Air Canada Aeroplan announced that it will implement changes to their award chart as well as the re-shuffling of various countries into different award zones.
Without doubt these changes are mostly negative for the member but there might be some exceptions as well depending on how you use your Aeroplan miles.
Aeroplan formally announced these changes on their website (access here) with the modifications taking effect on December 15th 2015. Members will have until then to redeem for the current levels.
We’re making some adjustments to the Aeroplan Program, and we’d like to keep you up to date every step of the way.
Revised mileage levels
Effective December 15, 2015, we will be implementing some changes to the mileage levels required for flight rewards. Similar to the current one-way flight rewards departing from North America, we will be introducing one-way Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards at just 50% of the roundtrip miles required for flights between international destinations.
Reclassified travel zones
Also as of December 15, 2015, certain travel zones will be reclassified based on their geographical location in order to optimize the zones and their respective flight reward value based on the current market.
Let’s have a look at the award zones first. You can also access the new Award Zone Chart here.
The previous classifications allowed for some very lucrative redemptions such as Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam to Japan for 30k Miles in Business Class round trip. Aeroplan closes this little niche now.
But even without the rezoning of these countries it wouldn’t have made any difference because these lucrative flights within Zone Asia 1 are history now. You can find the new award chart here and compare it to the current one. Asia 1 and Asia 2 are now at the same levels for travel within these zones with the exception of First Class awards (rarely available anyway within Asia).
The award requirements for flights within Zone Asia 1 changed from Y20k/C30k/F50k to Y40k/C80k/F110k which pretty much means it more than doubles the amount of miles required to travel within this zone.
This opens up another can of worms since now you pay 80,000 Miles in Business Class for a 3 hour flight from Shanghai to Tokyo which is absolutely nuts!
Only one positive feature seems to be coming up, namely that you can redeem any one way ticket for 50% of the miles which right now was exclusive to certain routes involving North America.
While it’s certainly useful to be able to book one way award (I can’t remember the last time I booked a return award) I think the negative impact of the changes Aeroplan made here far outweigh the positive ones. Let’s keep in mind though, for those not actively flying on effected routes there is little to notice as of right now.
These program enhancements are almost always BAD and such it is the case here as well. The language used by the loyalty programs when announcing the downgrades always tries to add something positive into the mix of news to paint over the fact that it is nothing but a devaluation.
My personal favorite was the Business Class Thailand to Japan for 30,000 Miles. That was simply unbeatable. I usually transferred SPG points to Aeroplan whenever I needed to book an award like this. Thankfully I don’t keep a balance on Aeroplan as my Star Alliance miles are collected with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
If you have Aeroplan miles left and wish to utilize them on the effected routes you should do so before the cutoff date on December 15th 2015.