Air Canada has introduced new fees for booking free award travel.
There will be a $25 fee for awards not booked online, ‘fuel surcharges’ depending on the length of the flight (but not on international flights), and taxes on these new fees.
At a time when the airline is in bankruptcy, they need all the customer loyalty they can get. Squeezing fees out of their loyalty program can only cause resentment and devalue the program that will be the key to the airline’s future.
While some programs charge fees for booking awards close to the date of departure (a personal pet peeve of mine), Air Canada is the first to introduce across-the-board fees on award tickets (outside of recouping government-imposed security taxes).
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, the head of Air Canada’s frequent flyer program declares that you will be rewarded. Ahem.