Air Canada's new Aeroplan Program is a must for all travellers. Here are the Aeroplan Flight Rewards rules.
Airline surcharges removal
Aeroplan members were often disappointed when redeeming their miles that they had to pay a carrier surcharge (formerly known as fuel surcharge) to travel on several airlines, including Air Canada.
You had to be a knowledgeable member – as are milesopedia’s readers – to learn how to avoid these surcharge (and especially the airlines charging them).
From now on, there will be no carrier surcharge when you use your Aeroplan points! It opens up new opportunities – not only to travel on Air Canada to Europe or Asia – but also to regularly use partner airlines like All Nippon Airways, Austrian or Lufthansa.
And why not afford the luxury of Lufthansa First Class with Aeroplan points?
Aeroplan Partner Booking Fee
The carrier surcharge disappears but is replaced by a flat Partner Booking Fee of $39.
Air Canada now wants to encourage Aeroplan members to book flights on its own metal by introducing this Aeroplan Partner Booking Fee.
This fee is flat:
- $39 per one-way ticket
- $39 for a round trip
On the one hand, Air Canada removes hundreds of dollars of Carrier surcharges; on the other hand, the airline adds a new Partner Booking Fee of $39. Frequent users of no surcharge airlines (Swiss, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United, etc.) are the most aggrieved here.
You will have to pay $39 to book a flight reward including a flight on Singapore Airlines, for example:
Aeroplan Partner Flights Pricing
While Air Canada has adopted variable pricing for its flights, the airline has maintained a fixed chart for flight rewards on partner airlines.
For example, even if the airline has added a $39 Aeroplan Partner Booking Fee, point pricing will still be the floor of Air Canada’s pricing (when available). If Air Canada’s pricing can soar based on market prices, this will not be the case for partners (subject to availability, of course).
For example, a one-way economy flight between Montreal and Frankfurt will cost:
- Between 35,000 and 60,000 Aeroplan points with Air Canada
- 35,000 Aeroplan points + $39 Partner Booking Fee with Lufthansa
Aeroplan Stopover and Layover Rules
Several Aeroplan changes to the rules of layovers (less than 24 hours) and stopovers (more than 24 hours):
- You can now add a stopover on a one-way flight! So, if you book just a one-way itinerary with your Aeroplan points, you can stop for more than 24 hours en route (Montreal – Frankfurt – Singapore). It is especially convenient for those who use different types of points, or who pay part of their itinerary in cash.
- The rules do not change for the number of layovers allowed. With a well-thought itinerary, you can make several layovers of less than 24 hours(which we did last year for our one-week round-the-world trip)!
- Generous routing:it will be possible to be creative with routing as you’ll be allowed to get up to 100% above the direct distance. For example Vancouver – Sydney – Bangkok (69% above the direct distance between Vancouver and Bangkok).
- It is no longer possible to make a stopover on a Flight Reward in North America. Gone is the possibility of making two trips in one within North America (Montreal – Vancouver – Las Vegas – Montreal)
- A Stopover costs 5,000 Aeroplan points. Air Canada told us that this was an advantage: for us, it is still an additional cost, whereas, in the past, we could stop at no charge. Of course, now it is possible to stop on a one-way flight…
Aeroplan's travel zones and distances
Aeroplan has divided the world into four travel zones:
- North America
- South America
Then, Aeroplan subdivided each travel zone with a distance criterion in miles: the more you fly, the more you pay.
Distance thresholds in miles are different depending on:
- each travel zone (Atlantic, Pacific, etc.)
- travel between each zone (Atlantic to Pacific, North America to South America, etc.)
And the cost in points will be different depending on a flight with Air Canada or one of its partners.
It will, therefore, be interesting to book direct flights rather than connecting flights. In some cases, the addition of a connection may result in a higher fare threshold.
For example, a Montreal to Zurich flight has a distance of 3,736 miles. This trip falls into the 0 – 4,000 miles threshold for travel between North America and Atlantic zones. The cost is 35,000 points in economy class.
If you add a connecting flight to Nice, a Montreal to Zurich to Nice trip has a distance of 4,006 miles. This trip falls into the 4,001 – 6,000 threshold for travel between North America and Atlantic zones. The cost is 40,000 points in economy class. That’s 5,000 more points.
While choosing to connect via Brussels to reach Nice, we remain into the 0 – 4,000 miles threshold for travel between North America and Atlantic areas. The cost is 35,000 points in economy class.
Points Predictor Tool
To quickly see how many points you’ll likely need to redeem for a flight reward, a tool will be available to members on the Air Canada website: the Point Predictor Tool.
Aeroplan Points + Cash
It will now be possible to use a new feature: Aeroplan Cash + Points.
If you don’t have the number of Aeroplan points required for a flight reward, Aeroplan will offer you several options.
Here’s an example for a flight with a cost of 12,500 points + $38.98 in airport taxes:
|Points||Silver||Value per point|
So if you want to pay airport taxes with your points (in the example above 3,900 points save you $38.98), you will get a value of1 cent per point.
On the other hand, if you don’t have enough points – or want to keep them – the cash option is to “virtually buy” points, paying 2.1 cents per point.
In the example above, to save 2,500 points, you will have to pay about $52.5 (or 2.1 cents per point).
Aeroplan Flight Rewards Change or cancellation fees
Aeroplan lets you:
- Cancel your flight reward, at no charge, within 24 hours of making your booking
- cancel or change any flight reward up to two hours before you fly
The change fee is as follows:
|60 days prior to travel date||$0 to $75|
|Within 60 days of travel date||$0 to $100|
Cancellation fees are $0 to $175 depending on the rate paid and the cancellation method.
Check out the chart below for full details:
Aeroplan Infant Flight Rewards
Aeroplan was already known to be a particularly advantageous program for infant flight rewards (children under 2). We have taken advantage of this on many occasions.
It’s now even more advantageous:
|Canada – United States||Taxes only|
|Around the world||$25 or 2,500 points per direction|
And this, regardless of the cabin (Economy, Premium Economy, Business, First)!
Simplified booking experience
Similar to buying a revenue ticket
In the past, Aeroplan members had to book their flight rewards on a dedicated website.
From now on, the process of booking a flight reward will be similar to the experience of booking a paid flight on Air Canada.
Booking a flight reward will only take a few minutes, whether from Air Canada’s website or mobile app.
Also, for flights operated by Air Canada, it will be possible to choose – as for paid tickets – between three fares:
Each of these fares will include benefits (reduced change or cancellation fees, seat selection, baggage included, etc.). And one thing unique: the ability to access the Air Canada Signature Suite (something that was previously impossible with a flight reward).
Opportunity to build your custom itinerary
In the past, Aeroplan’s website displayed only a limited number of flight rewards.
From now on, all available flight rewards will be displayed in Air Canada’s website Search Engine. You will create the exact itinerary you want, and combine flights with Air Canada, Star Alliance airlines and even partner airlines like Air Creebec or Etihad Airways!
Also, since all Air Canada flights will be available as flight rewards, Aeroplan members living outside the major hubs of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver will no longer be penalized.
Indeed, members were often penalized by the lack of availability on the first flight when the rest of their itinerary was available!
All rewards are eUpgrade-eligible
All Air Canada flight rewards will be eligible for eUpgrades available with your Frequent Flyer Aeroplan Elite Status.
A dedicated chart will be displayed directly at the time of purchase of your flight reward.
Air Canada has made a great work on the entire Aeroplan Flight Rewards process and on the desire to make the booking experience simpler.
Several key things to remember:
- Airline surcharges removal We might have thought at first that this would be offset by a significant increase in the number of Aeroplan points required: this is not necessarily the case.
- the ability to add a stopover on a one-way flight reward
- a fixed flight rewards chart for partners
- all Air Canada seats will be available as flight rewards
Of course, we have to wait until we can play with the booking engine to better understand the differences compared to what we know today. Still, some sweet spots came out of our research!