Air Canada’s New Cancellation Policy Offers A Unique Opportunity To Generate Cheap Aeroplan Miles

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Air Canada is still battling absolutely horrendous press for refusing to refund people their money and they just modified their cancellation policy that offers a unique opportunity from an unusal angle: Converting the cash value of the ticket into miles.

Passengers who have booked directly with Air Canada and decide to cancel for any reason, can now convert tickets to a transferable Air Canada Travel Voucher without expiry date or to Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles.

This mileage addendum is is interesting opportunity that could be worthwhile for some customers who are in the position of using Aeroplan miles efficiently as this conversion option essentially allows members to acquire miles at US$ 1.3 cent per mile.

A transferable travel voucher without expiration date is also quite useful, although cash is always the preferred option and I don’t see any reason why one would or should accept a voucher if a full refund is due.

You can access Air Canada and their new Travel/Cancellation Policies here.

We have implemented highly flexible and expanded booking options. You can make a one-time change without a fee for all new or existing bookings made through June 30, 2020 for original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. If you booked directly with Air Canada and you need to cancel for any reason, you can convert your ticket to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that has no expiry date or to Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles.

For customers who booked through a travel agency, Air Canada is working to make these options available. Please contact your travel agent for more information.

As of June 15, 2020, you will be able to convert your previously cancelled booking (for original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021) to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that is fully transferrable and never expires or Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles.

If you booked with a travel agent or any online travel agency (for example, Expedia or Priceline), kindly contact them directly for options. Each partner has a unique booking system that we are unable to access in order to adjust your booking.

It’s very important to me that anything issued as a refund by an airline is 100% transferable just like cash would be because it’s just fair. Why should they be allowed to hold onto your cash but only allow a certain person to use said vouchers? Air Canada has now made amends in this area and all vouchers will be completely transferable.

Cancellation options can be found here in detail.

According to Air Canada they now also offer cash refunds for cancellations of both refundable and non-refundable tickets that occurred “for reasons within Air Canada’s control” which I foresee will a tough point to prove/disprove.

Based on these guidelines Air Canada customers soon have at least two choices:

  1. Air Canada Travel Voucher – Transfer the remaining value of all tickets in a booking and associated services to an Air Canada Travel Voucher. The voucher has no expiry date, is fully transferable and can be used multiple times.
  2. Aeroplan Miles – Convert and transfer the remaining value of all tickets and associated services in a booking, minus any taxes, into Aeroplan Miles, and get an additional 65% bonus miles.

And for customers with refundable tickets as well as flights cancelled by AC for reasons within their control:

Return to original form of payment – Return the remaining refundable value of all tickets in a booking and associated services, minus any applicable fees, back to your original form of payment.

Air Canada defines reasons outside their control as “Impacts of COVID-19”, government travel advisories as well as health and safety concerns. A very broad definition in my eyes without any hard standard. Who decides about the validity of these “concerns”?

Does it make sense to convert ticket value into miles?

That depends solely on your future plans and ability / experience of using Aeroplan miles and for some routes it can make a lot of sense to consider using miles. Especially the round the world tickets are still lucrative.

A 65% bonus on miles based on the original price is the same as the most recent promotion offered after all the specials were exhausted. Under this option the price is set at US$ 1.3 cent per mile.

Conclusion

This new cancellation policy of Air Canada is more fair – even if not completely perfect – than the practice until now that brought the carrier lots of bad press.

A completely transferable travel voucher for flights canceled voluntarily or a conversion into miles is an acceptable option but in my opinion as soon as the flight is cancelled for any other reason than the passenger deciding to do so should result in a full cash refund. Both the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as the E.U. Commission has warned airlines and national bodies that passengers are entitled to cash. So far many have ignored this.

These are the Terms and Conditions for the policy:

  • Ticket must be issued on or before June 30, 2020.
  • For original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • If you need to change any flight, your new travel must be completed by June 30, 2022. No change fee will apply.
  • If you booked directly with Air Canada and you need to cancel any flight, you can convert the remaining value of all tickets in a booking to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that is fully transferrable and never expires or to Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles as of June 1, 2020. No change fee will apply. Learn more.
  • Booking can be changed or cancelled up to 2 hours prior to departure.
  • Refundable tickets will be refunded as per the fare rules; a cancellation fee may still apply.

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