Air Canada yesterday announced changes to its Aeroplan program that will take effect on September 1, 2019.
Aeroplan will discontinue very popular mini-RTW and Around-The-World awards that have been best value for many.
Here are the unfortunate changes:
Being transparent is essential to us, so it’s also important to share that we’re temporarily suspending two features of the Aeroplan Program later this year. In both cases, these changes will allow us to make important system upgrades to deliver better service and offer new, more flexible stopover options with the launch of our new loyalty program. Furthermore, they affect less than 0.3% of all Flight Rewards booked each year. The following changes will take effect on September 1, 2019:
Multi-City Flight Reward Bookings
Today, depending on their itinerary, Aeroplan members can book Flight Rewards which include up to two stopovers, or one stopover and one open jaw, in addition to the point-of-turnaround. Beginning September 1, 2019, members can continue to make Flight Reward bookings to multiple cities, but will be limited to a maximum of one stopover or one open jaw, in addition to the point-of-turnaround. Please note that, as today, for travel within the same continent (except for travel wholly within North America*), one open jaw is permitted but stopovers are not permitted.
* Travel wholly within North America includes:
Within Canada and Continental USA
Between Canada/Continental USA and Hawaii/Puerto Rico/Mexico/Central America/Caribbean
Around the World Flight Rewards
Around the World Flight Rewards will be discontinued as of September 1, 2019. Please note that, as today, a stopover in Europe for Flight Rewards between North America and Asia continues to be permitted.
Here are the changes that may benefit some:
Recognizing that travel plans can change, Air Canada and Aeroplan are excited to share some changes designed to make the Aeroplan Program more flexible and member friendly. In advance of launching our new, more rewarding loyalty program next year, we’re committed to listening to you and implementing improvements like the ones below. With this in mind, the following changes take effect immediately:
Complimentary, full refunds within 24 hours of booking
Beginning July 15, 2019, Aeroplan members will be able to cancel and refund Flight Rewards for free within 24 hours of booking. Please note that if a member wishes to cancel a booking that was completed by an agent, the $30 Aeroplan Contact Centre service fee will not be refunded.
Option to refund your Flight Reward up to 2 hours before departure
Previously, Aeroplan Flight Reward bookings could not be refunded within 21 days of departure. As of July 15, 2019, Aeroplan members can cancel and refund their Flight Reward booking for a fee up until 2 hours prior to the departure time of the first flight in the reservation. This will apply to all bookings, including those made prior to the new policy coming into effect. Rather than keeping cancelled tickets open for future travel, Aeroplan Miles, taxes and fees will be refunded, and members may book new tickets anytime in the future, delivering greater flexibility than before.
Reduction of the aeroplan.com Refund Fee
As of July 15, 2019, Aeroplan will lower the Refund Fee to $125 for refunds completed via aeroplan.com. The new, lower fee will apply to all bookings, including those made prior to the new policy coming into effect.
Please note that Aeroplan members with diamond status will continue to enjoy lower fee amounts, and Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members will not be charged the fee, as described below.
New for Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members: Complimentary changes and refunds
Beginning July 15, 2019, Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members will no longer be charged a fee when they request a change to their Flight Reward booking. Additionally, these members will also no longer be charged a fee to refund their bookings. These fee waivers will apply to all bookings, including those made prior to the new policy coming into effect.
Air Canada states that discontinuing these two awards will only affect 0.3% of all flights awards each year, which is a far greater percentage than I could have ever imagined.
Members have been able to stretch their Aeroplan miles using mini-RTW awards (read more here) that have allowed two stopovers in addition to the destination (three stops essentially).
It is very unfortunate that all these frequent flier programs are enhancing away all the bright spots. There is very little left in terms of excitement.