have to know how to use the tool!

Myth 4 – Book as early as possible

aeroplan myth 4
Myth 4 – Book as early as possible

Again, Aeroplan is dependent on the tickets provided by the airlines.

As a general rule, however, it is true that most of the best tickets are found several months in advance. This is the case for example for my round trip to Europe with availability in business class on Swiss Air and Turkish Airlines. These tickets were booked in November 2015 for use in July 2016.

However, I also proved you wrong by booking a last minute ticket on Swiss Air in business class, 2 days before departure!

If you have visibility on your calendar, it’s best to book in advance! Here is an estimate of when Aeroplan availability will open (in days before scheduled departure):

Airline Days
Air Canada 355
Lufthansa 349
Swiss 338
United 330

Myth 5 – Changing and cancelling an Aeroplan Reward

aeroplan myth 5
Myth 5 – Changing and cancelling an Aeroplan Reward

We did an article on the subject: Aeroplan is one of the most open programs when it comes to changing or cancelling awards. Sure, there are fees, but at least you can change or cancel your flight plans!

Myth 6 – Earning Aeroplan Miles

aeroplan myth 6
Myth 6 – Earning Aeroplan Miles

If you follow milesopedia regularly, you know that for us, the best way to earn Aeroplan Miles is through Aeroplan-affiliated credit cards (or cards that allow you to transfer points to Aeroplan Miles).

But also through your everyday purchases like in Esso gas stations!

Myth 7 – The Aeroplan Miles Credit

aeroplan myth 7
Myth 7 – The Aeroplan Miles Credit

You can request mileage credit online on this page for most Aeroplan partners such as a hotel stay or non-credited United airfare for example!

However, some expenses are not accepted as Esso transactions, even if you have the receipt!

Myth 8 – Aeroplan customer service wait times

aeroplan myth 8
Myth 8 – Aeroplan customer service wait times

This was one of the big problems with Aeroplan’s customer service. So much so that some credit cards have offered “priority access to an Aeroplan advisor” as a benefit!

But indeed, the situation is much less complicated than before, and I have always had an advisor in less than 15 minutes of waiting, even in delicate situations abroad.

Myth 9 – Expiring Aeroplan Miles

aeroplan myth 9
Myth 9 – Expiring Aeroplan Miles

Aeroplan Miles do not expire… provided you make at least one transaction in the account every 12 months! A friend of mine recently had the misfortune of seeing all her miles disappear due to inactivity… fortunately, we were able to recover it with a stay at an Aeroplan partner Fairmont hotel that was not credited in the last 12 months!

Our tip: use AwardWallet to remind you when your points and miles expire. And if you see that you’re getting dangerously close to 12 months of inactivity, go buy a coffee at an Esso gas station with your Aeroplan loyalty card! It’s as simple as that!

Myth 10 – The benefits of Aeroplan status

aeroplan myth 10
Myth 10 – The benefits of Aeroplan status

We recently told you about the importance of Aeroplan status, if only for access to cheaper tickets at market rates!

Myth 11 – Booking an Aeroplan ticket for someone else

aeroplan myth 11
Myth 11 – Booking an Aeroplan ticket for someone else

Little known: indeed, you can book an award ticket with your miles for another person (friend, family). What we would like to see, however, would be the possibility of having a “Family” account like other loyalty programs (British Airways Executive Club for example).

This would allow miles to be combined in one account if, for example, miles were missing from a joint account!

Myth 12 – The relationship between the loyalty card and the Aeroplan credit card

aeroplan myth 12
Myth 12 – The relationship between the loyalty card and the Aeroplan credit card

Double the fun with Aeroplan partners! You can earn miles by using your Aeroplan-affiliated credit card AND by presenting your Aeroplan Loyalty Card.

But you can also pay with any credit card… and present your Aeroplan loyalty card to earn miles!

Conclusion and wishes for improvement of the program

As you can see, Aeroplan is right on many of the points raised. However, we would have some wishes so that the program becomes optimal from a user point of view with various possibilities like:

  • Change your award ticket online
  • Build a complex itinerary beyond the 3 routes proposed by the “multi-city” option
  • Book on currently absent Star Alliance airlines like Air China
  • Filter proposed itineraries by airline
  • Book 2 airline tickets with miles from 2 different accounts in the same family
  • Or allow for the free transfer of miles between family members (British Airways Executive Club allows for a “family” account that combines the miles of all members into one account)
  • Creating an alert for an unavailable flight
Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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