Should Air Canada Fliers Start Avoiding Aeroplan?

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Air Canada announced more than a year ago that they would not not renew their contract with Aimia when it expires in the summer of 2020 (read more here).

Porter Flair Air Transat

Over the past two weeks, there has been too much drama surrounding Air Canada and Aimia (Aeroplan). Air Canada and its financial partners made an offer to buy the Aeroplan business from Aimia that was rebuked. Aimia in turn made preferred airline agreements with Porter, Air Transat and Flair that come into effect once the partnership with Air Canada ends.

Also, Oneworld has confirmed that they have held talks with Aimia to have some sort of cooperation.

So, in essence this could mean that those that fly on Air Canada and keep crediting to “their” frequent flier program between now and summer of 2020, couldn’t redeem their miles on Star Alliance airlines including Air Canada at all, if they don’t issue the awards before the partnership ends, or only at very ridiculous “cash” rates.

Perhaps Air Canada fliers that don’t care about eupgrade credits and value the usability of their miles, should start crediting these flights to another frequent flier program?

The most logical choice for someone living in North America would be United’s MileagePlus but there are many other choices such as Aegean’s Miles+Bonus (tend to be the easiest for status especially if someone can fly few of their own flights each year), Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (best access for their own premium awards), and even Avianca’s LifeMiles. All of these programs have their own set of pros and cons.

UPDATE:

I dropped an email to Air Canada spokesperson to find out their take. Why Air Canada fliers should continue crediting to Aeroplan between now and June 2020 if they prefer redeeming on Star Alliance?

There are  a number of reasons for customers to consider. As we have said, customers can continue to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles on Air Canada until the expiry of our agreement in June 2020, so nothing changes for almost two years. Redemptions will be accepted on Air Canada up to June 29, 2020  and for redemptions on Star as much as a year later, to June 2021.  As well, flying on Air Canada qualifies customers for Altitude Elite status benefits and qualification, and the more flight activity pre-2020, the more eligibility for bonuses and other enrollment offers post-2020 in the new program.

Conclusion

Fly on Air Canada and redeem on Porter, Air Transat and Flair! Very interesting value proposition that many would rather avoid if they can.

Not sure if Air Canada envisioned this mess that they now find themselves in? They likely thought that they could just buy back Aeroplan business cheaply from Aimia. Seems that either Air Canada really need to launch their own new program come 2020 or come up with higher offer.

Now Aimia is talking with everyone and has already done deals with three Air Canada’s competitors, although difficult to see how they could survive being yet another shopping program without strong airline backing.

Air Canada fliers should decide if they want to be part of this mess or be sure that they miles have some value left if they are not redeemed by the time Aimia partnership comes to an end. Best option at least for those that fly on business class fares is simply to credit them to another program(s).

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