Air Canada’s New Loyalty Program – 5 Things That Suck About It

In my last post, I highlighted the positives of the new Air Canada Aeroplan program. From the ability to pool points to a booking system from this decade, there’s plenty to look forward to. That said, there’s plenty of give-and-take with Air Canada’s new loyalty program.

With that in mind, here are five of the worst changes to the new Aeroplan.

No More Fixed Mileage

Under the old Aeroplan program, it was very easy to know just how many points you needed to get to your destination and back. The Aeroplan flight reward chart was reliable and generous. It made it easy to identify “sweet spot“ redemption routes and often was the deciding factor for me whether to use points or purchase a ticket.

Under Air Canada’s new loyalty program, fixed miles are all but gone. Instead, routes are calculated by distance travelled. To be fair, this makes sense. It just means it’s less favourable to its members.

For the average traveller booking a round-trip, this should not be much of a concern. For people like me who like to book multiple stops on one ticket, it’s going to sting.

It Will Cost You More Points Depending on Where You Live

The fallout of not having a fixed reward chart means those travellers who do not live in or close to a hub city will pay more points.

Under the old Aeroplan program, a round-trip ticket anywhere in North America cost just 25K points in economy. This was the same for someone flying from Yellowknife, NWT or Vancouver. Flying to, let’s say Mexico City, was the same amount of points despite the Yellowknife traveller connecting two-plus times and the Vancouver traveller flying direct.

Since the new program is distance-based, the Yellowknife traveller will be dinged more points than the Vancouver traveller.

That said, if you live in a hub city like Vancouver, you may actually see some savings in point redemptions. A round-trip flight to Tokyo, for example, will now cost you 15K fewer points in business class. This is an amazing value given there are no more surcharges on ANA and Air Canada, both of which offer excellent business class products.

?  If you need a hand maximizing your points under Air Canada’s new loyalty program, I’m here to help! I plan to continue my booking service to help those looking to stretch their points.

Flying Air Canada Partners Will Cost You

A huge plus of the new Air Canada Aeroplan program is the removal of those fuel surcharges. That said, there are still some hidden fees. For any ticket that included a flight that is not on Air Canada, a $39 partner surcharge is applied.

Initially, I took this as $39 per partner airline which would certainly add up for anyone looking to stretch those miles. Take my Aeroplan trip to India, for example. On this trip, I flew ANA, Air China, Air India, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines. I thought this would mean an extra $195 in fees. Thankfully, an Air Canada employee reached out to clarify this.

Last-Minute Air Canada Flights Will Cost You More

A great new feature of the new program is that every seat on an Air Canada is available for redemption with points. That said, if demand is high, it will cost you significantly more points to travel. Still, you have the option and chances are, if you were to pay cash, that flight would be inflated anyway.

“Once-in-a-Lifetime” Destinations Are Going Way Up

Last up on this list of negative changes to Air Canada’s new loyalty program is the fact that, overall, bucket-list locations are going to cost you a lot more points.

A quick look at the new Aeroplan points predictor tool shows that a trip to South Africa will cost you 40K more points from Vancouver in economy class and 50K in business class. The same goes for the Maldives. Dubai is going up a whopping 60K in economy.

Now, even with the higher redemption rate, those trips are still worth it and good use of points. It will just take you longer to accumulate them. Thankfully, there are some great ways to earn Aeroplan points fast. On top of that, with a new program comes a new lineup of credit cards that are sure to have some attractive sign-up bonuses. Stay tuned for that!

What Do You Think of Air Canada’s New Loyalty Program?

The new Aeroplan program certainly has some give-and-take. Overall, I think the positives outweigh the negatives for the average user. Those that are looking to string to together some epic routes will have to work a little harder to find the value. What do you think? Do the positives outweigh the negatives for you? Let me know in the comments below!

What say you?
Thoughts on Air Canada’s New Loyalty Program?
Let’s hear it!

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2 replies on “Air Canada’s New Loyalty Program – 5 Things That Suck About It”
  1. Avatarsays: Mark

    Hey there,

    The $39 partner booking cost isn’t per carrier—it’s one per ticket. In your example, it would be a flat $39+government taxes and such—not $195!

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