An inside peek into Air Canada’s new Aeroplan

Sep 5, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Aeroplan members rejoice! The program’s award chart is apparently not going to disappear when it transitions back under Air Canada’s control next year, except for a couple markets where the charts are gone. This approach to redemption options is something that Vice President, Loyalty and E-commerce Mark Nasr hopes will bring transparency to the program structure and keep all parties happy.

Speaking at the World Aviation Festival in London on Sept. 5, Nasr suggested that the program will operate under a hybrid redemption model. Aeroplan will publish an award chart for intercontinental routes and partner flights. While he stopped short of confirming it will be the same chart as today, it appears that Aeroplan’s aspirational awards will remain within reach and that travelers will know what their points targets are for redeeming those luxury trips.

For short-haul flights within North America, most awards will be tied to the cash price of the ticket, similar to the revenue-based redemption models popular with other airlines like Southwest and JetBlue. These are — by far — the most commonly redeemed flights in the program, and the revenue-based sliding scale for pricing allows Air Canada to ensure last-seat availability. Nasr also made it clear that there would be caps on the award costs in many cases. The number of seats redeemed at those extremes is low, and Nasr believes the company can “give back a little bit” making sure there’s an incremental value to the program at those extremes.

Perhaps even more important, Nasr acknowledges the value that “sweet spot” awards can deliver. “If you have members engaged enough to find it that’s good. And knowing that those ‘special’ rewards are available and publicized can improve the overall reputation of the program.” Not that the company is going to go out of its way to deliver underpriced awards, but it’s also building the award chart around the cost economics of the awards — numbers that differ between the long-haul premium cabins and the short-haul economy seats.

TPG will cover these changes as soon as they’re formally announced — hopefully with plenty of notice for members.

Better booking options

Just fixing the award prices “only addresses half the problem,” according to Nasr. Delivering a quality booking engine that surfaces the available inventory and gives passengers their desired options is also key. Air Canada has plans for an updated app version in the coming months that will lay the framework for a much-improved, tightly-integrated booking flow going forward. Passengers won’t see the full benefits for award bookings until the program transition, slated for late Q3/early Q4 2020, but the work is well underway.

The future of upgrades

The company has also made decisions regarding the future of upgrades for its top-tier elites: The current eUpgrades credits will remain in place. Nasr explained that the company considered a shift to “unlimited” upgrades similar to the Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus programs. It decided to hold the status quo after reviewing customer feedback and the company’s internal data. With upgrade clearance rates significantly exceeding the competition, even on highly-competitive routes such as Vancouver (YVR) to Toronto (YYZ), Nasr sees no value in rocking that boat.

Earning advantages

Partnerships are also expected to improve dramatically as Air Canada builds stronger relationships, including opportunities to tie elite status tiers across partners, similar to the United/Marriott RewardsPlus arrangement. Nasr also expects to deliver improved earning and burning opportunities for elite members with some partners as those relationships are renegotiated.

There are still plenty of questions left unanswered, but for now the outlook is reasonably optimistic.

Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.