Aeroplan has announced changes going into effect December 15. These are mostly devaluations, like increased prices for business class awards between North America and Europe, and changing the definition of zones for award travel.
US frequent flyers should care about Star Alliance member Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program because:
- The program is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest and an instantaneous transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards
- It’s historically been one of the most valuable programs for booking awards on Star Alliance partners
- There have remained some great values, without fuel surcharges even, like 45,000 points each way between the US and Europe in business class on United
Here’s the new award chart side by side with the current one (.pdf). Changes go into effect December 15.
In August 2013 I called Aeroplan the most devalued airline program in North America.
First there was the gutting of the Aeroplan award chart on July 15, 2011. For instance, my favorite award — first class to most of Asia — went from 120,000 miles to 175,000 miles (a 46% increase in one shot). Australia awards went from 75,000 to 80,000 in coach; 100,000 to 135,000 in business (35% increase), and 140,000 to 185,000 in first (32% increase).
Fortunately many partners can still be booked without fuel surcharges.
- Air China
- Brussels Airlines
- EVA Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
Fuel surcharges are whatever would be charged on a similar, paid itinerary. LOT fuel surcharges are low, so booking an Aeroplan award on LOT Polish isn’t very costly.
Two years ago Aeroplan increased award prices again. Remember that first class Asia award that cost 120,000 miles? It went up to 210,000 miles. First class to Australia? 220,000.
In 2013 they introduced a $500 each way cash co-pay for upgrades to Europe and South America and a $750 co-pay for Asia and Australia on top of spending upgrade credits (waived for Air Canada’s 100,000 mile flyer Super Elites).
- Between North America and Western Europe (‘Europe 1’): business class roundtrip goes from 90,000 to 110,000 miles and first class roundtrip goes from 125,000 to 140,000 miles.
- Between North America and Europe 2: business class roundtrip goes from 105,000 miles to 115,000 miles and first class goes from 145,000 miles to 160,000 miles.
- Between North America and Southern South America: business class roundtrip goes from 95,000 to 110,000 miles roundtrip and first class goes from 135,000 to 140,000 miles roundtrip.
- Between North America and Australia: economy roundtrip goes from 80,000 to 90,000 miles
Some zone definitions are changing, too. Here are those changes:
- Poland moves from Europe 1 to Europe 2. Luxembourg moves from Europe 2 to Europe 1.
- Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will move from Asia 1 to Asia 2. This is a separate price increase for those awards.
- Russia (Eastern) and Mongolia will move from Asia 2 to Asia 1
On the upside one-way award travel will no longer have to be to or from North America in order to price at half the cost of roundtrip, effective December 15. And awards between India and elsewhere in the region, Africa, and Australia and South Pacific become a little more reasonable.
Matthew is “relieved” by these changes arguing that they could have been so much worse. But it’s been only two years since the last big devaluation, which came only two years after the previous big devaluation. I somehow thought they were done for awhile so I am anything but relieved. Instead, it reinforces the notion that they continually devalue every two years.
Air Canada’s frequent flyer program was — just over four years ago — among the best and most generous programs in the world. But its members have just gotten consistently hammered. And you have to feel bad, because our Northern neighbors are just so darned friendly. They don’t deserve this, eh?
(HT: One Mile at a Time)