Aeroplan Fuel Surcharge Update and Partner Transfer Promotion

by on November 22, 2011 · 24 comments

in Aeroplan, Air Canada, American Express

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A couple weeks ago I wrote about Air Canada Aeroplan’s plans to institute huge fuel surcharges on many of their Star Alliance partner awards. After a lot of negative customer feedback, they began to backpedal on those changes and I thought they may have scrapped those plans.

However, that was just a temporary stay of execution, because they recently announced new charges coming as soon as November 30, 2011:

“With the increasing cost of fuel, many airlines have started charging fuel surcharges on redemption tickets. All fuel surcharge amounts are applied by Aeroplan on behalf of the ticketing carrier and are passed through directly to the ticketing carrier. Fuel surcharge amounts are determined by each airline and may change from time to time. Aeroplan has applied fuel surcharges for flight rewards on Air Canada since 2004. The fuel surcharge amounts to be applied by Aeroplan for flights on Star Alliance airlines will be the same as those applied by the individual airlines within their own frequent flyer programs.

Fuel surcharges to flight rewards on the following Star Alliance airlines will be effective as of the dates noted below:
November 30th, 2011: Asiana Airlines, THAI, ANA, Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, bmi
December 14th, 2011: Aegean Airlines, Adria Airways, TAM, South African Airways, TAP Portugal

These are in addition to fuel surcharges to flight rewards on Lufthansa that became effective on November 9th 2011 at 7pm.

Members making voluntary changes after the applicable effective date to existing bookings with these airlines will also be subject to the fuel surcharges.

Fuel surcharges to flight rewards on other Star Alliance member airlines not referenced in this notice will come into effect only if those airlines elect to apply them within their own frequent flyer programs.”

Ugh. This makes Aeroplan awards more expensive, thus decreasing the value of American Express Membership Rewards points, because all three of their Star Alliance transfer partners now have crazy restrictions and/or huge fuel surcharges. For Star Alliance travel, United/US Airways are the best and Chase Ultimate Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner with United and Starwood with US Airways. If you have any Aeroplan miles or Star Alliance travel to book with your Amex points, I’d highly recommend booking now before these huge fees kick in. As it notes in the notice, any award changes after the fees kick in will get assessed the fee. Thumbs down to Aeroplan for this.

Transfer Promo
On a brighter (?) note, Aeroplan is encouraging people to transfer their partner points (like Amex and Starwood) for a bonus of up to 25,000 miles.
So you could transfer 65,000 Starwood points and get a business class award from North America to western Europe since under normal rules it would equate to 80,000 Aeroplan miles (Starwood gives a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points transferred to Aeroplan). Then this promotion would add 10,000 miles, though per the T&C it may take 8 weeks from the time of transfer for the bonus to post.

Things to note:
Aeroplan devalued their award chart in July. However, the current award chart has some decent awards, like 90,000 miles for business class to Europe 1 and 25,000 miles for coach within North America.

Also note that Aeroplan has very flexible routing rules. You can route via the Atlantic and Pacific on Asia awards and you can build in two stopovers, so for 130,000 miles you can have a business class “mini Round the World” trip that I highlighted in this post (note the difference in miles needed for the award since this post was written before they raised the award levels).

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • pixel girl

    Are there any decent options left for using MR points for travel to Western Europe? What’s the best/cheapest route to find biz class tickets? Dates can be flexible.

    Boo Aeroplan!

  • Eric

    If Chase would add another partner or two and add in the transfer bonuses that Amex run, I would use my Chase card exclusively.

  • MJLouise

    So Lufthansa is already a done deal with the YQ? Bummer.

  • Euan

    Yes YQ is already being charged in Lufthansa.

  • Euan


    In Europe the majority of airlines (BA, VS, LH, KLM, AF, etc) already charge YQ on award tickets and a selection of Asian airlines do the same.

    Whilst North American airlines, except Air Canada, do not (please correct me if I’m wrong) it would certainly appear likely that while they may not charge YQ if flying with them, if flying with partners there is a greater possibility that YQ will be charged.

    Do you think YQ will eventually become standard across all airlines on award tickets?


  • PanAm

    I think there is still (barely) enough competition to keep.YQ on awards being tpo wisespread. It may be more likely the domestics would go to a point s for dollars redemption similar to WN and O think Virgin America. At the Chicago Seminar Randy Petersen menioned several European airlines discussed this with him.

  • PanAm

    I think there is still (barely) enough competition to keep.YQ on awards being tpo wisespread. It may be more likely the domestics would go to a point s for dollars redemption similar to WN and O think Virgin America. At the Chicago Seminar Randy Petersen menioned several European airlines discussed this with him.

  • PanAm

    Edit; meant to say too widespread in the US

  • PanAm

    Edit; meant to say too widespread in the US

  • Anonymous

    If you book by the 30th then aeroplan is still a good bet if you pass on LH and AC. You can still fly LX, LO, OS, BD, TK, UA, US and CO (plus a couple more). In J that’s 90K or 80K MR with the transfer bonus.

    If departing the right coast ANA will charge as low as 63K MR but will charge surcharges.

    Finally the FlyingBlue promo awards may help at 50K plus surcharges.

  • MJLouise

    Is it still possible to transfer to AC and redeem on United without YQ? Although I’m not loving the 45K to Hawaii. Yuck.

  • Bill Torgerson

    Good looking site here. I like “The Points Guy” as your online persona. Well done!

  • JA

    Yes, no YQ on UA/CO/US

  • Josh

    Eight weeks to post the bonus! Jeez…say what you want about Delta’s issues, but the transfer bonus posted immediately for the 50% bonus + 25k MQM’s over the summer…

  • Anonymous

    Assuming one cannot book before the listed surcharges kick in, any advice on structuring a mini RTW while avoiding/minimizing then?

  • Mstre123

    what about turkish airways, still no fuel surcharge?

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  • abcx

    Can you do 2 stops AND Open Jaw or does the Open Jaw count as one of the stopovers?

  • Maeploy

    I was going to use Aeroplan to fly BOS-YYZ (15K points—good deal right)? I saw the fuel surcharge & other fees and almost dropped over dead…$165!!! I could fly to Buffalo for $115! I ended up using 20,000 points from Flexperks (US Bank). I used to be a huge fan of Aeroplan….pretty sick now.

  • Susan

    Got a double bonuse- SPG kicked in 5000 miles for changing 20K and so did aeroplan. Yippee. Now if the business class levels hold I’ll be quite please with my move

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  • JoTorieux

    so if I switch 100 000 aeroplan points to 100 000 amex points and switch back to aeroplan, I get 25k points bonuses? Or do I have to wait a minimum time between switching?

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